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Wednesday, May 19, 2021 03:35 PM
(Last updated on Thursday, May 20, 2021 11:50 AM)
UPGRADE!
 by Fëanor

Hey folks, just letting you know, I went ahead and upgraded my website to a newer version of PHP, because my host warned me the one I was using was painfully, unsupportably old (oops!). So, please let me know if you see any issues as you're poking around. Thanks!

ETA: While I was at it, I also got myself an SSL certificate, so you can now visit my site in a secure fashion using https! Very exciting. To me, anyway.
Tagged (?): Meta (Not)
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Tuesday, April 6, 2021 06:58 PM
On the Viewer - Justice League: The Snyder Cut
 by Fëanor

I live-tweeted my reactions to watching the Snyder Cut a while back, so just thought I'd collect all those tweets here, for posterity.

——

[Thread #1]

Ok, I'm watching the Snyder Cut, it's already annoying me, this should be fun.The sound waves of Superman's yell flying across the earth was just...weird. I get what they were trying to do, but I feel like it could have been done in a way that wasn't so silly.

——

Bruce meets a random guy who is probably a fish man, and just immediately tells him he's Batman? In public? And lets fish man talk about it in front of everybody? Why??

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The lady smelling Aquaman's sweater is just creepy. He's got this town of people practically worshipping him.

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Martha Kent's dog is named Dusty? Not Krypto?

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Of course the Kent farm has been foreclosed on. Everything is so gray and colorless and mopey. It makes me mad. You're a comic book movie for God's sake! Have a little fun!

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Oh my god this ridiculously elegiac song playing while Lois stares at the monument to her dead boyfriend in the rain, jeez!

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Wonder Woman showing up standing on the arm of a giant gold statue of Justice is a bit on the nose. Just a bit.

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Oh my god, this movie is terrible. I was going to say something nice about it, because it was fun watching Wonder Woman beat up terrorists, then they ruined it with the "can I be like you some day" bit.

——

I'm curious if there's going to be any point to that scene. Was it just to introduce Wonder Woman? She doesn't really need an introduction at this point. Or will the terrorists somehow tie in to the larger story? I don't see how...

[Editor's note: no, there will no point to it.]

——

"Maybe it's going back to sleep."
"Evil does not sleep. It waits."
Ugh, I just rolled my eyes so hard.

——

So, I thought the idea was that Steppenwolf is showing up after thousands of years absence. But didn't we see him hanging out with Lex Luthor at the beginning of the movie? And what's the point of sealing the cave, didn't the central chamber have a big skylight?

——

I went back, it absolutely does have a big skylight. There's no point sealing off the entrance if you could just climb out. There's even guys in there that can fly. I mean...wow. This is so bad.

——

Ok, but now the entire thing fell into the sea. Maybe that was the plan?

——

Ok, I will say a nice thing now: some of the action scenes with Steppenwolf were good.

——

Now back to bad things: so much sad choral music! Oy.

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Why was Diana restoring an ancient statue while wearing a fancy sheath dress?

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The dialogue is just very bad.

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Diana lights a torch and suddenly she's in an ancient pit?! Where did this come from?

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Okay, I will say another nice thing: the ancient frescoes of the mother boxes and Darkseid are really cool.

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This scene of Aquaman saving a guy feels like another introduction scene - except we already met him...

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He just came in from the ocean wearing a shirt, but before he dives back in, he tears the shirt off and throws it on the ground, just like he did earlier. What does he have against shirts??

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Willem Dafoe, erstwhile lighthouse keeper, demands that Arthur take up his mother's trident! And offers him a weapon with five spikes on the end. Don't tridents have three spikes? Isn't that the point of the whole "tri" part?

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Steppenwolf and Desaad have a conversation that is mostly exposition. He owes Darkseid 10,000 more worlds?? Man, you've got some work to do, dude.

——

There's a computer effects-laden epic flashback battle showing the last time Darkseid came to earth and was fought back. It's kind of lame. It doesn't help that Wonder Woman is there to provide incredibly corny and completely unnecessary narration throughout.

——

It is cool that we get to see Darkseid and the previous Green Lantern. But they turn Darkseid into a big gray brute who grunts and hits things. Not at all the thoughtful, aloof Darkseid I know with the colorful outfits and cool crooked laser eye blasts.

