Saturday, December 31, 2011

Some Funny Games

Technically I want to write about the Chinese movie I’ve been going on about, but I forgot the name again so we will put that on the back burner and instead focus on Funny Games and possibly Into the Void. We’ll see how I am doing for time once I finish up with Funny Games. Anyway I didn’t see the original yet which is weird for me. I always wanted to see it but that was back when I was buying everything instead of downloading it so you know it kinda fell by the wayside in favor of other offerings. Last night I decided I wanted to watch the remake first. Why? I am not entirely certain but from what little I remember about the original they are pretty similar in that they are pretty bog standard until the twist happens.

I just checked and the twist is pretty much the same in both movies. Now I am going to come out and say it, I greatly enjoyed the remake. I’m sure I’d enjoy the original too but it will be a long series of months before I get around to seeing it so whatever. The main thing I like is the way the main antagonist talks directly to the audience. I love movies that do that. If you are going to just sit around and tell us something them you know you might as well actually have someone look directly at the audience and let us know. When used effectively it can create some incredibly memorable moments, like Fight Club for example. With a boundary pushing movie like this one it is tempting to take everything and over use it. Instead there first time the antagonist talks to the audience I almost missed it. It was quick and subtle and I wasn’t sure if I had actually seen it or if it was some sort of horrible after affect of Into the Void which threatened to split my head in two. The second time it happened it was more deliberate. I liked that.

See there are movies like this one which are much more violent and horrible and they pretty much follow the same trajectory. Last House on the Left actually is a perfect example, and Funny Games doesn’t have an agonizingly long rape scene to establish that the antagonists are bad peoples. What Funny Games does is that it basically asks your permission going forwards. It also asks the question do we watch these movies hoping that the family will escape or do we watch them for the villains. To put it another way who is more interesting batman or the joker? I mean if we didn’t want to see the family get hurt any more we could just turn the movie off. It is easy go do something else, read a book, draw, call an old friend on the phone, or better yet your parents. Parents love to hear from children. Instead we watch these people torture this family. The movie is cold and has no real reason for excisting other than to point out the fact that you sat through the whole thing didn’t you? And why would you do that? Why did you watch this movie? Would the deaths of the antagonists have made you feel better? Would you have cheered? Well did you? One did die after all shortly before the movie was rewound. For those of us who watched to the end why did we? Why didn’t we just turn it off?

See I go and I poke around the dark side of cinema a lot. I do it for fun and because it interests me. I also find myself asking these same questions though. I mean I’d like to reread a Tale of Two Cities and maybe David Copperfield so why am I watching Funny Games instead. The cold ugly truth of the matter is because I simply like the antagonists a heck of a lot better than the protagonists. I usually do. When I watched House of 1000 Coprses I wanted everyone to fucking die because I didn’t care about them. When I watched A Serbian Film this aspect of me was tested and I got kicked in the nuts for it and rolled for my pocket change and that’s alright too. I am still interested in those people who make those movies. It is kind of a scary thing to admit but that is the thing about Funny Games. It makes you realize who side you are on and all you had to do to save that family is to turn off the TV. You let them die by watching. I like that. This will be my last blog post for the year. What a strange note to roll out the year on.

Well That Was Decembertastic

December has happned! And there was a great victory to be had. Hello there sunshine and welcome to the first of, hopefully many installments to the wall. I came up with the idea for the wall at the start of November. For my NANOWRIMO novel I hung some wrapping paper on the wall next to my bed and put all the character names, plot points, themes, and other stuff onto it. This way at any given time I could glance up and see where I stood in terms of what I was doing and what I needed to do. It was a damn good stradgey. For December I put up some writing goals, and three colums, things watched, things read, things played. This way as the month ticks on I could, again, look up and at a glance I could see how I am spending my time and hopefully to spend my time a little more wisely.

December was a rough month let me tell you. I need new glasses so I have been getting frequent eye strain headaches. Not to worry though come the first I will have eyeball insurance and that will let me get my new glasses without breaking my bank. Happiness all around! I was also crippled for a whole week by depression. That was a little bit more serious L. Still I persevered and I am all better now. Still it is a bloody waste of time.

As for my writing goals I did pretty good. I set off to write 2 Asylum game sessions and 2 Paranoia game sessions. What I ended up with is a bundle of Asylum setting elements which are arguably more useful than actual game sessions and a game session.

I also ended up with 1.5 paranoia game sessions. I would have been more but I have been terribly blocked up when it comes to Paranoia and I think I am going to move onto something else and come back to it. I need to be in a pretty special mood to write for paranoia. Otherwise it just feels forced and ungainly.

I also had some trouble demarcating when my weeks begin and end. I am writing this on Friday the 30th when I technically have a couple more days left in the month. The reason being is that I roll the thing over on Wensdays. Ergo everything I did yesterday will go on the new month and hell yes for starting the new month strong.

The wall also does a poor job representing my magazine and rpg reading that I’ve been doing. The RPG book reading I am willing to write off but not representing Forgein Affairs and Harpers seems like I am missing something. Still it will be something I’ll have to figure out later. I most certainly am not writing down the name of every god damned article I read. It would take forever. Anyway on with the lists:


Lost S2 E1 thru 23 -I really enjoyed season 2
House of Sand and Fog- This movie is heartbreaking on a fundamental level and I know so many people like the girl
The Muppet Movie- Holy shit this movie is more fun than anything ever.
Lost S3 E1 thru 16- I am still enjoying the show very much, the episode with the diamonds is my favorite so far
Catch .44- Tarantino wannabi movie. It does a good job of it though, lots of fun but I wish it ended a little differently.
We need to Talk About Kevin- Cold, mysterious, and I feel that the movie is far more complex than anyone is giving it credit for.
Sherlock Holms and the Shadow Kingdom- A jolly good romping fun. It has all the substance of a pastery puff but holy shit I like pasteries. The slow mo got in the way at times but all in all I liked it.
Young Adult- So many people focus on the girl and rightly so. But seriously, that guy she is hounding after is also a total looser. His wife is to good for him.
Martyrs- The first half of this movie is one of the best horror films I’ve ever seen. The ending then ruins it with pointless mind numbing torture porn. Whatever.
Cold Sweat- Now this movie is hella fun! Holy shit I loved just about every minute of it. It is tense, exciting and hilarious.
Elite Squad Enemy Within- Man it is weird when they make a reffrence to Carilandu cause I’ve seen a movie based on those events. The movie as a whole is a fantastic police proceedural. Go see it.
Hudson Hawk- A rated R slapstick comedy with Bruce Willace? The movie is to weird to excist and it does and I love it.
MI4- Half of the theater gasped at one point. I loved the sandstorm chase scene and a lot of other things about the movie. Pitch perfect action film. Grimdark people take note! This is how you really do it.
BoardWalk Empire S2 E1-7 Everything about this show is the best.

Games Played!
Tower of Babel 4 times
Super Dungeon Explore 2 times
Lord of the Rings 2 times
Game of Thrones 6 times
Dominion 9 times
D&D Wrath of Ashardlon once
Heroclix 3 Times

Things Read!
FF Vol 1-3 - J Hickman’s run is a thing a sheer sci fi beauty and wonderment. One of my all time favorite authors
Blue Estate - I hate the fact that I read this because now I have to wait until the next trade to find out what happens. This comic is fantastic.
Red Mass for Mars- J Hickman’s super hero epic with all original super heroes and mediations on utopia what isn’t to love.
Morning Glories Vol 1- This is the best new comic I read this month.
Crimina Bad Night & Last of the Innocents- Last of the Inncoents is so so so good. I don’t even know how to describe it really I LOVE when comics use their visual aspect to the fullest.
Batman Return of Bruce Wayne- Pulled it off the shelf for a nice little reread through
Batman Kightfall- I wanted to know what it was all about. Now I do, and I am good thanks.
Road to Flashpoint- I actually really like the new flash books. I think he is fascinating and the scale he can work on is kinda mindboggling.
Flashpoint- DC loves their alternate universes. The idea of Bruce being shot, his dad becoming batman, and his mom becoming the joker is one of the most spectacular ideas I have ever seen.

That’s my month. It doesn’t show my time playing Glitch, Dwarf Fortress, or Dungeon Fighters but hey I don’t think they should be included. It is a pretty impressive month all things considered. 4 movies in the theaters and a decent pile of comics. This new month is already off to a pretty good start and lets hope I can keep it up.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

2 Things and Other things

It is 2:20 am and this it is my favorite time of the night. Normally I'd be writing this on my baby laptop across the room in my comfortable bed, but I am already sitting up here and blogger was open cause I was looking something up and now here we are. Kinda like starting an addiction back up. Hey it is better than stalking my ex-girlfriends or something equally uninteresting.

The two things mentioned in the title is that I can never seem to finish a can of sunkist while I am at home, and I can't seem to get comfortable writing here. The novel worked alright, I needed focus. But for my rpg like writing I really need to do that at a table with the book spread out in front of me and other stuff. Even if I don't look at, or use the book I like it to be there. It is comforting. It is kinda like how I lug my 65,000 pound backpack everywhere. Just in case I need that I'd like it to be there. So I am kinda back to where I was. Whataburger is gonna end up becoming my new home but I'll need to pay to sit there and that kinda upsets me. That and shooing away homeless people but that's its own thing. I really wish they had a dollar menu, that would make this a lot easier. I like Whataburger because the tables are nice and big, and the booths are comfortable as hell, unlike Wafflehouse, or SteakandShake. Ultimately the best answer is to find a bar that I can slide into an hopefully go unobserved in terms of not drinking. This is all I've typed so far, mostly because I am having a conversation on Facebook at the same time and we are looking at upcoming movies for 2012. YAY!

