Sunday, April 29, 2012

I'm a mess

Over the last month or two, I've felt really horrible. I think it mostly has to do with allergies, but the fact that I'm overweight doesn't help either, I'm sure.

My allergies are the worst they've ever been in my life. Basically, my sinuses and eyes get super-sensitive. My nose runs like crazy, so I'm constantly blowing my nose into whatever absorbent paper I can find nearby. No matter where I am, I have to have tissues with me or I can barely function as a human being. Because, of course, if I can't blow my nose, then my nose gets backed up with stuff and my sinuses get agitated, making me sneeze up a storm and making my eyes water. And once my eyes water, I can't even see clearly. Everything's blurry and itchy.

If I rub my eyes at all, for any reason, they get slightly itchy, and if I don't immediately stop then they'll get extremely red, puffy, and watery. Apparently this is called allergic conjunctivitis.  Earlier tonight, I tried for a good ten minutes to let my eyes calm down after rubbing them for a bit, only to later discover that apparently, in reaction to the allergens, the water glands in my eyes had produced some sort of stringy goop stuff that was sitting under both my lower and upper eyelids and irritating them. So my eyes are apparently attacking themselves.

This morning, I woke up and felt like I could barely move. Part of this might be because my mattress is a little broken and tends to sink underneath me and make a well, but part of it, I think, is that because of my allergies, I'm not breathing right when I sleep. It's really a terrible feeling. I feel like I'm broken or something.

I glance around at my classmates during school and don't generally see them having too many problems, despite the fact that allergen levels have been really high in this area lately. So apparently this is a problem specific to me.


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Avengers, Assemble!

The Avengers is about to be released in theaters two weeks from today. This is pretty huge.

Yes, we've seen superhero movies before. The last decade's been littered with them. But this one is very different. It's not just that Avengers is the first honest superhero team-up movie; it's that the superhero team-up really represents something absolutely huge for superhero storytelling.

The one big question that often determines if comic book movies get made is, simply, will the audience buy it?
It's easy to make a movie based around only one hero. You can tailor the entire movie's world around a single character (or group of characters) without having to acknowledge that any other heroes exist. The bright, shiny, romantic world of the first three Spider-Man movies is clearly not the same place as the relatively dark and politically-driven world of the X-Men films. Comics actually work much in the same way. It's easy to have Batman off in Gotham City fighting crime, but once you bring in Superman and the rest of the Justice League, you have to wonder how it all connects. Why is Batman concerning himself with local crimes when there are literally world-ending threats out there? Once you have heroes' worlds cross over, it irrevocably changes the fabric of the overall story. You have to greatly relax the level of suspension of disbelief and hope the audience will buy the fact that such vastly different characters (mutants, aliens, billionaire tech geniuses, Amazons, space cops, etc.) can exist together.

It's something that the film industry hasn't even seriously attempted until now, and with good reason. It's every problem with suspension of disbelief from four different film series all stacked on top of each other.

The thing is, I've never actually bought the idea that suspension of disbelief was actually that big of a deal. With special effects being what they are today, as long as the story is decent there's only one factor you really need to deal with: fun.

There's something impossibly fun about having superheroes meet each other. Whether it's an initial misunderstanding that leads to two heroes fighting each other or a massive threat that requires a team of heroes, it's always fun. It's something we've seen in comic books for over half a century now, but only now do we really get to see it become real.

I mean, look at this page from Thor (2007 series) #3:
Then watch this clip from The Avengers:

Wow. Seriously, this is amazing. I've been lucky enough to have been witness to the entire modern arc of superhero movies over the last twelve years (starting with X-Men in 2000), and this really is a huge turning point for superhero cinema. This is the point where audiences will prove, with their soon-to-be-emptied wallets and handfuls of movie tickets, that they will buy even something this outlandish. And once that barrier's broken, we'll get a ton more movies that won't be shackled by studios' restrictions. Warner Bros. is undoubtedly going to get a Justice League movie made ASAP, Batman is probably going to be fighting more fantastical villains like Killer Croc on-screen, and there's already a huge wave of comic book TV shows set to hit the air within the year.

The floodgates are opening, and it's really exciting.

Sunday, April 1, 2012


Ever so often, Stephanie will ask me what I dreamt the night before. Usually I say that I don't remember. Last night was different. So Steph, this one's for you. You won't know who most of the people in it are, but whatever.

I dreamt that I was staying at Robert and Jenny's house overnight. There were three small white rubber pegs (like the kind you'd use to plug holes in wooden furniture) sitting on a table in a back room. They were individually demon-possessed. They would talk, and they sort of radiated evil. It was really kinda horrifying. They were waiting for two other pegs to show up, so they could form the five points of a pentagram and summon some kind of ultimate evil.

I tried to warn Robert and Jenny about this, but they wouldn't hear any of it. Thanks, guys.
So I went on a quest where Elisabeth, Daniel and I time-traveled to find a small axe that was previously used by Abraham Lincoln during his vampire-hunting days. The blade was coated in red; I imagine that was the vampire blood. Somehow, this only took around ten seconds. I think I just had to reach really hard into the time vortex with my arm to grab it or something.

Anyhow, we arrived back at the room to see all five rubber demon pegs assembled, with the pentagram fully formed. Elisabeth and Daniel helped me fight the vaguely-defined evil that was flying everywhere, and I barely managed to slam the axe into first the center of the pentagram (shattering the glass magic construct that had appeared there), then each of the five pegs, quenching them of evil.
Robert and Jenny were completely unaware any of this had happened.

Then my fellow demon-fighters and I ended up at Toys R Us, looking at Nintendo action figures. When we drove away from the store, somehow the entire world became like playing Mario Kart on the DS. So, basically, everything became tiny, and we chose Mario characters to transform into. Daniel turned into a Koopa Troopa, I turned into Yoshi, and Elisabeth turned into a sand-colored flat square thingy, Like a magic carpet made out of sand, I think. Which isn't a Mario character. But whatever. Daniel drove off in his kart towards his home; I jumped in the back of Elisabeth's kart and let her drive. I have no idea where we went, other than it being West on 820.

So that happened.