Philosophy, Psychology, Nerdisms, Writing from the Trenches

Items of Interest

The Twist that No One Asked For

You guys know there’s a Robin Hood movie coming out this year, right? Because there was a Robin Hood movie out almost 16 minutes ago and God help us if we go 15 minutes without rehashing the same old, same old.

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Hash me once, shame on you. Hash me twice…

Every time we get a new version of a beloved property, there’s some twist. Like, Sherlock, but modern! Sherlock, but steampunk! Sherlock, but Watson’s a girl! Sherlock, but Sherlock’s a girl…STOP! Bridge too far!

From what I can tell, this new Robin Hood is like Ocean’s 11, but with arrows, I guess? I mean, there’s a big casino scene in the trailer and extended training sequences and Jamie Foxx dodging arrows like it’s The Matrix and…I’m tired. I’m just going to make popcorn at home and take a nap.

Hey! You guys know there are 6 Joker movies in development? We’re rehashing fresh hash! How many times are we going to see Bruce Wayne’s parents die in movies that are supposed to be about tangential characters? Putting my bet in for at least 3.

The Mummy, but the mummy’s a girl!

Superman, but he’s dark and brooding!

King Arthur, but he’s in a biker gang!

Instead of whining about the nonsense, I thought I’d throw my hat into the ring. It’s time to make MY remakes, Hollywood.

Here are my pitches:

  1. Sherlock IS Watson

For this one, Sherlock is just a normal, crazy opioid addict. But, being on drugs has given him a dissociative identity disorder. When he’s on morphine, he’s the crime solving Sherlock we all know and love. When he’s sober, he’s the more sound-of-mind, but less brilliant Watson, a disgraced doctor who got addicted to opioids when he was a practicing physician. When he’s on meth, he’s Moriarty, setting up puzzles for his morphined self. He’s also the police commissioner, his own housekeeper, the lead violin virtuoso of the London Philharmonic, his own love interest, somehow, and Nexton Wingnut, that new character in Star Wars. We’ll figure that out later.

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The hat is a lie.

2. Robin Hood in a modern setting

I know what you’re thinking:

“Kate, if we put Robin Hood in a modern setting, isn’t that just Green Arrow?”

No, it’s not.

“Yes, put a lot of the vigilantism performed by Green Arrow has parallels to Robin Hood. And, the main thing about Robin Hood is that he wears a hood and shoots arrows. That’s Green Arrow.”

No, it’s not.

“But, the show Arrow has gone to great lengths to build up Arrow’s support team as a modern version of the Merry Men, so you wouldn’t be able to differentiate between Arrow and a modern retelling of Robin Hood.”

Yes, we would.

“Fine. How is is different?”

Ours will be called Robin Hood.

3. King Arthur

But, he’s a time traveler. The once and future king. Get it? Also, maybe he’s a woman. Or has dissociative identity disorder and is also Lancelot.

4. Beauty and the Beast

A CGI remake of the live action remake of the animated film where we try to fix the problems in the live action movie that arose when we tried to fix what we thought were problems in the animated movie, but weren’t so much plot holes as nitpicking people with blogs and YouTube channels (she said unironically).

5. Romeo and Juliet

In most of the movie adaptations for Romeo & Juliet, they sort of gloss over the part where Romeo is being all broody about Rosaline. Who’s Rosaline, you may ask, because she’s never in any of the movies.

Rosaline is the teenage chick that Romeo is desperately in love with at the beginning of the play. Yes. That’s right. Romeo is all love sick puppy because he’s got the hots for Roz, but she doesn’t love him back. He is a horny teenager.

My belief is that Romeo & Juliet is not just the first (recorded?) melodramatic young adult romance, it is also the first (recorded?) farce of a melodramatic young adult romance. It’s not just the first Twilight, it’s the first Twilight parody.

Do a modern language retelling of Romeo & Juliet, but have Mercutio be much more obvious with his commentary about how dumb it is for Romeo to think he’s going to marry the first girl he meets in high school, especially after he just got over his summer camp romance.

Wait, did I just write Grease? Is Grease secretly Romeo & Juliet?

No.

Yes.

No.

Maybe?

