ellestra: (big gun)
I think that films and TV made me used to male buts being on display that I assumed that's what all the media does. But films and TV learned that pandering to female viewers is important (mostly TV - since more women watch scripted shows) for success. Of course pandering with great character development would be preferable everywhere.

ellestra: (big gun)
Back home the heat wave is just ending (36C!) and school begins and I'm making an aggregation post again.

There were some good news today. Syfy just announced that both Dark Matter and Killjoys are getting renewed for another season. And The Dome is finally being put out of its misery.

And Tatiana Maslany is being linked to another Star Wars leading role -this time in Episode VIII. (Along with some other awesome people.)

Some interesting changes - like Google making most radical change in their logo since last century (it's sans-serif now and G has multiple colours).

And if you want to get angry (or depressed) Anita Sarkeesian released another Tropes vs Women in Video Games video and it's Women as Reward this time (reminds me when I unwisely tried to see how Falling Skies ended and wanted to throw something at TV).



And if you want to get really sad - Terry Pratchett's last book has been released today in US (it's been out in UK and Commonwealth since last Thursday). The Shepherd's Crown is part of Tiffany Aching series. The final glance at Discworld before the glass ball becomes completely opaque.
ellestra: (winged)
I've been avoiding #Gamergate for the same reason I avoided Ebola - just thinking about it makes me sad and angry. But at least Ebola is a virus - it doesn't have a malicious intent. #Gamergate is bringing out some of the worst stuff humanity has to offer. I suppose it's not surprising for something that's started with some guys revenge/hate posts about his ex-girlfriend sex life. But what I really mind is people pretending it's really about journalistic integrity. It's a little like insisting Civil War wasn't about slavery. The fact that you found something non-despicable to be part of your cause doesn't make up for all the really shitty things it's all about. Pretending that it was always fight for media objectivity while ignoring the harassment is being accomplice to the whole thing. Even if you never sent death/rape threats to any women you participate in their abuse by legitimating the people who do. Still the guy who started it all has no regrets and Intel made me glad was always AMD. At least the industry itself seems pretty against it.

The whole thing got bad enough and big enough that it has been picked up by major news outlets so you probably also have heard something about it. But it unfortunately doesn't stop the abuse. And the hate machine keeps spinning - making sure to find people they can rail up to throw another attack on anyone who disagree. Especially, a woman voicing an opinion they don't like. There always seem to be another woman forced out of her home by death and/or rape threats that are specific enough to get police involved, cancelled public appearances due to shooting threats and relentless spewing of vitriol. I wish they could all just laugh it off like John Scalzi but men don't seem to get the same level of abuse. Even though anyone accused of being SJW - social justice warrior - gets trashed no one is as hated as feminists (because women with opinions ruin everything and misandry). Even though these attacks also mean that the message of the subjects of these attacks gets to more people due to the extra publicity (which comes with the extra special dose of conspiracy theories about how the abuse is self made for publicity). Not that they wouldn't prefer to live their lives in peace. I don't know if I could withstand the level of abuse that Anita Sarkeesian has experienced. Maybe I should make this friends only...

Here Anita's XOXO talk about what she experienced
ellestra: (winged)
This episode of Tropes vs Women in Video Games comes with the Content Warning: This educational episode contains graphic sexual and violent game footage and it is very true. After a while it become hard to watch. Other tropes annoy me more from the storytelling point of view but this is visually most disgusting.

ellestra: (winged)
Anita Sarkeesian made another video in the Tropes vs Women in Video Games series. This one is about objectification. About the women in games who only move so they can show their "assets" to players' better. For only the one type of the player whose perspective matters.
ellestra: (muppets)
So what one does when one gets snowed in and cannot fly to a conference? Take a lot of photos, obviously (as you could see in earlier posts) but I couldn't spent my whole days on taking pictures. I also need to do important stuff like calling airlines (it's kind of hard to do while running through snow). And when you have to wait and hope that a human will eventually pick up there isn't much else you can do. You can post your photos. Sort your emails. And you can also watch TV.

This means I binged on the Olympics this past few days. I don't think I ever watched so much of it. But it was all good to me because Poland has FOUR gold medals in Winter Olympics so far:
2x Kamil Stoch - Ski Jumping both on normal and large hill
Justyna Kowalczyk - 10 km Cross-Country Skiing
Zbigniew Bródka - 1500m Speed Skating

Zbigniew Brodka's story is one of those movies about underdog that doesn't have experience or money and trains sliding in socks on wooden floors or at night when water freezes on asphalt and works as a fireman to support his family and then beats the Dutch that have everything - a medal factory with all the training facilities and equipment and care that technology can make and money can buy. Only it's all true because there are no speed skating tracks in Poland under roofs and only couple in open air and none with good ice. Short Track people can at least train on ice skating rinks. Long Track either have to go to Germany and only see their families through Skype or do the things listed above. At least after women got bronze in Vancouver the sport federation buys them enough skates and pays for the trips. So everyone is in shock, not only because it was 0.003 that decided Zbigniew Brodka won but because we don't deserve him. He certainly doesn't deserve us.

