Film Corner: Hobbit (Five Armies)

We've got one more of these 6 movies. Let's do this.

Actually first I'm gonna say something that's gonna piss some people off and instead of knee jerk defensiveness I want y'all to listen and sit with it ok. Please. I've been watching the DVD menu screen on a loop got about an hour now, and it is scenes of the dwarven fellowship--13 dwarves and Bilbo--going to war and doing badass things.

And they're cool scenes. But it's group shots of 13 white guys doing cool fantasy shit. And I keep trying to think of ANY movie that has 13 women doing this sort of thing. Suiting up, going to war. Army shots that's just women everywhere, no men. I can't think of one. Mad Max, but that's a different genre and there's still plenty of men in it, and it's not 12+ women until late in the movie anyway.

Film Corner: Hobbit (Desolation of Smaug)

Ok, I remember Hobbit 2: Electric Shiraloo being where everything broke down. Let's do this.

The backstory flashback is.......a thing. I don't hate it! It explains why the Arkenstone is important rather than just a Shiny. Might've been good to explain all that to Bilbo.

I....like that Bombur can run the fastest.

The forest is sick and diseased and honestly stop using illness as a metaphor for evil!

Mmmmmph. There's a "humorous" scene where Legolas mistakes Gloin's wife for his brother, and his son (Gimli) for a goblin and it's.....definitely in this movie.

Open Thread: Dropped my hat off a bridge again


[Warning: long explanation here.]
[You may want to jump to the section break, which has a possibly useful meta note in it.]

One may note that it's in shallow water close to the shore.  I got it back.  I got it back with the help of a long stick that I think was some kind of cheap and basic indoor architectural trimming, which had no business being on the sea shore.

What happened was, I was taking pictures of some clouds.  I'm not even sure why.  They weren't spectacular or anything.  I just started taking pictures of clouds and ended up stuck in "taking pictures of clouds" mode, but through a process known as "wind" the clouds moved across the sky, and I ended up having to face more or less straight up to get all of the clouds.  That's when my had fell off of my head, off of the bridge, and into the estuary.

Fortunately I was already at the spot where the pedestrian exit to the bridge is located.

I think this is the first time I've ever dropped a hat off of this particular bridge.  I also think that it's the first time I dropped this particular hat.  I have an unfortunate habit of losing my hat.  I forget it on the bus.  I forget it at the bus station.  I forget it other places that I have since forgotten.  I possibly even drop it in places that are unretrievable.

(Chrome tells me that unretrievable is not a word.  I care not for your prescriptivism, Chrome.  If you're going to get all tetchy about such things, why not get people to start using the subjunctive properly or something equally laudable?)

As a final note, I've actually been a lot better about hat stuff lately.  I think this is the first time this year I've had a had problem, and I don't think the last problem (whenever it was) was particularly late in the year last year.

~ Meta Stuff ~

It's on time for once, woo!

In other news, I meant to say this weeks ago, I think, but here's a thing on the film open threads:

I don't actually have some scientific means of testing whether a film (or TV show) will generate enough conversation to merit a separate thread so I tend to just provide them on request.

If you think that what you want to talk about isn't conversation-inducing enough to merit it's own open thread, then you should talk about it here (by which I mean a given week's general open thread) with spoilers in Cthulhu summoning form (cyphered with rot-13.)

If, conversely, you think enough people will want to talk about it (or a lesser number of people but at great length, or whatever) to merit a dedicated open thread, all you have to do is ask for one.  Then everyone can say as much as they want without worrying about drowning out other topics, and (provided they Lorem ipsum sufficiently) in plain text without any cipher or Cthulhu-esque SAN points damage.

I originally planned to say something to this effect re:Game of Thrones, but Ana swooped in and made an open thread for it (which is probably what I should have done anyway) before I got it composed, and then I . . . sort of lost track of the outside world.

