Tag Archives: Guest Post

Godzilla Lives On – Return of the Ever-Popular Gorilla Whale (A Guest Post by Elizabeth Eckhart)

Godzilla Lives On – Return of the Ever-Popular Gorilla Whale

It’s not hard to understand the enduring appeal of the Gojira franchise: an enormous lizard-like life-form lays waste to an urban landscape (occasionally with the help of other, equally rubber-suited, reptilian pals) and has radioactive fire-breath to boot. Add elements of our increasingly strained relationship with the planet, and the story’s principles seem as fresh today as they did in 1954, when Godzilla was just a scaly stand-in for the H-bomb. Godzilla considers the possibilities lurking just out of sight, taking viewers to a place where fantasy and fear commingle with what we know as reality.

This past weekend, Gareth Edwards riffed on the original 1954 Japanese version of Godzilla, serving up his own version of the 60-years-and-running kaiju monster classic. While the early 50’s work by Toshiro Honda primarily played upon Japan’s neuroses relating to atomic warfare, today’s Godzilla has been updated to embody a fear of similar gravity; nature, as a result of our mistreatment, has begun to forcefully evict us as tenants. Be it through tsunamis, earthquakes, or M.U.T.O.s (an acronym used in the film for Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism), we are made aware that this planet is much less hospitable than it was before we began leaving carbon footprints.

The opening sequence harkens back to the dawn of the nuclear age, hinting at the impact of America’s Castle Bravo tests and clandestine attempts by the government to quiet a previous monster scandal. Godzilla is introduced as a long-standing aquatic mystery, and it isn’t until halfway through the film that we finally get a good look at him. Edwards teases out the arrival of his star, using small, Spielbergian close-ups to signal impending doom. When he finally rises from the watery depths, the audience gets an eye-full of monster goodness that connoisseurs of the kaiju cult will no doubt be satisfied with. For those looking to reconnect with old favorites, most films are available to viewers via Netflix, Hulu, and occasionally as DTV specials or on demand.

The human protagonists however, despite being of world-renowned and Oscar-winning quality, struggle against a one-dimensional script to appear as “real” as their towering mythical counterpart. Inevitably, the film becomes a spectacle in which its actors, regardless of international acclaim, hardly matter. Aaron Taylor-Johnson (of Kickass fame) and his wife, Elizabeth Olsen (sister to the famous twins), lead the CGI epic to its climax in the city of San Francisco, where Godzilla converges with a cockroach king for an epic monster showdown.

As someone personally terrified of cockroaches of any and all proportions, these mantis-like terrors had me rooting for Godzilla in the same way I cheer for the Orkin man. Ken Watanabe, as nuclear scientist Ishiro Serizawa, asserts that the green giant might be our only hope. “Let them fight,” he says, advising nature to take its course.

As with our own attempt to upend the natural order of things, ultimately we’ll know that we got what we deserved.

 

 Godzilla Lives On   Return of the Ever Popular Gorilla Whale (A Guest Post by Elizabeth Eckhart)Elizabeth Eckhart is an entertainment writer and blogger born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. She has a penchant for high fantasy, and loves anything that involves an epic battle of some sort. She can be followed on Twitter at @elizeckhart.

Guest Post – Elizabeth Eckhart – Divergent vs. The Hunger Games

The March 21st release of the film Divergent saw crowds lining up to catch what is only the latest in a series of films based on YA dystopian book series. Looking at the $54 million it took in on opening weekend, it’s probably safe to say the public hasn’t tired of the genre yet, but in a sea of so many films, how does it stack up to it’s most obvious competition: The Hunger Games, and is the opening weekend success a sign of more to come?

When The Hunger Games series of books were released, they were a breath of fresh air for vampire fatigued YA readers. Based on the massive success of the Twilight films, it was a logical step to turn the books into films, and after only two films (out of four) the series has brought in an astonishing $832 million. Given the similarities between the two series, it seemed logical that when Divergent was first published, it became a best-seller and was adapted into a film. In fact, none of the books in the series had even been published when author Veronica Roth sold the film rights to all of them.

Given the numerous parallels between the books, but also their identical target audience, pinpointing which one is going to come out on top isn’t easy. The Hunger Games (which you can watch through streaming services or video on demand on many TV packages) was the first to the punch, so THG’s Suzanne Collins wins in that regard, since her series will always be the go-to point of reference for further YA dystopian films. However, Roth became something of a young prodigy when she wrote the first book at the tender age of 21 while attending Northwestern. Her perspective as a woman barely out of her teens is noticeable when it comes to the inner struggles the main character, Tris, faces. While THG’s Katniss comes across as bold and selfless by volunteering to put herself in the Hunger Games instead of her little sister, many teens today simply can’t identify with that kind of selflessness. They’re much more likely to identify with Tris’ rebellious decision to leave her family and home faction (the city is broken up into five factions based on personalities) in order to pursue her own interests.