Good stuff coming our way too. People often times ask me what period of time would I rather live in. Inveriably I answer, "this one". Sure I can't find a vest to save my life, and this age isn't perfect but I have the cinema of the world at my finger tips, games like you wouldn't believe, and more music than you can shake a stick at. Also the fact that I get most of it for free is pretty nice too. I mean man there are mediums of art that didn't exist 100 or even 50 years ago and so much more of it is available to me even without the internet we just have such a massively wonderful exposure to everything how could I want to live in any other time? People are strange.

I should be typing up the content of my wall since I've been rolling the week over on wensday evenings. I'll do it tomorrow though I gotta decide how I wanna do it and I want to be less distracted. On that note I am going to bed because games will be played tomarrow and my A game will be brought.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

I have things I want to write. However, I think my rage about Martyrs has run its course so I don't think it will be about that. I might briefly touch on my views of horror, what it can be, and why it isn't that most of the time but maybe later. Its sad because there was once a time where the greatest film makers believed that the camera could be used to make people see anything, not to see the truth. Sometimes I wonder about that. However, the basic schizophraina of movie lore is one of the things that pleases me to no end and to loose that lack of focus would be to loose something basic, and precious about movies. If that means there will be yet another Transformers movie so be it. It isn't like I've seen any of them after the first one. Not even pirated.

Piracy. Now there is a topic. I am at work and someone restarted the anti fun wall thingy so I can't go link up the story for you but and the makers of torchlight have gone on a sueing spree the like of which haven't been seen since 2008. Ugh. These were largely considered the good guys. They didn't include any drm in their games and they both provided some pretty badass services. The sudden sueing spree is sudden and in every country that isn't the US these sorts of things are frowned upon. So why is it happening? Yeah who knows. The weird thing about the situation is that everyone is wrong. Piracy is wrong. That doesn't stop me from doing it of course, and I've never once felt bad while comminting my various acts but I don't candy coat my actions with phrases like, "Post scarcity society", "freedom of information", and "Down with the corporate overloads". Though in the case of the movie companies I firmly believe that. No I do it because when I want something, I want it, and since I can get it for free why not. Also it isn't like it is actually stealing. To use the tired old "you wouldn't download a car" analogy, of course I would download a car because I would just be making a 1:1 copy of your car, often times I wouldn't even need to go into your driveway or use any of your resources to do so. It would leave your car fully functional and it would come as no cost to you.

This doesn't make it right, or even justified. But it does put things into perspective. So when a company is all like "blargus this one game u priated you owe us all the monies you make for all your life" it is idiotic on the face of it. At most I cost the company 100 bucks more than the wholesale price of the game. But whatever. They need a better legal resource to deal with us. A good way to look at it is, if they really gave a shit they would call the cops on us and have us thrown in jail instead of doing the scary lawsuit thing.

On a different but related topic I don't get people who defend corporations or multimillion dollar banking firms. They don't make sense to me. I am not just talking about internet ass hats but like the fox news guys who were looking for socialist messages in the muppet movies. I mean are the oil companies in danger? Would some bad press cripple them? I mean it isn't like BP just folded up its tents and went home after making life even shittier in New Orleans. So what the fuck? They don't need you, your support, nor do they care about your opinion one way or another. I was reading an article in Time about how lots of people are growing dissatisfied with their banks and moving to different institutions. However, the article pointed out that if all you have going with the bank is a checking account and a low yield savings account then the bank doesn't really give a shit if you come and go because the money you are giving to them isn't paticularly useful. That's kind of scary. Oh well I'd like to move on.

Fellowship of the Ring came out ten years ago today maybe? Around this time that's for sure. I remember being a freshmen in college back home and miserable on my christmas break. I remember getting to see it a day before everyone else because I knew a girl who worked at a local theater who decided to screen the movie early for the employees and one guest. That was a good time. I'm glad I'm still around. A great deal has changed since then. It is kind of amazing when I look back on it. I don't feel like going into it now, but it something worth realizing. I've become a lot more bad ass in the last ten years and I am okay with that.

I think I should be the slender man.

I am still enjoying Lost. I am midway through season 3 and man some of those episodes are absolutely outstanding. I miss Eko though.

I really really really want to run Eclipse Phase. Starting next month I think I am going to start generating source material for it. That way when the opportunity does arrive to run it I'll have plenty of things to do and stuff to work with. There is just so much about the game world that I absolutely love and the system isn't something that drives me insane, though I do wish they used normalized stats. Trying to remember which one you use for strength checks is annoying. I don't often times call for strength checks but I know that as soon as I wouldn't be able to it would come up like every god damned game session. Mostly because the players would be all like, "well there is no strengh stat so I'm gonna carry this building around". Then again that doesn't happen in Fiasco. Then again Fiasco kind of encourages you to behave. It is weird. I also wanna try running Exalted again. It is kind of a nightmare to run but far less of a nightmare than Shadowrun or Mutants and Masterminds. Man I love so much about M&M except the system which just plain old irritates me. Like I say about 3.5 playing it is a blast. Running it can be a pain when you are using human opponents. So it can be tough to give the players an appropriate challenge. Exalted isn't so bad, because there is a more limited tool set, but jesus the ammount of bullshit you can do in M&M is a little bit out of control.

Campaign based games are out for the moment though. Everyone's schedules are a little bit to much all over the place. I could try to put a brand new group together but that leaves me with just after work because my Thursdays are taken and I like having one of my days off being completely to myself. Afterwork is fine by me I am good until 2am, but most other people start fading away after about midnight, I don't know why. Even in Fiasco which is always high energy and overly exciting. I dunno.

Where can you go to buy a new briefcase other than the thrift store? I can find them cheaply on ebay but the minimum shipping is ten bucks which means I should just be able to go to a store and get one for about the same price.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Elephant vs. We Need To Talk About Kevin

It is my lunch time and I have roughly 30 minutes to kick some thoughts around. The current thing I am investigating in my head is the weird sort of corralation between the movie Elephant and the movie We Need to Talk About Kevin. Elephant is a movie I haven't seen or thought of in quite awhile but since Kevin I am having a hard time getting it out my head became the movies talk to each other in a pretty profound way, also Coloumbine was a major turning point of my life and the way I was treated both by my school and my parents. So I tend to be pretty sensitive about it. Moving fowards.

There are a couple of observations that apply with Elephant to the this conversation. One young people, when seeing this movie, have two reactions and they are extremely polerized. One is my high school is nothing like that the other is my high school is exactly like that. I once had two people from the same school get into an argument about Elephant's representation of school and their relative experiences to it. For the purposes of this conversation it is just important for you to understand that it mirrored people's experiences of highschool sometimes almost exactly. For me it distilled into an essanace everything I hated about highschool then it murdered it but the murder wasn't cathartic or pleasing. It was tragic. No matter how bad things were they all didn't deserve to die.

The other observation about Elephant that needs to be spelled out is that it is very much a story told from the bottom. We had that photography kid who wandered the halls taking pictures, the unatractive girl who felt awkward about changing into her gym uniform, the meeting of the gay straight alliance, and of course the killers themselves. The stars, or even the represenative crowd wasn't the sports people, or the normal kids, or the popular kids. They were present but they were in no way centeral to the movie. There was no school bully present or any other thing that indicated that the shooters act was a responce to repeated physical danger. The movie itself goes through and pretty much sysmematically deconstructs the reasons behind the shooters actions from the world's most boring video game, to not having any friends, to sexual/social isolation. We are left with a puzzle that we can mostly put together but we definitly don't have all the pieces.

On the other hand we have We Need To Talk About Kevin who very specifically gives us an answer to this question. Kevin is an evil little fuck. One of the weird things about the movie is that it seems to do the whole nature versus nurture argument, coming firmly down on the side of nurture BUT I think that is a gross simplification of a very complex and compelling movie. First and foremost Kevin is presented to us as an emotional vacuum this is something that is prevelant all throughout his childhood. From when his mother broke his arm because he wouldn't stop crapping his pants, to Kevin lying to everyone about how his arm got broken, to using his scar as a way to guilt his mother, even at the age of we'll say 7 we can see that his concept of correct behaviour is compleatly over ridden by his feelings towards his mother. Note I didn't use the word hatred toward's his mother. The word is appropriate most certainly but again it is more complex than that. When Kevin got sick they came close to bonding, when they were getting ready for Kevin's little sister they bonded again, and when she got caught looking through Kevin's room. The bonding between them isn't one that I would call love, as Kevin would never allow for that amount of emotion to be shared between them. Instead it is more of a respect, and an absolute sort of honesty that is almost terrifying to behold. Kevin is the ultimate isolationist yet at the same time his mother is the only person who really knows him. He don't have a little buddy that he shoots up the school with, he does it all on his own. He does it, and we think we know why, right up until the very ending which is both powerful and haunting.

Both movies involve a fantastic amount of pointless violence towards people who don't deserve it. In Elephant it feels like they are lashing out against an institution that didn't for them or about them. In Kevin it feels almost, like he is lashing out against himself and the world he is being forced to live in. Oh well lunch is over.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Punisher’s Peculiar Predicament

While they were featured in LA Confidential, clippings from Hush Hush were much more prominent in it’s sequel White Jazz. It was these clippings that made me fall in love with the book and its associated writter. When I found out later that he adopts an entirely fictitious persona for when he talks about the book I decided I loved him more. James Ellroy you are one crazy bastard. Salute. Hush Hush articles were filled with alliteration and it was delicious. Every single god damned word.

