Don't worry if the movie's too short. I'll just put in a dream.

Gone Home

I wanted to love Gone Home so much, partially because I respected their decision not to show at PAX, but mostly because I fucking love story-heavy video games. Additionally, there is a severe shortage of quality mysteries in any format — be it film, novel, tv series, or video game. 

I was extremely impressed by Gone Home for about twenty minutes, after which my positivity began to wane; it continued to diminish until I completed the game and proclaimed, “nope, fuck that.”

Details of my disappointment (and spoilers):

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I had my second epiphany in three days; it feels amazing identifying these previously nameless, unidentifiable thorns.

When I talk to someone I treat them as if they possess more knowledge than I know they may, whereas people treat me, nine out of ten times, as if I have less.

For example, let’s say I’m having a conversation and I want to talk about Peggle. I’d assume that they are familiar with the game and have played it, unless they tell me otherwise. When the situation is reversed, people assume that I have no knowledge of the game whatsoever. 

Or, say I’m conversing with someone who I know is a fan of a game with a massive patch coming out. (Apologies for recurring nature of these examples, it’s just where my head is at.) I’d assume they’re familiar with the details of said patch, while again, nine out of ten times, it is assumed that I’m wholly ignorant.

(These are just two examples, and probably unideal ones at that, but the dynamic is real and extremely pervasive in my day to day life. I certainly would not venture to say that ill will or disrespect is intended.)

When you put yourself out there you open yourself up to positive and negative reactions. I knew that when I started streaming and wasn’t terribly concerned, as I don’t give a toss about other people’s negativity. Indeed, there is now a barrage of negativity coming my way almost every time I stream. Regardless of the nature of the attacks, it thankfully has no affect on me.

I don’t tend to use the term “troll” as it implies a playful relationship. Nor do I accept the idea that anonymity is a factor in people’s actions. I have access to this anonymity, as do all the people close to me, but we do not spend our time harassing people, because it’s fucking stupid. If you don’t like someone, then giving them your energy makes no sense at all.

I would not claim to be internet famous in the smallest margin, nor do I even seek to be (only insomuch as I do want to be successful in my ventures). However, since I started streaming there are specific changes that I am acutely aware of. For example, I’ve recently become very fond of a television show. Normally I would tweet about it or talk about it publicly. Were I to do that now I am 100% sure that someone would spoil plot points for me, in the aim to negatively impact my life. It’s not such a big deal, but it’s still so strange to me.

Additionally, it’s only been in the past couple months that I’ve played any multiplayer games. If you know me, odds are you’re aware of my Team Fortress 2 addiction. It’s no surprise to me that people are dicks to each other in-game, spawn camp, have usernames with slurs/otherwise designed to be offensive, or are generally insensitive and mean. 

I’ve hit a bit of a lull lately and didn’t quite understand why, because when I say I don’t care about the pathetic cretins that are online assholes it’s not just lip service. I realized that it’s not what people are saying/doing that is heavy on my heart, it’s simply that they’re inclined to do so. It’s so sad to me that people are so cold, heartless, ignorant, pathetic, and cruel.

Sure, I could try to ignore it and not let humanity’s cruelty affect me, but I don’t want to. Despite the pain that comes with it, I don’t want to ever be hardened to the point where I’m not saddened by such things. My capacity for joy, generosity, understanding, gratitude, compassion, and empathy is immeasurably bolstered by my sensitivity to cruelty and callousness. 

I took a day off today in order to catch up on chores as well as rest my weary head/heart. I’ve had MasterChef Australia on all day and randomly someone used the term “that’s a pity,” and it instantly triggered my connection to the Concert For George version of Isn’t It a Pity. It completely and totally captures my lull, and how I’ve been feeling, and I couldn’t possibly express it any better.

Star Trek: Into Darkness (mild spoilage)

I thought it was a solid and enjoyable title, with specifics best expressed in bullet form.

