I love it when not only are there great costumes but the cosplay to go along with it. These two introduced themselves with blasters pointing and "Have you seen an R2 unit go by."
After checking my credentials for making a holovid of them only the stormtrooper would reveal his identity TK6441. As expected the Mandalorian was surly and silent.
Not in the picture is a real nice mic unit set up in the armor for the trooper inside to speak through.
Do goth or alternative lifestyle employees have to work harder than the norms?
I am a gloom cookie, a mistress of the dark, a "goth" as the norms call us. I wear black clothes, color my hair, and sport elaborate makeup. I’ve worked for employers that don’t care what I wear and ones that have dress codes that make me alter or tone down my look, but at the core I am still me and I will be me whether they like it or not. Those of us who live alternative lives… whether you be a goth, lolita, punk, gay, or have an uncommon religion, are different. We see things differently. We process things differently and have different answers to mainstream questions. Some of us hide or disguise our differences so that we can have a simpler life, but in the end, we are different and you have to be a pretty good magician to hide it at all times, even in the workplace.
I don’t have to tell you that the “norm” perception of us is bad. Apparently we are evil, devil worshiping, spell casting, curse making, sexually perverse, murderous fiends who will stop at nothing to “turn” them (fill in the blank- goth, gay, evil) . God forbid you fall into two or three of these different alternative categories. To them, a gay male, goth, pagan, has one intent: To corrupt their way of life and turn their sons into flaming voodoo priests! I’m not going to tackle how we change that impression in this post… that is so much bigger than ourselves. However, given that the impression of the general public is this, do we have to work harder in the workplace to prove our usefulness? To earn respect, do we have to be better, faster, and sharper than the “norms”?
I think we do. Because not only do they think we are “weird”, they also believe that we spend our work hours thinking “weird” things. It doesn’t matter that your cube mate is obsessed with her pet tabby cat and has pictures of the feline plastering her side of the cube wearing sweater sets. No, that is an acceptable hobby. Yet if we mention just once about a concert, book, or a movie we like, they instantly place us in the antagonist position. I can hear the conversations by the water cooler. “Omg… she said she just LOVES the Saw movies. What do you think her house looks like? Do you think she has meat hooks and table saws? Do you think she’s going to kill us all?”
Something that goes along with their perception of us is that we are lazy or try to get out of work. You know, because we need time to plot our destruction of their lives. Do you feel like, as a goth in the workplace, you are treated unfairly or held to a higher standard? Or perhaps judged more harshly because of your outward appearance or special interests? Do you find that you have to work harder for respect when your “norm” co-worker is constantly late and plays Farmville on Facebook all day but earns kudos easily? Do you think the way you dress or things you enjoy on your off-time hinder you from getting raises, promotions, or special incentives?
I once worked for a company where I was the token goth. I was the person they liked to put on the forefront to show others how diverse they were, but even known as the diversity proof, the stereotypes didn’t end. The fact is, unless you are willing to abandon your look or personality completely, you will be discriminated against. Until our general populace starts to really accept people’s differences in truth- not just in word, we will have to continue to wear down the prejudices that plague people of our kind.
I've worked with people who thought my dress code had something to do with my religion and they were shocked when I handed out holiday candy. Hum... do all Catholics wear pink? Not really... so why would all people who wear black be Satanists? It's a color people! Just saying. A lot of these stereotypes are not even logical.
I've been blamed for bad business deals because I like the number thirteen and good friends (or not so good friends it turns out) have accused me of putting curses on them. I'm sorry, but I don't have time to plot against you. If I had the ability to cast voodoo magic, I would definitely use that power to improve MY situation in life... not bring yours down. Here's an interesting thought: If the majority of norm public doesn't believe magic or spell casting is real, why do they assume we can wield it against them?
I've worked for good people too. Ones that understood or at least try to allow for my way of life, but these are not common. Why? What's going to happen if you get close to a goth? I have to admit, there is a slim chance of getting black eyeliner on you, but beyond that, we are good people. Sure, there are the bad apples, just like any set of people, but for the most part we are kind, imaginative, interesting people and you are missing out on some terrific friendships.
