taste_is_sweet: (Totally Tasty!)
---This is hilarious because it makes perfect sense.

---You buy pants and a 'SSR' tee-shirt just so you can dress your kid like this for FanExpo Canada:

(He's trying to 'look weak' as pre-serum Steve Rogers, not actually sulking.)
I wish my mommy was like other parents

Even though the kid is not a MCU fan. (Isn't that why we have kids, though? To dress them up in adorable costumes?)

---You're going to FanExpo Canada, even though you live in Texas.

---You're hoping to get a picture of your kid dressed as Skinny!Steve with Hayley Atwell.

---You spend most of your Sunday making a magnetic shield harness and impulse-buy foam weapons so your kid can also be a 'Dragonslayer' at FanExpo Canada.

That foam shield you can barely see is attached to the re-purposed martial arts belt with magnets. Because I am just that obsessive good.
I did not make the tabbard. Or the necklace. Or the foam weapons. (I did make the child)

As you've probably guessed, I'll be in Canada until September 8, getting my geek on at the FanExpo. I'll try to remember to take pictures.

taste_is_sweet: (Bad Decisions)
The longer I don't post, the harder it is to think anyone might want to read any of my ridiculousness. You know how it is. (Or maybe you don't, in which case you are awesome.)

But! I do have some nifty stuff to mention, so I figure I should actually, you know, mention it. So here goes:

Dreamspinner Press, my favorite online purveyor of fine quality gay romance, is offering 50% off all of their in-stock paperbacks for the month of April! This includes my novel Black Hawk Tattoo, which is pretty great.
BlackHawkTattoo_FBThumb

I also have a new novella coming out in the beginning of May (I know I've mentioned it before but it's still totally \o/), which I'll talk about more once I have the cover design. It's called Aiden's Angel because it has an angel in it, in case you were wondering if the title was a coincidence. It is not.

Another cool thing is that I'm going to the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention (May 12 - 17)! It's in Dallas, and it looks like it'll be a lot of fun. I'm also nervous because I'll have to actually talk to people about how I have a novella out.

Any of my flisties going to be there? I'd love to meet up with you. :D

Last but not least, on the fanish side, Spring Sign Ups are open for [livejournal.com profile] intoabar! I freaking love this community--where else can you have Bucky Barnes meet Applejack the Pony? Nowhere else, that's where. I've already signed up (they close April 5, Best-Beloveds, so get in on it!), and I can almost guarantee that my entry this year will have an even less likely pairing. I can't wait. :D

Never heard of them? Of course you haven't!
Obscure Fandoms FTW!

taste_is_sweet: (Boom Baby!)
Pretty much all of us know what February 14 is, but did you know that February 15th is International Fanworks Day?

Well, you do now! And if you don't, or hate clicking links (it could happen), IFD is a creation of the Organization for Transformative Works, who are the lovely people who gave us the Archive of Our Own, among many other things. But currently relevant to my interests is their IFD Drabble Challenge.

The rules are simple: On February 15, post a drabble/drawble/short vid/another media format about your favorite character(s) getting fannish over something. Because of course they would. Does Draco Malfoy secretly ship Snarry? Does Clint Barton admire Oliver Queen? (I'm sure they'd totally be bros.)

I've got a drabble all set to go, and so does my buddy [livejournal.com profile] brumeier. I hope you guys will play too. And if you do, please comment here with a link so I can read it.

Come on, FListies! Write about your beloved characters as the fangirls and boys we all know they secretly are. I'll love you eleventy (which is far greater than three).
taste_is_sweet: (Boom Baby!)
It's been nearly two months since my last personal LJ post, O, Best-Beloveds, which means I've spectacularly failed my New Year's Resolutions. (I did, however, post at least once a week to [livejournal.com profile] ushobwri for NaNoWriMo, but you need to be a member to read them. They were awesome though, just saying. And you should totally become a member if you haven't already. Seriously, all the cool kids are doing it.)

