Disappointing Superhero Movie

Just watched X-men: Apocalypse.

Very disappointing.

I know others have enjoyed this film, and I can see why. It’s pretty, it’s flashy, and it has some sexy women in it. Also some dramatic poses and primal screams.

Not much else, though.

Could have finished the movie in five minutes.

Could have finished the movie in five minutes.

There were so very many times I wound up looking away from the screen thinking to myself: “Why the hell don’t they just…” and getting increasingly frustrated as none of them do what is glaringly obvious.

The helicopter: While the field clearly prevented Jean and Nightcrawler from using their powers to affect things outside of it, there was absolutely no indication that the field would dampen power effects within itself. To wit: why didn’t Scott even try blasting out the side of the helicopter, thus freeing them from both the “field” and the helicopter at the same time. True, he might not have trusted his power to be contained enough to not injure and/or kill his partners, but they didn’t even consider it as an option.

And, man, I understand he’s supposed to be young, but is it written somewhere in the Marvel bible of Scott/Cyclops that he must always be whiny wimp despite wielding earth shattering power? There were SO. MANY. TIMES. He could have just opened his eyes and wiped the floor with everyone.

On the other end of the spectrum we have Apocalypse himself. To be fair this is the problem with any and all over-powered characters: There were so many times the fight should have been over before it even started. The other problem with him is that he doesn’t have a well defined set of powers. This leads to lazy writers giving up on any kind of rational progression and writing “Super over power dude just waves his hand and X happens.”

Like building his new temple with a wave of his hand. In the opening scenes of the far distant past it was clear that the pyramids had been built by mere mortal slaves. How do we know this? Because they were able to build a hideously over-complicated Rube Goldberg trap into it. Now, if he can build his temple with a wave of his hand in our time, why couldn’t he do that in the past? And before anyone argues that he was clearly aging and weak, might I remind you that building the actual temples by hand would have taken decades. He may have been old and weak when they finished, but he wouldn’t have been nearly so old when they began. He still could have done it himself.

And if his mind is so much stronger than Xavier’s, why does he need Xavier’s power? We’d already established that he was able to magnify Xavier’s power to let him reach everyone in the world. His mental giant fight with Xavier not only proved himself a stronger telepath, but one already able to amplify a telepath’s power.

And … and … and… so. Many. Things.

Beast is useless except as a handy pogo stick for those who can’t fly. Jean’s power release at the end (sorry, spoiler… no, not really, it was telegraphed in the trailer) was a vast departure from the comic book. Not just the trigger, but the level of power. Jean’s true power as the Pheonix is capable of roasting an entire planet, not just one wannabe god. If she truly let go then the middle east wouldn’t be damaged, it would be absent.

I think Apocalypse doesn't hire anyone competent out of a fear of competition.

I think Apocalypse doesn’t hire anyone competent out of a fear of competition.

Angel has always been the weakest character in the X-men line. His ability to fly is nearly redundant on the team. Half the team can fly IN ADDITION to their powers. I’ve always shaken my head at how far the writers have had to reach to make him relevant. Having him chosen as one of the horsemen just kills the whole intent of the horsemen. Literally any other mutant would have been a better choice. Hell, Jubilee jacked up to super ability would be devastating.

And, gosh, jacked up Magneto sure is impressive… for some reason that eludes me. “Go magnetize the world and make some pretty fractal patterns around the planet” doesn’t seem like much of a tactical move. It’s just a blatant excuse to use up your special effects budget.

“We’ve still got $20 Million for special effects. Should we include other characters?”
“Nah, just have Magneto throw a bunch of stuff around for no reason. That’ll use it up pretty quick and we won’t have to bother trying to write creatively.”

It all sucked. All of it. I’m sure it has a lot to do with my decades being a gamer but the “tactics” of the characters in this movie were worse than short sighted, they were deliberately blind. As you could see in the exploding building, Quicksilver was fast enough to have finished the movie in the first five minutes. Nightcrawler could have defeated the four “horsemen” within sixty seconds. And unless Apocalypse didn’t have any iron in his blood Magneto should have been able to defeat him in less time than it takes to write this sentence.

