Saturday, November 06, 2010

Something worth playing for.

While waltzing around the interwebs this evening, I came across a video that made me think. Now, thinking is one thing I've been avoiding for the past bit, with the end of my teaching degree coming up. And after typing paper after paper and working with students, staff, and parents, I wind up a little fried by the end of the night.
Back to my point;
I was watching a TED conference video when I saw one about video games and how they could improve the world. Curiosity had me bad by this point, so I clicked. Maybe you will too.
Gaming can make a better world, by Jane McGonigal
You can, at this point, watch it or not. The basic idea is that by gaming, we learn to work together and achieve, and by learning all kinds of behaviors online, we can apply them to the real world using a model we're already used to.
So at the end, she talks about a new game they developed called Evoke. In this, they not only set up a theoretical world with a problem, but they back up details of the story with current issues and technology.
The effect is to make the story so believable, and the steps to 'solve' the story's problem so obtainable, that you realize this could be a serious problem we are facing right now, and that we could do something about it now if we try. Heck, they offer you steps and goals to achieve (and ideas to pick from) that could make this all possible.
You sir, with you're natural ability to achieve small goals like in WOW, are completely prepared to help us solve starvation in other nations. How? Blog about our project, and then let us know you did. Own some piece of information about changes that can be made. Small ones. Then let us know you let others know. Once you have networked what you learned, we'll give you a bonus and your next mission. Congrats; you're already on your way to saving our world. We all are. We can do it together.
I took the bait, or at least a little. I looked it up. My favorites were Innovation comes from constraint, and Don't fight culture. When humans needed to stand upright to walk, we figured out how to as a means to solving a problem. We never had a need to change our ways until we were desperate. Some people won't live with so little money until they need to. Struggle often brings the fire out of people and the ability to try something new, something that might allow them to live a little longer. Culture, in this example I mean when everyone does the same thing and it still works, even if it's not the best, is something you should leave alone. If they bike long distances to work because they think cars are the devil, don't mess with that by pushing the devil on them. Make bike paths, improve their current bikes for a low cost, offer free repairs, make nice cushions for their butts. Work with us, not against us. Show the people that you are working for them first, and they will work with you to continue the aide.
There it is. If I ever get around to involving myself in this project more, I have already taken the first step. Will you? Is it possible for us, the online community of nerds and gamers, to become activists in our spare time? If just to unlock the codded Avatar program Alchemist uses?

Until we meet again,
Dancing Shadow

Monday, October 11, 2010

I could make a joke about a Feminist flowchart that somehow involves menstruation...but I wont.

I found something amazing on the internets!

Shocking, I know, cause when does that happen?

But srsly, take a look. The author, who writes for and frequently writes some of my fav articles from that site, put it together with help from an Adobe Illustrator guru.

It illustrates some really interesting points about female characters and just how easy it is for them to fall into the pit of cliches. I especially like the option for the character who gets pregnant: Is she a teenager>yes>does she get pregnant>yes>does she get an abortion>HaHa, of course she doesn't>HAPPY TEENAGE SINGLE MOM.

Run some of your favorite female characters through it, see where they fall. Run some characters of your own through it, you may be surprised! I ran three characters from three of my favorite TV shows/books and two of my own characters through the chart...needless to say I like two of my favorite shows a little less and am utterly scrapping one of the stories I started two months ago...-sigh-

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Please to enjoy...

Gail Simone is my HERO. She penned the episode of Batman: Brave & the Bold,(a fantastic show that I've personally pimped on this blog before.)titled: The Mask of Matches Malone!
Batman loses his memory and turns to crime. The Birds of Prey (Huntress, Black Canary, and Catwoman(?) with no Oracle, much to my sadness) are called in to get him back. This leads to a hilarious scene with the Birds breaking into a slinky song about the other Heroes on the show; Batman, Aquaman, the Flash, and Blue Beetle, and their uh...skills.
This song..I don't even...I can't...kid's show?...THERE ARE NO WORDS.


Saturday, September 11, 2010


Geek and Gamer Girls Song - Watch more Funny Videos

So, OK...I wish their voices didn't vaguely remind me of a nightmare that I had once about my cats being violently murdered by an out of tune accordion/Casio keyboard, and there are probably some sexualization/exploitation issues to be discussed here BUT, the message of the song itself is awesome and I want it for my ringtone or something equally lame. Also, Seth Green is awesome and adorable like a Pokemon and I want to keep him in my pocket.
Lyrics posted below!

Team Unicorn: G33K & G4M3R Girls

Greetings Nerdom…
Let’s take a Journey…

(Team Unicorn: First verse)
I, know a place
Where the gamer scores are so extreme
Dune, D & D,
Where Rand Al’tbor still reigns supreme
Questin’, in Hyrule
Dominating Final Fantasy (Seven)
Those boys
Losin’ sleep
Tryin’ ta keep up with our Leet speak (noob sauce)

Be part of our world
In latex and bows
Cuz’ we girls play Cos’
Set our phasers to stun
You’ll be falling in love
Ooooooh oh ooooooh

(Team Unicorn - Chorus)
Geek and Gamer girls
We’re unbelievable
Comic books
And Manga in stock
Hasbro toys
So rare
We got the mail-away
Ooooooh oh ooooooh

Geek and Gamer girls
We’re undefeatable
Achievement unlocked
Jedi’s represent
Now put your sabers up
Oooooooh oh ooooooh

(Team Unicorn - Verse 2)
We, love Stan Lee (Excelsior!)
And Joss created all our favorite shows
We Frag
In our sleep
We will pwn your ass in Halo (Uh-oh)

Be part of our world
In latex and bows
Cuz’ we girls play Cos
Set our phasers to stun
You’ll be falling in love
Ooooooh oh ooooooh

(Team Unicorn - Chorus)
Geek and Gamer girls
We’re unbelievable
We all know
That Han shot first
No dubs
We want originals
Ooooooh oh ooooooh

Geek and Gamer girls
We’re undefeatable
Achievement Unlocked
Browncoats represent! (Brown coats! Browncoats!)
We aim to misbehave
Oooooooh oh ooooooh

(Seth: Rap)
Sailor Moon
Hogwarts boys all make them swoon
Aragorn, Legolas
These are the boys they love the best
I mean, they’re good to go
Love Scifi, yo’
Vertigo (Ugh)
The girls are sweet
They can’t be beat
Super fine like Peach
Darth Maul
Standing tall
He’s so bad
So say we all
Epic Lootz
For the Win
Hyjal’s what we’re raidin’ in

Konami Code
Doctor Who
Expert Mode
Game genies, WoW fiendies, Sith meanies
No weenies
Don’t forget
They the queen-ies

Gamer ladies
Raidin’ tonight babies?
(Uh huh)
I’m all up on y’as
Cuz you representin’ geeks & gamers
(Ohhh yeahh)

(Team Unicorn - Chours)
Geek and Gamer girls
We’re unbelievable
Comic books
And Manga in stock
Hasbro toys
So rare
We got the mail away
Ooooooh oh ooooooh

Geek and Gamer girls
We’re undefeatable
Achievement unlocked
Trekkers represent
(trekkers, trekkers)
Now put your phasers up
Oooooooh oh ooooooh
(Geek and gaaaaameeerrr, Geek and gaaaaamerrr, giiirrrllls)
Geek and gamer girls man
I wish they all could be geek and gamer girls
(Geek and gaaaaameeerrr, Geek and gaaaaamerrr, giiirrrllls)

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Second verse, same as the first (aka JAYNE SMASH)

The casting calls for the Runaway movie is out. Okay, a Runaways movie is AWESOME. I am really, ridiculously excited!

