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Wicked Baggins [userpic]


July 26th, 2010 (11:54 pm)

If you would only LOVE ME like you used to do-o.

So last week, we went to a recording studio and I now have a recording where I, like, sing. Not that song, though. Someone else sang that one. This one.

I started a joke. Which started the whole world crying.
Oh if I'd only seen. That the joke. Was on me.

I am just three steps short of becoming a folk rock star now. Or, at least, a wannabe who covers weird Bee Gees songs.

Wicked Baggins [userpic]

Meme. OR IS IT?

July 13th, 2010 (11:27 pm)

current mood: what

So I've been seeing this meme pop up, and I'm like sure, I'll try it. Unfortunately, I'm a horrible person, so "trying it" really means "trying to break it."
First, I snatch a few paragraphs from a short-storyish fairy tale adaptation I'm doing to unwind between urgent, time-eating summer projects. Well, during, rather, but only after ten p.m. And every other day. I get this result:

I write like
Jane Austen

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

Jane Austen, okay. I have every appreciation for Jane Austen, if I would never in a million years think my pronoun-snipping, fragment style would have anything to do with hers. But we're here to break things, aren't we? So. I snatch some text from my novel in progress and I get:

I write like
James Joyce

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

James Joyce. Well, I do have a certain mad love for stream of consciousness, if I will not pretend my fantasy ramble is a fraction so experimental. Not very Jane, though, is it. Then I snag a few more paragraphs, including poetry.

I write like
Dan Brown

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

Oh, now you're just being mean.
(When I added just a couple more paragraphs to the last, it claimed Stephen King. Less mean, but either I have the most inconsistent style ever, or-- well. I could.)

ETA: Shakespeare for that Music Man blog post, H. P. Lovecraft for a utilitarian paper, Chuck Palahniuk, Margaret Atwood, Mark Twain. Austen, King, Joyce have shown up more than once. What, guys, what.

ETA2: In the interests of disclosure. I also get Dan Brown more than I can be proud of. However, I tried something. For a set of paragraphs that I'd gotten Dan Brown for, I'd left some code in and an extra paragraph that was kind of a summary "abstract." I left out the abstract, removed the code, got Edgar Allen Poe. I just want to take the system apart and see how it ticks, that's all.

Wicked Baggins [userpic]

Music Man

July 3rd, 2010 (12:37 pm)

I've always loved the Music Man. I first saw it when I was three or four - we didn't have a wide variety of titles when I was little, so I didn't watch much actually pitched to children until I was in elementary school. Like the Court Jester, it was one of my "movies I saw over and over again when I could barely understand them" flicks, right? I just yesterday saw it again for the first time in a long time. Still excellent. Can't understand why I was so enraptured with it when I was four though. Or, as I remember, I liked the fast-paced Harold Hill parts, but romance, what? This song is too long and slow. Can't we get to Seventy-Six Trombones?

I have more appreciation for the Marian parts now. (Perhaps this is because I am training to be a madame librarian.) I didn't remember how much of the film was from her viewpoint and establishes her as a smart girl who sees through Hill from the very beginning. This is an important counterpoint to Hill, who is trying to seduce her to keep her quiet from the very beginning. If we saw Hill's viewpoint alone, we might not understand that Marian falls in love with him for qualities that he doesn't even seem conscious of, not his considerable Robert Preston charm. Hill is good for the town not because he secretly enables people to be good at music (as in School of Rock!), but because the very talents that allow him to con people allow him to help them find outlets that bring them joy. Maybe the mayor's wife can't dance and Winthrop isn't much of a coronet player, but they like it and good for them. It also helps that Marian is lonely, but not desperate, an unmarried woman who remains unmarried as much through an unwillingness to settle for just any guy that's attracted as a lack of options.

Robert Preston's change is comparatively quiet. An acceptance, maybe, that he loves music despite his lack of talent and that's why it's centered his life. And, of course, falling for Marian, a girl who is at once "innocent," but also wise enough that she surprises him - and it's legitimately poignant that what surprises him is that she knows him, understands him, and loves him anyway. And I have to love the final few minutes, where the dream that's overtaken the movie from almost the beginning finds form, even if it's still only in everyone's heads.

Still great. I could sing the songs all day.

Wicked Baggins [userpic]

Dog. Neurotic.

June 22nd, 2010 (11:17 pm)

One day, I will have a pet without a personality full of tics, twitches, and eccentricities, and then I will be very bored.

Ivan has a large vocabulary with certain essential key phrase groups, namely treat (and anything that sounds like treat), walk (and any derivatives, including preparatory words like "shoes" and "get dressed"), frisbee (and various toys, to lesser excitement levels), out, and bed. He likes most of these, except bed, and in a given conversation, he will sit next to the conversators and listen intently until he hears something he likes. Even if it is technically not addressed to him.

Bed, he sometimes obeys. Sometimes he slinks the long way around the room and eats his food moodily instead. Sometimes, after insistence, he'll go downstairs toward his kennel, only to sneak off at the last moment to hide under the pool table or on the couch. He has the good grace to look embarrassed if caught, but only just.

