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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Jonathan Woodward's LiveJournal:

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    Thursday, July 24th, 2014
    10:55 am
    Lego And Women Of Color
    I just took a few minutes to browse Brickset's database of Lego minifigure heads. I was looking for heads that:
    1. Are identifiably feminine. This means teritary characteristics like lipstick and eyelashes. (Many heads could be male or female, of course.)
    2. Are not bright yellow or "light nougat" (the default fleshtone for Caucasian people).
    3. Are some other color found in humanity (not green or red). I stretched this to include orange-brown (a fake-tan color) and brick yellow (a pale yellow-gray).
    The results?
    • Two Ahsoka Tano heads from Star Wars, both very orange.
    • Two Barriss Offee heads and one Luminara Unduli head, all from Star Wars, all brick yellow.
    • Two heads from the Friends line, used for at least six different characters. (The heads are different shapes from the normal minifig head.)
    • And, finally, one head each for Storm of the X-Men, and Stass Allie of the Jedi. These last are the only two brown female classic minifigure heads.
    Not all the responsibility for this can be laid at The Lego Group's feet. They mostly only use non-bright-yellow skin tones for licensed characters, like Star Wars (obviously) and Marvel Superheroes. So, all the women of color have to appear in someone else's universe before Lego can make minifigs of them. Still, we can hope for a minifig of Lupita Nyong’o in the next few years (or she might end up green, like Femi Taylor). And the superhero licenses could give us Vixen, Thunder, XS, Bumblebee, Question, Rocket, Photon, Silverclaw, Silhouette, Misty Knight, Moonstar, or Sasquatch*. One can hope.

    * The alternate Sasquatch of the Exiles, obviously. Though, since her Lego representation would probably be a huge white hairy beast, it might not count for our purposes.
    Thursday, July 17th, 2014
    9:45 pm
    Books: Sins, Rails, Alliances, Gundams, Batman, & More

    The Sinful Ones by Fritz Leiber

    An ontological fantasy, it which our hero discovers that most people are just automatons, then exerts his sexual privilege over the girl who revealed that to him, in vastly uncomfortable ways. Didn't finish, not recommended.

    Railsea by China Miéville

    This starts out as a pastiche of Moby-Dick, in which the sea is a vast railyard, and the whales are played by giant moles. Speaking as a former railroad brakeman, that premise is very silly, but Mr. M. made me not care. Along the way it stops being Moby-Dick and instead becomes a different quest, and a parable about capitalism run amuck, but you're mostly reading it because trains are cool. Recommended.

    Defending Middle-Earth by Patrick Curry

    I'm a big Tolkien fan, but this critical defense of The Lord Of The Rings is too shrill in both defense and its absurd attacks on "scientism". Didn't finish, not recommended.

    Batman: Murderer and Fugitive by Divers Hands

    An epic storyline from 2002, collected in two volumes. Bruce Wayne is found kneeling over the corpse of his girlfriend, and is arrested for her murder. He has what amounts to a psychotic break, and withdraws from his extended Bat-family, and from his identity as Bruce Wayne, until he re-learns that they are what make him whole. A pretty good storyline, with some fine chapters, especially "24/7", which is mostly about the good he does as Bruce, not as Bats. Recommended.

    Mining The Oort by Frederik Pohl

    I got partway into this Mars-terraforming book, and just lost interest, possibly because the teen protagonist was entirely uninteresting. Not recommended.

    Captain Vorpatril's Alliance by Lois McMaster Bujold

    The latest chapter in the Vorkosigan SF saga, this one focuses on Ivan, dilletante military officer who much prefers wine, women, and song over any sort of responsibility. Here, he suddenly gets saddled with women and responsibility, and has to protect them from forces both external and in-. While it has some dramatic moments, this one defeinitely tends toward the comical. Recommended.

    Gundam 00F by Kouichi Tokita

    This manga volume came free with a 00 DVD, so I glanced at it. The back cover dissuaded me from reading more than a few pages: It features Hayana, who, as near as I can tell, a Bondage Catgirl Catholic Schoolgirl Bare-Your-Midriff Reich-Cosplaying Computer Girl Rei Ayanami Clone. Putting that many tropes on one girl is just unfair. Did not read.

