Superhero Speculation and General Update

Hey everybody, this is just going to be a quick post about a couple of things I’ve been thinking about today.  Just a couple of ideas up in my old brain noggin head thing.

I’ve been thinking about Avengers: Infinity War and how I’m actually pretty interested to see what happens in Part 2. I want to avoid spoilers but basically… the ending of Part 1 is a big deal and leaves a lot of questions up in the air. Marvel is going to have to really play this one right otherwise I think the next Avengers movie will be the beginning of the end of this whole superhero craze. A lot of people are starting to get sick of it already (myself included) but seriously I’m not sure how they will fix the problem. They’ve already shown that the infinity gauntlet can reverse time and bend reality and stuff like that, not to mention that Doctor Strange had a whole bunch of reality bending stuff in that movie that could easily be used to just “undo” the ending… but if they go that route, they seriously will mess up their entire universe. Anything that feels like a retcon (giving us new information that erases or changes what we’ve previously understood) or a deus ex machina (something showing up in the last minute out of nowhere to save everything) will seriously ruin the franchise at this point. Also they have to be careful when it involves bringing back the dead because it has the potential to totally destroy all semblance of “stakes” in the universe. I really think the next Avengers movie will either breathe new life into the franchise or COMPLETELY destroy its credibility. I can’t wait.

Second thing I’ve been thinking about is a thing I read about on a freelance writing website about using a personal blog as an advertisement for writing services. I’ve included little blurbs at the end of certain posts but there might be a more effective way to utilize this blog. As my car payments keep coming and my student loan payments are fast approaching, I need to start raking in some extra cash so I might be experimenting with this blog to make it more… monetizable. One website said to add a page specifically like “If you want to hire me” that has all of the info potential employers would need. Another said to add tags that are search engine optimized so that more people will find the posts through google and things like that.

I’m going to research more and try to make it work. Otherwise I’m probably going to have to find a 2nd job on evenings and weekends and then I’ll die of exhaustion. My normal full-time job already leaves me pretty wiped out by the end of the week, I’m not sure I’ll be able to handle a week that doesn’t have an end. Also then I’ll have no writing time and that will definitely mean that university was a waste of time. But I’m going to stay optimistic and try to be creative and see what I can drum up in the next few months.

Anyway, that’s what is going on with me. Hope you enjoyed it. Thanks for reading.

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My Top 5 Superhero Movies

I finally saw Avengers: Infinity War last night and while I thought it was alright, it definitely wasn’t one of my favourites. Here are my top 5 Superhero movies and the reasons why they really resonate with me personally. Enjoy!

5) Iron Man (2008)

The first official movie of Marvel Studios, Iron Man really knocks it right out of the park in terms of setting the standard for this whole wave of superhero movies. Robert Downey Jr. is perfectly cast as Tony Stark and his smug sarcastic arrogance contrasts really well with his emotional moments to showcase the arc of the character. That character arc is one of the reasons why this movie is so great. Tony’s carefree rich person lifestyle melts away when he realizes the blood that is on his hands from selling these weapons and he has to wrestle with what he should be doing to make amends.

Favourite Scene – 

This scene so perfectly captures Tony Stark’s personality and his banter that make his chemistry with the other characters so loveable. It also plays with old trope of the superhero secret identities and goes in a radically different direction, showing that these are a different kind of superhero movie.

4) Batman Begins (2005)

Christopher Nolan is one of my favourite directors and his first take on Batman is one of the best executed superhero movies of all time. Great characters, great action, and a really great score. The first act where Bruce is training and his backstory is being established is so solid in setting up the characters and the world of this movie while also being interesting and then the second act when he comes back to Gotham is when this shifts into being a great superhero action movie. Nolan is also really great at playing with different themes and in this movie he really explores the ideas of fear and corruption… while also still making a kick butt action movie.

Favourite Scene –

I love this part because it’s like a reverse horror movie where the monster is picking the guys off one by one, except the monster is actually the hero. I also love the homage to the older Batman movies with the line at the end.

3) Superman (1978)

I used to think this movie was super boring, but now I think it is easily one of the greatest superhero movies ever made. It is magical and inspiring in a way that most superhero movies aren’t. Superman just feels so heroic. The score is perfect. Christopher Reeves is an incredible Superman. The movie looks great for its era and has aged fairly well in terms of effects. They really get the character of Superman right. Superman is practically invincible and most Superman movies have him fight somebody that can punch really hard and it kinda misses the whole point of the character. In this movie, Superman isn’t really in any danger but he’s faced with an insurmountable situation where he has many people in danger and this is a Superman who really cares about saving lives.