What's not awesome? Alex's ethnicity is specified. Nico's is not. In the comics she is explicitly stated to be Japanese-American, and yet the call is only for female actresses to play 16-18. Yeah, that's going to end well.

And then we have the fun description of a Japanese-American girl as "uniquely beautiful" to Karoline's (an alien who appears as a blond Caucasian) "conventionally beautiful." Guys, I do not have the time to unpack all the ways that's messed up, but it is certainly messed up.

Hey, remember how well that whole color blind casting thing worked out for Airbender? It wasn't like that led to the erasure of characters' ethnicities or undermined the world building of the show, or you know, reinforced the fucked up idea that white people get to play hero to the poor oppressed people of color. Turns out that Hollywood just loves its whitewashing fail so much it's going to do it again! Awesome.

If you excuse me, I have uncontrollable strangly hands to deal with.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Shameless plugging aka nerd squee-ing

Something I often forget to talk about is independent developers and the personal role each gamer plays is what is developed by anyone. It is often believed by people that the government 'controls' what we play and see, but when you think about it, we the people have just as much or more control. Our shameless support or boycotting is just a pair of ways we shout out in protest. Women are an equal part of the gamer society (there are studies done, and by 'study', I am not implying that any one was done with statistical clarity in mind) and it seems that people forget that just because we don't show up on your x-box live chat window, we aren't there.
Hey! Hey! Listen! HEY! LISTEN!
We play PS games, DS games, all sorts of games were women aren't slandered over the mic or on the screen, games that don't involve rape or violence (and some that are notorious for it- looking at you God of War and GTA 1-whatever number we're at. You guys have a special place in my heart <3 ) and one of my personal favorites, computer games!
So today's post is about a really interesting independent team of developers that won my heart this weekend (because after a long day of putting the 'laughter' in slaughter, I like a nice romance game!)
Sakevisual! Everyone give these hard working guys a round of applause!
After being sucked in by the free material, I was convinced to play the demo to their newest release- Jesei. It's a story about a mysterious boy who is pulled into helping solve a murder case with the special abilities he has.
My love of computer games and murder mysteries was aflame with this quiet gem's charm. The style was clean and everyone was super suspicious. I'm happy to report that next paycheck might be going into funding the work these guys do.
Now I understand my bias opinion of the game is super....well, bias. Let's admit it, not everyone likes the same stuff as the next person and this game might come as a disappointment to someone else. Personally, I'm just happy to find a good game and great team to support, because I like to rock the vote as to what gets developed as much as the next trigger happy nerd is.

Until next time, Rawk on!
~Dancing Shadow

PS; On my search to find any serious data on female gamers, I found this little site. Read the statistic. Note that it was poorly put together based on a stereotype and isn't properly researched (ie, where are the women under 18 and the boys over 17? What are they accepting as a video game? What counts as instructional? Who were they asking and how were they contacted?)
Now read the comments. I hope you laugh a little. Best part for me? Where is says "Click here for info on new games designed for female players and how software companies are tackling this emerging market.", click the link. It says "page not found"
yeahhhhh. You tackle that new market guys.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

It's time to fangirl like never before

You guys, you guys, omg you guys! The video promo for a possible Blue Beetle tv show has hit the web!


So, okay, yes this looks to be very Saturday morning, but that actor playing Jaime is absolutely adorable and if this show gets made (please, please let this happen, Space Buddha and Zombie Jesus amen) it will feature a majority Hispanic cast, including the hero and his family and his friends, and multiple kickass female characters. Avatar: The Last Airbender already proved that a show with high diversity and heroes of color can absolutely succeed (unless you're M.Night Shamylan, and consider race to be "ambiguous" argh uncontrollable strangly hands).

I'm sure that the networks can fuck this up, they absolutely can, but still, can you imagine this in show on the air? It would be fucking amazing.
And I am really happy they picked Jaimie, especially if they're appealing to younger kids. Oh don't get me wrong, I love Dan Garrett and Dead Gay Ted, but Dan Garrett ran around being ridiculous and Dead Gay Ted's solo title consisted of endless exposition and horrible wardrobe choices.


Because when you wear black and yellow spats with teal pants and a matching tie, you absolutely must flip that collar up of your maroon Members Only jacket. You wouldn't want to look like a tool, now would you?

And for a younger audience, Jaimie makes sense. He's the current Beetle, and most kids know him already from Batman: The Brave and the Bold. If nothing else, it might get his title relaunched (YES PLEASE).

I really want this show to happen, and I will punch every baby in the face to make it so. Okay, that's a lie: I would not, in fact, punch every baby in the face; I would, however, bare knuckle fight Alan Moore, no lie, if that's what it took. C'mon, Alan Moore, what are you, a pansy?

If you don't hear from me again, it's safe to assume Alan Moore came for me. It's a risk I'm willing to take.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Oh god what is this I don't even

Did you know there's a scene from the movie The Last Airbender floating around the Internets? Well, there is! Let's watch:

Setting aside the deeply problematic fact you have to get a white person to convince the poor, downtrodden people of color to stand up and fight their repressors and take pride in themselves again (so much uncontrollable stranlgy hands), this is truly godawful. The acting is eye-bleedingly terrible, the fight scene is like watching a poor man's Jets vs. Sharks dance off, Sokka looks stoned, and Katara just stands there, staring dumbly into space.

Hey, Castiel from Supernatural, you want to sum up my reaction for me?

Thanks, bb. That's it exactly.

Hey, anyone who has actually seen the movie, want to confirm how horrible it is? Leave me a comment! You know how I love to hate on horrible things!

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Clearly, I'm incapable.

Perhaps this post should have been named "My gender embarrasses me some days", but isn't a 'I hate the world' rant. I've found myself doing some things recently that have earned me compliments and insults which I would have never connected with gender, until it was pointed out through the statement.
Example: My father called me yesterday and thanked me for going out in the hot weather to tear down a metal shed, which needed to come down so they (parents) could sell the house. I was happy to do it, and although it was annoying and took quiet some effort, I did nearly the whole thing alone with occasional help from my father. Here was the compliment:

"You did great out there! I told the realtor how much you helped and he couldn't believe it either."
"What couldn't he believe? That I took it down?"
[Here's the part that tweaked my feminist nerve.]
"Well yeah. Not many girls help with outside work, and he was surprised you could take care of that thing by yourself!"