    Blue Remembered Earth by Alastair Reynolds

    In a colonized Solar System, a dead woman's will sends our heroes on a cross-system scavenger hunt, which largely seems to be there to give us a travelogue, because it felt like it led in circles. Still, it was an entertaining travelogue, but the final MacGuffin was a bit dull. Here's hoping the sequel is more solid. Recommended, ish.
    Thursday, July 3rd, 2014
    12:46 pm
    Whither Green Arrow
    The origin story of the Golden Age Green Arrow appeared in More Fun Comics #89. (This was the origin that involved a mesa, not an island.) I know I've read it, and it obviously must have been in some reprint, but I have no idea precisely where. It doesn't seem to have been reprinted very often! (For whatever reason, no version of Green Arrow has ever received an Archive Edition.) I suspect it was in some big hardcover of origin stories printed in the 70s, but does anyone have a better guess?
    Friday, June 13th, 2014
    9:54 am
    Okay, So, How Do I Find Contractors?
    My last post looking for a web security contractor turned up no leads. Since I've never hired anyone before, I guess I need to step back and ask the meta-question:

    Where do you go to find a contractor to fit a specific need? Particular sites, forums, "I know a guy who knows a guy"? I'm sure some of my readers have been in managerial positions and know this stuff better than me.
    Monday, June 9th, 2014
    3:04 pm
    Web Security Contractor Needed
    I'm working on a web application at work. Since most of the web apps I've worked on in my career have been internal-facing, my understanding of web security is self-taught and a bit ad hoc. This one is external, and involves a lot of client data that needs some serious attention to security. I told my boss that this was enough outside my skillset that we should get a contractor who knows it better than me, and he agreed. So, here are the parameters:
    • The technology is Windows, IIS, ASP.NET, SQL Server, and related web technologies.
    • The site will require logging in. It will be available to multiple users for multiple clients. Users from different clients must not have access to each other's data.
    • We need advice on the best way to secure the site. (PhoneFactor, local accounts, domain accounts...?)
    • We need advice on the best way to set up the external-facing database. (E.g., copying the data from our internal databases into silos on the external machine?)
    • The third-party software we're using includes DeskSite document management, and a couple legal industry products, IPDAS and CPi. Familiarity with those would be nice, but is not vital.
    To be clear, between me and my boss, we have come up with solutions that we believe address all our concerns. We're simply worried that either we've missed obvious holes or, more likely, that we've reinvented the wheel, and needlessly complicated things. We need someone with knowledge of the best practices.

    My employer is Wolf Greenfield, a large and respected IP law firm based in Boston.
    Thursday, June 5th, 2014
    10:12 pm
    More Vacation & Netflix
    More movies I've watched on Netflix Instant during my vacation:
    • Alien Planet: Based on an art book by Barlowe, this is a fake documentary about exploring an alien ecosystem. It's dreadfully slow, and the things it changes from the book are not for the better.
    • Devil: Five people are trapped in an elevator, and one of them is the devil. Adequately creepy, kept me guessing, and did not display the usual excesses of M. Night Shyamalan.
    • Unknown: Five men wake up in a locked warehouse with amnesia, and soon determine that three of them are kidnappers, and two are kidnapees... but they don't know who's who. Lots of twists, pretty good.
    • Nine Dead: A madman kidnaps nine people, chains them up in a basement, and says he will kill one very ten minutes until they determine how they're all connected. Moderately entertaining, but kind of uncomfortable.
    • The Flat: A documentary about a man in Israel who starts going through his grandmother's papers after she dies, and finds some very uncomfortable truths. I was struck by Arnon Goldfinger's quiet intensity. He spends the movie being perfectly polite and cool, but you can tell that's covering up a lot of very angry confusion. He keeps leaning in, ever so slightly, to his interviewees, as if to push them into sharing his frustration.
    • Nazis At The Center Of The Earth: Entirely meh. If you want a mecha-Hitler movie, this is one of them, but it would have to be a lot better to even aspire to B-movie-dom.
    • Europa Report: A mission to Europa goes wrong, for all the right reasons. More engrossing than, say, 2010, but with less to say.
    • Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters: A lot of fun, but it's hard not to read it as a wee bit misogynistic and wicca-phobic.
    • Robot & Frank: Frank Langella is a retired cat burglar, with a robot caretaker... who is programmed to care for him, not obey laws. Heists ensue. A stellar cast, fun, and just a bit maudlin.
    Monday, June 2nd, 2014
    3:08 pm
    Legoland: Oh, And
    Oh, and: The Boston Miniland was spectacular, including Cheers, the Somerville Theater, and the Hancock Tower, among much else. (I'm still not sure how they achieved the look of the Hancock Tower. Lego doesn't have transparent-slash-reflective blue pieces. I think the windows are trans-blue in front of trans-smoky gray, with lights behind them.) And Roo went on the Merlin's Apprentice ride. Twice!
    3:02 pm
    Legoland & Movies
    Yesterday was our family's first trip to the new Legoland Boston. It was bit overwhelming, as the opening-week crowds are still in full force. I might suggest either going on a weekday, or waiting until the buzz dies down.

