Friday, February 24, 2017

Doctor Who!

So... My siblings and I recently finished watching the Doctor Who (NuWho) episode The Time of the DoctorUm... My eyes hurt from all the crying I've been doing, I am NOT joking. My sister was practically laughing at me, but I know that she would have been crying too if she had been watching the episode alone, so she should not judge!

Yes, after so many years of judging HEARING about Doctor Who via Pinterest and Tumblr posts and all things Internet, I have finally started watching it with my siblings! And we LOVE IT!

Ok, this is something I have to get out of the way super quickly: due to regional problems, my siblings and I were forced to start watching Doctor Who starting from Series Five (where the Eleventh Doctor era begins). Now, before you started screaming about the crime of skipping the Ninth and Tenth Doctor, let me continue explaining: in Malaysia, where we live, Netflix only has Series Five up to Series Eight. So we had no choice but to start from Series Five.
My Doctor Who expert friend was absolutely aghast when I told him about this. Don't worry though, we're planning to fix our VPN so we can watch the first four seasons of the show, AFTER we finish the era of the Eleventh Doctor. Which we have. SO OFF TO THE NINTH DOCTOR WE GO!

Anyway, even though we started out watching the Doctor Who rather late into the show, we found the series to be surprisingly easy to follow. Sure, there were some references and continuity notes we probably missed (though my sister probably knows about them because she looks up spoilers on the wiki), but I found it rather easy to follow. Especially considering the fact that I started a bit later than the rest of my family - they watched the first two episodes of Series Five WITHOUT ME.

My siblings gave me the super short version of what had been happening in the first two episodes: Doctor crashes TARDIS in the backyard of a little girl, promises to come back for her in five minutes, overshoots his goal by twelve years, brings the now grown-up girl (Amy Pond) with him on his adventures on the night before her wedding, bla bla bla, something about Prisoner Zero. Oh yeah, and there's a Crack in a Wall that keeps on showing up.

I. LOVE. WATCHING. THIS. SHOW! Oh my word! The stories are super fun, super exciting, and often kinda freaky; the over-arching stories are incredibly intriguing; AND THE FEELS ARE OH SO REAL. And the characters, OH MY WORD THE CHARACTERS!!!

I'll be honest, I was kind of afraid of going back and watching Nine and Ten because I had gotten so attached to the characters during the Eleventh Doctor era. The Eleventh Doctor is such a charming, all around goofy and fun character with a devastating dark side, and I love him! His random non sequitur-ish lines are hilarious, as is his basic misunderstanding of certain aspects of human culture. He's very, very easy to empathize with (or maybe that's just me and my general over-emotionality), and thus is a large part of the reason why I have a growing list of 'Doctor Who Episodes that I Cried At'. Whenever his darker side is revealed, it never fails to give me chills while making my heart clench at the same time. On a brighter note, his childishness never fails to make me smile like an idiot, and I love his relationship with Amy and Rory.

Amy and Rory... Oh my word, I love these character so freakin' much and I don't think I'll ever be able to recover from the intense grief I felt when they left. I loved the familial dynamic they had with the Doctor AND I LOVED THEIR RELATIONSHIP! OH MY WORD! I'm not a very shippy person - my ship list has only seven pairings or less on it - but I've never felt more giddy about a relationship since, I dunno, Nate and Elena from Uncharted. Honestly, I could go on forever on how much I love Amy and Rory and exactly why I love them and how much I loved watching their characters and relationship develop, but that would take quite awhile, so...

[chooses screencap from an episode I haven't seen yet because I'm too lazy to do otherwise]
River Song was awesome, but honestly, if you want to hear some real gushing about River Song, you should turn to my sister. She LOVES River and as labeled her as one of her most favourite characters in anything ever (a position that has only been held by Prowl from Transformers up until now). Seriously though, I love River. She is a fascinating character, and I find her story so SAD. I know what's coming by the time we start watching the Tenth Doctor (thanks, Internet) and it hurts me.

