taste_is_sweet: (And he will actually kill you)
Hello, my beauties, and Happy Friday! Monday the March Break officially begins and I will be going to Canada with my kid to visit the fam. It should be awesome.

While I readily admit that I, too, can be at times almost as awesome as a trip to Canada to visit the fam, I am, as I'm fairly sure you're aware, human and therefore extremely fallible. Occasionally more fallible than your average bear, so to speak. There have been times, I admit, when the only thing keeping my mouth shut or my fingers still is the fact that I don't like hurting peoples' feelings. I am a big adherent to the rule that if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all (or just hit the back button). I've also gotten pretty good at keeping things to myself.

All that typed, between you and me there have been many, many times with I've just wished I could, for example, leave a comment on someone's fic or their post that completely represented what I was thinking. Now, I would never actually do that (see above). I'm not generally a mean person and life is too short not to be nice.

But. And I hope I'm not alone in this, but. That hasn't stopped me from compiling a list of things I could say, but have and will not. I've included it here, because I can.

I hope some of you might unleash your baser selves and contribute in the comments, bearing in mind that this is nothing but venting, not aimed at anyone. Just devilish self-indulgence that I won't partake in out loud again.

I just think that we're entitled to what we feel, and allowed to feel things even if they're bad. The point is not to inflict those feelings on anyone else. Which is why they're under a cut.

But if you'd like to join me, there's plenty of room on the dark side. And we have cookies.
Mind the gap. )
Thank you for your forbearance and understanding. Now I'm going to take a shower.
taste_is_sweet: (Brave Little Toaster)
I'm not apologizing to Demi Lovato, because I'm linking to the really cool video I stole the chorus from.

Let me say, O best-beloveds, that there is nothing at all wrong with giving compliments. I used to not do it very often, because it felt safer to keep things to myself than to court the potential embarrassment of engaging in a possibly unwelcome interaction. But then I got older and I decided that life is too short not to tell someone that you like their shirt or that they have beautiful eyes.

Last night I sent a message to someone I know on Tumblr just to say I really liked their posts, and I made them really, really happy. That made me happy too. Being nice is almost always a win-win.

I've mentioned before about how I leave kudos on AO3 for fics if I read them the entire way through, because someone went to the effort of writing the story. A kudo is a quick way of complimenting them for that effort. Clicking it says 'hey, I liked this. You did good.' Nice comments are even better, but a kudo is so easy it astonishes me that so many people don't leave them.

The last time I posted about leaving kudos (the link above), someone replied that they only give a kudo when something really moved them. Otherwise they thought that the hits alone were enough acknowledgement of the writer's effort.

I've honestly been thinking about that on and off for two years, and I still have a problem with it. While I can understand the principal--be happy anyone bothered looking at your fic--all that hits actually show you is that someone went to that page. Maybe they noped out after reading the tags. Maybe they got three paragraphs in and hit the back button in a panic. It's impossible to tell. But a kudo means that they both read the story and thought it was good, or good enough. And seriously, we're writing this stuff for free, here. Isn't a story that keeps you reading until the end automatically good enough for a lousy click on a burgundy button?

I know that some people like certain stories so much they read them several times, and unfortunately (or fortunately, I suppose) you can only leave kudos once. But there are loads of readers out there who don't bother leaving them in the first place. Not one little compliment saying that they appreciate your time and effort.

And that, honestly, is just mean. Sure, no one forces a writer to put their stuff out there, just as no one pays us. But that's also the point. We don't have to do it. That fic you rolled your eyes at but still gave you ten minute's worth of entertainment is completely, totally free. Our only expectation as writers is that people will read our work, and our only hope is that they'll let us know they did.

So, why should anyone think they deserve a masterpiece before leaving a kudo? It's one click. One tiny, easy little click. But I can tell you as both a writer and reader that one tiny, easy little click can actually mean the world.

And life is too short not to say something nice.
taste_is_sweet: (What?)
As you all know, I had a new fantasy book out in November. I posted about it here, with a lovely cover image and the book description. Please do take a moment to check it out if you haven't seen it yet, just because the rest of this will be more relevant if you do. And probably funnier. :) I'll wait.

So far, I've had some terrific reviews and ratings on Goodreads.com, and two excellent reviews on Amazon.com. And then I got these: Cut for length and O.o )
taste_is_sweet: (Run Bucky Run!)
Back in September, the YouTube Channel Honest Trailers did an 'honest trailer' for Captain America: The Winter Soldier. I didn't know about it because I never really know about anything until it appears on my Tumblr dash (yes, I have a Tumblr account! Come be my friend!), but I saw the fake trailer and read the nifty Daily Dot article that went with it.



The nifty part is how the Russo bros are not only fans of Honest Trailers, but specifically made sure the movie wouldn't have any plot holes for Screen Junkies (who run the channel) to make fun of. Now, HT found a couple anyway, because that's what they do. But mostly, because of the Russo's diligence and paying attention to their own goddamn script, the parody actually praises the film.

For comparison, Age of Ultron didn't come off nearly so well, though the Screen Junkies were admittedly sympathetic with all the different threads Joss Whedon had been forced to pull on when he made it.