That is not what this post is about, but they are tangential. This post is about the Punisher. The Punisher is weird. I mean since the day of his arrival on the stands there isn’t anything else quite like him. Well to be more specific there isn’t anything like him with that sort of endurance. At one time Marvel had 3 Punisher titles all running at the same time. They have had 2 “end of days” Punisher specials. He even made an appearance in the 2099 books, which weren’t half bad actually. As of recently he had two concurrently running books, and he even took center stage during the major marvel event Civil War. He also played a decently major part in the Atlantis Attacks series which was a mega event on a scale that makes the current marvel event cycle look limp and pale. Oh he also has the dubious honor of being the subject of the most Marvel live action movies which is also its own thing. Yet, the Punisher is, at his core, a maniac with a gun who has decided to take a bite out of crime using fancy military training and rage. I mean come on his entire back story is that his family is gunned down by mobsters and so he amasses an arsenal that would make most third world dictators blush and sets about killing as many criminals as he possibly can before the law puts him down like the mad dog he is. His first appearance was in a spiderman book, he was a villian and rightly so.

So what we have here is an utterly two dimensional character with little personality or life. Yet he has been around for almost thirty years, often times he is supporting anywhere from one to three books. How does this happen? Even more troubling, why are so many of his runs really good?

When I say really good I don’t mean in the fun heehaw sort of way, but rather in the, “This is some of the best work the author has done” sort of way. Garth Ennis and Jason Aaron have both produced amazing books featuring this 2 dimensional amoral shell of a man and I think that it is interesting. It is also sad because while I just spent all this time talking about endurance and what not the Punisher Max book Jason Aaron has been working on is canceled. I am not sure if the main marvel universe still has a book for him or not. I stopped paying atension after the Dark Reign ended. I liked that era of Marvel and if more people would take their heads out of their asses they’d like it too. But that is for another day.

The punisher is what got me into comics. And even if it didn’t Preacher got me back into comics which means I would have been picking up his run on the Punisher anyway. He is sort of like this inevitable force that draws me in and won’t allow me to escape. Again and what troubles me is that many of his books are actually very very good. To me I found his books to be a welcome breath of fresh air from things like X-men, Spiderman, and the Fantastic 4. These books focus more on the interpersonal relationships that the characters have with each other more than, well you know super heroics. This is especially true with Spiderman who can barely step foot in costume without having some sort of family/work/relationship based angst going on in the background. There would be times where I would dread spending my hard earned allowance money on these books because you never knew if something interesting was going to happen. You knew that there would be some wandering around, so tension building, and maybe a fight or two, but then there would be pages of blah blah blah. Marvel has some terrible writers just look at the x-men line and you’ll find them. ANYWAY. With the punisher you’d have no such worries about that. It wouldn’t be long before he is either killing someone or planning to kill someone. He doesn’t wax poetic about the nature of what he is or what he does. He doesn’t concern himself with the nature of mankind. He doesn’t piss and moan about his family. The Punisher has one friend. His name is MicroChip. He’s been killed three times in two different time lines. Once in the main line, once in the max line, and again in the main line because the hood brought him back from the dead and so the punisher put him back where he belonged. It was good stuff.

Purity of purpose. You buy a punisher book and for the most part you are gonna get what you asked for. He is grim, gritty, anachronistic, and while his actions are insane he very clearly is not. Well most of the time. Writers do get bored with the property and look to spice things up a bit. These always fail. The avacado project is the least worst of these attempts, Franken Castle is the worst but there are many others. Yet when we go back to Jason Aaron’s run on the Punisher instead of using lasers, or big titty Russian men, or the Punisher going after real villians, he instead rewrote a large portion of the Punisher’s origin story. Not the bit about the family. But rather his war on organized crime which allowed for the rise of the Kingpin and the arrival of Bullseye. He took a story featuring a 2 dimensional madman, that has been told at least twice before and made it all shiny and new without any real gimmicks or annoying things. You’d think a man with Frank’s backstory wouldn’t have anything to add. I mean how many Crack dealers can you shoot down in various ghettos before you just don’t become interesting anymore? The answer seems to be, “An aweful lot of them” which is pretty cool and now it is over. Arron is off the book and while I don’t know what is currently going on in the Marvel universe I do know it is a mess.

Oh well. Something tells me that the Punisher will be back though. He never stays away for long, and who knows maybe we will get lucky and Brubaker will take a swing at him. Now there is something that would make my fucking day.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Getting Lost with Lost

So I have just finished the second season of Lost and I have to say that thus far I am enjoying it very much. I like the various mysteries that are being introduced one by one and thus far the majority of the main characters are engaging unlike some shows where when two characters wander onto the screen you pick up a book or something and entertain yourself until they are finished like True Blood. I kick it because I love it. Dating me is hard.

Anyway so far my three favorite characters are Locke, Jin, and French Chick cause who wouldn’t love her? I know I do.

There are a few things that I would like to point out. Okay ordinarily flashbacks are boring. Very boring. Why bother with a flashback when it doesn’t advance the present right? However, Lost uses its flashbacks effectively. The flashback provide a wide variety uses and there isn’t a single cast member that I roll my eyes at when it is their turn for a flashback. In fact there has been some pleasant suprises like Desmond’s and Rose’s flashbacks. It is nice to know more about these characters and I hope that we get see some more glimpses of side character’s lives before they are killed off, like in the case of Libby.

Another thing that makes me want to grab the show and give it a big old sloppy kiss is how it handles Charlie’s addiction. Addiction stories bore me. If I want to watch one and feel bad I own Requium for a Dream. If I want to laugh I have Spun. If I want to be pleasenly puzzled I have Naked Lunch which remindes me I really want to see that again. The point is that I have many pieces of media which handle addction much better and in a far more interesting way than watching Charlie replase into an addict. But they didn’t. They tempeted him. They make you wonder. But in the end he keeps his big boy pants on and throws several virgin mary statues into the sea. Good for him and thank you for not making the show worse. I was worried about it too because there is no way I wanted to sit through watching Charlie relapse into drug use.

There is the hatch. That was cool. Though I am assuming that after the events of the second season the hatch is well and proper fucked. I am okay with that though because, well I mean whatever it served its purpose for the most part and it isn’t like there aren’t others if they really need it. Though I am slightly anxious to see what happened to Locke because I like him. He is a very diverse, complex, highly interesting character to me and while he has had a variety of flashback episodes none of them have explained why he is in a wheel chair, amongst other things. So that’s interesting.

Michael has more or less proven that people named Michael suck. Seriously what the fuck? Okay sure Anna Lucia annoyed me and I wasn’t sad to see her go but I liked Libby and now I have to watch Hugo be sad. I don’t want to see that. Hugo is one of the rare voices of reason on the show, like how come no one mentions the smoke demon or worries about it, or what is up with the polar bears. Nope everyone just goes on with their merry little lives.

Jack is an asshole. I don’t really like his character but at the same time I do. I mean Sawyer is a tool. He is like that big kid on the playground in 8th grade pushing people around and thinking he is a big deal. Ultimatly Sawyer is harmless, just annoying. Jack however has a real nasty streak to him that is ten miles wide. Not just the having Sawyer tortured but also the way he gets the guns back and several other things he does to the man over the course of the first two seasons. Sawyer shows himself to be not such a bad guy, he tries to save Michael’s kid, and there are a couple of people he cares for, I dunno. I do know that if I had to choose between the two I’d hang out on a dessert island with Sawyer over Jack, setting aside Jack’s medical expertise.

The smoke demon is around. We get our first good look at it this season and it is a smoke monster just like everyone said it would be. What’s it’s deal? Who knows. I’m sure that will be explained by the 5th season or so. Right after Lost ended I watched a you tube video where a pleasant man with a brittish accent explained the ending of Lost using post-it notes. I don’t remember much except that the smoke demon is important and something about Hurly becoming the gaurdian. I bet it is because of those numbers. The EVIL numbers. Funniest flashback ever btw.

It looks like the 3rd season is going to give us a good look at the OTHERS and I am pretty excited about that. I’d like to know why they are so damn convinced that they are the good guys and what not. I am sure they have an interesting reason, if not a good one.

Oh hey what was up with the Hieroglyphs? That seems like a strange thing to have on there as a “your fucked” sort of thing. Then again there is a giant magnetic wall that Locke really really pissed off so whatever. Something tells me that won’t be explored till a little later in the show. I know there is an episode called THE INSIDENT so hopefully I’ll get some illumination there.

It is winter time and my house isn’t heated so I end up watching a lot of TV. I also tend to get depressed this time of year which is what I am right now. So far Lost has been a good companion beating out several other movies I’d like to see. Right now this post is being written in a vain attempt to not start the third season of lost but instead to do something productive. Oh well looks like we know how this is going to end TA!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Unexpected Conversations

They are nice. I was going to spend my lunch reading Foreign Affairs and a little bit of Time, and then maybe dicking around with some of the game session stuff I am writting but instead I ended up talking to my little buddy Ashley. Ashley is one of those people who despite having nothing in common with me we always end up talking pleasently for extended periods of time. Carla is another girl like that as is Chad.

