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Game of Thrones - Episode by Episode #4

Feb. 14th, 2019 | 01:33 am

So I started watching Game of Thrones, and then I stopped, because the series didn't hold my interest, even thought it got better. However, I've picked it up again, only because it's necessary to understand pop culture these day

Episode 4: "Cripples, Bastards, and Broken Things"

After the past couple of episodes, I was disappointed in how nothing of value seemed to happen in it,  I did like some of the swinging establishing shots from a visual perspective, but overall, it decided to rely on more pointless violence to tell a tale...of filler.

At the wall, Jon Snow decides to take a rotund weakling under his wing and decides to play hero.  This is almost a step back for Jon, because the previous episodes showed that he has a lot to learn, but now he's in "good guy" mode.  Since I know his role grows larger in this tale due to pop culure spoiling that he takes over the narrative, this worries me.

Meanwhile, in town, Ned is looking into the death of the noble, Jon Arryn.  It took me four episodes to realize this guys name, and I still don't care. They speculate a woman did him in with poison, but that he was a eunuch and would have no use for female companionship.  Maybe someone better think to check the conscience of the queen.

This episode tries to make us see things from Daenarys dirtbag brother's point of view; it doesn't work. He is so unlikable that I can only hope Kal Drago comes and kills him just for being annoying.  Frustrated about not having his promised army and realizing he is essentially nothing in the company of people not like him, he starts taking it out on his sister, who is using her regency to her advantage.

Manwhile, Tyrion continues to be a seeming voice of reason.  Maybe he's a really good manipulator who has bad intentions, or maybe he's the token good Lannister in this evil Lannister clan.  It's really hard to tell what his game is from his scene with Bran, which is easily the best scene of the show. I really hope he is on the side of a lighter shade of grey, because these people are not just evil, but boringly evil.  Yes, including the guy with the White Temples who's probably going to betraw Ned. I don't trust him, either.

Yet at the end, Mama Stark decides to show her hand and decides to declare to him with her backup that she will have him arrested for trying to kill her son. This really screams "bad idea."  If Tyrion is guilty, he'll Lannister up.  If Tyrion is innocent, then you've created your own enemy out of distrust.

  1. It's very interesting looking at the joust having watched this episode for the first time after watching that infamous Budweiser crossover Super Bowl commercial.  It takes on an entirely different light if you have watched thid episode.

  2. Daenerys isn't having that baby. I've seen too many soap operas to see where this is going. I gather the over and under before miscarriage or stillbirth is two episodes from now. I take the over.

  3. And we're still in "introducing characters" mode, we get yet another entrant in this crowded mess, "The Mountain."

If I can get through this season, maybe it will fo easier.

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Game of Thrones - Episode by Episode #3

Jan. 13th, 2019 | 04:15 pm

So I watched the first episode of Game of Thrones, and to me it was a confusing dud of violence, sex, and shock value.

I watched second episode of Game of Thrones, and it was surprisingly coherent sword opera where there was not only good drama, but a well-contained story with an actual point to the episode.

Where does Episode 3 lie? Let's find out!

Episode 3: "Lord Snow"

Whereas the first episode was supposed to introduce us to this wonderful fantasy world and the second episode was more of a proper introduction to the Starks, this third episode seems more like a better introduction to the series overall.  Heck, if you just game someone a quick chart with the characters and a brief synopsis of what happened, then this episode actually seems to make sense as a starting point.

I was confused why Mrs. Stark had to go ride all the way to the capital, when her husband had to turn back from the capital to take care of the whole Joffrey/Sansa business.  Couldn't she have just had a quick word with her hushand before he went back to the city?  What was the need for her to go there and attract all that attention.

Still, I liked how they clarified what Ned Stark is supposed to be doing there. He's the King's Hand and thus taking care of all the petty things the King doesn't have time for; this is more than we got in the past few episodes, and even someone like me who is GoT ignorant can tell this is supposed to be one of the main plot threads.

