Friday, April 30, 2021

Jeff Goldblum is going to play D&D now which really does show you how much reach Dungeons & Dragons has in the world.

I'm continually amazed by the celebrities that are piling and/or coming out of the closet regarding Dungeons & Dragons. I always thought that my nerdy and geeky hobby was something to be ashamed of. I remember in the not-so-distant past when I was sitting with an attractive guy I was interested in and his cool friends were in the kitchen mixing drinks and making mojitos. They asked, "Where did you two meet? I'm really curious because you are so different." That was their way of letting me know I was fat and ugly without being rude and to let the guy I was interested in know that he was hot. At least that's how I read it.

So, naturally, I answered immediately in a loud voice that filled the house. "We play Dungeons & Dragons together. That's how we met." The girls preparing the mojitos looked at each other and were like..., "Really? I never would know...guessed that you played that weird game (insert name of male friend here)." He (of course) was kind of embarrassed. He shrugged and said, "Yeeaaahh....well...I kinda love it." Girls with blank stares..."Uh...okay then. Anyone want drinks?" It was just awkward, but I kinda loved it.

Fast forward to today. People are still judgy about D&D, however, they get less so every day because the list is long of famous people who play this game: Vin Diesel, Asa Butterfield, Wil Wheaton, Henry Cavill, Joe Manganiello, Matthew Lillard, Mike Myers, Jon Favreau, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Elon Musk, Felicia Day, Stephen Colbert, Anderson Cooper, Kevin Smith, Stephen King, James Franco, Patton Oswalt, Chris Hardwick, Dame Judi Dench, Deborah Ann Woll, Ashley Johnson, Gerard Way (My Chemical Romance), and the late Robin Williams.

Well, I guess now Jeff Goldblum is going to join us. He's going to be playing D&D as part of a podcast called Dark Dice that starts on May 12. His role? Playing the eleven sorcerer Balmur. Dungeons & Dragons is undergoing a kind of renaissance, and it's been very interesting to participate and be a part of it as the game grows and sucks in new players.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

The Mortal Kombat movie on HBO Max didn't take enough time with its characters to allow us to feel anything for them.

I watched the latest edition of the Mortal Kombat movie, and it was entertaining. But it also wasn't good. As pointed out by a friend, the fighting was mostly good computer generated graphics/images. However, the dialogue and the story were very sub-par. They did try to insert lines from the video game to pay homage to their source material, but these attempts mostly came across as cheesy and stilted. Examples were Kung Lau saying, "Flawless Victory," and Kano declaring, "Kano Wins!" Kano (although I don't like the character) was easily the one that had the most personality in the show. Everyone else was either a bad actor, or they were concentrating on being broody and serious and had no time for things like emotion.

They also left the storylines behind and had the characters trying to kill each other off before the actual tournament started. The movie never actually made it to the iconic tournament at all, preferring to have its battles in many regular world locations. As an example of this, Sonya fought Kano in her mobile home trailer park. So, although I was impressed with the appearance and the diversity of the cast and their dedication to martial arts and these characters, the script kind of sold them short.

But rather than say, "Video games are difficult to adapt to make good movies," I want to take a moment and explain why I think Mortal Kombat could be a great movie if the person with the right vision and talent came along to fix it.

Also, I'm not saying that this person is me. I know next to nothing about what it takes to make a movie. However, I have ideas regarding this franchise and why it is failing. So here's what I think is wrong with all of the movie adaptations thus far and how I would go about fixing them, were I to be a paid consultant.

Mortal Kombat has an enormous storyline. It is easily as complicated as The Lord of the Rings and as nuanced as Marvel, with many characters intertwining with others to form entire story arcs. So, why are directors and movie makers trying to hammer all of that into a 90-120 minute film? This is one of those times where you want to give each character (or a couple of intertwined characters) their own movie first. Sonya Blade and Jax should have their own movie. Liu Kang and Kung Lao should also have their own movie. The same goes for Sub-Zero and Scorpion. Shang Tsung should have his own movie as well as Johnny Cage, Katana and her sister Melina, and Baraka and Kano. Each of these characters has a fascinating storyline, and the characters should be approached as superheroes (or villains) and not as video game characters. We can make Captain Marvel look cool shooting beams of energy out of her hands, because it's a slow build to the reveal and it is handled in a really cool way. Maybe the same kind of delicate hand should be used with Sonya Blade, so that we slowly buy into these characters and they don't come across as cheesy.

