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Sun, 29 May 2016 02:45:43 +0200

An interesting modern fairy tale with meta-textual elements from Charles Yu, published recently in the New Yorker.

#shortstory #fiction #fairytale  

Thu, 26 May 2016 16:43:41 +0200

Jane the Virgin, Season 3 Prediction

Spoilers follow for season 2 finale.

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Here are my predictions for what's coming in season 3:

Michael survives being shot, but is (of course) in a coma. Jane stands by her comatose man despite the doctors telling her there's little hope of a recovery, and we probably get some tragicomic scenes of her trying weird things to wake him up. Rafael will do whatever he can to be there for her through this, which likely puts less strain on his relationship with fake-Petra than it would have with the real Petra.

Around midseason, Jane, emotionally distraught as she struggles to accept that Michael may never wake up, turns to Rafael for comfort – very physical comfort – finally losing her virginity. I wouldn't be surprised to see Rafael lose everything to Anezka and Magda right around this point as well, so it could easily be a situation where they both seek comfort in each other. However it goes down, Jane immediately decides it was a mistake, which hurts Rafael, and several episodes of back and forth follows as she's torn between her guilt over cheating on her comatose husband and her desire to move on with her life with Rafael.

Ultimately, Jane accepts that Michael's coma is permanent, gets back together with Rafael, files to have her marriage terminated, and they get to a place where they can be a happy family – just in time for the build-up to the season finale, during which (of course) Michael wakes up. That probably won't be in the season finale itself, however – too obvious for this show. Instead, the season finale will serve to introduce some new insane twist that is unpredictable now, but will likely result from groundwork that will be laid throughout season 3. Given each season finale so far has ended with someone important to Jane in grave danger (first her son, now her new husband), the trend will likely continue, but I doubt the victim will be so obvious as Rafael after doing Michael this season. I'm putting my money on Xo's life hanging in the balance as season 3 closes.

#janethevirgin #tv  

Thu, 26 May 2016 05:57:35 +0200

The Flash 2x21: Barry's Magical Mystery Tour Through Superhero Purgatory

Spoilers follow for episode 2x21, "The Runaway Dinosaur."

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When we watched Barry disintegrate and explode before our eyes at the end of last episode, nobody who's ever seen this show thought for a second that it would last through a whole episode, let alone be permanent. But I gotta admit, I did think it actually happened, and I was mildly intrigued to see what the writers would do with a mostly Barry-less episode revolving around the supporting cast and (presumably) whatever sort of timey-wimey shenanigans they'd have to go through to undo it. Apparently I gave The Flash writers too much credit.

Instead, we learned right off the bat that Barry had never actually died at all, but had just been transported to Superhero Purgatory where he had to go on a Magical Mystery Tour through some emotional baggage (that he really ought to have but the show usually ignores) in order to regain his super-speed. Meanwhile, since there was no possible way to get enough plot out of that to fill a whole episode, the rest of the cast had to contend with a throwaway villain from last season returning from the dead as a super-strong metal zombie. At no point did they bother to even try to convince us this B plot existed for any reason other than filling time and giving the rest of the cast something to do this episode. (Do I even have to write that Barry returned in the nick of time to save them all?)

Compared to the episode in my head, this was pretty disappointing. In my mind, we picked up with Wally West waking up from a coma a year later to discover a dystopia controlled by Zoom. We'd see him discovering his powers, learning Barry was the first Flash, taking up the mantle to wage a losing war against Zoom, and when at the brink of total defeat, ultimately break the time barrier to travel back and prevent Barry from dying. This would lead to an interesting role reversal as Barry now becomes the mentor to a speedster from the future – at least for an episode or two until Wells worked out the deadly kinks in his re-powering device. 

Every once in awhile, The Flash appears to pull a ballsy move that could catapult the show in a really interesting direction if they actually followed through on it. Every time, it turns out to be a fake-out stunt that goes nowhere – or, in the rare case they don't backpedal entirely, where they choose to go with it requires a convoluted explanation that doesn't hold together (Jay Garrick, I'm looking at both of you).