Also, this show waits until the third episode to explain something critical; that this land has mystical winters and summers that last years.  This gives some desperately needed context to the whole "winter" deal.

I also like the continued relationship between Jon Snow and Tyrion Lannister.  It seems like Tyrion Lannister is the only person with an both actual heart and brain in this whole mess.  Everyone else is good-hearted but naive/idiotic or scheming and cruel.  He listens to people, he gives good advice, and though the wheels are turning in his head, he seems like he's scheming to keep this kingdom together.  And young Jon is starting to pick up on how despite being the "bastard" that he has been privileged his entire life.  In addition, the exposition that was too brief in the first episode and touched on upon the second episode is more clear here.  The wall is actually a big deal.

Again, though, I also do like Joffrey's character.  He's supposed to be coming across as this insufferable brat his mother reins in, but it's clear this boy just needs some real guidance, discipline, and a firm hand.  Heck, if the younger Stark sister (I still can't catch her name) were a little older, their parents should ship her with Joffrey, not Sansa.  They're both immature and annoying, but her devotion to truth and family would balance against his propensity to lie, and she could wield a sword and protect him. I could see where this character could easily develop and become more heroic and rebel against his family, but sadly. pop culture has spoiled me on this regard. I just hope if he gets worse then at least he overthrows his mother and uncles (yes, even Tyrion, who doesn't seem to have done something wrong; villains need victims).

Other notes:

  1. This Mad King must have been related to the platinum-haired Targaryen.  Maybe that explains why Daenerys' brother (whose name I still haven't caught) is such a jerk. Craziness runs in that family.

  2. So Incest Charming slew the Mad King who killed Ned's brother.  No wonder these people don't get along.

  3. Daenarys is becoming a queen both in mind and in body, and becoming more of one of Kal Drago's people in spirit.  I just worry her brother might do something to ensure she doesn't come to term with that bun in the oven.

  4. The Lannisters essentially own the kingdom by holding the crown's debt. So let's see. The Lannisters betrayed the old king, married into the royal family, and now have all the coin.  They're already running the show; that only makes Incest Charming's actions phenomenally stupid in the pilot.

So far, this show isn't must-see TV, but I can see where it would appeal to a crowd that likes this type of stuff.

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Game of Thrones - Episode by Episode #2

Jan. 8th, 2019 | 02:46 am

After watching the first episode of Game of Thrones in entirety, I was on the fence of giving his show up.

Episode 2: "The Kingsroad"

So this episode...is a lot better than the first one and much more easy to follow along.

What strikes me is how much more coherent the second episode is than the previous one.  The first episode was supposed to be full of character establishing moments, but it threw too many people, terms, and places at us at once.  Here, we have an actual plot and a concrete theme of the episode. "Hold on tight to your family, because a divided house cannot stand."

This time we still don't get any undead horror action, but we also don't get as much gratuitous sex. The character interactions, which came across as flippant, are done with more care here now that there isn't the visceral imagery to distract the viewer.  A lot of the violence done is less over the top, albeit no less brutal.  In fact, they're more effective because of discretion shots and restraints by comparison to the excessive pilot.  Even the sex scenes we do get push the plot and character development forward, sowing seeds of how a victim can gain agency in even the worst predicament.

Plus, we get our proper introduction to Joffrey.  Given how much people have talked about the character, I know he gets worse, but I'll be honest, I don't see as what he did was all that bad in this episode.  He gets slapped around by his uncle, bit by a direwolf everyone knows shouldn't have been raised as a dog in the first place, and has his authority undermined.  Sansa's bratty sister (whose name I still don't remember) was supposed to be a host.  He was a jerk and a bit of a bully, but what followed was inhospitality. Right now, I'm Team Joffrey, even if he is a liar.

Heck, he's more an interesting character than his mother and other uncle who are just self-serving incestuous jerks.