However, even if I haven't been posting anything here, I've still been doing, stuff like a stuff-doing thing, let me tell you. Baking giant chocolate-chip cookies, for example. And writing my gift-fic for the final Stargate: Atlantis Secret Santa Gift Fic Exchange ever. ::sniffle:: (Posting for that starts on the 14th, and the marvelous mods will be asking for more pitch-hitters imminently. JUST THROWING THAT OUT THERE.)

I also finished and posted my epic Captain America/My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic crossover of epicness for the [livejournal.com profile] intoabar community! (I posted about it here, and it was epic.)

Bucky and Steve are not, actually, ponies. But I did manage to turn a cracky premise into nearly 40,000 words of angst, because that's how I trot roll. I'm actually quite proud of it, so I hope you might give it a read if improbable fanfiction crossovers are your thing. (The Archive of our Own collection of Intoabar fics is here, if you're interested. And you should be, because the world needs more Hawaii 5-0/Teen Wolf fics like burning.)

Only With the Heart as the CA/MLP fic is called, also fills the 'Invisibility' square of my Hurt/Comfort Bingo Card, which you may note I've been killing this year, Sweetpeas. Or at least hurting quite badly with comforting afterwards. Heh.

Last but not least, I've been mainlining YouTube vids. This is one of my current favorites:

And there goes another $1.29 to iTunes, Oh, la la.

So, yeah, totally stuffy, or something. And always happy to give. I'm a giver. <3

Do you Lovelies have anything to share and/or crow about for me? I'll bet you do, Chickadees! And after all, it's the holidays and sharing is caring (Oh, la la).

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: (Pony!Bucky)
Yes, I admit it: I write fanfiction. Which is a surprise to absolutely no one here whatsoever. (It's all written with joy and love and is only intended as an admiring homage and etc. etc. etc. please don't sue.)

So, since I've just outed myself as a fanficcer to absolutely nobody, I might as well tell you that I just signed up at the Into A Bar Community on Live Journal. And let me tell you, it will be epic.

Or chocolate and misery!
Best! Day! Ever!

This is how it works:

1) Choose a fandom character. They'll be going into a bar (or bar-ish environment), and they'll meet...
2) Another character from one of the other fandoms you've listed, which the community mods will choose via dice, dart-throwing, Ouja board, etc.
3) You make something about the meeting.

I am, of course, all about the epic, so naturally my walk-in is Bucky Barnes. And one of the fandoms I listed is My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.

Now, I know what you're thinking--how could such an obvious pairing have never come up before? Because Captain America and MLP fit together like peanut butter and jelly, right? Or macaroni and cheese.

"That little guy from Ponyville, who was too dumb not to trot away from a fight. I'm following him."
Kid from Brooklyn

After all, MLP is all about the magic of friendship. And Steve and Bucky's friendship is nothing if not magical. And epic.

Steve would be a sickly little Earth Pony, who would come into his full Clydesdale size and strength after the serum. And he'd be plan brown. Like, the only MLP in existence that looks like a regular pony. Except for the red, white and blue shield on his butt.

And Bucky is Rainbow Dash.

"Ready to go to my certain death, sir!"
Rainbow Dash salute

(Only male, and dark blue and burgundy. Because yes, I have spent time thinking about this.)

And then, tragedy! Rainbow Dash Bucky breaks a wing and falls out of a train, and he can't grab the door handle because ponies don't have thumbs. Earth Pony Steve entirely fails to go on with his life by crashing a plane, and wakes up in Canterlot in 2011.

And then, three years later, Steve has a brutal fight with the Winter Pony in D.C....

"Who the hell is Twilight Sparkle?"
Winter Soldier with Apocalypse Twilight

All seems lost, until brave Pony Steve is willing to sacrifice his life in the name of friendship!