I like people like that. I like lots of people. Things are nice. I suppose I should be sitting in a park somewhere protesting corporate inequality but whatever. I am not sure how that is going to work out. Speaking of that. Forrign Affairs is an amazing journal. Despite the fact that it comes out bi-monthly each article very much sets the tone of political discussion for those entire two months. Not in actual news articles but you'll see the issues they bring up in commentary colums, editorials, in essays in Harpers, all over the place. It is increadibly satisfying to me to see someone reffrence Forgeign Affairs in an article and then I can go back and check it out to see what exactly they are going on about. There are other journals but none seem to have the same impact as Foreign Affairs. I think it is neat that in a world with a 24 hour news cycle our commentary is still dominated by a bi-monthly publication. I also think it is a testitment to the quality of the articles that you can find in the magazine. I've read the scholarly works of Tony Blair and Hiliary Clinton and I remain convinced that she would of made a better president, especially when you look at the work she has been doing with the current administration.

I say all this because the cover story is a an article about the nature of America's Inequality and Social Decline. I have never read such a furiously scathing article before in my life. Most of the articles in FA can only charitably be called boring. They are dry, stuffy, acedemic affairs that are meant for a specialized audience and not mass consumption. I like reading them but they definityl lack the vim and verve of some of the things you'll read in Harpers. This article though, holy shit. It is still stuffy and kinda boring but it is fueled by this sort of slow burning fury that makes you wanna go put a brick through a window.

It doesn't talk so much about the actual mechanic of the unfairness or blah blah blah. Okay we get it executives are makeing 400 times more than their lowest paid employees. Instead he talks about the changes in culture that have happened that make this sort of behaviour permissable. Back in the 70s things weren't great. Lets not get all nostalgic here things pretty much sucked, especially if you were a women or black. BUT this sort of behaviour didn't happen in upper level buisness. Why? Because it wasn't something you did. It was taboo. Simple as that. There didn't need to be laws and regulations because these people saw their power and possition as a responcibility not a right.

I found the whole thing to be very interesting and for me it hit this increadibly chord. So many of the older generation have this radically different view of corporations that seem to be quite frankly removed from reality. It is because they weren't like that then. They are now though. Oh well my lunch has come to an end and I don't really want to get into it on this topic. I am not sure why though. I'll ponder it a little bit. I definitily think it has something to do with me being in gaming writing mode which is a very different frame of mind. FOr example this post was supposed to be about persistant background elements in gaming as a new way to do random encounters. Not this. Funny how that happens eh?

Sunday, December 4, 2011


It is new! I own it! And it is a fantastic little game. Or at least I think so after one play through. Maybe by the second play through I'll decide I hate it and I'll end up trading it for the new dominion expansion. Or I might become addicted to coke and trade it for a hit. Right now though I am so very much in love with the game that both of these posiblities seem very remote to me. I also spent about a half hour last night patrolling the internet looking for the limited edtion Candy and Cola preorder bonus figure. Miniature Market had it and I was frantically trying to purchase it they ran out of stock. Sad panda is a sad sad panda. So yeah the game is great.

Someone who I was discussing the game with on a forum commented that while the session itself lasted two hours the game plays really quickly. It is a weird thought but she is absolutely right. Heroes are able to butcher a depressing number of monsters every turn and the consul is able to spawn a delightful number of monsters every turn. Put the two of them together along with a loot system, treasure system, and mini boss spawning system all based around violence and you got yourself more than a few reasons to commit regular acts of violence. In fact there is never really a reason to not kill things every turn which is something I very much appreciate.

I've been wanting a game in this genra for a long time now. Tyson purchased Descent which is basically the Twilight Imperium version of Super Dungeon Explore and everyone ended up hating it. This saddens me and I was never really able to coax everyone into giving it another shot. I think it would of gone better if people were willing to try it one more time and if the person playing the monsters was well versed in the errata. To me these games are the natural extension of the first edition of D&D where it very much is the GM versus the players in a contest of wits that is mediated by a set of rules. I don't mind playing these sorts of games but I feel very strongly that role playing games can be so much more dangerous dungeon crawls. That isn't to say that I don't like dungeon crawls or that dungeon crawls are a bad thing but I prefer to do them in a more limited context where the rules are more transparent and my limitations are more clearly defined than in the open set of possibilities in which roleplaying offers.

The other advantage these games have is that playing the monster master is only nominally more difficult than playing the players. This is not true in role playing. The other advantage is that you can really cut loose and be as vicious of a bastard as possible while you are playing the as the consul. It was weird at first because when we first started the game we were all floundering around trying to get our footing. Then they destroyed one of my monster spawners. Then it was on. It took awhile for it to get it through everyone's head that the monsters we not controlled by AI and they would do things like charge past the fighter to mug the druid before he could cast backlash. Or that I would use a mini boss to block line of sight to the boss and use the boss to hose down the remaining heroes with fire. Or that I will lure the heroes into killing a bunch of people only to put them in range of my flingers. Flingers are awesome seriously they are the second best unit the kobalds have.

Having a player control the monsters is the main reason why I chose this game over one of the D&D family of board games. They were tempting for black friday both Castle Ravenloft and Wrath of Ashcalon were half off which means together they were about the price of SDE, but the main problem I have with these two games is that the monsters are controlled by AI. So it isn't so much you beating the monsters but you beating an ai controleld monster and to me there is just something somewhere lacking in all of that.

However, there is the lack of senarios and that is a thing worth bringing up. Senarios help to keep the game fresh and interesting once the new game smell wears off of the minatures. SDE has no such thing. All it has is the DM gets a certain number of spawn points, the heroes get characters and it is GO TIME! This doesn't mean that we couldn't come up with some senarios. Quite the contrary I think the game has all sorts of potential for tweeks and changes. HOWEVER, the game also has all sorts of potential. I could see just from the way we were playing that there are all sorts of interesting subleties and mechanics that we weren't even really messing around with. It took us nearly half the game to get the rhythm down. We also had the misfortune of having a player who didn't really want to play. Once I killed his character he was gone for good yay! But he took our happy fun guy along with him BOO! Oh well. I am excited to give it some more play throughs and I fortunatly have enough games so that there will be an expansion out long before we get tired of it. YAY!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Putting the Melatonin Back Into Melancholia

Recently I watched Melancholia. Holy crap I spelled it right the second time all on my own. I am the excite. Anyway I watched it on thanksgiving with a group of people and in retrospect this was both the best and the worst idea imaginable. I picked the movie for two reasons, 1) I knew that the host’s girlfriend would like it. And she did. 2) I wanted to see it. I didn’t put a whole lot of forethought into my actions and instead just plowed on ahead with reckless abandon. Now that the movie is over I realize there is a third reason. While I love the movie and I look forwards to the time where I will watch it again I realize now that the movie would of depressed the ever living hell out of me. Kate’s performance more than likely would of rattled me into a pit of sadness with no reason behind it and with no clear escape. When my friend turned to me and asked, “We are ruining this for you aren’t we?” I found that wasn’t the case. It allowed me to enjoy the movie without it getting inside of me. Things can do that and when they do the effect me in strange unfathomable ways that both fascinate and terrify me. However, I don’t want to be depressed right now or ever so I consider this all to be a good thing.

Personal business aside I loved the movie. In many ways it is a movie we’ve all see before. The world is ending. If you’ve seen the first episode of sliders you’ve seen this. Yeah there’s a blast from the past eh? In recent years there have been a pretty solid trickle of apocalypse movies that depict the world ending in a startling violent way, 2012 is the last one I can remember excisting because it starred the ever so pleasant John Cussack. Personally I think the movie was a waste of his talents but then again I didn’t see it so who knows I might be missing out on something wonderful. The Signal could also count in here somehow but that movie is in its own league. Anyway elsewhere in the world that Meloncholia takes place in all these events are happening. There are people flipping out, looting, rioting, people screaming because the world is going to end as a rouge planetoid gets caught in our gravitational pull and murders us all. This isn’t so in Melancholia. The whole movie takes place in utter isolation as we watch one very broken family try to come to grips with the fact that the world is going to end. These people seem almost deliberately cut off from the world. The only other place that is mentioned with any frequency is “the village”. Now I am used to watching foreign films that are translated from some other language to me because I only knows the English. So the occational misplaced word normally goes under my radar, but village? Village gives rise to thatched huts and shepperd scooting sheep around. Or a group of people living off in the woods away from all society because the Amish are to progessive for them. Look at the way we talk about permenate gatherings of people here in America, Amish have communities, survivalist compounds, communes, towns, cities, suburbs, the world villiage simply isn’t in our day to day lexicon unless we are talking about some sort of remote place in a different country filled with sheep.

I started with mining the word village because the theme of utter isolation is one the pervades all aspects of the movie. It is literally everywhere in the wedding which is something I want to talk about at length because it gets ignored to often even though it is half of the bloody movie, and of course Kate. I shouldn’t have to explain Kate I think we all understand why she is the epitome of isolation though I’ll be revisiting her when I talk about the end if I don’t loose interest first and start playing Mount and Blade. The wedding is, well why is it there? Ask a room whoes seen it and you’ll likely get a room full of people with their hands in their pockets trying not to make eye contact. The wedding is entertaining from the Father of the bride with his Betties, to the poor poor groom who is literally the prettiest sweetest man in the world trying the cheer his bride up, to the bride’s boss being an absolute dooshbag, to the mother’s unalloyed bitterness, to a visit to the sand trap, angerly whispered secret conversations between the bride and her sister, and all crammed into 45 minutes of space. I love movies about snooty rich people being aweful to each other in petty ways. I have seen Gosford Park more times than I care to admit along with a smattering of other movies and this movie does it all in 45 minutes.

Anyway, First and foremost, the reason for the wedding is the utter contrast between the movie’s two sections. The movie itself is broken up into two chapters and one is overflowing with energy and life, not happiness mind you, but at least people are running around and doing things. The first chapter also takes place almost exclusively at night with the exception of the ill fated limo ride which has to be one of the most adorable things ever. Whereas the second part of the movie only has the main family and the buttler at first then even the buttler leaves. The second part of the movie does have a day/night cycle but overwhelmingly most of the action takes place during the day. It isn’t normal pretty day time either, the daylight is always very stark all throughout the movie.

