Wednesday, 28 December 2016

2017: Low Expectations.

In terms of the entertainment that came out in one form or another this year, to say I felt underwhelmed is an understatement. The worse thing for me is that when I think about where it is potentially headed I have little hope for improvement. For those who don't know what I'm talking about or are new to my blog (if you are, Hi) I shall run through it with you.

First off was me looking at what games were coming out this year and realizing that not only were any of them worth buying but they were exceptionally over priced. This led to me getting rid of my console, and Xbox One, and take on the project of building my own PC for gaming. It does sound like a difficult task but one of my friends on Twitter, Mike, knows a thing or two about this and helped me by working out a build and what parts to buy. I have been picking the parts off month by month and will finish it in April next year, the Xbox was traded in towards parts for the PC and thankfully before the later version came out otherwise the trade in value would have dropped. I guess you could say I got lucky with the timing on that one. Games on PC are so much cheaper so I can buy them at a much more relaxed pace than I did with console but even then, I know I'll be playing a lot of old stuff. There is only one game coming out this year that I am remotely interested in and that is if it even comes out this year, Cyber Punk 2077, but I'm not even sure what the release date of that is so I will wait and see.

Then of course, there is comics. Most would know by now how I feel about all of this but here is a reminder. Watching what happened to Marvel this year was sad, shocking, and made me angry in places. I turned away from the likes of Marvel and DC and went for the more unique stories with the independent publishers and I have not regretted it. Watching Marvel do what they did with their characters for the sake of a new audience or whatever their motivations were felt like myself and those like me who read their comics that we were the past. This new progressive audience was the future and we weren't invited for the journey. Chances are that none of their writers or artists will ever read or care about what myself or anyone like me has to say about it, but I can stop giving them my money and give them the finger. Judging by the sales drop that Marvel has suffered this year, a few other people out there came to the same conclusion.

Film and TV were also disappointments, I only went to the cinema twice this year and it has now become my record low for exactly that. My wife brought me The Shallows for Christmas and we watched it yesterday, it was a good film and I appreciated the fact that it was something original with a lead actress who can actually act. To go into why would risk spoilers so I shall just say: good job Blake Lively. What has hammered this home for me was the amount of actors (of all the celebrities) who passed away this year. Carrie Fisher was the worst as Star Wars was part of my childhood and helped influence me to write science fiction. With the passing of these greats, we are losing exactly that and being left with what to me are those that pale in comparison regarding all examples I am talking about. You may think I am being harsh and that is fair of you to do so, but we now live in an age where almost anyone can be famous for having almost zero talent. Just take the Kardashians, for god sake.

The monster that is Hollywood will continue to churn out these films with minimal effort, especially those blockbusters with a ton of CGI and very little story because they will always put bums in seats. Star Wars will no doubt continue with the Disney versions and you can bet they will milk that thing for all they can get from it. To me, it is a massive example of one of those things that should have been left alone after it finished but some people just can't help themselves. As I said though, this is Disney, if it has a chance to get a good profit and sell lots of overpriced action figures, they will do it. As for TV, there is little to speak about. The only shows I really watched were ones on either Netflix or Amazon. There was very little this year that was really worth watching and it reminded me of a quote by the writer of Network, Paddy Chayefsky, which I've probably said before. He was asked during a chat show if he liked TV and he replied "I love television. I just don't like what they've done to it". Network was the film that would predict the crap that is Reality TV about thirty years ahead of its time. Given how many accolades Chayefsky won for his writing, it is fair to say that he was on to something.

A long time ago, Bob Dylan once wrote:

"... Your old road is rapidly aging. Please get out of the new one if you can't lend your hand, cause the times they are a-changing".

The quoted verse comes from the section about parents and their children but I feel like it can apply to entertainment these days. I am part of an older audience who enjoyed films, games, TV, and comics when they were at their best in the eighties and nineties; the old guard in some respects. With the releases of such films as this year's Ghostbusters, almost everything Marvel did, the games more intent on milking the customer for cash than delivering a good product, the shit that is seemingly thrown on TV to see what sticks, it feels like I am part of an audience that is no longer wanted.

So as a result, I will spend less on film unless I'm sure it is worth it, the same with games and comics as well. I will be investing more of my time in books and my own writing as a result. Penance will be finished next year and after that, I will finish off a novella that has been lurking on my hard drive for a while and after that; who knows. I have made some great connections with other writers whilst doing this, Brian Niemeier, EJ Spurrell, Bre Faucheux, Karen Long, Trever Bierschbach, C.D. Gallant-King, Robert Kroese, and a few others. I firmly believe in promoting the work of indie authors as they do not get nearly enough attention for their work, I became one myself this year so you can bet I'll do it even more in the coming year. I and those I have mentioned may not get much attention for our work compared to the more publicized folk out there, but it can be guaranteed that we can offer you something different and worth your money.

I won't just get out of the road, I'll make my own thanks.



Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Rogue One, I'll Pass.


I remember when the trailers and so on for The Force Awakens began to pour over the internet, my excitement was added to many others out there. I took my two eldest children to see it at the cinema and we all enjoyed it, I'll even go as far as to admit that I felt a lump in my throat when the iconic theme tune burst onto the screen. As the time drew near to the release of the DVD/Blu-Ray, my wife and I rented it via Sky and we watched it for something to do. Sadly I realized that the film did not hold up so well on second viewing, a lot of the flaws or questionable moments in the film stood out and I found myself frowning more often than I liked. An an example or two, it still bugs me that Rey not only seems to master and use the Jedi Mind trick in one film (as opposed to the three it took Luke) and manages to beat Ren in combat with a Light Sabre even though he is much more skilled than she is. It also made me wonder why it hadn't been Finn that had turned out to be the Jedi, he got his ass kicked numerous times and had a much more interesting character in my opinion but hey, strong empowered female character and all that I guess.

Now we have Rogue One on the horizon and it is a prequel film in the series, I did think about it for a moment but then decided this film really wasn't for me. Storytelling these days doesn't seem to be doing so well in the film industry, it boils down to superhero films, reboots, remakes, and very little in the way of original content. I give TFA its dues for moving the series forward with a new story but did we really need another prequel story in the Star Wars universe? If it had been a story in the new universe and had introduced some new characters, maybe I might have been swayed but Star Wars didn't really need any more prequel films, especially after the last three films.


The prequel films did have a couple of good moments here and there, especially the climactic fight between Obi-Wan and Anakin, but it also contained some of the most horrid writing and acting I have ever seen. With those in mind, I still wonder how they all managed to make a profit but of course it always comes back to the name. I dare say that if Disney made a series of bricks with Star Wars stamped on them, people would buy them. I watched them with my wife back when she was my girlfriend and when I think of them it often reminds me of those early dates we had together, but the flip side of that coin is that they helped put me against prequels. Why do we need to tell a story that we already know the outcome? You knew when watching the prequel trilogy that Obi-Wan and Yoda would live through it, you knew Anakin would become Darth Vader, you knew the Jedi would be killed off, anybody else was fair game to be killed.

