I just started re-watching Veronica Mars, and I noticed something about the pilot.vmars1

It’s loaded with exposition, voice-over narration, and flashbacks — three things screenwriting experts say don’t do. And yet it works. It’s not the show’s greatest episode, but it succeeds in getting us interested in this world and situation (well, enough of us to make a movie possible several years later).

On the other hand, when the Green Lantern movie opened with voice-over exposition, I knew we were in trouble.

The lesson: Break rules skillfully, but do not break rules awkwardly. (And people say adverbs never amount to anything.)

Boys — It’s not a woman’s job to look pretty for you

When actress/writer/producer/singer/gamer Felicia Day cuts her hair, that’s all some guys can focus on.

So here’s my anti-sexism two cents.

I see it frequently in the comments sections of various websites, most often YouTube. A video features a pretty woman displaying her talents — whether it’s singing, acting, magic, whatever the case may be — and the comments become a forum on her looks. Boys discuss to what degree they would or would not “do” her, and they find no other aspect of the video sufficiently noteworthy to comment. It’s the digital equivalent of catcalling.

They act like they’re somehow owed beautiful women to ogle. They lament that a particular woman isn’t hotter, and meanwhile they haven’t exercised all week.

Remember this, boys: It’s not a woman’s job to look pretty for you.

I understand most males are genetically hardwired to appreciate a woman’s beauty. “Appreciating” is fine when done with respect. “Objectifying” is not. And in every woman, there’s a lot more than beauty to appreciate.

Now please direct your attention to the Bangles. Yes, the Bangles from the 80s. Hopefully, the sheer randomness of the example will stun some sense into you.

Watch this video of the band rocking out to “Hazy Shade of Winter.” Look beyond their appearance. Observe their eyes and how much fun they’re having. Pay attention to their talent. Notice the charisma they exude as they do what they love and excel at it. And then love them for it, regardless of whether you find them attractive.

That’s the key here. You have to love people.

Love doesn’t have to be romantic or mushy, and it shouldn’t be reserved solely for people you want to sleep with. Love is simply appreciating people for who they are — an unconditional acceptance of another person’s humanity.

Next time to you see an attractive woman, whether in person or in the media, pay attention to who she is (without any creepy staring, of course).

You may appreciate her physical beauty, too, but only as you would a work of art — and you don’t want to fondle or catcall art, right? But remember this about art: there’s always more going on than you can see. More layers of complexity exist than you’ll ever know. So much goes into the making of art — lots of good days, lots of bad days, lots of sacrifices, lots of compromises — lots of hopes and dreams — just like a lot went into making you who you are.

You’re a work of art. She’s a work of art. You’re a person, so she’s a (surely you can fill in the blank by now).

Appreciate the whole woman. She’s not there to give you pleasure. She’s there to strive toward her own dreams.

And think: If someone brightens your day — if a woman’s charm lifts your spirits — how do you return the favor? Become a man capable of brightening a person’s day. If you’re not in a position to do it for her, then help out someone else.

Going back to the whole Felicia Day haircut incident…You know what’s great about Felicia Day?

She’s found a way to earn a living doing what she loves, and she’s accomplished it with a do-it-yourself attitude. She made The Guild happen. She made Geek and Sundry happen. She’s an entrepreneur who has created things that bring joy to people. Her stuff might not be for everyone, but there’s a segment of the population out there whose lives have been somehow enriched by her efforts. Could be she’s given them a laugh or she’s let them know, “Hey, it’s okay to openly enjoy these geeky things.” And it looks like she’s enjoyed doing it.

That and more make her an amazing person. Not her haircut.

This writer played Nintendo last night. What happened is worthy of an overblown Internet headline the article can’t possibly live up to.

I indulged in some old-school Nintendo last night. The classic Ninja Turtles arcade game. TMNT_II_Snow_Level

There I was, clobbering foot soldier after foot soldier, as I noticed my fingers becoming sore and stiff, and this persisted as I tore through the Technodrome and began battling Krang. I sought to employ my old strike-withdraw-strike strategy, but my fingers were not properly responding to my brain, resulting in a sluggish Leonardo.

So I hit Krang, Krang blasted me, and back and forth we went for a while. I was nearing the end of my life and decided to go for broke and launch an all-out assault — just jump in there and hack and slash away in a Wolverine-esque berserker fury until one of us fell. Continue reading

My books pass the Bechdel Test

The Internet taught me about a little something called the Bechdel Test.

Basically, the test asks, “Does this work have (1) at least two women (2) who talk to each other (3) about something other than a man?”

Granted, there are excellent movies and books that fail this test, such as Back to the Future and The Dark Knight, but male characters tend to dominate the fiction landscape. Balance is a good thing.

I’m pleased to report that Earths in Space easily passes the Bechdel Test many times over, and the upcoming sequel will continue that.

RIP seems more ambiguous. Of the two main female characters, one can’t directly perceive the other. Nevertheless, even if we disqualify any Serissa/Kalli interactions, there are still scenes of Kalli talking with female students, and not all of Serissa’s chats with female ghosts revolve around Rip. It might not earn the ‘A’ Earths in Space does, but it passes.

So, in Kermit the Frog voice, yaaayyyyy!!!!