I pride myself on being good at my job. No matter what the task is, I take time management and execution very seriously. I am a perfectionist and list maker and I rarely slack off. I work hard and I expect to be treated kindly and respected by my co-workers and managers. For these reasons, I have been able to earn respect at several companies by showing what I can do, but it wasn't easy. If I was the cookie cutter worker, would I have more opportunity for advancement sooner? Who knows. It feels like it. Being a goth in the workplace almost feels like being on probation from day one. Guilty until proven innocent.
Because we are constantly trying to break down the stereotypes and work harder to prove we are not flakes or idiots, do alternative lifestyle people in the mainstream workforce have more stress in their lives? Do you find yourself getting sick more than others do or feeling exhausted at keeping up the charade? How long is the life expectancy of a goth in the modern office? I bet that’s one they haven’t tested! Why? Because we may melt in the light of day?
I’ve been very sarcastic in this post, but I really want to know. I’m interested in your view on this subject. How do you feel you are discriminated against in your office? How have you dealt with the hurdles you’ve faced? If you are not a goth, and are scared to get to know us, why? What fears can we break down for you? What makes you so scared?
You don't have to be around fantasy for a long time before you realize that the roles of men and women are portrayed very differently in fantasy fiction. There are probably a lot of reasons for that, but I've often felt that is to make up for the frightfully asexual characters that inhabited the Lord of the Rings.
I also wonder if this is a result of the odd stereotype of a fantasy fan as a socially inept, over weight male who had no idea of what it felt like to be touched by members of the preferred sex. Oddly enough, most of the fantasy fans I have met are women, but I suppose that is of little interest to the marketing types who love this image of their audience.
Sex sells, or so they tell me, and I fear that Fantasy costumes are the way they are because of an antiquated and misogynistic porn aesthetic that needs to pass away.
Women are dressed in scant wisps of fabric and metal because, simply enough, heterosexual males find them pleasant to look upon, as well as fantasize about. That part of the mystery is simple enough, but what about the men.
Men are dressed in covering, if form fitting, clothes and armor that often mimics the ripped muscular forms they cover. Why depict the gorgeously masculine bodies of men with coverings that match that same form? The only reason I can think of is to protect the heterosexual male ego.
Metal breastplates in the form a muscular male body replace the unattractive male porn star to insulate the heterosexual male psyche from the possibility of being turned on by the image of a handsom male body. If, perchance, they are aroused at all by the image, well, everyone loves a fine piece of metal work. It is a macho, even if only in their own minds, to be aroused by the elements of war. What could be more masculine after all?
Once I realized this, I felt a strange pity for the heterosexual male. They seem to be such delicate and fragile things. I understood what a Victorian man must have thought when he looked at a woman. I never really wanted to understand that feeling, but nevertheless, here I am, wondering how to toughen up these poor, fragile, heterosexual men so they could bare the realization that man can be sexy too.
The comic I included in this post is from Dueling Analogs at Dorkly Comic. It reminded me of this problem, and interested in a solution.
I doubt that neither hyper-sexualization of the male form, or modest portrayals of the female form will amount to anything more than a cosmetic mask, easy to wash off. It is difficult to strengthen a fragile thing, and I am sure quite a few people will be upset with me bringing this subject up, but I feel like we need to talk about it if we are ever going to remedy it.
Maybe this is just something that time will fix on its own, but I doubt it. Perhaps I should just go my way, and let this sort itself out. (Everyone who knows me knows that won't happen)
I suppose I feel that it just needed to be said.
I’ve heard some call Boba Fett Chicken before but this…
Divya Kumar wrote one of the most insulting posts I have read in a long time, called, "How to... Be a pop-culture junkie."
I would like to suggest how the article should have gone.
Don't just watch, read, or listen to your favorite works. Immerse yourself into the mythos of the setting and the characters. Pay attention to the threads of plot, and join in the throngs of other fans who are trying to figure out where the story should and ought to go. Analyze the stories for deeper meaning as share your theories with others.
Stop just watching, reading, or listening to your favorite works, start participating in them. Look for vids, filk, fan fiction, and fanfilms, then take some time and make your own. Start or join a roleplaying group, and roll the dice. Find a convention near you, and go.
