Advice from a Fangirl: Be a Positive Presence in Fandom

Lately I have been getting more and more bummed out by the negativity in my fandoms. I feel like every day I see ship wars, hateful tweets sent to other fans or actors, or just general crappiness.

Perhaps it’s always been there and I just haven’t noticed it, or maybe it’s been getting worse. I don’t know. What I do know is that attitude is a choice. And that there are ways that are and are not acceptable to behave in online fandom.

Here are my top three pieces of advice for being a positive presence in fandom.

1. You can hate the ship, but don’t hate the shippers.
Seriously. Just because you disagree about which fictional people should smash their lips together doesn’t mean you have license to be a jerk to someone you don’t even know.

2. Don’t send hate to an actor because you’re annoyed with his/her character.
There’s this really annoying phenomenon in fandoms where people seem to forget that actors are not actually the characters they play. They don’t have control over what their characters do—that’s the writers’ job. So if you don’t like what a character is doing, take it up with the writers and don’t tweet that you hate the actor.

3. Don’t send hate to THE ACTUAL SPOUSES OF ACTORS.
I cannot even believe this is an issue. Actors are real people, and the last thing you should be doing is projecting your fandom fantasies onto their real lives. I’ve seen this in the Supernatural fandom, where some people tweet hate at Jensen Ackles’ super gorgeous and awesome wife for really dumb reasons. Come on, guys. Grow up.

Basically, treat everyone like an actual human being and remember the line between fiction and reality, and you’re good to go.

Oscar Fever

Since the Golden Globes on January 12 (well, since late fall really, but that’s getting too technical), all the film world has been buzzing about are the Academy Awards. Better known as the Oscars, this year the highly-viewed awards ceremony will air live on Sunday, March 2nd, which happens to be today! Hosted by Ellen DeGeneres, this ceremony will be the 86th to take place.

The films nominated this year for best picture include “American Hustle,” “Captain Phillips,” “Dallas Buyer’s Club,” “Gravity,” “Her,” “Nebraska,” “Philomena,” “12 Years a Slave” and “The Wolf of Wall Street.” This is usually the category most talked about, followed closely by best actor/actress, best director and best actor/actress in a supporting role.

I had the privilege to see many of films nominated for awards this year, which makes this Oscars a little more exciting. It’s crazy to think that this award ceremony has been an American tradition for the past 86 years. I love traditions so I like the fact that it’s been around that long.

Some might say that award ceremonies like the Oscars, the Golden Globes, the Grammys, the MMA’s and such events are simply a testament to our worship of celebrities. They might say that it feeds our star-crazed culture. While I would agree that this might be slightly true, I think we can also look at award ceremonies in a different way. We can instead view them as celebration of our culture, specifically of our culture’s art. If we keep it focused on celebrating the achievements and talents of celebrities rather than elevating them to god-like status, we maintain the goals behind the award ceremonies themselves.

All this to say, I’m excited for the Oscars this year. I’m excited to celebrate talented famous people and the artwork that was created because of their talents. Check out this site to learn more about the Oscar nominees, who will be performing and making special appearances during the night. Even better, go to here to customize your own Oscar ballot. Check out mine [here].

Happy Oscar watching!

4 Tips (Rules) to Follow the Next Time You Go to the Movies

Our culture has conditioned us to a fault to put ourselves at the center of our world, which means we tend not to think about others very often. Common courtesy and consideration seem to be on their way to becoming lost art forms, when both should just be completely natural.

On a seemingly unrelated tangent, I see a lot of movies in theaters. This means I am watching a film, most often for the first time, with a room full of strangers. Though this practice is becoming less and less common thanks to Netflix, some of us still take part. So, over my past year of becoming a movie theater frequenter, I have gathered some do’s and don’t-s of going to the movie theater. Please take heed.

1. Don’t talk

People, you came to see a movie in an area with strangers who expect to watch the movie, not listen to your conversation. Keep it to a low whisper if you must, but, for the sake of those who actually want to hear the dialogue in the film.

