Posts tagged "my decent writeups"

Spoilers after the cut, but for those that want to avoid it, an abstract: I felt a moral disconnect between the final decision made by Joel and that of myself. To me, this highlights a disconnect in understanding of the protagonist and the understanding of the player, to the point where a significant decision makes you completely disagree with the direction the game heads in. I also highlighted the major issue I had with the game: that the game mechanics did not inform the game’s plot, and vice-versa. I am still not sure whether this is a sign of good or bad writing.

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Jen and I spent a very rare night out from hospital (read: four hours, exactly, being timed on a stopwatch) at a Could Control’s Vivid Live concert in the Opera House on Friday night. It was probably the happiest I’d felt during my entire stay so far. It was night of escape to do the two things I love the most: see live music and spend quality time with the most important person in my world.

Things have been getting me down of late. Tomorrow I am going under for intensive surgery. I’m getting a colostomy bag put in, as well as an electronic vacuum installed into my back end. I’ll have to carry around this vacuum everywhere for a month, like my own little Beemo, as well as poop through a bag.

But every day, even when she can’t visit, Jen has made me feel better in the best way possible, albeit through bringing food, cracking jokes, telling me stories from her placement or just holding me as I cry out the pain. We met three years ago at a Cloud Control show, after meeting on Tumblr (sidenote: if anyone tells you tumblr gives you nothing, direct them to me) and seeing them play the songs that first brought us together that night again drew us closer, both figuratively and physically (in that we gripped each other tighter, ha). For us to see them again at a time when agony had brought us closer than ever was probably the most poignant and amazing experience I’ve had this year.

The more this rolls on, the more I find myself reflecting the characters in The Fault In Our Stars. I am dying of a strange illness, now with a box to carry everywhere, but carried by the strength of love towards an infinite that may not be greater than others, but is still an infinite worth valuing.

I really love this woman. As much as I hate everything about my disease, she gives me a reason to stay around. Not just for her, but because I am valuable to her. I am worth something to the world. To her world. And that matters.

This time last year the Big Day Out was in turmoil. The response to its double-headline bill of a controversial popstar and a veteran rock act was mild at best. The rest of the lineup also left a lot to be desired, with many of the acts having recently toured. Public perception had turned and it led to one of the poorest showings in the event’s history, a permanent end to the New Zealand leg, and the departure of one of the festival’s founding fathers, Viv Lees. Twelve months later, while the summer festival season remains as bloated as ever, the Big Day Out has been given a much needed facelift. The sale of half the festival to U.S. consortium C3 (of Lollapalooza fame) has led to an overhaul in much of the festival’s running and the logistical results have been astounding. At the first “new Big Day Out” amenities were available everywhere, especially all-too-precious water; security personnel were kind and courteous; bottlenecks and crowd-crushes were non-existent; and with AV duties outsourced to MTV, sound was near-perfect on every stage.

I reviewed the first “new” Big Day Out for FasterLouder

SPOILER ALERT: Didn’t like the Chilli Willies.

I thought to reply to all of them with “being a possible carcinogenic is different and much worse to just causing cancer” but decided to do my research instead.

And hooray! The research is good! If only Tumblr didn’t fuck it up by being cynical about the drug and even calling it by the wrong fucking name!

The product is going to be called, internationally, Vasalgel (not RISUG), and animal trials are being conducted by the not-for-profit Parsemus Foundation. These are significant for several reasons. First, the trials that were done in India, while intriguing, aren’t exactly up to WHO standards, which are very important. Parmesus Foundation trials are.

Secondly, the current clinical trial in India have stalled because they only have 67 out of the needed 500 volunteers to make a satisfactory trial group. Recent events in India probably didn’t help their call either. With the power of the Internet and us, even someone like me could participate.

But back to the point: The Parsemus Foundation are close to finishing animal trials (lol PETA, amirite?) are are ready to move onto a full clinical trial after VERY promising results. Fuurthermore, the signs of toxicity, carcinogens and tetranogenicity are practically non-existent (further studies pending). BUT THEY NEED OUR HELP. They will soon be launching an Indiegogo to fund the clinical trial, as these things are VERY EXPENSIVE, especially without State support (unproven) or pharmaceutical support (they’re not cool with one-time drugs. They like stuff that has to be repeated regularly, like The Pill or Viagra). I, for one, will definitely be donating, because if a book/video game/Robocop statue in Detroit deserves my money, then this deserves my whole fucking wallet, credit cards and all.