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We have special open threads set aside for discussing various movies and shows, said discussions including plain text spoilers.  These are the current ones:
   ● Game of Thrones
   ● Avengers: Endgame
   ● Captain Marvel

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Friday Recommendations!  What have you been reading/writing/listening to/playing/watching lately?  Shamelessly self-promote or boost the signal on something you think we should know about - the weekend’s ahead of us, so give us something new to explore!

And, like on all threads: please remember to use the "post new comment" feature rather than the "reply" feature, even when directly replying to someone else!

Film Corner: Hobbit (Unexpected Journey)

Apparently they made a prequel to the trilogy I've been watching? I assume it's about Sam and his origin story. I know THE HOBBIT is going to be good because a full baker's dozen of you were like "you don't have to, save yourself" when I mentioned I'd watch it for this series.

I have seen all the movies before... once... in theaters... and the lack of captions was a bad thing. Maybe I'll like it better once I can understand what people are saying! I am going to say AGAIN that all I wanted going into this movie was for the casting director to cast half+ of the dwarves, at random, with lady actresses. And the cowards did not do that.

I really like seeing the thriving dwarf community. It reminds me of the space station on Valerian. I like seeing fantasy cultures just doing their thing. I hate hate hate that they turned "greed" into "mental illness" and explicitly say that "where sickness thrives, bad things will follow."

Let's Play: Stardew Valley | #30 Winter 7 Year 1

Another Stardew Valley video is up! ♡

Film Corner: Lord of the Rings (Return)

Apparently this is a trilogy, who knew. I'm sure there's no movies after this one, though.

ROTK starts with the Smeagol and Deagol back story and it's an interesting choice. Gollum is important to this novel (obviously) and it's important to show his past. It's interesting that Gollum was able to subvert the will of the ring for so long and not be drawn out to Mordor. I know the canon is that he used it sparingly and I think, too, Sauron wasn't at full strength and calling for it.

This isn't me having some clever insight; iirc, Gandalf points this out himself. The halflings who have been ring bearers had some natural immunity or strength when it came to the one ring. Maybe because their ambitions weren't as high as kings'. Smeagol did jump to murder alarming quickly. Frodo and Bilbo didn't kill anyone for the ring. Sam and Merry and Pippin and my perfect fat Freddy didn't ever consider killing Frodo.

So, Gollum: Good willpower, bad morals.

Please do not acquire birthday presents through murder.

Let's Play: Stardew Valley | #29 Winter 4 Year 1

Another Stardew Valley video is up! ♡

Film Corner: Lord of the Rings (Two Towers)

Apparently there's a sequel to the movie I watched last night.

I don't have this one as memorized as the other, and I forgot to say last night how relieved I was that Bombadil wasn't in the movie and how confused I was that people wanted him to be. Being on the outside of fan communities always brings these little surprises like "people care about Tom Bombadil???" and "who the fuck is Boba Fett??"

Gandalf and the winged Balrog fall into a cavern I've been to in LOTRO and it is BEAUTIFUL.

I love how Sam is sick of the lembas bread. The fanbase is sick with mighty need for the stuff and Sam legit wants some variety in his diet.

God, poor Gollum.

Open Thread: Moon


A while back, my camera died.*  Faced with the choice of not having a camera or hundreds of dollars of new debt, I went with option two.  (As you might guess from the fact that open threads all† feature pictures I took myself, being able to take pictures is kind of important to me.)

Apparently, it took me a very long time to point replacement camera at the moon.  I think that this is not, in fact, the first time I pointed current-camera at the moon.  However, if I'm right, the other time would have been on a mostly cloudy night while riding shotgun in moving car on a winding (and possibly bumpy) road.

This, by contrast, was a handheld shot from my sister's driveway on a clear evening.  My hands are not steady.  My hands are, in fact, a sort of anti-steady.

As such, this picture has blown my mind and completely altered how I think about what an unsupported camera in my unsteady hands can do.

