Archive for May, 2010

Spoiler Alert: You Don’t Have to Care About Spoilers

My Weekend? Loads of fun, overall. Yes, I was in a wedding with a lot of setup time, and it was all outdoors, and the Tux neither fit me right, nor was in any way really comfortable, but I got to spend a good amount of time with a lot of cool folks I hadn’t seen in a while (Marcus and John are really awesome dudes who I wish I hung out with more frequently), I got to spend a good amount of time with the woman I love (including some dancing and a church sermon on Marriage, how timely, heh), and the wedding went off without any major hitches. So all in all, a great time was had!

I know you all want photos. I’ll share them when Kevin (the wedding photographer and also a really amazing friend) puts them on Flickr or something. Personally, I don’t get why you all wanna see my goofy butt wearing an ill-fitted tuxedo (I will never choose to do business with Al’s Formal Wear, by the way), but hopefully I can show you some with a certain extremely photogenic lovely lady as well.

Speaking of said photogenic lovely lady, her 2 alts have joined her main in the ranks of Alea Iacta Est. So, my guildmates, if you see Peusnerak, Palacia, or Faunni running around, say hi to her for me. Unless she’s on past 3 am server time, then you should yell at her to go to bed.

I’d like to take a moment to discuss my take on TV/Movie/Book/SomethingWithAStory Spoilers. I watched a discussion this morning on my Twitter feed about the Lost finale. Someone made a comment about one of the characters, and then someone followed it up with “OMG thanks for spoiling it! I’m still working on Season 1!” or something to that effect. The original person quickly apologized, and the discussion quieted down after that.

I do not understand this mindset of getting upset about other people telling you things that happened before you get to see/read/otherwise experience it yourself. I really don’t. People get really upset over this, claiming such outrageous things as “You ruined the whole thing for me!!”

How, precisely, was it ruined for you?? Is your entire enjoyment of said media so fragile that knowing something is coming beforehand will just shatter it completely, and now you hate it? Frankly, if it was so flimsy in the first place, you probably just had a favor done for you. Now you can go spend your time enjoying something else, something you can enjoy so much that no matter what you know going in to it, you will find enjoyment. I do not understand this mindset at all.

There are two things you get when you experience some form of media with a twist/plot point/something “spoilable”. You have the shock surprise of the revelation, and you have the artistry of how the revelation itself is revealed. For example, let’s take the TV series The Mentalist. The teaser for the Season 2 Finale has the main character, Patrick Jane, get kidnapped and supposedly brought before his recurring antagonist, the serial killer known only as “Red John”. Red John’s identity has been a mystery throughout all the series thus far. So, assuming that Red John’s identity will be revealed in this episode,  the shock surprise in this example would be Red John’s actual identity. The artistry around it would be how the identity is revealed, whether through some sort of clever interchange of dialogue, Jane reveals it, or perhaps Jane sees him off camera, and there is some sort of incredible camera angle change which slowly reveals the killer’s true face, that sort of thing.

It seems to me that most folks who are afraid of having things spoiled for them would seem to believe that both of those aspects MUST be seen together, either because some sort of mysterious “third feeling” is experienced only when both of them occur at the same time, or because without one, the other is diminished.

This makes zero sense to me, because it is my experience that neither of these is at all true. One plus one still equals two. Not zero, one, or even three, but still two. It is equally fulfilling either way, IF you are willing to believe that it is. My enjoyment of, say, Battlestar Galactica was in no way diminished by the face that I knew when Starbuck was going to die before I actually saw the episode when she did. I experienced the shock and surprise of the revelation when I read the episode summary online, and when I saw it, I enjoyed the brilliant acting, the special effects, the camera shots, and how they all came together to make a truly heartfelt and poignant scene. And, yes, I still felt really sad that Starbuck died. I knew it was going to happen. I even knew that she would be resurrected later on in the series. But I still felt sad. Why? Because everyone who worked on that show, the actors, the director, the cameramen, the special effects artists, did an incredible job of converying and passing on the emotions they presented to the audience. There really is no mystical extra feeling you gain from experiencing both the revelation and the artistry at the same time. And once you divorce yourself from that belief, you start to care less and less about avoiding spoilers. And you gain a whole lot of freedom from waiting, because you have the freedom to experience the shock of the revelation at any time and truly enjoy it.

Incidentally, nothing will make me angrier than wanting to know what happened in a Movie/TVshow/Book/etc. and someone I’m talking to about it refusing to tell me because “they don’t want to spoil it for me”. Because, you see, in reality, it’s impossible to “Spoil” it. Since I am divorced from this false notion that the revelation and the artistry must be experienced together, you are incapable of ruining my experience solely by bringing me the revelation before the artistry. You cannot do that yourself. The revelation itself might ruin the artistry, but that is not a fault of the seperation. It is the fault of the media creators for coming up with a stupid revelation. You bringing that to me seperate from the artistry is not going to change that. I will either hate it now, or later. Or if I think it’s really awesome, then I will enjoy it both now AND later. And I will experience the full enjoyment, just as you have.