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What’s happening on dating apps and why don’t I understand it

Anyone who is friends with me on Facebook knows I make a lot of jokes about dating apps and the things I encounter there. I am single. Were I to get into a relationship that ended with me deactivating my dating app subscriptions, I would have significantly less comedic material for social media.

That being said, here are some trends on dating apps that I would like someone to explain to me. I have added my own explanations from deep within my own mind, but feel free to comment with your own interpretation.

1. The tiger picture

Guys like to take picture with tigers. They probably think it makes them look dangerous.

My assumption: you are at some zoo event where they let you have a close encounter.

Better option: Take a picture of yourself holding a Starbucks cup without the sleeve. Caution: contents may be hot? I don’t care. I like to live on the edge.3a5

2. The mirror shot

These poor souls don’t have any friends who can hold their cameras for them to take a picture. But, there are so many mirror shots on dating apps, I’m starting to think it’s something else entirely.

My assumption: Mirror seeks like-minded individual to reflect with. Why are so many mirrors lonely? What do they see in themselves?

Better option: Clean your mirror and bathroom before you take a picture of it. Just saying…

3. All your pictures are of you outdoors

My assumption:  I assume you’re homeless.

Better option: Take a few pictures inside. Pretend you have a couch that you sit on every once in awhile. I’m an indoor cat. We’re not going to have a good time if all you want to do is hike. Prove your human and have a roof over your head.

4. Same shirt

My assumption: you only have one shirt

Better option: have more than one shirt

5. Same hat

My assumption: you only have one hat or you are bald

Better option: prove you have more than one hat or hair

6. Headless torso looking for love

There’s this tendency (and usually it’s a mirror picture) to hold the phone in front of your face while you take a picture in the mirror, thus making the face invisible.

My assumption: you have no face. You’re just a headless torso looking for love. And, unless you’re trying to make a matching in Sleepy Hollow, it’s a little weird.

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Let’s goooo for coffeeeeee…but only pumpkin spice.

Better option: have some pictures with your face in them

And, last, but not least:

7. The Entrepreneur

Most dating apps want you to list your job. Sometimes, especially in Hollywood, you can’t say what you do because you signed a non-disclosure or your an agent who will only get unsolicited material if you tell people that on any kind of social platform.

Then, there’s the guy that puts entrepreneur.

My assumption: You are unemployed.

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Better option: Look. For five years, I worked for a COMPANY that helped entrepreneurs and small businesses. After 5 years, I realized that, while entrepreneur might be a state of mind, it’s not a job. If you are a founder of a company, that’s a job. If you’re a CEO, CFO, COO of a company you helped create, that’s a job. Entrepreneur…you aren’t allowed to get away with that. So, dig deep in your brain and come up with something that is an actual occupation or just leave that part blank.

Life is hard. Dating is difficult. We are all just groping in the void trying to make some kind of connection in a world that cares nothing for our happiness.

Don’t make it harder on yourself.

But, I guess if being a headless torso looking for love works for you, don’t fix what ain’t broke.


Hey Now, You’re Two Princes. Just go ahead now. Go play.

Awhile ago, I posted on Facebook a joke that wasn’t a joke.

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Like, raindrops on roses…or whiskers on kittens?

It says hipsters. But, it almost feels like it should say “millennials.” Let’s all sit here and stew in whether or not those are two different things…

Before I spin off into a discussion about why you shouldn’t trust anything a hipster says about existential philosophers, let’s change course.

Last weekend, I…DID..A…THING!

That’s right, people. I actually left the house. It’s sort of a big deal. I don’t like going places. I prefer staying with my cats. I have hint of agoraphobia that manifests itself as a constant worry of whether or not I locked the door when I left. I’d rather just not leave the house.

But, I did.

I went to a free concert. (Fill in your own tangent about how many free things there are to do in LA)

The concert was part of the 2018 Pershing Square Summer Concert Series. Other acts over the course of the summer included The Bangles, Pat Benatar, and the concert I went to: Spin Doctors and Smash Mouth.

