My tweets  
12:01pm 25/12/2014
 
 
Magik's Shadow
tags: twitter
 
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My tweets  
12:01pm 24/12/2014
 
 
Magik's Shadow
tags: twitter
 
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My tweets  
12:01pm 22/12/2014
 
 
Magik's Shadow
  • Sun, 18:41: Makin' a cheesecake and watchin' Scrooged.
tags: twitter
 
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My tweets  
12:01pm 21/12/2014
 
 
Magik's Shadow
tags: twitter
 
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My tweets  
12:01pm 18/12/2014
 
 
Magik's Shadow
tags: twitter
 
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My tweets  
12:09pm 17/12/2014
 
 
Magik's Shadow
  • Wed, 01:33: There's a Netflix movie called _Don't Blink_. If there's not at least one statue of an angel I'm going to be very disappointed.
  • Wed, 05:06: Is there a word for when you're searching for a specific video on Youtube and you stumble on a video so cool you... http://t.co/v5u2ldfTct
tags: twitter
 
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My tweets  
12:01pm 16/12/2014
 
 
Magik's Shadow
tags: twitter
 
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My tweets  
12:01pm 15/12/2014
 
 
Magik's Shadow
tags: twitter
 
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I have no idea how late I am to this party.  
06:34pm 14/12/2014
 
 
Magik's Shadow
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jWnP2jO06gc
tags: humor, santa, snl
 
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This is a test.  
05:54pm 14/12/2014
 
 
Magik's Shadow
Nothing to see here. Move along. Just seeing if something works.
tags: test
 
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The Santa Narrative  
05:49pm 14/12/2014
 
 
Magik's Shadow
As a kid, did it ever seem odd to you that, although the official narrative is that Santa's elves builds all the toys, all your toys came from Mattel and Hasbro? Did your mind ever wander to the idea that maybe Santa had a controlling interest in those companies and that Hasbro had a secret Elf Floor or something?

Anyway, what's one thing you'd like Santa to put under your tree this year?
 
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Things Cat People Say When Dog-Sitting  
11:49pm 05/08/2014
 
 
Magik's Shadow
Yes, very cute. Now stay! For like an hour or two.

Yes, very cute. Now stay! For like an hour or two.


- What? What is it? What do you want, dog?


- Stop staring at me.


- No, I'm not getting up. I just shifted a little. Don't get all excited.


- Stop breathing on me.


- Really? Showing me your belly again? Have some dignity, canine.


- What's that smell?


- Stop following me.


- Why the hell are you barking now??


- You just..how did....GAH!

tags: cats, dogs
 
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The Evolution of Comic Book Movies  
06:30pm 01/08/2014
 
 
Magik's Shadow
The following is a pretty long ramble about movies and super-heroes. You have been warned.

[caption id="attachment_91" align="aligncenter" width="502"]Space Shawarma? Space Shawarma?[/caption]

Guardians of the Galaxy!!1!!eleven!!!! AAAAAAA!!!

Okay. Got that out of the way. Ahem. I saw a particularly awesome movie today which I shall not spoil because YOU NEED TO SEE IT! NOW! But I will talk about my reactions to this movie and comic book movies in general.

In ye olden days before the Marvel Singularity, comic book stories translated to film or TV tended to be anemic, stilted versions of their comic book selves. There are several reasons for that, of course. One being the special effects budget. But what I'm talking about here is suspension of disbelief.

You can only put so much unbelievable stuff into a movie. And comics have the most unbelievable stuff of anything ever written! You have super-science mixed with magic mixed with pulp fiction mixed with aliens and gods and...well..EVERYTHING! So when someone decides to take a comic book property and turn it into a movie they have to figure out what elements to leave out and what to keep in order to make an exciting but at least tolerably believable film. And so most comic book stories are origin stories, taking the world as we know it and adding a single element, like aliens, or a mystical prophecy, or super-powers gained from radiation or some genetically-altering formula. And that's basically it. Because if you put too much unbelievable crap together in one story audiences tend to cry “bullshit!” You need to ease an audience into the rest of the stuff with additional stories.

Which is why when it was announced that the X-Men would have a movie I was thrilled, but I also knew that we wouldn't be seeing aliens or alternate dimensions or demons or any of the really out-there stuff you usually read in the X-Men comics. (I STILL want an “Inferno” movie! Make it happen, Singer!) No, I knew we'd just be getting the basic mutant “everybody hates us” storyline. And that made me sad. Because, even if the movie were successful enough to warrant a sequel, I knew we wouldn't see the stuff I want to see. With sequels they usually would bring in another director and writer who likely knew nothing about the property and were starting from scratch themselves trying to make a story from this character. And they never took actual stories from the comics.