It could also be explored in television via the same way that Disney Plus has gone with its characters like the Falcon and the Winter Soldier. A mini-series devoted to telling the story of Sub-Zero and Scorpion (easily the best part of the Mortal Kombat movie that is shown in the first 7 minutes). The story also needs time to develop Raiden all by his lonesome, so that he is shown to be connected to the protection of Earth. This would be similar to a Thor treatment, where Raiden gets his entire own movie (or a mini-series) to develop his powers and show what he can do.

What I'm saying in all of this is that the Mortal Kombat adaptations are not taking enough time to allow the story of the huge tournament to unfold. It's a great idea, and I think it would make a fantastic film if the directors of these movies would just slow down and let us get to know these characters before they are trying to kill each other. There's enough of a fanbase to this that I think it could be really popular. Who knows? Maybe it could even be the next big franchise outside of Marvel.

Monday, April 26, 2021

I kind of like the character of Sharon Carter now.

Here's your obligatory warning that there are spoilers for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier ahead.

I just finished watching The Falcon and the Winter Soldier on Disney Plus. I enjoyed it less than I did WandaVision. However, I still liked what happened in the show. And I think it's because of Sharon Carter's heel turn. Honestly, before this mini-series, Sharon Carter was a nothing burger of a character. She was the niece of Peggy Carter who was in love with Steve Rogers. She did share a little on-screen heat with Steve Rogers, but it was brief and made awkward by the fact that we all knew that Steve Rogers had been in love with her aunt. Being long lived and more or less in possession of a version of eternal youth, that seems to be a problem for the gods of Marvel more than its mortals.

That being said, we all need to remember that S.H.I.E.L.D. is toast. In it's place is S.W.O.R.D. So Sharon's whole purpose for even being in the story was gone. The previous storyline from Civil War also made this woman an enemy of the state. Sharon was a wanted woman because she stole the Captain America shield and the Falcon flight suit to aid Rogers and Wilson as they rebelled against the Sokovia Accords to protect Bucky Barnes. And then she got blipped. When she came back, she had to run. Sam and Bucky were pardoned and she wasn't. Hawkeye and Antman got deals, and she didn't. I love that she's possibly harboring a lot of bitterness and rage at this point.

Under circumstances like that, it's understandable for this character to take a dim view of patriotism and become increasingly disillusioned and self-interested. Sharon's turn as a potential villain now (the Power Broker) is a welcome change. The MCU has been wildly successful at creating an interconnected universe, but it still often feels like consequences of individual movies don't really affect events down the line. Tony and Bruce destroyed entire city blocks, and the only consequence to them was that they had to fill out a little more paperwork before beating up the bad guys going forward.

I hope that we see Sharon in future movies, camping it up a bit, with a "Live, Laugh, Love" sign in her office, organizing Hawaiian Shirt Fridays, and stuff like that...all while selling out and undermining the country that stabbed her in the back. It'd be cool if she ends both Bucky and Sam in some good story arcs. However, she will probably get some powerful repercussions once the full depth of her treachery has been brought to light. In any case, she is now a very interesting character, and I like it.

Friday, April 23, 2021

Even if its visuals are terrible by modern standards Babylon 5 is still a series that is worth watching.

I stumbled across Babylon 5 the other day while looking for something to stream on the t.v. while I painted on my 3D printed Samurai/Japanese Castle that I ordered. I had watched the series back in the 90's (yes, I'm that old), and I remembered that (at the time) I thought it was really good. In rewatching it, I'm still impressed by its story, and the things that it tried to do for science fiction. I think it's an amazing series, yet there are (of course) some things that haven't aged well.