Kamil Stoch and Justyna Kowalczyk were favourites but that didn't mean they had it easy. Justyna Kowalczyk had to fight with everyone to get to the top - not just rivals. It only got little easier when she started to get medals but now she had to fend the doubts after she didn't medal at first run and revealed she's running with a broken foot (that's right she won gold with a broken foot). They were telling her to give up and go home. I still remember that little kid Kamil Stoch used to be - 12 years old and winning kid ski jumping championships and dreaming of Olympics (the one they replay now again and again on Polish news) - and I remember all the talk about how puberty screws up body and balance and that he probably will never make it as an adult. And for a while he was unimpressive or, at least, he was shown like this when in comparison with Adam Małysz who used to win so much that everyone wanted every Polish ski jumper to be at least as good as him. When he finally hit his stride in last couple of years (he is World Cup leader right now) everyone started expecting everything on this Olympics even though it didn't even happen when Adam Małysz was at the hight of his career. And this time we were not disappointed.

Now they all did what no other Pole has ever accomplished in Winter Games Justyna won gold in second Olympics, Kamil won two in one and Zbigniew one the first one ever in speed skating.

We are a nation of naysayers and defeatists. Always ready to tell someone why it will never work. Maybe it explains why those who succeed in sport in our country are good at ignoring those voices, determined and obstinate. They are just doing what they do and only complain afterwards (you know how other people, when they get awards, thank those who supported and help them? - in Poland that's only half the talk; the other is finally being heard about all the bullshit the had to go through to do it). Sometimes I can't believe we are able to even compete on any serious level in anything but I suppose there just are enough of rough talent among 40 million people that even all of this can't destroy them all.

NBC mostly shows boring stuff like Ice Skating and Hokey on TV so I usually just let the streaming play in the background. I don't know where they get their streaming coverage. It's all done by Brits and in metric (distances in meters, km/h speeds and temps in C so it's easier to relate to for me) so I thought for a moment that maybe they just take Eurosport feed but then it seems like they are talking about US as "our team" but then it creates funny moments when the British commentator completely forgot about it when Lizzie Yarnold was going for gold in skeleton and was all "Go, Lizzie, go" (how can you not when it's your country's only real hope for gold). What really gets me is that those are not the same feeds as on TV. When I watched the final series of Ski Jumping on normal hill they were both streaming it with a British commentator and showing it on TV with American ones (American also shows their measurements so meh). The funny part is that they mispronounce the names of Polish jumpers in a different way. For example the Brit says Kamil Shtoh (it's Stoch - pronounced as Stoh) and Adam Malash (Małysz - Muhwysh - the name of former Polish champion) and Americans say Stock and Malysh (Americans are closer - weird - it's usually other way around). It's a relief to hear the names said correctly by the Russian announcer.

I kind of miss the overexcited Polish commentators (My dad let me listen to some of their talk over Skype). I miss the information and the emotion they show. The only moment I felt a little bit like that here was when one of the NBC commentators said about Marit Bjoergen (Kowalczyk's arch-rival) after Justyna Kowalczyk won - she tried to fly to close to the sun and burnt. Being ridiculously poetic is something Polish commentators do all the time - it felt so right.
ellestra: (lightning)
I watched the opening ceremony and it was astounding. I must admit that the visuals were stunning and the whole light painting thing was beautiful and (at least) on TV looked like real background. I'm old enough to go through obligatory Russian in school. It made me dislike it for a long time and I'm not fluent by any means but I can still read it. I also grew up on Russian cartoons and fairytales and the mascot animals that many here found creepy (NBC cut them out but they are all over the web) mad me feel nostalgic. They are very Russian animation style (in 3D and giant animatronic version which makes it somewhat creepy). The eyes, the style, even the music they danced too - all very much Russian cartoons. I suppose it reminds me of childhood - I grew up watching those.

