[x]Blackmoor Vituperative

Tuesday, 2017-11-21

Authority figures

Filed under: Movies,Society,Television — bblackmoor @ 14:33

Humanity’s love for authority figures is annoying. “Alien” (1979) gave us a perfect, self-sufficient, self-propagating alien species. “The perfect organism. Its structural perfection is matched only by its hostility.” So naturally a sequel introduced a superfluous “queen”. “Star Trek The Next Generation” gave us the Borg, a hive mind with no leaders, no individual thought: a society of perfect, remorseless unity. So naturally “Star Trek: First Contact” (1996) introduced another superfluous “queen”.

It’s like we can’t even conceive of a society without authority figures, even an alien one.

Alien Queen by Hideyoshi

Monday, 2017-06-05

Gene Roddenberry, optimist

Filed under: Philosophy,Television — bblackmoor @ 12:36

“The human race is a remarkable creature, one with great potential, and I hope that ‘Star Trek’ has helped to show us what we can be if we believe in ourselves and our abilities.”
Gene Roddenberry

Tuesday, 2017-05-23

Death In Paradise

Filed under: Television — bblackmoor @ 09:22

My current favourite television show is Death In Paradise. The setting is a beautiful place, and the main characters are basically happy, decent people. Bad things happen, but they are always wrapped up by the end of the episode, and the bad people are brought to justice. And the episode usually ends with friends sharing a drink and laughing.

Thursday, 2017-05-11

MST3K Kickstarter swag

Filed under: Movies,Television — bblackmoor @ 20:13

This arrived today: my swag from the “new” Mystery Science Theater 3000 Kickstarter. I am debating whether to keep them or sell them on Ebay. I am leaning toward selling them: they are a painful reminder of what could have been. “What could have been”, of course, is a new Mystery Science Theater that is actually good. Or at least, not utterly dreadful, which is what it is.

Utterly dreadful.

It needn’t have been dreadful. It could have been great. If they’d not edited the movies for time or content (they are actually shorter than the Comedy Central episodes!). If they’d not taken the lazy way out with the invention exchanges (I mean, seriously, why did they even bother). If the riffs were not being recited at double-speed like old-timey auctioneers. If the voice actors for Tom Servo and Crow didn’t sound indistinguishable from each other. If the lyrics of the opening theme didn’t jar egregiously with the melody, and if it didn’t pause inexplicably for ten seconds for no apparent reason (why? why??). If the three-person puppeteering of Tom and Crow wasn’t worse than the worst that Josh, Trace, Kevin, or Bill ever did. If the interior of the Satellite Of Love didn’t look like a cheap painted backdrop. If the Hexfield Viewscreen (TM) hadn’t been replaced with a simple screen that drops from the ceiling. If Gypsy hadn’t been attached to the ceiling for no apparent reason, limiting her movement and interactivity. If they hadn’t made Tom Servo’s arms stiff and even less articulate. And don’t get me started on the dysfunctional in-theater performances (flying stiff-armed Tom Servo, random Gypsy luggage-handling, lip-synced riffing… again: why??).

I could go on, and on, and on. Did I mention the completely unnecessary editing of the films? That, by itself, is enough reason to eschew this travesty.

And yet, I am glad I supported the Kickstarter. Because it might have been great — or at least good. It might have been worth what I — and hundreds of other people — spent money on. It might have been….

sigh

Update: I sold some, gave away the rest. It has been a relief not to have those reminders around. I sincerely hope that this is the last I hear of this fetid imitation.

Monday, 2017-05-01

Still really trying to promote what I love etc.

Filed under: Comics,Movies,Philosophy,Television — bblackmoor @ 12:08

It’s really hard to “promote what you love instead of bashing what you hate” when what you used to love (Star Wars, Star Trek, Mystery Science Theater 3000, mainstream superhero comics, etc.) has been turned into crap by people squeezing every last dime they can out of it.

sigh… But I’m trying. I really am.

Promote what you love instead of bashing what you hate

Tuesday, 2016-06-14

Magic Item: Julian’s Magic Glass

Filed under: Gaming,Television — bblackmoor @ 08:40

Julian’s Magic Glass

Julian in combat, glass in handOnce filled with rum & coke (or some other nonmagical beverage) and a piece of ice (optional), the glass will continue to be full and the ice will not melt, no matter how many sips the holder takes from it. Additionally, as long as the holder has a firm grasp on the glass, it will remain level and the liquid will not spill regardless of what befalls the holder. Julian’s Magic Glass also has the property that the holder will be allowed to carry the glass without consequences even at times and places where it is impractical, inappropriate, or would otherwise be prohibited (in combat, on horseback, in a prison, at an audience with royalty, etc.). Observers can see the glass and its contents: it just doesn’t occur to them to object to it.

Friday, 2016-04-08

Petula Clark, Harry Belafonte, and Mizhena

Filed under: Civil Rights,Gaming,Television — bblackmoor @ 07:21

There is a computer game called Baldur’s Gate. It’s a fantasy adventure game based on Dungeons & Dragons, along the lines of Lord Of The Rings. An expansion for the game was released recently, and in that expansion there is a minor character named “Mizhena” who, if you engage with them and repeatedly ask them questions, will eventually tell you that they are transgender. If you are unfamiliar with Dungeons & Dragons, you might not realize that transgender characters have been a part of that game world for 30 or 40 years. It’s not new. It is, however, new to the Baldur’s Gate game.