——

Dude comes jumping in with a big axe and hits Darkseid in the shoulder. Reminds me a lot of Thor jumping in and hitting Thanos in the shoulder with an axe in Avengers. Just saying!

——

Really unimpressive showing from Darkseid here. If the point of this flashback was to make him look big and scary, they failed miserably. He gets hit a couple times and passes out in the back of his van.

——

Have I mentioned that there is no color in this movie? Everything is gray and washed out. I don't get it. It's just ugly.

——

I like that the Atlanteans and the Amazons have these fancy rituals and ceremonial locations for sealing their mother boxes away, and the men just...put theirs in a hole and cover it with dirt. :LOL:

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I enjoy that they introduce the Flash with a REDUCED SPEED AHEAD sign. And he's late, of course. Good old Barry.

——

Ah, an entirely manufactured emergency so Barry can have a reazon to show off his powers. Sigh.
So many of these scenes feel jammed in here for no good reason. Why not have Barry's intro be worked into the overall story? Instead we're wasting time with a cliche traffic accident.

——

The soundtrack is so melodramatic!

I like the idea of Barry running right out of his shoes, but...how do the rest of his clothes stay on? Not that I want to see him naked...

——

Also, really uncool that he is stopping to touch the girl's hair in the middle of saving her. Seriously. Not okay. Creepy and bad.

——

The touching, romantic music as he takes the time to steal a hot dog...

——

Think I'll sleep for now. Perhaps more tomorrow night!

——

[Thread #2]

Picking up where I left off with the #SnyderCut .

They trying to set up a romance between Diana and Bruce? Huh.

I like the extra backstory for Cyborg. This is actually good character development here.

——

What kinda dude tries to cheer up his depressed, angry teen son by telling him he has the power to destroy the world??

——

Yeah, I really liked the Cyborg sequence there, and I really liked the scene in the prison between Barry and his dad. Plus "you're living in the past; make your own future, Barry" feels like foreshadowing of Flashpoint, which is fun.

——

"Fluent in gorilla sign language" feels like a Gorilla Grodd reference, but maybe I'm reading into this too much now. Regardless, love this scene between Barry and Bruce.

——

"What are your super powers again?"
"I'm rich."
Ah yes, the only true super power.
I'm actually really enjoying the movie tonight. Not sure if this part is that much better, or if I'm just in the right mood...

——

I like that merely because Diana did an internet search for him, Cyborg immediately found her, hacked her system, set up a meeting.

——

Really like the scene between them, with Diana connecting with him over loss and learning to open yourself back up again. Really, loss and what to do about it is what all these characters are about.

——

"Hi, Barry, I'm Diana. That's not right. Great." :LOL:

——

Another conversation between Desaad and Steppenwolf that feels mostly unnecessary. I guess we did learn that Steppenwolf now has working defences for his fortress...

——

Now we got most of the team together, talking to Commissioner Gordon about parademons! Fun stuff.

——

The music in this movie is mostly bad, but I really love Wonder Woman's theme.

——

Sometimes the computer effects are really good and sometimes they're really surprisingly bad. There's a scene where Batman's grapple gun almost falls off a metal walkway, and the way it moves is just really obviously unnatural and fake.

——

I appreciate the extremely matter-of-fact way Alfred says, "catastrophic failure of all systems."

——

Ok, so I like that we're bringing Anti-Life into it, upping the stakes, that's cool. But...how exactly did Darkseid and his minions "lose" Earth? How did he not know this was where he suffered his great defeat, and where the equation was written? I mean, that makes no sense.

——

Cyborg is pretty central to this version of the story! And now we're going to use the mother box to bring Superman back. Interesting!

Wait, did he try to bring his mother back? Hmm...

Anyway, gonna stop again for now. Good night, folks!

——

[Thread #3]

Ok, it's #SnyderCut time again! Moving into the third hour now.

——

Ok, very unexpected cameo from Martian Manhunter there. He couldn't have just asked Martha to stop by?

——

This is a good setup for the next part of the movie. Use the box to try to revive Superman, but using the box calls the enemy. Their only chance to win could also bring on their defeat.

——

"She's 5000 years old, Barry. Every guy's a younger guy."
Heh.

——

"This red cape charges back" isn't really the thrilling line they think it is...

