Heroes: Plot Devices with Moral Compasses

A great villain is the source of tremendous conflict. They bring about havoc, sewing the seeds of destruction and chaos everywhere they go. Naturally, there exist such people who only desire to thwart such nefarious folks in their plotting and scheming. Such scoundrels range from the ignoble bound for redemption to nobles who must first fall from grace before finding their true purpose.

I’m talking about heroes in their many forms, and how they tend to ruin everything.

Heroes come in all shapes and sizes, and though they may be little more than plot devices bolstered by a strong need to do good and right…I have to admit they are an essential part of storytelling. Without them, who would give help give villains better reasons to make use of their laser death rays? My disdain for the heroic aside, I must say that a good hero makes for a good story. That was painful to type, so I’ll just jump into some of the most beloved varieties of daring do-gooders before I start to really regret this post.

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Preferred Varieties of Villainy

This has nothing to do with tonight’s post, but Fall Out Boy’s “Immortals” has been my jam since I watched Big Hero 6 a couple nights ago. I may not know what the Hell half of the lyrics are, but it’s fun listening. Also: it probably has a bit of a boost in how much I like it because I associate it with Big Hero 6, which is an absolutely phenomenal piece of cinema. Relating to movies, music, and so on, I’d like to take a moment from tonight’s post to say goodbye to Screen Robot. I found out it’s shutting down today. Screen Robot was one of the first homes to my writing that I didn’t create. I’m sad it’s gone, but as their Twitter pointed out I should be happy it existed and so I am.

Here’s a transition sentence because I’m feeling all sorts of lazy right now. Don’t you judge me, damn it.

It’s safe to say by this point I’ve established I prefer villains over heroes. One could even go so far as to say I’ve belabored that point, but that’s wrong because there is just so much to love about the wonderful world of villainy. Seriously, people: who do you think has more fun? The unlucky bastard who has to travel all the way to some far-off evil lair, getting battered and bruised along the way, or the evil genius with the frickin’ doomsday device? The answer’s obvious.

Villains are simply more fun to write. There’s no denying that, and with so many varieties of villainy it’s easy to get lost in having fun while writing them. I’m going to keep this relatively simple because I don’t want to write a thousand pages on this topic. There will be plenty of other blog posts down the road on the same damn topic anyway. Without compelling, well-written villains, even the best heroes aren’t any fun to watch. Their victories become hollow and bland. Here are just a few of the many entries one might encounter in a proper gallery of rogues. Continue reading

I write versus I am a writer

Today served as an unfortunate foil to yesterday in that I let myself succumb to shitty moods and so forth. As such, this post’s chosen title is particularly relevant, so instead of talking about what made my day shitty we’ll just get to that instead. You people, thank the stars or the Gods or whatever (Xenu? Praising Xenu is an option, I guess), aren’t my therapist. Moving on.

I find myself contemplating the difference between saying “I write” and “I’m a writer” (I shy away from contraction in titles whenever possible; don’t judge). It’s a very small difference in phrasing that holds a substantial meaning, to be sure. I’d like to be able to say I’m a writer, for example, but lately I feel it’s more appropriate to say I write. It’s something I do because I can’t envision life without writing, but I also don’t write for a living. I’m willing, of course, to say I’m probably splitting hairs in terms of writing versus being a writer. Continue reading

Banishing the troubles of the universe

And some other things. I’ll focus on the bigger topic first before I throw the real surprise out into the world, as it’s not really as substantial as I’d like just yet.

The good outweighed the bad yesterday. I would say it was an entirely terrible day, but there were enough redeeming qualities that I can’t damn all twenty-four hours for the transgressions of only a few. It was, however, enough to leave me feeling flustered and frustrated, stuck in a state devoid of creative thoughts. Such occasions are usually rectified with a healthy dose of my usual stubbornness, but not so much last night.

Before heading to bed, I posted this status:

I have resolved to make tomorrow a significantly better day than today. No over-the-top threats of violence, nor sarcasm to that statement. Just the conscious decision to not be affected by whatever stupid-assery the universe throws my way.