The thing is, though, why don't more producers and directors (and studios, for that matter, since they all ostensibly work together) do this? Making sure your film doesn't have enough plot holes to give a parody channel much to work with seems like a no-brainer. Hell, I try like hell to avoid plot holes whenever I write anything, and I'd love to be famous enough for my work to be parodied to thousands of viewers.

Well, okay, maybe not. But the point is that one of the big things I worry about with my own plots is what I call 'internal logic', which is just making sure that all the elements in the story make sense. I know that some films have that harder than others, especially when, say, setting up three different future plots at the same time the way AoU had to (Captain America: Civil War, Thor: Ragnarok and Avengers: Infinity War, though I still could've done with less Hulk fighting Iron Man and more justification for his out of the blue relationship with Black Widow).

But that's Age of Ultron. I don't think, for example, that Green Lantern necessarily had that issue. But it's internal logic was so poor, it ended up with a lot of other issues.



A lot of other issues.
taste_is_sweet: (Pony!Bucky)
(Pony!Bucky icon because reasons.)

So, yeah. Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., guys. Last night was episode three of the new season, and while I wasn't exactly surprised at yet more murky morality, three episodes in and it's already murky enough that it's hard to see. Like when you're in a vault.

Such as this one:

But it's S.H.I.E.L.D., so it's fine. Really.
I'm sure there's nothing morally dubious down here.

Check it, O, best-beloveds--this is the door leading down the dark, narrow staircase that goes to the dark, dark, basement, where our remnants of S.H.I.E.L.D. are now keeping their prisoners like fetishists in a Tarantino movie. Coulson even refers to them as 'Assets', which is in no way creepy or dehumanizing. (Though to be fair, I guess he can't use 'consultant' since it's probably not a volunteer position.)

The prisoners do get a bed, which is nice. But as far as I can tell, if they're not being interrogated the room is kept soundless and dark, and it's about three and a half meters wide and maybe five meters long. Larger than my kid's bedroom for sure, but he has a nightlight and a window. And he can also, you know, leave.

Naturally, I couldn't help but be reminded of this:

At least he's safe! (Get it?)
We Love you, Bucky!

The Winter Soldier, in all of his shirtless, woobie glory, being kept in a vault like a particularly important document. Now he's in a bank vault, because Hydra is classy like that. But it's still, y'know, a vault. Like S.H.I.E.L.D.'s, only with actual overhead lighting. And it's used pretty much for the same purpose as S.H.I.E.L.D.'s vault. Oops.

I'm assuming S.H.I.E.L.D. isn't going for the horrifically painful memory-wiping. Yet. But I have a feeling that being treated like a hamster in an aquarium (but without the adorable plastic wheel) would count as torture too.

These are not comfortable similarities, my darlings. They're especially uncomfortable when coupled with S.H.I.E.L.D.'s new willingness to go for culling rather than trap and tag, so to speak. This ep, they went after someone ostensibly to rescue them from Hydra, but it became evident very early on that the 'rescue' part wasn't the priority. The actual priority was, 'if we can't have 'em, no one can,' like a psychotic ex-boyfriend. Or like Hydra, which had the exact same agenda.

And yet, it's not even either of these things--the hamster cages or the culling--which make me go, O.o, so much as the seeming casualness with which it's done. Yes, I'd like to see a little remorse among my heroes, beyond the expected 'gee, I just killed someone' moment. I'd like to see some reluctance, some unhappiness with the way things go down, even if there was truly no other option besides vaults and bloodshed. Hell, I'd really like other options to be overtly considered.

Nick Fury himself said that S.H.I.E.L.D. was founded to save people, because everyone is worth saving. But S.H.I.E.L.D. doesn't seem to be doing much saving anymore. This isn't the S.H.I.E.L.D. who talked Mike Peterson down from literally going ballistic when it would've been far safer and easier to kill him; this S.H.I.E.L.D. would've put him down to make sure Hydra didn't get their hands on him first. And that's a bit too much like what Hydra itself would do. And when the good guys are just the same as the bad guys, then what's the point?

If I had to choose, I'd of course take the hamster cage over the agonizing mind-wipe, but I shouldn't have to choose the lesser of two evils. There shouldn't be two evils--just one evil, with many heads.

I love visual metaphors.
Where's a streetwise Hercules

And sure, sometimes it takes a monster to defeat a monster. Except S.H.I.E.L.D. wasn't supposed to be about monsters; it was supposed to be about heroes. But I've watched three episodes of the new season so far, and I'm still waiting to find them.

Holding out, if you will, for the heroes. Or at least I'll hold out for a few more episodes. But when you're in a vault, it's hard to know it's the end of the night.

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. screen capture from screencapped.net

taste_is_sweet: (Aliens Made Me)
Yep. Sometimes things happen where I just want to go and do this for a few hours:

And I would totally look that adorable, really.
Pout

Or maybe get really ambitious and go eat worms, or go riding off into a monsoon or blizzard and make everyone go fetal with guilt when they finally find me tragically frozen (but I'd look really pretty).

Or, you know, just flounce off and take my ball and go home.

But I'm a grown up. Or at least I play one on the internet. So tempting though it is on occasion, I'm not going to do that. Besides, I left my horse in my other reality and we're too far inland for monsoons. And too far south for blizzards. Probably lucky, really.

