An automatically generated list of links that caught my eye between December 27th and January 8th.
Sometime between December 27th and January 8th, I thought this stuff was interesting. You might think so too!
- Why So Many Men Hate the Last Jedi But Can’t Agree on Why: SPOILERS: "I don’t think every human who disliked The Last Jedi is an evil, evil misogynist. I do think that we have so deeply internalized sexist narrative tropes that we see them as 'correct' and 'good filmmaking' while seeing their absence as 'flaws.'"
- My Hero, Luke Skywalker: SPOILERS: “It is a beautiful fantasy and, I thought, a particularly resonant message for the anxious and depressed about what you can be capable of, the kind of peace you may be able to find if you dig down deep enough and push yourself emotionally.”
- Stop reading what Facebook tells you to read: "Literally, all you need to do: Type in web addresses. Use autofill! Or even: Google the website you want to go to, and go to it. Then bookmark it. Then go back every now and again."
- List: Alternatives to Platonic Love: "Newtonian Love – There’s a strong attraction between your bodies."
- This is not going to go the way you think: The Last Jedi and the necessary disappointment of epilogues: SPOILERS: “Happy endings are always undone because ‘endings’ don’t really exist. Time doesn’t stop when you want it to. Your ‘destiny’ can and will be slowly eroded away by the many small, cumulative abrasions of life that inevitably follow after you achieve it. This is real, and it’s disillusioning, and it can fill you with righteous anger at the unjustness of it all.”
An automatically generated list of links that caught my eye between December 20th and December 26th.
Sometime between December 20th and December 26th, I thought this stuff was interesting. You might think so too!
An automatically generated list of links that caught my eye between November 12th and December 19th.
Sometime between November 12th and December 19th, I thought this stuff was interesting. You might think so too!
- Toxic Masculinity Is the True Villain of Star Wars: The Last Jedi: SPOILERS: “Poe's character, while not one of the main protagonists, has even more to do in The Last Jedi. However, while he may be filling the role of the dashing pilot that Han did in the Original Trilogy, director Rian Johnson is using the archetype to say something completely different about heroism, leadership, and—perhaps most importantly—masculinity.”
- Star Wars: The Last Jedi Offers the Harsh Condemnation of Mansplaining We Need in 2017: SPOILERS: “Any female boss in 2017 or American still nursing the hangover of the 2016 presidential election can tell you that even nice guys often have trouble taking orders from women.”
- Star Wars, the Generations: SPOILERS: “Great movies reflect an era through the eyes of artists who embody that era. George Lucas embodied the era of Baby Boom ‘destiny’ and self-conceit. Rian Johnson embodies our era of diminished heroism, cynicism and near despair– tempered by the hope, if we can but learn from our heroes’ mistakes, that somehow, some way, some day, we may yet restore balance to the Force.”
- Rian Johnson Confirms The Dorkiest Reference In ‘The Last Jedi’: SPOILERS: “There is a dorky reference in Star Wars: The Last Jedi that even director Rian Johnson admits that you may have to be of a certain age to get – thanks to a narrow window where you might have been watching premium cable in the very early ‘80s when this bizarre little short film would air in-between feature-length films.”
- Rian Johnson Says There Are No Twists, Only Honest Choices: SPOILERS: “It seemed completely honest to me. It seems like the most dramatic version of that. And that’s what you’re supposed to do. Find what the honest moment would be, and then find the most dramatic version of it. So, in terms of the big ‘twists’ in the movie, they sprung from a process of trying to follow where these characters would go as honestly as possible.”
- Star Wars: The Last Jedi humanizes the Force: SPOILERS: This was one of my favorite things about The Last Jedi. To my mind, a very smart direction to take things.
- Did You Catch the Brazil Reference in Star Wars: The Last Jedi?:
- ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ Redeems the Prequels: SPOILERS: “One of the many reasons I love Star Wars: The Last Jedi is that it redeems the prequels. … It recontextualizes the prequels and reinforces what I loved about them.”
- Pro-Neutrality, Anti-Title II: Interesting argument that the likely change to ISP regulations — the 'net neutrality' debate — may not be quite the horrid thing it appears to be. Worth thinking over. "The question at hand, though, is what is the best way to achieve net neutrality? To believe that Chairman Pai is right is not to be against net neutrality; rather, it is to believe that the FCC’s 2015 approach was mistaken."
- Keyboard Maestro 8.0.4: Work Faster with Macros for macOS: Saving for me to remember and look into when I have more time.
- The Amazons’ New Clothes: “The Wonder Woman designs received acclaim from fans and costume fanatics alike. They were clearly inspired by the Amazon’s origins in the Mediterranean and were feminine but very functional. Why mess with perfection? Oh, right. The all-male team of directors and executive directors wanted women to fight in bikinis.”