SIGN UP HERE IF YOU WANT MORE INFO OF WHEN THE FUNDRAISER STARTS. Wait, let me repeat that, Tumblr-style, for effect:

SIGN UP HERE IF YOU WANT MORE INFO OF WHEN THE FUNDRAISER STARTS

THIS IS SUPER IMPORTANT AND IF YOU ARE A DUDE AND YOU DON’T SIGN UP FOR AT LEAST UPDATES ON THIS WE CANNOT BE FRIENDS AND YOU PROBS AREN’T MATURE ENOUGH TO BE AROUND WOMEN OKAY? OKAY, COOL.

I tried to have a conversation recently with my mother about the position that God and Church plays within my life. We were raised in two different worlds. Hers was that of a Brazilian city where one of the largest annual Catholic processions are held. All of my family, including my gay uncle and aunty, are very staunch Christians. I grew up in a world of concert-masses, child-sex allegations, Mel Gibson, and a 24-hour news cycle that touts the Vatican’s position of power.

That’s to say, to her (and to most Latin-Americans), Catholicism is apart of culture. It’s something that we own. We have to value culture and heritage as a part of our property and as something to hold onto, to pass on that isn’t just the material. It’s also something we actively share and embrace; we offer our warmth and hospitality as a sign that we wish for you to accept our culture as a gift. It is not yours to appropriate but yours to value and spread as we do.

(On a similar note, this is why - as insensitive as the tagline may be - I felt offended when a white girl tried to call out racism against Latin culture due to manicurist’s tagline [which may have been cultural appropriation, but that is up to US as a community to decide, not her]. They don’t get to make that call, and it contradicts the above sentiments anyway.)

But at the same time, Catholicism as the institution I have grown up with is dogmatic and non-inclusive, almost the polar opposite of the cultural belief that my mother grew up with. It’s hard to reconcile: my mum thinks that taking me to church will cure my Crohn’s and suddenly make me start studying and working again (not to mention stop going out to concerts and parties). It’s a thought that’s echoed amongst my family: that all I need to fix me a lil’ bit of God.

There’s a lot I still hold onto when it comes to Belem and Brazil. I don’t believe in any locally-labelled “Açaí” product. I wear white during New Year’s Eve. N. Senhora d. Nazare and Cristo Redentor sit side-by-side on my table. I’ve been lucky enough to grow up learning Portuguese to the point that I am now fluent. I have nothing but love and respect for what my parents have passed onto me.

But at the same time, I can’t bring myself to reconcile my more Western, secular ideals of what religion is with what Christianity means to my culture and my family. On one hand, my growth as an individual has been slowly away from the Church (with good reason). But on the other, the meaning of what the Church brings to me, to my mother, is something much more sentimental than simply “religion”.

betterbooktitles:

Victor Hugo: Les Misérables

Reader Submission: Title and Redesign by Albert Santos.

I made a Better Book Title. It is legit better.

Today, I spent my entire day (irritating my mother) watching every Lord of the Rings film, extended edition, back to back to back, in one of Sydney’s few proper cinema theatres. It was, as expected, exhausting. It strains the eyes, legs and everything in between. I spent most of the day very hungry, or with an overly salted mouth, or with an over-sugared mouth.

As opposed to the arena-style cinemas in most complexes that buffers out audience sound by design, the theatre made every sound around us crystal clear. I made a conscious effort to turn off my mobile during every session, but the muttering, tweeting and such by everyone else was very noticeable throughout. That said, watching the film with a crowd who cheered at every amazing moment, from the times that Jackson!Denethor got what he deserved to Boromir saying THAT meme was nothing but spectacular. Not to mention, the film’s soundscape gains a whole new life in the surrounds built for classic cinema.

Throughout the day, watching my personal allegiances, loves and hates being played by the storytelling of JRR Tolkein and the direction of Peter Jackson is something magical. I began to remember watching the film as a child with family: Watching The Lord Of The Rings was a minor Boxing Day tradition, going to the local cinema near the Auburn factory outlets and lining up for close to two hours for a decent place in the cinema. People sat in the aisle, screamed profanities when Arwen and Aragorn were on-screen together, laughed hysterically when an Ent ran into running water to put out a fire on its head and got up to leave five times at the end of Return Of The King. Few times since have I been in a cinema that wasn’t full of “die-hard” fans (talking cosplayers, LARPers, collectors, etc.) where a movie has gotten a similar response. Indeed, the only film that I can recall that got anything near that response recently was Avatar (and I watched that in 2D, in poorly-dubbed Portuguese in a small un-air-conditioned cinema; of course everyone would be rowdy).