2. Do control your obnoxious laughter…or at least, your volume

It’s alright to laugh. I’m all for laughing. Even if you’re laughing at all the most non-laugh-worthy parts, like when the heroic main character is dying or his girlfriend is being taken. It’s really okay. But please, please don’t be the guy who laughs uproariously at every single thing at a volume that rivals the theater’s speakers. We can’t hear the movie over the sound of you having a grand giggle.

3. Do shut your phone off

People, you’re there to watch a movie, not to text/email/tweet/Snapchat all your friends to tell them you’re there. Give your phone the two-hours off, tuck it away and enjoy the film technology-free. You phone deserves the break and honestly, so do you. Also, there was an ad at the beginning of the previews that told you to do this…in case you were too busy snapping.

4. Do clean up after yourselves

I know, I know, it’s what the people working at the theater are paid to do. But honestly, how hard is it to grab your jumbo bucket of popcorn or your extra-tall ICEE and just toss it in the trash bin as you leave? Common courtesy.

5 Things Nerds Need to Remember

 

1.  Remember that you’re not alone! Sometimes we can get caught up in this idea that we’re the only people out there that find enjoyment in something. But unless you loved the final season of Lost, this is almost assuredly not the case! There are 7 billion people in the world and many of them like Supernatural/Ghostbusters crossover fanfiction just as much as you do. Possibly even more.

2. Remember that you’re not inferior! There are lots of people out there who play sports, paint beautiful murals, and compose musical numbers. And that’s great for them. But just because you may not do those things does not intrinsically lower your value as a person. More than likely, you’re actually more passionate about your hobbies than they are about theirs.

3. Remember that you’re not an elite! I’m as guilty of this as anyone. Someone will open up about their interest in the Teen Titans tv show on Cartoon Network and I’ll immediately put them down by pointing out how I had read the comics. Like this somehow made my love for TT superior or something. We’re all fans of something, we’ve all been picked on about our passions. Let’s not turn on each other.

4. Remember that you can contribute! So many of us are stuck on the consumer end of the line. It’s a great place to be, and we can become complacent there. Then when Hollywood gets their grubby little hands on something we love (like, say, Percy Jackson) and then ruins it, we lose our cool. If we don’t want to see our passions dragged through the mud by people who don’t care, then we need to step up. We can be the content creators. Do you think the men writing the Batman comics for DC right now weren’t Batman fans growing up? Evanna Lynch, the actress who played Luna Lovegood in the Harry Potter films, was a huge fan of the series before she even tried out for the role. It was important to her, and things like that should be just as important to us.

5. Remember that you are privileged to be alive today! I listened to an interview recently with G. R. R. Martin, the creator of A Song of Fire and Ice (the inspiration for HBO’s Game of Thrones), and he talked about attending comic book conventions when they first started several decades ago. Before the internet, before advertising. It was just twenty to forty nerds getting together in small venues and trading comic books. The community was huge but isolated. Today we can talk to each other with only a few clicks on a keyboard and coordinate events attended by hundreds. Take advantage of being a nerd today!  

Robin Thicke Is Getting Divorced (Wow, What a Shocker)

(**Trigger warning for mentions of rape**)

Yesterday, Billboard reported that Thicke’s wife, Paula Patton, has announced plans to separate from her husband of eight (almost nine) years. She insisted that it was a mutual decision (ha) and that they “will always love each other and be best friends” (double ha), but really? I think that’s a bunch of crap for the tabloids.   

I’m going to be honest with you. I can’t stand Robin Thicke. And I’m not really surprised that his marriage tanked. I’m actually a little astonished that it took this long for it to fail. Sure, they had almost a decade together, but I can’t imagine that his behavior is anything but poisonous to their relationship.

For example: the VMAs. I feel like I don’t even have to remind you of this. His performance of “Blurred Lines” with Miley Cyrus threw everyone in my family off—partially because it was the first time we saw exactly how far from Disney she’d fallen, but also because of Thicke’s highly inappropriate interaction with Cyrus on stage.

“Isn’t he married?” my parents asked. “Doesn’t he have a kid?”