As a result, a small segment of the Baldur’s Gate fan base revealed themselves to be vile bigots. These bigots created a “controversy”, objecting to the inclusion of this character in the game.

Petula Clark and Harry BelafonteThis “controversy” comes at an interesting time. Today, April 8 2016, is the 48th anniversary of the broadcast of the Petula Clark Show on NBC. Petula Clark was a very popular singer at the time, having fifteen consecutive Top 40 hits in the USA, starting with “Downtown” in 1965. Clark was joined on her special by Harry Belafonte, who had made Calypso and Caribbean music popular throughout the world with his singing in the 1950s. During a duet toward the end of the show, Clark touched Belafonte briefly on the arm. Doyle Lott, a vice president from Chrysler, the show’s sponsor, was present at the taping. Lott objected to the “interracial touching”. He pressured NBC to remove the “forced” contact between Clark and Belafonte, to remove this “social justice” from the show. However, Petula Clark stuck to her guns, and the special was broadcast with the “controversial” touching. When the show aired, it received high ratings.

It’s been over 40 years, and the Doyle Lotts of the world are still manufacturing controversies to defend their bigotry. I think it is right and just that people are enjoying the music of Petula Clark and Harry Belafonte to this very day, while Doyle Lott has been reduced to a footnote in the history of civil rights.

There are many cases where people of good will can and do disagree. That is usually the case, in my opinion. However, these cretins who wail and moan and gnash their teeth any time they see someone other than themselves represented are not people of good will. They are the bartender who says, “We don’t serve their kind here.” They are the prejudiced priest who refuses to heal the half-orc in the party. They are the pig-faced sheriff that says, “We don’t take kindly to outsiders around here.” They are the craven peasant accusing a midwife of witchcraft. They’re the corrupt king who doesn’t want the adventurers to fight the dragon because it’s never his daughter that gets sacrificed to it.

These are not people of good will. They are not defenders of the sanctity of gaming. They are, by their own choice and by their own hand, villains.

Monday, 2015-12-21

Promote what you love instead of bashing what you hate

Filed under: Comics,Movies,Philosophy,Television — bblackmoor @ 10:34

Or to put it another way: “Eschew petty criticisms.”

I posted a comment on a YouTube video this morning, “helpfully” pointing out that the alien in Alien (and sequels) is a xenomorph, not the xenomorph — that any extraterrestrial encountered in that film’s universe is “a xenomorph”. It occurred to me that this is the modern version of telling people that Frankenstein is the scientist, and not the monster.

And then it occurred to me how incredibly annoying it is to be around someone who talks like this, pointing out petty errors or inconsistencies in movies, comics, or TV shows. I don’t care if Nightcrawler has face tattoos in the comicbooks. I don’t care if The Purple Man looked or acted anything like David Tennant in the comicbooks. I don’t care if Gal Godot’s Wonder Woman costume looks like the one in the comics.

And even if I do care a little, listening to that sort of thing annoys the hell out of me. So I am going to try, from now on, to not be someone who says that sort of thing. If I like a TV show or a movie, I will say that I like it, and I’ll say what I like about it. Other than that, I’m going to try to keep my mouth shut.

Promote what you love instead of bashing what you hate

Wednesday, 2015-10-07

Misfits, Gotham, Agents Of Shield, Heroes Reborn, Powers

Filed under: Television — bblackmoor @ 17:53
Misfits Season 1 Blu-ray

I’ve reached the end of Misfits (eight seasons on Netflix, but there’s only eight episodes per season). While it’s a bit uneven, and sometimes it takes some effort to care about the characters, I like it so much more than the current seasons of Gotham, Agents of Shield, and Heroes Reborn.

The thing that irks me most about Heroes Reborn, and why I won’t be watching it anymore, is the tiresome “there’s no time!”/”it’s too dangerous!” enforced secrecy, without which the whole plot would collapse like a punctured bouncy house. If the main characters just had a five minute conversation, they could save us all the trouble of sitting through a dozen episodes of nothing. But no: there’s no time/it’s too dangerous! “No time” is right: life is too short to watch an exercise in padding.

Agents of Shield is just boring. I don’t care about the characters, don’t care about their mission, the plots are dull, the villains are dull, the outfits are dull, yawn, goodbye.

And Gotham… I liked the first season of Gotham, but FFS, I get it: the red-headed kid is the Joker. Except he’s not, because the Joker won’t show up for another 10-15 years (after Batman does), and when he does, whoever he used to be is a huge mystery, so he can’t be some famous over-the-top psycho from when Bruce Wayne was a kid. Seriously, he’s way over-the-top. Jim Carrey in The Mask is looking at this guy and going, “Whoa, dude: dial it back a notch.”

I hope Powers comes back for another season. The first season was slow, the production values are… frugal, and Eddie Izzard’s character will probably not return (he was the shining beacon of the first season), but I would still like to see where it goes from where the first season left off.

Friday, 2015-01-23

Do not stretch 4:3 images to fit 16:9 screens

Filed under: Technology,Television — bblackmoor @ 09:15

I was at a restaurant once, and the widescreen TVs were set to non-widescreen stations, with the image squashed vertically (or stretched horizontally, potayto potahto) to fit. That was bad enough. But then the show itself had a person standing in front of a TV (it was some kind of “news” show or something), and THAT TV was a widescreen TV showing a squashed 4:3 image.

How can anyone not notice how wrong this is?

WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS? STOP DOING IT!

Do not stretch 4:3 images to fit 16:9 screens

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