#theflash #tv #superheropurgatory  

Tue, 24 May 2016 16:46:02 +0200

This is how all education should work. This is the future.

Tue, 24 May 2016 16:12:52 +0200

Fascinating article on how differing crop types may have impacted the development of ancient civilizations... though the insistence that tubers allowing for greater equality while grain forced greater social stratification somehow makes tubers the "cursed" ones is pretty baffling. 😒

Original Post from Stephen Wendell:

Tubers or grains?
Food for (your world-building) thought.

Sun, 22 May 2016 16:51:39 +0200

Original Post from Corey C.:

Review: Liyla and the Shadows of War

I installed this mobile game after reading that the Apple App Store refused to classify it as a game. After playing, I can see where they're coming from: While there is enough gameplay to argue that this is technically a game, it's only a small part of the experience and clearly not the real point.

Instead, it is an anti-war PSA tls the predictably sad story of one family trying to escape a Palestinian city as it's being bombed. It does that reasonably effectively, using first a brief platforming scene and then a brief infinite runner type scene to take the player on a short tour of a few of the atrocities of war.

Finally, after completing (I wouldn't call it winning) the game, it shows a series of news snippets revealing each horror you encountered was a representation of an actual event, along with stats on the death toll of the war. This section lasts nearly as long as the actual game.

This educational content is the main purpose of the game. While I find it doubtful that there's much new here for any reasonably well-educated adult, and the overall experience may be too dark for children, this game probably has value for teaching teens about war -- or, I suppose, even adults who are under the delusion that war is anything other than a literal bloody horrific mess.

In terms of traditional gameplay value, though, there's not much here: the gameplay is minimal, executed in the barest fashion, and so brief and so simple that there is zero replay value. It basically feels like an amateur Flash game you'd play for free on Kongregate or GameJolt; that said, since it is free, that shouldn't be taken as particularly harsh criticism. If anything about it piques your interest, there's no reason not to download it. There's not even a commitment: You'll have it finished and uninstalled within 10 minutes.

#games #androidgames #learninggames #war #Palestine #politics

Sun, 22 May 2016 16:42:50 +0200

Review: Liyla and the Shadows of War

I installed this mobile game after reading that the Apple App Store refused to classify it as a game. After playing, I can see where they're coming from: While there is enough gameplay to argue that this is technically a game, it's only a small part of the experience and clearly not the real point.

Instead, it is an anti-war PSA that tells the predictably sad story of one family trying to escape a Palestinian city as it's being bombed. It does that reasonably effectively, using first a brief platforming scene and then a brief infinite runner type scene to take the player on a short tour of a few of the atrocities of war.

Finally, after completing (I wouldn't call it winning) the game, it shows a series of news snippets revealing each horror you encountered was a representation of an actual event, along with stats on the death toll of the war. This section lasts nearly as long as the actual game.

This educational content is the main purpose of the game. While I find it doubtful that there's much new here for any reasonably well-educated adult, and the overall experience may be too dark for children, this game probably has value for teaching teens about war -- or, I suppose, even adults who are under the delusion that war is anything other than a literal bloody horrific mess.

In terms of traditional gameplay value, though, there's not much here: the gameplay is minimal, executed in the barest fashion, and so brief and so simple that there is zero replay value. It basically feels like an amateur Flash game you'd play for free on Kongregate or GameJolt; that said, since it is free, that shouldn't be taken as particularly harsh criticism. If anything about it piques your interest, there's no reason not to download it. There's not even a commitment: You'll have it finished and uninstalled within 10 minutes.

#games #androidgames #learninggames #war #Palestine #politics

Thu, 19 May 2016 03:07:36 +0200

Sat, 14 May 2016 18:49:13 +0200

Interesting musings on the similarities between Howard Stern and Donald Trump, and what they say about American culture.

Sat, 14 May 2016 15:09:19 +0200