I didn’t consider myself a big fan of either of those bands. I’m one of those on the outskirts yelling, “Play the one song we all know!” because that’s the one that got them on the radio. And, of course, we all know the Smash Mouth song from Shrek (which is really the Smash Mouth song from Mystery Men, but I digress). I rolled into the venue, had my one overpriced Blue Moon, sat on one of the park’s retaining walls, and grooved on late 90’s/early 00’s rock surrounded by downtown LA skyscrapers while planes drifted overhead on their way to the airport.

I took one 10 second video.

When I sent that video to a sibling, he told me that people only pay to see Smash Mouth concerts sarcastically.

First, is he right?

I have no way to prove this. Maybe he’s just being sarcastic about people being sarcastic? The only problem is that it sounds reasonable. There’s always a chance that he’s wrong.

Second, maybe he is right?

Back in the early ’10s, there was this wave of hipsters liking things “ironically.” They would say they were wearing a Chip and Dale t-shirt ironically. They went to screenings of Back to the Future ironically. They only liked certain bands ironically.
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Before you think I’m making this up, I’m at least 95% sure I’ve heard someone say this in real life. But, I live in Hollywood, so that’s the sort of person I overhear.

Third, if he is right, why? Why don’t hipsters simply like what they like?

I loved Chip and Dale Rescue Rangers. Want me to sing the song for you? I’ll do it.

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Some times some crimes go slippin’ through the cracks

I love Back to the Future.

And, I didn’t realize when I decided to go to the concert, Smash Mouth was sort of KoRn Lite when I was younger. I liked KoRn, but they had that parental advisory barrier-to-entry sticker on it. Smash Mouth was a little safer, a bit more accessible, but not as sticky-sweet pop as Britney Spears and Nsync. I knew more of their songs than I thought I did. And, they leaned into their hits with the expectation of audience participation.

I think there is a fear that, if we like something, we will be criticized for enjoying it. To protect ourselves from that criticism, we say we like something, gauge the reaction, and, if someone else doesn’t respond the way we want, we immediately pull it back.

That’s dumb.

I judge you for judging me judging you based on something you have judged for yourself.

It says more about a person if they can only enjoy something because other people like it, too.

Be unapologetic. Like what you like. Don’t waste time liking something because people tell you that you should.

If that were the case, I would consider Batman Begins a good movie and would acknowledge that Ed Sheeran is famous.

I refuse.

What do you unapologetically like? What have you been mocked for liking? Also, is Nickelback bad or do I just think they’re bad because everyone says they are?


How Spoiler Alert Culture is Ruining Everything

Spoiler alert, I guess? I mean, I might be spoiling things in this post, but the whole point of this post is to explain why saying spoiler alert is stupid, so keep reading at your own…risk?

I am a nerd. Obviously. I am also a huge fan of SHIELD and Agent Carter. There is a certain website, that will remain nameless, that has been reviewing this season of Agent Carter. Side bar: this season of Agent Carter has been fun and amazing. If you haven’t been watching, you should.

The reviews, however, have been troublesome. Peggy Carter will eventually be one of the founders of SHIELD. We know that she is still alive by the time Captain America: Winter Soldier rolls around. We also know that Hydra eventually infiltrates SHIELD. The reviews seem to insinuate that knowing all these things makes Agent Carter less interesting to watch because we know that Peggy Carter will fail in trying to defeat Hydra.

Um…what?

Knowing where the Marvel universe is heading does not diminish the enjoyment I get from the show. Hayley Atwell and James D’Arcy have wonderful chemistry. The late ’40s early ’50s vibe is crushing it. I don’t really care about what will happen in the future; I still enjoy the hell out of what Peggy is doing in this season.

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You know, kids, eventually, television will be in color. Gah, spoiler alert, Dad.

This brings me to my point.

We don’t watch things or read things or play games just to see how it ends. If that was the only reason we used any form of entertainment, every book would be one page, every movie, one minute. You don’t get on a roller coaster for the one drop. You want to ride the ride.

Have you read Harry Potter more the once? How many times have you watched Jurassic Park? How many times have you walked through the world of Skyrim?

I started watching Star Trek: The Next Generation. Spoil away. The show’s been out for twenty years. It’s my fault that I haven’t ever seen it before. I know the Borg are coming. The Cardassisans. The onset of Deep Space Nine. But, to me, those “spoilers” are small islands on a vast unexplored ocean.