(And I've disabled comments because this post is not for me to milk sympathy from my FList. Though I thank those of you who would want to in advance <3. This is just me reminding myself out loud that I can deal, so I need to. And actually just writing this has made me feel better anyway.)

taste_is_sweet: (Felicity)
You guys know what I'm talking about--that episode where normally competent, logical and sane characters lose their collective minds in order for a plot to happen. My personal favorite (and by 'favorite' I mean 'most hated') is the Stargate: Atlantis season two episode The Long Goodbye, where the same people who were nearly blown up by a starship commander with an alien entity in his head the episode before, decide to let alien entities into the heads of the military commander and leader of the entire expedition. Naturally this goes just as badly as you'd expect. Hyjinks ensue.
And this kiss, which made all the McKay/Sheppard shippers cry.
Kiss


There were even worse violations of logic and sense that season (::cough, Michael, ::cough::), but I know SGA is far from the only series of any genre which has given the characters collective brain damage when convenient. A more recent favorite of mine is another second season episode (and is there something about year two?) of Arrow, where despite constant and deadly hijackings, aid trucks continue to be sent into a destroyed and lawless part of the city with no protection and their logos clear on the vehicle sides.

If only we could do something about that!
Capture

But nowhere, nowhere, is this example of joint idiocy more prevalent than in any plot requiring a normally intelligent character to somehow not recognize another character in a flimsy disguise.

Arrow, of course, is a perfect example of this. And while I know that the whole show would collapse if Officer Quentin Lance ever noticed how very similar Arrow's height, breadth and the lower half of his face was to Oliver Queen, or if Laurel Lance ever recognized the enormous cleft in The Canary's chin as belonging to her sister, the absolute impossibility of this lack of recognition is both hilarious and irritating as hell.

I mean, we're not talking Batman-esque cowls here. We're talking teeny little eye masks with a wig and/or a hood. As an example, I made a hero of my own:

My husband by day...
Dom as is

And as a badass superhero! Let's call him, 'The Engineer'.
Dom the superhero


I know that none of you know him as well as I do, but seriously. How long would it take you to recognize him after speaking to him face-to-face day after day for several minutes at a time? And his nifty steampunk goggles actually make his eyes harder to see than the characters' eyes in the show. Quentin is a cop, for Pete's sake. His daughter Laurel is a hotshot lawyer. Presumably they'd be good at noticing stuff, like how similar those two vigilantes are to people they've known for decades.

"I can't help but feel I'm missing something."
Paul Blackthorne

Or if that's too much to ask, what about the fact that The Arrow and The Canary only appeared shortly after Oliver Queen and Sarah Lance returned from the dead?

And yet, the selective idiot ball keeps getting passed around. Maybe one day, Starling City's finest (former) Detective will actually detect that that Arrow guy is awfully familiar...

And hopefully he'll deal with it better than these guys.

taste_is_sweet: (My OTP has issues)
Over at [livejournal.com profile] ushobwri (and why haven't you joined it yet? They have such cool stuff) today, the topic is pet peeves in fanfiction--as in, the stuff that makes one backspace quicker than a porn pop-up add at the office, or keeps you reading only for the hate.

Now, I'm not saying I actually read or write fanfiction, because I'm trying to be all professional an' shit. But if I did, my pettiest peeve ever would be what I call "Passive-Agressive Utopia Fics".

Passive-Agression, if you, O best-beloveds, are unaware of the term, is basically trying to make other people do all the emotional work for you in a conflict. A perfect example is someone who will brood in hurt silence until you realize you upset them and apologize--only for them to then turn around and berate the fuck out of you for the original transgression. Another perfect example is someone who will mope and sigh for hours, but won't say anything's wrong until you ask. Even worse is when you ask and they say, 'nothing', because if you loved them enough you'd already know.

Guilty yet?
 photo Wormpic.jpg

As you can imagine, and have probably read, this shows up fairly often in fic. It generally follows a particular pattern:

1) The most beloved but flawed (and occasionally badly treated) character (think Rodney McKay of Stargate: Atlantis or Ezra Standish of the 1998 The Magnificent Seven TV series) will experience something in canon that is perceived as cruel and/or unfair by his fans (I'm sure female versions of such characters exist, but I can't remember encountering any).

2) The fans, angry at this character's perceived helplessness and unjust suffering, then write a story either dealing directly with the ep where the unfairness happened, or a story that keeps the same general theme of bad treatment.

Wherein:

