Thursday, December 7, 2017

Incredibles 2

So apparently, next year they're planning to release Incredibles 2, a sequel to The Incredibles movie that came out 12 years ago. Interesting choice— there's certainly rather a lot of buzz about it to be sure. Now, I can't swear that this movie will gargle gonads but, well, unfortunately I did see the original back in the distant year of 2005, quite probably on Vee Haitch Ess, and despite the massive gulf of time between then and now, I actually do remember the plot.

So in case you didn't see it, or have simply forgotten what it was about, here's a quick summary:

In a colourful and goofy cartoon world, there is a strict division between the inherently superior race whose members are born with innate genetic superpowers that manifest in infancy and can be controlled at will and the inherently inferior race who are confined by the laws of physics. For convenience, I'll call them Supers and Normals. In this cheerful setting, we are told the upbeat tale of the Incredibles, a family of Supers, fighting to defend the supremacy of the Super race against Syndrome, an uppity Normal who has invented the technology to give superpowers to those not born with them and cooked up a dastardly plan to just give this technology to everyone, thus creating equality between all people by elevating the low without diminishing the high. Luckily, the heroic Incredibles stop him at the last minute, and successfully preserve the existing social order where the inferior races know their place (presumably, some combination of running in terror from Supers and being killed by Supers, with the survivors thanking Supers for deigning to spare their worthless lives this time).

So now it's getting a sequel. I guess with the rise of fascism around the globe, some studio felt the time was right for that sort of thing. I wouldn't harp on The Incredibles in particular since nearly every superhero movie does the same thing, but most superhero movies are mindless noise designed to distract people momentarily on the long road to the grave by way of sensory overload while The Incredibles is clearly trying to make a point about the horrors of equality; the movie starts by showing the absurdity of diminishing the high without elevating the low, but then tries to equivocate this into the message that equality itself is bad by drawing parallels between diminishing the Supers and elevating the Normals, making it clear that it considers the two functionally equivalent. It even gives Syndrome a line effectively saying as much— something along the lines of "if everybody has superpowers, then nobody does."

It's quite clear that the original pitch was meant to denounce conformity and the repression of genuine talent, only to go awry as the writers inadvertently swapped "genuine talent" for "innate biological superiority" when they repurposed superhero cliches developed for mindless action movies without examining them too closely. However, while the original intent peeks through, the message they actually delivered is too blatant to ignore.

I don't know anything about the sequel other than the planned year of its release, but given the original I'm willing to say sight unseen that Incredibles 2 will stick its head up its arse, goose step off a cliff, and make tons of money anyway because the world is full of people who will fight for the right of the aristocracy to screw them over as long as they're assured that a black trans woman gets screwed over worse— and tons more people who won't even notice it's happening as long as you make it shiny and funny and say "lesser evil" a lot.

Thursday, November 16, 2017


Today, the person sitting next to me on the train took a condom out of his pocket, blew it up like a balloon, and proceeded to draw angry eyes on it with a biro.

Monday, August 21, 2017

My Thumby Has Transmuted Into Socks

The other day, I had some urgent matters arise, so I put a number of vital items in my rucksack and went off to address them. One of those items was my USB thumb drive, which is named Thumby.

Upon returning, I unpacked most of the items but inadvertently left Thumby hidden deep within the crevasses of my rucksack. This morning, I had urgent need to copy off some files and, failing to find Thumby in its usual place, I realised it was probably still in my rucksack. However, a search of its deeper pockets revealed not Thumby, but rather, a pair of socks that I have absolutely no recollection of ever putting in there. They're quite clean and clearly a style I typically wear, but I haven't the faintest notion of what they were doing at the bottom of my rucksack. And I still haven't found Thumby. I can only assume that Thumby grew weary of toting vital files and so transmuted into socks.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

On Vertical Videos And Idiot-Proof Phones

If you're on the internet, as most of you are (except Steve; I have to print my posts and send them to him by carrier pigeon), you've no doubt seen (and been bugged by) vertical videosvideos that are about 66% letterbox because they were taken by some nob who couldn't figure out how to hold their phone correctly.

So imagine my surprise when my own father sent me a vertical video he took. And then another. He clearly knew better— he insisted quite vehemently that he definitely took the videos correctly and had no idea why they came out the way they did.

Then for the first time, I finally got a chance to actually look at his mobile to ascertain the problem. The problem? He has a completely idiot-proof phone whose makers attempted to combat VVS by physically building the camera "sideways" so that when people held their phones upright while recording, they end up with proper horizontal videos. Unfortunately, because my father knows better than to record vertically, he made a point of turning his phone— and, of course, ended up with vertical videos because the "idiot-proof" sideways camera records vertical videos when the phone is held correctly.


Friday, June 9, 2017

Little Things That BUG Me #12

With global warming posing an imminent threat to the thin veneer of superficial tolerance that we pretend is a civilisation, I, as a person what takes surveys for money, have been getting a lot of surveys about what I personally have done or would be willing to do to help the environment, as if global warming could be solved through consumer choices.