Anyhoo, this post is almost six months overdue. In fact, by the time I actually finished writing it, we already finished watching Nine and Ten. So... prepare for some posts about that - I have plans to make posts about what Doctor Who episodes made me cry and why they made me cry. So that'll be fun. (Assuming I ever get around to them).


Friday, September 2, 2016

Transformers Prime AMV: On Top of the World

So... seeing as I have been rather inactive lately (and I promise I have a few good excuses for that), I have decided to share one of my most favourite AMVs ever. Transformers Prime AMV: On Top of the World, by RintinDestiny on YouTube.
Words can hardly express how much I love this AMV. The scene choices and the timing for each scene is perfect, as is the song choice. It somehow expresses everything I love about Transformers Prime. Heck, I'd even say it made me love Transformers Prime even more than I did before. Check it out. It's awesome.
By the by, does anyone know what AMV means? Cause I sure don't.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Enjoyment in Spite of Flaws

So, no doubt you guys recall that Thoughts on Robots in Disguise post from not too long ago (one of many these past few months). I ended the post saying that even though the show isn't really that great, it's still ok to enjoy it and love it, despite its flaws. I also ended it with a note telling everyone who doesn't like Robots in Disguise to please be polite when voicing their dislike.
Funnily enough, the whole reason I wrote that post was so I could give that ending note. See, not long before I started writing the post, I read a really harsh review on Robots in Disguise and it really discouraged me. While I aknowledged that the show had flaws and still enjoyed it in spite of its flaws, this reviewer appeared to outright DESPISE the show due to its flaws. A creeping doubt entered my mind: again, I knew that RiD had flaws, but this reviewer was so vehement in their dislike of the show, that to began to wonder if it was really all right to enjoy the show when they hated it so much, especially since I agreed with some of their complaints.
This really weighed on me for a while. I felt like I had to justify my enjoyment of Robots in Disguise. "I KNOW it's got flaws! The story is a little clunky and it's not as good as Transformers Prime, but the characters are so enjoyable to watch and I can't help but love it!" It really didn't help that, at the time, I was going through a lot of emotional ups-and-downs.
However, this doubt and worry was soon taken away after an absolutely amazing and incredibly encouraging answer to my dilemma from babycharmander on Tumblr. You can read said answer below or read the original post here, and don't worry, I'm reposting it with her permission.


Do you ever love something, like a toon or game, but the you read a review that bashes it for understandable reasons, and/or bash it for things that make up why you love it so much? And then you wonder, "is it right for me to love this thing so much when this person seems to hate it and brings up good reasons for hating it"? If you do know what this feels like, do you know a way to get past it or something…? Just wondering…
- Anonymous