---The Beloved Helpless Character will be treated with great cruelty and prejudice by the other characters, often to an uncharacteristic or even absurd extent. Shunning may occur in retaliation for something the BHC did in canon or otherwise, or threats to the BHC's continued acceptance in the group and/or employment. Rarely, their life.
---The BHC will not contest this or stand up for himself in any way. There may be an attempt at protest or apology, but this will be rebuffed by the other characters. The BHC will subsequently just accept his fate.
---The BHC will either ostracize himself from the group, or, already shunned, go off alone and/or cease all but minimal communication or interaction with the other characters. Rodney McKay may take himself to the wretched bowels of Atlantis to do horribly unpleasant menial repairs unworthy of his skills and intelligence. Ezra Standish may leave Four Corners without telling anyone, preferably by riding into a monsoon or blizzard.
--- OR, the BHC will attempt or actually commit suicide, or will be believed to have died by the other characters. The BHC will then get to, in essence, attend his own funeral and witness the other characters' praise of him and their remorse at his ill-treatment. (If the BHC dies, then the reader is their proxy for this.)
---The BHC, due to their misery and the privations of their ostracizing, will become horribly ill and/or injured. It will likely take days to find them, unless they manage to drag themselves back to aid. Either the other characters will have begun a frantic search at this point, or will not even realize the BHC was in peril because he's been shunned to the point of insignificance.
---A character who is the BHC's True Friend and The Only One Who Understands Them (like Rodney McKay's buddy Carson Beckett, who is conveniently a doctor, or Ezra Standish's Mom) will then proceed to berate the fuck out of the other characters for their cruelty, generally while standing at the bedside of the insensate and possibly dying BHC. The True Friend will also, if necessary, explain the BHC's real motivations for their original offending action(s) and basically make the other characters go fetal with guilt. Unless they're already fetal with guilt, in which case the True Friend's job is to make them feel even worse about their treatment.
---The BHC naturally survives and either returns to his previous position within the group or gets some kind of promotion. Occasionally he'll leave for a better offer from people who will appreciate him. Either way, the other characters will fall all over themselves in apology and remorse, which the BHC will righteously milk for all it's worth. Maybe, if he deigns to stay with his former abusers, at the end of the fic he'll begin to forgive them. Maybe.

As you've probably guessed, I call these kinds of fics "Passive-Agressive Utopia" because it's possibly the one place in the universe where the tactic actually works exactly the way its adherents would want it to. Their BHCs are vindicated, glorified and defended, all without them actually having to do anything. They go eat worms because nobody loves them and everybody hates them, and they really do get admired for it; they nearly or actually commit suicide and everyone really is sorry. It's the best of all possible worlds.

And honestly, who wouldn't want that? I still have to remind myself sometimes that my darling husband can't read my mind so if I'm pissed off I need to tell him. It's scary to admit you're angry when you've been raised never to show it. How awesome would it be not to have to?

So I get it, I really do. I just wish it didn't show up so often. And you'd better agree with me, or I'm going to slink off and sit outside in the rain until I get pneumonia. And then you'll be sorry.

Picture is courtesy of antpkr at freedigitalphotos.

taste_is_sweet: (Bad Decisions)
Hello, my lovelies. I'm off to CANADA next week for March break! It's a total Whoo-Hoo! for me, of course, but it means I most likely won't be posting. I can hear you crying already.

But before I go, I wanted to write about something interesting I saw in a TV show last night. And by 'interesting', I of course mean 'jaw-droppingly out-of-character and violent.' I won't name the show because I don't want to spoil anyone, and also because I'm not even sure the particular show matters. Here are the particulars:

1) Character A is very, very badly hurt by Reoccurring Bad Person
2) Reoccurring Bad Person is captured
3) Character B beats captured RBP to within an inch of xir life in retaliation
4) Character C refuses to turn RBP over to The Authorities, apparently only so C can threaten RBP with the 'If xie dies, you die' trope.
5) All of this is supposed to be a) perfectly acceptable, and b) to show how awesome characters B and C are.

Now, because TV Tropes is my new internet boyfriend, after I had my few moments of O.o and assorted exclamations along the lines of, are they really keeping that bad guy just for the if/then murdering? and, If Character A bites the oatmeal, how will killing RBG bring xir back?, I went to the TV Tropes site to see if the "If X dies; you die" trope had an article.

I couldn't find one, alas. But I did find Knight Templar Big Brother/Parent. It's not quite as specific as I hoped for, but it's close enough.

The Knight Templar Big Brother/Parent basically refers to going apeshit on anyone who hurt your sib/kid, and I think the trope fits even if the characters aren't related. Like beating the snot out of the Reoccurring Bad Person who hurt your buddy, for example.

"I'm not going to hurt you now. But I will probably kill you later, depending."
 photo KnightsTemplarcopy.jpg

Okay, sure. Makes sense. I'd be pretty peeved too, if my adorable protege of adorableness was gutted like a prize-winning salmon. And the Character B who did the beat-down is, shall we say, not entirely unknown for such things. But, Character C is definitely not known for the apeshit beat-downs. In fact, C tells B to back off on the curb-kicking, which is somewhat odd considering Character C's intention in doing so is, apparently, to keep RBP alive in order to chuck xir out an airlock if Character A kaks it.

That's not very nice.

It's also not very moral, and considering Characters A, B, and C are all very much supposed to be the GOOD GUYS, the idea of Character C especially refusing to give up RBP while calmly anticipating spacing xir in the near future is not what I signed on for when I started watching the show. I mean, this is basic cable--I like to know which end of the spectrum my heroes are supposed to belong to. And murder for revenge is a little too far in the red for me.

An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind, as they say, and killing someone because they killed someone is way more Judge Dredd than My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, if you know what I mean. Not that I'm talking about either Judge Dredd or MLP:FIM (though I'm sure Rainbow Dash would go apeshit if Discord killed Fluttershy). But you get the point.