By today's standards, the visuals are terrible. Additionally, the costumes and alien designs are creative, but they would not hold up to the things that we see in a series like Game of Thrones. At the same time though, the alien ship designs are so imaginative that I wonder what they would look like if this series was rebooted for a modern audience by something like Netflix or HBO Max.

The real strength of Babylon 5 is the way that it is one continuous story. It isn't episodical like its contemporary, Star Trek: The Next Generation. And the first four seasons are all a slow boil for the Shadow and Vorlon war whose story is visited through the use of time travel and the fate of the Babylon 4 station. Furthermore, the time travel shows the effects that the Babylon 5 crew has on the history of the galaxy. You get to see aspects from characters in the first season which are only answered in season four.

I think what I like most about what Babylon 5 gave to us is that the whole story was plotted thoroughly (all of its seasons), before they even started to film the first episode. This is actually what made Game of Thrones great. The whole thing (more or less) had been plotted out by George R.R. Martin, whether or not he'd actually finished writing any books. He still had the lore and his notes, and he knew who was going to end up on the Iron Throne. The same goes for Babylon 5.

And the people who put up the funding for shows in today's world (of 2021) could learn a thing or two from Babylon 5. For one, the specter of renewal makes a lot of shows suck. Every season that is produced could be the last in the series, so a lot of shows cannot take the risks that Babylon 5 did in order to tell its story. At the same time, the invention of the 13 episode season (I think) has been a good one for television as a whole, because it has forced writers to cut out filler episodes that usually made for a 22 episode season. So now you get a lot more tight storytelling, and as a result, each episode of a good series is typically "movie level" quality.

Anyway, I've been enjoying revisiting the series, and I was quite overjoyed to see that it was available to stream on HBO Max. Anyone else here a fan of Babylon 5?

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

This Ghostbusters Afterlife T.V. spot is hilarious.

I saw this Ghostbusters: Afterlife t.v. spot and it absolutely put a smile on my face. I think it's the dark humor, with the "Stay Puft" marshmallows roasting each other and spearing each other with skewers. It's been a while since I saw the original Ghostbusters but I think that because Ray (Dan Aykroyd's character) chose the form of Gozer to be the Stay Puft Marshmallow man, that it has to remain in this form forever? Is that correct? Also, Paul Rudd is an actor that always brings a smile to my face. He's great in everything.

Monday, April 19, 2021

Our very society is a sponge dripping with the urine of toxicity created by abusers and their ilk.

2020 was the year when all the crap hit the fan. But it was also the year that a lot of us realized we actually have nothing in common with other people. We had suspected it all along and there were red flags...but they were easy to ignore. For example, there were the HOA's that most people deal with. Some people actually love those things; others hated them. But more often than not, I was warned (when house shopping), "You won't want to live in that neighborhood. The HOA is pretty strict." But...they didn't know that I was a person that liked strict things, because I believe that people need to be held accountable for the crap that they do. In any event...suffice it to say...none of us were ever on the same page. And things that you thought "everyone hated" kept sticking around. For example, if everybody hated HOA's...why did they exist. The answer was a bitter pill to swallow: a lot of people actually liked them. Hmmm...interesting, right?

The same can be said of mass shootings. As a society, we have the means to deal with them. But the truth of the matter is a lot more complicated than that. A lot of people don't mind them at all if it means that they can keep their guns. It's a small price to pay. Additionally...those same people...they don't want those guns to hunt. It was never about that. They just want the option to do the unthinkable...if it ever comes down to it. But none of them say that. They still want to hide behind a veneer of civility, but their hearts are (and always were) filled with hate.

When 2020 came along though, it pulled back the sheets and exposed everything. We suddenly saw how actually bigoted and racist people were because they could be unapologetic about it. We saw terrible people just go on being terrible, and there was no "shaming" them into getting them to behave. The Covid 19 response was an absolute disaster, and we saw just how little empathy and how much selfishness pervades this country from top to bottom. It can never be unseen.