Looking back at how much the cinematic and pop culture landscape has changed from then till now is also immaculate. The one-two-three hits of the Harry Potter series, Lord Of The Rings and (to a lesser extent) the first Spider-Man film caused a cultural shift in the way we view almost everything we see today. Everything from trusting in the ability of a pre-existing fanbase to elevate niche culture into the mainstream, to the growing success of “mythical” fantasy in the style of World of Warcraft, Game of Thrones and Skyrim, to even trusting in the audience’s ability to understand complexities in plot structure and meaning all grew from the fact these three films were all such big events. Add to this the fact that they were all released at the dawn of the new age of the internet, when social media was just being born, and practically every fandom around right now has these three films, and everyone who went and saw them some eleven years ago, to thank.

I mentioned it on Facebook nigh-immediately (as I do) only to be shot down by a bunch of hipster-haters who argued that it was too cheesy (do you even watch fantasy?) and that its plot is too deus ex machina-driven (again, DO YOU EVEN WATCH FANTASY?). Frankly, aside from the fact that the film features a total of minus-three People of Colour, the only real complaints about the series were already casually covered by the only memorable bit of Clerks 2: its denouement feels over-long and it’s determination to keep the story’s pacing steady throughout all three films results in a film that sometimes feels like it is on autopilot (or, rather, always walking).

Maybe the greatest success of The Lord Of The Rings is making the world of the “fan” normal. It was a grand act of critically-acclaimed blockbuster cinema that destroyed a lot of the common nerd stereotypes of yesteryear. It allowed a generation to grow up knowing that if they were into DnD or cosplay or fanfic or AMVs or anything in between, that there really was a whole world out there who were with them. No matter what their friends, family or sometimes even other members of the fandom said there was a community to back them up, with the numbers and (with the internet behind them) the voices to prove it. Granted, nerd-culture now has other demons to fight, like its blatant internalized sexism and the continued success of Chuck Lorre. But, to bring it all back, I really doubt we’d have a world with AUs, SuperWhoLocks, slashfic or any of the other great things that makes what we have on Tumblr, the Internet and the world without the work of The Lord Of The Rings.

Can we take a moment to appreciate the enormity of what has just happened across Australia, over the past fortnight? Because this should be recorded in the fucking record books. If you went up to any sane human in 2009 and said that an independent bedroom producer of eclectic-pop would be packing out arenas nationwide three years on, you’d have been given an awkward side-eye and patronising pat on the back. But here we are. Somehow, the Melbourne guy who couldn’t even afford to take his touring band with him overseas to promote his previous record is now standing with nine other performers on a stage usually reserved for your Elton Johns, Neil Youngs, and, well, The Wiggles. Yes, it is thanks to one “viral hit” and its oh-so-exploitable video clip imagery. Yes, it may not last another year, or another six months for that matter. But even with all that considered, it is one hell of an achievement.

It’s funny how quickly things change. A few weeks ago music online rag FasterLouder declared that it had a new critical voice; that it was prepared to take on the mantle of being both the big mainstream rock outlet and a place where professional music writing can get its time in the sun.

Then it did this.

In principle, I’m okay with Darren Levin and Co publishing whatever they want. As someone who has had a majority of their worked published via FasterLouder, it does me no good on both a personal and professional level to complain like a back-seat driver about the whole thing. They posted an image up on Friday that seemed to suggest that the entire thing was a move to get us talking about subjectivity and perspective, and I think this facet is important. But we’ll return to that shortly. And at the end of the day, they have page view quotas to meet and that rules, above all.

You see, as much as I want to let this one go, I can’t. Not as a contributor, forum regular, reader, visitor and friend of FasterLouder. My main problem is that based upon their own rules, they have done themselves a critical disservice.

As Jake Cleland pointed out on twitter, the primary issue with saying something is “overrated” is that all it takes to assume the position that any product is overrated is to experience indifference towards it. Then the mere idea that your target be praised becomes an act of self-fulfilment for your hypothesis: you think it’s great, but I don’t believe that it should be because it is merely good/okay/mediocre/bad/shit/should-be-disappointed-that-they’re-not-Snakeface. You could literally collect any range of critically or commercially successful products from any era and apply this method and it will always work to your favour. The viewpoint is simplistic and cheats the audience of a true critique via false pretention.

