City of a Thousand Planets

Jul. 27th, 2017 10:40 pm
dhampyresa: Paris coat of arms: Gules, on waves of the sea in base a ship in full sail Argent, a chief Azure semé-de-lys Or (fluctuat nec mergitur)
[personal profile] dhampyresa
Saw it VOSTFR 3D.

Way back when I first saw the trailer for this movie, I went HOLY SHIT THEY'RE ADAPTING L'AMBASSADEUR DES OMBRES? THAT'S MY FAVOURITE. Well. I was right, but also, I was wrong.

It has a lot similarities with L'ambassadeur des Ombres, but some major changes make it a story with a different theme/message. I'm not saying the new story has a bad theme/message -- it's a good message and I can understand the reasoning behind the changes -- but it is 100% a different message. Idk, the original Ambassadeur des Ombres comic (especially the ending!) blew my tiny mind when I read it as a child and this movie would not have. Although these changes gave us the opening scene, set to Bowie's Space Oddity, which is pretty lovely.

It's a decent movie, I guess, but it's a bad adaptation.

For example, the movie implies Laureline is from the future, which NO. The really cool thing about Laureline is that she's from the mid-Middle Ages, circa 1000CE, and used Valérian as her ticket out of that hellhole. Then she becomes a space-time cop. She is the best. Also she's a redhead.

Not sure why the Shingouz go by a different name. That seems like a pointless change.

In a way the changes -- Laureline's hair colour, the names (not how you say Valérian, Alpha vs Point central), etc -- made it easier to think of this as its own thing, rather than an adaptation.

I came out of the movie shipping Laureline/Bubble the most out of everything. I did not ship Laureline/Valérian at all. I would ship Laureline/Neza first (he recognised her temper, hahaha).

I was kind of really disappointed that Laureline seemed to be one of only two women in the Earth military. Nice future there :/ There are some vaguely sexist moments that rubbed me the wrong way, as well.

  • BUBBLE WAS GREAT. Bring back Bubble for the sequel!
  • The heist was pretty cool.
In conclusion, good visuals, bad adapatation, decent-ish movie.

(no subject)

Jul. 27th, 2017 09:36 am
baranduin: (Default)
[personal profile] baranduin
Hello, hello. It's back to work I am (since yesterday) but today I'm in a daylong HR intensive course, which means I get to spend the day with about 50 super funny, super smart women coz the face of health care is women. At least that's my observation of all the health care organizations I've worked in.

[personal profile] hanarobi and I saw a lot of good stuff while she was here! We watched:
- Both Bahubali and Bahubali 2 movies, the second one we watched twice and that's without any English subtitles. I think the second movie is going to be available for purchase this coming Tuesday! So in love with Prabhas!
- We went to see Wonder Woman and adored it. I even watched the new trailer for the Justice League because of Gal Gadot being in it.
- We binge-watched the first season of Stranger Things Monday night/Tuesday early morning. Can't wait for the second season!

What we did not get done during H's visit:
- Sadly no story was written for poor [personal profile] claudia603. We spent hours and hours building the head canon and taking notes on H's phone, but sadly we never really wrote anything. Sorry C! No crackfic for you this time though maybe we'll get inspired. It really was a great idea.

I have decided a different punishment for the old white Christian men who are trying to keep the world in their image. I think the tribunal will still be the same, but I think I have an interesting punishment. Put them in stocks and invite people to slap their turkey wattle jowls. Paddles supplied if you don't want to touch their squicky flesh.


Space: Above and Beyond [VID]

Jul. 27th, 2017 11:03 am
colls: (SAAB ladies)
[personal profile] colls posting in [community profile] vidding
Title: Mean World
Fandom: Space Above and Beyond
Music: Where the Devil Won't Go by Elle King
Summary: it's a mean world that I've known
Notes: Women in SPACE!!! ♥

H E R E @ [community profile] swannee

(no subject)

Jul. 26th, 2017 03:41 pm
raincitygirl: close up of the Hulk's face (Hulk (kickair8p))
[personal profile] raincitygirl
So, um, if you were giving any thought to investing any money with Investors Group, I would suggest running like hell in the opposite direction instead.

I am giving serious thought to forwarding my soon-to-be-ex financial advisor's emails to me to his boss at IG, because he is continuing to be such an asshole. I don't think I'd even have to editorialize in order to point out that what he's writing to me and the way he's putting it is inappropriate in business correspondence. It would just be a question of forwarding the emails, and possibly highlighting the particularly egregious stuff. I feel like emailing him back, "When in a hole, QUIT DIGGING!"