This x-ray vision that has exposed everyone has permeated every facet of society. For example, here in Salt Lake City, they can't find workers for $15.00 per hour. Shockingly, no one is signing up. I have Republican friends that say, "It's all the stimulus money. Why work when you can get money for free?" I respond, "No that's wrong. Why work for you for crap wages and run down their bodies when you should be paying $30.00 per hour to start for even the most basic job? That's a better question. And if you or your organization cannot afford to pay that, it's my opinion that your organization doesn't deserve to exist because it was built upon exploiting others for profit."

This of course, gets a lot of shocked looks, and, "Damn! I didn't know you were extreme Left in your views!" As an aside...that comment makes me laugh, because (apparently) getting paid a living wage and having healthcare makes me "extreme left." Something about 2020 made it easier to call people out on this kind of grifting...this kind of exploitation...and now we all see it.

I see it in games too. The liars, the narcissists, the cheaters, and the control freaks stand out like they've got a big red "X" painted on their foreheads. You see it in what other people define as "fun." I got this post from the D&D Facebook group I belong to (it boggles my mind that this guy was having fun because this is not how I would define "fun"):

"Proud GM moment. For the last 5 months I had my group fighting monsters and other servants of evil all the while fighting off curses that were slowly taking over their bodies. They also earned money and were able to purchase magic items that they wanted. This last session I dropped the bomb on them. Upon returning back from cleaning out a vampire nest, the group is greeted by their superior who thanks them for destroying all the rebel factions that would have threatened the servants of the Deep Gods plans to bring the all powerful Cthulhu to the world. He then changes into a monster, their magic items stop working, and they discover that the curses that they fought to remove from their bodies were actually symbiotes trying to protect them from being brain slaves. Then they all essentially died."

If you don't know why this is a terrible idea to do in a game, but would probably make a good story for a novel or a movie, then we are definitely not on the same page. But I have no doubt that this guy will probably struggle to find players who want to play in the future, and he will be shocked and wonder why. "But I'm so good. People know that my games are difficult." And he will bitch at how the new system put out by Wizards of the Coast (owners of D&D) coddle the players (it doesn't). "I remember back in the day, the game was hard!" No no remember back in the day that you could be a complete asshole and abuse people and waste their time and they sat there and took it because they secretly wanted your approval and mistook your abuse as a challenge. I would cap that comment off by saying, "You don't understand how the game is played, you don't know what fun is, and your games are incredibly short because you see it as you against them and you can't run powerful characters, because your brain is too small to come up with challenges. So you prefer this dark fantasy crapola that you try to spin into some testimony that you are somehow a genius."

Anyway, I wish I could unsee all of the toxic people out there, but I can't. I've been inoculated by surviving 2020, and those antibodies are in my blood. I now have bullshit and gaslighting detectors that run at 110%. Toxic individuals are everywhere. Our very society is a sponge that is dripping with the urine of toxicity created by abusers and their ilk. I wonder if there is anything any of us can do about it. The answer seems murky at best.

Friday, April 16, 2021

It blows my mind that illustrated comic books in full color were sold so cheaply in the middle of last century.

When I think that comic books in the mid 20th century used to be like twelve cents, I'm kind of blown away by that. If you account for inflation, that's like $1.32 in today's dollars. These were publications that had hand-drawn art. They were colorized, and many of the art panels were packed full of details. I recently finished an art piece myself. Admittedly, it is way more detailed than what many comic book panels have. However, it took me months to draw it. Comic book artists crank out these things like they are nothing, which really makes me appreciate how talented they all are.

But twelve cents? How was that even possible? A book today that is an illustrated edition can run into the hundreds of dollars. Comic books never had illustrated editions because the whole book was illustrated. I would also argue that distribution nationwide of these things was a marvel of its time as well. Imagine how much it would cost you to get something distributed to stores nationwide in today's dollars. Yet the founders of the comic book industry, like Stan Lee, were able to get this kind of thing done in an obviously affordable way that actually allowed them to pay talent a living wage.

And what about color? I would argue that it is cheaper and easier to get access to color printing in the modern world than it has ever been. But how could you print out entire comic books consisting of ten or more pages in full color for less than 12 cents (or a $1.32 today). It actually couldn't be done at all.

