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I had a belated birthday present from my mom last week: free eyeliner tattooing due to some half-off internet group coupon thingie (it's complicated, but my mother's on more social media than I am). I was looking forward to it. I already have some big-ass tattoos, so I figured, how painful could a tiny little line be?

Pain. Pain? PAAAAAAIIIIN!!!! A few minutes into it, the woman cheerfully informed me, "looks like you're a bleeder!" Apparently I have very sensitive eyelids. This was not the most painful experience of my life -- that was a certain gynecological surgery performed with inadequate local anesthetic -- but it was definitely up there in the top five. I worked my way through it without screaming, but there was lots of fist-clenching, teeth gritting, heel drumming and the occasional silent weeping of tears of blood. My eyelids feel very nasty and puffy now. I'll have to go back in a month to get a touch-up, and I'm dreading it.  I'm definitely not getting the lower line done as well.

Captain America last week was inoffensive but forgettable. I was already miffed that they ruined a chance to include my main man, Namor, who has the coolest Golden Age backstory of any comic book character and used to fight Nazis with Captain America. But I'd accepted that he wasn't included. The thing that most disappointed me was the central conflict with the Red Skull and Hydra.

First of all, Captain America is not a hero with anything approaching interesting psychological development. He used to be a really nice good guy. Then he got powerful, and turned into... a really nice, good guy. He's a very simple character, but that doesn't mean his story has to be simple.  If you relate him to his time and setting, he can really come alive.  He stays the same while his time changes around him, after all.

The movie did not succeed in doing that. There was no real conflict and no suspense. I hate that sort of fake conflict and predictability; that's probably the number one thing that turns me off a story. As soon as Hydra came into play, I felt like the movie was no longer taking place in anything like history (even a sanitized comic book version of history) but had turned into a completely ahistorical GI Joe cartoon. 

I think they could have added some moral complexity to this by keeping Hydra linked to the Nazis more. They could have kept the PG rating and not, say, shown graphic Holocaust footage, but at least a few links to real historical issues of WWII would have added complexity and increased the possibility of real suspense by forcing Captain America to actually make real moral decisions.  On a visual level, the ridiculous technology of the last half of the movie simultaneously reduced the power of the historical setting and made the entire movie seem generic.

Lastly, supporting characters. This movie followed exactly the same formula as Thor. Take a buff white dude and back him up with some other white dudes. Add 1) one white woman who fights 2) one black dude 3) one Asian dude. I'm only complaining a little bit. This sort of tokenism is way better than I could have even imagined twenty years ago. It's progress. But it's still tokenism.  Even more irritating, both movies had a moment where the character makes an important decision because someone insulted him by calling him... a woman. It happened in Thor when the Laffy Taffy or whatever his name is calls Thor a princess. And it happens in CA when someone calls him a "chorus girl" and that makes him change his whole mind about doing his show to sell war bonds. WTF. This is not the sort of message I want my son to learn.

Other than that, it wasn't really awful. But there was so much missed potential.

I'm going to try to switch to Deepest Sender from now on to write (I'm sick of LJ's godawful interface that eats half my posts) and post to Dreamwidth so it gets pushed out to LJ. I'm not interested in abandoning LJ yet, despite the horrendous problems of last week, and I'm just backing things up. I'm already very familiar with Blogger and Wordpress and I'd rather stay here for a lot of my stuff. However, I'm starting up a bunch of new social media accounts under My Awesome Pen Name which is still sort of secret until we go live with our book website. I've decided to go the Google Sites plus embedded free Wordpress blog for that. I know enough graphic design to make simple sites look decent, I want to keep our initial investment low, and there are also huge time-saving advantages when it comes to going the hosted route.

Right now we're edited 75% of the book, and we've started on the synopsis. We're also working on alternate titles. We should be ready to start submitting within the next month. It's pretty exciting.

Good news here, by the way... Raquel Nelson is free! Thank you everyone who signed that petition I linked! I want to stress that she was not acquitted. A jury (NOT of her peers) actually found her guilty. But the judge used good judgement and didn't sentence her, and is even giving her the chance for a new trial to clear her name.

I'm doing a lot of political stuff this weekend, and on Monday, on the budget debate before the final deadline. I'll just say I'm terrified of either Medicare or Medicaid being cut and I am doing everything I can to prevent that.

Lastly I would encourage anyone interested in the Oslo terrorist's connection to global right-wing extremism to visit the SPLC Hatewatch blog. They always have really good coverage on this stuff.

I wish I had a pained, puffy-eyed David Bowie mood icon.

TORCHWOOD EP FOUR TONIGHT OH YEEEEEAAHHHH. I saw a pic of Gwen with an updo and a tight dress, and she looked amazing.

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August 2011

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