I thought about this with Rogue One and came to a similar conclusion. It's fair to say that the main character, Jyn, will probably survive as Disney wants to push for more female characters in the universe. Most of the other characters in it are men so it's fair to think they stand a good chance of being killed off, Darth Vader is in the film (probably to get bums in seats) and it's obvious he will not die. Why make this film? The cynic in me comes to the conclusion that Disney wants to get as much money out of this franchise as possible, make as much merchandise for it as they can, and keep churning these films out for years to come.

That doesn't interest me in the slightest.

It is a story that doesn't need to be told, simple as that. Prequels are something that I now lump in with reboots and remakes, there is no point to them except to make easy money or that they are a result of a lack of good ideas. It's a real shame to me that this appears to be what Star Wars will become; I think this is where I will jump off and watch it go off on its merry way as it rakes in the profits. If my children want to see it or the next one, I'll offer the wife the chance to take them as it usually falls to me to carry out this task, I'm happy with a good book these days.

I would be happy revisiting the original trilogy if I can find a version without all the added effects and scenes Lucas for some reason, thought were needed. That scream Vader makes at the end of ROTJ that was added in was cringeworthy as hell.

Sunday, 4 December 2016

2016 in Review: The Good.

The worst times I have when writing these articles is that thinking of what bad stuff to write about is the easiest part, thinking of the good stuff tends to be difficult. I really do find that a shame but this year finding such easy points was not nearly as difficult as before, I'm pleased to say. I often find myself expecting the worst in things such as comics and movies etc but I am happily surprised when the best arises from as such. As before, I am always happy to debate these things in one form or another but once again, here we go.

5: DC Comic Sales.

I'm not a DC reader, I must point that out from the start before going into this. Whilst I have enjoyed the odd Superman or Batman graphic novel here and there I really haven't collected any of their series. Some of them were so big by the time I got to them, the thought of collecting the back issues was a pricey one and it put me off a great deal. I didn't like the idea of The New 52 because it was just another form of reboot to me and I couldn't get onboard with it so I ignored it. They started things yet again with the Rebirth event and again I found it just wasn't for me so I left it be, but I do give them respect for being able to sell their comics and outdo Marvel. In January they only had one comic in the top twenty, in June that number jumped to fifteen, in September the number went up to seventeen but then was down to nine in October, but only because of a number of new series from Marvel. Good on them, I hope the sales continue for them.


4: Success of Suicide Squad Film.

It made me laugh watching the media doing its best to defend Ghostbusters before, during, and after its failure. It was one of many examples of how the media has become too progressive for its own good and should be taken with large pinches of salt and that is such a shame. The Suicide Squad trailers came out and instantly people took issue with the way Harley Quinn was shown, Rolling Stone (of all people) called the character "The Best and the Worst Thing" of the film whilst a horrible article for Buzzfeed called her "damaged dolly jerk-off material". The reviews continued to flow in but director David Ayer took the criticism well and declared the "movie is made for the fans" and I loved the fact that he said that whilst silently giving the finger to the critics in the process. The film sits poorly on Rotton Tomatoes thanks to the critics, but the audience clearly thought much more of it but it has been a financial success. The film's budget was $175 million, its box office intake was $745.6 million and a sequel looks to be on the way and I found it pleasing to read about. Oh, and to those who were complaining about Robbie getting changed and showing her bra in the trailer: give it a rest. I didn't hear shit from any of you when Chris Pratt was topless in the Guardians of the Galaxy trailer except how good he looked. Talk about double standards.


3: Brian Niemeier Winning the Dragon Award.

Brian is someone I know through Twitter and even did a live stream with once a while back. He was nominated for a Dragon Award for his book Souldancer and it won. It meant that it became the first indie title to win a major award and in my mind, that was a big thing. To me, it is a damn good example that if someone really wants to find a good story in this day and age, the indies are the way to go. Brian did suffer for this along the way though, he found himself being shadow banned by Twitter during the year in an attempt to shut him down but it clearly did not work, as I understand it his popularity grew and so did his sales for both of his books. His third book will be out soon (at the time of writing this) and I wish him all the success in the world, hopefully the day will come when he and I meet.


2: Rolling Stone Sued over its "Rape on Campus" Story.

If my dislike of the media hasn't been justified enough for you then I would hope that this example does the trick. The story behind this is a very long and twisted one which was a combination of lies and more importantly, sloppy journalism by someone who should have known better. Sabrina Rubin Erdely's article sent shockwaves everywhere upon its initial release but when people began to question it and its "facts" started to fall apart, the floodgates opened. Rolling Stone has now been successfully sued over the story and Erdely shown to be nothing but an incompetent hack, I can only hope that the university administrator who sued gets a large sum of money from all of this because I doubt Rolling Stone will learn anything from it. Erdely has been silent on Twitter for two years (at the time of writing this) and I can only wonder if she will dare to write anything ever again, who would ever take her seriously after all this? I know someone who was falsely accused of rape by a woman he met on a night out and it turned his life upside down until she eventually admitted to the police that she lied. It is not nice to see so I really hope that should something like this happen again that it is properly investigated because it really can ruin lives.


1: Revelations and Hypocrites.

Usually, I would not take too much comfort in the suffering of others but with this part, I fully intend to do so. I was a supporter of Gamergate back in the day, I wanted to see the gaming media clean up its act but myself and those like me were branded the most terrible things for doing so. It was always the same people saying these things as well, usually from behind the safety of a blocking program on Twitter. These people made themselves out to be saints in a murky world and acted like they could do or could never have done wrong in the world, but over time that proved not to be the case with some of them. Let's start with Devin Faraci, a man who was opposed to Gamergate and once called its supporters "misogynists and absolute monsters" and some more colorful statements as seen here. That came crashing down when he was accused of sexual assault by a woman and shortly afterward had to step down from his post at Birth.Movies.Death as a result. Oops.

Matt Hickey was another moral crusader and opponent of Gamergate who's past caught up with him. He had written an article for Forbes criticizing Microsoft over its use of scantily clad female dancers at a party and used such wonderful phrases as "prevalent sexism" and "it's good to know Microsoft is taking this seriously". Well, he was later arrested and charged with three counts of rape against women after running a scam as a man recruiting women for porn. Stories indicate that this could go back much further with him after three more women came forward to accuse him of raping them. He has since pleaded "not guilty" to the charges but the trail has only just begun.

Sunil Patel was also another one who had been very much against Gamergate and was one step away from donning armour, a sword, and shield in order to fight the good fight. Some of his tweets can be seen here in this article but once again, the past caught up with him. Several women came forward to complain of Patel's sexual harassment towards them and as a result, he was dropped by multiple publishers regardless of his apology. Patel's Twitter account has since being protected and his site shows no updates of any kind but the bitter irony sticks out like a sore thumb.

In fairness though, there were those in Gamergate who were not perfect and in one case at least, got their just deserts. Benjamin J Barber was prosecuted and sentenced to six months in jail and five years probation after he apparently decided to get back at his ex-girlfriend by posting their sex videos online. This was a dipshit that tried to get Ian Miles Cheong arrested and even stalked Randi Harper and took photographs of himself outside her workplace and as a result provided those against Gamergate with plenty of ammunition in the process.