    Roo was reasonably well-behaved for the whole experience, but I'm particularly proud of her for two things. First, she really wanted to try the Play Zone, which is a huge playstructure, two stories, completely enclosed in foam and nets, with slides and climbing areas and no-one over 5' allowed. Since there were rambunctious big kids in there, we were a bit terrified, but we let her try, and she was daring, bold, and resolute, climbing to the top, going down the two-story slide, trying new things, and wending her way out when she was done. We observed from outside, and whenever she spotted us, she'd alternate between delight and telling us to go 'way (because she had everything under control).

    Second, she got her first movie theater experience, seeing a 5 minute Clutch Powers short at the 4D Cinema. (The fourth D is apparently wind, water, and frost effects.) She was momentarily frightened at the scary bits, but bounced right back with laughter, and after she learned she could "turn off" the 3D effect by looking over her glassses instead of through, managed her own level of scared-ness.

    I am so entirely proud, and look forward to taking her back in a few months...
    Friday, May 30th, 2014
    11:24 am
    As I'm on vacation, I've been catching up on my Netflix Instant queue. Microreviews ensue:
    • G.I. Joe: Retaliation: Not as awful as I feared, and with a couple good fight scenes, but not awesome.
    • Frankenstein's Army: Russian soldiers in 1945 stumble upon Frankenstein's Nazi-funded experiments; creepiness and gore ensue. Done in found-footage style, could have used slightly more creep and less gore.
    • Violet & Daisy: A pair of anomie-ridden teen girl assassins have trouble when empathy strikes mid-kill. Good but not great.
    • Young Justice: I'm finally getting a chance to watch this. Pretty darn awesome. Especially Aqualad. And Miss Martian. And the other characters.
    • The Muppets Take Manhattan: Possibly the only classic Muppet movie I hadn't seen. I got about half an hour into this cloy-fest of boring songs, and gave up.
    • The Last Days On Mars: A very by-the-numbers zombies-on-Mars movie, but I wasn't bored.
    • Piranha: A classic of 1970s Jaws-ripoffs. I watched about an hour of this, and decided that was sufficient. Nothing in the rest of the film was likely to surprise me.
    • The Wall: A woman is alone at a hunting cabin up in the woods, when she finds she is trapped by an invisible sphere a few miles across. Be warned: The movie is not about the wall. It's about isolation. Do not go into this with the expectations of an SF fan. Also, be prepared for a slow pace, and lots of gorgeous landscape shots
    Wednesday, May 28th, 2014
    10:58 pm
    Inverted Comma Confusion
    So, I was recently reading an old Sgt. Rock comic. In it, Rock is talking about a guy he used to serve with, who he calls Phil Something. Except, Rock has a bit of an accent, so he calls him Phil Somethin'. Except, except, he knows that's not Phil's real name, so he puts it in quotes, as "Phil Somethin'". I.e., it ends in apostrophe, double-quote.

    Then there comes a moment when Sgt. Rock tries to form a possessive out of that, and it's clear the letterer just gave up and threw a few inverted commas at the page, in the hopes some would stick. I think it was "Phil Somethin'"s, and it probably should have been "Phil Somethin'"'s or worse...
    Thursday, May 1st, 2014
    2:10 pm
    We're Offfff... To Outer Spaaace...
    They made a live-action movie of Star Blazers/Space Battleship Yamato a few years back, and it was recently released on blu-ray here in the States. As a huge fan of the original, I jumped on that as soon as possible.

    How is it? Pretty good, all things considered. It would have been better with a higher budget, and two hours is simply not long enough to tell the epic story of the original, but there's a lot of stuff they got right.
    • They kept the design of the Yamato the same. (I'm mostly going to use the Star Blazers names here, with this one exception.)
    • They even kept the Black Tiger fighters looking mostly like the original Black Tigers, except cooler.
    • Nova is no longer the radar operator/nurse/team mom, but rather a fighter pilot with attitude.
    • There are a lot of other women on the ship, including several in the bridge crew.
    • Dr. Sane is still a quirky alcoholic cat-lover, but now she's a woman with a Dr. Crusher vibe.
    • IQ-9 has a small role, mostly as Derek's iPhone... but there's one scene he utterly steals with his awesomeness.
    • The whole esthetic of the Gamilons is different, with living ships and weird organic weaponry.
    • The assorted secrets about Iskandar, the Gamilons, and the Cosmo DNA are very different in this movie, but are almost as cool.
    • There are numerous homages to specific bits from the first two seasons of Star Blazers. E.g., Sgt. Knox has a major role.
    • They kept the music.
    • The battle scenes are cool, but way too brief.

