Why I Envy Simon Tam’s Patience Jul16

Why I Envy Simon Tam’s Patience...

When it comes to my younger sister, patience is not my strong point. She and I are the exact opposite in every possible way: I’m tall, she’s short; I’m blonde, she’s brunette; I love science fiction, she loves chick flicks; I’m introverted, she’s extroverted. I haven’t been close to her since we were little and we’ve gotten into big fights because of our differences. It’s been hard for us to find common ground. I’ve always admired strong sibling relationships in fiction, the kind where the characters have a lot in common and will do anything for each other: Al and Ed from Fullmetal Alchemist, Ruby and Yang from RWBY, Fili and Kili from The Hobbit. But perhaps the relationship I admire most because of their closeness is River and Simon Tam’s from Firefly. Simon comes to accept all the parts of River and learns to live with who she is now. Even though River is a child prodigy and can probably school Simon at nearly everything, the flashbacks to their childhood suggest that Simon admires and loves his younger sister. He could easily have let jealousy get in the way of their closeness, but he doesn’t. Simon is, in fact, the one who notices something is wrong in the letters she writes home from the prestigious academy for gifted children she attends; he realizes she’s using phrases that don’t sound like her and talking in codes. When his parents don’t believe him, Simon risks everything to free his sister from her captors, but by the time he reaches her, she’d taken severe brain damage from the experiments she’d endured, leaving her unstable. “That young man’s very brave,” says Shepherd Book. “Gave up everything to free his sister from that place. Go from being a...

7 Best Sibling Conversations from Geek Culture Jul13

7 Best Sibling Conversations from Geek Culture...

From Luke and Leia to Sansa and Arya, there are some truly captivating sibling relationships in geek culture. Since the family dynamics are different with each of them, I enjoy watching those contrasts play out in banter or discussion with each other. These are some of my favourite conversations between siblings from video games and TV. 1. Firefly Simon: Did you do anything today? River: Played with Kaylee. The sun came out, and I walked on my feet and heard with my ears. I hate the bits, the bits that stay down and I work, I f-function like I’m a girl. I hate it because I know it’ll go away! The sun grows dark and chaos has come again. It’s… fluids. What am I? Simon: You’re still my beautiful sister. River: I threw up in your bed. Simon: Yep, still my sister. 2. Star Wars: The Last Jedi Leia: I know what you’re gonna say… I changed my hair. Luke: It’s nice that way. 3. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows [After drinking polyjuice potion to look like Harry] “Fred and George turned to each other and said together, ‘Wow, we’re identical!’ ‘I dunno though, I think I’m still better looking,’ said Fred, examining his reflection in the kettle.” 4. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood Elysia Hughes: [Pointing at Alphonse] Big brother… [pointing at Edward] little brother. Edward: Nice to meet you… My name is Edward Elric… this is my younger brother Alphonse Elric… get that? Youn-ger brot-her…. Elysia: But younger means little. You’re little. Edward: WHERE DO YOU GET OFF CALLING ME LITTLE?! YOU LOOKED IN A MIRROR LATELY?! I’M TALLER THAN YOU ARE! Alphonse: Just let it go, Ed. These people are being nice to let us stay here. 5. Undertale Papyrus’ Note: SANS! PLEASE PICK UP YOUR SOCK! Sans’ Note:...

Totoro Recommends Leaving the Beaten Path Jul11

Totoro Recommends Leaving the Beaten Path...