Anyway, it's just a random thought I had regarding art and how cheaply many artists work. They/we spend days and even months toiling away at something, and it ends up looking great, but I doubt if all that many actually make a dime on all that work. Art is cheap, and comic book art must have been cheap and easy to do (because extreme talent made it easy) or there's no way an entire industry could have risen from it. All those characters from Spider-Man to Galactus to Superman to Wonder Woman and Black Manta all had a unique look that originated in an artist's head, was put to paper, story-boarded, colored, and then printed for mass consumption for less than you can buy practically anything in today's world.

That's just nuts. I know that a lot of comic books from the Golden Age are worth some money these days, especially if they feature "first appearances" by famous superheroes, and they are in good condition. However, I'm going to put a controversial opinion out there: they should have been worth a lot of money when they were first printed. The amount of effort that some artists put into these could never have been rewarded with the proper financial compensation (if they only charged 12 cents for a book). 

Thanks for reading and have a good weekend.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

I cannot possibly live long enough to read all of the books on my ever growing list.


As most of you out there, I read a lot of books. However, I legitimately want to read more books than I possibly can in a lifetime, and being almost fifty, it makes me depressed that I won't finish them all. Here are just some that I want to read or am in the process of reading. In other words, I have them cued up.

For a while now, I've been enjoying Raymond E. Feist Riftwar books. But, I'm nearing the end of that lengthy list, and I started looking forward to what I wanted to read once I finished, and that's what led me to this post. So, when I get done with Riftwar, I'm going to read Ready Player: Two. I liked the first book, and the second one has been on my shelf for a while. There are also three novels in the Legends of the First Empire that I need to work through to finish that series off (it is by author Michael J. Sullivan). I want to start over with the Dune series to both refresh my memory and to push past God Emperor of Dune and finish what Herbert wrote as well as delve into some of the novels that have been put out by his son to see if any of those are any good.

I want to possibly revisit the Shannara books by Terry Brooks. There are dozens of them now that he's been publishing, and the last one I read was decades ago. I'm going to pick up after the book, Morgawr by Terry Brooks. I think that list has some 21 books in it alone, so I may not go too deeply and skip a bunch. But I am curious as I've enjoyed a lot of his world-building in the past.

I want to read the Demon Cycle books by Peter V. Brett. I've heard good things about these novels and there are like six or seven of them that I'd like to enjoy. I also want to re-read the Stephen King Dark Tower books (I think there are seven). I read most of them as they came out, which won't be the same as reading them as a binge so that the story is super fresh in my brain. Later this year the last book of the Expanse gets released. It is appropriately called Leviathan Falls. I guess we shall see if the human race can stand up to the aliens that wiped out the creators of the protomolecule.

There's some Piers Anthony books I want to finish that got added to a series after I thought he was done with it. I read them in my youth, and the series was originally called the "Apprentice Adept" series. I've read three of them but there are at least four more that continue the story. So, I plan on finding out what those tales have in them.

There's also the second Chronicles of Amber that deal with Corwin's son, Merlin, that I haven't read. Those are written by Roger Zelazny, and I'd like to see what those stories are about since I enjoyed the first Chronicles of Amber very much. I'd like to read some Anne McCaffery. I've never read any of her stuff, and it feels like I should get that out of the way. 

There's a George Romero book about the Living Dead that I want to read that is sitting on my shelf at home. So gotta get to that sometime this year. I'd like to read the Ringworld series by Larry Niven. I've been intending to delve into that for some time now, and will be ordering the books soon.

Anyway, it seems like I've got the next five years of books planned out already, and it seems a bit daunting. Any of you out there have an ever expanding shelf of books that you really want to read?

Monday, April 12, 2021

There are a lot of clichés about dragons but are dragons themselves cliché?

This is a gigantic dragon miniature that comes painted that is definitely not a cliché

Dragons have been a part of fantasy storytelling for a long time. In addition, they are in mythology and folklore the world round. George R.R. Martin used them (he originally didn't want to but was persuaded by someone he knew that it would be cool). They appear in video games, in Dungeons and Dragons, and they are used in a titles for fictional characters. One example of this is Dracula, who is Vlad Dracul, member of the Order of the Dragon. There are also characters in Mortal Kombat who can fatally kill others by summoning flames that look like a giant dragon, or they can channel the power of a dragon. In China, there is even a year of the dragon.