~

*How much of a while?  The November 2nd open thread picture was a test picture I took in the mall, but out of the store, after buying current-camera (the replacement for dead camera.)

† This statement has not been verified by an archive crawl, but it --at the very least-- feels true in the context of recent history.

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We have special open threads set aside for discussing various movies, said discussions including plain text spoilers.  These are the current ones:
   ● Avengers: Endgame
   ● Captain Marvel

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Friday Saturday Recommendations!  What have you been reading/writing/listening to/playing/watching lately?  Shamelessly self-promote or boost the signal on something you think we should know about - the weekend’s ahead of us here, so give us something new to explore!

And, like on all threads: please remember to use the "post new comment" feature rather than the "reply" feature, even when directly replying to someone else!

Film Corner: Lord of the Rings (Fellowship)

Rewatching Lord of the Rings!

I love the Shire so much. Frodo hugging Gandalf. The little perfect baby hobbits. Rose and Sam dancing.
Bilbo running to hug Gandalf after their argument. My soft boys.

The MUSIC. The way the ring doesn't want to fall from his hand. The heavy thud as it hits the ground. The portentous weight.

(Theater release, before everyone asks; I don't like the extended cuts.)

The way Gandalf warily circles the ring and draws back from touching it. So much conveyed without words.

Let's Play: Stardew Valley | #28 Winter 1 Year 1

Another Stardew Valley video is up! ♡

Film Corner: Berserker Hell's Warrior

I'm trying to fall asleep to Rifftrax Berserker Hell's Warrior on Amazon Prime and it's amazing.

Valkyrie Brunhilde is apparently represented by stock footage of a vampire????

They're....they're really going with this?"

Wait a minute.

V a l k y r i e
V a m p i r e

"The bite of the Valkyrie makes us strong."

THEY HAVE GLOWING VAMPIRE WOMEN AND THEY'RE CALLING THEM VALKYRIES.

I'm not ok, I'm calling a manager, any manager will do.

They're hissing and making claw hands with their fingers!???!

They're warring and some guy just Leroy Jenkinsed.

Wait what suddenly 30 minutes in and we're in Modern Era???? I've never experienced whiplash quite as bad as this.

I... There are...Vikings in Modern Times and they're breaking into a maximum security ward in an attempt to kill the vampire there.

How is she reincarnated if she's an immortal vampire who doesn't die?????

VALKYRIE ARE MAKING AN ARMY OF VAMPIRE WARRIORS TO OVERTHROW ODIN WHAT.

I

What

It

How

I

Let's Play: Stardew Valley | #27 Fall 25 Year 1

Another Stardew Valley video is up! ♡

Film Corner: Curse of the Dragon

Tonight's film is CURSE OF THE DRAGON which, despite sounding like every other movie title we've watched, I'm pretty sure I've not seen THIS one.

"A brave knight returns to his homeland to find a powerful dragon terrorizing his village. After many unsuccessful attempts to defeat the monster, he makes a sword which has magical powers." Now, ME, I'd have started with the magic sword.

Please do not confuse this film with Curse of the Dragon SLAYER, which is good.

Strong opening here: men in cloaks on horses. A horse is led to water but refuses to drink.

Open Thread: Button


My sister's car charger is decorated with several buttons, of which this is one.  In spite of seeing them there for years, I have no idea how they're attached.

-

We have special open threads set aside for discussing various movies, said discussions including plain text spoilers.  These are the current ones:
   ● Avengers: Endgame
   ● Captain Marvel

-

Friday Recommendations!  What have you been reading/writing/listening to/playing/watching lately?  Shamelessly self-promote or boost the signal on something you think we should know about - the weekend’s ahead of us, so give us something new to explore!

And, like on all threads: please remember to use the "post new comment" feature rather than the "reply" feature, even when directly replying to someone else!

Film Corner: Zombieland & Night of the Comet

Zombieland is on Amazon Prime and I'm remembering why I didn't care much for it.