I read once that most of our earliest childhood memories are emotional and sometimes traumatic. That’s certainly the case for me. My first memory is of crying uncontrollably, hopelessly lost as I had meandered out of my yard and to a place I didn’t recognize. Thankfully, my mother quickly ushered me across the street and back home. It didn’t take long for her to find and return me—I had toddled the whole of 50 meters from my house. For a skittish 3-year-old, that experience was like the apocalypse and my mom was the knightly hero, rescuing me from danger and the unknown. In My Neighbour Totoro, the classic Studio Ghibli anime, a similar event occurs. Four-year-old Mei Kusakabe moves with her sister and father to the countryside while their mother stays in the city to receive treatment for an illness. Disappointed by news that her mom won’t be able to visit after all, Mei gets into an argument with her 11-year-old sister, Satsuki, and decides to go visit her mom on her own. On the way, she gets lost. As darkness begins to overtake the rice paddies and farmland that surrounds her, Satsuki searches for her sister and finds Mei’s shoe among the watery fields. Panic begins to set in. Even in the pain of family issues, job transitions, and all the other things that can make life hard, it’s only when I get lost that I can grow as an explorer. This story has a happy ending, though. The mystical beast, Totoro, summons Catbus, which takes Satsuki to Mei, reuniting the sisters in a moment of euphoria. Just as when I wandered off all those years ago, perhaps the danger in being lost was overstated, but the jubilation in being found was real....

Words of Encouragement for You Incredible Parents...

When Elastigirl says she has to “save the family by leaving it,” her words hit me right in the feels—my heart broke every time I left my kids to go to work when they were small. Of course, that was mostly because they would stand at the window screaming and crying. I later found out that as soon as I was out of sight, they would go about their business like I never existed. Little monsters. But, that’s what kids do. Elastigirl knew that in order to make a path for herself, her husband, her children, and all supers to have the option of a super future, she needed to be away from her kids for a time. And that’s where Mr. Incredible comes in. Mr. Incredible and the Stay-At-Home Parent When my family and I were discussing Incredibles 2 after seeing it in theaters recently, my boys felt that it was the “Elastigirl Movie” because she did all the heroic stuff. They saw Mr. Incredible as having a very minor role in the whole thing. I couldn’t believe it. Yes, Elastigirl was shown in superhero garb fighting bad guys more than the rest of the family, but to me, what Mr. Incredible did was far more heroic. Parenting is heroic, even if our children don’t see it that way. My kids don’t have an appreciation for the challenge that being a stay-at-home parent brings. And I know why—they think they’re an absolute dream to be with. Of course, I think they’re right; there’s nowhere I’d rather be than hanging out with them (most of the time). But, they only remember the nice times from the children’s perspective. They have no sense of parental angst, the terror of not knowing what you’re doing—most of...

Siblings We Love from Geek Culture Jul06

Siblings We Love from Geek Culture...

We’re talking a lot about siblings this month in Area of Effect! Here are some of our readers’ and writers’ favourites from geek culture—and most of these relationships are defined by a willingness to support each other and grow, allowing the relationship to change and strengthen as the individuals change. Others, of course, end with one killing the other. 1. River and Simon Tam, Firefly Simon gives up everything for River because of his unconditional love for her. And River, in turn, trusts Simon completely even when nothing else makes sense to her. —Marilyn Rudge 2. The Weasleys, Harry Potter Especially Fred and George. You can just tell they’re a close family, even though Percy leaves for a while (they welcome him back). —Kyla Neufeld 3. Edward and Alphonse Elric, Fullmetal Alchemist Theirs is the kind of relationship I wish I had with my siblings. The age gap and distance between us has prevented the kind of closeness that Ed and Al enjoy. Though the presumptions that lead to conflict in the show are a little too familiar. —Naomi Strain 4. Rodney McKay and Jean Miller, Stargate Atlantis They are so different, but still connected. It’s nice to see someone living their own civilian life, plus the actors are brother and sister so their chemistry is really specific. —Hannah Foulger 5. T’Challa and Shuri, Black Panther They compliment each other so well and encourage each other’s strengths instead of being jealous of each other. Also you can just tell they’re close; they joke a lot, and they really love each other. Reminds me of me and my older brothers. —Caitlin Eha 6. Ruby and Yang, RWBY I love how much Ruby looks up to her sister at first, and how that dynamic shifts as Yang faces the loss...

Donna Noble and Our Irreplaceable Roles in the Universe Jul04

Donna Noble and Our Irreplaceable Roles in the Universe...