I understand the shed was metal, and a decent size. I understand that I'm a woman. What I don't understand is that if my brother did it, why would there would be less wonder and amazement. She can swing a hammer? Use a wrench? But can she cook! *har har har*

I get this type of response more often than I could tell you, but it gets hidden in different ways. Second example:
I entered Best Buy with my computer-limited father looking for a router to help repair their wireless unit that broke when a power surge happened. Walking in, I'm wary of the sales people because in the past one tried to push me to buy a pink I-pod, and when I declined, offered me other pink incentives. Side note; I don't like the color pink very much. What I like even less is that instead of offering other colors or trying to explain the advantages of mentioned product, he tried to sell me other products of the same pink color. Back to the story. As I walked over to the correct section with parent in tow (I'm not blind; I knew walking in what I was looking for) and began to browse the options, a sales man came up to assist us. "Sure," I thought, smiling, "nothing pink to sell me here, what can I loose?" I should also note here that the whole time the salesman tried to talk to my father first, while my dad each time looked over to me for a translation. I explained it to my father, he would talk back to me, and then I would respond with the same expertise to the salesman.
The guy was honest, but was caught completely off guard by this juggling act. Eventually he began asking questions while looking back and forth between the pair of us, and my dad had to assert that the person who would actually be doing the repairs was me. Unsure, the salesman asked me if I knew how to install the CDs, set up the network, if I was confused, or if I understood some of the terminology. I knew damn well what he was saying. This would be the second time I was setting up and repairing a wireless adapter, and this stuff was child's play. I didn't get annoyed, explained my experience with the system, and by the end of the conversation he seemed both unsure about me and relieved. Why? The man had no issues speaking to my father, who has no idea what's going on. The gender stereotype wouldn't hurt so bad if I didn't see the honesty in the assumptions. My sister would sooner accidentally break the newly purchased equipment than understand what she was supposed to do. But instead of seeing the relationship my father and I had, the salesman insisted on trying to communicate with dad.

Another direction is the type of comments everyone gets in one time or another in their life: sure you can (A), but that must mean you can't (B), when A is a break from a stereotype, and B is just another stereotype.

Last example before my grin cracks:
I broke up with my boyfriend about nine months ago. Outside of my close friends who watched this battle-royal happen, most first reactions were "I'm sorry to hear that! You must be sad." I wasn't really upset at that point anymore; by the time I'm shouting at you, you can assume my mind is made up. It annoyed me more that people assumed I was going to be unhappy single. Nope! I proceeded to work through a full semester of classes and achieve a 3.9 GPA for the term and master all of my exams. Some people thought I was burying myself in the work to avoid the pain, but I'm honestly just a really driven person who sees college as a huge stepping stone to getting ahead and getting the job I want. I was relieved to not have to take care of another person. This was no loss to me no matter what other people assumed a woman would/should feel without a man.

Back to the present; I've chosen to occasionally look into the dating pool (and realize how picky I have become) with no real drive for a lasting relationship. People get confused when I joke about sex (a woman with a sex drive? She must be a Nympho!) and how it would be nice under circumstances, but I still don't feel the need to have a boyfriend. This is met with mixed responses, but that's my point.

Hello world. I'm a single, funny, ambitious, geeky, honest, tough girl who can cook well and mow the lawn. I'm not seeking a male, but I imagine one day I might settle down with a partner in crime. I'm both alike and very different from the other girls who run this site. We are all individuals with intent and ability. Welcome to the future, where men can stay at home to care for the kids, and women write blogs to say "Stop talking down to me!" Here, in this place and time, we are capable of anything with or without the consent of the masses. If this post says nothing else, understand what I mean when I say we're going to change the world, one awkward interaction at a time. You should too.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Book Log (or how long until Jayne's attention span runs ou---oooh something shiny!)

So I think about this time last year I said I was going to write more book reviews, wrote the four part post of the book that drove my liver to hate me, and then never posted another book review. Oh, self, why do you gotta be so cripplingly lazy? (Well, okay, I also was working on my thesis--SO MANY REVISIONS WHY--and not sleeping). Anyway, the point is that I really want to do some book reviews because books are awesome.

But knowing my attention span and the way my brain works (we all remember the Alan Moore stuff, right?), I thought it would be a better idea to do more of a book log with shorter reviews/comments than lengthy ones. Although, knowing me, some of the comments will get long and there are individual books I still want to do reviews for (like The Magicians and Susan Cooper's The Dark is Rising series), but for now let's stick with this plan.

Love in the Time of Fridges by Tim Scott.

I'm going to be honest here, I read this book awhile ago and some of the details are fuzzy for reasons that will become clear as I ramble on. The books takes place in the near future, about fifty years or so from now in the city of New Seattle, which is obsessed with safety and has a zero tolerance policy on danger (The slogan is something about don't die for no reason what's the point, which is very anvilicious when the character of the hero's dead wife is introduced).

Our hero is Gabe, who returns to New Seattle after moping around after the death of his wife, Abigail. Gabe meets up/becomes obsessed with Nene, who reminds him of his dead wife, which is totes not creepy or anything, and the two are chased through New Seattle by the Health and Safety Department. There's some conspiracy and memory wipes (oh dear god, the memory wipes) and a bunch of talking fridges trying to escape over the border or something.

I picked this book up because I wanted a fun read. The first few pages were promising, having a quirky style, so I figured, hey why not?

The problem with the book is that the quirkyness and zaniness is very much manufactured and forced and doesn't let up and after awhile all the details run together into mush and you're left floundering and wondering why your brain is leaking out your ears. Gabe and Nene meet up, run away, get separated, meet up, get some memory wipes, run on, fall in love for reasons that don't make sense, and so on and so on. There's really no plot, just them doing stupid things for no reason other than for Scott to show off how zany he is.

Scott also has a very irritating habit of dropping Gabe into or overhearing these completely inane conversations. Scott tries to imitate Adams and Pratchett here, but he fails because the conversations aren't a) funny or b) make any goddamn sense. There's only so many times you can read bit characters saying inane and senseless things before you want to beat your head against the wall.

Love in the Time of the Fridges is exactly like eating an entire bag of marshmallows: you start out and everything is great, the marshmallows are sweet and fluffy and so delicious and this seems like a great way to spend an afternoon; then you get halfway through the bag and you're slowing down because, yeah, still delicious, but that's a lot of fluff you've just eaten and your teeth start to feel fuzzy, and you're starting to maybe get a stomachache but you can't stop now; and then you finish the bag and you feel ill and accomplished nothing and possibly given yourself diabeetus (I always hear this word in Wilford Brimmley's voice) and, in general, made a really bad decision.

So, like marshmallows, Love in the Time of Fridges should be read in small installments and you should probably keep the literary equivalent of broccoli next to you to clear out all that sugar.

Notes from No Man's Land by Eula Biss

This is a collection of Biss' essays, and I don't even care if essay isn't your thing you need to read this book right now. Bliss deals with hard, complicated themes such as race and fear and ties them together in ways that make you stop and go yes this. She's upfront that she doesn't have answers, but she offers questions. And the questions she raises are thoughtful and nuanced and really important.

Take the titular essay, "Notes from No Man's Land." Biss discusses fear, specifically those along racial lines. She talks about the still deep racial division in Chicago and the lines and boundaries we set up, heritage from our pioneer past. She brings in Laura Ingalls Wilder and gentrification and the fear of gangs and the neighborhoods of Chicago and ties them all together into a beautiful essay that's something much greater than all of its parts.