Reminder: I work in retail, and so this was a rather lofty goal. I’m also not always the most positive person in the world (a statement so obvious it’s painful). Keeping that in mind, I went to bed with every intention of making today superior to yesterday by will of not letting the universe ruin my perfectly good mood. Continue reading

Creative vexations

February is almost over. As far as I can tell, it has been a month of those days for quite a few people, and so I can’t think of anyone who will be particularly sad to see March begin. Except Julius Caesar’s ghost, of course, who will have to endure constant reminders of that one time he ignored advice and got stabbed to death by a roomful of his best pals. The point is that February, chocolates and candy hearts and overpriced dinners aside (or maybe as a contributing factor), performed poorly. I suggest removal from the schedule, effective immediately, replacing it with a month that has its shit together. Honestly, what kind of proper month only has twenty-eight days most of the time?

Tonight’s post was off to about five false-starts. Unlike yesterday’s, the idea didn’t just magic into existence; it’s still putting up one Hell of a fight. Suffice it to say, I am already celebrating scheduling my first week of vacation time, as I think I’ve reached a point where my sanity is questionable on good days and prone to scattering itself via a strong breeze on the bad days. Whatever, right? Moving on.

One thing I’ve noticed recently is that many of the walls we creative types seem to encounter are ones of our own building. This is by no means a revolutionary line of thinking so much as a clumsy personal revelation, so please be patient in entertaining me here.  Continue reading

The strange monetization of childhood nostalgia

Update: Found the link to the obscenely expensive Pokemon cards! Here they are: http://m.ebay.com/itm/400606778392?_mwBanner=1&roken2=tf.pSEM=.bTlM=.g105.cfb#prclt-JXSmr1pZ

Disclaimer: I go into this post acknowledging my experience is not an entirely universal one. My parents have, and continue to, do everything they can to ensure my happiness and comfort whenever possible (as well as the happiness and comfort of my siblings). This is something that no number of thank-yous can possibly make up for in any number of years. I say this because, though I doubt it will necessarily become an issue, I want to address that I’m aware that not everyone’s parents are insane enough to shell out the frankly-absurd amount of money for the latest Lego sets or whatever, and that’s on the basis of everyone coming from different social and economic backgrounds, and so on. If I offend anyone, in any way, with this post, I apologize. This post is probably going to wax a bit nostalgic, too, which is something I can’t apologize for because it’s literally part of the post title. You knew what you were getting into before you even got to this point, people.

That last bit may have sounded a bit dour, and that is largely because I have just dealt with the fourth and fifth calls to Navient (the off-shoot of SallieMae now responsible for crushing the souls of current and former college students everywhere). It has not been a particularly cheerful morning. This information comes in handy, however, as something caught my eye as I was scrolling through Facebook in the brief time I have left before I head to work.
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Music Monday – The All About Halsey Edition

I completely forgot what day it was, which made me all sorts of stressed out about tonight’s post. Mostly because I feel totally uninspired after a day filled with meetings and conference calls and so on. Partially because it’s Monday, which means The Bachelor is gracing my television. Oh dear god.

Right.

Let me preface this by saying I’m glad I didn’t set specific rules and parameters upon which Music Monday artist selections would be judged (or excluded).

Thanks to the magic of the internet, iTunes, and recommendations from complete strangers who apparently know my taste in music better than I do, I bought Halsey’s five-song EP, Room 93, on iTunes. The previews proved to be a compelling argument in favor of this purchase, and I have to say it was well worth what little money it cost. It was $4-something. I’m drawing a blank, but I’m not sorry.

Room 93 consists of “Is There Somewhere”, “Ghost”, “Hurricane”, “Empty Gold”, and “Trouble (Stripped)”. Catchy lyrics with fantastic vocals pervade all five songs, leaving me want so much more. I mean five or more albums, at least. To give a better frame of reference as I can’t quite describe things well tonight (this is not a proud moment), Halsey has a similar sound to The Sounds’ Weekend as well as…well, a fair bit of Metric’s music, actually.

I am willing to say, without exaggeration or hyperbole, that Halsey’s music is some of the best stuff you can feed into your ear-holes right now. As in right now. Honestly, it’s five songs for a little over $4. All five songs bring something fantastic to the table; each one has its own unique character.

As someone who really has no business writing serious music reviews, I admit that I just really love how Halsey’s music sounds. It’s fantastic stuff. One EP and I’m already willing to say it’s on-par with the likes of Metric (gasp, shock, and so on).

Four out of five arbitrary ratings whatchamacallits, if only because I want more music before I’m willing to change my rating to a five.