If there’s any Doctor Who companion who’s not shy about reminding humans and aliens alike of her value, it’s Donna Noble. Even in front of the renowned Shadow Proclamation, she states, “I’m a human being. Maybe not the stuff of legend, but every bit as important as Time Lords, thank you.” The paradox of her saying that is, in spite of all her bold statements and sass, Donna doesn’t actually believe her own words. She repeatedly mentions that she’s only “a temp from Chiswick,” as if this is the sum total of her identity. It isn’t until the Season Four finale, “Journey’s End,” that the Doctor realizes how much Donna undervalues herself. The half-human, half-Time Lord version of the Doctor studies Donna in sudden understanding and says, “All that attitude, all that lip, ’cause all this time, you think you’re not worth it… Shouting at the world ’cause no one’s listening.” Like many people, Donna’s life hasn’t gone the way she hoped. She works as a temp instead of having a steady job. She lives with her mother. She discovers that the man who claimed to love her is only using her. Is it any wonder that she feels lost and unimportant? Whether we shout at the world like Donna or stay silent and hope we’re noticed, we all want our lives to matter. Donna’s deepest fear is that, if she doesn’t speak up, she’ll be ignored entirely. By making people acknowledge her, Donna hopes that they’ll believe she’s important and then, maybe, she can believe it too. She’s spent so much time thinking her life is insignificant that she completely misses how valuable she is. Thankfully, the Doctor doesn’t. During her travels with the Doctor, Donna frequently proves to be the deciding factor...

10 Geeky Television Easter Eggs You May Have Missed Jun29

10 Geeky Television Easter Eggs You May Have Missed...

I love it when a show I enjoy references another show I love, or does something clever and self-aware. My favourite might be #3, because I was the most surprised and delighted by it (plus, I only watched Castle because Nathan Fillion). But here are some references you may have missed. 1. Firefly A figure of Han Solo in carbonite shows up in the background of various scenes on the Serenity. Just because. 2. Andromeda Kevin Sorbo pulls out a blonde wig and sword from his locker in Andromeda, looks at it for a second, then puts it back. 3. Castle Nathan Fillion’s character, Richard Castle, dresses us up as a “space cowboy” in Castle. 4. Doctor Who When the tenth Doctor has a gas mask on, he references the first season’s “Empty Child” episode by saying, “Are you my mummy?” As if we needed reminders of the horrors in that episode. 5. Community When “Beetlejuice” is said for the third time ever in Community, he shows up in the background. 6. Futurama Though he’s not introduced until much later, Nibbler’s shadow can be seen in “Space Pilot 3000,” and is later revealed to be responsible for Fry falling into the cryogenic chamber. 7. Chuck In “Chuck vs. The Third Dimension,” the letters “IG-88” is the name of a grenade, a reference to an bounty hunter droid in Star Wars. This is not the only Star Wars reference in Chuck, of course. 8. The Flash A character on The Flash who has ice powers is named Elsa. When people are already going to be making the connection, you might as well just roll with it. 9. Fringe Each episode included a subtle clue for the next episode, such as an the pilot, where an image of a pen and rose in a newspaper...

MCU Watchalong – Ant-Man...

Time gets a little wonky down at the quantum realm, but we always know when it’s time for another Marvel Cinematic Universe watchalong! Join Jason, Dustin and friend of Geekdom House, Seth Freeman, as they consider a life of tiny, tiny crime with Ant-Man! Download and subscribe to Infinity +1 on iTunes, Stitcher and Google Play Music now! RSS Feed: http://feeds.feedburner.com/geekdomhouse/infinitypodcast Jason’s Twitter: @VorpalJason Dustin’s Twitter: @PDschellenberg Geekdom House on Twitter: @GeekdomHouse Geekdom House on Twitch: OKLetsPlay Buy original Geekdom House merchandise from...

Infinity +1 Update!