Why? Because movie studios aren't interested in story. They're interested in profit. As soon as they establish a property, they just fling more of the same out there and sweep up the falling cash. Traditionally, sequels either keep too much to the original formula adding nothing interesting to the mythology, or they throw something in that's so jarring compared to the original that is just looks ridiculous and have nothing to do with the stories from the source material. Look at Superman III-V (I'm counting I and II as basically the same movie) or the Joel Schumacher Batman movies. Sequels continue until they suck as much money as they can from the property, leaving a dried-up, violated husk.

And then something happened. People who grew up with these comic book movies and horrible sequels grew up to direct their own movies. People who cared about the properties. (Perhaps a bit too much in some cases.) Sam Raimi's Spider-Man movies are perfectly acceptable and didn't need a reboot, in my opinion. Yes, the third film suffered from too much unbelievable crap at once, but it wasn't as badas, say, Batman and Robin. Progress!

[caption id="attachment_92" align="alignleft" width="362"]MARVELous Meal Spider-Man and Sue Storm were soon asked to leave the barbecue because their licenses are with another studio.[/caption]

And then Marvel decided to start doing their own movies. Marvel, the comic book company, the people who actually write the stories, started making their own movies based on their own characters and plots! This, at last, is what I have been waiting for my entire life! Movie-wise, that is. Producers who care about continuity and who care about the fact that all of these comic book characters they own are in the same universe and know about each other and probably have lunch on occasion!

It's a great time to be alive!

Thus, the Marvel Cinematic Universe: Phase I was born! And it was good! I mean, REALLY good! They established their main characters each in their own movie and then did something that had never been done before. They BROUGHT THEM TOGETHER FOR A TEAM MOVIE! By the time The Avengers came out, Marvel's universe was well-established. If you'd seen the other movies, you'd know what's going on. So they didn't have to waste time on yet another origin story. They didn't bother explaining to the audience what SHIELD was or why a man could turn into a giant rage monster because you know that story already! They could just go ahead and concentrate on creating something amazing built upon what they had already established.

And then, with Guardians of the Galaxy, they did something even more amazing! They basically said, “Okay, so you know all about this universe and what's possible. If you believe all that and are fine with it, here's the next layer built on top of those established premises!” Though they were probably more eloquent in that metaphorical statement.

Don't you see? They successfully brought the audience into the next phase of story-telling! We now have a comic book universe where there are gods (or god-like beings) and aliens with incredible power and they can just tell stories in that universe without explaining it all again! And they care! They're not just throwing random directors at these movies. They are carefully planning epicness.

[caption id="attachment_93" align="alignright" width="199"]Dr. Strange The Shiny Hand of Cyttorak![/caption]

What will the next phase be after this? With Stephen Strange name-dropped in Captain America: the Winter Soldier and the news that they're working on a Dr. Strange movie, the next phase will introduce magic. But will it work? Will audiences who have accepted the leap of superheros and the leap of aliens (who mostly seem humanoid and all seem to speak English) accept the idea of magic? I certainly hope so.

Original post on my blog Here.
 
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Author/Character Names  
11:49pm 18/07/2014
 
 
Magik's Shadow
A weird thought just occurred to me. (Yeah, I realize nothing but weird thoughts to me.) Some names are more common than others. Can you think of an instance where an author named a character after him/herself yet the character was not a fictional extension of the author? Or do they all instinctively not use their own names? Imagine the implications. Millions of parallel universes where certain names simply don't exist. No Stephens exist in Stephen King's universes. No one named Pat or Patty in any Patricia Brigg worlds.

Like I said. Just a weird thought.
music: Queen - Don't Stop Me Now
tags: writing
 
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Recursive Trauma  
10:26am 30/06/2014
 
 
Magik's Shadow
If you're watching a movie that has subject matter you find highly disturbing, is it better if the subject matter exists in a sub-layer of the movie? Like, instead of a guy getting his arm chopped off, he only has a dream of getting his arm chopped off. Or he's reading a book where someone gets his arm chopped off. Does it make it more palatable, more tolerable because it doesn't actually exist in the context of the movie?
tags: movies
 
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Seminar Casting Call!  
08:04pm 16/06/2014
 
 
Magik's Shadow
Good people! (Or evil or neutral. I'm not picky.) There's a new casting call up for the audio anthology series “Seminar!” And once again you have the opportunity to voice a character I created with my own twisted mind! All you need is a decent microphone, a quiet place to record, and a little bit of time.

There's one female role, one male role, and four roles that can be any gender. If you're going for the female role, you'll have to sound like a little girl. Or, hey, if you have access to a little girl, let her audition!

