athenaltena: (Bored)
I should be in bed right now, but I had a thought. Those are quite annoying when it comes to wanting to sleep, but oh well.

I follow a comic where one particular character has gained a fairly large fanbase and a large amount of sympathy, but the creator did not intend for this and has made this abundantly clear. He says that the character lost all of her redeeming traits over time and that she wasn't supposed to be sympathetic, and he calls out the people who treat her sympathetically. Recently he updated the first chapter she appears in and made her negative traits come out much more obviously, and to me it just affirmed what I thought of the character from the start, mainly that she's an immature, whiny bitch who pushed away anyone who might have helped her and pretty much got what was coming to her.

But here's the thing: The people who like the character are angry that he did this, and seem to think that he doesn't know his own character and what she's "really" like. This strikes me as very odd and very entitled because he created the damn character and just because what he writes doesn't match up with someone's personal version of who she is doesn't mean that he's wrong.

I've been thinking about my own antagonist, and if people do sympathize with them I will be horrified because it will honestly be missing the point of who this person is and why they do what they do, so I can understand why this author reacted the way he did to people taking his character and casting her in a light he didn't intend. I know back when Harry Potter was being published there was (and still is) a large subset of people who idolize characters like Draco Malfoy who, let's be honest, are pricks or worse, and JK Rowling had pretty much the same reaction of "WTF is wrong with you people?!"

So my question is this: What "rights" does a creator have over their character, and on the flipside, what do the fans have, if anything, and do they have the right to say that the author's interpretation is less valid than their own? That's not to say that you can't tell someone that they did not write a character well or consistently, it's more whether the fans have the right to say that they know the "real" version as opposed to the person who created them.
athenaltena: (thoughtful Fuuma)
I didn't realize that today was the anniversary of the Gettysburg Address until I saw a blurb on a website, but it's appropriate given some of the stuff I've been doing and thinking about.

I'm in a Civil War history class this semester, and we watched part of the movie Gettysburg over a few days with the last scene on Wednesday. That class included the sequence of Pickett's Charge, which for those who don't know was probably one of the worst moves in military history and had over 6000 casualties on the Confederate side. It's largely considered to be the high water mark of the Civil War for the South, since after that they were never able to field that many men at once again and were largely on the defense from there on it. It was like Stalingrad in WWII in that the fact that it was the turning point didn't become clear until later (though the movie implies that Lee knew it right after the battle).

What really hit me is that they actually had enough reenactors in the movie to have the full 12,500 men who made the charge on camera, and it was quite the site. What really hit me is that it allows you to see just how many people that really was, and since we as humans only have a certain number of people we can imagine at once we look at a number like 12,500 and our minds go blank imagining what that really looks like. That's more than twice people than have died on the American side in the entire Iraq war. One thing the movie does really well is emphasize that all the people who died were Americans, adn that it really was a horrible war in that it caused Americans to kill other Americans by the thousands. It's been almost 150 years and we can still feel the effects.

The class was very quiet after the end, and I'm still thinking about it a few days later.

This song by the wonderful David Gray popped into my head as I was thinking about the movie, perhaps due to some of the lyrics.
athenaltena: (Rider)
So I realized something recently.

Good God, I'm bony. This actually came up when I was with Krys, who despite me calling him "Squishy" as a term of endearment is actually very bony himself, to the point that when he complains about his weight all the women in the room tell him to shut up (he's more or less a stick). Somehow during our ultimately unsuccessful (on his end) day of searching for apartments we ended up talking about surrogate motherhood.

Yeah, I don't know how we got on that track either. Probably some joke about ovaries/uterus/something of that nature made by me. Anyway, he made some comment about how if I were to do something like that they might actually want me to put more weight on, since despite how I look I'm actually fairly slim, I just have a curvy build and most of my weight is in my legs (specifically thighs) and butt (which according to another friend some women would kill for). I'll sometimes casually mention how much I weigh, at which point I get a shocked expression and a "Where do you keep it?!" Makes sparring fun, though, when people get hit by 20 pounds they weren't expecting.