Dear listeners, You may have noticed Infinity +1 episodes haven’t been posted lately, and I apologize that we haven’t communicated about it sooner. With our podcast producer retiring from his stellar work as our host several months ago, Kyle Rudge and I managed to keep up with posting episodes for a short time but began to get overwhelmed because of our other duties at Geekdom House. But fear not! Infinity +1 will return this fall with a new host and a new format. We’re excited to keep the segments that you love and add some new things too! We just need some time to train up a new host and put together the show you deserve. Thank you for your love and support of Infinity +1. We’ve received messages from several of you about how valuable you find it and how much you love listening to it, and I always looked forward to your responses to the Question of the Week because hearing your thoughts means a lot! In the interim, there are some things you can do to help Geekdom House grow and Infinity +1 come back at ONE MILLION PERCENT: 1. Post on our Facebook page! Let us know how you’re doing, what you’re watching/reading/playing, or continue interacting with our posts. We love hearing from you. 2. Read Area of Effect articles! Keep visiting geekdomhouse.com for our latest discussions on sci-fi, fantasy, anime, and video games. 3. Sign up for our newsletters! Kyle and I both send out email updates once a month about what we do at Geekdom House. Allison’s Updates: “From the Desk of the Art Director” includes news on the arts side of Geekdom House—Area of Effect, Incantatem, Infinity +1, visual arts, and personal updates from Allison. Kyle’s Updates:...

A Symptom, Not a Disease: Gaming Addiction and Isolation...

With the World Health Organization (WHO) officially classifying “gaming disorder” as an addiction, parents across the nation are breathing sighs of relief that their concerns are validated; they may have access to more specialized services now to get help for their gamer children; they may feel they have even more reason to ban video games from their children’s lives. In this eleventh revision of the WHO’s International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11), gaming disorder is defined as: “1) impaired control over gaming (e.g. onset, frequency, intensity, duration, termination, context); 2) increasing priority given to gaming to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other life interests and daily activities; and 3) continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences.” What the WHO doesn’t clarify, unfortunately, is that many of these signs can very easily be misread as coming from gaming when the source is actually something else, such as bullying, parental neglect, depression, social isolation, or anxiety. Growing up, I was labeled a “video game addict” because I would come home from school, do my homework, then hide in the basement playing as many hours of Halo and Gears of War as I could squeeze in. My parents would often yell at me and take the games away, considering me lazy or entitled. What they didn’t know was that I was being bullied and abused at school, and depressed to the point of considering suicide. My parents targeted the only thing they could see, my gaming habit, and didn’t go deeper. I wasn’t articulate enough and didn’t feel safe enough to tell them about how awful life at school was. I had bad grades, didn’t want to be at school, and exhibited every sign the WHO names as symptoms of gaming disorder. What I needed, however, wasn’t fewer games, but a life free from the social anxiety I had been experiencing. The games were just a symptom. This is the best way to love a nerd—to show interest in the things they love. After graduating, I moved out and my gaming habits changed overnight. Getting out of high school and leaving abuse behind, dating a wonderful person, gaining a spiritual mentor, and being independent all changed my context. Without any intervention, all the signifiers of a gaming addiction went away. I have always enjoyed games and will always enjoy games; I still play them for hours on end, just like someone else might golf, knit, garden, or play guitar for hours. As opposed to these other hobbies, video games are often considered inherently worthless, which is why they’re stigmatized. But I was never addicted; I was alone, afraid and hurting. The WHO identifying gaming disorder as a mental health issue could, with the correct mindset, help those in need find help, and give those who are not addicted more breathing room. However, the reporting on this issue continues a trend of shaming, judgement, and harassment towards the gaming community, which is a strong basis for the addiction itself. While gaming addiction is a real thing that has serious consequences, misdiagnosing it when there is an underlying cause is dangerous. When one of the reasons we retreat into exploring digital worlds to the point of shunning other people is feeling isolated, the solution is be very simple: connection. Most parents look at their children’s passion for video games and think that limiting time on them, forbidding their children to play them, or throwing the games in the trash are good solutions for solving what they see as an addictive habit. However, more often than not, this drives gamers to extremes to seek out the hobby and escalates conflict in the home. When parents refuse to consider their children are investing so much time in their hobby because they have difficult lives, not because games are making their lives difficult, gamers can feel misunderstood and even more isolated than...

The Ultimate Avengers’ Playlist Jun22

The Ultimate Avengers’ Playlist...