I mentioned before I love Polish team Olympic kit (if it only wasn't so extremely expensive) and the internet mostly agrees with me (I saw many Poland has the best outfits posts). I also liked Netherlands (black and orange looks nice), Canada and Italy. Unlike many I loved Russian's coats. I know what they are inspired by - the traditional Russian coats - and I always liked those. Well, at least the female version. I remember them from Russian fairytales illustrations, especially the portraits of the Snow Maiden, and this design used to be pretty popular in 60s and 70s and is one of the clothes from that time that I really like. But maybe it's because reminds me of the "kontusik" - a traditional Polish noble woman clothing item - that I've always found very pretty.

I'm not sure it was worth to spent so much money on this Olympic and it doesn't make any of the Russian problems with human rights, homosexuals persecution and free speech any better. In some ways it's a more insidious version of totalitarianism then at USSR times - it shows more friendly face and the access to goods and entertainment is much easier (if you can afford it) but it's in many ways similarly oppressive with channelling people's anger about how bad their lives are towards replacement targets. It's also comes with extremely close relations with the state church making Russia almost a confessional state (communism fought the religion - Putin uses it exert even more control over the masses). So the state basically condones the hunting and abuse of certain group of citizens as a convenient diversion from the real subject. And they let few well known abroad political prisoners out to divert western media attention for a while. After all they can go back to not caring after the Games are over. But then I probably shouldn't point fingers with what is happening in Poland right now (between Polish bishops fighting gender studies as a source of all evil - makes families fall apart and turns children gay and so on - and a politician publicly stating that since police could catch the perpetrator the rape didn't happen and the woman made it all up I can't really feel better about my own country).

I went to Aldi today. It felt so weird. Like I walked from American street into a PolishGerman discount store. There was a separate entrance door end exit door - only one way traffic. The goods were on shelves in boxes. The were bins with all the weird promotional stuff in the middle (heated mattress pads, frying pans, brownie makers etc.). Even the shopping carts you had to release by putting a coin in it (they don't do it in supermarkets here). It felt like I was magically transported into a Lidl. Even the lines to the cash registers were as long as in Lidl. And as in Lidl there was no bathroom so I didn't buy anything because one does not argue about priorities with physiology. I didn't know I could be made feel homesick about discount stores. The smallest things...
ellestra: (winged)
I had so many things happening recently I just didn't notice before that Anita Sarkeesian made another video in the Tropes vs Women in Video Games series. It touches my most hated trope - the one that treats being female as character trait. Like being a woman was a personality - this is especially visible in anything affected by Smurfette syndrome but this video made me realise Ms. Male Character is not free of this. And the stereotypes it creates hurt whether you hate bows (not even as a little girl) and pink (blue was my favourite colour since I can remember and that's 3 or 4 years old) or you love them (they are still not your defining traits and certainly not what makes one a woman).

ellestra: (big gun)
The third part of the Damsel in Distress segment of Tropes vs Women in Video Games is here:
ellestra: (tiger)
Second part of Anita Anita Sarkeesian's Damsel in Distress of Tropes vs Women in Video Games is out (and working now). Beware - a lot of disturbing images of violence against women characters.



As part in parentheses implied it already has been attacked. The comments and ratings are off so instead it was flagged and taken off by youtube for about an hour. And of course all the comments that cannot be posted underneath go around the web, especially on the gamer sites, generally proving all she says about the prevalent misogynistic attitudes getting reinforced. The comments are perfect examples of all Luke McKinney wrote in Cracked's 5 Gamer Comments That Give Straight White Guys a Bad Name. I have special hatred for the number 2 because, really, is it so hard to understand not everything is about you but you can find them all underneath his post too. Proving his point with every whine. Who needs to look for citations when they just come to you.
ellestra: (big gun)
Remember that big hate campaign when Anita Sarkeesian said she is planning to do series of videos about Tropes vs Women in Video Games? The one that ended up not only funded on Kickstarter but with over 25x what she asked for? So the first video in the series is out and she starts with everyone's favourite trope of "Damsel in Distress". And when I say favourite - I mean it literally not ironically as it as popular as it is omnipresent



In related news here is a story about a dad who hacked Donkey Kong for his daughter and switched Pauline and Mario's roles (now she saves him). I needed that after watching this so I hope it helps you too. I doesn't deal with the problem but gives one a little hope. It's not just feminist bloggers who have problem with this but little girls (and their dads) too.
ellestra: (sunrise)
I love watching the opening and closing ceremonies of Olympics. I like everything about them. I even like the parade of the nations. There is something very SF&F about them. Very utopian. This one also very dream like.