Auditions have to be in by June 25. So come on! Strut your vocal cords! Let's see what your voice is made of!

For details, click here!
 
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Oculus is Calling  
10:36pm 04/04/2014
 
 
Magik's Shadow
Oculus is at 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. I keep going back and forth about this movie, because it looks great and has actors I adore, but the trailer kind of reminds me of The Ring. And that movie gave me PTSD.

I'm not kidding. For months afterward if I saw a hint of static on a television, a wooden chair in the middle of a room, or an oval mirror I'd get triggered. That movie tore me apart. No other horror movie has affected me like that since. (Silent Hill has come the closest, but I was able to shake that off pretty quickly.)

It took me a long time to figure out why the movie grabbed my inner child in its teeth, shook it, and left it a bloody mess. You see, it's pretty. Its trailer made me believe it was some artistic, surreal film. So I was eager to see it. So eager that I went on opening night. I went into it with my mind completely open to whatever imagery it would show me. And then my mind ran into its knife. My mind ran into its knife ten times. It was gripping. It had a wonderful supernatural mystery that unfolded slowly and made me want to know more. And then, it ended in a standard ghost story kind of way. And then it didn't. Because "You weren't supposed to help her! She never sleeps!"

The movie does not end. There's no resolution. No way to kill the monster. No way to even slow it down. All you can do is pass on the curse. So, in my mind, my incredibly tender and open susceptible-to-the-slightest-bit-of-imagery mind, the movie never stopped running. I couldn't get away from it because it never ended.

And it didn't help that after seven days of torture, after I tried to convince my mind it was over, on the morning of the eighth day I turned on my TV and saw static. And it wouldn't go away.

Total. Freak out. Moment.

I eventually realized that the coaxial cable connecting it the TV to Time Warner had mysteriously disconnected itself from the wall. To this day I have no idea how it happened. I think one of my cats was a sadistic bastard.

In the months to come, I researched as much as I could about the story of the movie (except not too much because I kept getting flashbacks). I couldn't stop because I had to find an ending. I eventually found one using "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." You put Samara in the Buffyverse, and she gets dispatched easily by the Scoobies in less than an hour. This one small thing, this little bit of crossover fanfic in my head actually put my mind at ease and allowed me to start watching videotapes again.

Based on this, I am so lucky that the Necronomicon is just fiction. Because I can't stop looking into the abyss. Not only would I be obsessed in hunting down that infernal book, I would easily be driven mad by its contents and might actually summon an elder god or two.

So anyway, _Oculus_ looks great, and dark, and enticing, and I fear it'll rip me to shreds. But I must see it. I can't not. I need to be seduced into its darkness. I need to know what's there.

It's coming out next week. I'll let you guys know what I think. Assuming I stay sane.
mood: anxiousanxious
tags: movies
 
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Random Thought  
03:18pm 30/03/2014
 
 
Magik's Shadow
Random Thought: Is Fox the only studio that has the rights to Deadpool, or could he conceivably show up in the Marvel Cinematic Universe?
tags: marvel, movies
 
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Divergent!  
05:08pm 28/03/2014
 
 
Magik's Shadow
Wow! I'm feeling rather pumped up right now! I might even say I'm feeling Dauntless. Why? Because I just saw Divergent. Great movie. Go see it.

The premise is that a future society is split into five castes: Ventrue, Klingon, Ravenclaw, Indigo Tribe, and the Monks. Or something like that. And if you fit into none, you're factionless (and homeless, and hopeless, etc.). If you fit into more than one, you're divergent, and you need to be killed because you won't conform.

Now, I imagine that one of the fan reactions to this story would be to wonder what faction you belong to. I'm sure there are some quizzes hanging around somewhere to determine exactly that. Though, really, I think pretty much anyone reading this would be divergent. The people of this story are the survivors of a war where apparently much of the human race has been slaughtered. (We don't really know, though. Like in 1984, there's no information coming in about what happens in the rest of the world. Perhaps there's more in the book.) So they presumably have had generations of selective breeding where divergents have been culled leaving a very uniform society. So I imagine any one of us taking that test would be killed soon after.

Those of you who've seen the movie/read the book, what do you think?
 