The Guardians of the Galaxy have their ’70s tunes, but barring the occasional Black Sabbath or Led Zeppelin song, the Avengers are a bit short on theme music. There may not be much time for aesthetics while Thanos threatens the galaxy, but each hero on the team deserves a signature song as unique as they are. Here are some potential theme songs worthy of Earth’s mightiest heroes: 1. Captain America: “Hero,” Kutless We first saw the hero in Steve Rogers when he was the little guy, too weak to win a fight but too brave to run from one. During those rough years when Steve was regularly beat up and bullied, I think he would have found encouragement in this song. 2. Iron Man: “Mr. Roboto,” Styx Tony Stark is known for his bravado, but he also deals with a plethora of fears and insecurities that he doesn’t want anyone to see. His Iron Man suits are a way for him to help other people, but also for him to hide from his own fears, and this song captures that dichotomy. 3. Hulk: “Monster,” Skillet Especially during his early days as an Avenger, Bruce Banner fears his Hulk persona and struggles to keep “the other guy” contained. Because he self-labels himself a monster, I think Bruce would identify with the struggle expressed in this song. 4. Thor: “Thunder,” Imagine Dragons Self-described as a “hotheaded fool,” Thor has always been one to charge into a fight and consider a plan afterwards. This song perfectly suits his power and reckless nature, even mentioning his “quick fuse” that has gotten his enemies in trouble on countless occasions. 5. Black Widow: “Fight Song,” Rachel Platten Natasha Romanoff’s bloody and abusive past can rival the hardships of any of...

Suwa’s Guide to Managing Unrequited Love Jun20

Suwa’s Guide to Managing Unrequited Love...

Unrequited love hurt a lot worse than getting my wisdom teeth removed. When I was a teenager, I experienced unrequited love firsthand. I took classes with this boy I liked, but he was interested in someone else. To him, I was nothing more than a friend—a “little sister” he could hang out with. I watched him grow closer to the girl he liked, wondering how much it would bother me if they started dating. There was little I fantasized of more than his noticing me, especially when I was a part of his life for so long (much longer than the other girl was). It’s strange to me, then, that a twenty-six-year-old man, married to his high school sweetheart and a proud parent, would have regrets about his relationship. But Suwa, from the anime Orange, has a big regret. When he was in high school, one of his classmates, Kakeru, was in love with Suwa’s wife-to-be, Naho; Naho returned Kakeru’s feelings at the time, but Suwa pretended not to notice, choosing instead to tell her how he felt about her on New Years’ Eve after she was vulnerable from a falling out with Kakeru. Then, after Kakeru committed suicide, Suwa proposed to Naho, who accepted the proposal because she had begun to love Suwa for the support he showed her after Kakeru’s death. My unrequited feelings are a burden I have carried for many years. Suwa regretted, not the relationship with Naho, but ignoring the love Naho and Kakeru shared in favour of his own feelings. In order to erase his selfishness, adult Suwa sends a letter back in time to his high school self in order to save Kakeru and pair him with Naho. In this alternate timeline, Suwa purposes to stay quiet...

Arrietty and Keeping Our Failures a Secret Jun18

Arrietty and Keeping Our Failures a Secret...

Children’s movies often tout the dangers of secrets. Many a story surrounds a protagonist keeping a secret from friends, guardians, or other adults with lie after lie throughout almost the entirety of the films. George lies to his parents about Stuart leaving on a dangerous journey in Stuart Little 2; Mr. Incredible lies to his wife so he can moonlight hero work in The Incredibles; Miguel lies to his deceased family so he can break his curse in Coco. In the end, after a barrage of damage dealt to relationships or the characters themselves, the secret always comes out. On the other hand, The Secret World of Arrietty, a Japanese animated film, also has a plot surrounding a secret; but instead of lying, right away this little person takes responsibility for her actions. One of the biggest lies I’ve used repeatedly is two words: “I’m fine.” This film is Hayao Miyazaki’s interpretation of The Borrowers by Mary Norton. Fourteen-year-old Arrietty is a girl only a few inches tall, called a borrower, who lives with her mother and father under the floorboards of a house in Japan. While thoughtlessly running in the garden one day, she’s seen by a “human bean,” but she hides this secret from her parents. Their presence being known jeopardizes the safety of her family. As opposed to dragging this secret out for the rest of the film, not far into the story, Arrietty admits to Papa and Mama that she was seen while being careless. Arrietty could have lied to make it easier on herself. Taking responsibility for a secret that’s hurt others can be a humbling process because admitting you’re wrong takes guts. If I admit I’ve done something wrong, then there are all these horrible feelings of guilt...

