Jump scares are the absolute worst

Obligatory warning message: there will be a video clip that features jump scares. If anyone tries saying they were shocked, surprised, or not expecting such things from this point forward, I reserve every right to call bullshit on such claims.

It’s a month of celebrating all things that would, under most normal circumstances, leave people safely tucked away in an impenetrable, supernaturally-warded bunker until the screaming of less fortunate people stops. I enjoy horror slightly less than the next guy, unless the next guy happens to be someone who openly weeps at the slightest indication things are about to get scary; that guy and I are close to on the same level. I attempt to endure scary movies and video games, and the results don’t typically involve me retaining a whole lot of my dignity. Continue reading

Attention span versus modern epic storytelling

I am one of millions of people who can say I read the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy (plus The Hobbit; no Silmarillion for me, however) from start to finish. It took over a year, what with school and life-related distractions obligations. This isn’t something I say with pride, pushing my glasses up as part of the standard act of nerdy superiority that accompanies such statements. They were some really magical books, and the way Tolkien built such a rich and elaborate world populated with many interesting characters has stayed with me since. Yes, I did see the movies. Yes, I loved them, but I’m also one of those people who really questions the need for The Hobbit to have been split into a multi-film event. That’s a topic for another time, however, when I’m more drunk and willing to draw great and terrible ire from fans. Continue reading

Justifiable character homicide?

There are few easier ways to really tug at a reader’s heart-strings than by killing off one of their favorite characters. It’s a pretty common practice, and something any fan of Game of Thrones is far too familiar with: the sudden, perhaps unexpected offing of a beloved character, or a not-so-beloved character. The important difference here is that loved or loathed, these now-deceased fictional folks had names and families. Above all else, they had plot relevance, and so such deaths are tailored to have tremendous impact. It could be to push the plot forward, to give a protagonist that extra push towards heroic deeds, a means by which to turn a could-be villain into a fully-fledged monster, or a number of things.

Regardless, there are an awful lot of characters who seem to be marching right into the grave. It raises a curious question for writers, really. When, if at all, is it really necessary to kill off one of your darlings? At what point does such a play cheapen the story instead of strengthening it? Are there worse things for characters than death? Continue reading

Hundred days? Not quite yet.

I’m almost certain I hit one hundred days worth of daily blogging about a month ago. Maybe a year ago. Probably decades or millennia or even eons ago. The official count for posts in this category, however, sits at eighty-eight, which I find peculiar since I swear a couple weeks ago it said eighty-three. Or perhaps I’m mistaken. I probably mislabeled some of the mobile posts (way to go, past-me).

However, in the spirit of following the post-count, I have twelve more days. Eleven after this post.

And now to get some sleep. Tomorrow will be better, albeit still somewhat sleepy I fear.


Ultron seems delightfully evil

All right, folks. Confession time. My comics knowledge is pretty limited, and my Marvel comics knowledge is especially limited (my DC comics knowledge is largely based around Batman with a particular focus on Joker-related graphic novels). I came to appreciate different characters as they were portrayed in the Marvel Comics Universe movies, but I’m that guy when it comes to really having any clue about how those characters were before they made their way to the big screen.

The point I’m dancing around here is I had no idea who the Hell Ultron was, much less why there would be an entire age dedicated to him/her/it. I’d heard of Thanos before, somehow, and Loki…Well, let’s just say I’ve had my fill of Loki for the next century or so. Sorry, fan-people; Tom Hiddleston seems charming enough, and he’s certainly easy on the eyes, but I am thoroughly bored of seeing super-damaged Asgardian antics and I’m especially tired of people trying to justify Loki being a great big bag of dicks by saying how he just needs to be loved/get a hug/whatever. No. He’s just really twisted. But that’s also not the point.

One of the big selling points of comics-turned-movies for me is the villain. The bigger, the badder, and the more insurmountable an obstacle for the heroes a villain is, as far as I’m concerned, the better they are for the movie. I could have quite easily looked up Ultron, but for a baddie who was sandwiched between Loki in the first Avengers movie and the promise of Thanos in Avengers 3, which I’ve heard may be two movies (DAMN YOU, HOLLYWOOD)…Well, this villain I’d never heard of just didn’t seem to matter much. A palate-cleanser between one major nutcase and the next. And then I saw the Avengers: Age of Ultron teaser trailer and found out Ultron is voiced by James Spader. I’m simultaneously ready and not ready for May of 2015. Before I continue, for those of you haven’t seen this yet, here’s the trailer in question.

Aside from being extremely creepy, this teaser trailer made me wish I had a time machine all while making me grateful I don’t have such a device as I wouldn’t be able to really talk about how amazing (or bad, but I hope that the former is the way this will go) this movie is. Ultron seems like the kind of villain I can really get into, if only because I have strong biases 1) in favor of James Spader ever since I started watching The Blacklist and 2) in favor of sinister, self-aware artificial intelligences.

What are you folks looking forward to most in Avengers: Age of Ultron?

A little comfort food


Today had a fair few trials and tribulations I could have done without, and so I’m happy to instead post about the dinner experimenting I just finished working on. It’s just as unhealthy as it looks.

I took boneless, skinless chicken breasts and cut them down the middle (I’d say I butterflied them, but I can’t take myself that seriously as a cook). I stuffed the chicken with mozzarella cheese, closing it again and wrapping it with bacon. Some pepper and olive oil were added, and to try something different I topped it with a dash of real maple syrup to offset the saltiness of everything else. Fingers crossed it turned out well.