Every fandom has its own culture, and you need to learn the ins and outs before you can truly become a part of it. Many fandoms associate themselves with charaties, and certain kinds of special events. Read up and figure out how deep you want to go. Some fandoms are deeper than others, and their depth often ebs and flows, so figure out what kind of a commitment you want to make before you get swept off your feet.
Don't settle for the characters and stories you have become accustom too. Some of the best fan works have involved original characters and fresh new storylines. If you feel the urge, make some. If not, look for some others have created.
Watch what you are doing. It is easy to get carried away and spend more time and money on fandom than you intended. Set up a budget, and keep to it. Involve your friends and family. Friends you filk together, stay together. It is a great way to build strong bonds between your friends and family. Don't force it on others, but don't forget to give them a reason to participate.
Did I miss anything? I've often thought about making a new fan primer. They used to have them, but the practice went away. Maybe it is time to bring it back.
Nancy Baym shared a really good presentation she delivered at by:Larm on Online Fandom (download it here). While her talk was directed at musicians, I think any kind of Entertainment Designer can benefit from it. This PDF went right into my EverNote.
She made a couple points I would like to expand on:
The most important thing to understand about fan culture is that it is
based on gifts, not money.
That doesn’t mean there’s no money involved, but it does mean that
even when there is money involved, money tends to function as a gift
rather than a payment. This is in dirapproach to audiences as a market.
I have hammered away on this topic for quite some time. I love how simply she puts it.
Too many entertainment designers think of their audience as customers who are chomping at the bit to hand them fist full of cash... and they wonder why we are loosing interest in them.
Fandom is a two way street. Content Creators need to ask themselves, "Am I giving my audience enough?"
Now that is not enough product, although that is important, it is also about giving your fans gifts. One of my favorite bands, Queensryche, often writes new music while touring, and will post live tracks to their site to gage fan reaction. That is a good example of a gift.
Fans like stuff. They collect, they give each other things, they show
their things off to one another. In the digital realm, goods include
sound ﬁles, images, videos and so on.
How true is that? My house is a veritable shrine to the franchises and bands I love. I have a 3 foot Millennium Falcon in my office. But there is a difference between merchandise and collectables.
The compact that exists between fans and entertainment designers is that the stuff they have for sale will be the best quality they can afford to produce, and that they are not just trying to fleece money from their fans.
Whenever I think of merchandise gone wrong, I think of the Kiss Potato Heads. What the hell is that all about? When I think about Kiss, potatoes don't really come into the picture. Most cringe worthy merch ever.
Artists tend to focus on their own creativity, and that is the locus
around which fans organize, but they also use others’ art as an
opportunity to ﬂex their own creative muscles and they enjoy seeing
and hearing one another’s creative works.
Some of the things fans make are art, remixes, cover versions, ﬁction.
I have talked about this topic a lot. I just wanted to bring attention to it again.
We need to spread the word, and I hope the folk Nancy spoke to were actually listening. The creative world has changed, and if we don't change with it, none of us are going to make it.
Do you think she missed something in her presentation? What do you think Entertainment Designers should do to make fandom and interaction easier?
Otakon Pool on Flickr, and kind of fell in love with it. They don't say if it was a costume or not, but based on the arms, I presume it is someone on stilts. Too bad he is about to die. I mean everyone knows that Starscream donned the crown moments before Galvatron showed up and killed him. Poor Starscream.
Legality is (unfortunately) in the eye of the copyright holders. Some rights holders would rather maintain a stranglehold on their properties than allow free promotion of their works. I think a better question than "are vids legal" is "should vids be legal?"
Vidding to me is a natural expression of fandom and a proper use of a fan's fair use rights.
Copyright is intended to maintain the profitability of a creative work for those who poured their blood, sweat, and tears into making it. I have no problem with a creative person making money off the fruit of their labors, but entertainment designers need to think about how and why they make money, and if the answer is licensing fees, they need to find a new job.
Let me take a moment to talk directly to my fellow entertainment designers.
Hey guys and gals, I know some of you already know this but we need to bring some peer pressure on those who don't. If you want to make money, you need people to like you, even better if you can make them fall in love.