When it comes to the way the films were put together, again their differences become apparent. Divergent features a run down, gritty looking Chicago, complete with decaying landmarks like the Navy Pier Ferris Wheel and Hancock Tower. However, a common complaint in reviews of the film is that it was filmed mostly in a state of permanent gray fog, meant to symbolize a post-apocalyptic type of world. It was an interpretation from the book perhaps taken too literally. THG meanwhile relies heavily on the outdoors and CGI, and is visually dazzling in that respect.

Like so many other novels and films, the battle between these two teen dystopian franchises comes down to personal preference. While there are good and bad things about both films, their surface similarities belie the deeper plot points that make them so different – differences which will only become more apparent as the rest of the films in each franchise are released. That being said, the comparisons between the two will likely never stop; it’s simply human nature to compare. The best advice that be given on this is to simply see (or read) both, and then decide for yourself.

 

 Guest Post   Elizabeth Eckhart   Divergent vs. The Hunger GamesElizabeth Eckhart is an entertainment writer and blogger born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. She has a penchant for high fantasy, and loves anything that involves an epic battle of some sort. She can be followed on Twitter at @elizeckhart.

Guest Post: Why Separation of Church and State IS Religious Freedom

I made a comment the other day about needing to get drunk and rant about Amendment 2 in Missouri, and low, my friend Yeti_Detective decided that he would go ahead and do that before I got a chance. Since he’s my friend, I relented and decided that I would post it on the site today. I think he believes that I have some sort of divine link to the internet hive mind or something.

You should be warned that the following article is Rated R. Yeti_Detective has a tendency to drop the “f-bomb.”

A lot.

Read at your own risk.

-MB

6860379311 f8517a9656 Guest Post: Why Separation of Church and State IS Religious Freedom

Ian Sane via Compfight

So Amendment 2 passed in Missouri’s most recent election. This amendment affirms the rights of Missourians to their freedom of religion, according to the most commonly circulated text. I voted against it because even that benign description just makes it sound like self-righteous assholes defending something that is not even remotely under attack.
When people in this country talk about the “war on religion,” what they’re really talking about is their crusade to force their religious beliefs on the public at large. Their ‘defense of religion,’ ironically, is the biggest threat to the religious freedom upon which America was so strongly founded.

I don’t mean to say that freedom of religion was the only reason this country’s founders did the things they did, but it was a major fucking sticking point. It was definitely bigger than capitalism, which existed before the revolution, and I don’t think any of them ever even mentioned Modern American evangelical conservatives believe a lot of stupid things. A lot. Like, virtually every goddamn thing they believe is stupid. Let me list them.

  • The earth is only 6000 years old. This is a dumb thing to believe because we have very reliable methods in modern times for telling how old something is, including the earth. Also, the number 6000 isn’t in the Bible, but was arrived at by a bishop using math that even the most illiterate klansman/juggalo would find dubious.
    • (Before any juggalos/klansmen get offended, I’m not saying that the two are similar in belief structure. Only in intelligence level. Replace “fucking magnets, how do they work?” with, “fucking genetics, how does it work?” and you’ll start to see a pattern unfolding.)
  • The homosexual agenda involves anything other than ‘get equal rights’ and ‘get them to stop beating us to death.’ At this point I won’t even compare evangelicals to juggalos, because it’s too insulting to juggalos.

And the final, and stupidest thing evangelical conservatives believe:

  • Their religion is under attack in American culture.

No. It. Fucking. Is. Not. Unless you consider that a large part of their religion involves forcing their beliefs on others, denying equal rights to whatever minorities they can get away with persecuting at the time, (They didn’t come out of the civil rights movement of the 60s looking too good,) and keeping women barefoot, pregnant, and in the kitchen.

If you consider that, it still isn’t even so much that their religion is under attack as it is being defended against. They practice Assault Religion while simultaneously attempting to play a passive-aggressive sympathy card.

Let me quote Republican State Representative Mike McGhee, one of amendment 2’s sponsors, who says that the amendment will remind people about their religious freedoms. “It’s OK to bring your Bible to study hall.”

Really, Mike? Is it fucking really? Because I haven’t been to public school in a while, but I’m pretty sure that when I was there I brought my fucking Bible. In fact, the second time I read the Bible through almost entirely took place in study hall and my lunch break of my junior year. I went to the fucking prayer club at my high school. Once a year or more, Christian students will gather around their public school’s flag pole and hold hands and pray in an event called, “See you at the pole.” Look that shit up. It happens in, I am comfortable with speculating, every goddamn public high school in the entire country, and probably even most of the middle schools. And that’s fine. Those kids are allowed to do that. Your charade of religious persecution not only belittles the faith of those kids, it reveals your own hypocrisy as well as that of everyone who supports you. Anyone who believes that prayer isn’t allowed in school just never fucking even tried to pray in school. I did. So, fuck you, Mike McGhee.