And because of his heroic sacrifice--and how he tells Rainbow Bucky, "'cause I'm with you, 'til the end of the trail"--Rainbow Bucky remembers Pony Steve and stops trampling him long enough for the deck of the helicarrier to break and dump Steve into the Potomac. But Bucky dives after him and pulls him out of the water! Only he still doesn't have thumbs, so he uses his teeth or something.

You made Fluttershy cry, you son of a bitch.
Epic trauma

Epic, I tell you. And magical. Like friendship!

Of course, with my luck, the [livejournal.com profile] intoabar mods will flip a coin and I'll get Arrow instead, which means I'll have to actually come up with something vaguely original that has humans in it. At least Stephen Amell totally rocks the shirtless, tormented assassin look.

Unfortunately, he poses for photographs like a corpse propped against the wall. But I'm good with angst; I can work with it.

Stephen Amell

taste_is_sweet: (Bad Decisions)
In other words, Hurt/Comfort Bingo time, y'all!

Now, much as I totally adore H/C (seriously, I love it like kittens), last year I was only able to fill three squares of my card. Alas, I did not get a bingo.

I'm a little more sanguine this year, because I've already filled my first square, and will hopefully have my second square filled by Monday. I'm feeling pretty good about this, guys. Comfortable, even, as opposed to hurt. Heh.

And here's my card. (You notice the convenient links in the square(s), right? Right?)

Abandonment Issues blood loss Suicide Attempt bites Possession / Mind Control
Invisibility restrained hunger / starvation time travel gone wrong On The Run
branding poltergeist WILD CARD (Comfort Item) Telepathic Trauma Purgatory
pandemics and epidemics Captivity dystopia Forced Soulbonding Clones
Bruises Electrocution Taking Care of Somebody Grief Forced to Hurt Somebody

taste_is_sweet: (Target Acquired!)
Raise your hand if you like Hurt/Comfort, which I'm sure you all do because anything else is as inconceivable as hating kittens (I love kittens; The icon is an in-joke with my sister [livejournal.com profile] squeakyoflight. No kittens were hurt during the writing of this post).

We love you, Bucky!
Bucky falls cropped & screened

For anyone not up on the fannish lingo, "Hurt/Comfort" stands for the wonderful creative exercise of tormenting the shit out of a favorite character--this is called 'whumping'--and then having your other favorite character(s) take care of him.

Often the whumpee is the hero. Almost equally often he's the Lancer, The Darkhorse, The Co-Hero and/or that one beloved character whom nobody else understands. But if he's popular, at some point someone is going to hurt him. Very, very badly. Occasionally even the writers of the original material, though rarely as frequently or as terribly as the fans would like.

Not bad, but he's still standing.
Hurt Steve

(And I'm using 'him' because I think I've read a fic where a female character was the whumpee maybe once since I started reading fanfiction. Not that I read fanfiction...Okay, yes. Yes I do.)

I'm bringing this up because the movie Captain America: The Winter Soldier came out recently (You may have seen it). And after watching, my brilliant and adorable 12 year-old niece, who previously said that Captain America was her favorite, has now switched her allegiance entirely to the eponymous anti-hero of the subtitle. Why? Because of the suffering.

Yep, she's within throwing distance of her teens, and she has already understood that, while horrible to witness in real life, physical and mental injuries improve the attractiveness of a fictional character exponentially. And the Fighting Man for Lousy Climates gets that in spades. Like the kind you could use to dig a deep hole to pitch him into.

I love my niece, and I love that she's been bitten by the H/C bug. I love that there's this wonderful fangurl in the making. I love that she will probably write fanfic herself someday, and I'll get to share it with her. I love how she makes me remember being a kid and telling my sister fanfic stories for hours on end without knowing what fanfic even was, and populating them with my fictional crushes at the time. And, yes, treating them mercilessly and loving every second.

I have a hypothesis on why, exactly, H/C is so awesome (and I'm sure especially awesome among women), but you should probably just read this instead. I admit, however, that most of the time I don't really care about the why. I just love it.