I know, love a scary thing, and relationships are hard. You have to develop listening skills, and actually care how your actions affect others. The risk is worth the rewards.
As your relationship with your fans grows, they will start participating in the media. They will make art, filk, and fanfiction. If they really love you, they will take the time to make a vid. I know it is scary to have someone other than you edit your work, but they will then share it with others who have never heard of you.
Love is risky. It is hard to put yourself out there, without risk, there are no rewards. If you make it hard for people to love you, they will walk away, leaving you cold and alone and eventually walking the streets wondering why no one dares to care for you anymore. You will end up spending all you time and money on ad agencies who, let's face it, are little more than the dating sites for media.
Don't make it hard to love you. Relax, take it easy, and you'll find your relationships worth wild.
If you are not making money off your vids, or reproducing copyrighted content verbatim, they no one should be able to argue that you have made a copy.
A copy is an identical, frame by frame reproduction of a work without alteration. A derivative is reproducing a work with alterations, and so not as you are not reproducing a work in its entirety, I cannot see how anyone could see that new work as a product that violates copyright.
If I make a 5 minute video from a 90 minute movie, how is that a copy of the movie?
I am not sure I want to go down this rabbit hole at this moment in time, but I think music is something very different from video.
If no one ever hears a song, it will never be heard. That may be the dumbest sentence I have ever typed, but I think it makes an important point.
While I believe musicians should make money off their work, I am not convinced that a musician has a right to a fee for non-comercial uses of their music. If I use music in a product I am making money from, then, if that music is fundamental to the enjoyment of the work, like a film score, then yes, the musician deserves a fee. However, if I use music in a non-comercial, commentary, or introductory way, then... well... that play is fair use.
I suppose I would apply these rules:
The best way I can see vidders making money off their vids is to affiliate link to the original music or video content. Then everyone wins!!
While I have been a bit outspoken on my opinion that Wall-e was an overrated movie (worth seeing, but not the greatest thing ever), I would welcome this Auto into my house.
Instructables has the instructions to build one of these for yourself (here). Now, I just need to find a mastermid who will help me program it to carry out my will, or be a PA or something.
I was reading my feeds today when I stumbled across this letter from Ray Bradbury:
Boy did I need to read that. I actually set it as the wallpaper on my computer to remind me the important lesson that I forgot.
It is easy for me as a writer to get caught up in the hype of others. Recently, I have been working on a new fantasy story, and I became obsessed with making the story fresh, original, and free from the clichés and tropes of the genre. How stupid is that?!
It is impossible to be original by willing it to be. Magical thinking, oddly enough, doesn't make it happen. It just leads to writers block. My goal should not have been to be original, but to write something that I would enjoy reading. I forgot that the experience is more important that the content in a lot of ways. As long as I am not copying another story, and telling the new one in my voice and style, it will be fresh, and if other people don't think so, then to hell with them.
While I need to write stories that you all will love and enjoy, if I don't love it, you will see that in the story and won't like it either.
I just need to focus on telling a story I love, and hope enough of you like it too. If I am not true to myself, what is the point?
Warnings: moderate violence, spoilers for Prince of Persia: Sands of Time
Summary: A foolhardy man has only himself to blame for his woes. It takes a reason to turn a foolhardy man into a great man. Dustan has many Reasons.
Story: Dustan jumps into action with no thought of how those actions will affect those he loves. When everything dear to him is taken, he fights to understand whats happened, and turns back the clock to stop his own madness.
Black Skies vid here at my site
The new Ultimate Fantasies sequence (Orion) gave me a good excuse to explore the Golden Age of Fantasy. Some of these titles I had already read – albeit as a boy – and others I had come to by proxy, as in the case of Conan, familiar with the character through comic books and film. There is, of course, the Fantasy Masterworks Series, which includes these eight volumes in the Ultimate Fantasies sequence. Nevertheless, arranged chronologically, the Ultimate Fantasies sequence presents an excellent overview of the genre and a basic map of its evolution. An interesting consequence of this journey was a deeper understanding of influence in fiction. From the outset, I could read between the fairy-dusted pages of Lud-in-the-Mist and see the seeds of other novels, whether these seeds were intentional, actual or not. Bilbo Baggins appears to have had a ruddy-cheeked forebear in Nathaniel Chanticleer, the pot bellied, daydreaming mayor of Lud. The fairy fruit smugglers upset Mayor Chanticleer’s everyday world in an anarchic manner I’d not encountered since An Unexpected Party. And in Lud, it seems, are the ripples that later touched such magical tales as Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange and Neil Gaiman’s Stardust.