WELP you came to the right person, friend, ‘cuz you basically described like, a good chunk of the stuff I love. :P
(oh gosh this got really long I’m sorry)
I will have to preface this by saying that I have dealt with people hating on nearly everything I love (sometimes because they honestly hated it, sometimes because I specifically liked it) for my entire life, and I have kindof had to build up an immunity to stuff like this because if I felt bad for liking things or stopped liking things just ‘cuz of what other folks said, I would like nothing and be utterly miserable. This is something I’ve had to learn to deal with over the course of my whole life.
BUT I think you can still learn to live with this kind of stuff! So let’s see…
Something you love got bashed for understandable reasons! Okay, so what are those reasons?
Is the thing you love bashed because maybe it has dialogue that’s poorly written or poorly acted, or maybe it’s a game that’s full of glitches, or maybe because it has plot holes? If that’s the case, you’ll just have to accept that the thing you like is flawed. Which applies to most things! All creative works are flawed in one way or another because they are created by humans, who are flawed by nature. The thing is, a creative work is not necessarily bad because it is flawed. It can still have good things in it that outweighs those flaws.
Like, okay, specific example–I hear Labyrinth get bashed because some of the acting might be bad. Is it? …I don’t really know because I’ve watched the move 500000 times and can probably quote it word-for-word. The point is, I DON’T CARE! The movie has a great story and great characters and great music and great atmosphere and a great moral and great practical effects and who cares if maybe the acting isn’t perfect because that doesn’t change the fact that EVERYTHING ELSE ABOUT THE MOVIE ROCKS.
Another specific example–Pokemon Red! A lot of folks like to be all cynical because ooooh the first gen games are so glitchy and poorly balanced and have such bad graphics and they’re so bad and ~you should feel bad for liking old video games ooooh~ but who cares man, that doesn’t change the fact that I still get a rush of nostalgia from playing a game that I enjoyed as a kid. Is the game flawed? Yeah, but I can still have fun playing it.
So basically–if the thing you like is bashed because it’s flawed, and like, legit flawed, then just shrug and say “okay, but that shouldn’t stop me from loving it because it still has X Y and Z great things that I love about it!!”
Now, moving on–is the thing you love bashed because it has problems for moral reasons? If so, that’s a tougher case, but I believe what I said previously still applies.
For example, I love the Oz books, but unfortunately they have instances of blatant racism in them. They were written in the early 1900s–blatant racism was kindof a thing back then. There’s no getting around that. L. Frank Baum wrote some pretty bad stuff. BUT the Oz books still have some great stuff in them–great characters, great character design, amazingly creative (if incredibly flawed and inconsistent) worldbuilding, and so on. The parts that contain racism are bad–you cannot defend those parts and you can’t really get around that. But that also doesn’t change the fact that the rest of his story is still pretty great.
More recent example–One Piece. Oh gosh the sexism. Oda is very sexist and it sucks a lot and I really hope he realizes how awful that is and changes someday. BUT One Piece still has an incredible story and incredible characters and incredible worldbuilding and incredible humor and so on. Yes, some parts of it are sexist, but that doesn’t mean the rest of it isn’t amazing.
Like, honestly? If you looked close enough at literally any creative work, you could find SOMETHING morally wrong with it, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t like the thing. If something is morally wrong, acknowledge it, understand why it is wrong, move on, and continue liking the thing. An exception would be like, if the thing was made specifically to defend or support a really awful thing (like say, if for whatever horrible reason the entire reason the story was made was to defend racism or something???) then I might step back and think long and hard about if you should support something like that. Otherwise, as I said, keep liking the thing.
OKAY, moving on–something you like got bashed over the stuff that made you like it! Well, crap. That’s definitely gonna make you feel bad.
This is also a thing I’ve encountered! I LOVE the video game Cubivore: Survival of the Fittest because it’s weirdly violent, over-the-top quirky, oddly cute, and flat-out different. But in nearly every review I see for it, it gets bashed for how weird and quirky and nonsensical it is!
Same with the movie Return to Oz. I love it because it’s dark and because it’s closer to the books and isn’t afraid to scare kids and uses different characters that other Oz stories tend to neglect–and those are the reasons a lot of people HATE that movie.
In this case, you’re going to have to accept the fact that you like different things, and that your tastes vary greatly from mainstream stuff. Not everyone’s gonna like the things you like. It sucks, but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t like those things!
Now, this is something I’m still learning, and if you like stuff that tends to get bashed a lot, you’ll have to learn this too–don’t watch or read the reviews. Say a new review for Return to Oz crops up in the tag. Maybe there’s a chance the person will be praising it, and that would be cool, but there’s a far greater chance that the person is gonna be bashing it and whining about how it’s too scary and too different from the musical. Sometimes I’ll have to step back and say “you know what, it’s not worth it–if it turns out to be a negative review I’m just going to get upset and angry, and there’s nothing to be gained in that. I like the thing and I’m happy with the thing, and the fact that someone else doesn’t like the thing should not affect my own happiness. Instead of wasting my time listening to someone else’s negativity, I’ll do something else instead.”
Of course a lot of times I just give into the temptation and read/listen to/watch the review anyway and wind up regretting it later. LEARN FROM MY MISTAKE! Ignore the review, ESPECIALLY if you KNOW it’s going to be negative!
In short–know that some people are not only going to not like some of the things you love–they may hate it. But that should not impact your own happiness. The fact that someone else hates something you love–even if it’s for a good reason!–does not mean that you should not love that thing. Acknowledge that the thing you like is flawed, and continue to celebrate the areas where it excels. Acknowledge that the thing you like may have moral problems and understand why they are moral problems, and continue to enjoy the positive parts of it. Understand that some people may outright hate the thing you love, and continue loving that thing.
99.99999999% of the time, there is nothing wrong with loving the thing you love. Please don’t let the opinions and views of others harm your own enjoyment and happiness.


