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Coheed and Cambria: pictures of the Neverender IKSSE:3 show at House of Blues!

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This was my first House of Blues concert and man. I’ve been a fan of Coheed and Cambria since I was a teenager. Seeing them live was the highlight of my year so far. They played all my favorite songs, the light show was amazing, and the crowd was surprisingly cool. My husband took all of these, even the .gifs. Phones are amazing these days.

What’s your favorite concert memory?

Ever read a Cormac McCarthy book? About a boy, his dad, and a shopping cart.

Otherwise known as a buggie in these here parts.

We had to read The Road in my English class, which is basically a dystopia/apocalypse oriented section. Neat overall but man. Cormac McCarthy. I pine for commas in prose after reading him. And unicorns, rainbows, and other assorted happy things. And Viggo as Aragorn. Since I watched some of movie adaptation a long time ago, he’s the dude I heard and saw instead of “the dad” while reading this thing.

Yes, I’m shoving in as much punctuation as possible because I’m a mature and logical human being! Just saying.

I did learn a lot from reading it at least. Narrative styles, how much you can say with bare bones word usage (even if it got repetitive) and periods, and how to create a feeling of pointlessness. That one McCarthy has down real well. Really.

That being said, I feel I’m better off for having read his work. Except for the fact that the dude needs to learn how to write a female character that isn’t a bitch or “swollen” with pregnancy. Just saying. Again.

Periods provide emphasis. You probably knew that, I’m just being a silly at this point.

Anyway! What about y’all? Do you like McCarthy? If so, which book(s)?

Hey look! I’m not dead

Nobody remembers me promising to update more often, right? Right. Good. Because it’s been months.

The brief run-down

Classes started, summer ended, it started raining a lot, my lit class this semester revolves around the dystopian and apocalyptic genres so I’m a happy camper. Also desperately trying to get through my final math class — then no graded math for the rest of my freaking life. Hallelujah.

Ahem. What else?

This semester is helping me less socially awkward. Two classes require a presentation and discussions so sitting quietly with my head down isn’t an option. Freaked me out at first but I’m trying to see it as a growing thing.

Book updates!

Dominant Race needs some final editing touch-ups then it’ll be re-released by the end of the month or early October. I thought I could do both school and writing daily, but this semester laughed that notion out of the room pretty quickly. Still! DR will get done this year. And the rest will be produced faster. That’s my promise.

Nobody remember that one either, okay? Just in case…

So how’s life?

Playable vs Non-Playable Female Leads: One Writer’s Opinion

What’s this? Opinions? For shame!

I know I don’t normally throw my opinion around on the internet anymore, but I’ve decided to try and be a little more opinionated and true to myself on the internet in general, sooooo yeah! I have a pretty damn strong opinion about video games and female leads. So when PBS Game Show did a video on the greatest females in gaming history, I was a little surprised by the comments. (I know, I know, it’s Youtube but still.) Then I realized there’s a huge issue with playable vs non-playable female characters that people get conflated.

Some context

I’m a gamer and a woman that has never been well represented by any media, really; I’m large, broad, and have strong, almost mannish facial features. Women like me are always told we aren’t beautiful or good enough for whatever reason. We’re not skinny enough, we’re not typically beautiful. It’s no bueno. But that’s not the point.

The point is that female representation in video games is pretty terrible. If a woman is even in it, she’s often the damsel or a quest point. She isn’t the main character. I can’t step into her shoes. She isn’t playable.

Playable characters: it’s their story we’re experiencing

Why does that matter? Some of the coolest female leads in gaming have been non-playable! Zelda or her Shiek incarnation (not counting Super Smash Bros.), Cortana, a LOT of characters throughout the Final Fantasy series. You get your representation there! They’re badass!

Ignoring the fact that most of those women are overly sexualized anyway, a woman playing said video game won’t be in Zelda’s shoes. Zelda’s part of the story, namely Link’s. They’ll come to love Zelda, yes, but the game isn’t from her perspective. How Link deals with things isn’t how Zelda might (wouldn’t that be cool to see).  Cortana is Master Chief’s support in all things and she never wavers, but that is Master Chief’s story, not Cortana’s. And you know what? That’s fine. Seriously, I don’t want all games to be ALL ABOUT WOMEN FOREVAR.

But women need to have playable characters they can relate to — women of all types and sizes and attitudes and personalities. But mostly if we can’t get that then at least more female playable leads. The perspective of a woman as the main character is worthwhile, and while their gender really shouldn’t be a factor (rather the story itself), it is important because women are purposefully excluded as leads in games by designers.

Experiencing a story from a woman’s perspective is worthwhile

Women being represented in games matters  now more than ever — AKA there’s a lot of us that play games. Some of the NPCs will always be compelling, yes. Again, there’s nothing wrong with that. We need damsels, fighters, mothers, sisters, all the female types under the sun.

But why not have more female leads? There’s seriously no legitimate reason at this point.