“Reach deep into the ground, find all the trace elements that you can throw around to destroy the earth… but don’t look at any of us and our blood. No, don’t do that. That would be pointless.”

I didn’t hate the movie, but by god there were a dozen or so moments where I was so embarrassed to be a fan that I was incredibly grateful I was watching it alone. I give it two very disappointed back issues out of five trade paperbacks.

“20 minutes of action”

If you view the violation of a woman as “20 minutes of action” and the resulting social stigma as a high price to pay for “20 minutes of action” you’ve pretty much demonstrated the text book definition of Rape Culture.

I wish I were sleeping

I battled my snooze button this morning. I must have punched his clock three or four times but the bastard kept coming back before the count of ten was complete. Always on nine. The prick always gets back up on nine.

I can’t honestly say whether or not I’ve been sleeping well. It’s very hard to tell. I go to bed, I fall asleep, and at about three or so in the morning I wake up and spend the remaining two or so hours tossing and turning, dozing in and out of sleep. When the alarm hits the last thing I want to do is get up.

Over the weekend I think I slept for eight to ten hours Friday and Saturday night. I just didn’t want to get out of bed. It’s not so much that the bed was warm or comfortable, I just didn’t want to have to deal with the real world.

I’d set down a goal to do some writing every day less than a week ago and it only took two days for me to fall off the wagon. Even tonight, as I write this, I’m resisting the urge to just turn y computer off and head to bed. Sleeping is gradually becoming much more preferable to being awake.

Oddly enough I haven’t been this physically healthy in a long, long time. My new job has me moving constantly for two four hour sessions five days a week. I can feel my muscles toning and my overall energy is increasing. The two hours after lunch are now my most energetic, which is a complete switch from the rest of my life where the two hours after lunch were the times I had the most trouble staying awake.

The job is, for the most part, a good place to be. Certainly better than some of the jobs I’ve held in the distant past. I get to work indoors and the heavy lifting is maxed out at fifty pounds. The pace can be fast but, so far, never overwhelming. The people I work with have been doing this for a great many years and know the flow of the work almost instinctively. When things are at a normal pace I’m pretty much left alone to do my job, which I’ve always preferred. When the pace picks up and things get busy I suddenly find I’ve got help. Today it got busy enough that there were four of us working in concert to get shipments together and out the door. Then, when the rush ended, they all went back to their own duties and I was left to my own devices.

Aside from some minor personality challenges, something that might naturally work itself out over time, I’d have to say this is one of the better jobs I’ve held.

Which is why it’s so hard to admit to not being happy.

I have happy moments, even moments of contentment, but I’m still struggling with an overall feeling of just not wanting to be in the real world. I don’t know if this is actual depression or just some overall ennui. I’m not morose all the time, but there are definitely dark hours. I’m not unable to get out of bed, yet, but there are some mornings where it’s definitely a struggle.

I have to make an appointment with the Wound Clinic to measure my legs again. They were measured a few months ago to make custom compression stockings for me since the off-the-shelf versions aren’t quite long enough. Unfortunately when the custom stockings finally arrived after six weeks I tried them on only to find they were shorter than my existing stockings. They are so short, in fact, that I suspect my measurements were done in inches and the stockings were built in centimeters.

I was juggling two jobs and switching over to a third when this all played out so I hadn’t ever gotten around to replacing them. I did report the poor fit when the pharmasist called me up to find out how they were doing, but other than that the custom stockings have just been sitting in a drawer.

A few weeks ago I phoned the pharmasist back and requested she order me another set of off-the-shelf stockings. My current set are starting to show signs of wear and since they’re my only set I wanted to get them replaced before it was too late. The pharmacist assured me she’d call me when the stockings were in.

Weeks later I get a call from one of the nurses at the Wound Clinic. Being at work I let it go to voice mail. She called three times and, when she finally managed to leave a message, complained that my phone didn’t allow her to leave a message the first two times she called. Which is the first time I’ve ever had anyone have issues, but whatever. She then informed me in my message that I would need to make an appointment to have measurements done again. Apparently they’re not going to let me just get standard stockings again, I must get the custom ones. Which is irritating because that will take another six to eight weeks.