So there you have it. I hope babycharmander knows just how much this answer encouraged me. After I read it, I decided to up and make my own 'review' of Robots in Disguise, one that allowed me to aknowledge its flaws, but also let me gush about how much I enjoy the show in spite of its flaws.
Sooo… Yeah. I'm terrible at writing conclusions. Honestly, everything that could be said here has already been said in babycharmander's post. Most of the time, there is nothing wrong with enjoying a flawed cartoon, book, game, or whatever. Aknowledge that its got flaws, and then list all the things you love about it, and don't let other people bring you down because of it.

Monday, July 11, 2016

My strange thoughts on the UK leaving the EU

[WARNING: Prepare to read the ramblings of an amateur writer who knows nothing about politics]

I'm not sure if I've ever said this, but I hate politics. Especially American politics, because they make little to no sense to me. I could talk a lot about how much I dislike American politics. In general though, I just really don't like politics, American or otherwise. I especially hate it when the politics of other countries (be it France, America, or whatever) start taking the world by storm, because then there is no way I can avoid the thousands of links and memes surrounding the whole political drama.
However, the whole recent thing with the United Kingdom leaving the European Union has been… interesting. I mean, I know nothing about the events leading up to the disunion (something about the government not wanting to deal with the immigrants that came with the union), but it has been made clear to me that this event is huge.
Before the disunion, I was already hearing tons of drama surrounding the presidential election in America and absolutely hating it. Largely because the amount of drama was actually starting to stress me out. I was, and still am, under the impression that one wrong choice in this election could bring about a terrible, world changing event. Possibly the end of the world. I'm sure many people, Americans or otherwise, legitimately feel this way.
But when I heard about the UK's disunion form the EU, now THAT made me feel like I was living in a world changing event. It took me a long time, and my own strange thought process to realize just how big this event is.
See, lately my mind has been flooded with tons of story ideas and concepts. I could talk a lot about how much of a problem that has been for me, but that's for another time. Anyway, one of the concepts that's fascinated me is alternate takes on history. Things like steampunk kind of fall into this category, but I'm thinking more broadly. Basically, what if one big thing in history had been changed? How would this effect the world from then on, what kind of interesting settings would such a big change create? Things like this have me fascinated, and so lately my mind has been coming up with all sorts of 'what ifs' in history.
What if Napoleon had won? What if India had succeeded in winning its independence from the British Empire? What if someone besides George Washington was America's first president? What if Prussia was still on the map? I could go on, but then I'd start getting paranoid that someone will steal one of my ideas. Anyway, it's stuff like this that I think about. I either take a certain event in history and change the outcome, or I sometimes take a certain historical setting (i.e. Canada during the 1930s) and throw in an unexpected, and often kinda stupid, factor that would certainly change history from then on (i.e. an epidemic caused a brief zombie apocalypse in Canada, but was squashed thanks to help from Greenland).
So it was when I was thinking up these things when I heard about the UK leaving the EU. And though I could only think, "Wow. I'm not exactly sure what that means yet, but that sounds big," after a while I started to realize that this was something that this is totally something I would have thought up for an alternate take on history.
'What if Britain left the European Union?'
And strangely enough, that's what succeeded in bringing home to me how big this whole event really is. I still don't understand it exactly, but I do understand that as a result Britain is floundering, Scotland is probably even more unhappy about being a part of the United Kingdom, and the whole world is practically shaking right now. I CAN TELL I'M LIVING OUT A CHAPTER OF HISTORY AND IT'S HONESTLY KIND OF FRIGHTENING.