An automatically generated list of links that caught my eye between 11:01 and 11:37 on March 30th.
Sometime between , I thought this stuff was interesting. You might think so too!
- A Tasting Menu of Female Representation: Several simple guidelines for gauging how well women are presented in media. Bechdel, Mako Mori, Sexy Lamp, Anti-Freeze, Strength is Relative, and Furiosa, and Pizza Night tests. (tags: sexism media film representation bechdel bechdeltest makomori pacificrim sexylamp antifreeze strengthisrelative furiosa madmaxfuryroad mmfr pizzanight )
- Everything is Chemicals: “If you can’t pronounce it, it’s bad for you” is literally the worst pseudo-scientific scaremongering bullshit tactic. I hate it so much. (tags: tumblr health science food chemicals )
- Humans Are Weird: To paraphrase one of my favorite bits of a ‘humans are awesome’ fiction megapost: “you don’t know you’re from a Death World until you leave it.” For a ton of reasons, I really like the idea of Earth being Space Australia. (tags: tumblr sciencefiction sf earth aliens australia humor )
- Old Fandom-New Fandom Dictionary: Definitions for several terms common to fandom; some old, some new. Not remotely comprehensive. (tags: tumblr fandom language glossary )
- Dear Fellow Guys….stop hitting on women at work….: If you’re interacting with a human it’s because you want to interact with a human and you want that human to be nice to you. You are paying for their kindness, for their smiles when their feet hurt and their questions about your day when they haven’t had lunch yet. Flirting with customer service workers at work, asking them out when they’re on the clock and paid to make you happy, telling them you think they’re attractive and expecting a gushing response – that’s breaking the rules. That’s a lose-lose situation that you’ve set them up for. (tags: sexism toxicmasculinity behavior flirting safety tumblr )
A brief review of Rogue One, and some thoughts on why I don’t think it should be part of the Machete Order.
I saw Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (man, that full title is clunky) last night, and really enjoyed it. Here’s the brief mini-review I posted to Facebook:
Brief spoiler-free review of Rogue One: as many have already said, it’s good, and well worth seeing in the theater. Manages to be very much a part of the established Star Wars universe while also being very different from every other Star Wars film made to date — and, yes, part of that is that it’s darker than the rest, and parents might not want to assume that young ones will be fine with this one just because it’s part of the Star Wars universe. Very effectively sits just before A New Hope while also being a very modern film; I was particularly impressed with how well they pulled this off, especially as so many of the costumes and hairstyles had to be consistent with the very ’70s aesthetic of ANH. Lots of little (and some not so little) touches, Easter eggs, and in-jokes for long-time fans to enjoy (one conversation between a couple stormtroopers made me laugh out loud, and I didn’t hear anyone else react to it; it didn’t seem that obscure to me, but maybe this Trekkie has a bit more Star Wars cred than I’d have thought). I’ll enjoy watching this one again down the line.
In another discussion, a friend asked where Rogue One should go in a Star Wars binge based on the Machete Order (which omits Ep. I, and puts Eps. II and III between V and VI, for a final viewing order of IV-V-II-III-VI). My initial thought was to just drop RO in at the beginning, since chronologically it comes just before ANH. When combined with The Force Awakens, this would make a full Machete viewing of RO-IV-V-II-III-VI-VII).
On further reflection, though, I actually think that RO (and, most likely, the rest of the forthcoming standalone films) should be omitted from the lineup, and that Machete Order should be restricted to the “primary” films (those with formal episode numbers).
(Keep in mind, the following is from the theoretical perspective of subjecting someone to a Star Wars immersion course under the assumption that they’ve never seen the films and are so divorced from popular culture that they don’t know the characters, beats, or revelations. So, basically, this is a fun little bit of geekery not very related to the real world at all.)
Spoilers for various films in the Star Wars saga up to and including Rogue One follow, so I’ll just drop the rest of this post behind a cut…
Continue reading “Rogue One Mini-Review and Machete Order Thoughts”
Please note that the Empire is a white supremacist (human) organization. Opposed by a multicultural group led by brave women.
Disappointed that these two tweets by Star Wars: Rogue One writers were removed (but not terribly surprised, especially if the deletions were decreed by the Powers Above):
On November 11, 2016, Rogue One writer Chris Weitz tweeted: “Please note that the Empire is a white supremacist (human) organization.” He later deleted that tweet after receiving lots of complaints from other Twitter users, many of whom asked him to stop “injecting politics” into Star Wars. Weitz clarified in one response tweet, “My apologies. You have a right to enjoy it as you wish; and I don’t wish to harm my colleagues’ work either.”