I’ll finish with this.

Separation of church and state is the same as freedom of religion. It means the government can’t tell you what religion to follow or what god to worship. But it also means it can’t tell your neighbors what religion to follow or what god to worship. Secularism is not anti-religion. In fact, it is the most pro-religion stance there is, because it allows everyone to have faith in whatever they decide to have faith in. When you vote to put the ten commandments in a court house, what you’re really saying is, “Fuck you, buddhists, hindus, agnostics and atheists.” When you lobby to put a nativity scene in a publicly funded space, what you’re really saying is, “Fuck you, Jews. My holiday is better.” And when you do any of these things you’re saying, “Fuck you, founders of this country. I will invoke your spirits in order to force my beliefs on other people which is something you founded an entire nation in defiance of.”

And when you do that, you’re basically the worst piece of shit to ever stink up this continent. I hope you choke on your fucking chicken sandwich.

Yeti_detective is an angry man that gets drunk and live tweets movies on twitter, or gets drunker and rants on Tumblr. You can also read his other editorial work in What White Elephant each month. If you’re an astute listener, you’ll know him as the drunken half of the Half Drunk Podcast.

Guest Post – Elizabeth Howard

Trying to Put Down the Writing Tools

Why, oh, why God, do I do this to myself?

Let me preface this by saying: I am a writer. Which figures into the upcoming conversation.

Do you know what I all need less of?

Time with myself.

I’ve been blogging for years and I get so BORED talking and thinking about myself. It’s boring.

I read Stereo*’s post "Back to Basics" and a deep sense of longing went through me.

Lately, everytime I sit down to TRY and write something on my blog, I just think UGH: Why oh WHY God?? Do I have to?

It’s rolled downhill as well. I’ve recently been taking intermittent breaks from Facebook as well. I can’t seem to think of a single thing to write about myself on my status update other than: Trying to think of a status update…

I’ve become a Facebook troller, just scrolling and reading and "liking" shit, like a complete asshole.I hate myself. WHY oh WHY God can’t I think of a decent Facebook status????

My life has changed somewhat since last summer, when I finally bit the bullet and decided to quit teaching writing and be a stay-at-home-mom to my four kids until they are all finally fully in school. (Sheesh, who wrote THAT crappy run-on sentence?) And that leads me to another question I ask myself quite often:

Why oh why God did I do that??

I mean, all work can be drudgery at times. That’s the nature of doing something repetitive.  But making lunches and doing dishes and being alone with small kids — for me? — well that’s got to the be the heighth of brain-numbing boredom.

It’s also exceptionally important and necessary as well. It’s a job that shapes human beings, for chrissake! I should bow down in awe of my role everyday (hah!). It’s hard to do well, and I wonder all the time if I could be doing better.

And fuck yes, it’s lonely.

Part of the reason I logged off Facebook for awhile was because I felt lonely even when I was with the kids and I would catch myself hopping on Facebook even while in their company. Idiotic. Besides. It didn’t help. I think it made me even more lonely, pining for friends I didn’t have nearby.

And the kids felt me being distant too.

I didn’t want my kids to always see me staring at my phone.

Seriously. Have you ever WATCHED people staring at their phones? They look like scary zombies from a sci-fi movie.

And you know, my littlest one, she was always, always carrying around her play cell phone. Hmmmm. Why was that, do you think?

So here are these kids, and I have my blog I don’t want and I haven’t worked on a novel in years, and I’m starting to get freaked by my blog.

So my existential crisis was that I am a writer who suddenly just wants to put down her tools.

Why oh why God?

Here’s what must have happened though: I guess I had stopped writing for awhile since the kids came to live with us 3 years ago (they are foster kids we are trying to adopt). I put aside work on my novel and my journalism career as well.  I was teaching, anyway, which had already started to draw my attention away from my own writing and focus toward others.

Now I turned my focus on these people who needed me, just so I could get their heads and hearts straight. And I had to get mine on straight too. Also, there was a LOT of clothes to sort through and food to cook and clean up every friggin day

During that time, my blog was a safe place for me to just keep my writing machine oiled I guess. It was a facade for a long time, an honest one, though not a true one. I couldn’t be true, because I didn’t REALLY know what the hell was going on!

I had to deflect for a long time because my mom hands are very busy.

Now they have settled into routines and relaxed into life, that place feels odd. I wonder: Why do want to put down these writing tools? 

I question.

Why do I wake up at 4:15 am. in a panic, to write?

Why am I not ready to just thrust myself back at that work?

Why DID I even volunteer to write this guest post?