Secondly the reason for the wedding is to showcase Kate’s depression and to show how she lives in a world that is pretty much totally cut off from itself. The utter solipsism of her wedding is one of those things that makes me more than a little ill. I am not going to list all the examples because once I get rolling you’ll see it for youself clear as day. So here we go! “I won’t even begin to say how late you are” The first words spoken to Kate at her reception, not, “Oh you are okay” or “Thank god you made it we were worried, or even a more callous but still converned, “What happened to you two”. No it is, “You are late and I don’t care that you had to walk over the stupid forbidden bridge”. There is the host who never lets Kate forget how much money the wedding and reception is costing her. Her mother. The guy refusing to look at her. There we go. The reception isn’t about their wedding, and I bet the wedding wasn’t about them either. Everyone wanted to be the center of everything and in order to be that way they would tear, kick, and insult the bride until she resorts to just randomly lashing out (Sex in the sand trap) and then telling her spandy new groom to take a hike. The whole thing is tragic because no one else would give them a chance. They were torn apart by people who didn’t care about them one way or another, with the possible exception of Kate’s sister. I say possible because my friend Kelly brought up the excellent point that her sister is an enabler extrodinair. Which is something I don’t know very much about but I can definitely see it. Though I would like to sat that at the end her sister’s husband died alone whereas the two sisters went together hand in hand facing the end with tenderness.

Ah yes the ending. The ending goes to show that is there is one handy thing about depression is that it makes the end of the world no more or less aweful than everyday existence. I suppose this ties into the world of solipsism that Kate inhabits but depression isn’t voluntary whereas most of the people were acting that way at her wedding because they are dicks. It is an important distinction to me. Regardless, Kate is uniquely unconcerned by the end of the world which ends up propping up her sister and being her final comfort bringing the second chapter of the movie full circle right as the world ends. It is nice. I actually don’t have much to say about the ending. It happened slowly, it was tragic as all get out, and it was a bittersweet as it could be. There isn’t much more to say about it other than it is powerful and takes you away leaving you feeling numb.

It is a fantastic movie and I wish it would get a wider release. With the ridiculous success of Black Swan I was hoping that movies like this would get more attention in the theaters or something like that. That some studio executive would go “hey these movies can be successful”. As we watched our own artsy independent film on thanksgiving 4 other artsy independent films were hitting the theater in a limited release and all 4 of them did very well. So just to be clear 4 artsy independent films are released at the same time in no more than 50 screen all across the US and all of them made money. This is going more into how evil the major studios are and I think I am going to stop here as I realize that it is about the first and there is chores I need to go do. Another day. Until then I am off.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

120 Days of Sodom A Seribian Film and the role of the artist

I am not sure what I want to write about today on my lunch period. I do have lots of little topics in mind. However, today I want to kick around the idea of what it is to be an artist. I am not an elitist when it comes to the word artist. For ease I'll include writers, poets, painters, dancers, sculptures, 3d modelers, miniature painters, and many others. The actual production is unimportant. What is more important to me is the act itself and the outcome of the act. I'd like to say right now that I am typing this during my lunch time and I am on unsteady ground so I might roll some or all of this back in a little bit.

Right now we are going to head over to A Serbian Film, and 120 Days of Sodom. Lets set aside the shock and horror that is inherent in these two works. That isn't to say that thous aren't valid responces because they are but both movies contain works within works and both of them leave a pretty interesting comentary on the idea of art itself. For a Serbian film it is the film within the film and while the movie is about the making of a movie most of the movie's most shocking moments comes from a film within the film. I am not just talking about the infamous birthing scene but also, the toothless blowjob scene, and while I am not sure of this I beleive that he sees what happened to his family though the camera but then the scene becomes his memory. I need go review to verify. Still at the very least 1/2 of the films most shocking moments comes through the mediated lense of another film.

120 Days of Sodom gets its art fixed through the oral tradition something that is sadly limited to roleplaying games in our current age. The idea is that they hire 4 prostitutes who will tell the men stories and as the stories get progressively more and more lewd the men are are allowed to visit more and more horrors upon the children they have kidnapped. They do this mostly so that they don't burn through their charges to quickly and partly because waiting can be lots of fun. Now the thing about 120 Days is that it almost reads like an encyclopedia of perversion. It starts with urine, goes to fecal matter, and then it stays there FOREVER before it blissfully moves onto other things. Almost 75% of the book is the prostitutes up there on their little pedastles telling the stories of their most infamous tricks. Summery aside the 4 men use the stories to get themselves all worked up before ravishing their hostages.

In both of these works are near the platonic ideal of perversion and I'll be perfectly honest they are both unusually hard to stomach. However, both them point the fact that art can and often times does swing both ways. That brings us to where I want to start talking but I am not sure where to go with this.

So lets start with my beliefs. I believe that art, all art, is inherently inert. Art only takes on meaning when we look at it, think about it, or give meaning to it. Kind of the same way Saussure believes that language is formed. If you look at a chair their is nothing about the shape of the chair that indicates that it should be called a chair. We knows this because the word for chair is different in every language. Art goes the same way. Ergo a certain art piece isn't degrading to women...umm oh I got one Highschool of the Dead isn't degrading to women despite its jiggletastic all encompassing fan service. I as an individual degrade women when I treat them a certain way. Now I can draw my insipration from the art I consume but I could also do it all on my own. The point is that we are ulimtatly the masters of our input even if we don't always choose to be masters of our imput and we just go with the flow.

Going with the flow is dangerous.

I think I am getting away from the topic at hand though. So lets dial it back a bit away from my pet issues. I think the fact that both of these works about art gone mad by artists is increadiblly telling. I mean we get warnings about art gone mad all the time from preachers, politicians, police okay well not the police but I had a list of p words and I wanted to keep going. Yet no one seems to be more clearly aware of what art and artists are capable of. I think the visual nature of A Seribian Film gets this point across very well as it forces you to look at the imagry instead of just glossing it over in your head. I also think that on this point the two works disagree with each other but both sides of the argument are really interesting.

I am also out of time. So in short. A Seribian Film maintains a sort of horrified awe at what the artist is capible of wheres 120 Day of Sodom is pretty much flat out boring. And through the boredom comes the true horror.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Not gonna break my combo bitches!

Man the combo breaker. Such a simple thing of utter beauty. I wish it would make its way into other games.

Anyway it is lunch time bitches! And while I was unloading I came up with like 50 topics to write about I think I am instead going to wax poetic on the end of my novel the start of something new and some other things. I had a dream last night. It was very depressing. I don't really have nightmares anymore. Instead what I will have are these low sad little things that dredge up everything I feel bad about so that when I wake up in the morning I'll feel aweful. It also doesn't help that my alarm went off in the exact wrong moment in my REM cycle so that I feel tried and draggy all day. This is something that will pass and I am in reasonably high spirits, but I can't really express myself because I feel exhausted. Poo. This isn't a for real thing and I am not worried though.

In other news I will pen the final words of my novel tonight. It has been a month of me telling people no. Sorry about that but this is something I want to do. It will be just a tad bit over 50,000 words and it will be finished and mine. While I do very much want to do the serialized fiction thing it won't be with this story. It isn't that the characters aren't interesting or that the story isn't fun but it is more that I don't want to be tied down to it. I'd much rather produce a quality game session a week or something like that. Also the story itself? Well it started out as an idea that should of been a lot of fun. There are moments that are a lot of fun, but most of the books is very sad, and some parts of the book are very dark and that is not quite where I wanted to go with this.

I do want edit it up, put the spit shine on it and hell who knows maybe I'll get it bound. The binding idea sounds nice. I could shine up the first one too and put them in the same volume or something like that. The story I originally wanted to write would of been a continuation of my first novel. It would of taken place a little bit after Link's sucide and it would of been about the hippy girl, Sarah, and Alex moving on with their lives and growing up. In a lot of ways that is the story I did write I just used totally different characters and a different setting. Perhaps in a little bit I will bunker down and just write something else. It isn't like national novel writing month has to happen in november I can do it whenever I want. I am a god damned adult.

Ultimatly though while I had a great deal of fun, the novel isn't my preferred from of expression. I like short stories. There is something nice about them. There is a certain freedom in that just about any idea can be a short story. Far fewer ideas can be contained in the space for a novel. There is also something. This is a something that I am actually really embarrassed about. I have a highly liniear thought process. I mean sure that is nothing to be embarassed about but I don't like having it. I wanted to be a surrealist when I grew up. Not the dick hole surrealists but the actual pure sense of the word surrealist. The sort of person who can throw someone for a loop with a bizarre metaphor and some turtles made of doves. See what I did there? My favorite surrealist metaphor is "It was as beautiful as a chance meeting, on a dissecting table, or a sewing machine and an umbrella." God I love that. I love everything about it.

See I can do things like that but I can't actually do it. Essentially I am faking it until I make it. That is a good way to describe it. I also put my events in order. More than once over the course of the novel I realized that I could of imbued events with so much more meaning if I had certain things displayed as flashbacks or developed certain ideas earlier to be reffrenced later. This is why having an outline and a plan is important. To be fair I didn't know what was going to happen in the middle of the book when I started it. But hey it is national novel writing month and you are just sorta supposed to go with things.