Weitz’ colleague, Gary Whitta, had already written his own response to the tweet comparing the Star Wars Empire to white supremacy, which said: “Opposed by a multicultural group led by brave women.” Whitta’s tweet has also since been deleted.
I have just as much sympathy (to wit: absolutely none) with people whining about “injecting politics” into Star Wars as those who did the same with Star Trek (most recently, regarding Bryan Fuller’s preparation for Star Trek: Discovery). Politics are integral to these stories. Even if you try to ignore the parallels between the Empire and the Nazi regime (which were explicit and intentional in both the original films and in The Force Awakens, so attempting to ignore that is rather ridiculous), the Star Wars prequels open with the Trade Federation controlling a blockade around a planet at the bidding of Chancellor Palpatine…but, no, sorry, that has nothing to do with politics. How silly of me.
All these people really mean is that they don’t want their politics to be called out as the bad guys…but, c’mon, if the shoe fits….
So Rogue One has already been passing the Furiosa Test (Do people on the internet get mad about it being feminist?), and now Trump supporters might be staying away as well (though, really, the two groups do seem to have a lot of overlap)? I don’t see much of a downside to that. I’d certainly be quite happy going to a movie knowing that there’s a smaller-than-normal chance of being surrounded by those types of people, and given the juggernaut that Star Wars is, I just don’t see a major impact on their bottom line from this. Win-win for everyone!
Except the Empire, perhaps.
How to convert DVDs or Blu-Rays for personal use on OS X, including OCR conversion of subtitles to text-based .srt files suitable for use as ‘soft’ subtitles (rendered by the video player rather than burned into the image).
Saved here for my own reference, and possibly others’ if they should stumble across it: the easiest workflow I’ve found yet for converting DVDs or Blu-Rays (if you have a Blu-Ray reader, of course) for personal use on OS X, including OCR conversion of subtitles in either VOBSUB (DVD) or PGS (Blu-Ray) format to text-based .srt files suitable for use as soft subtitles, either as a sidecar file or included in the final movie file.
The flow diagram to the right gives an overview of the process I’ve landed on. Here’s a slightly more detailed breakdown.
- Use MakeMKV to rip the DVD or BluRay disc to an .mkv file (if I run into a stubborn DVD, or one with a lot of multiplexing, I’ll use RipIt to create a disk image first, then run that image through MakeMKV). To save space, you can select only the primary audio track for inclusion, or you can select others if you want other languages or commentary tracks archived as well (though this will require more storage space). I also select all available English-language subtitle tracks, as some discs will include both standard subtitles and subtitles for the hearing impaired or closed captions, which include some extra information on who is speaking and background sounds, or occasionally even transcriptions of commentary tracks.
- Use Subler to OCR and export the subtitle files. This takes two runs through Subler to complete.
- First run; drag the .mkv file onto Subler, and only select the subtitle track(s). Pop that into the export queue, and after a few minutes of processing (this is when the OCR process happens) Subler will output a tiny .m4v file.
- Second run; drag that file back onto Subler, click on the subtitle track, and choose File > Export… to save the .srt file(s). The tiny .m4v file can then be deleted.
Now, the OCR process is not perfect, and the resulting .srt file(s) are virtually guaranteed to have some errors. How many and how intrusive they are depends on the source. BluRay subs seem to come out better than DVD subs (likely due to the higher resolution of the format giving better quality text for the OCR process to scan), DVD subs are also affected by the chosen font and whether or not italics were used. For correction, I use one of two methods.
- For a quick-and-dirty “good enough for now” run, I use BBEdit (but just about any other text editor would work) to do a quick spellcheck, identifying common errors and using search-and-replace to fix them in batches.
- For a real quality fix, I use Aegisub to go through line-by-line, comparing the text to the original audio, adding italics when appropriate, and so on.
Of course, these two processes can be combined, done at different times, or skipped entirely; right now, I’m just living with the OCR errors, because I can always go back and use Subler to extract the .srt files for cleanup later on when I have more time.
- Use HandBrake to re-encode and convert the .mkv file (which at this point will be fairly large, straight off the source media) to a smaller .m4v file. You can either embed the .srt files at this point, under HandBrake’s ‘Subtitles’ tab, or if you prefer…
- …you can use Subler to .srt files into into the .m4v: Drag the .m4v file from HandBrake on to Subler, drag the .srt file(s) into the window that opens, and then drop that into the queue for final remuxing (optionally, before adding the files to the queue, use Subler’s metadata search tools to add the description, artwork, and other metadata). Then run the queue to output the final file.