Um, yeah. But apparently fidelity and respect didn’t matter when he was grinding on a 20 year old pop star in front of the entire country.

Nor did they matter when he filmed the music video for his disgusting song, “Blurred Lines,” which contains phrases commonly used by rapists (“I know you want it,” REALLY?) and prancing, naked women who are basically treated like objects. It’s gross. It encourages rape culture. It degrades women.

But supposedly he wrote the song about Patton, so he thinks it’s okay.

Sure. And I’m sure she was okay with all the cheating rumors and his cozying up to other women in clubs, too.

The reports say it was a mutual decision, but if she did decide to unload that dirt bag, then kudos to her. Thicke is a misogyny-perpetuating plague on our culture and people should know that what he did is no way to treat women. Especially your wife.

Have a little class.

-

Related Links:

“Robin Thicke and Paula Patton Split Up”

“Robin Thicke and Paula Patton split: What went wrong” 

“Robin Thicke wrote ‘Blurred Lines’ about wife Paula Patton” 

“Robin Thicke Gets Gross in Elle Interview” 

Holding out for a Hiro

Heroes is coming back!

First of all, let’s set a few things straight. I did not hate the last three seasons of this show. No, they weren’t good. Far from it. But considering that many people hold it up as one of the biggest let downs in TV history (after Lost and Dexter), I think it’s alright. I mean, sure Claire’s largest character development was having a lesbian roommate and Syler was OP. And I don’t even wanna talk about how they nerf’d Hiro and Peter. Regardless, I contend that there were redeemable pieces.

Now let’s talk about comebacks. NBC is snagged hard in the past. Shows like Sean Saves the World and the Michael J. Fox Show are symptoms of this, as the peacock network drudged up aging leads from previously successful shows to throw them once more on the limelight. There have been rumors of a Cosby Show return and now Heroes. It’s frightening to see the home network for some of my favorite shows (Community and Parks & Rec.) caught up in such a dangerous rut. Nothing good will come from a lack of innovation, though perhaps Biggest Loser, which I think is now on its seventh hundred season, may be the exception.

So I’m not without my reservations. I completely recognize that it could all go horribly wrong. But the writers have promised a new, separate story line with an all new cast of characters. This new cast will be introduced via a series of webisodes and other online contact building up to the premier. So maybe this is NBC showing us that yes, it’s an old idea, but done in a new way. A fresh way.

I like super hero TV shows. I watched No Ordinary Family when it aired and was with Arrow from the beginning after subjecting myself to five seasons of Smallville. Recently I started watching The Tomorrow People, and like I said, I’m a big fan of Heroes. This stuff is my jam.

The truth is, regardless of how stupid the plots got or how unbalanced the character’s powers became, I am a fanboy. Won’t you join me?

Myth: Any Press is Good Press

Have you ever heard the saying that any press is good press? That as long as your name is out there and you’re getting noticed by the public, it doesn’t matter what they’re saying about you?

Well, I don’t think that’s true.

Now, when you hear the name “Miley Cyrus”, what comes to mind? Certainly not the innocent, fresh-faced, small-town girl with the big singing voice who starred as Hannah Montana on the Disney Channel. No, now all we can think of the sleazy latex-garbed pop singer who twerked her way around the stage, shocking all at last year’s VMA’s.

So it should come as no surprise that her current concert tour, titled “Bangerz,” is stirring up more controversy. Parents especially have been voicing complaints about the singer’s pornographic costumes and stage antics (such as sliding in on a giant inflatable tongue, riding a 15-foot-long hot dog, and stimulating a sex act on a look-alike of Bill Clinton, to name a few) as well as the fact that the singer seems to be endorsing smoking marijuana by selling $40 gold rolling papers at her concerts.

According to Forbes magazine, Cyrus’ ticket sales for her tour have decreased significantly. However, it is unclear as to whether this is due to the controversy over her concert or the fact that the uproar over her last scandal has ebbed. Therefore, it seems the singer is resorting back to scandal to gain some more publicity. And even if I have to admit it grudgingly, I think she’s talented enough that she shouldn’t have to resort to scandal to gain interest and popularity. Still, she claims that she seeks to inspire, not offend, and views her tour as empowering for young women (a quote that I roll my eyes at).