Examples like these really show to me that when those like the above mentioned shout the loudest in public about things that they perceive to be wrong, then there just might be something dodgy behind it all. It just goes to show that there really isn't much need to fight with some people online as they will hang themselves over time if they have enough rope, all you need is a little patience.


Saturday, 3 December 2016

2016 in Review: The Bad.

This year will be one to remember, that is for certain. Brexit, Donald Trump winning the presidential vote, and a number of celebrities that died this year, I could go on and on but my god I didn't think I would ever see a year like this in my lifetime. However, there were other events and so on that made this year either good or bad and as I had once done with Metaleater, I decided I would once again cover each one in two separate pieces. As you've probably guessed, this one will cover what I consider the bad points. They are ones that I have chosen from a personal point of view that annoyed me in form or another and I will say right now that I am happy to debate these with anybody should they feel I have been unfair or now. Ok, here we go.

5: The Media STILL bashing Gamergate.

As far as I am concerned, Gamergate quietly ended some time ago. People still mention it from time to time but the SPJ events were the beginning of the end of it for me, many of the people whom I follow on Twitter who did use the tag no longer do but that hasn't stopped the media talking about it. The first was one of  "Five Guys" himself, Nathan Grayson, where he used it to talk about Steve Bannon being hired by Donald Trump. The article failed to mention Grayson's own ethical breaches which were discovered and his ties to Zoe Quinn but hey, he's obviously the forgetful type.

The second one I've seen (I know there are probably others, I know) was thanks to Matt Lees for The Guardian. The article was very one sided and against the movement as a whole, it did its best to warp the events involved in the whole thing but strangely missed out large chunks of information. Much like Grayson's article, Lees failed to mention that large amounts of ethical breaches had been discovered with almost every journalist involved and even where the SPJ got involved. The best part though? Lees is said to be the business partner of the husband of Leigh Alexander, who's article for Gamasutra helped spark Gamergate back on August 28th, 2014. Some things in journalism will never change I guess, but as long as "journalists" keep doing stuff like this, we will always be there to call them out on it.


4: Ghostbusters and the Media.

To this day I have never seen the media behave so biased as they did to promote and even defend the 2016 version of Ghostbusters. The film has since caused Sony to suffer a seventy million dollar loss and a sequel is unlikely, I really cannot say I am sorry to read about it. The treatment of people like James Rolfe after he dared to speak out against it was quite frankly disgusting and it is examples like this that I find it very tough to believe anything written about in the media. Apparently, there is an animated series or something like that on the way but I can only predict that such a thing will not last long. On a personal note, I did fear that my views were possibly getting in the way of my children wanting to see the film so I thought I had better ask them. My eldest son was not interested, my youngest son was too young and my youngest daughter cannot stay awake in the cinema to save her life, so it just left my eldest daughter. I walked into her room and cautiously asked if she wanted to see it, and then braced myself for the worst. She looked up and me and screwed her face up before answering me with "oh god no, it looks awful!"
Fair enough.


3: The Mocking Bird Cancelation and Aftermath.

I wrote about this a while ago and still very much stand by what I said. I still find some amusement in my various exchanges with David Bentancourt over his story for The Washington Post and his eventual blocking of me when I repeatedly asked for proof of this harassment. The comments section of that article is a giggle to read, especially when other commentators echoed what I had said and that the comments section has since been closed. It has gotten to a point now for me where I read stories like his and require a lot of proof before I can believe them, as far as I am concerned now: he was twisting the truth heavily to write that article and get some clicks. Such a shame that journalism has become this way, or as Sean Hannity said on Twitter regarding the press coverage of Trump:


2: Celebrity Outbursts over Trump's Presidential Win.

I love nothing more than seeing the rich and the famous lecturing people on how they should vote. They tried it with Brexit over here and the UK and it failed, they also tried it in the US with Trump and it failed just the same. With Trump, however, the fail was much more spectacular as they took to Twitter to express their outrage and sadness over the whole thing and I couldn't help but laugh at some of them and how bitter they were over it. Joss Whedon crawled back onto Twitter this year and he put out the Save The Day video where he got a bunch of famous actors etc to try and persuade people to vote for Clinton but it obviously didn't work. I can only imagine how the next few years in the US will be but as I have said before, I will judge Trump after four years because I think it is fair and I do not want to join in with a large number of people who are doing their best to end him. The celebrity reaction brought out responses like this and one from an online friend of mine, author Bre Faucheux who highlighted some of the celebrities quite amusingly. Many of these people I hold in much lower regard than I did before and will have a job to take seriously again, but I just hope they learn that when you try to talk down to people on important issues, sometimes they really don't like it.

1: The Decline of Marvel.

This one always hits me the hardest as I have been buying and reading Marvel comics since I was a child. Some of their stories have easily achieved iconic status and their characters, legendary. This year though, that all seemed to just get swept away as characters were changed, killed, put into daft stories, and unwanted politics were thrown in for good measure. The sales of Marvel's comics have reflected this though and it has been painful to watch happen, in January they occupied eighteen of the twenty spots in the top twenty sales, in June it had dropped to five, in September it was just two but had risen to eight in October. Even though I do not like the site nor the guy that wrote it, the article in Bleeding Cool that first talked about this really was an early warning sign and now here we are. I was one of many people who turned their back on the company and it's products to go to the independent companies and try their content, I have never looked back from doing so but the feeling of disappointment is still there. I purged my collection of any modern Marvel comics a while ago but kept hold of the older collectibles because they reminded me of better times when they had the star talent on board and not some of the people they have now. Part of me wants to see the company shake itself out of this situation and go back to how it was but my feeling is as long as Disney owns it there will be no change. I have thought long about what moment really sums up where Marvel went wrong the most and it didn't take long to be reminded as to which one. It is one that many people I have spoken to often reference, I shall conclude this article with that piece, from the now cancelled Angela Queen of Hel, and see who else draws the same sad conclusions that I and many others did from it.


Tuesday, 15 November 2016

So I Watched... Silenced: Our War on Free Speech.


I WAS A BACKER OF THIS DOCUMENTARY ON KICKSTARTER.
This piece is about my thoughts on it and will avoid spoilers as much as possible as this was an advanced backer copy I received digitally.

Mike Cernovich seems to me to one of those who a lot of folks out there like to hate, he comes across as a master of testing the waters of Twitter to see what he can find and even bring to the surface to poke at. I follow him on the site because I do like some of the stuff he comes out with, I have listened to the audio book of Gorilla Mindset and enjoyed it very much so when I saw he was involved in a Kickstarter project with director Loren Feldman, I took a look. Free speech is to me a very big topic these days, you see people banned from Twitter all of the time for tweeting something either stupid or very unwise but yet others are allowed to tweet things such as encouraging the murder of police officers and doxing people and get away with it, I have also noticed that these days it is quite wise to keep certain opinions to yourself, even with friends because it could often lead to an argument. The documentary talks about this, calling it "self-censorship" and it was a disturbing section.