That episode where Picard fights tooth and nail for Data’s humanity. Remember that one? So good, right? It’s like a fresh tropical paradise nestled in a stormy sea of inexplicable holodeck episodes. It’s not necessarily one that people talk about. It’s not one that I had spoiled. But, it’s still important on my journey. And, the earnestness of Captain Picard is not something that can be spoiled. The way LeVar Burton plays Laforge isn’t something you can describe to me.

In some ways, knowing a little about TNG is making it MORE enjoyable. The first time Picard said, “Shut up, Wesley,” I was delighted. There are more of those to come, punk. Just you wait.

He still hasn’t said, “Tea, Earl Grey, hot.” But you better believe I’m ready for it. And I will be all over the Internet when he does say it.

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I get fat and grow a beard. I basically turn into space Santa.

Here’s what I leave you with:

Spoilers are bullshit. Who cares? Stop acting like knowing the ending changes the journey. Just relax and enjoy the ride. And, if you still don’t like it, you can always get off at the nearest exit.

 


Adventures in Cosplay

It all started with a text.

Joe: Hey, that foam you need to make armor. Can that be any color?

Me: Yeah. You just spray paint over it.

Joe: I have something for you to see.

Someone in our apartment complex had used EVA foam pieces to try to sound proof their walls (they were a music student) and they were throwing out all of their pieces. All of them. I ended up around 30 pieces of foam. If you’re wondering what that is, it’s this stuff.

EVA Foam

You may recognize me from children’s playrooms.

I had been doing some research about armor material for cosplay. I had bought some of this and built a Loki helmet over the course of a weekend. Now, here I was, with a surplus of foam. What to build?

Having fallen in love with the movie Frozen, I decided to make a warrior Elsa costume. Not just Elsa in armor, but Elsa in armor that she forged out of ice herself. It all started with a chestplate design, a slab of ice that she would conjure up.

Chestplate

I carved it out of the foam, experimented with some cutting techniques and there it was. Just as I envisioned. More or less.

It wasn’t until three months later that it got its coat of paint.

And started to look bad ass.

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With that as the center piece, I went to work on the other pieces. Shin guards were supposed to be ice spikes.

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Before

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After

The vambraces followed suit with some snowy accessorizing.

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The collar and shoulderpads were equally snowy.image1What kind of weapon would Elsa wield? A sword? Spiky and destructive.

Of course not. She needs something that makes more logical sense. A hammer. Freeze her enemies, then smash them to pieces.

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The (near) final product.

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One does not simply let it go.

There you have it. Ice warrior Elsa will be debuting at WonderCon in Anaheim in April. See you there.

 

 

 


The Power of a Moment

ILightning Bottle‘ve been mocked and scoffed at for my movie collection in the past (and not just because they are on my shelf in alphabetical order.)

But, lately, whenever anyone gives me grief about the movies I’ve deemed good enough to own, I have a response:

There’s a moment.

When we think of our favorite movies, do we think about how great the movie was, how amazing the cast performed, how wonderful the soundtrack is?

Well, yes. Those are things you take into consideration.

But, usually, you have a moment. You have that one scene in the film where you were all in. It’s not a forgotten art. The Moment is a gut-punch. It’s the emotional moment that grabs you by the throat and pulls you in. When you see the Moment, you know there’s so much more, something deeper there. Something more to be mined.

And, there can only be a Moment. You can’t make a whole movie of Moments. Without what surrounds it, a Moment is nothing. The rest of the movie can be awful, as long as it has that one, great Moment to raise it above everything else.

The Moment is more prevalent in dramas, but it also comes in other movies. It doesn’t matter how many fight scenes, how great the CGI, without a Moment, it’s just another movie.

I’m a Moment Hunter. And, it’s not easy. Not every movie has one. You have to dig through a lot of garbage to find any treasure. As a writer, I always wonder if I can capture a Moment. Will I recognize it when it floats through my brain? Will it mean as much to me as it would to a reader or a viewer?

What’s your favorite Moment? Is there a movie you love just for its Moment?