Favourite Scene –

This scene is a good cross section of the movie. You’ve got the music, Christopher Reeves playing it perfectly, Superman being heroic, and a good touch of that campiness which makes the movie so charming.

2) Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

I love this movie so much. A great space adventure movie with one of the greatest soundtracks of all time and a lot of funny and emotionally touching moments. The thing that really makes this movie work for me is the characters. They are loveable and funny misfits who have good banter, whose diverse personalities escalate situations in hilarious ways, and they slowly grow to love each other. I really consider Guardians to be the continuation of the original Star Wars trilogy.

Favourite Scene

WE. ARE. GROOT.

1) The Dark Knight (2008)

I already said that I love Christopher Nolan and this movie is a big part of the reason why. Not only my favourite comic book movie, but maybe one of my top 3 movies of all time. This movie is so fantastic and I honestly love it so much that I have a hard time explaining why. Incredible score, incredible cast, incredible cinematography… everything about this is just amazing. One thing I really love is how this movie is broken down into like 10 minute scenes with beginnings, climaxes, and conclusions that lead immediately to the next little scene and keeps the movie exciting the entire way through.

Favourite Scene –

I honestly can’t pick one. Joker robbing the bank, Batman saving Rachel at the party, the car chase with the semi, nurse Joker, any of the Harvey Dent scenes, or the ending speech that Gordon gives are all amazing.

Anyway friends, that’s my list. If you’re interested in my full list, I made one on here. Are you also a superhero movie fan? Let me know what some of your favourites are in the comments! Until next time, peace out!

Fake News and Why It’s a Real Problem

When you hear the term “fake news” you probably associate it with an egotistical reality tv star president who doesn’t like that the press are mean to him. The media have a very complicated relationship with that man, talking about him endlessly, while also trying to demonize him as much as possible. Because they were portraying him so unflatteringly, he responded by calling them all “fake news”. But he accidentally touched on a problem that I think a lot of people with the majority of the media.

I’ve actually been thinking about this for the past 5 or 6 years now. The media has become so unreliable in the stories they prioritize, the stories they choose not to report, and the way they sway our culture into believing things that aren’t necessarily true. I want to talk about the problem of fake news and how it has gotten to this point.

1) Filling 24 Hours

As the news shifted from being a once or twice daily broadcast to being an entire 24 hour news cycle, the entire way the news was being presented had to change. Even if you reported on every newsworthy story throughout the world during a day, if you stick to just the facts then it still wouldn’t fill 24 hours and the average person tends not to care too much about what’s going on on the other side of the planet. Not only that, but really important stories had to be talked about over and over again so that people just tuning in would hear it first on your station. But if you’re just saying the same thing over and over, then the viewer might watch for a few minutes before changing the station. So how do you talk about the same event constantly for hours, without it being the same content the entire time? Well you get interviews with people who are only tangentially attached, you bring in experts on subjects to speculate, and you bring up any possible contributing factors (including video game usage, social media, previous weather phenomena… whatever could be connected) even if they really have no influence on the event.

2) Always Breaking

The news networks always want to be the first ones reporting the story… even if they don’t have the full details of the story. Take an event like Columbine. CNN’s highest ratings came from that event, but the first 3 hours the school was on lockdown and CNN had no solid facts. So they would just speculate on what they thought was happening and any time a stray fact would come up, they would report it endlessly. People really want to know why kids would do that and then a reporter hears someone say “Trenchcoat mafia” and then they run with it. They don’t bother to check if those kids actually had anything to do with it. I’ll never forget the Boston Marathon bombing, they pulled up Jahar’s tweets and started analyzing them to find what they meant… without realizing that he had just been tweeting out lyrics from the song “Forgot About Dre” by Dr. Dre and Eminem.

3) Clickbait and Outrage Shares

At a certain point, online news sources realized that a good percentage of people don’t read past the headline. They also realized that articles with a semi-inflammatory headline gets more shares than something well reasoned and logical. They’ll use sarcastic headlines, purposefully misleading headlines, or seemingly bigoted headlines all the time. All because they know that a good chunk of people are going to react to it and give them more traffic to their site.

4) Narrative Driven

There used to be a lot of accusations (actually there still are) that the news sources are racist or sexist or otherwise bigoted. The news would constantly report on crime committed by racial minorities on white people and often ignore stories where a person of colour was the victim. This fit their close-minded narratives. More recently, things have shifted but they still like to drive narratives. This is too big of a topic to just be a little list item, but I seriously feel that a large portion of racial tension in america is driven by the way the media chooses their stories and how they present those stories.