Women make up somewhere around 40% of the gaming populace these days. It’d be nice to be able to play as one for a change, and that’s important. Yes, there’s Tomb Raider (I hear the new one is pretty damn good too) and Mass Effect’s Femshep. Samus Aran is another go-to example I often get. There’s also a good number of other RPGs that allow for female leads.

All of that is great. I’m not discounting the female playable leads (or the NPCs) that do exist. But it’s not enough. Not nearly 40%. That may sound demanding, but I think the gaming industry is up to it, and should be given how many of their buyers are women.

Stay thy rage! This isn’t a feminist rant

It’s more a matter of I’d like to see more female playable characters so I can connect to more of the plots. Because there’s a lot of times I’m just not able. Not all women have this problem. A lot of women can play dudes no problem, but there are also those (like me) that can’t always do that. And the fact that we still have developers like Ubisoft claiming putting women in a game would double their workload is pretty bad. There won’t be a single female playable character in their new multiplayer game and that should say a lot, especially given the stink it caused for them (at least on social media; not sure how much it actually affected them, but they did become a funny meme).

In short: balance please

Having a solid variety of female playable and non-playable characters would be great, rather than the majority being non-playable. Since the amount of women playing games has increased to the size it is now, their representation in the games they play should be higher too. Simple!

Also, just because a game doesn’t have a female lead doesn’t mean it sucks or something. There are many types of games and stories in said games, and that’s awesome. Just needs more female playable characters! But that’s just my opinion. Feel free to comment about it.

Summer movies you should go see

I’ve always liked putting up reviews of books or movies or games that I love, but honestly? Most of the time I don’t want to piss anyone off or accidentally spoil something. SO I’m doing something a little different this time.

A lot of movies came out back-to-back lately. Lucky me, since all of them were amazing. Here are the ones you HAVE to see if you’re a bit geeky like I am, in no particular order:

How To Train Your Dragon 2

If you’re anywhere near Tumblr then you’d already know about this one, and the fact that Hiccup got a bazillion times hotter the second he hit twenty. This movie is better than the original, which is saying something since most sequels fall short of their parents.

Hiccup and Co. are back and there are more dragons involved this time around. It’s really hard to describe the movie without spoiling anything, but let’s just say there’s a few new characters, one of which is a jerk that is trying to control dragons for not-so-great reasons. Apparently voiced by Djimon Honsou, one of my favorite actors of all time.

As with the previous film, this one doesn’t pull its punches either. Be prepared to feel things. It’s worth it.

Godzilla

Out of all of these, this one is probably the one I questioned actually putting on this list. Why? Because the actors aren’t so great, and Bryan Cranston isn’t in nearly as much of the film as I expected or hoped for.

That being said, the fandom either loved it or hated it. A lot of people will tell you that Godzilla never got much screen time, but because the acting of the main human counterparts was so boring and stale, you really felt that time in between in this one.

STILL, the MUTOs were awesome and Godzilla looked amazing. Well worth seeing that behemoth at the movies, even if Japan thinks he’s gotten a little chubby in his American redo. Also I added in the poster because it’s a pretty freaking awesome poster.

X-Men: Days of Future Past

BRYAN SINGER IS BACK. WE CAN ALL GO ON ACTING LIKE X-MEN 3 NEVER HAPPENED. I LIKE IT THIS WAY. THE END.

(Seriously though, go see it if you liked the original two movies or grew up with them like I did — dating myself a bit there. Quicksilver is also a fun little character worth experiencing too, and the Last Stand actors for Mystique and Magneto and Professor X really add to everything.)

Edge of Tomorrow

This one has Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt in it. It’s a scifi, not unlike Cruise’s other one, Oblivion (not of the Elder Scrolls variety). It’s based off a Japanese novel/manga called All You Need Is Kill, and yes it’s been whitewashed. BUT this movie and its original are VERY different.

Edge of Tomorrow definitely gives homage to Starship Troopers and video games in general, oddly. It is also very humorous. It plays on the whole you can live and die repeatedly and restart the day over and over in surprisingly lighthearted ways. It’s not the dark thing that All You Need Is Kill. And I like it for that, since I’m kind of tired of all the dark and gritty truths. I’m an escapist at heart, I guess, and this is just pure fun.

The love bit also doesn’t exactly turn out the way it normally would, and I respect the movie more for it. Basically what I’m saying is go see it. Give the movie some love.

Maleficent

I saved the best for last. Seriously, I can’t talk enough about how amazing this movie is. We watched it twice and adored every second of it.

Angelina Jolie is a perfect Maleficent, and Elle Fanning makes me not hate Aurora and does the simple and pure but not stupid and shallow thing really well.

This is VERY different from the original Sleeping Beauty, and all for the better in my opinion. It definitely paints Maleficent in a more sympathetic, anti-hero light (which did disappoint some) but honestly, I didn’t know I wanted that until I sat my bum in that theater chair and saw it. Do the same, yeah? This one also deserves lots of love and attention.

What are your favorite summer movies so far? Which ones are you looking forward to seeing?