Like kittens. And don't we all love kittens?

Picture of Bucky having a very bad day courtesy of [livejournal.com profile] lastsongs at [livejournal.com profile] grande_caps; Picture of Steve's moderately-acceptable injuries courtesy of Swannee's Screencaps.

taste_is_sweet: (Vague)
Meet John: biblical, dependable, easy to pronounce and one of the most popular American names for the last 100 years. Name of kings, princes, presidents, philosophers and my brother-in-law, it conjures up thoughts of loyalty and steadfastness, simplicity and quiet strength. John will always pull kitties out of wells and get his gun and come marching home (hurrah!) and hold the line.

I'm sure it's for those reasons that John is also a name given to a hilariously astonishing number of fictional characters (There was even a John Doe TV series, but I'm not sure that counts). What I find especially interesting is that John is so often used as a first name for the lead character, when the fact its such a common name would imply that the author couldn't think of anything more interesting. Though I suppose that also works in the name's favor, since you could also argue that a John will be instantly more familiar with the audience than, say, an Anthony or Rodney.

A couple of weeks ago, [livejournal.com profile] brumeier and I spent a good half-hour coming up with as many fictional Johns as we could. We eventually branched into Jack as well, because Jack used to be a nickname for John.

Here, with a very few more recent additions, were what we came up with off the top of our heads:

(All the links go to Wikipedia, because that was easiest and there are a hell of a lot of links.)

John Sheppard (Stargate: Atlantis)
John Kennex (Almost Human)
John Diggle (Arrow)
John Garrett (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
John Dunne (Magnificent Seven)
John Connor (Terminator Franchise)
John Chricton (Farscape)
Johann Schmidt (Captain America Franchise)
John Constantine (Hellblazer Comic)
John Carter (John Carter of Mars Franchise)
John Snow (A Song of Ice and Fire Series/Game of Thrones)
John Winchester (Supernatural)
John Locke (Lost)
John Watson (Sherlock Holmes)
Little John (Robin Hood)
Johnny Blaze (Ghost Rider Franchise)
Johnny Storm (Fantastic Four Franchise)
Johnny Mnemonic (Johnny Mnemonic)

Jack Sparrow (Pirates of the Caribbean Franchise)
Jack Harkness (Torchwood)
Jack O'Neill (Stargate: SG-1)
Jack Carter (Eureka)
Jack (Jack the Giant Slayer/Killer and many, many other versions)
Jaq-Jaq (Disney's Cinderella)
Jack (Oblivion)
Jack Burton (Big Trouble in Little China)
Jack Shephard (Lost)
Jack Power (Power Pack Comic)

Crazy, right? And that's just off the top of our heads. I'm sure you guys know even more Johns and Jacks we haven't thought of, and that's not including the countless Johns and Jacks who appear in fairy tales and nursery rhymes.

I also find it hilarious how SyFy named two characters Jack and two characters John in four different series, and that Lost had a John and a Jack (and a James!). I also love how Jack's last name was 'Shephard', likely for the same reason as John Sheppard on SGA. They roll trippingly off the tongue, do those J names.

So, did we miss any Johns or Jacks, O Best-Beloveds? Any other names that you see on fictional characters all the time? (James seems pretty popular too, as does Peter and Steve.) Any non-American ones? I'd love to hear 'em.
taste_is_sweet: (Please be Advised)
Hey, you--yeah, you with the skin-tight leather and angry squint. Word is you want to be a super villain.

What do you mean, 'whose word?' It's just, Word, all right? It is known and all that crap. Word on the street. Whatever. Can we continue, please?

Thank you.

Anyway, as I was saying, you obviously want to be a super villain. Yes, I can tell. It's the black outfit and the squint. No, you couldn't be a SHIELD agent. They use zippers.

All right, fine. Let's say that you're a SHIELD agent, but a bad one. I don't know--maybe you went rogue or something. I'm sure it happens all the time. Maybe Loki did his heartwash thing and now your eyes are all freaky and you turned on your friends.