If nothing else, you have to read "Telephone Poles." It's the first essay in the book and it is hard and difficult and absolutely amazing. Biss starts by discussing the discovery of the telephone and then goes on with anecdotes about how the American people responded to the telephone poles (spoiler: Americans are crazy and irrational!) and then, suddenly, you learn about the role the poles played in lynching. It's like a punch to the gut.

This essay, in an understated, sparse way, brings attention to a shameful time in American history, when American citizens were murdered and terrorized and it was considered a good thing, a family event. And the essay does nothing to disguise this, just lays out, and at the end you feel raw and open and vulnerable and, oddly enough because Biss is the kind of writer that makes me realize I will never be that good, hopeful.

In conclusion, you need to read this book.

Helmet of Horror: The Myth of Theseus and the Minotaur by Victor Pelevin and trans. by Andrew Bromfield (translators need to get more love, because translation is hard, y'all)

For accuracy's sake, the book should be titled Helmet of Horror: The Myth of Theseus and the Minotaur (A Mindfuck). Because that's what it is: a mindfuck.

Helmet of Horror, like the title suggests, is an updated retelling of the myth of Theseus and the Minotaur. You know, the one with the maze and the magic string and Ariadne.

The entire novel takes place inside a chatroom. I know, I know, but stay with me. It's not a real chatroom, as there's no use of netspeak and no one uses misogynistic/racist/homophobic language and there's no spam or random pictures of girls making out; it's not the Internet at all.

You're introduced to eight characters (Ariadne, who starts the one and only thread, Monstradmus, Nutscracker, Organizm(-:, IsoldA, Romeo-y-Cohiba, UGLI 666, and Sartriks) only known by the screennames their unknown captors give them. Each of them woke up in a room with a screen and a keyboard and only had access to the one chatroom. The captors also correct all their misspellings and monitor the conversation, censoring all attempts by the characters to use their real names or give any information about themselves.

It's revealed that they're not actually trapped, as they can command their doors to open or close any time they want. Each characters has their own individual maze outside:some are like hedge mazes and others are just a room and one is a church.

Ariadne has dreams, which reveal things about Asterisk (possibly the Minotaur or possibly Theseus or maybe something else entirely, who knows) and his Helmet of Horror, which is made up of several parts (and each of those parts are complicated and, like, deep, man). The rest of the cast try to puzzle their way through the Helmet and who/what/where Thesesus and the Minotaur are. Monstradums becomes almost the default leader in the discussion, having more philosphical leanings than the others, especially Sartriks, who only pops up in the thread a few times and is perpetually hungover and ill.

The novel is deeply philosophical and I have to admit that I didn't get a lot of it. It probably didn't help that I read the book on the El, which does not lend to deep thinking when the guy sitting behind you smells like pepperoni and the woman across from you is eating goldfish crackers and surreptitiously drinking beer while wearing a beret (I love Chicago). And then you get to the end and your mind is blown. Only much classier than I made it sound.

I didn't get the entire book and not sure I understood all that went on, but I'm pretty sure I liked it. So in conclusion: mindfuck.

Whitechapel Gods by S.M. Peters

This is one of the books that I can never decide if I like or not. I will fully admit that I picked it up based almost solely on the cover (look, it's really pretty, okay? Don't you judge me). This came out when steampunk was really starting to, terrible pun totally intended, pick up steam. The book has all the marking of the steampunk aesthetic (Victorian setting, lots of cogs and gears, clockwork men, etc) while trying not to exactly be steampunk.

Yes, Whitechapel Gods is an alternate history, and it actually is Victorian England instead of Victorian England lite, and all the clockwork and the very important cogs and gears aren't man made but are the result of the titular gods of Whitechapel: Mama Engine and Grandfather Clock. In the book, clockwork and steam-powered engines and whatnot are considered to be Very Bad Things. Also, there's like vague mystical alchemical stuff going on for some reason, I don't know.

So basically Mama Engine and Grandfather Clock showed up one day (from space? Like they're aliens or something, I guess?) and since you can't really kill them, Whitechapel has been cut off, enclosed by an impassable wall to keep Mama Engine and Grandfather Clock from infecting the rest of England. The back cover describes the gods as "Mama Engine is the goddess of sentiment, a mother to her believer. Grandfather Clock represents logic and precision." So there's that.

You've got a bunch of humans trying to rebel and kick out Mama Engine and Grandfather Clock, who, while not evil, are just really inhuman and don't understand how us fleshy things work. The hero is Oliver, who, in the wake of a catastrophe which wipes out their little freedom fighter cell, takes over, and in whom Mama Engine takes an interest in. You have Bergen, a mysterious German who is out to try to kill both gods. Missy, the only woman who is there for, well, her motives are never entirely clear. There's Baron Hume, the human who first encountered Mama Engine and Grandfather Clock and attempted to turn himself into a machine and then, I guess, regrets his decision or something? Like he hates he that he worshipped the gods and started up a religion and helped them gain power and now decides to help out Oliver instead to kill them and regain his humanity? I'm not entirely sure.

And then there's John Scared. Oh lord, John Scared. He's pretty much portrayed as the Evil in the book, more so than the machines. He also metaphysically rapes Mama Engine. Seriously.

So basically the plot of the books starts off simple: they have a code or something to kill the gods. Whitechapel is patrolled by canaries, clockwork men that do the bidding of Baron Hume or the gods or whoever when it's convenient. Whitechapel is a really not nice place to live, and some people begin to turn into machines, like instead of breaking out in hives you break out in gears.

So the guy who has the code ends up falling to his death, but not really because his soul is now in a rat. I said there was vague mysticism at work. So Oliver and his gang (including Tommy, who is turning into a clockwork man and picks up the rat-with-a-human-soul) run around fighting the canaries and trying to figure out how to kill the gods. They're really ineffective at it, but get lucky a lot. Until, with the help of Mama Engine's baby (sort of? God, I don't know) and Baron Hume's clockwork men, they finally manage to kick out the gods and kill John Scared (who at that point is all metaphysically raping Mama Engine) and everyone gets to leave Whitechapel.

I know I'm making the book sound like a mess, and it sort of is, in a way, but it's a well written and interesting mess. There is a lot of questions unanswered, like who the hell is Baron Hume, what is really up with Mama Engine and Grandfather Clock, and, in general, how the hell does this world work?
This is Peters' first novel, and it shows. The world building could be a lot better in places and clearer, as could some of the characters motivations. Some sections require you to read at least twice, because a lot happens within a small space of time, and Peters prose sometimes is too dense to unpack it all.

On a technical level, the book is well written and a pleasure to read. But on a plot level, well, there's a lot of holes. I don't believe that an author should spell out every little thing for the reader, but Peters doesn't give us enough sign posts to completely follow, and the lack of detail and explanation for how Mama Engine and Grandfather Clock work and what they are is just maddening.

Not to mention Missy. Oh dear lord, Missy. So has a thing they call fantasy rape watch, which tracks how women characters are treated in sci-fi/fantasy. And Missy, unfortunately, falls into every category. She is the only woman (if you don't consider Mama Engine a woman, which, frankly I don't, since she's not even human and pretty metaphysical) in the entire novel and guess what she used to be. Guess. That's right, she was a whore! Of course she was.

But she didn't like being a whore! It was awful! She really has a heart of gold! That makes it okay!