The documentary has a fine selection of guests, including Gavin McInnes, Milo Yiannopoulos, Vox Day, Charles C Johnson, Scott Adams, Pax Dickinson, and many others. Their views and stories tell a cautionary tale and as I watched them talk I was more on edge than entertained, it is a scary future that we could be in for should this trend continue. One thing the documentary got right, in my opinion, was that it explored the threat free speech faces on American college campuses and speaks to the likes of Ariana Rowlands and her experiences with it. I have listened to Milo's campus lectures and they are a spectacle, I do wish I could have been at one and I was pleased that Silenced did mention in a small way about him being banned from some campuses.


My main criticism of the documentary was that Twitter was barely mentioned in the film, even though it was shown in the trailer for it. Both Milo and Johnson have been banned from the site over tweets that they have written, Milo's was the most well known of the two but this is only mentioned by that of a subtitle under their names when they are introduced. I would have liked to have seen Twitter (and even Facebook) talked about in greater detail because a lot of the bannings that have happened in the past, such as Robert Stacy McCain, have been very suspect and often have a ripple effect on the site.

Silenced is a worthy documentary and is certainly worth a watch, I sat thinking for a while after it finished and was happy that I had backed it. A long time ago I was quite cautious about backing Kickstarters but when projects like this are funded and come to a satisfactory completion, it gives me the reason to back more because the most unique work may come from crowdfunding as opposed to the mainstream. When the DVD/Blu-Ray comes out, I will buy it as hopefully they will do some behind the scenes material for it because there is so much they could expand on, I will even keep my fingers crossed for a director's cut.

Ironically, I learned after I had finished watching the film that Pax Dickinson had been banned from Twitter, apparently no reason has been given.
Think about that for a moment, Silenced suddenly became much more relevant.

Sunday, 13 November 2016

So About The Election Result...


Yes, I'm going there.
I said in a couple of conversations a while back that I thought Donald Trump would win because of the way he spoke, directly to the voters themselves, it seemed, but there was still doubt in my mind. I woke up for work on the morning the voting began and checked my phone to see he was ahead, I then traveled to work and watched what I could of the vote count before my shift started and his lead became larger, I won't deny that I found the footage of Hillary supporters watching in shock and crying quite amusing. When he won I found it both funny and shocking, not only because he had won and people were panicking about it, but because he had pulled off one of the biggest political upsets in living memory. What made me laugh the most about the whole thing was the celebrities and how they were before the result and then after it and how much a difference there was between them and the regular voter, the working class man or woman.


On Twitter alone, the tweets from celebrities etc was a sight to behold, from the likes of Stephen King, Tara Strong, Patton Oswalt, Miley Cyrus, Rose Mcgowan and even idiots like Laci Green were coming across as if they were throwing every toy they could possibly find out of their pram because the result was not what they wanted, and it was comical, the guy isn't even in the office yet and people were still doing their best to drive him into the ground. One of the odd things I did notice was a Twitter account in the name of Clint Eastwood (it was not actually him) did celebrate the win with a tweet but was suddenly banned soon afterward, not reason given but then again, Twitter never does explain itself when it comes to that.

Some of the television I watched that day had reporters interviewing regular working people in the street and a lot of them were happy with the result, there were, of course, those who were protesting in the street about it and I wasn't surprised in the slightest, there is even a petition going at the time of writing this to get the result changed, Tara Strong herself appears to support it. As an Englishman living in the UK, I watched this from a distance with no horse in the race and have found this sort of behavior the very definition of sour grapes, Trump was a controversial figure from the get go and almost everybody had their knives out for him, media coverage that I observed was mostly biased against him, especially when Thomas Friedman published this piece for The New York Times, but when it came to pieces that criticised Hillary in any kind of way, I barely saw any at all. One that was written was for The Huffington Post, which raised some questions about her health but the article was taken down with no explanation given, the writer of the piece was apparently fired shortly afterward. Another writer, Michael Tracey, took a look at actress Lena Dunham and whether she deceived the public or not over her voting, he was fired from Vice for doing so, which I'm sure had nothing to do with the fact that Vice's Cheif Operating Officer had attended "off record parties" by the Clinton campaign. There was also the news of attacks and abuse towards Trump supporters such as Kassy Dillon, founder of Lone Conservative, who has reported being verbally abused and shouted at on her campus, the man who once encouraged Trump to run for president back in 2013, Russell Steinberg, has had vile things tweeted at him and had to block many people as a result and even Zoe Quinn has received emails blaming her for Trump winning, which is kind of funny.

After the American media (which was supposed to be the unbiased fourth estate) and various celebrities spent so long telling the average working class who they should be voting for, their arrogance finally came back to bite them in the ass. I will not be one of those who attacks him when he hasn't done anything yet, I will sit back and watch and will judge him after four years and make my mind up then. I respect him for doing what he has done, an outsider who has turned the whole system on its head, showed that polls mean shit these days and exposed a lot of media personalities and celebrities for who they are underneath. I wish him all the best in his new role and shall watch with interest, but for now, I shall leave you with this little gem, which makes me smile whenever I see it.




Monday, 7 November 2016

So I Watched... Bosch.

THERE WILL BE MINOR SPOILERS HERE, THEY WILL BE MENTIONED ONLY FOR RELEVANCE AS I DO NOT WISH TO SPOIL THE STORY.

When I was growing up, a favorite of mine to watch on television were police series. Anything from TJ Hooker, The Bill, Law and Order, you name it. I loved policemen and women as main characters because I loved to cheer them on as they conducted their investigations, caught the bad guys and were heroes in the end. Nowadays I struggle to find a good cop show to watch, Law and Order was canceled and I've drifted from the other versions of the series, The Bill finished a long time ago and TJ Hooker finished long before both of them. I have Netflix and have enjoyed what the service has to offer but that good cop show still eluded me, but then I saw a small trailer for Bosch as a way of advertising Amazon Video and something caught my attention about it. It wasn't just the fact that who appeared to be the main character was a policeman who looked like an absolute badass, it was in fact because I recognized him from a film I had seen at the cinema a while back with my wife. I recognized Titus Welliver from Transformers: Age of Extinction but had also seen him in Gone Baby Gone and Argo, I watched the trailer for Bosch again and thought "you know what? I'll give this a go" and I signed up for Amazon Video and watched the first series without delay.

Bosch is set in what I like to think of as the dark side of police work, where not all of the stories or cases have a hundred percent happy endings and the journey through them is not a pleasant one, many are left with scars on the inside or out but they have to keep going. One ending in particular ends in a crushing failure and the only way some kind of comfort is found is with a well-placed mouthful of spit and a broken picture on a wall.  The series starts off with Bosch in trouble for what is being portrayed as a questionable shooting of a suspect who may not have been armed. With this to deal with, he also has to investigate an awful child murder via the discovery of the child's bones. Season two focuses on a murder investigation where politics rears its ugly head and interferes on many levels, there are other subplots that are woven through the two seasons but to talk of them too much may spoil them so I'll leave that part there. The two series are a reasonable length in episodes but I see this as a good thing, the stories are not padded out to fill up a longer series and you can often tell when this is happening.
True Blood, I'm looking in your direction.


