Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Switching Station

I've been writing a lot less lately. It's not a full stop, but the chair in my office at home definitely doesn't get warmed all that often these days, and I think I know why: it's the house.

I could also blame the fact that I'm working now, and time certainly does factor in but the major reason is all of the home projects I've got going on. Most recently I picked up an antique Budweiser light/sign at a yard sale and I'm working on restoring that and eventually hanging it up in the den. Then there's the mulch I need to finish putting down on the lawn. And there was the fountain on the property that I had to take down, ripping the wires out in the process and necessitating some reseeding in some areas.

But time isn't really the issue here. It hit me today that working on these things fulfills that same creative need as sitting at my desk and banging out a story. In fact I'd argue it does a better job of that since I'm a very tactile person and working on things that change my physical environment feels more rewarding than placing text into a file.

What does it mean for now? Well, my writing is going to slow way down. Or, it has. I'm not sure that's a bad thing. I don't intend for those skills to rust, but working at my own pace feels more relaxing rather than forcing myself to sit at a desk and produce content, which sometimes feels like a punishment.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Snows, White

I've seen two film interpretations of Snow White in the past few months, and one on TV. That's probably two too many.

Nicole and I saw Snow White and the Huntsman this past weekend. And while I didn't dislike it per se, I can't give it a ringing endorsement. Better than Mirror, Mirror? Sure, for as much as you can compare an adventure film to a comedy. Funnily enough when we went to see "Mirror, Mirror" weeks earlier, a trailer for "Huntsman" played and I whispered to Nicole "Wait, isn't that the movie we came to see?" Hell, the "Huntsman" trailer even begins with the "mirror, mirror" line. I hadn't even remembered that there were two Snow White movies this year.

So "Huntsman" styles itself as a dark-ish, action/adventure film and I wouldn't dispute that it belongs in that category. Where it begins to unravel is where it incorporates its source material and the dissonance with how modern movies are made and what is expected.

For starters, nowadays you can't have a helpless princess waiting to be rescued (unless that helplessness is played off as a sort of character flaw, or we're talking about something made for kids), no, a female protagonist has to be strong and independent, or at least must become that along the way. Both movies (and "Once Upon a Time, too) have their Snow White evolve along those lines. In the opening minutes of "Huntsman" we hear about a queen who pricks her finger on a rose blooming in winter, and wishes that her daughter would be as beautiful as the red blood against the white snow... and as strong as the rose that's blooming in defiance of winter.

Interesting. I read a version of Snow White years ago where some princes are out hunting. One shoots a hare and, when they see its blood against the snow, comments that a woman whose complexion was of those two colors would be the fairest in the land. There's no mention of strength; it's thrown in to "Huntsman" to push the notion of a strong Snow White. Nothing wrong with that, of course. In fact I think it's elegantly done

But this Snow White really isn't the strong and heroic type. She doesn't really do much of anything and always needs someone else to pull her bacon out of the fire. Except at the end, where's she's suddenly and completely trained in the use of medieval armor and weaponry. There's no real character arc other than "Well, someday she'll be great... okay, that's now." None of the crises she faces seem to develop her in any way, teach useful skills or build character.

So, Snow White is pretty weak. But what about the Huntsman? Well, we don't get much on him either. Apparently his wife has died, and we later learn in a throwaway line that it was very probably the evil queen who did so. Chris Hemsworth of "Thor" fame is pretty much just here for the action. That and a pointless love triangle with Snow White and her childhood friend, the duke's son William. There's never any tension here. It seems that someone who had a hand in this movie realized that their male lead was playing a peasant and that princesses marry princes. The movie leaves this open ended. As good a way to finish as any, I suppose.

On the other hand, it had just as much humor as "Mirror, Mirror" did.

Buckshot Blog Post

Y'know, I think the reason I blog as infrequently as I do isn't that I have nothing to say, it's that there's too much to say. So here it all is.

For instance, did you know that July 3rd was the 8th anniversary of the first date my wife and I ever went on? We went out to Friendly's and watched fireworks at my old college. While sitting in my Corolla afterwards (a 93, not the most comfortable car in the world) and waiting for the traffic to clear the parking lot, I called my parents to let them know how things went. Dad was incredulous because apparently he and mom did the same thing on their first date.

Well, they've been married since 1977, and Nicole and I have been together for eight years, so maybe there's something to that setup?

In unrelated news, during our most recent live D&D 3.5 group I summoned a pack of fiendish apes into the mouth of a gigantic sea creature. They wreaked havoc on its gums for all of about six seconds before the creature closed its mouth, crushing them all.

July 8th is my birthday. I'll be 32. Man does it get hard to muster up the energy for birthdays outside of your 20s. Even at 22 I was keenly aware that there we no more growing up to do, only growing old. Presents are nice though. Of course, even those have changed. This year I really only want beer and Home Depot gift cards, a sure sign I'm an adult or something like one.