Whatever. I call the number she left me to make my appointment. The secretary looks up my file and calmly informs me that my case had been signed off and that I would need a new referral from my doctor to get another appointment.

I’m sensing a huge bureaucratic load of shit in my future and I’m really not looking forward to dealing with it. I need new stockings. The current ones, while not a perfect fit, do the job. The custom ones fit so poorly they won’t even stay up on their own. I don’t have the time to wait for another set of custom stockings to come in, especially if whatever communication fuckup that happened before happens again and I get stump sized stockings. I need replacement stockings and I need them now.

I will try calling them all back tomorrow at lunch and see what can be done. I’m already anticipating a lot of “you’ll have to talk to the other person to get that approved” followed by “we don’t have the authority to approve that”.

Or perhaps I’m just being overly negative.

A page a day, day forty-two: Like I know what I’m talking about.

I’m in rant mode and therefore shouldn’t be writing. I’m just going to complain endlessly about the people around me. One of the risks of having coffee in a coffee shop is having the caffeine jack up your nerves high enough that every little noise around you (or NOT so little noises, for that matter) are going to set you off.

Like… *sigh*… parents. I love you people, I really do. Thank you so very much for having children thus freeing me from the burden of propogating our species. You’re doing a great job, keep it up.

But please… let’s have some realistic expectations, okay? The child doesn’t look older than two so him grunting and yelling emotionally in response to his needs is pretty normal. I know, there are plent of kids talking at two, but I sincerely doubt their vocabulary is much beyond the five or six words that allow them to identify mommy, daddy (if he’s lucky), food, and Do Not Want! When your child is reaching for something and yelling incoherently turning to him and quietly saying “hush, use your words” just shows how out of touch you are with reality. Use your words? How many words does he have? He’s barely two for crying out loud. He only understands need, want, and do not want.

It kills me every time I see parents negotiating rationally with their toddlers. I understand you’re a professional, ma’m, and maybe you negotiate contracts for your land swallowing corporation all the time, but your negotiation skills mean squat when the only other person in the equation is two. In that situation you don’t need to negotiate, you need to command. Children will not compromise or understand, they will only demand or back down. That’s it. Those are your only options. So you either have to convince them that you are in charge and they must obey you, or you must capitulate to their every demand. I don’t recommend the latter.

People who do this with their dogs are even worse. Hello, the dog does NOT understand English! Trying to hold a conversation with them is the very epitome of the farside cartoon. Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Ginger Blah Blah Blah Blah.

Quick, while you have her attention, introduce her to the prospect of Return On Investment!

Quick, while you have her attention, introduce her to the prospect of Return On Investment!

Don’t get me wrong, dogs can be incredibly intelligent and they have a much better understanding of vocal tone and body language that many otherwise intelligent humans do. (“Was that sarcasm?” “Yes, that was sarcasm.”) But they do not understand ENGLISH and trying to reason with them is only going to frustrate you and confuse the FUCK out of your dog!

Dogs understand TONE, and they understand BODY LANGUAGE. If you use those to communicate you can get them to do just about anything within the expected range of Dog Behavior. You can teach them to recognize specific words, but that’s just pattern recognition and does not denote an understanding of language. So when you say “walkies!” in that singsong voice they know it’s time to grab the leash and hit the road. If you were to change the word to “talkies” or “wall-tees” or something similar in cadence, and say in the same singsong voice, they’re going to interpret it the same.

I don’t know why I bother to even write this stuff down, though. The people who attempt to reason with their pets or babies automatically assume they’re right and that everyone else just “doesn’t understand.”

I was visiting a friend once who had a tiny little terrier of a dog that barked and jumped incessantly. He kept trying to tell it “no, don’t do that” in reasoning tones. Naturally that did nothing. While I sat there trying to hold a conversation with him in his living room his dog kept jumping up and barking at me, growling on occasion, and otherwise trying to prove himself brave and dominant.

When my friend excused himself to get something in the kitchen the dog leapt up onto the couch to bark at me some more. I immediately grabbed him and pinned him on his back. He was so small my hand encompassed his entire torso. As I had him on his back I pressed down meaningfully, looked him in the eye and GROWLED. I held him there, keeping eye contact, for a couple of heartbeats, and then let him up.