The whole "the fatties went first" is annoying and wrong, obviously, and then they follow it up with the whole Nice Guy sequence of his hawt neighbor attacking him.

But then you get to the girls, and their plan is so fucking foolish? They tell men the little girl is infected and needs to be shot, and the older girl wants to be the one to do it, and this causes nice men to hand over their guns. LIKE. She believes men are nice enough to let her be the one to shoot her sister, WHILST believing men aren't nice enough to trust and team up with. She believes two mutually incompatible things!!

Film Corner: Journey Quest (Season 1)

[Trigger Warning: Rape Threats, Whorephobic Language]

Amazon has reminded me that Journey Quest exists, so I'm gonna try to watch that next. But here's the thing, ok. Here's the thing.

(Holy shit, I was gonna tag this #AnaWatches and it autofilled to #AnaWatchesShittyAmazonStuff?)

But ok. I LOVE Gamers 2: The Dorkness Rising. I couldn't buy Journey Quest fast enough. One click order back in the day. And it just.......was not the same. I didn't love it. I felt feelings. So we're gonna see if I still have those feelings. And because those feelings are gonna be Snotty Feminist feelings, everyone may hate me after, SORRY, but hey at least you can mute the hashtag??

Let's Play: Stardew Valley | #26 Fall 22 Year 1

Another Stardew Valley video is up! ♡

Film Corner: Midnight Chronicles

Ok, fuck it, I'm in pain and this helps: shitty Amazon movie live-watch.

This one is called MIDNIGHT CHRONICLES. "Based on the role playing board game" I pause. I have...never heard of this game? I feel like I have heard of a lot of games.

"Based on the role playing board game, in the world of Midnight, it is a time of overwhelming darkness. After three agrees of scheming and war, the dark god Izrador has finally defeated the heroes and armies of the free races."

Amazon cuts off the description there, so I hope it's a light hearted comedy in which Izrador marries, like, a fashion blogger and she has to cope with her new identity.

There's reading. I was not informed there would be reading.

It's fine, it doesn't make sense. Probably not important.

Let's Play: Stardew Valley | #25 Fall 19 Year 1

Another Stardew Valley video is up! ♡

Let's Play Darkest Dungeon | Week 17-19

Another Darkest Dungeon is up! ♡

Film Corner: Dwarves of Dragon Mountain

Ok, that last one was awful, let's have a new "disabled in bed watching terrible Amazon Prime movies" thread.

We have LORD OF THE ELVES which says: ""In an ancient age, the peace-loving hobbits are enslaved by the Java Men, a race of flesh-eating dragon-riders." I thought "hobbit" was copyrighted and trademarked by the Tolkien estate, tbh. I'm also confused where the elves come in and who is their lord. Elves aren't hobbits or cannibalistic dragon riders. (I think?)

Oh shit uh.

I was about to be thrilled that all the hobbits are POC little people (like Willow!! But not white!) but then the camera panned to the Java-Men and they're.....really offensive racist stereotypes of brutish Black men? So that's a...no, we're done here!!! No, thank you! I like shitty movies, but I have a limit. Noping out.

Instead let's try DWARVES OF DRAGON MOUNTAIN.

"In a fantasy world four dwarves are mining in the dangerous Dragon Mountain when a sudden explosion causes a cave in, trapping the dwarves inside."

Ooh, this one has decent special effects AND a no-nonsense narrator.

We're starting in medias res, AFTER the cave in, which is a fascinating decision; I know nothing about the people making sad coughing noises. It will be on the movie to get me to care about them. I look forward to this.

Ok, they're all trying to find each other and they're varying degrees of wounded.

Open Thread: Healing Goat


One of my sister's goat on Wednesday, recovering from an injury with the help of a splint.