——

Lois has a pregnancy test in her bedside table drawer, and the brand name is Force Majeure. :grimacing face:

——

Oh man, the tension and foreboding as the countdown goes down to one, and then the vision of the awful future. So well done! And we get to see Darkseid use his omega eye beams!! Hooray!

——

Intense and brutal battle with a confused resurrected Superman. Then a powerful self-sacrifice by Victor's dad - which reminds me a lot of this same actor's self-sacrifice in Terminator 2! Poor guy is always pushing buttons to kill himself in an attempt to ward off apocalypse.

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Part 6: Something Darker. That doesn't really fill me with confidence...But maybe they're just talking about the black suit.

——

I like that Bruce introduces Alfred by saying, "I work for him."

——

"I don't care how many demons he's fought in how many hells. He's never fought us. Not us united."
Nice.

——

Can somebody just text Lois and let her know it's important to hurry up with getting Clark back together??

——

Or, you know, we've established that Martian Manhunter is around. Couldn't he lend a hand? He has a very impressive power set of his own...

——

I have to say, there are some really great quiet character moments here. I'm really enjoying this movie now.

——

The "something darker" comes from Batman, as he's considering what his prophetic dream might mean - specifically, the bit about Lois Lane being the key. I seem to remember this dream being in the theatrical cut, but we didn't see it in this version...

——

...Or I could be remembering something from Batman vs Superman, actually.

——

Anyway, pretty neat moment as Clark hears the voices of his two fathers urging him on, and he puts on the black suit and heads out.

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They spend the whole movie trying to get this thing to fly and on its maiden voyage Batman crashes it? C'mon Bruce!

——

Very fun action sequence as the team mows their way through a horde of parademons. They're like popcorn!

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Oh man, Superman shows up, blows a puff of breath on Steppenwolf's axe, and one punch shatters it. Nice entrance!

——

They fail, they're too late, but it's okay - Barry can run faster than time.

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Realizing how much this movie is about fathers, too. Superman's dads, Barry's dad, Victor's dad, Aquaman's dad. Lots of complicated father-son relationships here.

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Barry runs the world back into existence. What a visual. Fantastic.

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"I'm not broken. And I'm not alone." Such a great character moment for Victor. Really well done.

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Oh man, the way they all work together to finish off Steppenwolf and send his corpse back to Darkseid? So badass.

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But even as they defeat Steppenwolf and stop this attempt to destroy the world, the threat of Darkseid himself rises. Very ominous.

——

Epilogue! Lots going on here. More villains lined up to come after them, and another vision of a horrifying future in which Superman is an enemy. It's a bit much, really.

But yeah, I actually ended up mostly liking this movie! I'm shocked.
Tagged (?): DCU (Not), Justice League (Not), Movies (Not), On the Viewer (Not)
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Tuesday, March 9, 2021 02:41 PM
Book Report: Circe
 by Fëanor

Circe (2018) by Madeline Miller is a novelization of the story of the goddess from Ancient Greek myth. If you remember her at all, it's probably from the story of Odysseus. On his long, wending way back from Troy, he shows up at her island and she briefly turns his men into pigs. In this novel, that incident is a pivotal event, but it is only one in a dramatic and engrossing life story full of pain, struggle, and yearning.

Circe is about women fighting to find their own place and their own power in a world dominated by men. It also contains one of the most bittersweet and painfully real descriptions of parenthood I've ever read - the agony, the lack of sleep, the desperate fear, the jealous aching love. Despite all the trials and suffering Circe endures, ultimately the book is suffused with a great passion and joy for life. Life hurts, and it ends, but it's beautiful for all that - maybe because of it.

A really fantastic book. I read it as an audio book, and the narration by Perdita Weeks really added to my enjoyment. She does a wonderful job.

Miller has another book called The Song of Achilles that I will definitely seek out now.
Tagged (?): DCU (Not), Justice League (Not), Movies (Not), On the Viewer (Not)
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Monday, March 1, 2021 09:53 AM
For Amazonians Only
 by Fëanor

Exciting news! Amazon invited me to a private beta for self-publishing hardcover books, so both my books are now available on Amazon in hardcover format! Their hardcover format is a bit different from the Barnes & Noble format. Barnes & Noble prints the cover illustration on a paper jacket that wraps around the book. Amazon does what they call case laminate hardcover, which means the cover illustration is applied directly to the cover itself, and there is no jacket.

