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Sunday, April 17, 2016

Precious Gems

     Sam got me going on a show called Mine Hunters- I started on Hulu and went through all eight episodes thus far. I am usually not a big fan of reality TV, because it is usually not reality. It is usually scripted and edited to favor some, make a goat of others. This show is somewhat different.

  • They show the triumphs, but also show the screw-ups- and all the team members make those screw-ups.
  • Usually when something on a reality show seems significant, it's the only thing that will work. Here, I saw something the looked significant, and they never went back to it.
  • I learned a lot to respect about the gem trade, which I have considered to be kind of the ultimate artificial value system. The intrinsic worth of gemstones is based on how rare they are and how much they are desired. Quality is judged on invented and agreed-upon values of clarity, cut, and color.
  • I learned how each typed of stone hunted has it's own particular dangers- earthworks collapsing, suffocation, drowning, bandits, soldiers...
  • I learned how fruitless a hunt can be, for even common stones.
     I Learned that precious things are measured in Carats. In that light, I would like to reveal a precious, flawless 310 carat jewel. See how he sparkles and glints.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Fan Service

     I mentioned Fan Service last post, and I found I wanted to talk more about it

     Fan Service can get a bad reputation. A lot of folks think it's pandering, or unnecessary, or inauthentic. Fan Service can be Skimpy outfits, needless and inappropriate sexualization..."jiggle"...

     In short, it can be done tacky, just like everything else can. To be clear, tacky doesn't necessarily mean bad- but it generally means it's unsubtle.

Examples of Obvious Fan Service

  • Daisy Dukes short shorts
  • Princess Leia's metal bikini
  • Megan Fox bending over an engine in Transformers
  • Saving or including a dog(not a weird innuendo.)

     Fan Service can also take the form of "Easter Eggs" in the film- things thrown in as in-jokes for those who know the subject material. When used this way, it's usually done by someone who is a big enough fan of the material that they know you will get the reference, and they are including it for their own benefit as well.

Examples of Awesome usage of Fan Service

  • Any time someone says "I have a bad feeling about this" in a Star Wars movie
  • Donald Blake M.D in Thor
  • Reference to Iron Man as "a bodyguard in a suit"
  • The Space Cowboy scene on Castle
  • Casting Peter Cullen as Optimus Prime in the Transformers live action movies
  • Stan "the Man" Lee in Marvel movies
     Fan Service is neither inherently good nor inherently bad- not something to hate, but more something to be aware of. Enjoy the leg show, but don't forget why it's there. It may be there because the creators of a work think you are smart enough to catch it, it may be there because they think you are dumb enough to fall for it. but either way, it's there for you. I'm a fan- I love Fan Service.

     Now, for my own Fan Service, back to pictures of toys and birds next post...

Friday, April 8, 2016

The Fanservice Awakens

     What can I say(spoiler free) about Star Wars VII? First thing I can say, spoiler free is that I started this post last year. It was intended to be the last post of 2015, rather than happen in 2016- as it stands, I actually waited until the DVD comes out, because I am either that much of a procrastinator (possible)(I will check on how badly I Procrastinate in a week or so) or because my feelings are that complex

     I was cautiously optimistic about it, but Star Wars has hurt me before...

     OK, that's not quite true- I'm not a victim. I've hurt me before, and Star Wars was involved. Star Wars became a hurtful obsession, like nothing since- there were collectibles, a running Star wars Based RPG, and finally just a sad, tired dislike of so much of it, and the space it ate up. I dumped the books, a lot of the toys, and the running RPG was a casualty of my divorce. My ex mentioned starting that up again but I felt that it would just spark confused feelings.

     When I saw the movie in the theater, it felt like 1977 again. And it was designed to. TFA follows a very successful formula- that of ANH.

  • Desert planet? Check
  • Cantina scene? Check
  • Escape to the rebel(resistance) base? Check
  • Superweapon? Check
  • Trench run? Check! Check! Check!

     The first two times I watched it, I watched in the theater, lost in wonder. With me on the first visit were my sister and my niece- Second time, Sam. On DVD at home, I noticed the actors...the new leads. and the Fanservice

     John Boyega (Finn) reacts to the familiar lines with a moment of "I Can't believe I get to say this!" which makes me think (and I verified) that he is a huge fan, living out his week at star wars camp.
Not that his performance is anything other than stellar-  there are just the glimpses of "oh-my-god-I'm-talking-to-Han-and-Chewie" that show us the fan within

     Daisy Ridley turns in a magnificent performance as Rey, and the mystery of her parentage is driving the internet crazier than usual. Well, wonder no more- you remember how Anakin was born of the force itself, with Shmi Skywalker as his mother? well Rey is the same way- Luke is her Father and her mother is the force. You heard it here first, or if I'm wrong I was kidding ...(backup theory- her mother is Kaylee Frye )
     Rey makes me think of what Shmi Skywalker would have been, had she not been Watto's slave- a natural force sensitive with a particular skill with the inner workings of things. 

     Oscar Isaac (Poe Dameron) is not the big Star Wars Fan that his uncle is, but attacked Poe with enthusiasm and left us wanting more. His character is exuberant without being arrogant, and very realistic about motivations.

     And the opening shot of the Falcon... well played. 

     Bottom line for me, The Force Awakens looks to be a movie for the fans, by fans, to bring fans back to the franchise. It shows love and devotion to the franchise that I personally feel Lucas had lost by the time he did the prequels.

     I have to tell this story- it made me ridiculously happy. Maybe even Furiously Happy

     So I didn't like the initial price for the movie at Walmart, or Target($20 each) and went to BestBuy($18). I ordered online for store pickup, and picked it up last night. Up to the customer service counter I went, gave my name, gave the item, and the clerk brought it out.

     And then he asked if he could verify my identification...

     Up comes my hand, vague wave..."You don't need to see my identification".

     Of course, he was wise to it- he was already smiling by the time my hand got to JMT Position 1. Up comes his hand, vague wave..."that is not going to work on me."

     Price of admission, right there. Good times