There are also many clichés about dragons themselves. They are greedy, clannish, they hoard wealth, they are very old (practically immortal), cunning, evil, they like to capture princesses, and when they pop up in stories it tends to be either about "the last dragon" or "a single dragon egg that somehow is alive." They are also (nearly always) extremely powerful.

There are also the creatures who are clearly inspired by dragons. Godzilla and King Ghidorah strike me as "dragon-inspired." And practically every fictional setting with a hint of fantasy has some version of a dragon. There are even some in Star Wars...krayt dragon anyone?

So, with all of these thousands (if not millions) of stories in which dragons play a part, I'm wondering if the monster itself is a cliché and should be avoided by writers. I think that at first we all need to know what a cliché is. The dictionary defines it as a phrase or an opinion that is overused and betrays a lack of original thought. So, a dragon is neither a phrase or an opinion. But it is a creature that is overused and betrays a lack of original thought. Another definition of cliché is a stereotype or electrotype. When I think about it, there are lots of fire-breathing dragons, and I would say that this is a stereotype. But the ones without any kind of breath weapon do show a little originality in thinking. I mean, that does seem unusual, right?

In any event, I think that for a thing to be truly a cliché, that it must be irritating. And I don't think that dragons (for most people) will ever be irritating. As much as I get tired of seeing them in fiction, once I accept that the dragon is there I usually start to think of how cool it is first. And this is true in Dungeons & Dragons as well. In that tabletop roleplaying game, dragons are even a part of the title as well as being infused into every corner of the worldbuilding. I occasionally think, "Ah it's just another dragon." But then I see the really cool illustration that someone does of it and then the miniature comes out and it's super detailed and looks awesome and I think, "Okay...there's nothing cliché about this now."

But that may be just me. So, I'm curious and am going to pose the question to any of you out there that might be reading my words. Do you think dragons are cliché, and would you ever consider putting them into your stories? I look forward to reading your comments.

Friday, April 9, 2021

I'm struggling as to why I should care of what happens to my estate after I'm gone.

I have a hard time making sense of how a "Will" or "End of Life Planning" are applicable to me. This year I will be fifty years old. I'm single and have developed no loving attachments. I have no pets. My only parent will die of old age probably in the next ten years. I'm atheist, so I believe whole-heartedly that when I die that I have no afterlife. I just become nothing, which is what I believe I was before I was born. I won't care whether or not I'm buried, cremated, fed to sharks, dropped in a hole with no marker, scattered through space, or whatever. I'll be dead, and that is that. There is no caring after death in my particular view of life and how it works (science and all that). Some people can think of some very creative scenarios of what might be considered "desecrating remains," but in hearing any of these and the "if you don't plan, it could happen to you..." my response still never changes: I won't care. I'll be dead.

And although I have friends, I see no reason at this point why any of them should benefit from just having met me and watched a few movies with me while they pursued their own families and relationships and always put me on the back burner to anything that had higher priority. None of them ever came even close to making a "sacrifice" for me unless you want to count bringing me a bowl of soup when they had leftovers. I never faulted them for putting me as a low priority either, especially true of the ones who are unhitched. They gotta get out there and try to find support, perhaps an old-fashioned "meal ticket" or other such thing to bolster their income (sugar daddy or sugar momma anyone?). I can't fault anyone for making those choices. But I wouldn't expect them to want anything from me other than a, "Thanks, it was nice knowing you. If I wasn't dead, I'd miss pizza night."

This has all really come into focus this week as I was reminded of how much my house is worth in an ever-increasing market here in Salt Lake City (we are about to experience San Francisco prices for real estate y'all). If it wasn't for the house, I really wouldn't be worth much. But I've had some people express that I should do my end of life planning "just in case." My response was to laugh comedically (as if they told a joke) and said, "For what? I have no heirs. I don't care what happens after I'm dead, because I'm dead. There doesn't seem to be a point. The state or the Mormon church or anything really can have it all. I won't care."