I wasn't the only one who had thoughts about Tolkien watching the first part of the opening ceremony. From Shire being overrun by forces of Saruman to forging of One Ring. The lack of commentary didn't help with refuting this misconception. I missed Polish commentators who always explain what is going on and provide context for what is shown. Everyone already complained about NBC handling it (and I'm sure there will be more after they stopped in the middle to show some unfunny show tomorrow) so I'm not going to repeat it - for me it wasn't as bad as those in US who decide it to make it all about themselves and felt tribute to NHS was a comment on American healthcare (I'm still in awe of the fact that the dancers were actual hospital staff). I wonder if there'd be ones offended by Imagine.

I thought both the opening and closing ceremonies were great exercises in national pride. Basically it was all the iconic British stuff - from history to technological invention and from children's literature to all the British music. Closing ceremony was basically one big party.

The rumours about Spice Girls singing at closing ceremony turned out to be true to but they were part of the whole British music showdown. But for me the music guest that was most anticipated were Pet Shop Boys. I knew this Olympiad couldn't be complete without West End Girls. Still the best part was the whole stadium (including the athletes) singing (and whistling) with Eric Idle Always Look on the Bright Side of Life. I'm left with wanting the soundtrack.

Of course the artistic parts are just icing on the cake and in a way watching sports events is a little like genre TV too. After all many of the people we watch competing are mutant. Genetic abnormalities on the far end of bell curve selected out of thousands for their special abilities. Something that makes Alphas almost plausible. And this Olympics surely delivered from Chinese perfection to American gymnastic team flawlessness. From Michel Phelps and Usain Bolt proving again that they are superhuman to Tomasz Majewski defending his shot put title - the first man to do this in over half a century.

But the for me the most bizarre moment was when I was watching my favourite Olympics event. My favourite Olympics event is Eventing (I know - not very popular) or more precisely the cross-country part of Eventing (dressage and jumping have their own events on much higher level). I was watching it and of course there was a lot of coverage of Zara Phillips and I realised she was competing in her grandma's garden and then given a medal by her mum. In a biggest international competition there is. Somehow that was very British too. After all how could it be British without the royal family thrown in with all the other symbols associated with Isles. Certainly the image of the Queen and James Bond jumping out of the helicopter will stay with me for a long time.

And speaking of popular Brits (and for those who found it tl;dr) here are some for every generation of both SF&F and Olympics fan. Jean-Luc Picard and Arya Stark can get you any ticket you want - look what they did for Simon Pegg

PS. This being my first Summer Olympics in US I learned that sports I always considered pretty normal part of athletics baffle Americans - racewalking, pentathlon (and other -athlons). I admit racewalking is a weird sport (only well known in Poland because of our multiple medallist Robert Korzeniowski) but I didn't expect pentathlon to be so weird to Americans since triathlon seems very popular as an amateur sport - at least here where I live. It also seemed that like it was the first time they ever heard about dressage (and other horse events). On the other hands athletics and anything horse related except racing doesn't seem popular here at all. I've never seen any of the atlethic events on TV. Not the World Championships, not even the US ones (I'm not even sure when or if they happen). Now, when I think about it I think Americans only show team sports (and tennis) and only few of them (volleyball doesn't show up on the news or on sport channels when I channel surf except for the Olympics).

Vidspam!

Jul. 22nd, 2012 11:53 pm
ellestra: (lightning)
The ceiling in the laundry room in my apartment complex fell on the floor. And I was to wash my clothes and bedding today. I was not prepared for any more catastrophes this week. I needed something to forget and relax. Internets obliged.

Frodo sits on the Iron Throne. Well, I suppose when you give to one temptation why not go all the way...


Duke Nukem reads 50 Shades of Gray. This is my first and only taste because even this makes it barely bearable.


Neo escapes the real menace but even he cannot escape the Bobs
ellestra: (charlie jade)
Syfy recently announced 28 new shows. Many of those are just reality TV which seems to make up most of the Syfy programming nowadays. However, some of the shows in development sound interesting. Rewind seems like something I've already seen. I don't like Harris writing nor that other show based on her books. Not to mention that besides Grave Sight there is supposed to be another ghost show with vision referenced in the title - Seeing Things. Not interested in that either. Untitled Booster Gold Project is too vague right now but seems interesting as it could be interesting story about human nature, but then, it's TV so probably not. The Family has similar problem - it can be good if done right but probablity of awfulness is also high. I am not sure if The Adjustment Bureau won't suffer from the lawsuit against the film. I'm most looking forward to the actual SF ones - High Moon and, most of all, Defender. It has what I like - space and enemies working together. It's like BSG at the end but without the twisted continuity.