These surveys very often ask: "In order to help protect the environment, would you consider driving a hybrid car?"

My dude, I don't currently drive at all. If I started driving a hybrid car, I would be using considerably more petrol than I do now. It's bad enough that you're treating a global threat as a potential new fad in advertising; did you seriously need to assume I'm actively worsening the problem and then ask if I'd be willing to partially mitigate a bad thing I don't currently do at all?

You're worse than the people who ask if I'd consider no longer paying money for television service.

PS— Apparently an election may potentially have just happened. I'm not talking about it. LTTBM posts are deliberately petty; this isn't the place for serious things no matter how impactful they may be, and I've already had to mention global warming.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Why Do All My 30-Year-Old Electronics Keep Breaking On Me?

Lappy took a spill. Screen broke.

OK, it's not the end of the world. In fact, the lappy is still entirely functional save a smattering of dead pixels that are hideous to look at but don't actually render the screen unusable. And a replacement screen is hardly going to break the bank; these things apparently come pretty cheap. Although it's a Macbook, it's not one of the horrible "unibody" machines that are virtually impossible to repair so swapping the screen will only take about an hour, a few odd screwdrivers, and a heaping helping of profanity because those tiny screws are annoying.

Maybe I'll find another laptop for free in a bin. I've been having surprising luck with that.

Monday, April 24, 2017

The Jedi Need Forensic Accountants

Yes, I'm apparently watching Stob Wobs again. This time, I'm at the part where they discover the clone army allegedly ordered by conveniently-dead-person Cipher Diaz.

They already know (from the space-chef at a space-American space-1950s space-diner) that this clone army is expensive, so the obvious next step would be to follow the money to find out who really ordered this army. Of course, that would leave less time for pointless action sequences and fights with silly-swords so that isn't what they do.

But the Jedi Masters don't even dismiss the possibility that Cipher Diaz actually did place the order without authorisation. Which means that apparently, people can just spend a few billion credits out of the Jedi treasury without anyone thinking that's maybe a little suspicious. Despite the fact that they're all fucking clairvoyant. Let me guess, your vision was clouded by the dark side of the finances? Did someone use Jedi mind tricks to cook the books? Perhaps giving Master Ponzi a seat on the council was a mistake. Oh, but I'm sure the fanbois will explain it by some vague appeal to "the force." *hand wave*

I know these prequel movies (a) are hated, and (b) end with the destruction of the Jedi. (I came in too late to complain about spoilers.) I can only assume that (a) is the direct result of (b) not being caused by a massive audit of the Jedi Order that reveals just how much money they've been blowing on force-knows-what and all the Jedi banged up for embezzlement and fraud.

One bonus point for cool name, though. I wonder what gritty cyberpunk story Cipher Diaz was borrowed from.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Tropes I Don't Like (Part 3)— Symbol/Object Confusion

Yes, it's Tropes I Don't Like: Another One! In which I whine about media tropes I'm just not a fan of.

Today's trope is symbol/object confusion, or the assumption that a symbol representing an object contains some essence or link to the thing it represents.

I was a little bit hesitant to do a TIDL for this trope because it's everywhere. Speak of the devil. Poke a voodoo doll. I know your true name. Large swaths of sympathetic magic appear in so many places, including urban legends and pseudoscience that IRL people believe in.

Basically, anytime you treat a word, metaphor, simulation, depiction, or other way of referring to or describing a thing as actually being the thing (or at least having some connection to the thing), you are engaging in symbol/object confusion.

Frankly, I hate the idea of symbols having power for much the same reason I hate the idea of emotions having power; using symbols to understand and describe the world is how we work and treating the symbols as connected to, part of, or even identical to the objects is basically imposing our own heads on the world; "that's how I understand the universe, therefore, that's how the universe is!" Our minds link and cross-reference symbols, so we assume the universe cross-references itself as if the entire thing were in our heads. That level of anthropocentric thought borders on the solipsistic, and I won't have any of it in my writing.

René Magritte won't tolerate your symbol/object confusion either.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Another Survey Update

I'm taking a survey right now about pet products. Most of it is just the usual guff; expensive toys and treats for the sort of morons who think their pets are human. Then I came across a proposed product that made me stop, sputter, and declare: "OH, NO they didn't."

It's a dog treat that supposedly offers health benefits, specifically noting that it will provide your dog with vitamin C.

For those of you who haven't quite kept up to date on your biology, vitamin C (or ascorbic acid) is a chemical required in trace amounts by all humans lest we suffer from scurvy.

Dogs do not need vitamin C.

Because dogs, like most animals, can synthesise vitamin C. The only animals who need dietary vitamin C are those who primarily eat fruit which is laden with the stuff, rendering the genes for it unnecessary and thus no longer conserved by natural selection. And humans, who are descended from such a species.

Friday, March 31, 2017

I Am (Apparently) Watching Stob Wobs

Don't expect a full "My Media Habits" post for it, but it's going something like this:

Quigon: Midi-chlorians are a microscopic life form that reside within all living cells and we are symbionts with them.