Archive for the ‘Threat Quality’ Category

On the Evening of My Surgery

Posted: November 19, 2014 in Threat Quality

I’m fine!  Everything’s fine.  I am not sick, I am not dying.  This is a voluntary, elective procedure that the doctors do all the time, as routine as the extraction of one of my many organs could possibly be.  I’m told this one is particularly redundant, and once my wounds heal I won’t even notice that it’s missing.

I am going to be offline for a few days, and probably (hopefully) for longer than that.  I want to take my recovery period to scale back on my internet usage, to get some of my other work done.  So, I don’t want anyone to worry about that. I’ve got two books two finish at least, not counting a third book that everyone is waiting for and I’m slowly starting to feel like they’ll never get.

I’m a huge disappointment to myself, is what I’m trying to say.

Anyway, even though I know that everything is fine, and the dangers associate with this procedure are very, very low, I’ve got some feeling of…

not doom, exactly, not anxiety, not dread.

Finality, I suppose you could say.  I imagine that some line is crossed, some great change will happen, and things will never be the same.  (I don’t really believe this, intellectually; I don’t believe in grand conversions or great changes, I believe that life is a slow accretion of experience, however abrupt it looks.)

It’s kind uplifting.  If I don’t die now, and if I ever do die sometime in the future, I hope I can face it like this — not with eagerness, not with delay, but with readiness.

(I am not going to die, I am being silly and dramatic.  I just got to talk my way through it, because if television and movies have taught me anything, it’s that the worst things happen to the people who hope for the best.)

Lately it seems like there’s a lot of shit happening in the world, like we’ve got so much work to do, like we’re never going to get it all done.  We probably won’t get it all done.  But there’s still good.  I know there is, because when you look for good, you find it.  You always find it.

Okay, whatever.  Whatever else happens, I just wanted to let you guys know that I have found many of you to be relatively tolerable.

Look to the good, guys.

See you around.

–braak

Cara Blouin

I want to say that maybe Rapture, Blister, Burn is the feminist play we deserve, but I’ve been trying not to blame myself for the bad things that happen to me. It’s one of the many struggles that I go through as a living human female, an experience that, by the way, I regularly complain about not seeing portrayed on stage. I like to blame *that* on the glut of white male playwrights who dominate the art. “I am sick,” I whine, “of seeing female characters who are just cardboard cutouts who don’t have real feelings or motivations written by jerk dudes who don’t know what it is like to be a lady.”

So it’s hard to know how to feel about the paper dolls that Gina Gionfriddo has cut out to use as mouthpieces for her barely thought out ideas in Rapture, Blister, Burn. I think it’s worse. It’s one thing to be alienated by someone who can’t understand your experience. It’s a curious betrayal to be alienated by someone who presumably should be able to.

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So, I didn’t think that I especially cared very much about The Avengers 2: Robo-Boogaloo and after seeing the teaser trailer I actually still kind of don’t. But I also kind of do, because even though the adventures of a bunch of super-powered guys who shoot and punch shooting and punching a bunch of robots doesn’t have a huge amount of appeal for me, puzzles about story DO have some appeal for me.

I am, therefore, going to play a game – based on what we’ve got here in the trailer and the very little we know about what’s definitely in the movie, I’m going to see if I can figure out what happens in it.

Strictly-speaking, this is me just improvising – I am sort of talking my way through the sort of movie that I might make if I knew these things had to be in it. Don’t count it as a real prediction (though, if I turn out to be exactly right, or close to right, or even better than the movie that actually comes out, definitely call me up to work on all of your movies, you guys know I am a genius, right?); this is the idle speculation game.

Let’s play though. (more…)

I like to wait to jump into these arguments until they’ve sort of blown over a little bit. It gives me time to think, it gives the aggrieved a chance to get riled up and then find something else to distract them, it leaves us with the opportunity to try to lay out some ideas in a way that doesn’t have to navigate the thorny situation of a person trying to justify the opinions of their TV heroes or something.

I want to talk about this fight between Bill Maher and Sam Harris on one side, and kind of on the other side Ben Affleck and Reza Aslan.

I’m on the Affleck/Aslan side of the argument, and rather than going through the details of their fight, I want to try to recontextualize the argument in a way that maybe suggests that this fight is misguided.

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I guess it’s the 15th anniversary of the release of Fight Club, so everyone is talking about it again I guess. Fight Club gets a bad rap these days, and there’s a feeling that maybe the Suck Fairy came and worked her magic, turning a film that a lot of folks kind of liked fifteen years ago into a big pile of crap. What is this movie? A testosterone-saturated pile of White Male aggression, a maybe kind of racist, patriarchical Trojan horse fed to a new generation of teenage boys under the guise of an appealing adolescent nihilism? It is gross, who even liked this, right?

I liked this, and actually I think it’s pretty brilliant. Hear me out though, I’ll explain.

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Help My Friend Michael Scott

Posted: October 4, 2014 in Threat Quality

So, Michael Scott (not of the Office, a different Michael Scott) is a friend of mine.  He’s an independent filmmaker and VFX artist in California.  He’s kind of well-known for this pretty great series of lightsaber fighting videos he made:

as well as for his enthusiasm for (and criticism of movies).

On September 30th, he was hit by a car and critically injured.  Like, very critically injured.  His friends are trying to raise money to help him.  I think he’s got insurance to cover his medical bills, but we all know that severe injuries cost a lot more than medical bills — based on the extent of the damage, he could be out of work for months (possibly forever).

Michael was the first person who expressed interest in film rights to The Translated Man.  He has since hired me to write several film treatments for him.  I’ve found him to be a very smart, very good, very generous person.  I know that many of you guys don’t know him from Adam (strictly speaking, most of you don’t know ME from Adam), but if you’ve got a few dollars lying around, he sure could use the help.

GoFundMe

Guardians of the Galaxy did really well, so that means there will be a sequel (Guardians of the Galaxy 2: 2 Guardians, 2 Galaxy), and I think that is a great opportunity to correct what I perceive to be a glaring flaw in the first movie:  Gamora’s criminal under-utilization as the most badass character of all.

Now, everyone loves a good, clean karate-fight.  Your Captain America versus Batroc the Leaper, &c.  But also one of the things that makes fights great and interesting is when there are obstacles or limitations that the fighter has to overcome (think basically every Jackie Chan fight scene ever).  These are good ways to make the fight unique and creative, and also often to raise the stakes of a fight scene part way through, so that we don’t get tired of seeing people try to kick each other or what have you.

Guardians of the Galaxy did do one of these, the Gamora / Star-Lord Supine Karate Fight, and don’t get me wrong, I love a good fight where both characters are lying down.  In my opinion, almost ANY fight could be improved by having the fighters lie on the ground and try to hit each other!

Still, you’ve done that once.  Here are some other ideas.

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