Sunday, April 29, 2018

MCU, I still see you.

Ramblings Post #346
Sometimes a change of medium is good. I have only ever read ONE of the Harry Potter books. Okay, it was like the first 100-125 pages. Not doing that again. But translated into film, the story came alive for me. And now we live an age where a great deal of what I read years ago, what I used to imagine was alive has come alive - on screen. Marvel you have a fan in me. And having read the aforementioned source material I know this eternal truth : In the Marvel Universe - the only person who ever stays dead is Ben Parker.

So. Infinity War.

I understand that people were upset at the ending. I actually saw one photo of someone being carted out to an ambulance. Wooo. Big stuff. A lot of non-comic book people are confused, hurt and feeling some kind of way about it. Honestly, I figured they'd end it on the finger snap, but then I guess some of the dramatic effect would have whooshed over non-comic readers heads. And I know a lot of MCU fans are hurt because the director did say that what happens here is permanent.

I'm going to give those who didn't see it yet a couple of more days while I figure out what I'm going to say about it. There is a lot to unpack. Changes I mean, from the source material. A lot to unpack.

From the first Avengers - but it could be now...
You know, they probably shouldn't have left off the sub-title Part 1. Just sayin.

Barkeep, pour me up one for my "dead" homies. 

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Got my ticket to Westworld

Rambling Post #345
I got my drink, my snacks, and my wrap although it's mid-April and it shouldn't be this damn cold anywhere in the state. Ah, but now children comes good television. Well, technically we already got some pretty good television, but extra good prime cut TV is back. That television version of that spot that has the good chicken, and the sides are the bomb. Even the tea is slammin. That spot. So 'scuse me while I get myself back up to speed her. 

Westworld is back. Kind of like Game of Thrones lite for those not up to speed. The sprawling cast of characters in show about a full size open world game returns to our screens with a brand new set of questions and let's keep you guessing along its non-linear story-lines worthy of bad semi-science fiction that answers to ratings and not story. It's only episode one and bam, you need to figure out just how cold blooded is the Deleos Corp? What does that one host have in its brain module that no other host has and why is it so valuable? How long until somebody figures out good ole Bernard is a host? Ford built an ocean and nobody noticed? What kind of foolishness did Ford leave for ex-Man in Black old William? Are all the WW hosts dead-dead, or just host-dead? What the hell do you mean - Park 6? And if you could fill in the blanks between that night and that beach, kay thanks. So many questions, so few episodes. 

By the way, one of the weird concepts I hear about over and over again in critiques and viewer opinions about Westworld is how the character Delores and the other hosts were defiled over and over again and thus are justified in a howling rage against the world, i.e., the guests and the staff of Westworld. One asks how could these guests and the staff have done those things, making them live through that torment over and over again? Let me venture and answer: Um, because they didn't know. Looking at the show as a whole, what Westworld was designed to be and the Wyatt subprogram that Delores is still running despite her being "free," a whole lot of people have gotten up in arms about how things look instead of how things are.

Let me state now, SPOILER THEORY ALERT or whatever, - I don't think Delores and them even make it out of the park this season. And I mean the Big park - Delos World or Delos Island or whatever it's called. There is a shot in the previews where host Hector, Mauve's bandito buddy, is shown in a modern setting - but nobody else is moving. My thinking is that besides WestWorld and SamuraiWorld (why not an historical fiction land for the massive Chinese market?), there is SafariWorld, or as it's referred to here Park 6, and three other parks we haven't seen yet, one of which holds a futuristic city - maybe from the source material its the much maligned FutureWorld. Just my thoughts

Back to my other thought - because someone is about to invoke the idea of not knowing you've caused pain as false absolution - If you've ever played a video game, how much respect to give an NPC, a Non Player Character? As the player, do you not slay the dragon? Punch the goblin? Obey the traffic laws in a game of GTA? Playing the game doesn't make the guests evil or dirty, it just makes them -- somebody playing a game? As far as the guests were concerned, the hosts were toys. Very sophisticated toys, but toys nonetheless. And the techs? Exactly how much deference do you give to what is essentially a piece of equipment? And as for seeing Delores as a woman unleashed, um, no, she already killed the two men directly responsible for her and all the other hosts(?) "torments". First Arnold, who went way beyond the original scope of what the park was supposed to be and created something magical - causing this sentience situation. Then Ford, who kept rolling the hosts back to lay the foundation for their eventual breakthrough. There were no other parties in the loop, and both of those situations were necessary to even get to this point of self-awareness. Further, if you pay close attention, there are only three "sentient" hosts - Delores, Mauve, and Bernard. All the rest are still running loops with the safeties off. Teddy had no idea what Delores was talking about. Hector is just tool for Mauve to use just as she was used. How are these characters better those they despise?

No, I'm not a Delos corporate PR guy.

People who shoot people in video games aren't evil. At least I don't think I am. And in the context of the show, to the guests and board members, this whole complex is just a super realistic 3D video game. Although it's fairly clear the farmer's daughter's "sidequest" featuring Delores was intentionally sadistic, it wasn't a required play through. I want the show to be about bigger issues too, but sometimes it's not. It's just a show.

Just to be honest, to me the show feels like it's missing something without Ford. To me half the fun of the first season was figuring out what the hell the old schemer was up to or whose side he was on. While everyone else ran around trying pull a fast one or three, Ford pulled the strings just enough to make them dance to a tune only he could hear. In retrospect it was beautiful. So, I guess this is the show's Ned Stark moment. Where the person who held the first season together goes out and then it gets...interesting?

And because I haven't even asked if the Chinese are coming back, what Mauve hopes to find when she locates the simulacrum that was her child in a former iteration, how the security chief survived, or if the new Delos guy even knew what Hale was up to, this could be a pretty good season. Hell, if they do it right, a pretty good show. As long as they've got most of the answers at the end of THIS season and not season 3.

Barkeep, let's give me the good whiskey and not whatever they used to serve in Sweetwater. Okay? 

Monday, April 9, 2018

Bar Chatter

Bar Chatter #35
Sometimes it's not enough for a it's just bar chatter. 

Maybe I wasn't paying attention, but that's on me. When exactly did every fifth post on Instagram become an ad?

Was it something I did? I will admit to two or three times actually clicking on an ad for something interesting - some shoes, a couple of pieces of art, the ring light for the phone so it can be used more like a studio, the stabilizer frame for a phone so it can be used like a movie camera (hey, I might want to shoot a film short. I'm an artist!) But an ad every fifth post is like watching something on a bad cable channel, where the commercial breaks in a 30 min show are somehow 4 minutes long.

And while my twitter is a mix of political, intellectual, news and the occasional bit of nonsense, my Instagram ain't that serious. I only give likes to the family and close friends I follow, and I use it mostly for laughs from memes. I made the mistake of liking something else once. Won't be doing that again. No sir, not me.

So, where is the button that tells Instagram I'm just a window shopper?