NO, IT CAN'T BE...Okay, sure. It can be for love. Love is great. But you need weapons. Can we please get to the weapons already?

Nope, no guns. See? This is why I said you couldn't be a SHIELD agent; they pretty much only use guns. Well, Hawkeye doesn't but it's still a projectile weapon.

The zippers weren't the only reason, okay? Just the main one. You have buckles. It's a thing.

Hawkeye has zippers too. Seriously, go look it up.

Great. Are we ready now? Or do you need another twenty pages of backstory? Fantastic.

So, weapons. But not guns. Because you're a super villain. They have powers, or badass martial-arts skills, or magic, or their terrifying intellect. Or maybe swords or knives. No guns.

Maybe you should choose something else. I'm sorry, your intellect isn't that terrifying. Or worrying. 'Irritating' doesn't count.

You can't be Natasha. Because she already exists, that's why. And she's not evil.

I'm pretty sure that 'Mirror Universe' thing only works in Star Trek.

No, you can't be Khan either.

Yes! Yes, you can use a crossbow. A crossbow is great. Good idea. But Hawkeye's taken, and he's a good guy. Yes he is, that was Loki's fault. No, he didn't go rogue for love.

He doesn't use crossbows anyway. I have no idea why. He doesn't use guns either.

I never said that only super villains don't use guns. I just said super villains don't use guns. Hawkeye can not-use guns if he wants to.

A crossbow would be way cooler than Hawkeye's bow, absolutely. No, I'm not just saying that so you don't change your mind.

Sure, you can call yourself 'Eagle eye', what the hell. I agree that Hawkeye needs his very own arch enemy. That's quite kind of you.

No, you can't marry Natasha. Because she's a hero. And you can't--

You know what? Sure. You went rogue because of your love for Natasha. I'm certain it happens all the time.

Are we done with the weapon, now? You have your weapon? No backsies, right? You're a crossbow-wielding badass super villain. Now you just need a secret lair.

Not the Stark Building.
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: (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: (Bad Decisions)
I love the interweebs, I do. Oh, I do, with the unbridled passion of a thousand fiery suns. What did I ever do without the internet besides probably being way more productive? I can't even remember; it's just that awesome.

This is also another glimpse into the occasionally bizarre machinations of my brain (though at least not as bizarre as it can occasionally get). Let me show you:

Last night, I read this article on Cracked.Com, which I highly recommend not actually visiting unless you don't mind losing hours of your life. Many, many hours.

This particular time warp in written form was a list (Cracked.com loves lists) of 6 superpowers that would actually suck to have. The most awful was a Wolverine-esque healing factor. The author posited that having a healing factor that would allow you to survive almost any wound wouldn't = 'awesome' so much as 'horrific PTSD'. Which gave me ideas.

Always dangerous.
 photo Ideas.jpg

This will doubtless amaze anyone who knows me, but I kind of have a thing for (fictional! Dear God, fictional!) emotional and physical H/C, something that has served me well in the past. So instead of going to sleep at you're-an-idiot o'clock in the morning I started thinking of a story plot involving some poor schmuck who could heal really fast and how psychologically godawful it was.

At first I thought this'd be fanfic, but I decided I couldn't be that horrible to Captain America (or John Sheppard again). Besides, everyone knows that when you hurt Steve Rogers a kitten dies.

Most Marvel Universe fanfiction is known as the Great AO3 Kitten Massacre.
 photo Kitten.jpg

With fanfiction obviously out, I figured I'd write something original that took place during WWII, with my own original superhero. Canadian, of course. Only I couldn't call him 'Captain Canuck' or 'Captain Canada', because that had a) been done and b) was kind of lame. And since our national animal is not only furry and adorable, but also regrettably associated with female anatomy, I couldn't use that, either. So I went to the web to see what other nicknames for Canadians I could use.

And here my adventures began.