Pros:

  • visually impactful beginning
  • solid acting/characters
  • many subtle funny moments
  • CUMBERBATCH FUCK

Khans:

  • the inclusion of the Klingons was totally mishandled—if you didn’t know how fucking crazy and powerful the Klingons were then you really had no idea how fucking nuts it was that Cumberbatch soloed ‘em
  • Spock’s Khan-yell needed a couple more takes
  • I really hope the phrase “thrown under the bus” isn’t around in the distant future
  • the pacing was too staccato—it felt like a succession of short scenes tied together, without any particularly powerful drawn out parts
  • oh my god with the lens flare

 

 

Twitch.tv

*exhale*

It’s been a hell of a day. If you aren’t familiar with twitch.tv, it’s a website where you can livestream your gaming, and which others’ livestreams, and I’m on there! Today was not only my first livestream, but it was the most extensive PC gaming I’ve done in over a decade. Until recently, I’ve had Steam pretty much for the sake of it, partially because I’m accustomed to console gaming, but mainly because my MacBooks have not been up to gaming. But now I have a shiny PC, and intend to make up for lost time.

From what I’d read it’s necessary to be patient as a new twitch.tv user, as viewers and followers can start at barely a trickle. Indeed, there was not much action to speak of as I played Bastion for several hours. So I had lunch, regrouped, did some much-needed yoga, and decided to switch to Don’t Starve, in the hopes that the newness of the title would draw a few viewers. Indeed, many people ended up on my feed, and people even started chatting. 

As I chatted (first through text, then, after encouragement, through the mic) and struggled to run from spiders while keeping the fire stoked, my brain started to melt. At the beginning of my broadcast I could glance over at the video and make sure I was looking presentable and wasn’t out of frame, but that went completely out the window as I endeavored to be entertaining, or at least worth watching. It is not easy to maintain conversation while efficiently playing a game. In fact, it’s fucking difficult! Of course, it was more difficult on account of my setup, which will surely be streamlined over time, but still, splitting your attention and maintaining high standards within each activity is a big ask. By the end my eyes were watering, my brain was fried, and it had gotten dark without me even realizing.

So yes, I could certainly have it much worse than playing video games for hours on end, and goodness knows I’m not complaining, but it’s still extremely taxing, and I do take it as seriously as I would any other job.

If you do feel inclined to check me out on twitch.tv I will be very grateful for your patronage.

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yogaglo, and the continued evolution of my yoga practice

It’s been thirteen days since I started using Yogaglo (encouraged and facilitated by my dear friend Kestrel), and as I told her on that first day, it was a turning point in my practice. Since then I’ve been doing two Yogaglo routines a day, (one in the morning and one after my daily ~3mile walk) and never repeating the same class, save one or two exceptions. 

From the first day on my body and mind has felt completely differently. The newfound variety has literally and metaphorically turned my practice on its head. 

Of the twenty-two teachers featured on Yogaglo  I’ve taken classes from four of them. The sheer number and variety of classes ensures that you can find a teacher or style that you connect with. 

Jason Crandell, by far, is my favorite. He’s gentle, informative, descriptive, his classes are impeccably composed, and most importantly, they’re extremely accessible. 

Before Yogaglo it could occasionally be pretty difficult to drag myself to the mat. My flexibility, strength, and mind had plateaued. I still enjoyed my practice and found it valuable, but I was always relieved to check it off my to-do list. Now, however, my body and mind crave yoga. When I’m not doing yoga I’m thinking about how goddamn good it would feel if I were.

I completely can relate to not being able to justify the eighteen dollar monthly fee. If you’re in that position but are still interested in adjusting, altering, and invigorating your home practice, they do have a fifteen day free trial. If all you can do is find a fifteen day period where you have the time to watch as many videos and absorb as much knowledge as you can, it will *absolutely* have a large and positive impact. I’ve only been using Yogaglo for thirteen days, but they have been atypically productive and invaluable, and will elevate all my subsequent days.

Side Effects (absolutely riddled with spoilers)

In what world is finding out that a person understands how seat belts and airbags work EVER epiphanic? Hold on you guys, something’s fishy—this bitch knew that airbags and seat belts protect you in collisions.

- her airbag would have deployed had her seat belt not been on—that was never a fatal scenario, seat belt or no

- my mind doesn’t hesitate to accept that a person in an unknown state of mental distress would have their seat belt on before driving into a wall

- why oh why did they have to reinforce the point with a seat belt/airbag video being shown in her office—as if one has to be exposed to that in order to know how goddamn seat belts and airbags work

Additionally, Rooney’s character is too smart to have responded to his inquisitions as she did. She’d have mentioned that she read the “poisonous fog bank” line in a book, and that it stuck with her. And she’d never have made up a person at work in the first place. I can’t accept that this clever, criminally-minded woman doesn’t comprehend the basics of lying. 

Rooney Mara is such a fine actor, and everyone else’s performances were solid, and the film was shot so well, but the story let everything down so severely. 