-

We have special open threads set aside for discussing various movies, said discussions including plain text spoilers.  These are the current ones:
   ● Avengers: Endgame
   ● Captain Marvel
   ● Into the Spiderverse

-

Friday Recommendations!  What have you been reading/writing/listening to/playing/watching lately?  Shamelessly self-promote or boost the signal on something you think we should know about - the weekend’s ahead of us, so give us something new to explore!

And, like on all threads: please remember to use the "post new comment" feature rather than the "reply" feature, even when directly replying to someone else!

Transcending Flesh: Sexuality and Gender

Note: This was previously published on my Patreon.

a pink and blue sky with a radio tower

This essay is one in a series which focuses on writing gender in science fiction and fantasy settings that provide body modification options beyond our current level of technology. Note that you can download this collection of essays from my website here.

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Transcending Flesh:
Gender and Body Diversity in Futuristic and Fantastical Settings


Essay #12: Sexuality and Gender

I am now going to say something which I feel ought to be obvious: every sexual and romantic orientation you can imagine has trans people in there alongside the cis people. There are gay trans men. There are lesbian trans women. There are bisexual nonbinary people. There are straight trans people and pansexual trans people and asexual trans people and aromantic trans people. If you can name a label, there's a trans person out there with that label.

Gender and sexuality can intertwine for some of us in complicated ways, but body modification is almost always about the individual's identity as a person, and not about attracting sexual partners. In a magitech setting where I can custom-build any body I want, I'm going to build what I want, not what prospective sex partners want! Trans women (whether they be lesbian or straight or bisexual or anything else!) are not "gay men" who thought body modification would be the best way to meet men. Trans men (whether they be gay or straight or bisexual or anything else!) are not "lesbian women" who thought body modification would be the best way to land a girlfriend. Trans people don't change their bodies in order to get laid!

Other useful facts to note:

- A character who enjoys sex with men will not automatically run out to get breasts and a vagina, either to appeal to men or to facilitate sex with them. There are plenty of men who find other body types appealing, and there are plenty of ways to have sex besides penis-in-vagina intercourse.

- If your only on-page examples of trans people are straight couples, your reader is going to wonder where you've stashed the gay trans men and the lesbian trans women. Straight trans people absolutely exist, but they are not the only kind of trans person in the world.

- While we're talking transness and sexuality, trans people date each other quite often. It stands to reason that two people who have experiences in common may be drawn to each other. If all your trans characters only date cis people, that seems to suggest that they (or their author) don't consider trans people desirable. Avoid creating that impression.

- A setting with BodyMod magitech ought to have at least some people who are excited to explore with their partner(s) every possible combination of bodies to mash together sexually. I have read magitech settings where everyone paired off into "male/female" marriages and then never experimented! There should be at least someone in your magitech setting who wants to see what sex is like with different equipment in play.


~My Trans Body is for Me, not You~

Let's talk about Felicity.

Felicity has written a BodyMod magitech setting where anyone can have a penis or a vagina. She imagines that all the gay and lesbian people in the world immediately line up to switch body configurations as soon as this magitech is made available. In her setting, all the lesbian women grow penises and go marry straight women to be good husbands to them, while all the gay men grow vaginas and settle down as happy wives to straight men.

It's unclear whether Felicity knows that bisexual and pansexual people exist, but if they do exist in her world, they too all settle down into "male/female" pairings as well on the stated grounds that penis-in-vagina sex just works better than all the other possible types of sex.

If this sounds ludicrous, that's because it is--and yet this is a story I have encountered. This is not how transness works, nor how sexuality works, nor how people work. Lesbian women are not all universally longing for the day when they can transition to a "male" body in order to have penis-in-vagina sex with a straight woman! Gay men are not all waiting on tenterhooks for magitech to come along and allow them to transition to a "female" body so they can have penis-in-vagina sex with straight men!

Gay people are not all transgender and seeking transition, and trans people are not transitioning in order to attract partners from a specific gender. Transness is about one's self-identity, not about attracting a mate.