One of the reasons I think Bosch is so awesome is because of it's cast, not only do they fit their roles so well but it is always nice to see faces you remember as opposed to a "star name" as such, it is something I will always find much more pleasing. Titus Welliver is something special as the almost stoic policeman who at times it seems is wearing the perfect poker face but also deadly serious. He has had a tough life but does his job none the less, I do not recall seeing him smile often except near the end of the first season when his daughter (who always calls him Harry) actually calls him Dad. It's a wonderful little moment that glued me to the screen when it happened, but cross him and do so at your own peril as another character finds out also at the season's end. Amy Aquino (ER, Picket Fences) is awesome as Bosch's commanding officer and friend, someone who does not take shit from him or anyone but the level of respect between them is evident and nicely acted, his partner is played by Jamie Hector (The Wire) and the two of them play off of each other nicely, especially with shorthand talk when on the job.

The Chief of police is played by Lance Reddick (Fringe, John Wick) and looks and acts like the one guy you seriously would not want to piss off, his eyes look like they could melt steel alone with some of the expressions he gives. Bosch's ex-wife is played by Sarah Clarke (24, Twilight) and in most stories, the ex-wife is a bitch who does not get along with the ex-husband but their relationship here is a mature and adult one for the sake of their daughter, a confident young lady played well by Madison Lintz (The Walking Dead). What adds to this is the well-chosen supporting characters and who plays them, such as Jason Gedrick (Iron Eagle), Jeri Ryan (Star Trek Voyager), Scott Wilson (The Walking Dead), Mimi Rogers (The Rapture), I could keep going here but I invite you to watch the show and see what I mean.


One thing that I have enjoyed is that the series has a nice fan base and even a fansite too, Titus Welliver is on Twitter and is certainly approachable. I decided to tweet him one night before I turned in to say how much I was enjoying the show, I did not expect an answer because I know from Jimmy Kimmel's Mean Tweets that actors and celebrities often get a lot of abuse on the platform so I expected my tweet to get lost in the traffic, but I was shocked to see he responded by thanking me for what I said. Keeping my head still attached to my shoulders, I again tweeted him in which I thanked him for responding and wished him the best, again he replied with gratitude. Through following him on Twitter I also came into contact with and am getting to know the fansite's "Proud Mayor", Clare Costa, and immediately I became jealous bcause her Twitter profile picture is of her with Welliver, so very jealous, god dammit. Another positive that I found out is that Welliver has also given some of his time to record audiobooks of some of the series, I have not listened to any yet because I have so much to catch up in terms of reading but I certainly intend to as to me it shows an embracing of the character on more than one level and reminds me of when John Ritter narrated 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter before he sadly passed away.

At the time of writing this, season three has been announced and is on the way. A long time ago I had cut my television time down heavily as a lot of what was on really didn't appeal to me. Signing up for the likes of Netflix and Amazon Video have given me something to watch again and that makes me happy as with these services you are guaranteed something new, something original and in an age where remakes and reboots are the in trend, that is brilliant. I will stick with Bosch for the long run and hope for the day when I actually shake Titus Welliver's hand or even get a photo with him, I think the best way to describe his performance in the series would be in the same fashion once used with the late Christopher Reeve and Superman...
Titus Welliver doesn't play Bosch, he is Bosch.

Friday, 4 November 2016

An Open Letter to D.C. Douglas


Hello, Mr Douglas, I hope this open letter finds you well and in good health. I have written this in the hopes that you will see it and maybe think about what I have written as I was so disappointed to learn the other day that you had me blocked and we have never spoken, an apparent result of you using the blocking program which can be used with Twitter. I understand you started using it after mocking the Gamergate hashtag and had many people who used it come at you, some in quite a nasty manner and I can only shake my head at that and wish that it had not happened because those of us (yes, I was a supporter a while ago) who supported it for the cause of wanting ethical journalism in the gaming sector did so because we wanted exactly that, and not to abuse people online.

As a result of supporting this cause because of the August 28th articles (the most well known is linked), many of us were attacked and slandered by the media and only a handful of the online press actually bothered to get both sides of the matter. We have been called almost everything imaginable from "worse than ISIS" to "trolls", the list would go on here but you get the point I hope. From a personal point of view, I am blocked by a lot of people I do not know and nor have I ever spoken to them and this does not bother me as such, but when I discovered that you had gone down this road, I was especially disappointed and I will explain why.


Legion was my favorite characters in Mass Effect, I used him as a playable character as soon as I could because I loved the idea of his story, the way he spoke and the way he performed in the battlefield. I gave him my best sniper rifle and some of the headshots he pulled off literally made me stop what I was doing for a moment and think "damn!". His death in part three (I played the hero route) was my second saddest moment (first was Mordin's death) and left me upset because I really wanted to use him again just to see where the story took him. My only problem with the character was that he was not introduced in the story sooner because I think it would have been awesome. I was not aware of your Twitter account and did think about following it but then you used the blocking program, here we are, I know you have said that Twitter is not real life and so on, but I had wanted to ask you questions about voicing Legion and so on, but it looks like that will not be the case.

I saw that you had some criticisms of Gamergate and at one point called them "sexist, racist and douchey" and then expressed amusement when some of them fired back at you. When I was growing up, if someone mocked me I would mock them back, I'm pretty sure it still works that way these days but maybe you were unaware of that. To address what you said, however: you are wrong. I have met many of the other Gamergate supporters and many of them were women and black, in fact, it is arguable to say that many of the most high-profile supporters were as such, an example of each would be Oliver Campbell and Christina Hoff Sommers, I invite you to look up the others as there were people from every race, colour and background who supported the hashtag and its cause.

As for the "douchey" part, yes I will agree that there were a lot of idiots on the internet who used the hashtag as an excuse to go after people. One of them I know you have blocked already, this idiot, who harassed a friend of mine until she eventually blocked him, at one point she was even made aware he was attempting to mess with her in real life even though he lives in another country. Then there is this character, who runs this website. Words cannot describe some of the nasty things he and his friends post on this site but many in the Gamergate community washed their hands of him after he published this article, using the suicide of a young girl as a blunt weapon to attack someone else with. I tweeted one day in amusement how his Twitter account was verified and he and some of his followers/minions got into my mentions and insulted me for it, I blocked and muted them and moved on without a second thought. The point I am leading to here is that a hashtag cannot be controlled with regards to who uses it, I hope you think about that for a moment.

Those of us who supported Gamergate were subject to insults and harassment for supporting the cause, none of it was ever reported in the media and of course not, as it was the media we were criticizing in the first place. This blog, written by the above-mentioned friend, has cataloged a lot of it and I invite you to read it and see what is in there, such as racist and sexist insults as well as doxing of a few Gamergate supporters and again, this was never reported. I have to ask you how far you have looked into Gamergate and what it uncovered during the strongest parts of its time, the deepfreeze website has cataloged almost every ethical breach made by the gaming press with evidence to back it up, please take a look and read through some of them and you might grasp the scale of what was uncovered. Were you also aware that the supporters were given the chance to speak fairly at the Society of Professional Journalists in Florida back in 2015, just before the hashtag's first-year anniversary? The first session can be found here and the second, here. The first session was the more productive as just after the halfway mark of the video, the SPJ panel agreed with and essentially vindicated the hashtag with regards to unethical practices. The second one was cut short after about ten bomb threats were phoned in to stop it and forced all the attendees to wait outside whilst police searched the building. Finally, a lot of the hashtag's accomplishments have been summed up in this video, I invite you to take a look.