Anyway I am not upset about it but the reason I like the sort stories is that they are contained. They are a unit and they are much easier to manipulate temporally and such like that. Well my lunch is over and am going to go back to work.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Disney and the question of Motherhood

So the other day I was randomly compilmenting people because they like it and I was going to call one girl a Disney Queen amongst princesses when all the sudden it hit me. Mother figures don't really excist in the vast majority of Disney's animated features. The two notable excpetions to this are both Bambi and Dumbo but Bambi's mother gets shot and well that's that.

It is kind of one of those stunning revalations that you would think means something. However, I am not sure what to make of it. For example because Geppeto's lack of wife was a plot point in Pinoccio which is why he had to wish for a real boy instead of just making one the old fashioned way. Similarly Lilo and Stich remove the parents from the equation by way of car accident. Go go texting while driving.

However it gets a little wierder when you get one twords things like Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid. Where was Belle's mother? Did she die in childbirth or was she just around in the village somewhere when her dad let the beast take her? She isn't mentioned at all, not even in passing. While Belle's family life doesn't play a major role in the movie, Ariel's family life is the very thing that propels the plot fowards. Ariel seems to be mostly raised by Sebastian who plays the role of comforter and confider while her disatant and uncompromising father hands down orders from on high in regards to how Ariel needs to live her life, paticularly in how she is not supposed to interact with surface dwellers. Actually the Lion King fits in here too. Mufasa plays a major role in Simba's life and it is recognized that it is the female lions that are the great hunters and yet we see no indication of Simba's mother throughout the rest of the movie.

Oh yeah and Aladdin I mean, Aladdin himself is an orphan but what about Jasmine? Where is her mother during all of this?

The problematic thing is that the lack of a mother figure in the lives of just about all of the disney princesses is odd and while I would say that their absence is conspicuous I don't have any evidence to show that there is a reason they don't excist. Even more irritating the father figures also seem to fit a wide range of roles, from the villian in Huntchback of Notre Dame, to distant tyrant in the Little Mermaid, to caring gaurdian in the Lion King, to weak easily distracted men like in Aladin, to older rather helpless men in the form of Pinnocho, Beauty & The Beast, and Mulan.

I haven't really mentioned Pocahantas because I've only seen it once and that was a long time ago but I am pretty sure her mother wasn't around either.

I could try to formulate an argument about how daddy's girls make for better characters but that doesn't seem to work for Snow White, Cinderella, or Sleeping Beauty. It is also problematic for both Ariel and Belle who were both more "fish out of water" characters rather than Daddies girls. It also doesn't approach the fact that this pattern carries over into stories with male protagonists such as Pinnochio, The Huntchaback of Nortre Dam, and The Lion King. The total lack of cohesive family units within Disney movies is strange, not only is it strange but the lack is an opposite to the norm that is experienced by children, ie most children have an absent father figure and the mother plays a much larger role.

Kristen Nelson who randomly happened to be passing by as I am writing this informed me that it is because Walt Disney didn't have a mother. While this now accounts for all the older movies and the proliferation of female villains of the early movies the man has been dead for many dozens of years now. The fact that this is still something that carries over into today is something that I find incredibly interesting. Oh well lunch is over and I guess the mystery has been solved which is nice.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

It is Lunch Time

You know the biggest problem I have with National Novel Writting month is that it tends to blot out all other projects in favor for one large one. Should I finish I am sure I will feel both accomplished and proud. Then I will move on like a titian to the next thing. One of those things will be a comparative essay to 120 Day of Sodom and A Serbian Film. Why? Well because these two things seem to excist so that they can stand up and proudly say we have nothing to add to society and the accumulation of human knowlage. There are certain books and movies that I believe that everyone should read because if they take the time with them they will become a better person. Some examples are Heart of Darkness, Great Gatsby, The Kindly Ones, The Instructions, Skippy Dies, Nightwood!, Catch 22, Republic Book Ten, The Poetics, some Shakespere, and a few others. I got a wide variety of books from a wide variety of eras in that list. I'm not saying you got to read all of these books, or if you do read any of these books you will become better. However, there are some books that have more to teach us than others and part of the process is taking the time to learn from them.

You won't be a better person from either having seen A Serbian Film or reading 120 Days of Sodom. You don't get a prize for doing it. I know I've checked. In fact some will argue that you might be a worse person for having seen and enjoyed these respective works of art. That is debatable but I gotta say they do have a pretty good point. So here I am. And I want to make this work in my head. I am aware that using Salo would be a more appropriate but I like using 120 days more. For one more children are involved and two De Sade wanted to be buried in an unmarked grave and forgotten from the face of history so every time I write about him I piss him off and I like that.

The point I want to make is that in 120 day of Sodom the four people were the Judge, The Priest, and two other people who I can't remeber at the moment. I'd look it up but I am at work and while I can look up porn on tumbler I can't wiki 120 day of sodom. Work is stupid.

Anyway when Grant Morrison reimagined 120 Days in The Invisables they added the general as one of the great criminals. However I believe that there is another implied character in all of this. And that is the artist with no restraints. And that is where A Serbian Film steps in.

In a bit for now I need to go back to work.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Projects and the future!

So I am nearing the middle of my national novel writing month novel. It is going pretty well though I have realized that having a decently large cast of characters means you can stall FOREVER when you want to. Unfortunatly, I think it is causing my already sprawling writing style to become even more expansive which is something I am not sure how much I like. It works for what I am writing now and I think I'll pluck out some fiction a couple of weeks afterwards just to see where I stand.

Every year I've participated in NaNo I've always thought that it will change things when I am done. The first year I finnished it didn't but I also thought it would be a good idea to take a month off. By the time that was over it was all over and I couldn't get my steam back together then I ended up in a relationship which is its own bag of potatoes. Then last year said relationship terminated in november and I was TO SAD to really go on.

Right now it looks like things are going to rumble onto their designated conclusion and I'll be wrapping it up on either the 24th or 25th. I mean short of some past girl thundering back into my life I think I am pretty relationship proof at the moment and with the other excpetion of horrifying medical debilitation, are the only two things that can really stop me at this moment. And that's great. So what's next?

This is important to me. Last year I dabbled with a weekly list of chores. I called it the 11, which ended up being a little much in terms of number of items but I usually got pleanty done on it. I like doing that and I think I am going to start it again once the NANO is done. I mean if I were to do it now it would be write, write, write, write, et cetera. Anyway I want to start getting a little more done time wise and having a sort of difinitive near goal is one of those things that helps me out.

The next thing I want to do is to write out some game sessions. No seroiusly. I want to have a small library of Paranoia, Eclipse Phase, SLA, Mutants and Masterminds senarios that I can go to, pull out, and use more or less on a moments notice. I want them to be both nice looking layoutwise and organized. You know I'd like them to be a real thing so that if I were to sell them people wouldn't feel ripped off. Not that I want to sell them mind you but I think they would be nice to have. D&D/Pathfinder has moduals and I don't see why the games I play shouldn't. So I'll make them myself. No biggie.

At the same time I want to do a different version of the week in review. Before when I did something like it, it was called the month in review and I would look at my 11 and I would see what I did what I didn't do and where I was going. I might still do this but we'll see. It is hard to be "on" all the time. This time I want to do either weekly or by weekly a media consumption post, similar to "Stuff I've Been Reading" which is an article found in the Believer. I think it would be interesting to track what it is I read, or watch on a week to week basis just to see what it is I do. I might just have lists weekly and then monthly I'd write about it or something like that. I don't know. Once I get my game session library set up, which will be awhile, I think I'll move onto something else.

More and more I am realizing that I don't want to do a serialized fiction thing with my novel. I am afraid it will tie me down to much. But I also want to keep my options open so I'll wait until Januaryish to make a final decisiton.


Saturday, November 12, 2011

Twilight Imperium

I was going to write about A Serbian film but I am both short on time and sanity. Also I got to play Twilight Imperium yesterday and that was a god damn good time. We ended up starting at around 5 because Devon attracts cops. Jerk. We finnished just before midnight so we made some pretty decent time. We used Imperial 2, Distant Suns, Hero Characters, and some other things. We had the option of space mines and shock troops but no one ended up using them which is kinda sad. I was going to but space mines are a little expensive for what they do and the oppoenent I was most worried about had enough fighters so that it really didn't seem worth it. No matter.

Every other game in Twilight I've played I've made a decent start, I get up a pretty big fleet, and then I kinda end up languishing somewhere around the middle of the victory point track while people run all over the place winning. This time however, I was able to make some serious headway. James had coming in first pretty much on lock down. He had Imperial 2, he qualified for at least two victory conditions and he was at 6. I was at 8 and I could of gotten another two victory points if I could win two space battles. The player to my right and the player to my left both had medium sized fleets that I am pretty sure I could of taken. Especially since by that point in the game my fighters were hitting on 7's. I was close but the player to my right retreated his fleet, the player to my left used diplomacy and I didn't have the speaker token so James ended up winning even though I was RIGHT THERE. It made me sad. The game ended on turn 7 or 8 I can't remember.

Looking back, what I should of done was take Assembly, make myself the speaker, then take initiative, then take Imperial 2. I should of done that starting on turn 5. Then turn 6 I would of qualified for having ten planets and I would have three more turns to prepare myself for the final pile of victory points. This plan might or might not have worked. The player immediatly to my right had 6 victory points but he also installed himself on mecatol rex in such a way that it would be nearly impossible to get him off. He was the turtle race, he had at least one diplomat down there, more ground forces than you can shake a stick at, and a huge fleet above it. It was doable, especially since he didn't have a whole lot of technology, but it would of taken at least 4 turns to do so. So we started to make it so that no one could grab imperial 2. People were eying me nervously as well, James was on his way to victory, and Tyson was up and coming. I also made a mistake back at the start of the game. While exploring a planet I came upon some settlers from Travonta's race. The next turn I killed them. Now there was a victory condition that involved winning a ground combat against at least two people which I did. For some reason I decided to cash in my secret objective instead of that one. My secret objective involved me having 4 planets of the same research credit. My reasoning behind it was that I was afraid that someone would mug me and take some of my technology credit planets away. So I wanted it right then. Having that extra victory point would of made the end game much easier for me to win.