5) Opinions Over Facts

I don’t know for sure why this shift happened. There’s this postmodern idea that the objective truth is impossible to know because we all filter everything we see through our subjective experience, so it’s impossible to be objective and it’s dishonest to claim objectivity. Maybe that had an influence. Or maybe it is just that an opinion piece gets shared more than a piece focused on the facts. Whatever the case, most news is not an attempt to report the facts as accurately as possible, but instead the opinion of the reporter based on the facts as they understand them. Instead of presenting the facts and letting the viewer decide, they decide and try to impart that judgment on to the viewer.

 

I honestly think these are some of the biggest problems with our society. People are so reactionary to what they hear, so when they are hearing false facts… it creates entirely new problems while the actual problems remain unsolved. Also it becomes incredibly difficult to be an active and engaged citizen when you aren’t properly informed of what’s going on. My only recommendation is to use as much discernment, common sense, and skepticism as possible when coming across any news item. Don’t read anything uncritically. If something sounds wrong, research into it. A lot of journalists are acting like their industry “dying” is harmful to the people, but at the same time, I think their industry has been poisoning itself.

This is just something that’s been weighing on me for a while and I wanted to write it out to sort through my own thoughts. Let me know in the comments if you agree or disagree. Until next time, peace out.

Snapchat Dysmorphia and Personal Vindication

A few weeks ago, I wrote a tweet about how I didn’t like the new Snapchat filters because they distort the facial features in a way that is inhumanly pretty. Like the old filters were funny or cute, but the newer ones actually distort facial structure while still being subtle enough that people try to pass them off as real selfies. I had just been seeing a lot of my friends on various social media posting these pictures and something just struck me as bad or maybe even unhealthy about these pictures because they are really a subtle distortion of reality.

A couple of people jumped on me for my tweet accusing me of being misogynistic. Though I definitely didn’t mention gender in the post whatsoever (I think the exact wording of which was like “I don’t like the new snapchat filters. They distort faces so much I can barely remember what my friends’ actual faces look like”), people drew connections with the type of guys who complain about makeup being fake and stuff like that. I thought it was a misunderstanding and I tried to explain myself and only made the people even more angry with me. I deleted the tweet, worried that I had said something accidentally offensive.

But then I saw an article this morning talking about how cosmetic surgeons and dermatologists are concerned with the amount of people trying to come in to get surgeries to look more like their filtered selfies. They’re actually calling it “Snapchat Dysmorphia” based on the popularity of the filters on the app.

This has made me realize two things. First off, I have to stop caving into public pressure. If I’ve thought long and hard about something and have good reason for what I’m thinking, I shouldn’t delete it because it is an unpopular opinion or because it makes some people mad. More often than not, I’ll say something that people disagree with and I’ll back down, but then later I’ll be proven right and I just look like a fool for not standing my ground.

Secondly, why is our society so incredibly narcissistic and appearance obsessed? We’ve become so shallow that we actively defend other people’s right to be shallow. Feminists and other people used to fight against photoshop in magazines because it created beauty standards that are impossible to live up to, but now feminists defend snapchat filters even though they do the exact same thing! Like it’s okay to want to be pretty or whatever but if you’re actually trying to get surgery to look like a snapchat filter, you got your priorities wrong. What matters is your character and your personality. Are you kind? Are you funny? Are you honest? Are you dependable? Are you interesting? Are you smart? Do you challenge yourself? Do you have goals and ambitions? Like… these things matter so much more than looks and it bums me out that the world just brushes all that aside to focus on things that are only skin deep.

Anyway I just saw that article this morning and this mini-rant just sort of bubbled up naturally. If you got thoughts on this subject definitely jump into the comments! Until next time, my friends!

Youtube Dreams

Hey everybody. This is going to be a pretty short update.

I have a ton of ideas that I could do posts on right now but I feel like some of the topics would be better done as a long-form essay and then I decided, “hey why not do them on youtube?”

I’ve been a fan of youtubers for a while and have thought about doing it myself for years. For a long time I didn’t want to become a youtuber because I didn’t know how video editing worked, and then during my film classes I learned how to do video editing but my little computer just can’t handle decent editing software. But then lately I’ve been watching a few different channels that discuss movies and stuff just like… sitting in front of a camera and talking. Some of them have a group of people joking around about the movies, but others just have one person talking directly to the camera about it. And even though it sounds boring (at least it always did to me) I actually find them quite entertaining when the person does it right.

