Monthly Archive – April 2018

Week of Geek: How emotionally ready are we for Infinity War? (Me? Not very)

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Hiya Geeklings!  Enjoying the nice weather?  Finally?!  It’s actually starting to feel like spring right now, so go out and enjoy it!  (Even if it is a little rainy.)

Today I want to talk about what’s happening this Friday.  Something that has taken 10 years and almost 20 movies to come to fruition.  Something that we’ve been waiting for with simultaneous excitement and dread for a while now.  It’s all going down this weekend.

Avengers: Infinity War will finally drop.

And… well, is there a word for when you’re both hugely excited but also kinda terrified?  TrepidationApprehensionFrisson, maybe?  Yeah, I like frisson, let’s go with that, though this is definitely not a brief feeling.

So why the frisson?  Well, this is a big moment, not just for the franchise but culturally.  Over the last decade Marvel Studios has put out some of the most profitable and successful films ever.

There’s nary a person who hasn’t watched at least one of the MCU movies.  They’ve been so successful at the idea of a shared universe and interconnecting films that they’ve completely changed how Hollywood works now, with other studios rushing to catch up (some with more success than others).  It’s been a tremendous accomplishment on everyone’s part.

And it’s all been leading to this moment.  While Infinity War won’t be the last Avengers film as we know it (that’ll come in 2019) and there are still a few more movies to come out for Phase 3 (this summer’s Ant-Man and the Wasp and next year’s Captain Marvel) plus at least 2 more post phase 3, this is the first time we’ll see it all come together on this grand of a scope.  If the first Avengers film, with all the characters thrown together at once for the first time, was groundbreaking then Infinity War will be mind blowing.  We’ve got the Avengers & Spider-Man & Doctor Strange & Black Panther & the Guardians of the Galaxy & maybe Ant-Man & Hawkeye (they haven’t been in the promos, like at all).  All that time we’ve imagined Tony Stark and Star-Lord in the same room will now be a reality!

And that’s just one example!

But there is one big shadow looming over this whole celebration, and it’s not Thanos’ enormous ship (OK, it’s not just the enormous ship).  It’s one big question that the internet and fans alike have been abuzz about for a long time now; who will survive Infinity War?

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Darn it, it’s probably going to happen, isn’t it?  Someone’s not going to make it.  Maybe multiple characters.  And the suspense is killing me!  I love all of these guys so, so much!  Iron Man, Loki, Thor, Cap, Widow, Hulk, Black Panther, Shuri, Okoye, Nakia, Bucky, Spidey, Strange, Vision, the whole Guardians crew, just… WHY?!  Why are any of them in this kind of danger?  Darn it Marvel writers!

*deep breath*

So anyhoo, I guess we’re just going to have to wait and see what happens… which is excruciating, but them’s the breaks.  The early reviews and audience reactions have been pretty positive so far, so it looks like we’re in for a good movie regardless (*whew* How awful would it have been if everything built up to this and then it was a bad movie?  People would freak).  In the mean time, here’s the previous films we have in our system.

What do you guys think?  Will you see Infinity War opening weekend?  Later?  At all?  Any Marvel super fans or is anyone sick of it all by now?  Post away in the comments or on WriteIt.

Catch you later Geeklings, and until next time, End of Line.

Week of Geek: Let’s get Digital!

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Hi again Geeklings?  Everyone make it through the ice storm OK?  That was exciting, wasn’t it?

Now, this week I thought I’d shift gears and focus on the technological side of being a geek or a nerd or whatevs, and to do that I thought today we’d talk about VPL’s digital resources.  I always think it’s a good idea to remind everyone that the 21st century library is NOT just about books.  You guys already know that if you’ve signed out a movie or a video game, but by ‘not just about books’ I mean traditional books, the kind printed on paper and bound in an easy-to-read package.  Those still exist and are great and every single one of our locations is FILLED with them.  But it’s not the only option for the modern reader (which is you).

With your humble library card and pin number, you have access to so many digital services, often in handy-to-download app form.  Our two big ones are Hoopla and Overdrive, but not too long ago we added Libby, another Overdrive app which is super easy to use.  She walks you right through signing up and then you can read or listen to the books (or comics) right on the app.  We also have RBDigital and AudioBookCloud for more options.