So, part of me is annoyed that we, as the public, is just giving Cyrus what she wants and condoning her behavior, but the majority of me is just grossed out. I mean, I can understand the whole ‘breaking out of her perfect good-girl image’ that almost all of the Disney Channel stars do nowadays, but I don’t think this is the way to do it. After all, she was already a celebrity before all of this scandal began. We all knew who she was. And sure, misbehavior and scandal will earn you attention, but is it really how you want to be remembered in the end?

Read more about Cyrus’ antics here: http://blog.sfgate.com/loaded/2014/02/22/despite-manufactured-controversy-miley-cyrus-x-rated-show-rolls-on/

Is Facebook Already Old News?

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With its 10th birthday just passed, some wonder how many more years Facebook will see.

This year Facebook turned 10. Happy birthday Facebook! However it’s seeming more and more like other forms of social media are drawing close to overtaking Facebook’s popularity. Rumors have it that user-ship is down and teens young adults are flocking instead to other sites such as Twitter and Instagram. But can this really be proved?

According to a [study] done at Princeton, Facebook is estimated to lose up to 80 percent of its users between 2015 and 2017. This would be devastating for the site. The study looks to MySpace’s rapid rise and equally quick decline in the early 2000’s as Facebook’s recipe for disaster.

However, the article states that “MySpace also never reached the same the same cultural ubiquity that Facebook has achieved, meaning the mathematical parallels may not follow in real-life application.”

In a [study] by iStrategyLabs says that since 2011, the number one social networking site lost 3.3 million teenagers and 3.4 million young adults (classified as 18 to 24-year-olds).

However, this study does show a much more positive side. While youngsters may be deleting their profiles or simply not signing up for the site, Facebook’s user-ship has most definitely increased in the older age categories. 10.8 million 25 to 34-year-olds joined Facebook in 2011-2014 (a 32.6 percent growth increase) and add 16.4 million users in 35 to 54-year old demographic. But maybe most surprising was the largest growth, 12.4 million new users and a growth percentage of 80.4, which came from the category of adults 55-years and older.

According to these statistics, we can’t confidently, or more important, accurately say that Facebook is a dying network. Though younger users may be leaving the site, the largest percentage of growth has been in older generations.

Younger generation behavioral patterns do often predict the rise and decline of social networking sites (such as the case of MySpace). But Facebook is becoming increasingly easier to use and accessible to older users. And just because our parents and grandparents are beginning to see the site’s appeal does not mean that it will soon cease to exist.

photo by Matt Martel,  found [here].

5 Movies to See in 2014

1. The LEGO Movie

I put this one first because it has already been released in theaters. It was rated at 100% on Rotten Tomatoes for the first two days it was in theaters, which is a huge deal if you understand movie critics at all. This film features Emmett, your everyday LEGO guy, who wakes up one day and, through of a complicated pattern of circumstances, discovers that he is “the Special,” the one who will save the rest of LEGO civilization from the evil President Business’ plan to overtake the world.

release date: Feb. 7, 2014

trailer [here].

link to my review [here].

2. The Grand Budapest Hotel

Recently I have discovered my love for Wes Anderson. His films are so unique and feel a little dated, but in a good way. “The Grand Budapest Hotel” features unlikely friends Gustave H and Zero Moustafa, who become tangled in the mystery of an old lady’s murder. While you could possibly classify it as a mystery movie, it looks to me that it will lean more toward the comedic side, much like most of Wes Anderson’s films.

release date: March 7, 2014

trailer [here].

3. The Amazing Spiderman 2

The first re-make of Spiderman surprised me by being pleasantly well-done. Therefore, I have fairly high hopes for the second film in the series. Peter Parker might’ve thought he was off the hook, but then villains begin to turn up again and he realizes that there might be a connection between the forces he is facing and the mysterious corporation OsCorp.

release date: May 2, 2014

trailer [here].