I'm a little thrown off by the whole "Jon Snow" plot thread.  In fact, tere's obviously something off about this whole Jon Snow "bastard" situation, especially with Ned clamming up when the King askied him about the mother.  Is his mother one of those people from the clan who the King hated?  I would think not since this guy has pitch black hair while those people have light hair, but who knows with this show?  Or maybe the "bastard" story is a coverup and the boy is stolen from his people.  Maybe he's one of those kids from those celibate-in-name-only wall folk.  Or maybe Snow's mammy drugged and had her way with Ned.

Other random notes:

  1. Bran's still alive, Horray for infant immortality!

  2. Mama Stark defending against to that assassins makes me glad I don't have kids, because I could never do that in defense of a child.

  3. The King clearly knows his boy ain't right, but can't prove it either.

  4. Interesting how Ned's daughter went missing and immediately, the both Ned and the King turned around to find her, so there was no need to send word after him.

Had I judged the show by the first episode alone, I'd have run the other way.  The second episode is so much better.

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Game of Thrones - Episode by Episode #1

Jan. 1st, 2019 | 07:22 pm

I don't watch Game of Thrones and have no desire to watch Game of Thrones, but given how this fandom has permeated all things pop culture, I feel like I have to actually consume this show so I can understand what people are talking about.

Obviously, through pop culture, I am very vaguely aware of some series spoilers (although believe it or not, I did not know of the ones occurring specifically in this episode), so I can't pretend I am watching this show with completely unknown eyes.

Right now, I don't know if I'll be watching the episodes every day, five days a week, once a week, or even if I'll be back at all, but I'll definitely be taking it episode by episode and sharing my thoughts on each episode.

No, I don't have a pithy title for this series. If you have not seen this show before, beware, there are spoilers.

Episode 1: "Winter Is Coming"

This episode opens up with a highly effective, memorable, and suspenseful scene, one with interesting characters (even if they are stock figures), gruesome deaths, and corpses coming to life and killing people.

If I were to judge this episode by the first five minutes alone, I would say it was amazing.

Unfortunately...this energy is not kept.

After the attack, one guy reports it and is immediately dealt with in a dismissive, disposing fashion, and soon the drama completely abandons this gripping scenario in favor of some medieval-style political drama that doesn't make much sense because we're dropped in the middle of it and everyone does the "mumble dialogue" that is so commonplace on dramas these days.  I know the show creators were going for a very grounded feel to this fantasy, but with all of the butchery shots and the grim style, this is very off-putting and boring. Oh, there's still violence, gruesome, and shocking moments, as well as plenty of fan-service and sex (people complaining about True Blood are crazy).  In fact, if every episode from here on out is like this, I can see why people complain about this show's treatment of women.  In the very first episode women are just here to screw the guys or get screwed by them, and the girl who would be a Merida-like figure instead wants to get married.

Worse than boring, though, is confusing. If I didn't already know the names "Ned Stark," "Sansa Stark," "Joffrey," and "Daenerys" from pop culture, I would not have been able to keep track of who is who.  I still found it hard to keep track of who is who. In fact, after watching the episode, this is all I can gleam that happened.

  1. Some old king died and they put coins on his eyes.

  2. Some other king came into the small town of Winterfell to give Ned Stark a job offer as well as arranging a marriage between her daugher (Sansa) and the young blonde boy (Joffrey).  He accepts after his wife gets a letter about someone else we don't know getting killed.

  3. There's a blonde lady who is the sister to two blonde adults. These royals are all of the Lannister Clan, and clearly all of these adults like having sex.

  4. I still can't figure out how these people are related. Peter Dinklage is one brother to the other blonde adult, but whose kid is Joffrey?  And if the blonde lady is the queen, does this mean she's just a consort and her brothers are like Pippa Middleton, or they the actual royals and the king just a consort? Is she any relation to the other blonde lady (Daenerys)?