This was the by far the closest, most tense game of Twilight Imperium we've ever played. A few things contributed to this. One is having all the victory cards out on the table at the start. That really helped things along. Two is the victory cards themselves. We had 2 involving techonology, 2 involving having more influece than the people around you, 1 involving spending money, 2 focused around combat, one involved you having lots of planets, and one was taking over Mecatol Rex. This, plus the artifacts, gave people lots of different paths to victory. It was a fantastic game and it is great that we have enough people who are experienced enough with playing it to really get into some of the strategy and whatnot. I plan on grabbing the third expansion sometime soon as it gives the individual races even more personality than they have now and we all look fowards to the time where we will be able to play again. Hopefully with 8 people so we can get a truely epic game going.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Ready Player One

I've read and loved this book. If you want to know more about it go look it up on Amazon or run down to your local bookseller and demand that they show you a copy. I don't feel like being your search engine today. It is a very fun book. It isn't great it isn't going to become a classic work of literature or anything like that but if it gets made into a movie I will enthusiatically watch the living fuck out of it. I will also happily read it again, unlike Under the Volcano which is a classic work of literature. You'd have to put a gun to my head to get me to read that again. Ugh.

Anyway the thing that strikes me the most about the book is just how wide the geek world has become. The novel itself draws most of its geekery from the 70's and 80's and believe me there is some classic stuff in there. Overwhelmingly the video game reffrences are games like Joust, Pacman, and Zork. There are references to dungeons and dragons, a cornucopia of sci-fi movies, and tv shows I have never even heard of before.

So there is no nintendo, Japanese culture isn't reffrenced overmuch, and much to my disapointment no shadowrun which is pretty much my rpg totem animal. It made me realize that our world has become huge. The second largest section in any major book store is the fantasy and sci fi section, and our video games. Now there is so much variety out there that pretty much no two geeks ever have to be built the same. There is magic, there is warhammer, and there is the whole galaxy of other games out there that cram shelves some of which to be played once and never again. There is anime and there is so much anime that two people could potentially spend far to much time watching, learning, and developing a library of favorite shows without having anywhere near a 100% overlap. I don't think people really appreciate how huge this is. back in the late 80's early 90's before a combination of the Sci-Fi Channel and Suncoast video really gave anime a foot hold in america the only way to really get it was through these weird underground back channels. Since we are still in the era of the vhs, and believe me that is a SHITTY time to be into anime, and the internet forum wasn't quite as ubiquitous as it is today people were watching these things untranslated sometimes paying over $30 for an hour long tape. Now it is everywhere, hell you can even get it in walmart now isn't that insane?

It is insane in a good way. Harry Potter, a fantasy series that is no better or worse than any other fantasy series took over the world for over a decade dominating sales charts. Its gone from me being made fun of in middle school for reading Wheel of Time and the Ice Wind Dale trilogy to me being considered weird for not reading Harry Potter. Something similar is happening with A Game of Thrones which is getting a major tv series treatment.

In a lot of ways it is a great time to be a geek. We have so many options open to us now that saying, "I like to play video games" has become meaningless. If I want cyberpunk roleplaying I have half a dozen major choices, instead of two. There are more games out there that I want to play that I could hope to have time for and I have everything from the past to draw upon. It is a good time, and while I love Ready Player One it definitely makes me feel more thankful that I am in the era I am now instead of the one back then. Tonight I can play Touhou an indie japanese shooter, while watching the new Dr. Who. Then I can take a break play Victoria 2 for a bit, hop on over to both City of Heroes and Glitch, before rounding the night off by working on any number of decks from any number of games I play.

I wouldn't trade it for anything. I know people have tried to get me to give it all up before and failed.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

A post about nothing

There are a couple of topics I want to write about. One is A Serbian Film which brings new meaning to the words grotesque. I also want to write about the Neonomicon Alan Moore's new offeering. While I enjoyed it on a superficial level on an intelectual one we don't jive to well and I'd like to explain myself. I also want to write about Ready Player One and talk about some of the changes that have taken place in the geek world and how strange and different things are now. However it is 3:20 which means I only have 40 minutes and I don't really want to go all stopy starty on my novel. So I am going to bloggity blog for a few minutes rummageing around in my mind and kicking up some dust.

The novel itself is going pretty well. I wouldn't say it is good, and it is definetly a little bit darker than I intended it but I am okay with that. I think letting the darkness leak around the edges gives it a little more oomph and it certainly has provided an interesting avenue to explore. It also gives the charecter's a little bit more crunch to them.

I am still on the fence as of if I wanna do the serialized fiction thing. The whole point of me choosing this subject matter is to get ahead, WAY ahead I am talking 30 weeks ahead that is over half a year. Then all I would need to do is to set aside some time to do some editing before posting on sunday. After awhile I could do editing then like every other week I could write a new chapter and I would stay ahead of the curve for a very very long time. I could keep posting long after I've lost interest in the subject matter and still have stuff to post. I could make a conclusion to it almost at will and I could even take breaks from it and then catch up again by writing two new episodes a week or something like that. I could do this. The problem is that my free time is tight. Very tight in fact. I have all sorts of time consuming things I wish to do and not a lot of time to do it in. I am not sure if tethering myself to a weekly serialized fiction project is the best of ideas. Still it will be a long while before I am able to run Eclipse Phase, or any other game and finding a play group is going to be difficult so I guess I might as well. Who knows perhaps it will help focus my time usage a little better which is something I could use a little help with.

I also want to do a weekly media round up thing. I know I do it every once in awhile at random but I want to make it a thing. So I could have the weekly roundup posted on Saturday and the new episode on sunday. Both would be posted here in the main blog but other would be archived elsewhere. On that note I am considering moving to a different blog provider. I don't have a problem with blogger. Quite the opposite in fact I think it is pretty great. It is just that I got a lot of eggs in my basket as far as google is concerned and I am not sure if I should keep my blog here as well. Like...I am more or less worried about nothing that is the long and short of it all at the same time. I just thought that the migration would be nice. Also for whatever fucking reason facebook won't let me link multiple blogs from blogger which is god damned annoying. I don't know I'll decide later. What this means is that it prolly won't happen at all.

On another front we are gonna play Twilight Imperium on Thursday! YAY! It is looking to be an 8 player game though I am betting one or two people will drop out before wensday evening. Call it a hunch. I need to go to kinkos sometime soon and make some printouts, they will have things like turn order, expanded ship stats, heroes, that sort of thing. I couldn't find any one printout that had all the information I wanted. So some of them will have redundant information. I think it will be good it will make some information twice as easy to find.

Okay lunch is over now so that is that.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Moving Onwards!

This will be one of my last posts here for awhile national novel writting month is on my door step and soon I will be buried in self imposed deadlines, and a lot of drive and determination. I got my novel idea all set up and installed in my head and I am ready to go. It isn't perfect. Hell it isn't even going to be good, but it will be mine and it will happen. I've decided that UNLIKE last year I will be making daily updates to the blog so that if anything happens I won't loose everything like I did with my second novel. It is a shame because I really liked it. I am thinking that in the spring sometime I am going to pick up where that left off and turn it into a serial writing project. Then I can update it every year thereafter for NANO or write something else. I love the idea of writing a HUGE chunk ahead of time then just editing things up before publication. I think that suits my style a lot more than just going at it on the fly. It also increases the chance for quality and that is always a good thing in my book. Mmmmyep.

Moving on things have been getting a little bit foggy for me lately. I tested my limits for socializationa and I found them all right where I left them. My eyes degrade slower, my migrains happen less often, I get depressed less frequenly, these are all the benifits I have reaped while getting older. Yet I am still the same old anti social crumogon that I always was. Fortunatly, I have understanding friends.

Moving on. For some reason I started pulling out all sorts of theory books and I have been going through them again. Why? I can't say really. It started because I realized that I couldn't remeber the explanation for the schema Lacan used for understanding metaphores without framing the conversation using Wittgenstein's language games. I figgured it out though. Lacan places a lot of the higher functions of language in the subconscious. The thing is, and I may be wrong about this, is that he doesn't really talk about the subconscious all that much at least not so much as a seperate physical entity. Physical is the wrong word and the right word at the same time isn't it. It is there that the incorporial and the concrete mix together isn't it. On the one hand it is a vast knowable place between my lizard brain that keeps my body functioning, and my higher thought process which are composing this blog post right now. It is the thing that makes me want to do all sorts of things, and it is the place where my dreams come from. In a lot of ways it is the bridge between the mind and the body, the medium where it all takes place. It collects, then categorizes desires and decides which ones will come bubbling up out of the sea of crap that is running around down there. That is interesting and it is worth some further thought at a later time.