Then the conversation became very serious. "You don't care what mess is left behind?"

I blinked and then in a less comedic tone said, "Well, there's no mess while I'm living. And when I'm dead I will be yeah, I don't care about any mess. I won't have to sort it out. It won't be a headache for me. I'll be dead, so I won't have headaches."

This was met with derision, revulsion, and even anger directed at me. All for pointing out that, I really won't care when I am dead.

"How could you be so irresponsible? How could you do this?"

Suddenly... a comedic comment had become way too serious. It was a discussion that I feel is not applicable to me (I'd welcome anyone to explain why it is). But there is a price that is paid for never making connections with anyone. I wasn't successful in finding love or finding anyone to care deeply for (at least up to this point in my life). The price I pay for that "lack of ability" is that my whole estate also goes to nothing in particular. I actually won't care what happens to this entire planet after I'm dead. If it gets struck by an asteroid and everything dies...I won't care.

It honestly feels like the people who want me to do end of life planning are trying to "shame me" for not being more attached to the human race. It's like that scene in Game of Thrones where the zealous septa follows Cersei around King's Landing ringing the bell and chanting, "Shame!" I loved it in fiction, but it's bullshit that someone would try to do that to me. I'm a man who's almost fifty. I can do what I want.

I've come to appreciate that life is a very strange thing. And life in capitalist America comes with its own layers, as people battle to try and obtain the "easy life" through inheritance. However, I think that most of the people who strive for this kind of thing are just malignant narcissists who feel entitled to other people's money. In addition, there are those people who do a lot of virtue signaling with regard to money. They say things like, "Money doesn't matter; it's people who matter." And then they live the life of choosing (always) people who are not me because attractiveness and sexiness matter a whole lot in the "fun" department. Look, I get it.

Okay then, I know a few of these folks. However, when the people who do this kind of thing find out that they will not benefit a cent from my death, a different discussion emerges. "Don't you care about me?" My answer, "Sure. I'll buy you dinner tonight." They respond, "I mean...after you're gone. Don't you want me to live a better life?" My (truthful) answer, "I won't care because I'll be dead. So no, I don't think at all of what will happen to you after I'm dead. But I care about you in the present." And then they say, "Well you should care in the future too." And then I say, "Why? Aren't you the person that says you prize people over money? Why is money so important now? If money was always this important, then maybe you should give me more attention than you do and put other people on the back burner. So what is it? Are people more important? Or is money more important? You can't have it both ways."

Anyway, this has become more of a rant than I thought it would be. But it has helped clear my headspace a bit as I struggle to understand why people say and do certain things, and why some may prioritize money over people...and yet say they prioritize (clearly) people over money.  Something is not matching up, and being "on the autism spectrum" it's a thing that I'm having a little trouble sorting out. Maybe in the end, people should just mind their own business unless they are willing (and able) to become a partner or a spouse. In that regard, I'm jealous. People who have found someone don't have to put any thought into whether or not they should do "end-of-life" planning. It should be automatic, as you have loved ones and heirs that are in your interest to help pad their lives going forward. As for us single, unattached folks floating out here bereft of anything even remotely called "attachment," the path beyond death is far more complicated. Maybe I'll just ratchet this whole thing up to being yet another "First World Problem."

If you have any opinions on what I've said above, I'd like to hear them in the comments. Maybe you can help to provide me with a little more clarity as to what I should do and why.

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

In the April Insecure Writer's Support Group we are asked about our risk-taking when crafting our stories.

Today is April 7, and it's time for another Insecure Writer's Support Group post. It's also "national running day," and I've enrolled in this Healthy Utah program at work. I'm not running. Sadly, my body is incapable of that at the moment. But we have a work thing scheduled for two hours today that will be fun (it's two hours I don't have to be at work). We just need to walk around the park, so I'm looking forward to that.

Now back to the purpose of the Insecure Writer's Support Group: to share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Every month, the IWSG announces a question that members can answer in their IWSG post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say.