I understand that in Whitechapel a lot of the woman worked as prostitutes, but Missy is not presented as a woman trying to survive, but as a victim. She is a character defined by her victimhood, which is, I'm afraid to say, pretty much par for the course for the majority of female characters in sci-fi/fantasy.

Missy does have some agency, and while she follows Oliver's orders, she does get to do her own thing and (spoiler!) is the one to ultimately take down Scared. But this is after she gets brainwashed and betrays Oliver. Of course.

While I appreciate that Missy isn't quite a damsel in distress, she's not presented as heroic as Oliver and is, of course, defined by the time she spent as a whore. Fail, Peters.

The thing about Whitechapel Gods is, even though I don't actually know if I like it or not, I have to admit it did keep my interest and was, if not great, an entertaining read. It's one of those books I recommend if you have an afternoon free and want something to take up some time. You could choose a lot worse than this book.

White Night (A Dresden Files book) by Jim Butcher

Oh, Jim Butcher. So we meet again.

I think we can all agree you don't read the Dresden books for their great insights into human nature. They are a fun, entertaining, and, above all, a mindless read. I turned to them when I had to take a break from doing research and reading theory, and needed something light and mindless to relax.

That said, there's no denying that the series has some race and gender issues. Oh lord, the gender issues. At some point I'm going to do a post titled Just because you're writing fantasy noir doesn't mean you can be a sexist asshole, and that means you, Jim Butcher and Simon R. Green. But that is not this post. Also, there is at least one part in every book where I have to put it down and walk away.

So the plot of White Night is that some supernatural enemy is running around killing women practitioners and Harry is hired to find out who it is. He runs into his old girlfriend Elaine, and for a while it looks like his half-brother Thomas, a White Court Vampire, may be the serial killer.
It pretty much follows the standard formula of all Dresden books: Harry gets hired for a case, the case gets really complicated, we're told for the elevenity bijillionth time that Harry is "chivalrous" and hates seeing women hurt and he's not a sexist asshole but a Nice Guy (which is a whole 'nother can of worms), Butcher continues to have a creepy obsession with sex and we're told a lot how long it's been since Harry last had sex, there's a bunch of magic fights, one of the women he was protecting dies (oh angst), more creepy sex powered shit (seriously, there's like a sort of weird Whore/Madonna complex going on with a lot of the female characters that's just icky), and there's a happy ending while alluding to a larger plot that Butcher is trying to use to tie all the books in together (and is failing at).

Again, these are mindless, fun reads, but there are a few problems with this book. Thankfully Butcher doesn't draw out the "Oh noes Harry's half-brother Thomas, THE ONLY FAMILY HARRY HAS LEFT IN THE WORLD, may be a killer even though Harry knows he's a sex vampire and there's really creepy consent issues that Butcher never addresses because of his weird sex obsession." It gets wrapped up pretty quickly and it isn't a major plot point, no matter what the back cover may want you to think, because, come on, we all know Thomas isn't going to be the bad guy even if he is unintentionally creepy (back to the consent issues, but again, not the point of this post).

The book clocks in at 450 pages, and honestly it could probably be 100 pages shorter. There are sections that need to be tightened up and the subpolots could be streamlined. Like many authors whose series is running long (Rowling is definitely guilty of this), each book seems to be longer than the last. The problem with this is that the pace tends to slow down and the book itself is bogged down by completely useless scenes and details and padding. The Dresden Files work best with a smaller page limit, which pushes Butcher to stick more to action than plot (and his plots are usually kind of ridiculous). Plus, with long running series you lose character development, since the character stays pretty constant so that readers can pick up a book in the middle of the series and not feel like they're missing out (I have a problem with that, but again, not the point of this post).

One of the good things about the series is Murphy, who is fucking awesome. Man, I wish the books focused just on her going around being all badass because, seriously, she is a BAMF. Also, I find her way more complex and interesting than Harry. Eliane is also a BAMF and I wish she would stick around, but it's probably best that she doesn't or we would be treated to more of Harry whining about how he hasn't gotten laid in four years, you guys, seriously, he is is sex deprived. I think Butcher wants us to feel bad for Harry while simulaneously applauding his self-control for not fucking his smoking eighteen-year-old apprentice because, you know, turning down teenage ass is totally a noble thing. SERIOUSLY, BUTCHER, KEEP YOUR ISSUES WITH SEX OUT OF THE BOOK THANKS.

The part in this book that made me put it down and walk away has to do with Elaine. So Eliane is under a psychic attack by a Skavis (which whammies a person into basically committing suicide--just go with it) and Harry has to snap her out of it. Once she's better, Elain fucking blasts the thing through a fucking wall and pounds it into the dirt, all while bleeding from her wrists and suffering major blood loss. Elaine is fucking badass. Sure, Harry and Thomas ultimately kill the Skavis, but they wouldn't have been able to do it without Elaine getting her BAMF on.

So what does Butcher say about Elaine's sheer badassery? Well, we're treated to her saying, "Every time I come to Chicago, I've got to get rescued. Embarrassing as hell." Okay, yes, she needed help, but that was far from being rescued, seeing as how she blasted the Skavis through a wall and then called lightening down on it.

And then, addressing her badassness, Elaine says, "Wouldn't have happened if you hadn't warned me. Thanks, Harry."

Again, yes, Harry helped, but Elain still fucking kicked ass, but Butcher doesn't let her own it. He has to remind us that Elaine wouldn't be alive without Harry fucking Dresden. The same thing happened with Murphy a couple of books back: she kicks ass, but we're told that it's because Harry warned/helped. Butcher has these kickass female characters, but they're not allowed to own their awesome (although it's gotten better with Murphy) the same way Dresden does. We're constantly told how powerful Dresden is, usually in comparison to other wizards, and we're shown how awesome Murphy and Elaine are, but Butcher puts in effort to show that, you know, Harry is still better.

Hey, Jim Butcher, it's totally okay to allow your female characters to kick ass. Their awesomeness doesn't threaten Harry's masculinity. Seriously, please addess your sketchy gender issues.

White Night is a like a bag of delicious, nutritionally empty potato chips: you read it for the magic and the action and not for its literary value.

And I think I'm going to leave it there for now. My next booklog (which I'll post sometime next we--ooooh Misha Collins!) will hopefully contain more thoughtful books.

Monday, June 14, 2010

More fail, or Jayne needed to adress this ages ago

So me and Darcy agreed that the blog should probably be called The Laziest Girls You know, because Dancing Shadow is the only one among us who remembers to update occasionally.

This is more of a linkspam and not a full fledged post because other people have already talked about this more in depth and with much more nuance and insightful criticism than I could manage (since my reaction to this is to go into a rage blackout and pull out the uncontrollable strangly hands), but check out Racebending on the whitewashing of Avatar: The Last Airbender. (One of my favorite parts--in which "favorite" means "rage inducing"--is that Jason Rathebone, the actor portraying Sokka, says that to prepare for the role he just needs to get a "tan." Because, you know, the Inuit are just white people with a dark tan!)

I've talked a little about whitewashing here before, mainly in regards to the graphic novel adaption of Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere, in which the Black Friars, who in the book and the miniseries were black, magically became white.