Which is, I want my heroes to be, well, heroic, thank you very much. That doesn't just mean being badass, it means knowing when not to be as well. And sure, fallibility and conflict and drama and all that. But honestly, this show offers plenty of that anyway. If I wanted antiheroes, dark themes and gratuitous violence I'd watch The Walking Dead, which I don't. Because I don't really like antiheroes, dark themes or gratuitous violence. What's the point of escapism if you can't go anywhere?

I might as well watch the news, except for how it's way more depressing.

Picture is from The DVD cover for this Knights Templar movie, available from Amazon.co.uk. Coincidentally, it has Norman Reedus in it. Unfortunately the film seems to be very, very bad.

taste_is_sweet: (Want to dive into your ocean)
Those of you living in civilized countries outside the United States may not know that recently Arizona (state of that smug bastard Roadrunner and that city where everyone makes a wrong turn; not to mention the state where it is now legal for a cop to ask anyone for their immigration papers at anytime, anywhere, if there is "reasonable suspicion" that the person is insufficiently light-skinned an illegal alien) voted in a bill that would have allowed businesses to refuse to serve people based on sexual orientation on religious grounds.

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer vetoed the bill (same link just above) after even the Republicans who had voted for it realized that pissing off Apple and the Superbowl committee might be a bad idea. Joh Stewart of the Daily Show has hilarious commentary on it below. (Unfortunately it's in two parts.):




But Mississippi, a state I know so little about that I had to look up its capitol (It's Jackson), decided to take up the banner of discrimination and vote in its own law about the very same thing.

The state flag of Mississippi, which perhaps tells us everything we need to know*
 photo Mississippistateflag.jpg

But it's Religious freedom, y'all. It's not about not serving homosexuals. It's about... allowing people to not serve homosexuals. In the name of freedom.

(I hope that my American FListies will sign this petition against it. It's endorsed by Lance Bass! Who should possibly move.)

But the thing I really don't get about Mississippi's bill is this: How do you tell if someone is homosexual before you serve them? I mean, same-sex marriage is illegal in Mississippi; it's not like any give bakery in Jackson is going to have a homosexual couple ordering a wedding cake. And sure, maybe if someone wants two bridal dresses for a commitment ceremony it might tip off the owner of the local Dress Barn. But what about restaurants? Or shoe stores? Or, I dunno, pet salons? Are you really going to ask someone if they're gay before you shave their dog? Even if they come prancing in dressed like Johnny Weir at an Oscar after-party, can you be sure that they threaten the God-given sanctity of your divorce just by existing? Unless a Canadian walks into your ski shop, how can you even know?

Obviously, the next step is for Mississippi to pass a law like Arizona's, that will let anyone ask for one's sexual orientation at any given time. And then they'd need to issue gay IDs. And then have special homosexual ghettos to make sure that no businesses are threatened by gays or lesbians trying to pass as normal people.

And then jail them for acting homosexual in public. Like Russia, to protect the children. Maybe those Reds have the right idea after all!



*To be fair, Georgia only got rid of the Confederate Battle Flag on their state flag in 2003.

taste_is_sweet: (Want to dive into your ocean)
Oh, yeah. That evil homosexual agenda is alive and well, my friends, despite Russian President Vladimir Putin's brave efforts to ban all homosexuals from being alive endangering the poor, innocent Russian children (because all homosexuals are obviously pedophiles, just like all Russians miss Communism).

Back in June, Russia passed the "Gay Propaganda Law", which makes it illegal to tell children about gay equality. More recently, Russia officially made it illegal to let anyone from a country where same-sex marriage is allowed to adopt Russian children. Because the mere possibility that the adoptive parents might be gay is of course of far greater concern than how many Russian children won't be able to have families.

We have to think of the kids' quality of life, people! How could they ever be happy with loving, likely wealthy parents who might hug them with their evil gay arms?

But sadly, Putin's careful stance against the evil gays has come to naught. A couple of days ago, the coach of the Canadian Olympic Ski Team helped a Russian skier finish his race by loaning him a ski. Now, Justin Wadsworth is actually an American, but he was born in Seattle and married Canadian Skier Beckie Scott, so he's basically Canadian anyway. But that's not the point.

The point is, that as part of the Canadian Olympic team, he has, most likely, been in the vicinity of Anastasia Bucsis, the openly lesbian Canadian speed skater. He may have even clapped her on the shoulder, or shaken her hand. And he lives in a country that's already been banned from adopting Russian children.

Which means, O best-beloveds, that it was no innocent spare ski that Wadsworth put on Anton Gafarov's foot. That was a gay Canadian ski, strapped there by likely gay-touching hands.

Does the insidiousness of Canadian propaganda know no bounds?

Sure, Putin himself may have recently hugged a lesbian Dutch speed skater at a party (and really, the fact he didn't ban speed skating, which is clearly rife with homosexuality, was a gross oversight on his part), but he's an adult. He can make educated decisions about who he cuddles in his spare time. He's not a poor, defenseless child rife for brainwashing into applauding the devious Homosexual Agenda.

But what can be done about Anton Gafarov? His foot is now contaminated with gay, which will shortly spread up his leg and eventually into his brain, and who knows what horrors it will wreak upon his person. Will he want to move to Canada and marry a Canadian? Will he begin listening raptly to the fabulous commentary of Johnny Weir? Will he turn gay and start molesting children like every single other homosexual anywhere ever? I fear for him and anyone he may touch from now on. I really do.