  5. Dannerys is sold by her brother as a bride to Aquaman so that he can rape her in exchange for an army.

  6. One of the Stark boys wants to go and work at the wall, but his uncle says no.

  7. Bran gets defenstrated after unwittinlgly watching some incest action. This was legitimately the only surprise as I thought Bran Stark was one of the main characters of this thing and only know of one Stark death that is to come.

To think, I only gleaned this much because I know these characters have larger roles later on. If I have never even heard these names, between that and the combination of the hushed dialogue, the gratuitious volence and sex, and the hyper "realistic" vibe, I'd have turned this show off and never returned.  I'm really debating about continuing this show.

Maybe this gets better by the second episode, but I can't figure out who is making alliances for what and why, but instead of being a mystery, it comes across as murky and clouded in comparison to that very first scene, where the designated roles are abundantly clear.

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Time For My Yearly Entry

Mar. 25th, 2016 | 02:00 pm

I have not forgotten about LiveJournal, but I never got around to updating it.

Looking back on my LiveJournal, I find it heartbreaking that the very same problems I complained about previously are still present, only worse.  I feel as if I am the only person I know who has not sold out to the machine.  People play the trauma and pity cards to get sympathy and to excuse bullying, while still making money from other people's suffering. I have tried and failed to lead the charge against this.

To think, Rand Paul a few years ago was the face of bullying, and now it is Donald Trump.  The "Anti-PC" wave has not yet crested.  The worst is to come.

Somebody has to do something, but I simply cannot.

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2014, From Bad to Worse

Apr. 26th, 2015 | 10:19 pm

This is my first and only post for 2014, and it's telling that it took until halfway through 2015 to post it.

The good news is that I still live and still am able to write in this venue.

The bad news is that it doesn't matter whether I live, as no one has read and taken to heart what I've written, which makes life meaningless.

The Sailor Moon Boycotts (both mine and the other one) were pointless, with rare exception, they did not cause "Moonies" to re-examine their own prejudices and approporiation of Japanese works as cultural window dressing. The movemenets did not encourage the license holders to release the old dub. Instead proved that boycotts do not work and that it's wrong to try them.

Crowdfunding has gone from merely the standard to now the realm of the privileged.  It's sad that now only those who don't need crowdfunding to are able to create the "suspense"  and to advertise their own product at the expense of their followers.  Why can't people crowdfund people without followings and thus make unknown people into success stories? The Internet is now about successful people cyberbegging.

The problem is it's all about hype, not substance, or worth.  It's all about tricking people, not lifting people up.  Kickstarter could be used to get the girl with no experience her own graphic novel.  Indiegogo could be used to give the guy denied loan after loan and into debt to his eyeballs a second chance

The irony is those who talk about privilege the most are the ones to reward others in their own social circles to lift them up, instead of falling for what's "hot" and wasting money because it's trendy.

No one is going to Kickstart my dreams, so why should I Kickstart anyone else's?

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Year In Review - 2013

Dec. 31st, 2013 | 03:29 am

Every year I try write an essay out of the happenings of the year, and what has happened to my LiveJournal is somewhat predictable. Given that the friends I used to have on it mostly frequent Facebook and Tumblr, there's less of an audience to talk to, except for the odd visitor in my logs.

Most of my blogging has ported over to Tumblr, but in my mind, I always thought there'd be a place for LiveJournal. This format, for good or for ill, allows for discourse and an actual, threaded means of discussion without turning an opinion into something to be crowd-shared and subverted completely. It's a place where I can write a rant and not have to worry about whether someone will see it in five minutes or never at all. Each post is a chapter in the autobiography of my life.

But I live in a world of Web 3.8 or whatever, where not only is everything dynamic, nothing is of permanence. The skirmishes of 2012 are ancient history ("Who is PSY?"), and even stories that are hours old are considered outdated. This is a world that I can no longer live in, at least not digitally.