    I've been thinking about the importance of the original anime series to geeks of a certain age (i.e., born around 1970), and I think it lies in the fact that Star Blazers was our first epic. Most fiction I was exposed to was not intended to tell an ongoing story, stretching over months of time, with high stakes and genuine threats. (Robotech is similar in many ways, but Star Blazers debuted six years earlier, in 1979.) Star Blazers has some genuinely goofy premises, got mucked up a bit for American audiences, and the animation was sometimes pretty cheap, but it cannot be accused of aiming low. The new movie honors that, and I enjoyed it.
    Monday, April 28th, 2014
    7:48 pm
    Books: Girls, Women, Nobody, Shock, And Others

    Girls Will Be Girls by JoAnn Deak, PhD.

    This advice book is subtitled "Raising Confident and Courageous Daughters", and delivers nicely on that promise. My major concern is that she talks a lot about how the female brain is biologically different from the male brain, but doesn't quote any sources. It leaves me slightly dubious. Still, lots of good advice, recommended.

    Too Many Women by Rex Stout

    A Nero Wolfe novel, one that's been out of print for a long time, probably because the somewhat sexist title highlights the sexism within. It's not awful sexism, by 1947 standards, but it doesn't travel well. Not particularly recommended; I mostly bought it to complete my set.

    Women And Other Constructs by Carrie Cuinn

    Someone or other recommended this slim volume of SF &c. The stories and poems within are about women, robots, the dead, and children, treated as "other", and I enjoyed it. I'd buy more by her. Recommended.

    How To Do Nothing With Nobody All Alone By Yourself by Robert Paul Smith

    A short collection of advice on how to be a kid, written in the 1950s. Paper airplanes, mumbly-peg, and spool-tanks feature. I remembered it fondly from my 1970s childhood, though it, also, has not traveled well. (The assumption that mom sews enough to have empty spools lying around, or that dad smokes, are a bit dated.) Still, fun.

    Present Shock by Douglas Rushkoff

    A non-fiction text on how future shock has been replaced by present shock: the recognition that we can't keep up with what's going on now, let alone what's coming up. Reacting rather than thinking, winding too much time and space into here and now, and the fantasy of a zombie apocalypse (because then things would have an ending, finally) are all touched upon. I found the ideas within useful to apply to my superhero comic book habit, where there is never a proper ending, where everything takes place in a perpetual now, and where things careen from event to event without ever settling into a status quo. Recommended.

    Great North Road by Peter F. Hamilton

    This near-future novel of murder, aliens, and the super-rich is a page-turner. A member of the great North clone family turns up dead, but none of their clones are missing. The only clue is the murder weapon, which appears to belong to an impossible alien. A massive investigation ensues, leading to the most horrible road trip of all time. Gripping, recommended.

    The Quantum Thief by Hannu Rajaniemi

    Man, European SF is really concerned with the future of authentication, privacy, and money, isn't it? This very mannered, stylized novel is about a caper, wrapped around a revolution, adjacent to a Ren Faire, inside a space opera. The author explains little, so try to keep your head above water. Recommended.

    I also read parts of The Illegal Rebirth of Billy The Kid by Rebecca Ore (meh) and Transgalactic by Van Vogt (good, but of its time), but don't have time to say more.
    Monday, April 14th, 2014
    10:19 pm
    Kickstarter: Lego Bandit
    If you like Lego, tactical games, or spaceships, please consider pledging to this Kickstarter: Mobile Frame Zero: Alpha Bandit. I own their first game in this series, and have met the creator, and it's awesome. Plus, y'know, you can build a spaceship!
    Tuesday, April 8th, 2014
    9:11 pm
    Winter Soldier
    Mostly, I thought Captain America: The Winter Solider was a lot of fun. Two complaints do arise: One, I wish Sam had taken out at least one named bad guy. He was very cool, but not as effective as I would have liked. Two, I'm getting very tired of Captain America condoning war crimes like torture (or, in a recent comics story, sending Thor to a parley with instructions to assassinate the other party, which is also a war crime). He's supposed to represent America at its best, not its worst. Still, if they made superheroes stop dangling people off of buildings to get information, a lot of plots would collapse.
    Friday, March 28th, 2014
    12:28 pm
    eBooks, Paper Books, And Raising A Child
    So, we own a lot of books. More than our shelves can hold. I'm culling out the less-worthy pretty regularly, but it's going to be a perpetual problem. Of the adults in our household, two have a Kindle app on their phones, and one has an actual Kindle device, so it's not like we don't read eBooks. They certainly take up a lot less space.

