Monday, December 18, 2017

Graphic Novel for '80s Kids, Gamers, and Gunters

The Comic Book Story of Video Games: The Incredible History of the Electronic Gaming RevolutionThe Comic Book Story of Video Games: The Incredible History of the Electronic Gaming Revolution by Jonathan Hennessey

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was born in the late '70s and grew up in the '80s, so I have many vivid memories of the Atari game console, video arcades, the Nintendo revolution, the change over from Nintendo to Sega, et al. For me, this was a fascinating history of the technology that had to happen in order for the human race to have massive multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) and other gaming technology at our fingertips.

I noticed some reviewers thought that it took the graphic novel too long to explain the background technology, but for me, the background technology and some of the names and faces behind it were some of the charm and fascination of this book.

If you're a fan of Ready Player One, this is an absolute must-read for you. Like Parzival, you need to know your gaming history if you want to navigate the Oasis.

I received a copy of this graphic novel in exchange for my review through BloggingForBooks.com.



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Thursday, December 14, 2017

A Beautiful, Meaningful Nonfiction Book for All Middle-Grade Readers

Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black HistoryLittle Leaders: Bold Women in Black History by Vashti Harrison

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Vashti Harrison is a filmmaker as well as a visual artist, which explains why she did such an excellent job of intuiting which events in each woman's life to highlight to make each story compelling.

Every one of the 40 mini-biographies in the beautiful, inspiration book could be made into a film. Some of them have been, Hidden Figures being one recent example.



Harrison's drawings emphasis the contributions to society of these women, but also their personal strength, dignity, and beauty. This book for middle grade readers would make a wonderful addition to any school library, classroom, or children's bookshelf.


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Saturday, December 2, 2017

Uh-Oh, I Have a Crush on Another Boy

SPOILERS FOR THE WALKING DEAD SEASON 2. 

Slight spoilers for Marvel's The Punisher, if you haven't seen the whole season yet. 

I haven't been very consistent with watching the Marvel superheroes series on Netflix, but my husband, Mr. Tit Elingtin, has been devouring them. I watched a bit of Luke Cage, which I really liked, and a bit more of Jessica Jones, which was also quite good, but with my inconsistent access to streaming Netflix this summer, I hardly watched any of Daredevil

I knew Deborah Ann Woll played a character on Daredevil. You may remember her from the Charlaine Harris-based HBO series True Blood. She played Bill Compton's vampire "child," Jessica Hamby, and much of Jessica's storyline was a love triangle involving her, Jason Stackhouse, and Jason's best friend Hoyt Fortenberry. The series ended with a happily-ever-after for Jessica. 


Over the Thanksgiving weekend, Tit binge-watched the latest Marvel series, The Punisher. Woll's character from Daredevil, Karen Page, had a starring role. I got hooked.

The Punisher is a Marvel title that I actually used to read as a teenager. My brother had a subscription. It was right around 1990, and the series was The Punisher: War Journal by Jim Lee and Carl Potts. 


The Punisher, a.k.a. Frank Castle, isn't a superhero. He has no superpowers. He's a violent vigilante who brutally dispatches criminals. His Backstory of Infinite Sadness is that his wife and two children were brutally murdered, and now he doesn't GAF what happens to him personally. He's on a suicidal revenge mission (or what TVTropes.org designates as "Roaring Rampage of Revenge") -- he just happens to be exceptionally skilled at killing criminals. 

This characterization may remind one of my fictional TV boyfriend John Reese

On the Marvel series, Frank is played by Jon Bernthal, my newest boy crush. He played Shane Walsh on The Walking Dead, but I didn't like Shane Walsh. No one likes Shane Walsh**. Shane Walsh was an abusive asshole.

Jon Bernthal as Al Capone in Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian.
Because as everyone in Hollywood knows, Jews and Italians are interchangeable.

I didn't make it that far into the TV series, but I understand that--SPOILER ALERT--his conflict with Rick ended in a physical fight in which Rick had to kill Shane or be killed himself. Then Shane came back as a zombie. Then Carl, the one of Lori's children whose bio dad is definitely Rick and not Shane, had to re-kill Zombie Shane. 

http://thatwritererinoriordan.tumblr.com/post/167866152170

He was a zombie. She was a vampire. They're perfect for each other. 

In this Netflix iteration, Frank Castle -- well, he's kind of an asshole too, what with the brutal vigilante killings and all. He has another side, though, one that's extremely loyal to his family and friends -- and yes, even romantic. Many of his memories of his slain wife Maria are very sweet, and he was clearly a loving, hands-on dad to elder child Lisa and younger child Frank Jr., even though he had to be away from them with the Marine Corps. He was a military dad, but a soft dad nonetheless. 