Whitewashing is not just limited to Hollywood (although they are some of the worst offenders), but is popping up everywhere: books, comics, tv, pretty much in all of popular culture. This isn't, sadly, a new phenomenon, but at this point in time it's infuriating that Hollywood is convinced no one will see a movie without a white hero, because we all know us white poeple can't connect with a character unless they have the same skin color as us!

In the same vein, check out this for a time line of RaceFail '09.

For those of you who weren't around, this was the lj implosion involving science-fiction/fantasy book community and diversity that started up in January '09. While the initial conversation sort of...exploded, what came out of it, for the most part, was a lot of really needed discussion and criticism and analysis.

While maybe the initial controversy that kick started this discussion is past, the conversation is in no way dropped, nor should it be. If anything, the casting of The Last Airbender showed us that this activism regarding diversity and representations of people and characters of color and the whitewashing thereof is absolutely vital for our culture.

ETA: So I am made of fail. In the comments I said the Water Tribe was influenced by the Inuit and referenced "the indigenious population of Greenland." Darcy pointed out how that was confusing and I apologized for the inaccurarcies. To clarify, Greenland's population consits of nearly 90% of Inuit heritage. Therefore I was inaccurate in both my original comment and then the failed and also inaccuarate apology.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Free Comic Book Day gives me mixed feelings.

I'm going to start this off by saying "I love comic books." I do, a lot, and for the most part I am happy as a clam to sift through and ignore or acknowledge just how sexist certain artists and writers are, all in the desire to find and read some damn good comics. This year, just like I try to do each year, I went forth to gather some of the newest (free) comic material in the desire to a) see what new shiny books catch my support and b) see what might be worthwhile to send to my brother overseas in the army. While I admit I took Fraggle Rock and Domo comics for the amusement, and because my brother would get a laugh out of them, I also took many from a variety of other styles.

This year looked great! I really am looking forward to the newest Storm Lion works, and Aspen is always very visually appealing. I am well aware the drawing of the female body seems to be magically off but I'm forgiving, and I honestly don't care that much unless the other nerds in the store call me 'fat' (no it's never happened before, I doubt it ever would, just saying that would be the only time in which I would even bat an eye). Then I would be more than elated to express to people the advantages of a well muscled body. More likely I'd just laugh, but what I am trying to say is there is nothing I can do to change the art, and I don't feel so insecure that I avoid my secret interest. So it's not every day the world of comics tosses me off guard.

My jaw fell, though, when I flipped a comic book over to see "Lady Gaga" staring me in the face. Her name is not in quotes because it is not her real name, hell, I know a girl named Winter Berry so I don't really care what you decide to call yourself. It was the title of the comic, and thus gets quotes. I looked at it for a moment and thought to myself "is this a prank?". I seemed to be having a hard time wrapping my mind around this. So, being the curious cat I am, I opened to the first page.
Nope, not a prank. What in all the Hells?
The story moves with a man who is watching TV and commenting on current music in general. He thinks it's really lacking. I hear you, little fake man, when you say some of the contemporary music is not up to your liking. I understand you think lyrics should be thoughtful and creative. But why do you complain so much? And why Lady Gaga? I know you won't get the full preview from the internet, but this is a short chunk of what was in the free comic.
I'm not sure how much I have to say on this. I'm not a huge fan of Gaga (nor do I hate her or her music), but this was my first drop into music cultural in a comic. The art style wasn't something I favor, but I really feel like it undersold the main characters for the sake of saying something. He goes on for another few pages about how music these days is pathetic, and he is annoyed by the younger kids in the music store that have never been introduced to the 'classics'. What to do expect? The children of this generation are notorious for being left unsupervised. When are they supposed to be 'educated' when no one has time for them anymore, and so many people blow them off just like you are doing now? I could go on all day about education issues inside and out of the classroom, but the point is that both of the introduced characters did nothing for me. Perhaps if I purchased the whole comic, I would understand better, but what I saw did not motivate me to make that choice. In short, this was one of the few comics this year that disappointed me.
Again, I am well aware that this is aimed at an audience that is clearly not me, but I think with some better writing, even I would have had the desire to look further than the freebie.

In some completely different news, apparently there is a lot of tension in Arizona over a film that relates to the issue of immigration (I'm being vague, I know). This isn't something I've had much time to look into, but I bumped into a funny Cinco De Mayo related video. You'll understand when you check it out.

That's all from me for now. Rawk on!

Thursday, May 06, 2010

So, so much fail

So if you ever want to see privilege at work, just hop on over here to John C. Wright's gender/trans/feminist fail. John C Wright is a multi-published Nebula finalist with Tor. Goodness, another white cis heterosexual male writer in a still largely patriarchal field showing off his goddamned privileged douchebaggery. Shocking.

His entire post pretty much sent me into a rage blackout, and there's so much fail here that to address it all I honestly would have to take this sentence by sentence, not to mention unpacking the goddamn comments, my favorite of which advocated encouraging the Walk of Shame to curb whorish behavior. Funnily enough, that' s only in regards to the women, and not, you know, the increasing raunchy, frat boy culture that teaches young men that they should aspire to fuck as many women as possible, and that their behavior is not only acceptable but lauded, because women are objects of desire and not actual people.

The first sentence of his post starts out with "I have long been of the opinion that the feminist movement seeks to raise the standard of womanhood by erasing differences between the sexes," and immediately out comes the strangly hands.

And no, Wright, you are wrong. You are wrong and willfully ignorant and you need to shut the hell up. Feminism doesn't seek to "erase the differences between the sexes." Feminism advocates the radical idea that women are people too. Feminism demands that women have the right to own property, vote, not be beholden to their husband, equal pay for equal work, and in general be treated like human beings.

What you want, Wright, is a return to some kind of idealized Victorian past, where woman were married off at their fathers wishes, and in general were treated like objects of desire. That is not modesty. That is being treated, at best, like second class citizens, and at worst, like chattel.

Of course, it gets even better: "The basic flaw is that feminists start by seeking equality, but finish by seeking androgyny. Girls are not taught to be feminine and modest; boys are not taught self-command and decency. When mixed, narcissistic cruelly selfish males will then simply exploit, as far as they can, the narcissistic but defenseless females. Equality starts as a perfectly reasonable demand for women's suffrage and the right to own property, but ends with the oddly unnatural equality of a naked jello wrestling cage match between a rapist and a nymph. Unless she is Xena Warrior Princess, Wonder Woman, or Buffy the Vampire Slayer, her chances of emerging from the cage unscathed are dim."

Ah, yes, so we have women being "powerless" and it's up to the big, strong man to protect us. Also, Wright, no, it does not end in a fucking jello cage match. It ends with privileged assholes like yourself shutting up and actually LISTENING TO WOMEN. I know this is hard for you, being in possession of a penis and all, but feminists are trying to change the culture so we don't have gendered, privileged men like yourself telling us how we should dress, act, behave.

Feminism is about equality. It's about how I should be able to stand in a crowded elevator or train and not worry about being groped. It's about how I should expect basic respect because I am a person. It's about me getting paid equal to male employees for the work we both perform. It's about me being able to choose who and when I want to have sex. It's about how I should not be expected to be "shamed" into modesty because of the idea of women enjoying and wanting sex makes you clutch at your pearls. It's about you recognizing me as an individual with all the rights that you have. It is NOT about me fitting to some make believe fantasy about how real women should be modest, silent girls.