Gay Canadian skis one day; a Siberian prison the next. Don't say I didn't warn you.
taste_is_sweet: (Gilded)
I took the kid to watch Thor: The Dark World on the weekend. I can say without any spoilers whatsoever that it is a gripping, exciting and surprisingly dramatic movie that, IMHO, didn't deserve the bad rap it's been getting from critics. I loved it.

One of the many things I loved about the movie at the time was how Thor (i.e., Mr. Chris Hemsworth the beautiful) spent a short scene without a shirt, giving the audience a long, pleasant eyeful of the results of his extensive workout regimen.

Here is a picture for your edification, because I'm nothing if not thorough when it comes to research. (I know the picture is from his first movie, but the only differences are that in Thor 2 he's wetter and wearing different pants.)
You're welcome.
 photo Thorshirtless.jpg

As I said, I loved it, though that love was as much from the knowledge that it was complete and utter fanservice as it was from getting to see the dimples above the man's ass. (And it was even acknowledged as fanservice, in case you were wondering--poor Hemsworth struggles through discussing it here.)

I've posted about fanservice for women (and gay men) before, and my feeling is still that it's about damn time we females and non-het males get some of our own back too.

Mostly, anyway.

The thing is, when I was enthusing about the movie to my sister [livejournal.com profile] squeakyoflight that evening, she told me that she didn't like that scene precisely because it was fanservice. Objectifying men as well as women is still objectification, she said. And no one deserves to be treated like an object.

At the time, my argument was that since North American (and world, really) culture is patriarchal, that it's impossible to objectify men the same way we objectify women. We were seeing Thor's power there, as much as just seeing his body. But I've been thinking about it since then, and now I'm no longer so sure.

There was a great deal of completely reasonable uproar about the gratuitous scene showing Alice Eve in her underwear in Star Trek: Into Darkness, and in that scene Dr. Marcus's near-nudity is at least barely (ha! 'Bare'-ly) justifiable (she was changing into a special suit for diffusing a bomb). Hemsworth's scene in TtDW is not. It exists for no better reason than for the audience to admire him.

Fascinatingly, in the video interview I liked to above, Hemsworth says that the idea for the shirtless scene came from Joss Whedon, who said the movie needed a little 'romance' (which is I guess what they call fanservice in Hollywood). Whedon, of course, probably knows something about the male gaze, given his reputation of being one of the only Hollywood feminists out there. (Though admittedly your mileage may vary on the 'feminist' part.)

So on the one hand: thank you, Mr. Whedon, for recognizing that not every member of the audience for a superhero movie is going to be a straight male. On the other hand: really? Is this what you're advocating now, purposely setting aside screen time just for ogling? And why is this supposed to be okay?

It's not okay. It's definitely pretty and certainly amusing, but much as I've joked about it and I admit I enjoy it; even I know it's really not okay.

But as long as it's continuing, I'll still be happy that the men are getting semi-naked too. Maybe two wrongs don't make a right, but they do make things a little more fair.

(Movie still is from The Everett Collection.)

taste_is_sweet: (What?)
Tell me, my dear ones, what would you do if, on Halloween, your child came home with this note in her treat bag?

All that yummy fat shaming!
 photo Letteredited.jpg

Oh yes, that is real. It's also everywhere on the internet, though to check its legitimcacy I found it here at USA Today and here at Global News in Canada.

The woman, who probably regrets sending the letter to her local radio station, apparently sees it as her duty to solve the problem of childhood obesity by refusing to give the lil' chunky monkeys candy one night a year. Not only that, but by informing the obviously ignorant parents that their child is too fat to deserve candy. On Halloween.

You can probably tell what I think about this, but the first thing I thought when I saw this wasn't 'that's mean', but 'that's stupid'. How can this woman purport to know which child is 'moderately obese'? And what, exactly, is her criteria? Unlike adults, determining the BMI range for children is far more complicated. Worse, it's not even terribly accurate. If you can't tell if a child is at a healthy weight by measuring, how can you tell just by looking? And who or what gave her the right anyway?

I'm not sure how she thinks this is going to help. First of all, it's pretty damn likely that the parents already know. Second, telling a kid that they're too fat for candy isn't motivating, it's humiliating. And--which I'm sure comes as a big surprise to absolutely no one--fat shaming doesn't work. And it certainly won't work if some person the child likely doesn't even know shoves a note into their treat bag.

As other people said in comments on the sites carrying this story: if you don't want to contribute to childhood obesity, then don't give candy. Give stickers, or raisins, or pencils. Or turn off the porch light and don't give anything at all.

Personally, I'd much rather be known as the stingy neighbor who's never home on Halloween than the bitch who humiliated someone else's child. Though she might end up known as the house everybody toiletpapers or eggs. After all, it takes a village to do some serious pranking.

taste_is_sweet: (Keep Calm and Arrrgh!)
Say you want a Revolution, one that decimates civilization as we know it but without the pesky piles of corpses or shambling dead. How would you do it, if you were, for example, a television producer with perhaps more enthusiasm than interest in logic or scientific accuracy?

(Please be advised that below are spoilers for the pilot episode of The Walking Dead and the Big Reason for the lack of electricity on Revolution.)