Here's a link to the IWSG if you would like to learn more and sign up.

April 7 question - Are you a risk-taker when writing? Do you try something radically different in style/POV/etc. or add controversial topics to your work?

The awesome co-hosts for the April 7 posting of the IWSG are PK Hrezo, Pat Garcia, SE White, Lisa Buie Collard, and Diane Burton!

In my own writing, I've always been a risk taker. I approach controversial subjects like homosexuality or religion with gleeful abandon. I wouldn't recommend following my footsteps as there is a narrow audience that accepts this kind of thing, and I have received some negative reviews due to the way I choose to write about things. But, I don't care. I'm gonna write what I want to write. I'm also not that serious of a writer. So I think that if you are serious about making writing your career, you should not write about controversial topics. For example, I think that J.K. Rowling would not have survived her writing the things she has regarding transgender people if she wasn't already too big to cancel.

Another thing that I tend to like (when I read) is head hopping. This bugs A LOT OF people, but I've read some good books where the writer head hops around so that you can get different perspectives on the same event. But head hopping is seen as a sign that you are a terrible writer. So, it's weird that I kinda like it.'s a controversial opinion. Maybe, I only like it because the uses where I have encountered it seem to really fit the story. Which means, it's not an accident. So, I would qualify my statement about "head hopping" in that, it's another tool in the toolbox. There may be situations where a scene could be improved by skillful use of this tool.

Anyway, thank you for stopping by my blog. If any of you are doing the A to Z challenge, I hope it is going swimmingly.

Friday, April 2, 2021

The most fascinating aspect of Godzilla versus Kong is the Hollow Earth.

Godzilla versus Kong
landed on HBO Max on Wednesday. So, naturally I decided to watch it that evening. There are spoilers ahead in this post, so take this as your one and only warning and head out if you plan on watching it, and do not want to know any details.

As kaiju films go, I enjoyed this one. However, the people who I watched it with may not have permitted themselves to like the film as much as I did because it was just too stupid. I know that a movie that has a gargantuan radioactive lizard fighting a super ape on an aircraft carrier in the middle of the ocean is not high cinema. But these folks wanted explanations of most things, which I just decided for myself did not need answering.

But, this isn't to say that I don't have questions. On the contrary, there were so many things I saw in the two hour running time that I want answers to, that it creates a kind of frustration in me. This movie, Godzilla versus Kong, felt very much like the end of a story that started with Godzilla a few years ago. And I don't think that Legendary pictures may make more of these, especially given that Godzilla: King of the Monsters was a box office disappointment and Godzilla versus Kong is not going to be breaking any box office records with the country in the grip of the fourth wave of Covid 19.

So here are my questions that I may never get answers to:

1) So the Hollow Earth is a planet within a planet, and it is apparently the ancient home of King Kong's people. Furthermore, Kong's people had a civilization. The place where Kong found the ancient axe of his ancestors looked like it was a throne room surrounded by stadium seating for other massive gorillas of his kind. What happened to those people?

2) What other kinds of kaiju are there in this Hollow Earth? We saw a huge snake like thing with wings like leaves. I'd like to see more of the kaiju that populate this incredible place, where the sky is filled with mountains.

3) Where does the Hollow Earth get its light? There was sunlight down there, and atmosphere. I'd kind of like some crazy fantastical explanations for that, because it is cool.

4) Who made that axe? It looks like it has a blade that is a dorsal fin from a creature the same as Godzilla. Was it an ancestor of Godzilla?

5) Back on the topside (Earth) I have questions about Mecha-Godzilla. Specifically, did they put King Ghidorah's soul in the Mecha-Godzilla? Is that why it went crazy?

6) Godzilla's breath weapon can burn all the way to the Earth's core. That means that Godzilla could literally destroy the Earth if it wanted to. Is it the intention of the makers of these films to suggest that Godzilla is that powerful?

All in all, I enjoyed the film and thought it was too short. I wished they had taken some more time with it, and really showed us/taken us on a tour of the Hollow Earth. That was a fascinating place, and it seems like a bit of a missed opportunity.