Moving on. I both saw and enjoyed A Serbian Film. I am not sure about what this says about me as a human being but WHATEVER. I've seen quite a few extreme horror films, all three of the August Underground movies, two of the three vomit movies, Cannibal...maybe that it what it was called I don't remeber is was based off the german case where the one dude willingly allowed himself to be eaten, and some others. I've enjoyed them all to varying degrees but I mean for the most part once I'd seen them I'd seen them and there is no real reason for me to watch them again. Ever. This isn't true for A Serbian Film. I confess it has to do with the art porn angle. The porn angle is what interested me in the first place and it is what will drive me to watch it again and maybe again afterwards who knows. There is something about porn that makes you wonder sometimes, just how far are people willing to go to allow other people to jerk off. The answer is terrifyingly far. In a couple of ways it is like an EXTREME 8mm but in a lot of other ways it explores more about the actors. At one time I wanted to do a granny trannie interview project. Now I think I am more interested to do an extreme porn interview project. What are these people like? How do they work? What is in it for them? I find it all very interesting. But I find lots of things interesting that reduce other people to tears so who knows.

Anyway just about out of time. Back to work and adventure and all of that.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Agency and You

Agency is one of those things that we all have. I feel silly saying something like that but it seems to be that when acedemics are theorizing about our lives and how we live it, agency is the first thing that gets thrown out of the window. For example, the idea of women wanting to become porn stars, and living satisfactory lives as porn stars is inconvient. So they come up with arguments like the ecconimic nessesity of their lives is such that there is no way they couldn't become porn stars. It is the same thing with video games, the poor and crime rate, or that the media programs our outcomes due to its unending influnce. There are all things I reject because I believe that we as individuals take in, filter, process, and store massive amounts of information. As indivduals, how good we are at working with information genrally reflects on how well they do with life. Autism being an extreme example of a failure to process information in a productive way. I believe that this is part of what a liberal arts education teaches us. I also believe that somewhere along the line we lost the ability to prize our own senses of self, our ability to react, and our ability to control our own outputs.

I want to focus on art for now. This idea started to come to me while I was playing city of heroes. I was happy because the enemies in the story arc dropped the right sort of enhancement I needed for my charecter. This makes getting the right type of gear for him easier. I then thought it would be easy for them to come up with a truely random mission generator that lays out a map, puts the villians of your choice and even comes complete with a set of complications that could randomly show more advanced radio missions. Then I joked to myself I would prolly end up playing the most brilliant story arc ever made and it would all be random, then I realized that 1000 monkies recreating the works of shakespeare on a typewritter, purely by chance, wouldn't have nearly the same worth to me because shakespere sat down and wrote all that shit out on purpose. The monkies were just being monkies.

By creating something then deliberatly putting it on display for others to comment, is an act of self. As a result the thing creation becomes something seperate, it occupies a different internal space once we look at it, and it takes on its own special set of properties.

Oh shit I forgot who said it...I believe it was Hiedegger that came up with the idea that the observation of a phenomena inherently changes the phenomena.

Lets get some examples to work with:

Recently someone entered into an art exhibit a 1tb hard drive full of pirated materials. Along with the hard drive was a list of everything that was supposedly on it.

The cut ups method.

Hitler's art.

I don't have time to work with these now but each of these three examples show off a very different aspect of the thing I am talking about.

Yep I am going to go wash dishes instead of doing this. I hope everoyne is happy.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Yay Writting Time!

Woop woop! Okay so NOW I will do the comic book roundup I mean to do like one to two weeks ago. So here we go!

Hickman's Future Project!- After reading the nightly news Hickman rockted up onto the pedastle of being one of my favorite comic book writters working in the indusry ever. When he got picked up by Marvel though I started to worry. Marvel has a tendency to misuse some of its talent. Jason Arron is mostly languishing under the thumb of marvel and Matt Fraction hasn't really produced anything that I've found to be paticularly interesting. So I worried about Hickman because his voice was to vital, bright, and interesting to have him pushing the X-men around their shitty island or something like that. Oh and David Lampram there is a man who needs to write so much more and he needs to write so much less for Marvel. ANYWAY so I was worried. Then the first Fantastic 4 Dark Reign trade came out and I was relived. He got the fantastic 4. They were fun, high science fiction, high concept, people who ran around and did awesome things. The art direction ranged from great to downright creative and the whole book sang with a vibrant energy. Hell even watching their kids fend off Norman Osbourn was a mighty treat.

So with a smile on my face and excitment in my heart I waited paciently for the next trade. Now for whatever reason none of the local stores opted to carry his run of FF. To make matters worse I forgot to look the damn things up. I actually assumed he wasn't writting the FF anymore. I heard rumblings of the human torch dieing and lets face it unless you are playing Marvel Ultimate Alliance the human torch is pretty annoying. Then a shiny new Trade was on the shelf in eye catching white. The fantastic four had been reborn as the future foundation and some monies later I am delighted by this change in events.

Turning the comic over in my head I realize that I don't have much to say about it other than I am excited to read more of it. Spiderman is on the team now but instead of being a smart ass wanker who bitches about how shitty his life is all the time he instead is taking his rightful place as one of the marvel universes geniuses. A lot of people forget that Parker posseses genius level intelegence and this is a god damn shame. So I am glad they are playing that aspect of his personality up more rather than his pointlessly turbulant social life. On that note the family aspect of the fantastic four is being toned down and replaced with more a adventure science fiction fun thing. I like it. I was going to do a long thing where I compare it to planetary and all of those observations are valid but I would have to sit here and do lots and lots of plot summary and I don't feel like it so I am moving on.

The Anihilators! Now this was a fun little comic! It is the continuation of the SPACE epic that is being written by Abbet and Landing. After the Thanos imperative passed we now have time to take a break and relax for a bit which is nice. Space was getting more than a little bit strained let me tell you. The Annihilators is the new series that is filling the void left behind by Nova and Gaurdians of the Galaxy, and the mega event books. Urisingly it actually manages to fill all three of these roles simultaneously which is pretty freakin awesome. The team consists of all the space badasses put together in one place to deal with whatever major threat there is to deal with. Essentially they are the new Gaurdians of the Galaxy except they are all badasses. They are also most approriatly named the Team with to Many Hammers. The book itself is light hearted, fun, and it kicks more ass than anyone could ask for. Not a whole lot more needs to be said on it other than hooray.

I would like to take this moment and the next fifteen minutes to point something out though. The Annhilators isn't a great comic. By that I mean I will not stand shoulder to shoulder with Maus, Watchmen, Joker, or any of the other giants of the medium. No but it will stand shoulder to shoulder with Black Ring (something else I read but don't have time to write about), Warren Ellie's ThunderBolts, and oh I dunno Old Man Logan. That's a good one. There is the war over style over substance and this book along with the others I named definietly fit under that category. However, what these books do is elevate the idea of style over substance rather than make it a criminal "guilty pleasure" sort of thing. This is an argument that happens most often with movies but I feel that it is just as, if not more applicable, here. There is nothing inherently wrong with will crafted pieces of pure entertainment. It is when we start getting into poorly crafted pieces of entertainment that things start to become troublesome. Where all bets are placed on being shocking, or EXTREME like in KickAss or Nemisis. Or when you try to provide to much wide screen action without enough setting like in Secret Invasion. A large part of this argument is subjective. I recognize this. I also recognize that as a result there will be no definitive end to this argument. Still there if I am going to consume something that is going to be more style than substance than I want some seriously high quality style. Just because it is superficially entertaining doesn't mean it has to be deficient in things like plot, character development, or good things.


Also at some time in the future I am going to make this exact same argument except all my examples will be movies. Transformers is going to be one of those things I am going to shit ALL over.

Yay Writting Time!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Onwards and Upwards

I started reading Ready Player One last night, the book is fantasic and it kind of makes me want to punch Game of Thrones in the face. I could of been reading this the whole time. Now I liked the first book but the second book started to piss me off. First of all there was what happened to Stannis, or rather what might of happened to Stannis. The fact is that we don't know. One page Kings Landing is under attack, Tyrion is being a bad ass, and fun things are happening all over, and then it just ends litterally with no rhyme. Like the army just stopped and everyone just shrugged their shoulders and went, "who gives a fuck Stannis is prolly dead hooray" This is the centeral conflict of the novel and its resolution happened off screen which is pretty fucking annoying.

Then there is Rob. What is Rob doing? Who knows! Apparently Rob is a tired of his annoying psychotic mother who is annoying and psychotic. However, UNLIKE the reader we can't leave Catelyn behind so we keep having to read her complain about how war is happening WHEN SHE STARTED IT. Every time they try to portray her as a sympathetic character I want to punch the writer in the face. I mean seriously her son who is off doing more interesting things left her behind because she is annoying so why can't we leave her behind too.

Then there is the fall of Winterfell due to the Dreadfort betrayal. Who cares. Like literally who cares. It is Winterfell the closest thing to it is THE WALL. It is a podunk castle town in the middle of nowhere with no real resources or stratigic value. Hell even Asha wondered what the hell Theon was doing there because there was no reason to hold it or use it. I don't even know why the Dreadfort people want it but I also don't care. It is so far removed from the Iron Throne and the main action of the book that what happens there really doesn't matter. The big deal behind it is that Rob is going to have to come home. So basically almost 200 pages of the second book got taken up so that in the third book a charecter who has been running around off screen has to come home. But he will still be off screen cause who the hell knows where Bran is going.

So most of the book is about nothing. Notice I haven't complained Daenaries. This is because her chapters were fun and interesting. She did things and they were neat. Her chapters were colorful and fun. John Snow also spent most book in the middle of nowhere and hey his stuff was interesting. But Bran and Catelyn were just these massive lode stones that did nothing to progress anything. They basically sat around while things happened around them progressing nothing, and being near nothing.

I enjoyed the second book and I plan on finishing the series but I am not happy with most of the book's structure. Also now that I am reading Ready Player One and Murakami has written a new book I might end up revsing that statement after awhile. We'll see.