Why, you'd create a action/adventure/drama/wholesale carnage series with the premise that once upon a time 15 years or so before the action starts, some science people did the usual Well Meant but Very Bad Sciencey things (because reasons) and created wee little nanobots with the sole purpose of eating electricity and reproducing themselves.

"You'll be cool if I leave you here for a few weeks. Right, buddy?"
 photo Coma.jpg

I'll let you think about the inherent problem of that while I chew on (ha!) that other show where civilization's been decimated, this time by The Walking Dead. (See what I did there?) This show bothers me for many reasons, not least of which is how animated corpses could rot so damn slowly in a warm climate. But the thing that bugs me the most is how our hero, Rick, misses the chaos of the outbreak because he's in a coma.

This isn't the first time this trope has been used (I know it was part of the premise for 28 Days Later), but it still makes me crazy. Being in a coma ≠ being in suspended animation. Being left unattended in a coma for weeks = certain and rapid death. It only takes three days to die of dehydration, regardless of how inactive your brain might be at the time. Not to mention infections, edema, starvation--if you even last that long--and blood clots.

Needless to say, when the entire premise of a show makes me crazy, I'm not going to be a big fan. And few shows make me crazier than Revolution.

No matter how badass everyone looks with the old-timey weapons.
 photo Capture.jpg

Remember those nanobots that eat electricity? Well, they were designed to eat all electricity. Everywhere. And it's been mentioned many times that the nanobots are inside everyone's bodies, too.

The thing is, human brains need electricity to function Hell, as far as I can understand it, so does all life on Earth. Electricity-absorbing nanobots wouldn't just kill our smart phones, they would kill everything. Our planet would be a static-free, sterile ball of dirt.

If I had to choose, I'd rather have a ball of dirt covered with lurching cadavers and the desperate remnants of humanity. But really, I'd rather sleep through both of them. ;)

(Pictures courtesy of Screencapped.net and Google Images.)

taste_is_sweet: (Vague)
Sleepy Hollow, Ladies and Gentlemen: a recent debut on the pit of voles Fox network with the winning premise that mixes The X-Files with Supernatural, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and CSI. Ichabod Crane, instead of being a dick, is a warrior-scholar who was BFFs with George Washington, as well as resurrected over 200 years after he croaked while putting the 'Headless' in 'Headless Horseman'. Two requisitely beautiful heroes banter and angst a lot and together they solve crime.

But, there is one major aspect of it (leaving aside the general crazyness) that bugs the hell out of me, and I'm not the only one.
He's trying to breathe, not getting a blow job.
 photo normal_sleepyhollow0101-0105.jpg

Ichabod never changes his clothes. The same clothes he was buried in.


"The mildew and rot remind me of happier times."
 photo normal_sh103-0300.jpg

Now, the show's writers and producers are obviously aware of this. Entertainment Weekly even quotes the Executive Producer as saying that "It’s like his security blanket... He can never feel comfortable in our world. The minute he gets comfortable, the show is over." (Because jeans and a fresh shirt = instant acclimatization.)

On the costume-design blog Hello, Tailor, the blogger says:

The show needs to keep him in the 18th century costume for more than a couple of episodes, purely to remind the audience that he’s from the 18th century. It’s a visual cue.

Which makes me glad the SH producers didn't also make The Avengers.




Who the hell are these guys?
 photo theavengershq-5148.jpg

Do I buy that? Well, sort-of. I mean, yeah: anyone newly tuning-in will need a bigger clue that Ichabod pulled a Captain America Lazarus than a ponytail and sexy accent. But how many people will start watching the show without knowing what it's about? And sure, while I can buy both that Ichabod is used to wearing the same stuff for weeks on end as well as that he's clinging to the security of his outfit, this is an outfit that he was buried in. In an underground cave, which he then dug himself out of after 200 years. Now, I don't know about you, but I might forgo a bit of familiarity to not smell like a swamp.

It's gotten to the point where Ichabod's outfit is distracting attention from the plot, and I can only imagine how much Lieutenant Abby Mills wants to stand downwind of him. Maybe in a future episode the fungus doubtlessly growing behind his lapels will help repel a demon. Because that outfit's gotta be repelling everyone else.

( All screencaps from Screencapped.Net.)

taste_is_sweet: (Name that poultry)
Tuesday night I watched Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. with my darling husband. The episode started with a Big Climatic Fight Scene, only to immediately switch to Coulson and Skye discussing job perks over the subtitle of "19 Hours Earlier".

I hate that trope, but what made me really notice it in MAoS was that I'd already seen the time-jump twice already. The week before, DH and I had watched a CSI ep that started with a funeral, then jumped back two days to show us who died. And the week before that, the season premier of Revolution started with the main characters in the midst of personal vendettas, before jumping back six months to show where they'd been.

(I don't actually watch CSI and Revolution, but my husband does and I like staying in the living room in the evenings. Yes, that was important to me to mention.)

And for some reason, this has been a thing for years. Hell, "Sunday" (otherwise known as The SGA Episode That Launched a Thousand Fix-its) used the time-jumping trope, though IIRC it was more original because it jumped back by increments, rather than just hauling ass to the very beginning.

I also remember a show called Fast Lane from 2002, which in no way capitalized on the Fast and Furious movies, but did use the "____ hours earlier" trope for every single show.