I find it odd that those who are my age and older are actually coping with this change more smoothly than I have. 40 and 50 year olds post daily on social media without shame, to the point where Geraldo Rivera's self-portrait was seen as risible and surprising, but not earth-shatteringly depraved. Crowdfunding has gone from Internet phenomenon to standard procedure. Yet, in spite of all this, the same lie is told. "You can do it if you try."

This year had been good, although not great, to me in the beginning. I admit. I thought that this year was going to be the breakthrough year because I was going to make it or bust, and up until April, I actually thought I had a chance of at least staying even. Events in the early spring and summer caused the potential breakthrough to become a horrible setback, and now in winter, the very heat I'm using will soon not be paid for and possibly cut off.

Unexpected events happened on a professional note (which cost me money) and a personal note (which really cost me money). Next year I will definitely be making less money than I did this year and literally busted down three years in terms of wages, and given that my expenses have gone up over the years, this means I am in dire financial straits. Options such as getting another job are out -- not only does the shift I work now put me at odds with most part-time positions, a second job won't pay enough to offset the cost in gas or even bus fare of going to work as I literally do not have $20 per week to spare at this point.

To be fair, there is good. Elly, a.k.a. Miss Dream, was exposed as a bully and her meltdown will go down in history. I was at least able to get some feedback on one of my aphorisms. I also discovered NFL Rush Zone and Attack on Titan, two awesome animated shows with very different tones.

However, this year has ended in a low note, an even lower note than the years members of my close-knit family passed or people I thought were my friends betrayed my trust. After those events, there was a glimmer of hope that even if the world hated me for whatever reason, I was going to continue to work to survive. But as the firing of Adria Richards and the posthumous conviction of Trayvon Martin show, merit, fighting for one's life and livelihood labels you the villain. One can't survive a shot to the heart.

Good night, 2013. I don't think I'll have much to say about 2014.

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No, I haven't forgotten about this place.

Oct. 12th, 2013 | 11:50 pm

Trust me, even though I've bailed on LiveJournal, there are some aspects of this service that I prefer to those of other sites. This is still, like, my winter home.

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Way to make me feel worse, guys...

Apr. 7th, 2013 | 03:03 am

So LiveJournal is deciding to join the whole social media crowd and is now assigning users social capital.

Does not LiveJournal realize the reason why I still use the service is that even though I have few followers and few friends, I can write my occasional entries and have a false sense of importance. Maybe no one will read my entries as I write them, but someone may stumble upon them, at least I hope.

Thanks for making me feel even more worthless than I already do.

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Looking back at my LiveJournal

Mar. 21st, 2013 | 04:07 am

I tend to look at my LiveJournal from time to time, and I look back on my previous entries. I remember I dreamed, for instance, to make Ogre Battle: The Series a real television show. To be clear this television show would be different from the sprite comic, as it would focus on the actual heroes of the game in episodic format and would have a more serious bent (by contrast, my nearly-dead comic is shown more from the perspective of the rank-and-file soldiers).

Back then I was completely unaware of how television worked as a business, and while I still am unaware of a lot, thanks to sites like TVByTheNumbers and various articles I read since then, I am more aware that getting a television show onto TV isn't as simple as writing a script and pitching it to the right people. I learned that a show doesn't stay on television because the writers have stories to tell, and not even always because the ratings are good, but because of other factors, like the cost of the show, or in the case of cartoons, how well the merchandise sells. Of course that's not counting the massive legal hurdles one would have to go through to get SquareEnix to sign off on it.

Looking back on it now, I realized that while I liked the idea of having the series as a real show and being the executive producer, the goal was slightly more realistic than sprouting wings and flying. Furthermore, even as the executive producer, I would not have ultimate say, as there are standards I would have to adhere to. Everyone has a boss, and I now realize that television shows aren't just ensemble pieces that the actors, writers, directors, and crew put together, but are vehicles that networks use to lure advertisers who pay for the networks' existence. While I might not have necessarily believed it, I wish someone would have told me this in my younger days, not that my dreams sucked but why they sucked. I could have learned something instead of despairing and not knowing why.

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