I won't. In fact I still haven't responded to his most recent email from 2 days ago, because I was so angry with him writing to me, among other things, "I fear for your financial future. But maybe you don't care." I knew I couldn't respond civilly and I was raised to be civil. Evidently IG guy was raised differently. The only reason I haven't forwarded the emails yet is because there is a slim possibility his boss might fire him, and I don't like to think of myself as the type of person who would try to get someone fired when they have a wife and two kids to support. But if he keeps up this correspondence, I may turn into that type of person.

Who decides, upon having been (very politely) informed that their services are no longer required, to unload on their soon-to-be-ex-client IN WRITING, so that client has a record of what they've said? It just seems totally unprofessional to me. Aren't financial advisors supposed to thrive upon word of mouth referrals? Wouldn't it seem like a good idea not to burn bridges? I have no idea if this guy is unusual or if this is standard Investors Group practice, but I am feeling more pissed off at the entire organization with each passing day.


Jul. 26th, 2017 10:49 pm
dhampyresa: (Default)
[personal profile] dhampyresa
So I got kicked in the chest last Sunday. Well, upperchest/shoulder. Swimming: a more dangerous sport than you'd expect!

Was okay most of Monday, then began hurting in the evening. It's been hurting, with varying degrees of intensity, ever since. I hurt more in the evenings than mornings, but overall I thinkit's getting better. (I have an unrelated doctor appointment on Friday, so if it still hurts by then, I'll bring it up.)

Anyway, I've been taking it easy and avoiding moving that shoulder. That's why I've been mostly off the internet for now. Tomorrow I'll off the internet because I'm going to see Valerian! That should be more fun.

Kickstarter question

Jul. 26th, 2017 10:36 am
gehayi: (upside down house (gehayi))
[personal profile] gehayi
Does anyone know how to set up a Kickstarter or GoFundMe or something? The plumber is here for the fifth time in two months and I am going broke trying to pay the bills. This is not hyperbole. My credit cards are getting maxed out by home repairs and plumbing issues, and I cannot save anything from Social Security because I’m trying to pay more conventional bills as well. As things stand, I'm going to need help by the end of the year to clear some of these bills. I'm not going to be able to do it on my own.

I fucking hate this house.

My Worldcon Schedule

Jul. 26th, 2017 09:56 am
ffutures: (Default)
[personal profile] ffutures
 On two panels, one on gaming, the other on fanfic. The first is well within my area of expertise, the other is something I can probably talk about though I tend not to write it.

Horror in Roleplaying Games

Thursday 18:00 - 19:00, 101c (Messukeskus)

Roleplaying games can be all about amosphere. Does dice rolling take away from the horrific feeling? What tips players and game masters have for making sure the players are immersed in the game? In short: how to scare the pants off your players!

Marcus Rowland, David Damerell, Terilee007 (M)

Genderswapping in Fan Fiction

Saturday 17:00 - 18:00, 206 (Messukeskus)

Genderswapping happens quite often in fan fiction and very often it can offer something new to the readers and even reveal aspects of the original work the reader would not have thought about otherwise. The panelists discuss the difficulties in genderswapping in fan fiction and why they like to read and write about genderswapped characters.

Hanne Martelius, Marcus Rowland, Arwen Grune



Two more RPG Bundle offers - Numenara

Jul. 25th, 2017 07:19 pm
ffutures: (Default)
[personal profile] ffutures
This is one I know virtually nothing about, apart from a friend's opinion that it isn't very playable. There are two offers, one a repeat from 2014, the other new material.