These completely logical poses are indicative of a typical episode.
 photo Fastlane.jpg

I didn't mind the jumping in Fastlane because it was their thing, like putting pretty boys in ridiculous circumstances. But I really, really mind it everywhere else. It reminds me a lot of some of the SGA fanfic back in the day, where it would start with Team Sheppard being chased by the requisite villagers with torches and pitchforks... And then the next scene would be how they got to that point. Which was inevitably boring and, given the nature of the show, completely unnecessary.

I don't like the back jumping because it feels cheap and lazy: Trying to hook the audience with the most exciting part first, in the assumption that they'll be willing to find out how the heroes got there. It seems to me that, if you only have one really good part in your story, the answer is to make the rest good too--not blow your wad and only then go for the foreplay.

Or, in the case of MAoS, blow something up and then make us go back 19 hours to find out why. Just begin at the beginning, guys; we'll get to the end if you take us with you.

taste_is_sweet: (Every Five Pages)
I finished my new novel yesterday. I put in the last edits, made sure the title page had the right info on it, and sent that sucker off. Hopefully to engender a six-figure bidding war between famous publishers before it gets snapped up by Joss Whedon.

My immediate future. Of course.
 photo Money.jpg

So, with the work finished and my wealth and fortune completely assured, you'd think that I'd be happy, wouldn't you? Well, so would I! Except for how I'm not.

Nope. Pretty much everything made me cry this morning. Nothing like trying to sing along to your MP3 player and getting choked up by songs that have nothing to do with your life.

The sad (sadder?) thing is, I know it's because the novel's finished. This has happened to me before. What should be an occasion for enthusiastic relief, or at least relief and alcohol, instead ends up giving me the blues for days. Because obviously, if I'm not working on something then I'm a useless human being, right? Not to mention that once the novel's been sent out into the big, bad world, there's a huge, enormous chance that no one will like it. And if no one likes my writing, then I'm a useless human being.

Wash, rinse, repeat ad nauseam.

So here I am, moping 'cause I've got something accomplished. Go, me. And now I get to add terror to misery by starting something else that maybe no one will like either.

Writing: It's not a job, it's a (completely self-imposed) torment! And yet I keep doing it anyway.

Isn't one of the definitions of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result?

 photo Chimp.jpg

taste_is_sweet: (Want to dive into your ocean)
I know I'm preaching to the choir here, but:

This is beautifully written but very sad Huffington Post blog by Linda Robertson, about how she learned to truly love her gay son, but too late to save his life.

Initially, Ms. Robertson and her husband told their son Ryan that they loved him no matter what, but that he needed to reconcile his sexuality with the teachings of Jesus and the expectations of God. But because it's impossible to change how you're born, naturally all the prayer and good intentions in the world couldn't make Ryan 'normal'. Ryan eventually became a drug addict to numb his self-loathing.

Shortly before Ryan died of an overdose, his parents realized that having their child home, safe and well was far, far more important than his sexuality. They also came to the conclusion that if God wouldn't change Ryan's sexuality, than maybe it was because Ryan had been born exactly as had been intended.

I have deistic leanings though I don't believe in God, but even so it seems eminently logical that if an all-powerful, perfect being keeps dropping humans onto this overcrowded planet, then whatever way we're born is how we should be. To me this is as obvious and indelible as needing oxygen. God doesn't make mistakes, right? Right.

The problem is that a lot of--far too many--people think that God's repertoire is limited. That somehow the supreme being who gave us Sunflower Sea Stars and Echidnas could only figure out binary sexuality and gender when it comes to Hir supposedly favourite creations. So God doesn't make mistakes, but we can somehow choose to be mistakes. Which doesn't even make any sense--why would anyone choose to live in a way that most people still abhor?

They wouldn't, and they don't. But children (and adults) are still dying because of the pain of denying who they are or trying to change it. I'm sure that's not what God wants. Too bad humans are far more fallible.
taste_is_sweet: (Keep Calm and Arrrgh!)
I like to bake. Occasionally I suck at it, though to my credit I've yet to harm anyone other then myself. Luckily baking soda isn't generally poisonous.

With this background in mind, attend, O best-beloveds, my adventures while trying to make this recipe.

It won't be too painful, really. And yes, I f**ked up enough to need a LJ-cut. )
taste_is_sweet: (That's me baby)
Sometime in May, as many of you know, LJ went its usual periodic batshit and lost one of my posts. My particular server (named 'Chicken Tikka', because why the hell not, I suppose, though I would've preferred 'Shawrma') was one of the ones affected, and I lost a post.

Per your kind recommendation, I told the The LJ codemonkies PTB about it. They promised they'd do what they could to get the post back. Then I went on a trip to Florida with my family (my son insists on calling it a 'journey', which is adorable; we went on a journey to Florida). And when I came back, still no post. I fear it shall never show up in my 'recent entries' feed again.

So here it is, so at least it'll be scrollable: I'm turning 41 and a tad freaked out about it.

It's strange how the post is still there, in cyberspace, but I can only get to it by searching for the comments. It's like Schrodinger's Cat, only with less fur and more typing.

...Annnnd I just found out that the link I posted goes nowhere. So never mind.

It seems to be working now. Thank you to the commenters who encouraged me to keep editing the link. It finally seems to have stuck.

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