(I guess the writing tools are not interested in being put down.)

Lately, I’ve been deflecting again, in a good way, with poetry. It’s an old habit I’ve rekindled with success! Shorter writing for shorter spans of time.

I suppose that what’s called evolution?

Sara-Glitter.png

Guest Post – Of Star Stuff, Glitter, and all things Sparkling… Words. (Domestictype)

I am made of a core love of the stars. One of my earliest memories is of star watching.  Not in the “I totally saw Kim Kardashian!!!” way. I try very hard to not celebrate the mediocre. But when I was very little, my parents took me to see a 4th of July fireworks display. I was, naturally, terrified by the banging, sizzling, screeching of the fireworks. But after the beautiful firework faded, it was one of those lovely, clear nights that’s both dark but intensely bright with moon and star light. I was fascinated by the way they seemed to carve themselves into the blanket of existence so early in my memory.
We all know that I’ve dealt with all sorts of adversity that would probably make most people just throw in the towel and say “You know what, life? Have it your way. This is wretched.” But, like the stars, I seem to have a fighting instinct carved into my flesh all the way down to my soul and when I gave into the fact that writing was my destination, my journey, my star stuff, it seemed my instincts breathed a sigh of relief.
I had fought it off with a stick for far too long. I am still fighting. Right now, I am recouperating from surgery for ovarian cancer. Oh, and under the fun effects of morphine, so pardon me, if I suddenly call y’all up for a “Riders Of The Storm” Moment.Get a tshirt that says “Just Blame Matt.” He is my little brother, after all.  But the thing is that while all the adversities I’ve squared off with would be dream crushers for so many, it adds fuel to the fire for many.
But the thing is that while all the adversities I’ve squared off with would be dream crushers for so many, it adds fuel to the fire for me.  I’m a determined one, if there ever was such a girl.  I let one run in with my father, who had his own destructive demons almost tear not just his but my world apart badger me off of writing until I was nearly as bad off as him. I was letting the (his and mine) shadows get at me from every corner.   Words set ablaze to these and make my world right again.
Why? We see, I let my fire be snuffed out once. It was cruel and horrific and it resulted in nearly a decade or more of my making bad choices. I own these bad choices through writing, in a sense. But as Joan Didion once also said, “I write so I can learn more about the world around me.” This is also true. I write to explore and to push myself.
Next week at my daughter’s school is “Author’s Week” and they have some authors coming in to read childrens books every day. My daughter is sometimes my number one champion, she takes me seriously when nobody else does.  I had no idea that  she had told her teacher not only that I had cancer but that I was a writer. Whilst I still blog, work on my manuscript, and shockingly enough a project full of childrens stories with a friend, I am barely published, but I have written many ‘books’ for my kids. Her teacher wrote me and asked me to come in and be her classroom’s guest author. I am still flabbergasted.
I write partly because I need my children to see that your life must be made up of choices that are both sound but lead you to happiness. I also write because every word that rings true to me when it burns itself into my mind and onto a page, well, it’s a star in my own galaxy. I do this to myself because happiness is not necessarily a continuous supply of foie gras and Crystalle champagne but of small victories like a cup of tea and words that spill onto paper into a little victory in a morning where you thought stubbing your toe would be all you could accomplish.
Not to totemize it- but since having been diagnosed with cancer, a cancer that whispers death very quickly into the women who are diagnosed with it, writing and choices are even more important.  I can say that “I refuse to die.” or something like that or I can fill my days with moments that are meaningful and victorious in their own right. For me, a lot of those moments include words. My own words. Which is something that makes me keep going.
A few friends call me a glitter tornado.  I feign ignorance but there’s a reality to it. We’ve seen a lot of bad in my life. I don’t try and cover that up, but I want to move on in the best possible way. To me that means, make your days happier, brighter, and yes, sparklier. I want things to be bright, cheerful, happy, and better than they were before. I think we all deserve it.  So, fine, I am a glitter tornado.
I believe, that when we die, we return to the stars and look down on the things we have created and help them along.  It’s a romantic notion, yes.  But when you have beautiful children and beautiful words and you want them both to make the world a little less ugly and cruel, I would rather be a star that winks at you when you need a smile in the night.
“You – you alone will have the stars as no one else has them…In one of the stars I shall be living. In one of them I shall be laughing. And so it will be as if all the stars were laughing, when you look at the sky at night…You – only you – will have stars that can laugh.” –The Little Prince by Antoine de Sait-Exupery
Sara Rose

Sara Glitter thumb Guest Post    Of Star Stuff, Glitter, and all things Sparkling… Words. (Domestictype)

Sara is the queen of sparkle and glitter. She is Glinda to the core, you know. You should follow her on twitter and read her awesome writing over at her blog Domestic Type.