Numenera Bundle

"This offer revives (for a second time) our May 2014 Numenera Bundle, featuring the science-fantasy tabletop roleplaying game Numenera from Monte Cook Games. A billion years in the future, explore the Ninth World to find leftover artifacts of nanotechnology, the datasphere, bio-engineered creatures, and myriad strange devices that defy understanding. The inspiration for the recent Torment: Tides of Numenera computer game from inXile Entertainment, Numenera is about discovering the wonders of eight previous worlds to improve the present and build a future. This bundle, the second revival of our May 2014 offer (previously revived in December 2014), collects the Numenera core rulebook and the supplements published in the line's first year or so. For this new resurrection we have an all-new companion, the Numenera Bundle +2 - Ninth World Discovery, with many recent supplements -- including one based on the Torment computer game.
We provide each ebook complete in .PDF (Portable Document Format). Like all Bundle of Holding titles, these books have NO DRM (Digital Restrictions Management), and our customers are entitled to move them freely among all their ereaders.
Ten percent of each purchase (after gateway fees) goes to this offer's designated charity, Human Rights Watch.
The total retail value of the titles in this offer at launch is US$70. Customers who pay just US$9.95 get all three titles in this offer's Starter Collection (retail value $25) as DRM-free .PDF ebooks, including the complete 418-page Numenera core rulebook, the Gamemaster Screen, and Cypher Collection 1.
Those who pay more than this offer's threshold (average) price, which is set at $18.95 to start, also get this offer's entire Bonus Collection with six more titles worth an additional $45:
  • Player's Guide (retail $8): The character creation rules and basic mechanics from the Numenera corebook -- a great guide for new players.
  • Ninth World Bestiary (retail $15): More than 130 lavishly illustrated and wildly imaginative creatures and characters in the Ninth World.
  • The Devil's Spine (retail $10): Three adventures in a hard-driving frame story. The terrifying devil's spine graft will claim a life, and the clock is ticking.
  • Vortex (retail $6): Monte Cook's original Gen Con 2013 Numenera launch scenario -- an ideal campaign kickoff in a mysterious temple like nothing the Ninth World has ever seen.
  • In Strange Aeons (retail $3): Incorporate cosmic horror -- the terror of unfathomable reaches of both space and time, and of incomprehensible weirdness -- into your Numenera games.
  • Artifacts and Oddities Collection 1 (retail $3): This companion to the Cypher collection presents 30 new devices and a hundred oddball phenomena to spice up your game.

Numenera Bundle +2

This Numenera Bundle +2 - Ninth World Discovery presents many recent supplements for the line, including an ebook inspired by the inXile Entertainment computer game Torment: Tides of Numenera.
We provide each ebook complete in .PDF (Portable Document Format). Like all Bundle of Holding titles, these books have NO DRM (Digital Restrictions Management), and our customers are entitled to move them freely among all their ereaders.
Ten percent of each purchase (after gateway fees) goes to these offers' designated charity, Human Rights Watch.
The total retail value of the titles in this offer at launch is US$105. Customers who pay just US$14.95 get all four titles in this offer's Starter Collection (retail value $47) as DRM-free .PDF ebooks, including Numenera Character Options, the Ninth World Guidebook, the Technology Compendium, and the two Maps of the Ninth World collections.
Those who pay more than this offer's threshold (average) price, which is set at $23.95 to start, also get this offer's entire Bonus Collection with five more titles worth an additional $58:
  • Torment: Tides of Numenera -- The Explorer's Guide (retail $15): Numenera inspired the recent Torment: Tides of Numenera computer game from inXile Entertainment. This 160-page book presents the computer game's setting, the region of Greater Garravia.
  • Into the Deep and Into the Night (retail $15 each): Two sourcebooks that present new frontiers in the ocean and the sky. Includes The Nightcraft (retail $3).
  • Weird Discoveries (retail $10): Ten instant adventures you can run in an evening with minimal prep.
At least one more title will be added after launch. When a title is added after launch, ALL customers who previously purchased this offer automatically receive the newly added title, REGARDLESS of whether or not they paid more than average. This is their reward for buying early.

Numenera resources

This looks very pretty, but you have to wonder about the idea that the human race and human civilization, or something like it to this extent, will survive a billion years, and then survive in a manner that basically resembles a fantasy role playing game, with bits of lost technology etc. replacing magic. My own first impression unfortunately bears out my friend's opinion - it's pretty, but it'd be a sod to run.

Having said that, there's some very good fiction out there using similar settings - Moorcock's Dancers at the End of Time and Vance's Dying Earth are obvious examples, as is Hodgson's The Night Land. It might be possible to do something with them, I'm just not convinced that this is the way to do it.

But as usual, your mileage is likely to vary.

(no subject)

Jul. 25th, 2017 11:06 am
baranduin: (Harry buffalo)
[personal profile] baranduin
Some Harry spam. Click on thumbnail to see full-sized pic. Sorry about the rug! I vacuumed up a large glass bead that H just dislodged this morning lol.

(no subject)

Jul. 25th, 2017 10:08 am
baranduin: (Sandpiper)
[personal profile] baranduin
Flower pics H took walking from the room down to the beach. So much in bloom!