Sure, it’s interesting that one sympathizes with the villains up to the end (assuming it wasn’t just me who wanted Rooney to get away with it … ), but that’s not a satisfying viewing experience, and the writing and plot wasn’t nearly clever enough to pull it off. The film robotically explains itself not once, but twice. By then it just feels cumbersome and heavy-handed. 

It should have just been a Bound-esque thriller where Rooney and Catherine end up getting away with everything and then live their sexy wicked lives, happily together. That wouldn’t have been any more predictable than what ended up happening.

Also, my husband will be very happy to know that if I ever receive photos of him in a public place with a woman and then random pictures of her nude - lingerie bag or no - I’ll be inclined to believe someone is fucking with us. 

At least there’ll always be the super nifty trailer.

Heckler (2007)

Heckler is a very interesting film, not for its content, but for the pretense of it being a documentary about comedians and hecklers. It is, in fact, an attempt to delegitimize film critics, and the opinions of anyone else who doesn’t like bad movies (especially Jamie Kennedy movies). 

The first bit of the film is indeed about hecklers. A wide range of comedians are interviewed and share their experiences with being heckled. Most comedians interviewed are smart and professional about it. Of course, there’s one comedian who handles a poor crowd reaction by emphatically professing his wish that the audience gets cancer and dies; it is of note that this comedian was not remotely amusing to begin with.

The film then moves completely off the subject of hecklers, and sets its sights on film critics (which are absolutely not the same thing). Jamie Kennedy confronts several people who have written negative reviews on his work. I’m not sure what his intent was with these confrontations, but they made him look really unprofessional and pathetic. I get that bad reviews can hurt - putting something you’ve created out into the world is an act of bravery - but you won’t grow as a creator, nor gain respect or sympathy, by whining about people not liking your creations. Some of the professionals touch on this point by explaining that they learn and grow by being receptive to constructive criticism. 

At one point some random guy tries to make a point about criticism having no perspective by quoting from a review for Piglet’s Big Movie that called the film juvenile; his point was that of course the film was juvenile, as it was for kids. This is so far from the mark that it’s bothered me ever since, as it presupposes that children’s films must be juvenile and cannot be smart, multilayered, and appeal to humans of all ages, like The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.

They then go on to not only write off professional critiques/bloggers, but anyone with an opinion. One guy’s (paraphrased) sample response to a laymen’s critique of their work is, “Well what films have you written and directed? None? Yeah I thought so. Fuck off.” Creating a film is not a prerequisite to judging a film. It is a prerequisite to being aware of the difficulties and challenges of making a film, but how difficult something is and how successful something is are completely different. If I carved a marble statue and it turned out shitty I could profess that it’s an incredibly difficult task, however, if something sucks it sucks.

Sure, it’s not fair to compare No Country For Old Men with Malibu’s Most Wanted, but that’s not the point, because on its own, Malibu’s Most Wanted is not funny or well executed. Comedies can be plenty goofy, silly, stupid, unbelievable, etc., and still be really good solid movies in their own right. 

I’m extremely curious to know the reactions of some of the people that were interviewed for this movie, as they were essentially used as a front for Jamie Kennedy to whine. I can’t imagine Patton Oswalt watching Heckler and thinking, “I’m really happy they used my interview footage, as I stand firmly behind this film and its message.”

Ultimately I don’t care how good or bad a person is at making films or putting together a stand-up act, but to write off any and all negative feedback that comes your way is unprofessional, juvenile, and only hurts yourself. 

The Hobbit

All I can think about is how Peter Jackson has the final cut of The Hobbit II all ready to go. How many people will see An Unexpected Journey, only to depart this world before The Desolation of Smaug is released next year? Hundreds, thousands, millions? All being denied the cinematic closure that can only come with seeing a series to completion.

Also, I’m not a fan of the contrived plot devices employed to add gravity to a series that is certainly adequately compelling without embellishment. 

And now we know you can’t make a movie with a buttload of dwarves without many of them looking costumey, and one who straight up just looks like a man to the point where it’s distracting.

Then there’s those goddamn nifty eagles. How many jams have the eagles gotten everyone out of? Why couldn’t Gandalf just pop Frodo on an eagle in the very first movie, send that baby down to Mount Doom (waaay before Sauron or Saruman had the wherewithal to prepare their forces, and before they were expecting basically anything), throw the ring from whence it came, and bango—we’re done, with zero casualties or destroyed psyches.