As it turns out, 'Canuck' pretty much encompasses the entire gamut of Canadian nicknames. But at least my fruitless Googling turned up Johnny Canuck, a Canadian equivalent of Captain America who kicked Nazi ass during WW II. Even cooler, the Wikipedia article link I found said that a publishing house called Moonstone had started a new series starring Johnny Canuck and a bunch of other Canadian superheros.

Naturally I zapped over to Moonstone, and discovered that they were selling the first three issues ridiculously cheap, so I bought them. Then, wondering if there were any more, I clicked on the link for the artist and discovered that he's Canadian too, and also actually famous.

Sadly, it seems that Northern Guard is no more, probably because almost no one outside Canada had heard of them. Hell, I used to live in Canada and I hadn't heard of most of them, either. But Mr. Templeton did have this really awesome list of famous fictional Canadians that made me feel better.

So all in all, while my research was technically fruitless, I did get some new comic books out of it and more warm fuzzies about my homeland. Which we could use right now in Texas, being as we're at the ass-end of a major ice storm.

Of course, it's still colder in Canada. But they're used to it.

(The photos are 'Thinking Woman Looking Up' by David Castillo Dominici, and 'Sad Kitten' by Tina Phillps, via Free Digital Photos.net.)

taste_is_sweet: (But some of us are looking at the stars)
Might as well get this out of the way now: I love fictional androids. It's the whole not-human-but-striving-to-be-and/or-understand-humans thing, especially when they're used to point out all the very, very many ways that we humans don't make any sense. And I love the cynical but lonely humans who get paired with the androids and then, despite themselves, fall in love become their friend.

I may have written fanfiction on that very premise. I admit nothing.

As you can imagine, with my love of human-like robots, I was looking forward to Almost Human the way my son is looking forward to Christmas. The show's set in the near-future, where cops are issued robots like handguns. Karl Urban plays John Kennex (not to be confused with John Sheppard or any of the thousands of other fictional characters called 'John'), who is an embittered, physically and emotionally scarred, cynical and guilt-ridden detective.

Naturally, Kennex's go-to problem solving method is violence, including killing incapacitated bad guys (because due process is for pussies, amirite?) and getting rid of things that bug him by throwing them out. Of his car. On the freeway. (Because safety and private property are also for pussies.)


Start at .22 for the full impact. Heh.

He is reluctantly paired with Dorian, a sweet, thoughtful, kind and beautiful heroic android, who sees the special snowflake inside Kennex and immediately saves his life. Or maybe he's programmed that way; the show is a little unclear on that point. Anyway, they form a forced but then genuine partnership based on sarcastic jibes and mutual antagonism. And together they solve crime.

Michael Ealy is totally lovable. Look at that lovable smile.
 photo MichaelEaly.jpg

What's not to love, right? It promised to be a mash-up of Blade Runner, RoboCop and Due South, except where the Mountie's a robot and the Cop would be played by a New Zealander instead of a Canadian.

And then it finally aired, and four episodes later the show just makes me sad.

I've been trying to put my finger on exactly why a show that's ostensibly exactly what I could ever want has disappointed me so much. I think it's because, for something set up to be more about human/android relations than crime solving, it's turned out to be pretty much Law and Order: Everyone Has a Robot. I have no idea what rights Dorian may or may not have; I have no idea how he may feel about those rights; I don't even know what he does in his off-hours or where he does it. Does he go into standby mode? Does he borrow Kennex's desk and play spider solitaire? Does he have a designated wall-socket? Does he dream of electric sheep? All I know for sure after four episodes is that he doesn't want to die (not exactly a shock) and that he's way more useful than an iPhone.

What really gets my synthetic goat, though, is how the production of the show itself conforms so much to the status quo that you can paint the lack of inclusion by number. Of six regular cast members, only two are women, and the only female androids have been sex-bots.

Even worse, So far in the series the only people of color have been extras or have played bit parts. And yes, that includes Michael Ealy.