With regards to the users of the hashtag supporting Donald Trump, I have seen a mixture of those who do and do not, it is something I personally care little about because I am an Englishman living in the United Kingdom so I am not sure what I can say to you about that, each to their own I guess.

Now with regards to the blocking program you are using, I can only wonder at this point if you are aware of who it is made by and who she is as a person. Randi Harper has been revealed to be one of the biggest bullies on the internet, a woman who has gone after people she dislikes either on her own or with the help of her followers but again, this has not been covered by the mainstream media. The only place that took a look into her was the Breitbart website with this article, I know you may ignore it because of the fact that it supports Trump but I implore you to read the piece, especially when it mentions some of her victims. I have met two of them and I cannot tell you how nice they were but to people like Harper, they were good targets and nothing more. Harper is unemployed and is unemployable due to her online activities and has to survive off of a Patreon account, using that blocking program enables the real bullies like her to keep doing what she does. Think about that for a moment.

I hope this got through to you in some way but I suppose the reality is that you will ignore this and move on, who am I to lecture you, right? This blog was not written to insult, condemn, or harass you in any way at all but instead to ask you to reconsider your course of action, you most likely blocked a lot of fans without even realizing it by painting them with the same brush you used on those who insulted you. I have personally ruled out purchasing any Bioware games as it now appears that they employ a racist who has tweeted as such but gotten away with it, I can only wonder if you have him blocked or not. Finally, I wanted to leave you with two things: as you have decided to block the likes of me without even knowing who I am or even talking to me, if I am about to buy a game or film and find out you have a part in it, I will not buy it at all, this may be nothing more than a mild itch to you but I can only wonder how many others will follow suit.

Finally, as a fan of your work, I wanted to tell you that I am so, so disappointed in you and the choice you made. Take care Mr Douglas, good luck with your future projects.

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Censorship and Drinking the Cool aide.

I am reminded constantly that even though I am getting older and am approaching my forties, I still have lessons to learn and can still screw up royally when I speak before thinking first. Part of me was reluctant to write about this but one lesson that I have learned about is that in order to make some peace when you screw up, it is best to admit that mistake and take whatever shit is coming your way.


Yes, I was one of the many people who saw the variant cover of the new "Iron Man" and took issue with it because in part of what appeared to me to be a sexy fifteen-year-old girl. I also did not like it as it was another example of Marvel doing a race & gender swap of a popular character, I ended up mixing the two together and voiced a strong opposition to it along with a few other people out there. I took a look at my tweets about it much later and realized how much I had sounded like the crazies from The Mary Sue when they published a piece on it and that made me feel worse. A friend of mine told me that weekend when we spoke about it that jumping on the bandwagon was way too easy to do and he was so right about it; my god he was so right.

When I learned that the cover had been pulled, I suddenly felt so stupid and also a little guilty that I may have contributed to that fuss, Campbell is a man who's art I have enjoyed for some time since the days of Danger Girl and even Gen 13, his main fault in my eyes was that he became known for not being able to stick to a deadline. In my defense, I was not one of the people who directed abuse and so on in Campbell's direction on Twitter and a lot of people were. He handled it well and eventually the situation has died down since then but I did have something pointed out to me that did make me wonder: Campbell has been known for drawing sexy women, it was pretty much his trademark. I remember when I was collecting Danger Girl there were stories of readers crying out for him to draw nudity because of the way he drew the characters, it made me chuckle when I remembered it. Further thinking made me wonder why he was hired to do the Iron Man cover, it was almost like he had been set up to fail as a way to draw attention and possibly generate future sales for the comic. It does sound far-fetched I know, but it was something that Marvel did with the new Captain America series and the whole "Hail Hydra" storyline. It was some success as it has outsold the previous volumes but in my mind, it has done so purely on controversy and this has obviously occurred to the readers as its sales have since dropped.


Frank Cho had been through a tough time with his variant covers for Wonder Woman, the above Image was the variant for issue three, can you spot the difference? The series writer, Greg Rucka, exercised some editorial control and had the cover cropped to one side to hide the small line that was her underwear (at least he showed she was wearing some) as he apparently thought it was "vulgar and showed too much skin" and as a result of this, Cho quit. It was a sad situation but not one without some irony, particularly with Rucka himself as he once left behind Marvel and DC because of the way he and others like him had been treated by the big two. I can only wonder if he realizes that he has now become the very thing he appeared to hate so much a long time ago, the reason I say "I can only wonder" is because I discovered a while back that he has me blocked even though we have never spoken. Sadly it is the apparent case of him using a blocking program so as a result, I will buy nothing with his name on it now.
Your loss Greg.


Cho came under attack again after he was presented with a gift from Milo Manara for his fight against censorship. It was an original watercolored painting of Spider-Woman in a provocative pose and of course, it once again drew criticism from those who appear to want to see Frank Cho silenced, such as small time artists like Scott Kurtz who viewed the situation as everything that was wrong with comics.

It amuses me to think back when male frontal nudity has been drawn in the likes of Sin City, Watchmen, Tokyo Ghost and even been shown in TV programs like Spartacus but not much has been mentioned because as said, it was male. I am thankful that whilst we have people out there like Frank Cho there will be a push back against this PC attitude some people take with art, I was stupid to drink the cool aide once and I do not plan on doing it again anytime soon.

Friday, 28 October 2016

"Harassment" Part 2.

You have to love the online media these days, nothing is more fun than calling them out on something and then watching them double down instead of maybe admitting that they got it wrong. In the case of the late Gawker Media, pride certainly came before a fall and in some of the other organizations out there, I feel it can only be a matter of time.

After I first wrote about the cancellation of Marvel's Mockingbird and the alleged "harassment" of its writer, Chelsea Cain, it was still noticeable that none of the reporters that covered the story could show a single tweet that could have been classed as "harassment" and all seemed to fall silent. Cain herself eventually responded via a post about the whole thing on her website and I have to say it is one of the most respectable bits of writing I have seen for a while. Notice that she doesn't play the victim card once, she says that "I was not being targeted, it was just a lot of people being Jerks, per usual, but in greater numbers", it was also noticeable that the word "Harassment" did not appear ONCE. Granted she did mention "daily abuse" and I can sympathize with that totally, but "Harassment?" not a single mention. I read the rest of the post and agreed with her assessment of Twitter at the end because I have given thoughts to quietly slipping away from the site as soon as Gab is more operational and has an app because Twitter really is a sinking ship these days. In the end, Cain handled the whole situation better than the media as she was just telling her story, not fishing for clicks.

I thought it had ended there but low and behold, another story popped up from David Betancourt, a reporter for The Washington Post, and it read pretty much like the rest. It was basically a support piece for Cain but once again showed no evidence of these "harassing tweets", only a couple of ones written in support. Myself and a couple of others called him out on it and over various tweets he was as evasive as he possibly could be with us, it became evident to me that he really had nothing to support the story besides his claim that he based his article on "reports and statements from the head EIC of Marvel and support from top industry talent". However, that only added up to the tweets on display in the article and that I found quite interesting: why wasn't anyone quoted on what they had said? I can only wonder.