10 Best-Kept Character Secrets in Geek Culture Jun15

10 Best-Kept Character Secrets in Geek Culture

I love the reveal of a good character secret—especially those that come out of the blue and involve something integral to that character’s identity. Whether a character was innocent when thought of as guilty, a woman when it was assumed a man, or has a backstory that no one knows about, here are my ten favourite reveals from geek culture. 1. Sirius Black — Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban This is my favourite book from the Harry Potter series, and I remember being completely surprised by the twist ending when I read it for the first time. This murderer, Sirius Black, had been set up as Harry’s worst enemy and then turned out to be a loyal and loving character. Harry realizing he wouldn’t have to live at the Dursleys anymore, followed by Wormtail’s escape, is a heart-wrenching moment that I felt to my core. 2. Samus Aran — Metroid Many gamers were totally floored by the reveal that Samus Aran is female that the end of the original Metroid game (released in 1986). During a time where female characters were often the princesses waiting in castles for rescue, this was a stereotype-blowing move, one that wasn’t even planned at the beginning. Partway through development, one of the developers asked, “Hey, wouldn’t that be kind of cool if it turned out that this person inside the suit was a woman?” And the rest is gaming history. 3. Aragorn – The Lord of the Rings It might be common knowledge now, but Strider’s identity as the king of Gondor is a neat twist in Tolkien’s masterpiece. He may have paved the way for other fantasy characters struggling with their identity as royalty, and his struggle with following in his ancestor’s footsteps, afraid he’ll make the same mistakes, is a real issue many can relate to. 4. Luke & Leia – Star Wars Oh, that awkward kiss. George was certainly determined to keep this one a secret till the last possible moment. I always liked the fact that, though Leia discovers she’s a Skywalker and is Force-sensitive, she doesn’t drop everything to become a Jedi, but continues in her role as leader and diplomat—the things she’s actually passionate about. And thankfully her “romance” with Luke didn’t go past a kiss, which means we didn’t have an angsty “I love you, but you’re my sister” side plot to sit through. 5. Shou Tucker – Fullmetal Alchemist This one should be categorized as “worst-kept secret,” as in the most horrendous, I-want-to-puke-at-how-horrible-you-really-are-when-I-thought-you-were-nice kind of secret. Possibly the most hated person in anime history, the fact that Tucker doesn’t think he’s done anything wrong is what gets me—”I don’t see what you’re so upset about,” he says to Ed. “This is how we progress. Human experimentation is a necessary step.” 6. Merlin – Merlin This whole show revolves around Merlin’s secret identity as a magic user, which creates so many fun scenes and jokes. Merlin constantly has to humble himself and pretend to be stupid and powerless, even though he is always the hero who saves the day. His secret also adds a lot of heartache for Merlin, who believes Arthur will hate him if he discovers the truth. 7. Light – Death Note Another show that revolves around a secret identity, Death Note gives us the perspective of a villain who thinks he’s right. The cat-and-mouse game he plays with L is the reason I kept watching, not because I liked him as a character or thought his secret was worth keeping. 8. The War Doctor – Doctor Who This one came as a surprise to everyone, and I’m still confused about what it means or why they inserted an extra regeneration into the story—as if all the timey-wimey plots weren’t confusing enough! Does it mean THIS doctor is number 9, shifting all the other numbers after? Is he number 8.5? Whatever, John Hurt is cool. 9. Sheik – The Legend of Zelda:...

God of War and the Weight of Fatherhood...