Why? Because he plays an android. His role in the show is as an other, not as a human. Dorian isn't a person of color because he isn't a person at all. I might feel differently if Dorian was more than an ingenious cipher, but until we find out how he feels about, well, anything, he isn't. And unfortunately, the show seems to be in no hurry to change that, either.

So instead of watching the beautiful men bantering, looking at each other longingly and saving each others' lives, I keep waiting for the show I wanted to actually begin. The body may be shiny and very nice to look at, but I'm still searching for a heart of gold.

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: (Really You Can)
I was going to do a post on something far more informative and, dare I say, useful, but in the process of finding pictures for it, I happened (totally accidentally, I swear) to come across this.

The article, though extremely, um, fascinating, is not the important part. The beautiful males on display without their shirts isn't the important part either (though I had to examine them closely and at length to determine that. RESEARCH, PEOPLE). The important part is that the CW Television Channel that owns Arrow did it in the first place.

Those posters of the three hunky heroic main characters on Arrow are blatant fanservice. 'Fanservice' (for those not following the link because they know that TV Tropes.com is a gateway drug of epic timesuck), refers to how entertainment producers will purposely contrive to display the bodies of attractive characters as a reward for fan loyalty.

Mostly, fanservice is intended for straight men (lesbians and bisexual anybody are an afterthought). There are many reasons for this, but personally I think it comes down to, a) most mass-market entertainment being written and/or designed by men; and, b) a general assumption that women watch for the plot while men need added encouragement.
I think this movie had giant robots in it.
 photo Capture-1.jpg

But that doesn't mean fanservice for straight women (and those who aren't straight but like it too) doesn't exist. Indeed, I think that it's steadily increasing. The Spartacus TV series on Starz is a perfect example. Sure, there were topless or naked women everywhere, but I swear that season three had even more naked men. I've never seen so many manscaped, jiggly male bits in my life. It was awesome.

And the CW channel knows what side its bread is buttered on. Specifically the side that generally appreciates jiggly male bits. And they are fanservicing them like crazy.

I love it. A lot of that love is for how hilariously obvious it is. I only watch the CW's show Arrow, but aside from the shirtless posters I linked to, nearly every episode includes generous shots of Oliver Queen exercising or sparring with his buddy John Diggle. And Stephen Amell is always, always shirtless when he does it. It's like the producers are winkingly inviting us to simultaneously admire the display and be in on the joke.

It goes beyond the eye candy. Arrow's fanservice makes me feel included; like the CW actually values my attention. I know that it's really about getting advertisers to pay for a target audience, but it's nice to be a target audience for once, especially for my favorite genre.

And I definitely appreciate beauty.
 photo colton-haynes-stephen-amell-shirtless-arrow-posters-02.jpg

It's a beautiful thing.

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: (Name that poultry)
I had a dream last night (which I only just now actually realized was a dream, instead of reality) wherein, in no context I can remember, my son (currently 7 & 3/4) told me excitedly that Fluttershy of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is going to die in the next season of the show.

Yer toast, butterfly-butt

I can distinctly remember thinking of what a bold move that was, for the Hub network to kill off one of the beloved main characters of an extremely popular children's program.

I suppose that my son being in any way pleased about the impending demise of the gentle yellow pony with the bunny companion and the constant optimism, might've tipped me off that I was dreaming, but apparently not. I mean, he likes the show, but he's not a brony anymore. He even gave away almost all his MLP toys over a year ago. He's into Lego these days.

But I know he thinks Fluttershy is too cool to be murdered in the name of Nielsen ratings. Which is partially why, when I was casually musing about the strange news of her impending doom, it suddenly hit me that there was no way that could be actually happening; I'd just dreamed it.

Why it's physiologically impossible for me to have any cool or fun dreams, I'll never know. But at least it wasn't one of my usual nightmares where I desperately have to get somewhere and can't find the subway, or the airport, or my clothes.

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