So what say you all? Am I wrong? Is it truly not the same? And why not?? What’s so different it? It’s still a surprise, either way, right? Let me know your thoughts and perspective on this whole spoiler thing. I’ll see you all next time.




Hey all, welcome back!

Allow me to start off by saying, Nerdtacular 2010 was absolutely amazing. I’ll admit I walked into it with a good degree of trepidation. For a lot of reasons, I didn’t have as much of a good time at Nerdtacular 2009 as I did in 2008. The big reason was that I spent it fighting off the remnants of a chest cold, but there were others. I attributed it somewhat to the greater increase of out of towners, and there being too many of us to really get to spend good quality time with each other, and given the sharp rise in out of town attendance in this year’s event, I expected that problem to increase

I was wrong, for certain. I had so much fun meeting new people, meeting folks I had only previously spoken with online, and seeing old friends again. I can’t tell you how many awesome folks I met just in this year alone, because I’ll likely forget someone, and then I’ll feel like poo. Suffice to say, we had a truly awesome crowd this year.

That really is the reason to go to Nerdtacular. It’s not about the film, not really. Scott calls it a fan appreciation event, and it’s as much about him showing appreciation for his fans as it is the other way around, but it’s also about the fans appreciating each other. You meet incredible folks each year, and hopefully get to see them again year after year. It’s always a loss for everyone if someone that has previously attended is unable to. Randy and Samantha were, to everyone’s sadness, among that list. All of us were crazy-excited to meet the new member of their family, to say nothing of the joy that comes from seeing them again as well.

Let me say this about the film….it’s not perfect, and I would not call it near as epic as the previous two year’s films (Dark Knight and Star Trek), but it is very enjoyable. The special effects are amazing, especially for the combat scenes, and the acting was especially good. Gwyneth Paltrow once again nailed the character of Pepper Potts, and I was very surprised by how much I loved Don Cheadle taking over the role of Colonel James Rhodes. When I heard that Terrence Howard had been replaced, I was rather outraged, as I thought he did a spectacular job in the first film, and I really was looking forward to him donning the War Machine armor in this one. Cheadle did a perfectly good job with the role in his own right though, and I didn’t find for a moment that I missed Howard. I also really loved Sam Rockwell’s portrayal of Justin Hammer. If you’re not aware, in the comics, Hammer is supposed to be an older man, and an industrial rival to stark. His conservative business style and personality clashes with the younger and more flamboyant personality of Tony Stark. The film, however, had Rockwell portraying Hammer as about the same age as Stark, and contrasted their business styles as being more akin to the whole “Steve Jobs vs. Bill Gates” feud. Hammer’s character acted exactly how you might picture an evil Bill Gates; still completely nerdy but also utterly ruthless and willing to do anything to destroy his competition. It was really fun to watch, and I think he did a great job, especially his scenes with Mickey Rourke (who played the film’s other villain, Whiplash).

In short, go see the film. If you liked the first one, you’ll love the second. You might groan a little bit at the strange pseudoscience if that sort of thing matters to you, but you’ll get over it pretty quick once you get swept up in the awesome action. Or how lovely Gwyneth Paltrow and Scarlet Johannson look, that’s always a possibility! I mean, not for ME, I’m dating the most beautiful woman on the planet, but for the rest of you guys who can’t quite have that, you might enjoy that part!

I didn’t take a whole lot of photos from the event, but I WILL link you to this awesome set of photos on flickr, being compiled by Scott Johnson. It’s going to continue to expand as more folks send Scott photos, so keep checking back once in a while!!

All attendees of the film got a sweet bag of swag. In it were 5 photo-sized prints of some of Scott’s artwork, a few stickers he has for sale, and some other goodies, but he also did a massive raffle for all sorts of door prizes at the after party. One of the items he gave away was this

It’s a statue of Illidan Stormrage, the main villain of the first WoW Expansion, the Burning Crusade, in his demon form (Don’t mind the Obey Henry sticker, that’s just there cause it’s funny) . And it’s freaking amazing. I love the detailed craftsmanship put into this, and how there’s absolutely no cut corners, especially with the painting. I’ve seen so many similar statues with other franchises that had some very sloppy paintwork, colors where they shouldn’t be, and it always made them look cheap. Not this. Thank you very much again, Scott!

I had a great time, and can’t wait for next year’s. Because I’m truly hopeful that next year, the woman I love more than anything else on this world will be joining me. I kept thinking how much Karen would truly have enjoyed the event, and with any luck, she’ll see it herself.

Catch ya’ll soonest!