I've gotten that comment another time when I was wearing a fairly tight (but not skimpy) sweater, which pretty much showed people that yeah, I have a bit of an hourglass figure and big hips, but my waist itself hardly has anything on it. I happen to be wearing a tanktop at the moment (just got back from the gym in the "dungeon", aka 150's sub-basement), and yeah, there's basically just skin in front of my ribs. It's a bit more obvious when you look at my wrists and the structure of my hands, which also don't have much on them.

Not used to thinking of myself that way, but basically, yeah, bony. It's just well disguised.
athenaltena: (thoughtful)
I got back to Western Mass for the trial tomorrow (and no, before you ask, I am not on trial, I am a witness, it's nothing serious, and due to legal issues I can't divulge anything else at the moment) and I was reminded of how jarring it is to go from Tremont St., the very center of Boston where there is always traffic so the sounds of the cars blur into each other, to out here, where you hear each and every car that goes by and it's often dead quiet.

And now, a few minutes ago, another sound you don't hear in Boston: Coyotes. It's been a while since I've heard them, and what a sound it is! I did a quick check to make sure we had both of the furs in here after I heard them, and sure enough they're both in. But still, what a contrast...

Hmm...

Feb. 19th, 2009 10:53 pm
athenaltena: (Bored)
Reading a bit on Montesquieu for my Enlightenment class, and one passage jumped out to me:

It is generally a mistake to base civil laws on religious principles. Religion aims at the perfection of the individual, civil laws at the welfare of society... The civil laws are not an appropriate tool for enforcing religious norms of conduct: God has his own laws, and He is quite capable of enforcing them without our assistance. When we attempt to enforce God's laws for Him, or to cast ourselves as his protectors, we make our religion an instrument of fanaticism and oppression, this is a service to neither God nor country.

The sociologist in me raised an eyebrow at the word "norm" in there, since that wonderful word has the benefit of not imposing a value judgment, it's just descriptive. It is a bit troubling to realize that people got this in the 18th century and we're still arguing about it.

Interestingly, another one of my classes looks at how the Church influenced common law, and despite what some very loud people keep saying about our country being founded on Christian principles, it's true, they were influenced by religion, but even back then they were separate from Church (or Canon) law, and it was recognized even back then that civil law was an entirely different beast, and much of the work back then was about reconciling scripture with science and what had to be done in civil law.

That's actually what I'm writing a paper on later, how despite stuff like silencing Galileo and book burning the Church was actually responsible for creating the systems of scientific inquiry through universities and the like. So as usual it's not nearly as clear cut as people like to assume it is, the Church is not the de facto enemy of science, it's actually the mother of science as we know it. She just occasionally dislikes the ideas her child comes up with and tries to wash his mouth out with soap while sending him to timeout.
athenaltena: (kurama)
Today I found myself lifting a phrase from my philosophy professor (again) this time in another class. She refers to "plooshing" as what happens when you finally get something, and the metaphor she used was how when you have iced tea with a bunch of sugar on top of the ice, at some point the sugar will all fall down, a "ploosh". This professor has a lot of weird metaphors like that (including the "virtue train" to Concord, which is actually a lot deeper than it first appears) and phrases like "little alcohol elves that put mittens on your teeth" though that one had nothing to do with class and was just a random tangent. Needless to say, I love that professor.

So I finally got the point of one of my classes in an "Oh" moment. The class is, in essence, about how our modern economic and law systems originated in the 11th century and a series of Papal decries, and one question that is repeatedly asked is whether federalization is really a good thing. Now considering that I voted Democrat this past election I'm naturally pro-regulation, but this course has gone to suggest that too much restrictive regulation makes way for "clever lawyers" to find loopholes, while more general principles in law make that harder. I started imagining a woven cloth and how something like silk, which while less substantial, has much thinner threads and is more pliable, is actually harder to break through, while a tightly woven thing with thick thread has lots of holes between the fibers. I suddenly got what they meant by the "clever lawyers" exploiting said holes, and the whole course fell together. Now that explanation might not have made sense on here, but I assure you it fell together for me.

So yeah, a "ploosh". I think that's just a good word in general, especially in college coures.
athenaltena: (Possessive)
One thing we've been doing in our Sex and Society class is looking at how modern Americans view relationships, and considering that I'm the early stages of one of my own a lot of what I see other people my age doing frankly pisses me off.