4. The Giver

This book by Lois Lowry was one of the first I read that truly disturbed me. It was seventh grade, I was impressionable and this book was highly descriptive and well-written: a story of a young boy named Jonas chosen to be the next “Giver” for the dystopian society in which he lives. After re-reading this book when I could distance myself and grow up a little, it easily became one of my favorite. Now, Phillip Noyce is making it into a film. I am again terrified and nervous about what kind of monster or masterpiece they will make this phenomenal book into.

release date: August 15, 2014

trailer not yet released.

5. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1

I’m going to go ahead and say what everyone else is thinking: compared to “Catching Fire”, the first Hunger Games film was awful. The actors were not very well-known yet and most noticeably, the camera quality was poor. When “Catching Fire” was released, I was astounded at the improvement. If this was what a larger budget and huge fan support system could create, then I can’t wait to see the next installment. In “Mockingjay Part 1”

release date: November 21, 2014

trailer not yet released.

Villains (part 2)

And as promised, here is part 2 of my villains post!

2. Severus Snape (Harry Potter)

When I first read Harry Potter, I knew in my heart that Severus Snape was a good man. But no one would believe me, especially when the sixth book came out and Snape Avada Kedavra’d Dumbledore (who asked him to, by the way). Even though everyone was all up in arms about it, yelling, “I knew it! I knew he was a bad guy! He killed Dumbledore! Haha, I told you so!” I believed in him.

I knew Snape had to have had a reason.

And in the end, I was right. The seventh book revealed his true self, a selfless man who acted as a double agent on the side of good; a man who had to watch his friends die and stand by as the entire Wizarding World dragged his name and character through the muck. Then you have to take into account the fact that he did all this to honor the memory of the woman he loved, a woman he had lost to his worst enemy. And after failing to save her, he decided he would give his life to protecting her son Harry, whom he had to watch grow up in front of him, always half-hating and half-loving him because he was the son of a jerk (who also goes by the name of James Potter), but he was also partly Lily.

Touching Quote: “Always.” (Here he reveals how he never stopped loving Lily Evans)

 

  1. 1.       Loki (Thor)

I think everyone can agree that Loki is probably the most sympathetic villain to come out of movie theaters in a long time. First of all, he had to grow up in the shade of his older brother’s greatness, always wondering why his father didn’t love him as much as Thor. Then he finds out why: surprise! He’s adopted. He’s not an Asgardian prince as he had been led to believe, but a Frost Giant, “the monster parents tell their children about at night”. Oh, and did I forget to add that he wasn’t even lovingly adopted, but only taken in by Odin in the hopes that the Allfather might use him to build a bridge between the two races? He is, as he accuses Odin, “nothing more than another stolen relic, locked up until he might have use of him”.

It gets worse if you’ve read the comics. Loki was abandoned by his birth parents for being considered too small and weak for a Frost Giant. So he wasn’t wanted by either sets of his parents, and now has to watch as his arrogant, brawn-over-brains brother gets to be king. Even though some might argue that he’s jealous of Thor, I disagree. I don’t think he’s jealous of Thor (after all, Loki’s much smarter than his lusciously-locked brother), but I do think he’s jealous of the attention Thor has gotten, especially from his parents. He even tells Thor, “I never wanted the throne; I only ever wanted to be your equal!”

In the first Thor movie, he wants to eliminate the Frost Giants to prove to his father that he is a worthy son. And even at the end of the movie, there he is, hanging off the edge of the Bifrost, and still seeking his father’s approval. He looks up at his father, tears in his eyes, and says, “I could have done it, father! For you! For all of us!”

And what does Odin do?

He looks down and says, “No, Loki.”

No reassuring, no “It’s okay, son. You went about this all wrong, but I’m sorry that we didn’t tell you that you’re adopted. Still, you are my true son, and I love you.”

Just, “No, Loki.”

Wow. A+ at parenting, Odin.

No wonder your kid is so messed up.

Touching Quote: “I could have done it, father! For you! For all of us!”

Now,  if I didn’t manage to convince you to feel at least a little bit sorry for these characters, message me and I’ll give you a few more reasons.