His friendship with Karen Page is developing into a slow-burn romance, but obviously with quite serious complications, him being a wanted multiple murderer and her a reporter. Karen has become his berserk button - don't dare threaten her. They've saved each others' lives now, and there was a significant forehead touch in an elevator. 

Forehead touches are not sex but often foreshadow sex in the future. They also convey an emotional connection. Frank is really a one-woman-at-a-time type of guy, and his commitment to Maria was deep and genuine and lasted longer than her life. In one scene in which he's badly injured and near death, he remembers dancing with Maria at their wedding. 

Their ship name is Kastle, and I ship it so hard. I really want Frank Castle for Karen Page, not for myself. 

However.

Frank's characterization hits upon several of the tropes that I find particularly delicious: the wounded warrior trope, the outwardly tough guy who's soft as a kitten belly around the right woman, and the woman who's strong enough to stand on her own two feet but inwardly melts when the tough-soft guy's around. Frank Castle is covered in blood, scars, bruises, and stitches most of the time, which is true to the comic books, and WHY DO I LIKE THAT?!? But I do.

And Jon Bernthal is one of my (many) favorite boy types: Yeshiva Boy Who Grew Up Hot. He has clearly been working out for this physically demanding role and as a result has back muscles that look awesome in his many shirtless scenes. He has big, soulful, dark-chocolate brown eyes, and why wouldn't Karen be into a Frank who looks like this? 

Karen and Frank can't possibly have a happily-ever-after ending. I won't pretend I think they're going to end up getting married and having children. One of them probably ends up bleeding out in the other's arms. Vigilantes don't get to grow old gracefully. Ask Mr. Reese. 

I'm asking for heartbreak once again, but I can't help my stupid feelings. I'm shipping Kastle. It'll go right up there with my other OTPs, like CaReese, Destiel, SnowBaz, Johnlock, and all the other shipper nonsense I get myself into, most of which are doomed to end in a puddle of blood and tears. 

P.S. I do highly recommend the Night at the Museum movie trilogy if you haven't seen it already. The third film, one of the last performances of Robin Williams, is especially bittersweet and poignant but ultimately worthwhile. And Rami Malek as the young mummified Egyptian pharaoh Akhmenrah is also quite handsome. 

**Some people probably like Shane Walsh. If you do, I'm not judging. He's fictional. Go for it. 

Sunday, November 26, 2017

'How to Think' by Alan Jacobs #NonFictionReview



This was a relatively quick read and introduced many interesting subjects that have to do with biases and how we perceive others who have beliefs different from our own. One of the main ideas that I took away from reading this book was the concept of "escalation of commitment."

Escalation of commitment is a psychological concept. When human beings - and all of us are prone to this - commit ourselves to something financially, philosophically, socially, or otherwise, then when we become faced with evidence that said thing is wrong/incorrect/a bad investment/bad for our health, etc., we do an irrational thing. We defend that thing even harder. 

The classic example of escalation of commitment is the gambler who keeps losing, but has already sunk so much money into the game, the gambler refuses to stop playing. A more contemporary example, hinted at but not explicitly stated in this book, is the behavior of those American voters who voted for Donald Trump for president. Now they see what a truly incompetent, unkind, and potentially dangerous person he is -- but they root for him even harder. They just can't psychologically bring themselves to cut their losses at this point. That's escalation of commitment. 

Perhaps an even more egregious (or just as egregious) contemporary example is the candidacy of Judge Roy Moore in the U.S. Senate special election in Alabama. Although many credible witnesses have brought forth testimony that Moore attempted to sexually assault, seduce, or at best sexually harass them when they were under the age of 18, Moore is nonetheless primed to be the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate from Alabama. The voters who support him have escalated commitment to the point that they're willing to overlook these credible accusations. Worse, some of them are blaming the victims of these alleged incidents for their own roles in their "seduction." 

I have been thinking about Alabama a lot because Tit Elingtin and I watched a live performance of the stage version of To Kill a Mockingbird a few weeks ago. I wish all Americans could be periodically reminded of To Kill a Mockingbird. I wish we all understood that Tom Robinson is the good guy. 

Alabama, Judge Roy Moore is the Tom Ewell of your story. He doesn't deserve your vote. If he did those things he's credibly accused of, he deserves public shame and humiliation, and possibly criminal indictment. Alabamans, now is the time for you to be more like Atticus Finch and less like the people on Tom Robinson's jury. 

It's kind of a shame that the people who could most benefit from this kind of reflection on the thought process are not the ones most likely to read this book. However, ever single literate adult speaker of the English language could stand to benefit from this refresher course on thought bias and how to treat our fellow human beings with a little less contempt and a little more humanity. 