    But then, there's the Roo.

    I think there are certain advantages to paper books over eBooks when it comes to raising a child. To wit:
    • A book can be damaged more easily, but it's harder to destroy, cheaper to replace, and you don't lose access to all your books if something should happen to one.
    • I would have to get her her own Kindle, whereas books can be shared without an extra purchase.
    • Kindles and other eBook readers are a "pull" medium. You decide what you want, pull it in, and read it. Books on shelves, however, have a "push" aspect to them. They show off to you, and you don't need to already know they exist in order to find them. Someone who only experiences pull-media doesn't break out of their comfort zone as much.
    • And, yes, I grew up with paper books, and believe in their mystique.
    Roo will certainly get a Kindle someday, and it'll probably be within a decade, but I think there's an advantage to the message of, "Here are the things I value, for you to browse and borrow, without intermediaries or accounts."

    I welcome comment from those of you with older kids and eReaders...

    (Incidentally, Roo has several of her favorite books memorized, can identify about half the alphabet reliably, and I think she has just grokked the notion that those things next to the pictures are "words" made up of "letters", and are meaningful.)
    11:35 am
    David Trampier, 1954-2014
    One of the great artists and storytellers of the roleplaying game genre, David Trampier, passed away on Monday. His best-known work was for Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, for which he painted the iconic cover of the Player's Handbook. His comic strip "Wormy", for Dragon Magazine, was much-lauded, though it was incomplete when he vanished from the industry in 1988. He apparently spent the last quarter-century driving a cab, among other occupations, and declined to return to the field he helped define. My writing career and gaming hobby would be different things, and likely lesser things, without his influence.

    Tuesday, March 18th, 2014
    9:47 pm
    Books: Monkeys, Gods, Bisexuals, And More

    Code Monkey Save World by Pak, Coulton, et al

    I helped to Kickstart this graphic novel, which is a mashup of the plots of assorted Coulton songs. It's sort of subversive in interesting ways. Our hero, a literal monkey who is also a wage-slave software engineer, pines after the pretty receptionist, and then gets caught up in the plots of assorted evil geniuses and world conquerors. In the end, he discovers the logical consequences of loving from afar. Recommended.

    Supergods by Grant Morrison

    This book is half history of superheroes, half Morrison's autobiography. The history half is more than serviceable, and has some good things to say about the recent decades of superhero comics. The autobiography part is genuinely weird, since Morrison is into drugs and magic in ways I am decidedly not, but at least he's sincere when he explains the secrets of the universe and why he wore a lot of PVC in the 90s. For those interested in the topic, definitely recommended, but bear in mind that there is no journalistic detachment in here. Morrison is unabashedly attached.

    Anything That Loves, edited by Charles "Zan" Christensen

    Another Kickstart'd comics collection, this is a diverse collection of stories defending and celebrating bisexuality. I thought it was pretty awesome, with one significant caveat: It's kinda polyphobic. There are several stories in which bi people react with disgust to the suggestion that they might be polyamorous, and no stories in which poly is portrayed positively. (There is a story about how to have a good threesome, but it explicitly kicks the special guest out of the house afterwards.) I still recommend it a lot, but it certainly surprised me that a book that is aggressively about inclusivity towards all forms of sexuality should drop that ball so hard.

    Eternal Flame by Greg Egan

    The second book in Egan's Orthogonal series, set in a world with very different physical and biological laws. Our scientists are traveling through space in their mobile mountain, orthogonal to the timeline of their homeworld, trying to find a way to prevent its destruction. In this volume, they discover their universe's answer to antimatter, and wrestle with their biology. (You, see, these aliens have two sexes, but women do not survive childbirth, and a well-fed woman will eventually give birth whether she has sex or not... so the only effective way for a woman to stay alive, and prevent a population explosion on their spaceship, is to fast, constantly...) Very hard science with lots of equations and diagrams, very well thought-out, recommended.