I’m a big fan of Hoopla.  Easy to use and has a ton of options.  The only thing is that you’re limited to 5 check outs per month, but you have so many options.  eBooks, audiobooks, movies, TV shows, music and comics.  Yes, comics!  So many comics!  You can get Marvel comics on there now!  You can stream the videos or you can download them to your devices.  If you have a streaming box like Apple TV you can watch stuff on there with Hoopla!

Going back to digital books, one big reason I’m a fan of such is purely practical.  Sometimes you just can’t carry a whole book with you, either ’cause the occasion doesn’t call for it, or your bag is too small or you don’t even have a bag or whatever.  BUT, digital books can fit… wait for it… on your phone!  You know, the device that’s basically an extra appendage to the average person.  You’re more than likely going to have your phone on you at any given time, so if you find you’ve got a minute or you’re bored or you’re just dying to finish that page turner, all you have to do is find a comfy spot, pull out your phone and open the app.  Easy.  Bonus: those kinds of books take up no space in your house.

Now I know there are purists out there who enjoy a paper book.  I get it, I’m right there with you, and don’t worry; print books aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.  The digital ones are just a bonus, a 2nd option.  And as far as I’m concerned, they’re both good options.

So if you guys are looking for a certain book but can’t find it readily available in print on our shelves, give the apps a try.  What do you think Geeklings?  Are you cheering for the new age of reading options or do you prefer nice solid book?  Post away in the comments or write it up on WriteIt.

Have a good week guys, let’s hope spring comes sooner rather than later and until next time, End of Line.

Week of Geek: Will they or won’t they? WHO CARES?!

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Hello once again Geeklings!  How’s everything going during this rainy April?  You know what they say about April Showers?  Just hold onto that during this rough weather.

Anyhoo, today I’d like to talk about a common trope in fiction.  It’s in books, movies, TV shows, comics, pretty much everywhere.  It’s typically known as ‘Will they or won’t they?‘.  You may be familiar.  And, spoiler alert, I’m not a huge fan.

I’ve been thinking about this recently because I just started a new show called Instinct.  It’s a crime drama based on the book Murder Games by James Patterson (yep, that James Patterson).  It’s main character is Dr. Dylan Reinhart, a professor of abnormal behavior, an author and a former CIA agent who’s drawn into the world of the NYPD by detective Lizzie Needham as a consultant on certain criminal cases.

I started watching because I love a good mystery and because it stars Alan Cumming, who I’ve been a fan of for years (since back in high school), and so far I’m really enjoying it.  But one of the biggest things I’m digging about this show is that it seems like there will absolutely, positively be no ‘will they or won’t they?’ drama between the male and female leads, and that is so ridiculously refreshing to me that I can barely stand it.  Why?  Because Dylan is gay.  And married.  In fact, this is the first American network TV drama to feature a gay character in the lead, so it’s groundbreaking.  He and Lizzie can just headline the show without any ‘unresolved romantic tension’.  Yes please!

Yeah, I’ve never been a fan of that trope, putting a male and female lead in a show and then spending several seasons trying to decide if they should be romantically attached or not.  It shows up over and over and over again in TV and other places.  I think for me, the distaste started with The X-Files (once again, yes, I’m old).  I was 11 or 12 when that show debuted, and I watched agents Mulder and Scully go from colleagues to friends and, inevitably, to romantic interests.  I didn’t like that plot then and I’m not a fan of it now.

The reason?  I think I just find it lazy.  It’s like ‘Oh, a man and a woman?  Clearly, based on that dynamic alone, they MUST be secretly in love with each other.  I mean, what else can we expect?’  Even as a teen in the 90s, watching Mulder and Scully the main thing I kept thinking was ‘Can’t a man and a woman just be friends?  Why the heck are they being written to be with each other, and why is everyone around me expecting and rooting for it, just because one’s a man and one’s a woman?  All that’s going to do is cause drama and plot points that don’t need to be there.  Just give me my freaky aliens, monsters and government conspiracies, dang it!’  I feel that the trope is manipulative, tedious, unrealistic, kind of hurtful and done solely as an easy plot point.