He backed off a few feet, evidently confused a bit, and I very pointedly ignored him. After a few seconds back and forth he eventually jumped up onto the couch and curled up beside me. I rewarded him with some scritches and left him alone.

The rest of the entire time I was there he sat calmly beside me. The moment I walked out the door I heard him resume his barking antics behind the door.

I’m not saying I know everything about dogs, but I do know some of the more obvious things.

A page a day, day twenty-five: No Bike

I got almost nothing definitive done this evening. I tried, I really did. I had plans to submit myself to various agencies only to realize that with the new OS comes the lack of Open Office. It’s downloading now, but it’s going to take a while before I’ll actually be able to edit my documents and get them properly submitted. Obstacle one.

I had submitted my request for a new parking pass and explicitly stated in the e-mail that I wished to pick the pass up at their offices and requested that they notify me as to when the pass would be ready. I received notification today that my parking pass had been completed and posted by regular mail. There’s no way I’m going to receive that before the weekend, which is exactly when I had plans to use it. This really pisses me off.

I wrote an e-mail back to their office starting with “I’m confused. What part of ‘I wish to pick my pass up in person’ was not clear? I did NOT want my pass mailed to me.”

But it’s pointless. The Calgary Parking Authority holds a monopoly on the service so I have no choice but return to them. If there were some other option believe me I would be exploring it.

And the lady I met when I went down… in person… to pick up my pass… in person… last time seemed so nice and helpful. Clearly the person processing may pass THIS time was not her.

Man I would love a job in an office where no matter how incompetent I was at it I had no worries about losing customers. A position where people had to come to me because they had no other option available to them. Wouldn’t that be great? I could work when I pleased, complete the job in any fashion I chose, blatantly ignore specific instructions with no fear of reprisal, and still get paid.

Probably with great benefits and excellent vacation time guarantees as well.

Who do I have to murder to get a sweet, sweet job like that?

I had plans to take the bike out this weekend. Specific, concrete plans to join groups of other motorcycle riders and engage in some social activity. I’ve been building up the courage all week to make sure I actually go. Hell, I even had thoughts of inviting others to join me.

But now I won’t be able to take my bike out of it’s parking spot in back until my parking pass eventually arrives. Given how many packages I’ve had to initiate traces on at work my faith in the postal service is getting lower and lower by the day, so I sure as hell am not going to hold my breath. I’ll be lucky if I get my pass before May.

I am seething with anger and frustration. Some little mindless clerk not worthy of his pay has completely and utterly ruined my weekend plans with his ignorance and there is absolutely nothing I can do about it.

Except complain impotently to an empty universe.

At least I was able to turn it into another page-a-day journal entry and keep the chain going.

Got to focus on the positives, right?

In Washington state religious parents are getting away with murder. Literally.

As I read in a post by Claudia here a faith healing couple allowed their son to die of appendicitis and, so far, they’re not going to jail for it. Why? Because Washington state law, which Claudia linked to here, expressly states that Christian Scientist parents who take their children to a Christian Scientist faith based practitioner are exempt from a law that, for anyone else, would have them serving jail time for just standing by and watching their son die.

I’m going to keep this article around as a specific example of how religious people are, quite literally, allowed to get away with murder, even in North America.

Let’s Blame anyone but ourselves!

Parents sue over ‘junk food’ ads
Consumer groups in the US are suing cereal maker Kellogg’s and children’s TV network Nickelodeon in a bid to stop them showing adverts for sugary foods.

Hey parents, here’s a thought: Don’t buy the stuff! Your kids aren’t the ones in control of the money, YOU ARE! If you want to control what companies put out then vote with the only voice they’ll listen to: your collective wallets!

I am so sick and tired of all these parents refusing to take responsability for their own freaking choices.

“Gosh, I just can’t get little Timmy to stop screaming at me unless I buy this cereal. Whatever shall I do? Shall I get all firm and strict on little Timmy and tell him ‘no’? Oh, gosh, no! That might harm his precious little psyche. I know! I’ll sue the cereal companies!”

Who the fuck subscribes to this kind of logic?!