I never wanted to be a father. I love my two children and the people they are growing to be, but there are many days I wish I wasn’t responsible for them. Not that I’d want my children to cease to exist, rather I often wish I could give them a better father, one who acts more like the other dads I meet. I’m sure I’m not alone in these feelings of inadequacy, but when I talk to other fathers, they often mention how much they love being dads. They show off their photos of their kids and enjoy being in the company of children. I never feel that way. That doesn’t mean I want to be a distant father, I just feel like my goals for parenting, and the “unconventional” ways I may express love or encouragement, are wrong when compared to others. I’ve struggled with feeling alone in these emotions. But when I began playing the latest installment of God of War, I found a kindred spirit in Kratos. Kratos is the god of war in the Greek pantheon, and after spending three games murdering every other god he could get his hands on, he’s grown tired of killing and retired to Midgard. There, he’s settled down with a fierce warrior woman, Faye, and had a son. But with her death, he is left alone with “the boy” (this is literally what he calls Atreus, 99% of the time). Near the beginning of the game, Kratos cries out to his dead wife: “Why did you leave me alone with him? You were always better at this.” As we discussed the ways Kratos is making a mess of fathering and how destructive his secrets are, I found myself understanding how he feels. Every...

When Our Heroes Fall: Our Responsibility to #MeToo Jun11

When Our Heroes Fall: Our Responsibility to #MeToo...

For me, the saddest news of the #metoo movement was when Scott R Brunton accused George Takei of sexually assaulting him back in the late eighties. Part of Star Trek: The Original Series’ cast, I’ve followed Takei for his snappy memes and articles, as well as his widespread LGBTQ activism. Sadly, his name joins a long list of outed celebrities, including Bill Cosby, Kevin Spacey, Dustin Hoffman, and Morgan Freeman. It’s hard to imagine the distinguished narrator of March of the Penguins as a sexual predator, but as women continue to accuse him, he’s falling into the same category as Takei. Even Joss Whedon isn’t left out. His ex-wife published an essay back in 2017, accusing him of multiple affairs, including some with unnamed young actresses on his classic shows. I’m mindful of his admission that he identified the most with Xander, whose extended and misguided possessiveness of Buffy and his infidelity while dating Cordy stands as possible examples of Whedon’s moral code. The revelations of these men’s characters may come as a shock to me, but many people already knew. Let me rephrase that: many women already knew. The film industry is plagued with sexism; you could read it in the commodification of women’s bodies on screen long before the #metoo movement started. Women talk about these things, spread the word along “whisper networks” of who to play nice with, who to keep at arm’s length, and who to avoid entirely. Whispering truth may have been the only way to stay safe without endangering a precarious career. Living from gig to gig means that no matter what unions do, they can’t force people to hire you. What do I do when a celebrity I love and admire is outed for sexual assault? Speaking...

Registry Open for Secret Keeping 101 Jun08

Registry Open for Secret Keeping 101...

This course is required for all students enrolled in the Fundamentals of Superpowers program. Whether you want to dominate the world or stop someone else from ruling it, these skills are key to your success. (Note: If you’re looking for the “superhero only” track, we suggest you apply to that school in Westchester or go back for remedial instruction at Sky High.) Course Modules Part 1: Secret Identity Have you ever wondered why superheroes try so hard to maintain a secret identity? Guest lecturer Chuck Bartowski will go over the pros and cons, with special emphasis on protecting your family and how to deal with all your relatives turning out to be spies. If you insist on a secret identity, we will devote two class sessions to how to sneak away from a hostage situation so you can put on your superhero costume (or whatever) to save your friends. Part 2: Not-So-Secret-Identity Sometimes everybody thinks they’re keeping your secret from everyone else, and you just have to go along with it. Buffy Summers will guest lecture on her experience of winning the “Class Protector” award and how to misdirect outsiders who ask about the obituaries section in the school newspaper. We’ll analyze various techniques, including “hiding in plain sight” (e.g. the super-secret black SUVs with Torchwood written on the front), “wearing glasses,” and “hopefully no one notices I’m suddenly buff.” Part 3: Secret Facilities Common locations include rundown warehouses, abandoned amusement parks, and spacious sewers. Wealthier aspiring supers may opt for more elaborate facilities such as corporate towers, underwater domes, or volcano bases. We will discuss specialty realtors and contractors who can assist in this endeavor and how to clean up your tracks. Lectures will contrast the new Avengers base (not secret) with Dr....