I received this book from BloggingForBooks.com for this review. My next Blogging for Books pick will be:


The Comic Book Story of Video Games: The Incredible History of the Electronic Gaming Revolution by Jonathan Hennessey and Jack McGowan

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

'Mycroft Holmes and the Apocalypse Handbook' #GraphicNovel by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Mycroft Holmes and the Apocalypse Handbook (Mycroft Holmes #1-5)Mycroft Holmes and the Apocalypse Handbook by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Mycroft Holmes, in this original story in graphic novel form, is a smug little sh*t. I love him.

He's not quite the same character as in the mystery novel Mycroft Holmes - he has a different back story with a different fiancee - but he's still his annoyingly superior, know-it-all self, and he's still quite competitive with little brother Sherlock. Cyrus Douglas does not appear in this story; this Mycroft has a female, American "Watson," kind of like Lucy Liu's character on Elementary (but not really).

This is an all-new adventure involving a cache of sci-fi weapons and an evil plan to auction them off to the highest bidder. Queen Victoria wants to be the highest bidder so the British Empire knows these steampunk weapons of mass destruction are in safe hands, and Mycroft has passed enough of her tests to become her agent.

In this he's assisted by Lark Adler, an American bounty hunter. Is she related to Irene? An older cousin, perhaps? We don't know. There is also mention of a respectable maths professor named James Moriarty.

I don't know if any more comics have been written in this series, but these five issues make for one intriguing graphic novel. The art is eye-popping and the story is fast-paced. This is a fine entry into the world of Holmesiana.



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Friday, October 20, 2017

Closed Captioned BDSM Content Available from Wasteland.com

(Note: Press Release)


Seminal site to expand inclusivity by meeting hearing impaired member needs


October 16, 2017 (Cyberspace) -- Wasteland.com is pleased to announce closed captioning for the hearing impaired on their BDSM content. The seminal site recently made two captioned titles available -- “The Interrogation of Delirious Hunter” and “Vyxen Steel - BDSM Test Pilot” -- and is working steadily to increase the number of captioned titles available in its library.  



Wasteland founder and CEO Colin Rowntree explained, “So much of what makes a BDSM scene erotic and intense is the dialogue between performers. We want all our Wasteland.com members to be able to enjoy the full experience of our content, so making captioning available only makes sense.”

“The Interrogation of Delirious Hunter” and “Vyxen Steel -- BDSM Test Pilot” are two of Wasteland’s most popular and dialogue-intensive recent releases, which prompted Rowntree to make these among the first captioned titles available.

In “The Interrogation of Delirious Hunter,” Master Joseph has caught Delirious Hunter snooping around his estate, obviously up to no good. He takes her to his interrogation room and proceeds to question her with a series of psychological games, intense impact, and sensation play culminating in orgasm denial. “Vyxen Steel - Test Pilot” takes place inside a secret subterranean experimentation facility located just outside London. Thanks to a beautiful volunteer from France (Vyxen Steel), Q and his men will be testing some new and interesting equipment guaranteed to make their subject show if she is qualified to be an agent.

“The manual workflow to add captioning to plot-heavy titles like ‘The Interrogation’ and “BDSM Test Pilot’ is pretty intense,” Rowntree added. “We feel very strongly about making our films accessible though, so it’s worth the effort!”  

Wasteland is also in the process of adding audio versions of all their fiction and how-to articles, specifically for the vision impaired.

Cutting-edge since the 1990s, Wasteland is committed first and foremost to member experiences via safe, sane, ethical, and authentic BDSM content. Closed captioning content to better meet members’ needs is a natural extension of this wider commitment.

About Wasteland.com

Founded and launched in 1994, Wasteland.com is the Internet's oldest and most esteemed BDSM, Fetish and alternative sexuality site. Priding itself on the quality of its authentic bdsm movies, Wasteland has produced over 1400 original bdsm films featuring lifestyle kinky folks performing a vast array of bondage, fetish, and sex acts that appeal to bondage aficionados around the world.

Image: Delirious Hunter and Joseph D. Copyright 2017 Wasteland.com

Thursday, October 19, 2017

J.K. Rowling's 'Very Good Lives'

Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of ImaginationVery Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination by J.K. Rowling

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This should be required reading for everyone. J.K. Rowling doesn't just donate a portion of her wealth to Amnesty International -- she used to work for Amnesty International, taking testimonies of African victims of torture. She's seen the absolute worst humanity can do, so when she writes about evil, she knows of which she speaks.

This deeply wise woman addressed her remarks to Harvard's graduating class of 2008, but her words apply to every human life on this planet.

The illustrations are also delightful. I read this as a library e-book on my phone, but some day I'll purchase the hardcover book so I can enjoy the illustrations properly.



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