And that’s it. Now, you should have a .m4v file with embedded text-based soft subtitles for programs that support that (VLC, Plex, etc.), or you can just use the .srt file(s) created by Subler earlier as a sidecar file for programs that don’t read the embedded .srt.
Thanks to the world’s weirdest advertising campaign, we watched a dumb comedy that we’d otherwise have had no interest in. And in the end? Yes, dumb, but we’ve definitely seen far worse, and there were some laughs to be had.
(This was originally published on Facebook a few days ago in a slightly shorter form.)
Thanks to the world’s weirdest advertising campaign, we watched a dumb comedy that we’d otherwise have had no interest in. And in the end? Yes, dumb, but we’ve definitely seen far worse, and there were some laughs to be had (bracketed by moments of pushing gags too far, but then, we were expecting that). It was an acceptably amusing way to spend an hour and a half, leaving us neither enriched nor regretting the experience. It didn’t suck.
One of my favorite gags was one of the more subtle ones (which is likely why this genre of comedy isn’t my usual thing, as subtlety doesn’t seem to be a major concern most of the time): the titular interview being watched by a North Korean guard on a PC running Windows 3.1.
So, the first full trailer for Pixar’s next film showed up today. I’d been cautiously optimistic about this one, hoping for a change from the past, but after watching the trailer…I have concerns.
So, the first full trailer (following the teaser from a couple months ago that was almost entirely clips from prior Pixar films) for Pixar’s next film showed up today. I’d been cautiously optimistic about this one, hoping for a change from the past, but after watching the trailer…I have concerns.
On the pro side, the main character is a little girl, something that’s been lacking in Pixar films until now, and the general concept looks like a very interesting one.
However, some things jumped out at me.
Stereotypes: Mom is caring, nurturing and interested in her daughter’s day, while dad is absentmindedly dreaming about sports and has to be prompted to show interest in his daughter. When prompted to actually interact with his family, his first thoughts are right in line with very typical male stereotypes: my wife wants my attention, so I must be in trouble; did I forget the garbage or leave the toilet seat up?
This leads directly to what to me is problematic language: “What is it, woman?!” Just…ugh.
Odd choices: When the promo material released so far highlighted the emotion characters inside the girl’s head, there was a nice 3-to-2 mix of feminine to masculine characters. However, all of the mom’s emotion characters are definitely feminine, and the dad’s are definitely all masculinized (with pornstaches, no less). Why do their characters get uniformly gendered while the girl’s are a mix? I suppose it could be commentary on gender being still somewhat unformed in a pre-pubescent child and settling later in life, but that seems a bit much to expect of a Pixar film.
I had hopes, Pixar, and they weren’t even that high. And yet, I don’t think you’re living up to them.
Skyfall was the first Bond film in years to hit the right balance between action and humor. Here’s hoping that the upcoming SPECTRE keeps that trend going.
Last Christmas, Prairie got me the 50th anniversary James Bond collection, and over the year, we worked our way through the entire canon, all the way through Skyfall. On the whole, Bond movies are a lot of mindless fun (some more mindless than others, to be sure), but boy does the quality vary. At the end, we were glad that we undertook this project after Skyfall was released, because it ended up meaning we went out on a high note.
We hadn’t been terribly impressed with the first two Daniel Craig films — Casino Royale took Bond too far to the modern, gritty style, and devolved into a nonsensical mess by the end; Quantum of Solace…well, I barely even remember what that one was even about — but we both felt that Skyfall was easily the best Bond film since Goldfinger (or, arguably, The Thomas Crown Affair). It was the first one in years that felt actually felt like a “real” Bond movie (that is, the Connery era) in the modern era: exciting action pieces, neat spy games, and an undercurrent of humor. Realistic without having to be ultra-violent or ultra-serious, and recognizing the inherent silliness of the spy genre without playing so far to that side that it devolves into farce (the Moore era).
So finding this quote from a two-year-old interview with Craig impressed me. It sounds to me like he and the team behind Skyfall had some of the same thoughts…
I think we set a good tone [in Skyfall], I think we set a real tone, but I am happy for fucking exploding volcano lairs. Obviously I am joking but what I love and what I really wanted to achieve with Skyfall was a level of fantasy, it’s one of the less violent ones, there’s less blood, and people aren’t dying in a horrible way, and it feels like much more of a family movie, and they should be family movies. I don’t want to go ludicrous and we’ve got to keep them in reality, but Christ almighty, the world’s fucking weird and there’s plenty we can start mining and taking out. If Blofeld turned up again, it wouldn’t be a bad thing.
Given the recent announcement that the next film is titled SPECTRE, this does sound promising indeed.