    The Book of Skaith by Leigh Brackett

    This is an omnibus of Brackett's 1970s Eric John Stark planetary romances. I like me a good planetary romance, but I read the first novel (The Ginger Star), and found it to be a dreadful chore to get through. The good bits are not imaginative, the imaginative bits are not good, and it reads like it was written by a man in the 1950s, not a woman in the 1970s. I'm not reading the other two novels, nor keeping the volume.

    The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon

    This novel is set in an alternate universe where Israel did not succeed as a state, and a whole lot of Jews ended up living in the city of Sitka, Alaska, instead. It's a very intense study of Judaism crossed with a a pulp detective novel. I'm certainly not qualified to speak to how fair it is to Judaism and Jews, and it took me a while to get used to its dark tone. Our hero is very much at the end of his rope, much like the Jews of Sitka as a whole, and he ends up investigating one last murder more from a sense of failure than one of justice. Still, I'm glad I pushed through and finished it, and I recommend it. (Though don't forget it's a pulp detective novel! Chabon does not shy away from the pulp tropes.)
    9:49 am
    Outcrufting Books: Sphereland And Beyond
    Since I certainly have too many books for our shelves, and quite arguably have a lot of bad ones, I'm getting a little more diligent about outcrufting the ones I don't need. (They typically go into our giveaway bin in the foyer, thence into a Goodwill donations box at some point.) I'm going to document some of them here, mostly just so I can snark about them.
    • Starswarm and Starship by Brian Aldiss. Why would I reread Starship when I have Orphans Of The Sky four shelves to the right?
    • Nemesis by Asimov. One of his lesser novels, where the protagonists are unhappy women, with repeated descriptions of how plain they are.
    • The Coming Race by Bulwer-Lytton. Interesting for its place in the genre, but not much good in itself.
    • Wonder Boys by Chabon. The movie is so much better!
    • Sphereland by Burger. I'm going to skim this one to see if it has any merit, but I'm pretty sure I don't need to keep Flatland fanfic.
    • The Timeline Wars by Barnes. An omnibus trilogy of minor alt-universe novels, that is probably taking up more space on my shelf than it deserves.
    Friday, March 14th, 2014
    12:46 pm
    A Flash-To-Flash Comparison
    (Part of my continuing series of being cranky that DC Comics got rid of Wally West.)

    Let's compare Barry Allen and Wally West as parents, shall we?

    (This is the comics continuity here.)

    Barry Allen took his wife to the 30th century, got her pregnant with twins, then came back in time to the 20th century, saved the universe, and died in the Crisis. It's not clear he ever met his kids (though he met his grandkids on a couple occasions, thanks to time travel). Then, of course, he comes back to life, he rewrites the universe in Flashpoint, unmaking his marriage, kids, and grandkids, like they'd never been.

    Wally West gets his wife pregnant with twins, then she loses them to a miscarriage caused by one of his villains. He rewrites time to bring them back, and they get born. Because they inherited some aspects of his powers, he and his wife take them to an alien world to get the medical care they need, abandoning their lives and careers without hesitation. The kids grow up too darn fast, but he stays with them as they adapt to their powers. He tries to discourage them from becoming superheroes, but mentors them when it happens anyway. Last we saw, he and his wife were right by their side when Barry Allen erased all four of them from existence. The worst thing we can say about Wally is that there came a moment when he thought he'd have to choose which of his kids lived and which died, and he later admits to his wife that he made a choice in his heart, before finding a way to save them both.

    So, hmm, remind me why DC Comics is all about Barry Allen these days?
    Tuesday, February 25th, 2014
    10:18 am
    The Lego Movie and Gender
    I've been meaning to post about The Lego Movie and its problems with gender, and have gotten a couple of nudges from friends.  There will be a few minor spoilers in here, but I'll be as circumspect as I can about the big ones.
    Spoilers ahoy...Collapse )
    All of that said, and all of those problems mentioned: This is probably the best single movie-based-on-toys ever made, and an exceedingly good movie by any measure. I would comfortably set it next to Wall-E or Roger Rabbit.

    I welcome discussion. I'm a guy, and that means I'm going to miss things my friends with more feminist chops won't.

    (Oh, on another topic: It's a Hollywood movie made to sell toys, so it's a highly corporate movie with an anti-corporate theme, which is eye-rolling, and maybe a bit insulting. On the other hand, Legos are a cultural force because of the way they empower the individual and the imagination, and this movie is a clear statement in favor of that. Yes, the message is "Buy more Lego," but the message right next to that is "Because we want you to have fun with it, without limits or fear." Being a Lego fan and the father of a Lego fan, I find that worthy.)
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