There are also plans fore some movies (minis?) that seem like something a lot better then Syfy standard fare. From the three Darkfall seems most interesting. I have a soft spot for the subgenre of books telling the story of magic taking over and how the current civilisation would adapt. I would like to see it.

This however are all in development and may never see the light of day.

The only scripted show that is actually greenlit so far is Defiance and I already mentioned I'm very interested in this show. However this announcement mentions something I haven't noticed before. Defiance won't be just a TV shows but Defiance is the first ever, weekly scripted television and Massively Multiplayer Online game, converging to create a singular, interactive and epic story. It made me realise how surprising it is noone did that yet. In a world full of internet viral campaigns, tie-is, extra-content and, most importantly, fandom with its RPGs and fanfiction it seem like a obvious way to broaden the reach (and make more money).

It seems like we finally (and suddenly) started to reach that prophesied state were scripted and interactive meet and create new content. There's The Mongoliad project combining book and with mobile apps ecosystem and now TV and MMO games. It is an experiment and it can fail completely but I look forward to see how it's going to turn out.
ellestra: (charlie jade)
Tad William's future multiplayer virtual game series of books Otherland is getting turned into a game. And this is how we end up in matrioshka realities with no way of knowing what is real.





General spoilers for the books' setting )
ellestra: (Default)
I clicked on imdb page today and saw a link to a trailer for The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings console edition and it made me feel so weird. It's been over a quarter of century since the first short story was published. Just a competition story by a first time author. Who could imagine what the whole thing would grow to? Most didn't even imagine the kind of video games that we have now. But the guys who made this were fans and they when they grew up they went and spread the love. And here we are:
ellestra: (Default)
I just spent the past three days at the ocean. Of course, it was the three days of temperatures way below average and overcast skies. The ocean was warmer then air and everyone kept wishing they took warmer clothes with them. The only good thing was that it didn't actually rain as the early forecasts said it would. Of course the sun came out when we were on our way home. At least I managed to make a lot nice photos of birds and the parties were nice.

I was to tired to do anything productive so I just checked the emails and news and just look around the web and I realised that the Guild has been back for a while. There are already 8 episodes of season 5 (on their new fancy website). It's Game Convetion time and they really went crazy with all the cameos - Casting spoilers ) Anyway here's the first episode of season 5

ellestra: (anomander rake)
I spend so much time programming lately it became hard for me to write in normal English. Good that Polish has completely different rules so I can still write in one language. Especially since I'm going back to Poland in few days.

I was able to put this few sentence together without any Ifs and Whiles is because I went to reset my brain a little bit. I went and  saw Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. I wanted to see this before i go as I'm certain it'll be gone before I come back and John Scalzi explains that in his column. I can't say I disagree but I'm not sure if it's always the same audience. I always go to see movies after opening weekend because I don't like crowds and smell of popcorn. But this time there was quite a lot of people despite it being the middle of the week and we were mostly girls.

I enjoyed the movie a lot. I loved the visuals. I laughed almost all the time. Some jokes are brilliant (especially the whole vegan thing). And Kieran Culkin steals scenes and more.There were some problems in the way some character are treated that made me but I don't think that in a comedy based on video game aesthetic. There are some really unlikeable traits in both Scott and Ramona but in a way that's what makes them work together. I actually think they were good for each other. And that they deserved each other. And I had fun.
ellestra: (Default)
I don't think this is as awesome as "Do You Wanna Date My Avatar"

This time Zaboo convinces Codex to game with him. Bollywood style. He kicks Real Life's ass.
&lt;br/&gt;&lt;a href=&quot;http://www.bing.com/videos/browse/<wbr />originals/the-guild?videoId=8cb424dc-<wbr />cbdb-40be-90c5-8fb450462d2f&amp;fg=<wbr />sharenoembed&quot; _fcksavedurl=&quot;http://www.bing.com/<wbr />videos/browse/originals/the-guild?<wbr />videoId=8cb424dc-cbdb-40be-90c5-<wbr />8fb450462d2f&amp;fg=sharenoembed&quot; target=&quot;_new&quot;title=&quot;Season 4 - Music Video - &quot;Game On&quot;&quot;&gt;Video: Season 4 - Music Video - &quot;Game On&quot;&lt;/a&gt;
ellestra: (Default)
Fawkes and Codex - the love story

continued tomorrow with episode 3 of season 4 of The Guild.

Tor started the Malazan Books of the Fallen re-read. Right now is on the chapters 4-5 of Gardens of the Moon. The Crippled God should be out before they finish. Especially since Stonewielder is coming out this year.

Suvudu has new layout and an excerpt from China Miéville's new book Kraken.

May 2016

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