Where is Hope for the Abused in Solo? Jun06

Where is Hope for the Abused in Solo?...

Spoilers for Solo: A Star Wars Story below. When we first meet Qi’ra in Solo: A Star Wars Story, she is virtually a slave, running tricks in “these mean streets” for the crimelady Proxima. Qi’ra comes from a nebulous background, but despite having a rough life thus far, she is resourceful and markedly full of hope, a fitting companion for a youthful Han Solo. In the initial scenes of the film, Qi’ra and Han run together in Romeo and Juliet fashion, dodging danger and dreaming of escaping together into a better life. They’re playful and brave, but reckless, fueled by adolescent love. Trouble is never far behind these two: upon a bold attempt to flee their home planet of Corellia, Han escapes and Qi’ra does not. This event seems to become a turning point in Qi’ra’s life, or perhaps, merely a confirmation of what she has always believed about the world and her basic value as a person. Does Qi’ra, like many manipulated, fractured women, believe that she is irredeemable. The next time Han sees Qi’ra, she is on Dryden Vos’s yacht. Everything from her appearance to demeanor has changed. Where she once was an edgy adolescent, brimming with hope, Qi’ra is now poised, worldly, and reticent. Han’s hope hasn’t dimmed, even after years of near-death encounters; but Qi’ra’s life has been harsh in other ways, and it shows. The most poignant, heartbreaking aspect of Qi’ra’s evolution is her confession to Han: “I’ve done terrible things.” And she considers herself worthless because of them. Even when, during a scene inside Lando’s superfluous closet of capes, Han tries to convince her that they can finally run off together, she refuses—not because she doesn’t see the good in him, but because she has lost the ability...

Why Your Friends Don’t Deserve to be Eaten by Dinosaurs Jun04

Why Your Friends Don’t Deserve to be Eaten by Dinosaurs...

There were few events I anticipated as a kid as much as the opening weekend for Jurassic Park. The excitement around that movie was palpable and all the news and entertainment shows on television—not to mention my friends—were clamoring for it. All the enthusiasm persuaded me to read the novel on which it was based, which was a big deal for me. It was the first book I read for fun, and I enjoyed it fully. Michael Crichton’s work made me feel like an adult, with all its multifaceted characters and scientific context. Well, that and the curse words. I was full of adrenaline when I finally made it to the theater to watch Spielberg’s film. The opening scene with the unseen velociraptor capturing a terrified worker mesmerized me, but soon afterwards, confusion set in. The plot differed greatly from the book and the characters weren’t quite the ones I remembered. I was most confused by the absence of lawyer Donald Gennaro. A major figure in the novel, I wondered why he was missing from the movie. There was an attorney in the film, but that couldn’t be Gennaro, who the author described as strong and stout, who had his faults but also showed scruples. This attorney was thinner, balder, and older than the one in the book, and far more befitting of the “evil lawyer” stereotype. My loved ones are not simple stories or funny punchlines. In Michael Crichton’s version, Gennaro is a corporate lawyer looking out for his employers’ investment and his own well-being, but through the course of the story, he changes. Once put into life and death situations, he focuses on his own safety rather than his greed, and later, also on the safety of the other survivors. When it...

MCU Watchalong – Avengers: Age of Ultron...

What do you call it when Thor can’t eat his hammer? Mjolnirushment! That’s right it’s another MCU Watchalong! Join Jason, Dustin Schellenberg and Emma Skrumeda as they assemble once again to follow along with the Avengers’ second official team-up in Avengers: Age of Ultron! Download and subscribe to Infinity +1 on iTunes, Stitcher and Google Play Music now! RSS Feed: http://feeds.feedburner.com/geekdomhouse/infinitypodcast Jason’s Twitter: @VorpalJason Dustin’s Twitter: @PDschellenberg Emma Skrumeda: @emmaskrumeda Geekdom House on Twitter: @GeekdomHouse Geekdom House on Twitch: OKLetsPlay Buy original Geekdom House merchandise from...