Read more... )

I guess it comes down to the fact that to me relationships are very much about emotional commitment, caring about each other and trusting the other person, and a lot of the behavior I see flies in the face of that.

I just realized the the appropriateness of the song on Pandora. God, that thing reads my mind.
athenaltena: (thoughtful)
I didn't get a chance to write about it last week, but at the Arlington St. Church they played "American the Beautiful" on the bells before the service began, and we sang a similar song (the name of which escapes me) that was very moving, especially since this was before the election.

There was naturally a mood of celebration today, but the point of the sermon delivered by today's speaker Dan Kane was that this isn't the end of this, oh no. "Only we can save ourselves, Obama can just point us in the right direction" was the main gist of it, and he kept going back to that. He also stressed that 46% of America didn't vote for Obama, and if we really want this change to stick we have to reach out to them and resist the urge to inflict the pain and fear that we (meaning Democrats and Political Progressives, most UUs, in other words) have felt for the past 8 years on them in a sort of "revenge".

I thought it was a very moving sermon, and I think he's exactly right. Wherein I try to emulate Dan Kane and wax political )

And now that I've said that I need to get something to eat, seeing as how my stomach is making more noise than the traffic on Tremont St. after a Celtics win.
athenaltena: (thoughtful)
For some reason I ended up thinking about dreams (in the sense of goals) the other day, and I realized what one of mine is.

I would like to see the Supreme Court of the United States hear a case on gay marriage and decide that banning it is unconstitutional, and therefore all of those bans other states have are invalid. If that can occur sometime in my lifetime I would be indescribably overjoyed, and if I could have some part in helping it get there even more so.

Just a random thought I had.
athenaltena: (freedom)
Holy fuck. This canvassing really puts you through the physical, emotional and mental meat grinder. But I'm still enjoying every minute of it and wouldn't trade it. And I really feel like a decent human being, which is odd, but it's really what I'm feeling.

Today I did better than on Tuesday, but still not well. I only managed to get 3 contributions that amounted to $35, but each one of those contributions was so heartfelt that I can't force myself to be upset about their size. The one that sticks out in my head was from an Armenian couple who moved to the States, and when the wife heard who I was with she was so excited that she ran out and wrote on her check "For my future President the Honorable Barack Obama." Wow. The other one that really got me was a 16 year old girl who lamented that she couldn't vote, but gave me $5. When you're 16 that's a lot, but she cared so much about it (and apparently convinced her mother, who was a Republican, to vote for Obama) that it meant the world and much more than just a simple check, which is why I'm not upset that I didn't make "quota" or anything like that.

Once I met up with the rest of my group and we were waiting for the bus Mike, the group leader, told me that he once had a guy who was an immigrant who didn't have much, but gave him $5 in change from his kids' fund. I had to stop myself from crying when I heard that, as did Mike at the time, since it just hit us so hard somewhere. I don't really care what your politics are, but when you have people who still give to you even when they can't, something special is happening.

I just hope Barack knows just what he's managed to do and what he's inspired in these people. And now I actually am staring to cry, believe it or not. But it's not bad, and I'm really glad that I had the balls to start doing this despite it being the hardest thing I have ever done.
athenaltena: (weird)
I don't want to be the person at college who never comes out of their room, but it might just be in my nature. Later on I'm going to talk to my RA (who seems really nice) and basically say "Help! I suck at this social stuff! Only child! From a small town! Gay! Too mature! Where can I find people like me?"

Really, it's astounding to me how (the girls especially) just form these packs spontaneously. I need some time to get to know people, and unfortunately the person I connected most with during orientation is in Spain for a year. *headdesk* I did meet a nice girl at the bookstore, and I think she picked up the deer-in-headlights look of mine and invited me to come with the reception thing at the Ritz tonight. Nice kid. :)

Well, I have a rough idea, which I have a feeling the RA will help me with:

Read more... )

I think in all I just take more time at this than most people, and once classes and clubs start it'll be easier, though I want to scream "WHY CAN YOU PEOPLE MAKE FRIENDS SO QUICKLY?!" from time to time. But I guess it's just a matter of finding like-minded people.
athenaltena: (smile)
Dad and I decided to join a local video store up in North Amherst recently, and I've been catching up on the movies I've missed because I either haven't been willing to buy them on DVD (20 bucks or more a pop is a bit much for me at the moment) and the fact that I haven't been to the movies in quite some time, the only exception being Narnia last week with Mom. Since there have been a few I'll just do short notes and rections to not take up to much of my time or space:

Transformers: Nice big explosions and robot action, I felt like a dork when I said "Yay Starscream!" when he showed up. Felt slightly anti-climactic at the end. Wish I had Barricade's cop car.