It also means what you say something like this "The equalization of men and women in the sexual sphere leads to more male hatred for women. I am confident that being slapped by a Playboy bunny or Hooters Gal is more humiliating than being slapped by a Vestal Virgina, Nun, or Schoolmarm." I can tell you to shut the hell up, you fucking privileged douchebag.

Because this is you slut shaming. This is you saying that a woman who works as Playboy bunny or at Hooters, two things our culture fetishes and idolizes, is beneath you. You say she, who you grope and leer and entertain masturbatory fantasies of, is not worth the respect you would afford a fellow male human being. How very enlightened of you.

The ONE thing I mostly agree with you on is your stance on date rape: "One of the most disturbing indicia of the modern return to barbarism is the phenomenon called ‘Date Rape.’ While some of my fellow conservatives dismiss this phenomena as a rhetorical pose of the feminist, I submit that the conservative who supports that dismissal brings shame on our noble mutual cause. If anything, we conservatives should be trumpeting the horrid statistics about Date Rape from the rooftops"

Yes to raising awareness. Yes to changing the way our culture views it and makes it possible. Yes to making sure this doesn't happen again.

Unfortunately, you can't resist being an asshole, can you, Wright? Because you immediately follow up with this: "An impromptu militia with torches and pitchforks should seize Hefner and Kinsey and all those in the camp of the sexual libertarians frogmarch them to the nearest lamp-post for a quick drumhead trial and a slow hanging. Or, if that is too dramatic for these soft and modern times, let us at least hang them in effigy and damn their ideas to hell...We were promised promiscuous harems, and all we got instead is a new and oddly puritanical form of anti-Puritanism."

No, Wright, you were never promised harems. What you were promised was sexual equality, where men and women could be free of this gendered, outdated bullshit about how they should view sex. It's because you wanted harems (only for the men, because we women are here to please you) we ended up with this horribly dichotomy of raunchy/puritanicalism that hurts everybody.

What we ended up with is your privileged ass telling me that women need to be modest. That we need chaperons. That boys will be boys, and women are the mystical gatekeepers of virginity.

What we have is more of the same inequality we've been struggling against for generations.

So congratulations, Wright. You are not the savior of women's rights. You're the problem.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Things that are Awesome: Star Wars Origami

Amaze your friends! Look busy at work! They're even great (read:cheap) gift ideas!
That's right children. STAR WARS ORIGAMI is a real thing, that someone who is really cool and no doubt has lots of free time brought into our reality!
There are a couple of cool sites with free diagrams on them. I'll link them below. Enjoy!

Star Wars Dollar Bill Origami Article (with link to artist's Deviant Art page!)

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Surf's Up....production is down...

I need to get back to work (again), but once more I realized it's been a loooong time since I last posted. So here I am again, seeking to fill the time.

Speach impediment is a great way to write off Batman's voice in Dark Knight. Don't get me wrong, I liked the movie and all, but I agree. Some parts of it were....less clearly enunciated than others. Good clean fun...

The other amusing toy I have for now is this. That's all I have to say about it.

I'll be back with some actual point and purpose soon once school stops trying to convince me to jump off a cliff. Seriously, college is more about testing your determination than teaching you what you need to know some days.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Kotobukia...It's been said before, but I'm going to say it again. This place rocks!

This post has been sent over from
 Lady Jones is also a writer for Geek Girls and wanted to share this post on both of her sites! Thanks for reading!

     Just wanted to do a quick post about my recent trip to Kotobukia. It's a chain of stores that has all sorts of fare...but what I'm always excited to see is the floor or two (or more, so I hear, depending on where you go) of collectibles, figurines, plushies and other geeky fare. I mean, I was seriously blown away by this place. I've traveled around Akihabara a bit and I've been out to Nakano Broadway (where you can get a lot of older collectibles that were retired from the Akihabara area since they were either too old or not well-known enough to warrant shelf space there.) but this store is definitely among my must-see stores in Tokyo.

     The first floor was so intense I had no idea where to go first! Right upon entering there was a whole row of Star Wars goods like new R2D2 and Darth Vader USB Hub devices and a whole set of glowing chopstick lightsabers (yeah, awesome, I really wanted some). To my right was an entire section devoted to Ghibli films. To my left was rows of Final Fantasy Figurines and Plushies. This is where I had purchased my cute Chocobo plushie (now named Merlin) a few weeks back and since I have taken every chance to stop into this store when I pass it.
 I really like this Rogue Figure. By the way, her name in Japanese is "Rougu."
Photo Property of Kotobukia.
Used for non-profit, informational purposes only.

     What I didn't know after my first trip was if you go to their website you can see EVERYTHING they stock and believe me it seems there is no end to the cool stuff they sell. From Marvel Collectible Figurines (some which say they are Kotobukia exclusives) to DC Collectible Figurines to Indiana Jones to Anime Figurines like this one from the series Air...I even saw some figurines from the movie Gremlins and some other neat and eccentric things like Mameshiba (Little Bean Dog) keychains and Alpaca Earphones/Ipod Case. Yeah, seriously, if you're in Tokyo for only a short while, you should get yourself to one of these stores! There is one in Akihabara pretty close to where you exit the train station. There is an English map in the train station at the information desk if you need one (usually a good idea as Akiba is confusing to first time visitors and you don't want to waste time getting lost!).

  I couldn't believe they had these neat Gremlins Figures!
Photo Property of Kotobukia.
Used for non-profit, informational purposes only.
      So yeah, if you haven't checked them out yet, give their site a look! It's pretty sweet!
 Signing out for now,
 Lady Jones

Saturday, February 13, 2010

In which Jayne dusts off her soapbox

It's been awhile since I last posted here, so let's see if I remember how to do this.

Instead of doing any of the eight million things I should do today (grade undergrad responses, work on my thesis so the thought of it doesn't make me go in to the fetal position), I surfed the Internets because that's how my procrastinating ass rolls. In surfing I came across Why discriminate if it doesn't profit? It's an article addressing the question about why Hollywood and the television industry are dead set against making movies/shows for or by women.

The writer, Jennifer Kessler, takes a couple of detours in getting to the point (she discusses curly hair and salons in an analogy that doesn't quiet gel), but her answer boils down to ego:

"Even greed is fueled by the ego – it’s the ego that wants more than enough so it feels safe or better than its neighbors. It’s the ego that wants to feel important, unique, successful. Eliminating entire clumps of humanity from the 'race' your ego thinks it’s in is a quick way to get rid of competition."

This is, of course, a compelling theory (used in the non-scientific sense of the word), but one that doesn't cover it entirely. As the resident feminist of the blog, I feel obligated to point out that the movie and tv industries are still steeped in (and yes, I refuse to apologize for using this term) patriarchy. Executives, directors, writers, and so on are overwhelmingly men, and thus the mindset is that it is men who are the prime consumers of movies and television.

This is, of course, complete bullshit, but it's a powerful, ego feeding theory that allows these same executives and directors and writers to justify their often sexist offerings(oh god, just look at how actresses are objectified in comparison to actors). Why should they bother giving well-rounded, heroic and amazing female characters and women-centric storylines when "women don't watch movies/tv"?