Now, granted, I’m not saying we should do away with romance entirely, and there are some programs where we should absolutely expect it.  Nobody goes into a show like Shadowhunters and hopes that Clary doesn’t have a love triangle.  I just think it shouldn’t be the default, and I think if it is done it should be much more organic and respectful.  But it looks like things are changing, along with more representation in our favorite media, so that’s something to root for.

What do you guys think?  Am I way off the mark?  Do some of you LIVE for ‘Will they or won’t they?’  Or are some of you sick of it as well?  Post in the comments or spill your thoughts on WriteIt.

Stay dry Geeklings, and until next time, End of Line.

Week of Geek: Ready Player 1 and when Fandom goes too far…

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Hiya Geeklings!  How was the long weekend?  Relaxing and delicious, I hope.

So this last Friday the film version of Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One was released in theaters, to good reviews and a number one spot at the box office.  Check out the trailer…

It’s got that heavy dose of nostalgia that seems to be so in vogue nowadays, but mostly it just looks like a ton of fun.  I haven’t seen it yet, but I’m halfway through the book and I’m liking what I’m reading so far.

But I read something recently that kind of put the whole thing in an interesting new light.  I’m not going to link to the article here because a) spoilers and b) swears, but the gist is that the release of RP1 is a really good time to talk about what they referred to as ‘Toxic Fandom’.  The article pointed out that a lot of sites that praised the book back in 2011 are not so keen on the movie now, and that may be because we’ve now had a few years to see how extreme and unhealthy some fans can get with their chosen fandoms.

Without giving too much away, RP1 centers around Wade, who is living in a very difficult and unhappy future and who, like everyone else, escapes into the online virtual reality system that’s basically replaced the internet.  The OASIS sounds AMAZING, if you ask me.  There are whole planets dedicated to fandoms and themes (there’s a Firefly planet!  A FIREFLY PLANET!), and just about anything is possible in it.  But things ramp up for Wade when he participates in an online competition for control of the OASIS.  The system’s founder was BIG into 1980s culture, so Wade and other ‘gunters’ (egg hunters) become experts in 80s pop culture in order to give themselves a leg up to win, hence all the 80s nostalgia you’ve been seeing in the trailers and commercials (the 80s were a… special decade; I can’t blame the interest).

So why the backlash online?  Well, in the last few years after being a geek became cool (it is cook, dang it!), things like Gamergate, Fake Geek Girls and riots over condiments have shown us that some people take their hobbies and fandoms too far.  While for most of us geeks and nerds, things like video games, movies, TV shows, comics and all the trivia around them are delightful, fulfilling hobbies, for some it becomes their entire lives.  It becomes the only thing with which they identify themselves with and they become obsessed and aggressive over it.  They become gatekeepers and lash out at anyone who even looks at their favorite game or TV show the wrong way (or what the obsessed fan perceives as the wrong way), saying absolutely shocking and horrible things online.  Rather then let these things just be fun for everyone, these toxic fans declare you’re not a ‘true’ fan unless you can do something like name every single iteration of Batman’s batsuit, in chronological order (the tests vary from fandom to fandom).

Now, it’s not quite the same thing to declare Wade a toxic fan.  His situation is quite different from ours, and he does not lash out at people for not knowing Duran Duran‘s entire discography.  But the article I read merely pointed out that people who love a fandom can, like anything else, tip over into unhealthy and destructive tendencies, and we’re starting to really see that these last few years.

Now you all know I’m a geek and proud of it.  It is one of my distinguishing characteristics.  But in my most humble of opinions, fandom love should be something that enhances your life.  It should never be your WHOLE life.  And it most certainly should never be the cause of other people’s unhappiness.  Because, as much as we may love something, it really is just a game.  Or just a movie.  Or just a book series or a TV show.  It’s not as important as people and it’s not more important than all the other joys that come with living.  It should just be something that we can bond over, we can squeal over and we can enjoy.  And if you can’t name every single Avengers film in order, that’s OK.  You can still be an Avengers fan in my book and we can still hang.  Fandoms should unite people, never divide them.

So there’s my thoughts.  What do we think Geeklings?  Post away or write it up on WriteIt.  Enjoy RP1 and any other fandoms you love, and until next time, End of Line.