So today at work, during a lunch break of sorts, I was chatting with this woman from corporate. The conversation was pretty one-sided, but I got her talking about her life and professional history and whatnot -- she went on for several minutes about how she'd lived in Korea and Brazil before coming to the United States. Then she stopped ... and, after a meaningful pause, she smiled and said, "I like you, Wes." (more...)
So in addition to reading parts of Elliot Rodger's "manifesto," I've watched a handful of his YouTube videos and read a bunch of articles and editorials on the dude's background and the tragic events of last Friday (Mashable has a really thorough piece that includes a detailed look at Rodger's personality, a timeline of events, and numerous video links and manifesto excerpts)... and I can't help wishing that I'd had the opportunity to talk to him before he did what he did. Granted, it probably wouldn't have made a difference -- he probably would've called me weak (and stabbed me to death if I'd been one of his roommates) and, for my part, I probably would've found him weird and creepy as heck -- but still.
Someone needed to tell Rodger that not having a girlfriend doesn't diminish a guy's worth as a man or as a human being. Someone needed to tell him that everyone has problems, and that those dudes walking around with beautiful blond girls on their arms didn't necessarily have "better" lives than his because of that fact. Someone really needed to tell him that, at any age, there are way worse things than being a virgin (like being a murderer). Those ideas might seem obvious to many of us, but -- despite Rodger's apparent belief in the superiority of his own intellect -- they clearly failed to take root in his mind. Unfortunately, that's not terribly surprising: while those ideas might seem obvious to many of us, they're not terribly well represented in public discourse and popular media, either.
So I saw Captain America: The Winter Soldier last night. It was pretty enjoyable, though I think I agree with the reviewers who complain that it shines when it goes in for character moments but is mostly too focused on world-building and spectacle -- particularly the final action sequence, which is largely interchangeable with any of the explosive battles that superhero flicks tend to end with these days. (While I'm not the fan of The Dark Knight that everyone else is, I applaud that film for its comparatively quiet concluding confrontation.) In any case, those flaws aren't immediately apparent while one is caught up in the action onscreen -- they're the kinds of things that one ponders after one has left the theater. (They're also the kinds of things one ponders while reading negative reviews of a film, which I tend to do for most movies I see; I feel these reviews offer perhaps more balanced and interesting analyses than overzealous fanboy praise.)
What did occur to me while the movie was running was that holy heck is it long! It's 2 hours and 16 minutes, which is too long for my tastes (for a superhero flick, anyway) -- and it seemed even longer since I had to piss like a racehorse by the 80-minute mark. I sat there with my legs crossed and tried to hold it, since I figured the movie had been on long enough and would probably be over soon... and then it kept going, and going, and then there was an action sequence and then it still kept going... so finally I rushed off to the bathroom at what seemed like a quiet moment. (I'm informed that I picked probably the best time to go, since it sounds like I chose the longest stretch of nothing significant and/or amusing happening in the film.) It does seem like even action films these days are striving for "epic" lengths. Admittedly, these lengths do (artificially) imbue the films with a certain feeling of depth -- if only because 2+ hour runtimes used to be reserved for weightier material -- but I find myself missing the tighter, less ponderous, and more fun adventures of less recent years. (It's worth noting that, for a short while, Daredevil was actually my favorite superhero film. Sure, it's goofy as heck -- the titular hero's playground foreplay with Elektra never fails to send me into a fit of giggles -- but that is a movie that really keeps things moving.) Ah well. (more...)
Hey, all! It's been a while, hasn't it? I've been somewhat more active on tumblr -- and much more active on Facebook -- but not so much here. I'd like for that to change. (I never did figure out how to reliably integrate the tumblr content into this blog; I'll have to look into that again.) We'll see.
Anyway, if you're friends with me on Facebook (or in real life), you've probably noticed that lately I've been really into Sirena. The group consists of a trio of ladies who travel to renaissance festivals and put on a show in which they pretend to be mythical sirens, singing and dancing and drumming with purported intent to draw in the audience members and ensnare their souls. If you know me, you know that sort of thing is right up my alley -- the rennfest stuff is less my deal, but I'm all about mythology and monsters and such -- so you're probably not surprised that I dig the group based on my description alone. (more...)
Well, today I learned that ducks are -- or are prone to becoming -- cannibals. This passage (from the NSW Department of Primary Industries Agriculture website) is particularly chilling:
"Although cannibalism can begin in ducks of any age, ducklings over 4 weeks old are more prone to develop this vice. The underlying reasons for birds turning to cannibalism are not known, but it is associated with boredom..."
Duck cannibalism is associated with BOREDOM, people. Somebody get those ducks some knitting needles STAT.1
Check out this blog entry on Real Clear Science for a firsthand account of duck cannibalism, and here's the horrific "Scientifically Accurate DuckTales" video that sent me down this corkscrew-shaped road to nightmares in the first place.2