Monthly Archives: May 2014

Maleficent, A Reaction

David and I watched Maleficent today and partly because I am drawing a blank on what to write and partly because I am a fan of the character Maleficent, I thought it would be fun to do a reaction post. Now I admit I am probably slightly tainted because I grew up watching Sleeping Beauty and have been curious how this movie would turn out. Personally this movie did not disappoint, I was not sure what direction they were going to take the story, but was pleasantly surprised with the changes they decided to include. Now I will say there are certain parts of the story that become pretty obvious, but it was still a fun ride. If nothing else Angelina Jolie as Maleficent is absolutely fantastic. She gets the look, the mannerisms, the voice, and the general presence of the character down flat.

The thing I liked about the story the most is that it still works in the context of what we know about Sleeping Beauty. Some stories try and change the characters and situations so much that it can become almost unrecognizable. With the story in Maleficent I can understand how the legend would persist in the story that we know today instead of the original tale. I enjoyed watching this movie, I do not know if it had to be in theaters, but I think it is definitely worth watching at some point. (Spoilers for Maleficent after the break.) Continue reading

Not Everyone’s a Dick All the Time

And then, one Thursday, nearly two thousand years after one man had been nailed to a tree for saying how great it would be to be nice to people for a change, one girl sitting on her own in a small cafe in Rickmansworth suddenly realized what it was that had been going wrong all this time, and she finally knew how the world could be made a good and happy place. This time it was right, it would work, and no one would have to get nailed to anything.

-Douglas Adams, Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy

A couple weeks ago I read an article from The Mary Sue discussing the fact that cultures of harassment can be changed. The article was a quick reflection on a larger article from Wired magazine about Curbing Online Abuse, and discussing how some of the same ideas can apply to harassment at San Diego Comic Con. I have been wanting to write an article about the findings from the Wired article for a while, but just had not gotten around to it. With the occurrences of Saturday and the #yesallwomen movement, it seemed like a great time to discuss my reactions to this article and what it means for online harassment.

The study mentioned in the Wired article displayed some interesting statistics. Now they did not mention any specifics about the behavior that they considered negative, so it is not necessarily just abuse targeted at women. In some ways this makes sense because we should not just focus on ending abusive behavior towards women, but all abusive behavior. The most important take away is the fact that abusive behavior is not just isolated to a small number of players who are always abusive. The truth is that a large portion of abusive behavior is done by players who normally do not act that way, but something sets them off, which sets someone else off, and so on and so forth. This means it is not just about taking care of those people that are always abusive, but changing the culture of the community as a whole.  Continue reading

Life, With Memes

Hello readers! Holly and I have a lot going on right now in our lives, both blogging and otherwise. We’ve hit a point where we need to do a lot of work on our house in a short amount of time. On top of that, it’s a heavy season for LitFlix – we have two of the movies coming out next weekend (which we’re still reading for!), and I still need to write up two from here in May. That was the plan for tonight, but that fell through.

I couldn’t focus enough this evening to write something like that, which involves thinking back both to the comics and the movie, but there was a bit of thought that I could do. Both Amazing Spider-Man 2 and X-Men: Days of Future Past have me thinking of some of the situations in terms of memes. So I took a little time this evening and made those memes – I hope you like!

For more from me on comics, be watching Sourcerer tomorrow – I have been contributing there, and tomorrow’s post is a comics reading list. But in the mean time, enjoy the memes!

Continue reading

Technology Out Pacing the News

Recently we had a minor incident in my hometown where a kid brought a gun to one of the local high schools. Now before there is panic nothing happened. The school got locked down for 30 to 45 minutes the kid did not enter the building, but was just on school grounds, and was found almost immediately after he was reported. It was discovered later that this genius of a teenager decided to bring the gun to school to try and sell it. This was definitely a situation that ended up sounding much worse than it actually was and it really displayed the interesting way that our smartphones and social media have changed how latest news has to function.

I was working in the office when I just started hearing people talking about a kid bringing a gun to the local high school and that the school is in lockdown. I start thinking what could be happening and try and see if there is any news. It takes a little while, but eventually a news item gets posted to the local paper. At the same time by that point we discover the situation has been resolved. It was interesting because many of the parents of kids at the high school knew there was a situation before the news media did. Which also meant that the news media needed to get something out as quickly as possible. What ended up happening is that through out the day the story had to keep getting updated because they did not have enough time to actually find out what was happening to try and get something out there. Continue reading

Happy Memorial Day and a Word on Freedom

Hello all! Today is Memorial Day in the States, a holiday which I think has roots timing-wise, at least, with V-E Day (Victory in Europe). It is a day to remember veterans and the people who fight for our freedom.

The other day, I wrote a pretty well-read and well-received post about one of the major results of our freedom: universal education. One of the things that came of this conversation was the fact that in the Western world, or maybe more generally wherever education is universal, we seem to be forgetting the purpose and value of education – the question of why it matters and why we considered it important enough to make it universal.

With soldiers and the military, with continuing sacrifices and continuing hardship and situations around the world, I think that we actually do an okay job of reminding ourselves of the fight for freedom, of the cost of it, of its value. However, the value of the things we have and do because of freedom – we are losing our communal memory of these things.

So what I wanted to say today is, remember the importance of the things that freedom affords us. Remember education, and try to think about what your life would be like without education. Without the right to vote. You do vote, right? And in primaries, because those matter! 

Or maybe the other example: here I am, blogging with my free speech, saying whatever I want as I am free to do so (especially given it’s true and mine). Granted, the furthest I take this is to get angry at people who don’t like science fiction and fantasy… Well, and to express my free right to discuss religion in challenging ways in my Science Fiction and Religion posts.

So there’s me thinking about some of the ways I use my freedom. Here’s the space for you to think about it as well – and hope you’re having a great day too!