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"It's too late. You've awakened the gazebo."  
09:24am 21/03/2014
 
 
Magik's Shadow
There's something perversely pleasurable about wearing a t-shirt with a slogan or symbol that only a handful of people within a ten mile radius understand.
tags: t-shirts
 
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Birthday  
01:29am 16/09/2012
 
 
Magik's Shadow
The year has come 'round again to the day
when my flesh was ejected and severed to lay
in the bright, in the cold, in this colourless world
with wings non-existent fighting to unfurl.
For now forty years I've trudged through this mud.
From fire I've scarred; from claw I've shed blood.
And through all this pain I have found but one clue
about how to survive, so I pass this to you.
The most valued suggestion I dare to impart
is all things improve through application of art.
You must bleed into all of the things that you do.
Add colour to grey, make the aged thing new.
If your life remains bleak, there's no light in the dark,
draw rainbows in shadow, turn anguish to lark.
E'en if the sole audience happens t'be you
don't let it discourage. You need beauty, too.
We all need to know that there's more to this life
than endless disparagement, struggle, and strife.
Keep a flame in your dreams and your dreams in your heart
until it is time for you to depart.
(If you learn the techniques to dream lucidly
then even in chains your mind can roam free.
There's a lock in your mind. You just need the key.)
And now I declare: Happy birthday to me!
tags: birthday
 
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Books. Check 'em Out  
07:50pm 19/08/2012
 
 
Magik's Shadow
I started writing this probably a week or more ago butI don't remember if I just put it on Facebook or what. So...I'll just post it here anyway:


I had a strange thought today whilst standing outside next to a food service truck: I am the product of every book I've ever read. It was a brief thought that passed through me and I had to explore it later. I don't do it often, but sometimes I re-read books I loved a long time ago, and I'm surprised at the words, phrases, mannerisms that the author and characters used that I've consciously or unconsciously adopted. Things I've forgotten but still do. It makes me smile.


There was probably more to this post, but...bah. I feel like talking about something else.
 
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Child of the Library  
07:47pm 19/07/2012
 
 
Magik's Shadow
I had a strange thought today whilst standing outside next to a food service truck: I am the product of every book I've ever read. It was a brief thought that passed through me and I had to explore it later. I don't do it often, but sometimes I re-read books I loved a long time ago, and I'm surprised at the words, phrases, mannerisms that the author and characters used that I've consciously or unconsciously adopted. Things I've forgotten but still do. It makes me smile.

Of course, I could say the same things about movies or TV shows, but they're just not as intimate an experience. They don't feed the mind in quite the same way.
mood: calmcalm
tags: books, memory, mind
 
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Movies Seen Recently  
12:25pm 15/01/2012
 
 
Magik's Shadow
Tucker & Dale vs Evil: Awesome! Pure fun. It's Wash (Firefly) and Sock (Reaper) vs crazy college kids!

Drones: Also awesome! A cute and funny glance at corporate life and, oh yeah, an alien invasion. Directed by Amber Benson and Adam Busch!

11/11/11: Pretty bad. So non-memorable I barely remember what happened in it.

Insidious: It was all right. A bit tricky at the end. I like a movie that takes the audience for a ride and leads them somewhere they didn't expect to be.

Sherlock Holmes 2: I had a great time! Stephen Frye was hilarious as Mycroft Holmes! But now I keep getting confused between these movies and the new BBC "Sherlock."

Limitless: Despite an annoying hole in the plot that I see had to be done in order to make the plot plotty, I really liked this movie. And I want that pill!

Snow White: A Tale of Terror: I don't know how I missed seeing this before now. Rather gory, but good stuff. I've never seen Sigourney Weaver this hot. She does evil well.

Buried: Gah! Ryan Reynolds buried alive! Actually not bad. The whole movie is shot in a box as Ryan Reynolds slowly suffocates and wrestles with a cell phone that has excellent reception. I recommend it.
tags: movies
 
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Conversations  
06:05pm 26/12/2011
 
 
Magik's Shadow
It fascinates me how different relationships, and different conversations with different people have their own rhythms. With most people, conversations feel strained. I struggle to find the rhythm, the feel of it, and I often find I cannot physically keep up and I endeavor to be released as quickly as possible. These are mostly meatspace conversations. On-line, however, is usually different.

Of course, most conversations, both in meatspace and cyberspace, are superficial. Pleasantries exchanged, a mention of the weather, inquiries about the family. Things said to bring a feeling of safety and belonging.

With some people, however, the conversations are relaxed banter, like playing a friendly card game. Ideas are exchanged, words played with, someone wins a round, and you move on.

With others, talking is like chess. Every move is calculated and each utterance spawns an array of choices. Where shall the conversation go next? And then some are like putting together a puzzle. You place each piece and a part of the picture appears. Every sentence builds on the one before and when you're done you've had a part in creating a thing of beauty.

When done right, these conversations, filled with thrilling thoughts and luscious feats of language leave me exhausted in a good way and craving a metaphorical cigarette.

I haven't craved a metaphorical cigarette in quite a while. I miss that. I should seek out more conversations
tags: talking
 
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