Moving into the 1930’s and beyond, Robert E.Howard’s Conan comes swinging his sword out of Cimmeria and into the pulps, giving birth to a different kind of Fantasy, the savagery of the Hyborian Age. As mentioned, I came to these stories backwards, through a tattered collection of Marvel Comics, L.Sprague de Camp novels, Schwarzenegger’s oafish screen rendition (which, as it happens, bears little in common with the fictional character) until finally coming to drink from the source. One of Lovecraft’s regular pen pals, when Robert E.Howard writes of the Old Gods beyond the stars, whose remnants haunt the primitive lands of Zamora, Koth, and Shem, the influence of Howard the Elder is clear. Lovecraft describes the Conan tales as ‘pure adventure yarns’, and he wasn’t wrong. My imagination roamed free through guileless forests, climbed bejewelled towers to carry out unsophisticated robberies and face magicians in unaffected conflicts. In hindsight, time has lent Conan a darker edge. My eyebrow lifted more than once over the apparent racism
peppered in the narrative. In The Vale of Lost Women (not published in Howard’s lifetime), there is an unashamed reference to ‘black sluts’. At one point, Conan even remarks, 'I am not such a dog as to leave a white woman in the clutches of a black man’. I’m aware that Howard has faced such criticism before, but to my mind these stories remain classic, and as misguided products of their age, perhaps we should not judge them too harshly. Robert E.Howard committed suicide aged 30 and the world and the genre lost a gem.
1954 saw the publication of Poul Anderson’s The Broken Sword. In retrospect, the tale seems almost wilfully naïve. A sweeping epic that draws heavily from Norse myth in a more direct fashion than Lord of the Rings, Anderson captured the flavour of those myths with energetic narrative and lyrical prose. Faery changeling Skafloc, embroiled in a long war between the elves and trolls, seeks to remake the cursed sword Tyrfing, despite warnings of tragedy to come. In that tragedy, there appears to be a stark prototype of Michael Moorcock’s Stormbringer – a blade that must draw blood whenever it is drawn, that screams and sings and will one day turn upon its wielder. Moorcock nods at The Broken Sword as an influence, but Anderson’s novel lacks the cosmic scope and depth of emotion of the Elric tales, and it seems to me that Moorcock merely enhanced the idea. From the vantage point of this progressive age of Steampunk, New Weird and Dark Fantasy, I found it interesting to come across clichés before they had become so, and in light of that, I very much enjoyed The Broken Sword.
The innocence of these early stories starts to give way under the wit of Fritz Leiber. Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser first appeared in 1939 and their published adventures span five decades. A favourite of my youth, revisiting Lankhmar, The City of Seven Score Thousand Smokes, was nothing less than a thrill. Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser were as vivid as I remembered them, their boldness and bravado unchanged. Not to mention their dry humour and sarcasm. Leiber adopted a literary approach in crafting his stories, an approach that seems fresh even by today’s standards. He remains credited with single-handedly creating Sword and Sorcery, the first – but far from the last – offshoot of the modern genre. Fantasy was changing, keeping pace with more cynical times, and the mythically based tales of yore made way for those of a less haughty flavour. In the verbal sparring of the red haired barbarian and scrawny wizard thief, there is still a terrific touch of maturity. When
Moorcock claimed that Leiber is ‘still the greatest writer of us all’, I felt inclined to agree with him.
With Elric, Amber and Lyonesse still to come, the Ultimate Fantasies sequence is a treat, whether read in chronological order or not. I have emerged from these books with a deeper understanding of the genre I love, but have also been tremendously inspired. These stories are the seeds which encouraged me to write, and for that, I will always be grateful.
Vive le Fantasy!
Check out the fun Iron Man parody video Iron Baby.
I have to agree with Eric, knowing Marvel Iron Baby's nemesis would be Nap Time. This makes the bunnies in the video Nap Times henchmen.