In a way, this is reminiscent of Citizen Kane, oft-cited as one of – if not the – greatest movie of all time. The titular character’s promise would be to report the news with journalistic integrity, but eventually his own credo is destroyed by his hubris. In a case of life imitating art, Citizen Kane’s snubbing of a Best Picture Oscar due to a direct campaign by opposing film studios to discredit its critical success is often pointed at by Academy Awards cynics as proof of how an award that should be a demonstration of integrity and merit within its field can fall on its sword.

That’s the ultimate danger of saying that anything is “overrated”: you are not so much attacking the albums but the institution that creates their reputation. In other words, you are eating your own tail, and our tail, and the tale of every other arts outlet in Australia. It’s a political move, not a critical one. It is the pop culture realm’s “get off your high horse”. Unfortunately, no amount of babbling about how tracks 5 and 7 of so-and-so album are shite (compared to the other 12 which are magical) will change this.

Worse still, it’s the sort of institution-attacking most often used by the type of PR companies or large commercial entities that feed mainstream music websites with press releases and media opportunities. Destroying the critical institution may well be what kept nu-metal alive after Faith No More provided the genre with its only good moment in the sun. Hell, Taylor Swift, poster girl of the blonde-hair, blue-eyed Pop Music Machine, has a line in her latest hit that says, in a sarcastic tone, “you/ will hide away and find your piece of mind/ with/ some indie record that’s much cooler than mine”.

If this was meant to be an exercise of subjectivity and perspective, it failed. The perspective is a permanently negative one, with no room for further subjective readings or analysis. Even in the world of listicles, giving the audience room for evaluation and discussion is paramount. Unfortunately the mere concept of “overrating” something doesn’t offer that. All in all, the article just made everyone that bit angrier, while driving page views up that slight bit more. 

Glastonbury isn’t just a festival. The Glastonbury Festival is the closest thing to Mecca that exists for the music fan, right down to the towering main Pyramid stage acting as the Kaaba. Bands become legends after a single set. Friends are made, and lost, and made again. Secret performances happen at a whim, anywhere, anytime. Flags of every nation, religion, creed, colour and club are waved.

So yesterday my mum and I went to see The Dark Knight Rises at Hoyts Broadway, here in Sydney. Just minutes beforehand, the news of the Aurora massacre had started to come through and you could tell that most of the cinema was on-edge.

Anyway, the usual pre-movie commercials and trailers are up and the place feels more tense than usual. No muttering, no pre-movie ruffling of candy packets to get them open, it feels like everyone doesn’t want to be there; like the only reason they’re still watching this movie is because the session sold out sometime earlier in the afternoon and they didn’t want their tickets to go to waste.

Then the trailer for The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Pt. 2 comes on.

It’s a lot of cheesy acting, dialogue, editing. I was trying my hardest to contain myself, holding back laughter.

Then the last scene of trailer, where Bella hunts down an animal comes up and I. Lose. My. Shit.

My mum is looking at me like I just just gave the world’s worst fart, but less than half a second later the entire cinema joins in and breaks out in rapturous laughter. Everyone was thinking the same thing! Someone actually says out loud, “It’s so fucking bad!” It was amazing.

Times like these remind me why cinema is so great and important. Those moments where a group of a few hundred individuals can come together and share moments like these. In that one moment, we weren’t thinking about the shootings, we were thinking about just how ironically funny Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattison were.

In a way, it was probably the most beautiful way to bring us all back into the world of cinema. All thanks to one of the world’s worst film franchises.

Because god. God. It was really bad. And not even in a funny, ridiculous way or a stupid, cheesy way. No, it was just boring. Dull. Uninspired. Visionless. Bland. In fact, the thesaurus entry for “boring” doesn’t do this film justice in how boring it is.

Let’s start with the plot. It doesn’t fucking exist. There is something to do with Spider-Man’s dad, who ran away for some unknown reason when he was a kid. Oh yeah, he was a scientist buddy with the villian, whose head intern is the love interest, whose dad is the head of the NYPD SWAT team and WHY DO I EVEN GIVE A SHIT? This ties into Peter Parker becoming Spider-Man by the most contrieved manner possible and the villian becoming an ugly Lizard-thing using methods with plot holes so big, they were dug out by a young Shia LeBeouf in a Disney movie.

Martin Sheen aka The President of The United States is Uncle Ben and Sally Field is Aunt May and both are as confused as to what this film is about as we are, let alone what purpose they serve. It seems like both their MO’s has been written out at some point. Emma Stone’s Gwen Stacey does nothing other than look at Andrew Garfield hesitantly occasionally. They have fuckall on-screen chemistry, by the way, which is surprising since they literally have so much chemistry flowing off-screen in everything they do. I mean, that’s how you don’t fuck up a romantic pairing, right? Did nobody watch Mr and Mrs Smith? Bradgelina made that shit. The entire façade of their romance is embarrassing.