Hot Fuzz: Funny as hell and a great spoof of the genre. Loved the use of running gags and their eventual payoff (one of which I'm still laughing about a week later), and thought the writing was bloody brilliant.

Casino Royale: Jesus Christ that man can survive anything! Loved how it subverted most of the cliches the genre helped establish in the first place (poor car, though), and though Bond may be pretty icy, I like him better that way. Noticed that there was more fanservice on Bond than the Bond-girls this time around.

Dress To Kill (Eddie Izzard): Cake or Death? And squirrels leaving the gas on. Also finally recognized him as the voice of Reepicheep in Narnia.

And that's all so far.
athenaltena: (Bored)
Arguing the upsides of being down -- How sadness can really help us

Wilson talks to Melissa Block about why the world needs melancholy — how it pushes people to think about their relation to the world in new ways and ultimately to relate to the world in a richer, deeper way.

That makes sense to me. Now that I think about it, that's actually a very Buddhist (and overall Eastern) mindset. That's not a very common mindset in modern day America, where I think we want solutions to our problems, and God damn we want them now! I also agree with this line:

With no more melancholics, we would live in a world in which everyone simply accepted the status quo, in which everyone would simply be content with the given.

That fits in with my idea that moderation is the key to everything. I think it also speaks volumes about not wanting to accept all parts of ourselves and push out the bits we don't like.

So I agree with Wilson on that. Embrace your inner gloom, but don't let it overpower you.
athenaltena: (thoughtful)
Watching a PBS documentary on lobotomies and the guy who pioneered them. I think the best way to sum this up is "The road to Hell is paved with good intentions" since he did it to try and relieve the suffering of the people who were societal outcasts. Once the guy started getting almost religiously fanatic, however, it turned south and he refused to see what was really going on and started getting too big for his britches. He even got the freaking Nobel Prize since they hadn't seen the full effects yet.

But what struck me is that one letter from a woman who had her son lobotomized had her say that he was "like a child again" and that they'd "stripped him of the burden" of being fully conscious.

... I think I know where Phillip Pullman may have gotten some of his ideas. This sounds suspiciously similar to the "intercision" procedure in The Golden Compass and uses the same justification, as well as the same net result. The sad part is that lobotomies were performed en masse when they first developed them because they were thought to be a miracle, and it wasn't until much later that it became clear what they were really doing to people. This is why we have drug testing and clinical trials for everything now.

So yeah, very clever Phil. But as they say fiction is the melting pot of reality and fantasy, so it's inevitable that things like that show up even if the author didn't intend them. And now that I'm on the subject, I've been thinking about that in terms of the story I've been hashing out the details on lately.

More on that )

*snickers*

Jan. 21st, 2008 08:07 pm
athenaltena: (evil laugh)
One of the more amusing moments at The Plant today that didn't involve me getting soaked or someone being stupid and making me stand out in the cold occurred when we (Jeremy, The Chump and I) were talking about Jessica, the new girl, and the fact that she doesn't want to to the trash and says "it's icky". Jeremy apparently told her that "If Rosemary can do it you can do it", though I countered with an offhand comment that most teenage girls can't be held with me as a standard, since I'm not exactly a normal teenage girl.

Then in comes The Chump, who'd only been paying marginal attention as usual and only heard the end of the conversation: "But you are a normal teenage girl!"