I would love to show how the conversation ended but he blocked me after I mocked him on his spelling (which was bitchy, I know) but I couldn't help myself. I had done it before with Rich Johnston of Bleeding Cool after he thought it was ok for his reporters to act like school children at press events, you can see the conversation here. Modern journalism really has become putrid these days and it is hard to tell who's work you can trust anymore, I wish I had some recommendations but I'm still trying to come to final decisions on some of them myself. Ironically, this whole fiasco really has shown that "Listen and Believe" really doesn't work when it comes to the online media, "Trust but Verify" really is the only way forward.

Thursday, 27 October 2016

"Harassment"

The word "Harassment" is a term that is thrown around the internet and the media a lot these days, you can thank people like Anita Sarkeesian for that one. She would often use it as a way of deflecting criticism from her videos as each one was easily torn to shreds by her many, many critics out there. Since then many others have used it in the same fashion, especially if they are one of these modern feminist types when faced with a large amount of criticism such as Randi Harper and the Prince of Idiots himself, Jonathan McIntosh. Recently the dreaded word popped up again, but once again it went down the same road.


Most people I know view this modern feminism that is about these days as a very nasty, hostile, and hypocritical movement, myself included. Many of its figureheads such as Chanty Binx and Kate Smurthwaite claim to be about "equality" but they often act just as bad and if not worse than the very thing they claim to fight against. Binx is known for her rude protest against a group of men's rights activists and when one of them addressed male suicide with her, she sang "Cry Me a River", Smurthwaite made an ass of herself recently in an exchange with Peter Lloyd on Sky News at the end of the debate and it's a funny moment, to say the least, take a look at the smile on Lloyd's face at the end; a grin of victory as a simple remark sends her off the edge so easily. I learned today of the writer for Marvel Comic's Mockingbird, Chelsea Cain, had apparently  "quit Twitter" due to "harassment" over her writing of the now canceled series. The problem I have nowadays is that when I hear the word "harassment", I always want to see proof of it before I believe it. Some may criticize me for that and you know what? Be my guest but asking for proof is not an unfair thing to ask for when such claims are made. One of the journalists out there that I have respect for is a man named Brad Glasgow, an independent writer who took a look at the whole thing and wrote an interesting piece about it.

Glasgow discovered that whilst there had been articles written about Cain's quitting of Twitter, he could not find any examples of harassment to support it and nor was he given any examples. As his piece also showed the short exchange between writer Brian S Hall and author on one piece on it, Eder Campuzano, in which Hall asked for proof and Campuzano would not comply. I can only wonder why. The narrative of a woman being forced to quit Twitter is a great one that always brings in the clicks, most people seem to forget that not only that Twitter is an open forum but there are also two great tools that it provides: a mute button and a block button. I am aware that people do get insulted and harassed on there but all it takes is a couple of clicks and it is gone each time someone does it to you, I've been insulted on there numerous times but I often find it amusing as I know none of those who do so would dare do it to my face, I remember one guy who went after me a long time ago ended up blocking me because I dared to give it back to him.

What I have also noticed also is that this made a good story because of who Cain was and what comic she was writing, there have been other cases recently that were notable but the media did not cover them much. The model Nicole Edelmann quit Twitter after Gizmodo's nasty article about her boyfriend, Palmer Luckey where she was included to try and show how much of a "terrible person" he was because he apparently supported Donald Trump (he doesn't) but this did not receive much in the way of media attention besides ones from smaller websites. The irony of that situation was that the press inadvertently proved that Gamergate did indeed have women who supported it, but that went over the heads of many. Cassie Jaye, a feminist filmmaker had to fight to get a documentary she was making, where she took a fair look at the Men's Rights Activists made after funding was pulled in an attempt to shut it down. After a very successful Kickstarter, of which I was a backer, she was able to get it finished but she still had a fight to face as feminists in Australia managed to get a screening of it shut down. It did receive some coverage but not the very pleasant type like The Guardian demonstrated, all because she wanted to explore other viewpoints fairly.

It seems where we live in times where victimhood is worth more than professional merit and I just shake my head at the whole thing. When it comes to Mockingbird nobody thinks to mention that the comic's sales dropped just as much as Angela: Queen of Hel's did, I've seen screenshots of Mockingbird that tell me all I need to about its content, but with AQOH it really was as bad as people made it out to be. Again, though people will either forget or ignore this as the "harassment" narrative is a good one but as the Boy Who Cried Wolf showed a long time ago: that eventually turned into a sword that cuts both ways.

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Progress

I blogged a while back about how I was trying a different approach to book number two and how I was feeling better about its progress, this piece is an update on my progress and satisfaction of such. I I do not want to make it sound like I am throwing all my eggs in one basket too early but so far I have had a positive feeling about this and I do not wish to ignore it.

The word count has reached thirty-one thousand words and is chugging along nicely as I decided to spend more time getting to know the characters and their lives. I am attempting to correct a mistake I made with Nomads as well as building up the story better as well as using beta readers to help me with this. The story has been laid out much better than Nomads as well, it will be a story that plays out in three parts and hopefully will be more of a character piece but only time will tell I guess. One thing about my small experience writing stories is that they rarely end up the way I planned so ultimately time will tell.

What has bothered me throughout all this is what will happen when it is finished. As I have said before, part of the reason Nomads did not do so well was because it was not advertised anywhere, I pushed it as best as I could on Twitter but sadly to no avail. Amazon charges for advertising and it is not cheap, I am considering crowdfunding towards this sort of thing but I just do not know yet, the problem is that I have nothing really worth offering people who would choose to back something like a Kickstarter from me so at the moment it is not a great idea. I would love to go to a publisher but I really want to remain independent because I like to be able to say what I want, the last thing I need to to have a book published and then lose a contract in case I say something some asshole doesn't like and they contact that publisher.

I know I'm probably sounding bigheaded here but I see this sort of shit on Twitter all the time. When I spoke with fellow author EJ Spurrell in a live stream a while back and he told me the story of when someone contacted his place of work over something he had said, I really don't want that happening to me so in my mind, independence is the right thing and that is something I shall stand by.

Friday, 21 October 2016

Logan the Old Man.



The fact that I am sitting here, writing a blog piece about a film trailer, really made me wonder why the hell I was doing this. For those who do not know, I have only been to the cinema twice this year and that is an all-time low for me as I was always an avid visitor to my local cinema. Don't get me wrong, it has saved me a ton of money (drinks and sweets from that place are bloody expensive) but the content that has come out this year has been less than attractive to me. I saw Deadpool with my wife and then The Killing Joke on my own because we couldn't find a babysitter, I enjoyed them both but the other films that came out I either missed due to lack of money (Suicide Squad), refused to go anywhere near (Ghostbusters) or just thought "that looks crap" (Batman Vs Superman) and that was that. Yesterday I saw a trailer for the first time that really moved me and that rarely happens, in fact, I cannot remember the last trailer that did so. That trailer was, of course, Logan.