And I think I’m going to try my hand at it. I mean I’m still kinda brainstorming right now and talking about it on here is part of my way of formulating the idea but I have an idea for my first video and I’ve started to write the script. I think I’m going to do it about “Why DC Cinematic Universe Could Have Been Better Than Marvel (and how they failed)” and talk about all the strengths that I feel DC has and how they’ve consistently messed it up at every turn. I feel like now with the recent release of the “Titans”, “Aquaman”, and “Shazam” trailer it is the perfect time to talk about the ways in which DC keeps messing up and get in a few good laughs at Justice League, BvS, and Suicide Squad, but also I’m going to try not to be too negative about it and really enforce the idea that I think they could be good.

Anyway, that’s my plan for right now. I’m still writing the script. If I decide that it just won’t work as a youtube video or that my computer can’t handle even the light amount of editing a video like that would need, then I may just split it up into parts and do it as a series of posts on here. I’m really tired right now and going through a lot of personal drama that I can’t really post about online, but I just wanted to check in and update the blog so I thought I might as well tell you what I’ve been working on.

Peace out friends hope you have a great week!

Motivation

“How do I motivate myself?”

This is a question I’ve been asking a lot lately. There are so many things I want to get done and I feel like if I were to only work harder in certain areas, I could see my life drastically improve, but yet… I still lack the motivation to actually do it. I think about my goals and I think about what success might look like but I’ll still waste my free time on youtube or video games. Lately I’ve even thinking a lot about the consequences of failure (if I don’t start making extra money, I will lose my car and maybe even one day go bankrupt… and if I don’t start exercising/eating better I will have a heart attack and die) but those thoughts just kinda bum me out and don’t spur me forward.

Part of the problem I realize has more to do with time and energy than with actual motivation. There are plenty of days when I want to write or go to the gym or whatever but by the time I get off work, I just collapse on the couch and can barely muster the willpower to turn on my Playstation. Other days I’ll turn on a youtube video while I eat my supper and then hit next video, and next video, and before I know it its like midnight and I have to go to work in 8 hours.

A couple of ideas that I’ve had this week to help motivate myself has been to set goals with rewards attached. Like one goal is that if I can start making $500 a month in secondary income (writing or whatever) then I will give up one of my evening shifts a week. That way I’ll have more time to get things done, without sacrificing anything financially. You know and if I get up to a $1000 a month, I can maybe drop one of my day shifts a week. I also have multiple projects on the go, several of which will not help me reach any of my goals but I want to do them because they are fun. I’ve decided that in order to work on the fun stuff, I have to work on something of value first. So before working on that DnD campaign I was thinking about, I have to write a blog post first! Stuff like that.

Anyway, my main reason for writing this post was to ask the question, “What do you do to motivate yourself?” I have a lot of friends who work full time and yet still manage to get a lot done outside of that, or friends who work two jobs and still find time to make it to the gym and stuff. How do you do it? For real, let me know in the comments.

Thanks for reading. I am currently getting into freelance writing and if you enjoyed this blog post and would like me to write anything for you or your website, please email me at sfarough@gmail.com. Have a great day, pals!

Brain No Workee Good

Hey pals.

I’ve been trying to write a real post for the last like 5 days but… it just ain’t happening. I feel like every day I’ll have an idea what I want to write but then as soon as I sit down to my laptop I just can’t think. Or else I’ll be so exhausted by the time I’m home at night that I can’t spit out anything creative. This morning I almost wrote something before work but then remembered about some paperwork I had to quickly do before work or else I wouldn’t get paid next week. So this got put on hold haha.

This week hasn’t been terrible, but it also has been pretty bad. There’s a lot going on with my work right now and combine that with bad sleeps, a lack of personal time, a list of stuff at home that keeps piling up for me to do and well… it’s starting to weigh on me. I remember blogging in my early 20’s being posts about exciting things I would do with my friends and now any of my like personal blog posts are just “I’m 31, I work a lot, I’m so very tired”.

I have a couple of ideas I’ve been rattling around the old brain dome that might become posts fairly soon. I’ve got this theory about good days and bad days and the sort of cycles that can be created with how like negative things happening can lead to more negative things happening and it sort of creates a bad loop, and the same is true for good days too. It’s still a very incoherent theory at the moment but I may try to write it out later to get my thoughts in order. The other thing I was thinking about was maybe writing about the paranormal and weird things that I’ve seen and experienced and kinda explore that topic a bit.

But for tonight, I think I’m gonna go to the washroom and then collapse in bed because I am exhausted. Peace out friends!