Fireweed and fuchsia.

several more )

Phone woes

Jul. 25th, 2017 11:31 am
ffutures: (Default)
[personal profile] ffutures
If anyone has tried to phone me at home over the last few days, there's currently a bad fault on the line and it's almost impossible to understand what people are saying or recognise voices - as evinced by a couple of totally incomprehensible answering machine messages. BT say it ought to be fixed tomorrow.  Fortunately it doesn't seem to be causing internet problems so far.

Update - now fixed, sooner than expected.

Why I Think Confederate is a Bad Idea

Jul. 25th, 2017 04:32 am
[syndicated profile] historian_movies_feed

Posted by aelarsen

Last week, Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss announced plans for their follow-up HBO series, to be called Confederate. It will tell the story of an alternate United States where the Confederacy won the Civil War. Slavery is still legal and the country is heading toward the Third American Civil War.

The announcement aroused a great deal of controversy from people who objected to the idea of the series. A big part of the concern has stemmed from the fact that Benioff and Weiss have not challenged GoT’s white savior narrative that dominates Daenerys Targaryen’s storyline. It’s true that the basis for that narrative is George RR Martin’s writing, but they’ve done nothing to make that narrative less racially problematic or to improve the character development of the few black characters on the show. So it’s easy to see why so many people think that they can’t be trusted to tell a story centering around the actual real-word racism of the American slave system.

Given the nature of this blog, I figured that I should add my thoughts on this proposed series. I’m white, which obviously shapes the way I think about issues of race, and I don’t claim to be an arbiter of what people ought to think about these issues. But since my wheelhouse here is history and film/television, I feel obligated to say something.

Counterfactual scenarios are certainly worth thinking about. Historians often need to think about the what ifs in order to get a sense of what was at stake in a historical moment. In order to understand the impact of George Washington on the United States, it’s important to contemplate what might have happened if Washington had not stepped down after two terms as president. So a question like “what if George Washington had been less committed to democracy?” is valuable to ask, even if there’s no way to prove the answer to it.

But this show isn’t really asking “What would have happened if the South had won the Civil War?” because the Confederacy’s goal in the Civil War was not to conquer the North, just to achieve independence from the United States. The scenario the show envisions is one in which the South did not break away from the United States, but rather fought the North to a stalemate (according to this interview, at any rate), so that the Union somehow persisted without resolving the issue of slavery. That strikes me as a pretty improbably scenario. If the North couldn’t defeat the South, I’m not sure how they could force the South to continue participating in the Union.

But let’s not worry about the fact that the scenario they’re describing doesn’t really seem plausible. The deeper issue is not how they frame their alternate history but rather whether this show is a good idea at all. And I think the answer is that it’s not.

The Problem with the Whole Idea

My objection to the show is that it assumes that because the Confederacy no longer exists, it must therefore be a neutral force in modern society. That’s the assumption that gets made about monuments to Confederate leaders today—that because they memorialize people and events from the mid-19th century, they must not be anything more than markers of the past, a past that some people choose to take pride in.

The reality is far more complex than that. Confederate monuments were often erected not simply as memorials of the past, but as efforts to shape the moment they were built in. For example, in 1924, Charlottesville, VA, used the building of a couple of Confederate memorials as tools to push black people out of desirable neighborhoods by signaling that they weren’t welcome in there. In the 1950s and 60s, a number of Southern states chose to start flying the Confederate flag at their statehouse as an expression of resistance to the Civil Rights movement. In the late 19th century, the earliest of these monuments were erected as part of an effort by groups such as the Sons of Confederate Veterans to rewrite the history of the Confederacy and establish the myth of the Lost Cause, which falsely claims that the issue of States’ Rights was the primary cause of the Civil War, rather than the issue of slavery that was the actual cause.

So Confederate symbols are not simply markers of a long-vanished past. They are rather active players in a current debate about the meaning of the past. These monuments attempt to shape our understanding of the past, to render the Confederacy more acceptable by denying key facts and replacing them with a more palatable fiction. In that sense, these monuments already represent a What If scenario. What if the Confederacy had been motivated by something other than a desire to enslave black people? What if the Confederacy had been a valiant effort to defend states against an over-reaching federal government, rather than an attempt to defend one of the most brutal forms of slavery every devised?