Anyway, here are the links! Thanks for looking.

Tree and Beast

Sea and Sword
Tagged (?): A Stranger World (Not), Book Report (Not), Books (Not), Mythology (Not), Sea and Sword (Not), Tree and Beast (Not)
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Monday, February 15, 2021 03:20 PM
Book Birthday!
 by Fëanor

Hey, just dropping a note to celebrate the official release of my new book, Sea and Sword: A Stranger World Adventure, in hardcover! Yay!

Right now it's available only in hardcover, and only online at Barnes & Noble. If you'd rather not fork over the big bucks for a hardcover edition, I get that! I'll be releasing paperback and ebook versions later on this year on Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Google Play Books, and Apple Books. I will definitely post more about that when the time comes.

Sea and Sword is about the continuing adventures of a boy named Hunter Wilson in a mysterious magical world. He meets lots of new characters and creatures: bloodthirsty pirates, giant monsters, and creepy ghosts! But he also reunites with friends from his last adventure: a giant dog-like creature he calls Murphy, and a shape-shifting trickster named Raven.

We also learn more about the larger world he's fallen into: its history, its ruler, and its dangers. And Hunter learns more about stories, about magic, about families, and about himself.

I think you can pick up the series here if you like, but of course it's always better to begin at the beginning. The first volume of A Stranger World is called Tree and Beast, and it introduces us to Hunter, as well as Murphy, Raven, their world, and its mysteries. Tree and Beast is available now in hardcover, paperback, and ebook formats; you can find links to buy that book here. Also, I'm running a promotion right now on the NOOK version of Tree and Beast. If you go here and enter coupon code BNPSTRANGE75, you can get it for 75% off.

The books are for kids of a wide range of ages, and that includes adults. I tested these first two out on my seven-year-old, and he's a big fan. I hope you and your family will enjoy them, too.

Happy birthday to Sea and Sword!
Tagged (?): A Stranger World (Not), Books (Not), Sea and Sword (Not)
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Wednesday, February 3, 2021 07:27 PM
Reading My New Book!
 by Fëanor

In celebration of it being on pre-sale, I read the first chapter of Sea and Sword on YouTube. It's below.

Also, the first book is currently on sale! Use the coupon code BNPSTRANGE75 and you can grab the eBook version of Tree and Beast for 75% off.

Tagged (?): A Stranger World (Not), Books (Not), Sea and Sword (Not), Tree and Beast (Not)
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Monday, February 1, 2021 10:25 AM
Scum and Villainy in Bricks
 by Fëanor

I built the Master Builders Series Mos Eisley Cantina! Here's a video about it.

Tagged (?): LEGO (Not), Star Wars (Not), YouTube (Not)
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Tuesday, January 19, 2021 09:16 AM
(Last updated on Tuesday, January 19, 2021 09:17 AM)
New Lego Video on My YouTube Channel
 by Fëanor

Thought I'd drop a note here that there's a new video on my YouTube channel! This one is a look at a LEGO Star Wars set: the AT-ST Raider from The Mandalorian. Like and subscribe and all that...

Tagged (?): LEGO (Not), Star Wars (Not), YouTube (Not)
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Friday, January 8, 2021 07:26 PM
Kirkus Review Live
 by Fëanor

Hey folks, the Kirkus review of my first Stranger World novel, Tree and Beast, is now live! Go check it out. Wee!
Tagged (?): A Stranger World (Not), Books (Not), Tree and Beast (Not)
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Sunday, November 22, 2020 10:53 AM
Fixy Fixy
 by Fëanor

I noticed that the Facebook "Like" buttons on my blog got messed up somehow or other - the ends were cut off - so after an hour or so of painful struggle, I think I've got them fixed so you can see them properly again. It's been a while since I had to do front-end web design, and man, I forgot how frustrating fighting with css can be! Good times.

Anyway, as always, let me know if you see anything around here that looks weird, or you find something broken, and I'll see what I can do. Thanks!
Tagged (?): Facebook (Not), Meta (Not)
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Welcome to the blog of Jim Genzano, writer, web developer, husband, father, and enjoyer of things like the internet, movies, music, games, and books.

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