No, no, no and no. Let's tart with whey that's totally wrong in the sense of why a "normal teenage girl" (in quotes for a reason) fits me as well as a size four dress fits an elephant:

1. The whole gay thing, which by definition crosses out the whole mess of boyfriend issues
2. The bi-gender/genderbending thing (and it's easy as hell to mess with the gender binary and people's heads)
3. The fact that I don't wear any makeup and don't give a crap about fashion
4. I hate the mall, personal drama and gossip except when I have no choice
5. "Your momma wears combat boots" isn't an insult to me since I wear them too (they're quite comfortable)
6. I have both a bokken and a shinai in the trunk of my car and I know how to use them

Granted, someone who works with me is very unlikely to know any of these unless they also know me personally, and even then The Chump is The Chump for a reason. I definitely got a (silent) chuckle out of that. :D
athenaltena: (Lelouch)
I fixed the hose at work today. And I'm ridiculously proud of myself because of it. Maybe it's because all the boys had left already, or maybe it's just because I know that Jessica didn't get soaked as a result, and since it's below freezing out there that's a very good thing indeed.

I also found out that I'm likely going to have to keep doing stuff like that, since Jeremy gave his two week's notice yesterday. I don't blame him, since he really does put up with way more than his fair share of bullshit up there, and the folks at the main office apparently pushed him too far this time in trying to convince him to stay. I'm actually proud of him, since I know he's been suffering lately and finally stood up for himself. I do have to wonder if I'm cursed somehow, though, since it seems like all the people I actually like down there end up leaving, with a few exceptions (Casey, the gas station girl, is pretty much in the same boat as me and has no plans to leave in the near future).

What's funny is that yesterday as I was driving up the road that the Plant is on I thought I saw Jeremy going down in the other direction, and something seemed off. Sure enough, about an hour earlier he'd given his two week's. I hate being right.

I was also around Jessica and The Chump simultaneously today and discovered that they're like putting a cat and a dog in a small space. I felt like a freakin' babysitter trying to keep them from tearing each other's throats out, and at one point I was tempted to just leave them be for a moment so she could do us all a favor. When the most mature person at your place is an 18 year old girl you know you're in trouble.

But I'll tolerate it, and hopefully we'll get someone new as a manager who can deal with them, run the place effectively, and not drive themselves into the ground while doing it. But that may be asking too much.

Hey, yeah!

Jan. 17th, 2008 12:03 am
athenaltena: (Hokuto pink)
Interesting comment about Romney vs. McCain I just heard on Tavis Smiley:

Romney is the optimist of the Republicans, and works like a salesman: If he thinks it'll sell, he'll go for it, even if means changing his opinion later (what I think will do him in), and doesn't think the public is intellegent enough to handle the truth.

McCain, on the other hand, does tell the truth, even if people don't like it, and that's what I like about him.

I'd just never heard them summed up like that, but I did go "Oh, yeah!" when they said that. I think we need someone who can tell us the truth and can bridge the partisan gap. Sorry Romney, but you ain't it.
athenaltena: (content)
In other news, I found Watanuki's song. :)

"April Fools" by Rufus Wainwright

Not just because of the title, but it's just so... him.

In other news, did just about nothing today. I think I may be coming down with something, since I feel like I've been thrown around the room, especially in my shoulders. Good thing I didn't have to go to work today. The only thing I've got to do tomorrow is see Mark at 3, and the finals on Tuesday and Thursday. I could certainly do for this semester to end already.

Also, Jonathan's party was lovely last night. I'm glad I went. I'm just very tired right now. :)
athenaltena: (Kino)
Picked up Gunslinger Girl volume 6 yesterday, and man... That series really taps into the pathos of the reader, and that's why I find it so intriguing.

Wherein I wax philosophical and give spoilers up to the current volume )

In related news, I've managed to get a few more chapters of the [livejournal.com profile] 30_wounds challenge out, and on FF.net I've gotten a few followers who comment just about with each one. A couple I'm not satisfied with (and neither are the readers) but the entire thing's a learning experience in the first place, and overall I've happy with it. It's certainly unlike anything else I've ever done.
athenaltena: (Shigure)
Note to self:

On college essay, write about how job experience has taught me how to deal with people like The Chump (IE learning the value of work ethic), being patient with people who may not be thinking clearly/may be upset for some reason, segregating negative thoughts from what needs to be said in order to keep things running smoothly (revise this one to not sound so negative), work just for the sake of working for the good of others (considering that I pull more than my fair share of wait, but have yet to get a pay raise, though I still have some hope) and learning just how far a dollar goes. + fact that I'm still "the chick" and will continue to be for a while, probably.

Now I go crash. I have the weirdest bits of inspiration right before I get completely exhausted and crash. Damn my fickle muse.

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