Since the era of Reconstruction, most efforts to tell stories about the Confederacy have in fact been Counterfactual scenarios. From Birth of a Nation (What if slavery was actually good because black men were sexual predators?) to Gone with the Wind (What if the slaves were actually happy because the slave owners were nice?) to Sofia Coppola’s Beguiled (What if there were no slaves in the South during the Civil War?), American film-makers and authors have been reluctant to admit the truth about our slave-owning past, because the truth is brutal and ugly and profoundly shameful. We don’t want to admit that our white ancestors did terrible things to our black ancestors.

There is a strong argument to be made that even though the South lost the Civil War, it won the Reconstruction. The South was able to undo many of the effects of having lost the Civil War. While black people were no longer legally property, white society found ways to deny them many of their legal rights. Jim Crow laws functionally stripped a large swath of the black population of its right to vote down into the 1960s. Sharecropping and the prevention of labor unions in much of the South enabled employers to continue their addiction to cheap labor. Lynching and other forms of domestic terrorism kept black people subservient to whites and too fearful to challenge the existing situation.

And these issues have not gone away just because the Civil Rights movement succeeded. The end of lynching was followed almost immediately by the emergence of the Law and Order movement and the massive expansion of the prison system in what many feel amounts to a new form of slavery (since the 13th Amendment does not prohibit forced labor if the laborer is a convicted criminal). The fact that in modern America police seem able to kill black people with near impunity takes on new meaning when considered in light of the degree to which police and sheriff’s departments colluded with lynching in the Jim Crow era. So-called Right to Work laws continue depressing wages in many parts of the South.

My point here is that the United States has never truly had a reckoning with what the Confederacy and slavery actually involved and the way they shaped us. Instead the entertainment industry has fed us a lot of Counterfactual fantasies designed to soften the facts, to help us look away from the painful truth toward something more palatable. Only a few films, such as 12 Years a Slave (pointedly, a film with a British director and two non-American leads), have made a real effort to show us the brutal, sordid truth about our slave-owning past. So it seems likely to me that any television show that Benioff and Weiss might make will fall into the trap of not telling us the truth, because that’s what stories about the Confederacy do. That’s what they’re supposed to do. And on this topic, if it’s not telling us the truth, it will actively promote some version of the lies we have been telling ourselves.

After all, in order to have modern GoT-style drama, there needs to be moral ambiguity. Some of the slave owners have to be nice people, and some of the abolitionists have to be nasty people. But a Cersei Lannister-style abolitionist who will sink to any depths to win must inevitably suggest that maybe abolitionism wasn’t such a pure cause after all. If Sansa Stark owns slaves but dislikes doing so and tries to be nice to them, it implies that slavery must not have been quite as awful as it was because some of the owners must not have been so cruel. There’s just no way to tell HBO stories without compromising about the fundamental immorality of slavery.

Benioff and Weiss say they are aware of the need to get this right, as the interview I linked to above shows. They will be sharing showrunning and writing duties with Michelle and Malcolm Spellman, a black husband-and-wife team, presumably because they feel it’s important to have a strong black viewpoint represented in the inner circle. In the interview, they stress that they understand that many of the racial issues from slavery are still around. They seem to be intending to use the show as a vehicle to dramatize the way that racial issues today are connected to slavery. That’s certainly a laudable goal if they can pull it off.

The problem is that it’s a huge ‘if’. Race is a massive and in some ways intractable problem in American culture. The fact that previous story-telling about slavery and the Confederacy has tended to contribute to the problem rather than its solution leaves me pessimistic that any Confederate Counterfactual scenario could help shift people’s minds.

There and Back Again

Jul. 24th, 2017 06:46 pm
fresne: Circe (Default)
[personal profile] fresne
Just back from the annual pilgrimage to San Diego Comic Con. I have to say, taking a day to come down (and get home) is a great idea. The wings are put away. The Wonder Woman outfits are ready to be hand washed.

Read more... )

(no subject)

Jul. 23rd, 2017 08:53 pm
baranduin: (Sandpiper)
[personal profile] baranduin
View from the path to the beach looking back to our room, upper left, this morning.

View from the path looking the other way :-)

Negative? What Negative?

Jul. 23rd, 2017 09:35 pm
ffutures: (Default)
[personal profile] ffutures
A plaque I found in a car boot sale (US="Swap meet") today.

Ignoring the slightly dodgy use of photographic terms, it occurs to me that we're already living in a world where a large percentage of photographers have no idea what a negative is...
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