I had heard the rumors for some time that the next Wolverine film would be Hugh Jackman's last as the character and it was understandable due to his age. When it comes to his portrayal of the character there can be nothing bad to say about it as he didn't play Logan; he was Logan. My personal highlight of his acting was in X-Men 2 when the school comes under attack and he fights back with the character's classic berserker rage, what a moment. So when I sat to watch the Logan trailer for the first time, I had some idea of what I was expecting as the main picture itself clearly suggested that it was based on the famous Old Man Logan storyline.


I picked up on possible hints to the Death of Wolverine storyline and to me that seemed like a reasonable guess because the wonderful touch to the trailer was not the appearance of X23 (I'll get to her) but the use of Johnny Cash's version of Hurt. Because of how that song was used over the sad imagery of the old Logan and Xavier in the harsh future where the mutants have all gone, I am not ashamed to admit that I nearly choked up. I know that I will make the effort to see this film when it hits the cinema here in the UK because I cannot ever recall a time that I have ever had an emotional reaction to a trailer before and I doubt I will again.


Of course, I cannot finish without mentioning X23's appearance in the film but I do so cautiously. Logan's death in the comics of a well-written story and had a very bittersweet ending; they really should have left it there. But as part of Marvel's new progressive nature, X23 took over the mantle and the All-New Wolverine comic was launched and the first issue sold well. After the first issue, however, the sales numbers dropped quickly over time and when the Old Man Logan ongoing series was launched, it outsells All-New Wolverine by around twenty thousand units. I reviewed the series a long time ago for digifira and I stand by what I said about it. She really is an uninteresting main character so I look at her inclusion in this film with caution but also with the hope that if she does appear in her own film in the future that it is a well written one, and not because she is a female alternative of a legendary character being used for political reasons.

Time will tell.

Saturday, 15 October 2016

So I watched... Captain America: Civil War (eventually)


Before anyone informs me that this film has been out for ages and so on, I know, I just have not been bothered about seeing it due to my declining interest in all things Marvel. More so because of what appears to be the growing Disney influence and my feeling deep down that I feared that this film was a combination of advertisement for future Marvel films as well as trying to entice young children to buy their shiny toys. Anybody that's read Marvel knows the story of this film so I won't talk about it too much but be warned, there will be spoilers from this point onwards.

I didn't mind the story too much as it dealt with the consequences of the effects on the real world when these massive battles happen when the people on the street die: who will speak for them? When the Avengers are told they need to be brought in line and under government control, some like Iron Man sign up for it, others like Captain America do not and the divisions begin from there. I watched the film and had a job to like many of the characters in it, Stark is basically the asshole who believes he is on the right path, Cap is noble to a fault, Ross is just a guy in a suit, Rhodes is just a sidekick, I could go on here but Cap was the only one I felt I could cheer on as he was mainly trying to save a friend whilst others were either trying to arrest him or just kill him. Whilst I do like a large roster of heroes in a film like this, there was one that bugged me a lot, you can probably guess who.


Probably for the sake of pulling in the younger viewers, Spiderman has a cameo appearance in this film and is played by Tom Holland, aged 20 years old but looks 12, and to me served no real purpose in the film other than as an advert for his own film when it arrives and of course to shift some toys from the shelves. Granted he is in one of the best scenes in the film but that's really it, besides his minor intro and a small after credits scene. The final battle between Cap, Iron Man, and Bucky is ok but if you're rooting for Iron Man at this point you're probably in the minority because he really is just trying to murder Bucky. When the film finished I felt so unsatisfied with what I had seen that for a moment I wondered about trying to get the money I'd paid Amazon (they were cheaper than Sky) back but decided it just wasn't worth it in the end. At least I can safely say I will not be buying it in any form so I suppose I can take some relief from that.

What bugs me the most is that this felt like such a "safe" film, nobody dies in it besides the folks on the street and Crossbones at the beginning (although it's Marvel, they will probably bring him back) and I point my finger in Disney's direction for that one as the characters in the comics continue to change and the house of mouse's influence spreads like a rash, much to the annoyance of the older fans. Civil War to me was a very underwhelming film and to anyone reading this and interested in my final opinion, I can only recommend renting and not buying as if you do buy it, you're only going to put in you DVD/Blu-Ray player to watch the fight scenes and probably nothing else.


Sunday, 9 October 2016

A Cold Winter.

This last week has been both a strange and discouraging for me in places, it really brought to attention that in this day and age that we as a generation really are living in some trying times.

I was annoyed that Nomads did not sell many copies but that was in part my fault that I assumed that it would, another author informed me that it was rare that anyone in my position would do really well right off of the bat and that I really was just laying a foundation right now, the more content I would put out there, the more I would get noticed. It was sound advice and I learned a good lesson from it and managed to get myself really focussed with book number two, it is coming along nicely and after I had finished writing a section of it I realized that I had learned lessons from Nomads without noticing it.

So far I have spent more time getting to know the characters of this story much more than what I did with Nomads, sure I spent some time with the characters but I do wish I had done more with them and as much as I want to pull the thing down from sale and forget about it, I will leave it out there because I still love the story and there is a beauty in its imperfection to me. This book I am working on now is almost at twenty-five thousand words at the time of writing this and I'm still getting to know the characters, I feel really positive about this book but I have learned not to put all my eggs in one basket when the time comes to release it. It really is true what they say about hindsight I guess.

I was shown this week that there are people out there that really do have it worse than me but I never realised it, I met up with an old friend for coffee on Friday and the last time I saw him he was doing really well: he was working his ass off at his job, he had a beautiful fiancee and they were working towards a house together. I noticed when we started to talk that he was twitchy as he moved, usually with his hands and fingers, he even seemed a little nervy and I was confused. He then revealed that he and his fiancee had split, work life was not doing so well for him, and he had been diagnosed with mental health issues. Outside I remained still but inside I was thrown completely, this guy was someone who I had admired and learned stuff from over time and to see him having fallen so far was a shock. We talked for a while and he assured me he was fine and working to build himself back up but the conversation stayed in my head for the rest of that evening.

Before writing this entry I met up with another friend of mine to catch up over a coffee, her name is Rachel and she has been one of my best friends more almost twenty years now, she is also one of the few people I can safely say I trust completely. She and I shared stories of how rough it has been lately, I have arthritis in my right knee and some days the pain is harsh but she has it worse than me, it's in her ankles, her knees, her lower back, and in some of her fingers. Her work leaves her tired most days and she doesn't have the energy to do things most evenings but yet she powers on, knowing people like her and having her as a friend has given me someone to draw energy from and keep myself going in my own ventures but again, it was a reminder of the times we live in.

Why do I write about this? We really are living in very trying times and I have come to realize that sticking together with our friends and loved ones really does help. I'm going to stay focused on these things as time moves forward and not waste my time with negative people that could drag me down and put more energy into my own creativity as right now, I feel that I'm getting a little better at it. This piece is also another thank you to those of you who come to read this blog on a daily basis, it's nice to know that there are people out there who are interested in what I write and that is something I certainly draw from as time progresses. This coming winter is going to be a cold one I think, wrap up warm and remember to reach out to people you know, you never know if you're going to need the energy or them.