Kessler then has this paragraph, that I really want to discuss:

"That laziness factors into TV and film because in the case of TV advertisers don’t seem to want to know that women are worth pitching products to because it would mean learning something new (look at the shortcuts they take when pressed: “make it pink, mention shoes”), like what types of ads women respond to. In the case of movies, it would mean… well, nothing. Honestly, you write women pretty much like you write men. But they think it would mean learning something new, and to be fair, for many of them it would mean learning to write credible voices belonging to a group of people they associate with little more than high school rejection, being told to clean up their room, divorce and child support checks. It would also, for many of them, mean noticing someone who has never before existed to their eyes: women who don’t fit the “hot chick” profile. Women who, like so many of our favorite male movie icons, are more fascinating than modelesque, who are sexy because they’re made of awesome, instead of just looking awesome."


And I think this reasoning, among other things, is the reason why comics, while making little, tiny, slow baby steps to acknowledging female readers, are still pretty much trapped in this GIRLS DON'T READ COMICS LALALA I CAN'T HEAR YOU mindset.

Girls read comics, especially when those comics feature strong female characters. Hell, when Stephanie Brown was the new Robin the sales of Batman increased. Manhunter was critically acclaimed and widely popular comic that features an kick-ass female protagonist. Ditto for Catwoman. Not to mention the long and successful run of Birds of Prey.

And yet every single one of those titles were cancelled. Yes, perhaps, the sales were low, but look at how much manpower was put behind the effort to market them compared to other titles; not a whole hell of a lot. And, yes, some of them, like Catwoman, suffered from having to include retarded storylines to tie in to the latest big event, but I think these titles and comics in general suffer from what Kessler said above.

Women in comics are "awesome to look at" and not just plain awesome. As an industry, comics has a hard time realizing that strong female characters doesn't just mean they have giant breasts and are sexy danger.

Look at Marvel's Lady Bullseye. She is awesome to look at. And the sad thing is that Marvel tried to make her strong, in that "strong" to them means "is motivated from past sexual assault and needed a man to inspire her and also happens to give tits and ass and is sexy, sexy danger."

Lady Bullseye is a strong female character as filtered through the male gaze, which means she is sexy danger and not a strong character at all. Sadly, comics are still firmly entrenched in the male gaze. Hell, even the attempts comics made to appeal to female readers are insulting and offensive.

And, since we're on the topic, both movies, television, and comics are finally recognizing LGBT characters, although the visibility on them still remains frustratingly low. Hell, how about getting some diversity up in comics? With DC's cancellation of Blue Beetle, comics are awfully white.

If Kessler is right that this is about the ego then it's time to set that aside, especially in this shitty economic times, and realize that women and LGBT and minorities are just as valuable consumers as white, straight men. Get your heads out of your asses and recognize it's not all about the dangly bits between your legs.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Syndicated Post: Taiko no Tatsujin and 3D Dot Game Heroes are Made of Win

This post is syndicated from Lady Lara Jones Adventures. Lady Jones is also a writer here for Geek Girls and wanted to make this post on both of her blogs. Thanks for reading!

Many of you video game enthusiasts out there probably already know about Taiko Drum Master, known in Japan as Taiko no Tatsujin (Master of Taiko). Indeed, it is a fun series in the same genre as Guitar Freak, Drum Freak, the late Dance Dance Revolution (which I miss dearly and wish still existed in arcades around Tokyo) and other rhythmically driven arcade games. It's a pretty simple concept, really, but is super fun in the arcade and especially with another person. Basically you stand in front of this giant monster of an arcade machine with a big LCD screen above two giant Taiko drums.

Brian plays Taiko no Tatsujin.
     And sure, the game has been around for quite a few years now, but I wanted to do a little post about it to show my support to the developers. This game isn't as complicated as Rock Band or Drum Freak, but it's really fun and can get rather difficult if you gear it up to the highest difficulty setting. There was a short-lived time in the US where you could get the game on PS2 (and I think the Wii has a version as well) so if you can pick up a copy at your local game store you get a sense of how fun it would be in the arcade. If you have an arcade near you that has this game then GO PLAY IT! Take a friend! It's worth your 100 JPY!

     The next game I want to mention is something based on a game near and dear to my heart. 3D Dot Game Heroes is practically a rip of the NES Legend of Zelda (with some obvious changes to avoid copyright infringement) but you can't really argue with fun + works well + well designed = an awesome game. Seriously, there is no reason people shouldn't make new games using the classic top-down Zelda, dungeon crawling formula. It's fun, it works, and I know a lot of people who love it just like I do. We were told the game finally received a US release date so if you haven't picked up a PS3 yet this is just one more reason to get you motivated.
 The summary (from Wikipedia) reads as follows: "The game's gameplay
(good job wikipedia writer, that's some good English you have's gameplay....ugh sorry)
-     strongly resembles that of retro 8-bit games of the past, particularly that of The Legend of Zelda. Players move characters from screen to screen exploring dungeons, battling enemies, collecting items and solving puzzles reminiscent of the classic games of past. When the player's health bar is full, the player's sword will grow to tremendous sizes whenever swung. Swords in game can be customized and leveled up to increase its length, girth as well as magical power, other special items that can also be used include boomerangs, lanterns, candles and bows."

 Okay, I would like to note here that it does not just strongly resemble The Legend of fricken takes like every other enemy and alters their appearance only slightly with 3D Modeling in order to not be sued. Again, I don't have a problem with this. I think it's neat to see what Legend of Zelda could have been with a 3D (yet still somehow 2D) top-down environment. Also, when they say your sword grows to tremendous sizes, they mean it pretty much extends across the screen to destroy everything standing in front of you. It's a good innovation on the "launching beam" that came when you had full hearts in the original Legend of Zelda.

 The dungeons are cool, and admittedly we can't read enough Japanese to know where we're exactly supposed to go next (or what we're supposed to collect) but for the most part we've been winging it and still getting pretty far. When the English version comes out we'll be sure to pick it up because we're only borrowing the Japanese version from a friend for now.

To give you a better sense: here's an awesome preview video for 3D Dot Game Heroes:

Sooo cool! Everyone out in the US should get ready for this Instant Classic.
Lady Jones and Brian Jones

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Something of a mixing pot?

So it's been pretty quiet here, and since I haven't played anything new in the past month, I figured I'd just drop off some shiny toys...(besides the god of war 3 demo. I jizzed in my pants. If you don't get the joke, see this. As a side note, people seem to forget you can kill a joke by extreme overuse. Please jizz responsibly.)

So to start off; Something unreasonably cute. I mean, I bet everyone has seen this by now, but if not, you should. It's so cute, it hurts. Then again, I love kittens, so that might be the flaw in the machine... anywho, this is it.

Thing the second; we (and by 'we' I mean you as readers) should all know my now that I hate ('intensely dislike') the twilight series, so something that made me laugh is the "Hobo Reviews". Seriously. A hobo? Count me in!
Side note: I'd advise you don't start drinking anything when this begins. You might get it all over the screen.

Well....i guess that's all for now. Happy new year people!