Beyond the sonic slumber attack what other powers would Nap Time have?
I will be at Baycon 2010, handing out freebies, speaking on panels and generally having a good time. Please come join me! If you see me, don't be afraid to approach for goodies! Let me know you were referred by dashpunk.com to get an extra goodie!
The Bay Area Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention May 28-31, 2010 The Hyatt Regency, Santa Clara, CA
Guests of Honor
Writer: Peter S. Beagle Fan: Colleen and Steve Savitzky Toastmaster: Tadao Tomomatsu Artist: Lee Moyer Special Guests: Mercedes Lackey & Larry Dixon
If you were a Superhero what elements make up you?
10a-12:30pm Saturday, May 15th, 2010 At the 8th Annual Emerald Fest Community Benefit Gala
10:00am- 5:00pm at the Joseph A. Nelson Community Center 611 Village Dr., Suisun City, CA
Exciting outing for the whole family! Vendors, poets, authors, dancers, singers, and other performers!
Admission: A donation of a canned food, new clothing (especially bras), or toiletries and/ or $5.00. Proceeds will go to Feed the Children and the local homeless Mission Outreach.
A couple of people took me to task for my take on Iron Man 2. I like to think of myself as a simple man, but maybe that isn't true anymore.
I started reading comics as a kid. Batman, Green Lantern, The Hulk, and the X-men were some of my favorites. Growing up, superheroes were pure escapism. Granted some of the characters had family problems, personal problems, and even Batman lost a Robin, but the stories were all larger than life.
Superhero flicks are still larger than life, but they have more "realistic problems."
Ok, everyone knows that I am a huge Bonnie Tyler fan, but every time I watch one of these movies, I hear her in the back of my head:
Where have all the good men gone And where are all the gods? Where's the street-wise Hercules To fight the rising odds? Isn't there a white knight upon a fiery steed? Late at night I toss and turn and dream of what I need
I need a hero I'm holding out for a hero 'til the end of the night He's gotta be strong And he's gotta be fast And he's gotta be fresh from the fight I need a hero I'm holding out for a hero 'til the morning light He's gotta be sure And it's gotta be soon And he's gotta be larger than life
I want a superhero who is, well a hero. They don't have to be perfect, and well they can have basic human flaws, but at the end of the day, they need to be a hero!
Returning to Iron Man 2, I thought Whiplash made a good case against the Stark family, and Tony just acted like the spoiled brat Whiplash thought he was. I actually found myself wanting Whiplash to win. I can't stand whiny, self-important bitches, and that is all I saw in Tony. His womanizing turned me off, and his self-pity made me roll my eyes. He dug his own grave, and I was ready to see him lay in it.
I think my biggest issue with the film is that I was really looking for some pure escapism from the movie. That is what I look for in a superhero movie.
I watch a superhero for action, mystery, and pure escapism. Watching a super hero struggle with illness was outside the realm of what I wanted to see, especially with people in my life actually struggling with various illnesses that do not have a magical deus ex machina serum. It felt like salt in the wound.
The illness reminded me of my real life, and the magic cure just upset me. I went to see a movie where a superhero and super-villain tangled with each other until the film climaxed in a super-mega-ultra battle.
The movie, like all (not so) superhero movies since Batman Begins, opened with scenes of stark realism... but it is a superhero movie!! Superheroes just aren't realistic, and films cannot serve two masters.
I am not sure exactly when escapism became a bad word, but my life is complicated enough. Sometimes I just want to walk into a dark cave and forget about my real life for a couple of hours. It might sound petty, but that is it.
I want a great, escapist spectacle from time to time, but more than anything, I want filmmakers to be honest with me and with their material. If the movie is not an action movie, don't tell me it is. If the movie is not a smart, well written think piece, be good with that. Just don't pretend one is the other, and stop telling yourself you can be both at the same time.
A half-assed story with half-assed action is just a half-assed movie. Two half-assed jobs never make a whole.
I know some of you liked the movie. Great! I wish I was one of you. Keep having fun, and sharing. It is good to hear contrary opinions. Just remember, we don't have to love the same things, we just need to help each other find more things we can all enjoy.