Andrew Garfield tries his best and kind of does the dweeby-hiptser thing okay but he still feels out of place. In fact, everyone seems to be relying on Second Unit here and maybe just guessing where they are meant to be staged. Where the fuck was Marc Webb? Where the fuck was any direction whatsoever?

Rhys Ifans gets given nothing to do other than walk around with a fake half-arm spouting quasi-evil lines then suddenly he is a CGI creature and from then on he may as well be dead because The Lizard as presented here is one of the most lifeless, droney, formulaic brute villains ever, wanting to create an army for godknowswhatreason. On that note, this film has taught me the importance of actually having actors (or at least stunt doubles in motion-capture suits) acting out scenes that will be rendered in CGI later because whenever any dialogue is spoken during a fight scene there is this disgusting disconnect between audio and visual and it is actually the most unprofessional thing I have ever seen in a big-budget movie. 

I could rant on and on about everything that this film fucks up, because it fucks a lot up. But instead I’ll give it a virtual death sentence in my books by saying it was worse than Spider-Man 3. To me, what made the first three Spider-Man films work is that - despite their flaws - they had a clear vision. They looked heroic, from the framing to the lighting to the score. It was all had a clear look that fit the direction and the plot well. And it brought out the best of everyone involved. Amazing Spider-Man has nothing to that degree. Nada. Zilch. Zero.

I went into this film expecting at worst the type of executive-directed film that the last few Pirates film were, but at best something that showed ingenuity and vision despite the troubled production it faced. Alas, there is no such thing as a bad idea for a movie, just a bad execution of an idea. I got something much worse. I got an experiment in blind filmmaking, probably made using the monkey on typewriter experiment. Marc Webb should have Alan Smithee’d this shit.

There is one good scene in the film. To save you the trouble of going to the cinema, here it is on YouTube.

Reworded my About Me so that it’s 600% more of an egotistical wank than before!

Reworded my About Me so that it’s 600% more of an egotistical wank than before!

darknessandstarlight:

Anonymous asked you: 
do you think “jobs” like yours are inherently wrong? Do you think working as a part of the entertainment industry entitles you to something greater than the rest of society?
First off, why did you put ‘jobs’ in quotes like that? Are you implying that it’s not a “real” job, or that it’s not work because it’s ~videogames~ or something?
Why would I think jobs like mine are wrong? They’re jobs, someone has to do them. And why the fuck would working in the entertainment industry “entitles you to something greater than the rest of society”? What are you talking about? Seriously, please clarify this.

This question pisses me off on so many levels. It comes from the same train of though that creates that really bad “You do an Arts Degree? Have fun packing my groceries at Walmart HURRRRRRRRRR!” joke. It’s all about power over someone who is achieving in a field by doing something they actually enjoy and love, and that you can’t see as being any more than a hobby or a pastime.

And aside from that, do you know how much less people in the entertainment industry get paid, on average? Much less. To the point that getting a full-time job that’d pay for a mortgage comfortably (like most jobs should) is but a pipe dream. And forget job security. Oh, and just about everyone doesn’t get your job title so you are constantly questioned of what you do for a living - see the other questions darknessandstarlight has answered for an example of just that. Union? non-existent. Most of us have to be freelancers to get by

In fact, let’s go back to the money thing: you know how much of society thinks our jobs are worthless? That our roles can be outsourced? That you can get away with giving you unpaid “intern”, “assistant” or “contributor” an almost full-time workload? That you can just cut almost 2000 jobs and know that most of the populus wont give a fucking shit? Almost all of it. Every one of my friends who works in the entertainment industry has a horror story based on being unpaid, underpaid or never paid.

And the worst part? There are people growing up now, who have taken this in as gospel and are working with it. They are doing the work that should be earning us all incomes to pay for rent, bills and food for zilch. So the few people in paying jobs are held at virtual randsom, knowing that there is someone else with less skills, less reliability but would get their job in a heartbeat based on solely the fact they’d do it for free.

And it all comes down to people thinking that those in the Arts and Entertainment industry think that we’re better than them because what we do entails aspects of what they deem recreation. We don’t. We just want to do our job so that we can earn money for a living. Just like you do. So either help us do that job better, or kindly go fuck yourself.

I made a playlist of my favourite tracks of the year so far. Will update as the year goes on. You should subscribe to it. It’s pretty rad.