Although he has every sign of achieving object permanence, the rare times my dog rides in the car (which is rare because he is shivery-terrified of being in the car and demands to be held, all 50 pounds of him), he treats every departure from said car with grief-stricken loss. Should you be just dropping someone off and drive away prompt after, he will howl fit to wake the dead, which is probably his point.

Dog. Neurotics.

Wicked Baggins [userpic]

Family nights

June 13th, 2010 (07:25 pm)

Sister-in-law: Well, if you need to go to the bathroom, go.
Brother: I can't, I'm too tired.
Mother: Well, no one's going to do it for you.
Brother: Can someone get me a catheter?

Brother: All my children will be angels. I'm going to have a family of angels.
Mother: Uh . . .
Brother: I need at least five or six so they can fly me to heaven. I'm heavy.

Wicked Baggins [userpic]


May 21st, 2010 (04:04 pm)

current mood: contemplative

So a post on slacktivist got me thinking (to sum up: Mensa isn't earning their keep). What is genius anyway? High IQ is, as billions have people have pointed out, a little arbitrary. Even in my own family. Since we were raised when educators decided kids should all take that IQ test because, well, I forgot, we have had the privilege of comparison. I have a high IQ. Not enough to write home about, but it's fine. My little brother is a multi-talented marvel who picks up languages and complex hobbies like "composing music." He is definitely smarter than I am. However, although we are both white, upper middle class people (who billions of people say the test is targeted toward) from the same family, although we were both tested at the same age, our scores were significantly different - his was significantly, significantly lower. What happened? My brother, who was, you know, a kid at the time, didn't take it seriously. We can argue that I am a better test-taker (or, at least, less whimsical). But this does not mean very much inasfar as practical intelligence goes. One day, my brother will probably be a multilingual ambassador/rock star/film director regardless of any arbitrary measurement. (Well, maybe not all of those.)

So if we decide that the folks at Mensa aren't necessarily smarter than people who aren't at Mensa, or we decide they are, or and or, we can probably agree with Slacktivist in the end, that genius is in the doing. But how can we weigh capacity for genius? Can we really? Should we get down with the mad humanist sides of ourselves and say that just about anyone could become a genius or is that going too far? What does genius really do anyway? Is it just a few giants in any age and who determines what makes a giant? I throw these questions into the ether!

Wicked Baggins [userpic]

I have 53 hours of music and a third of it's Hungarian

May 9th, 2010 (09:21 pm)

Man, you know how stuff's been happening and there's no way to actually, like, talk about it, sum it up, what have you? I am there. I'm just about to finish the semester and in less than a month start another one, but I'm feeling like I'm on the home stretch. Wrestled through a semester of XML, which was almost entirely foreign to me, and unlike my Java adventures in college, I conquered it sound. Which probably has more to do with XML being easier or at least different than Java, but there you go. I'm putting my giant Russian-fairy-tale novel project aside for the moment to futz with my Samoan vampire idea and I'm glad I did. A lighter, more straightforward story with elements of satire . . . somehow easier. I always like satire best. It's just a tricky tone to sustain. I tend to be overwritten. But if it's satire, I can say it's intentional! Hoo-ee.

Am looking forward to all my money not being sucked into tuition so I can have maybe an apartment to myself. Be able to go to movies without grimacing, then not spending anything at all for a few months post. Trouble with having a steady job again, though, is you get home and then it's like oh right I have to cook, so even if I get a bread machine and some cookbooks, I foresee myself falling easy back into take-out habits, which are not cost effective and often not healthy. (I am one of those fortunate? people with very high metabolisms, but for all weight gain's never been much a worry, I trend toward psychosomatic problems + gas, and a lot of fast food leaves me miserable. AND YET it is fast. And food.)

I suppose I could also finally finish a book before my degree program ends. Right. One of these here days.

Wicked Baggins [userpic]


April 24th, 2010 (03:40 pm)

current mood: clever

Brother: So, finally saw Juno. Thought I wouldn't like it, but I really did. What did you think of it?

Me: Oh, it was all right. Tried to hard to be clever in parts, though.

Brother: You really don't like it when anything tries to be clever, do you.

Me: No. No, I am the only one allowed to be clever.

Wicked Baggins [userpic]


April 20th, 2010 (09:31 am)

I graduate in December 2010.

This semester ends May 15.

The presumable worst part of the semester ends this week.

My temp job ends in August.

However, all these powers combined mean that I am feeling purty cramped.

Maybe my magical plan to learn Javascript on my lonesome this summer is not going to work. (If I get this better job I have my eye on, def. not going to work.)

Wicked Baggins [userpic]

Mass Effect 2

April 2nd, 2010 (11:57 am)

Not really convinced of its replayability yet (while the choices felt less cosmetic, I'll have to play it again with all different choices to see how much game narrative twists, if at all), but I enjoyed it much more than the first one. Took itself a little less seriously, combat was quick and mostly fun and didn't feel too much like a grind for all there was a lot of it, character designs were generally better done and better implemented. A very pretty game when it was pretty.

What made the difference for me was character. Oh, the human teammates you end up with at the beginning are still yawningly bland and I found convict Jack more aggravating than fascinating, but the best two characters from the first game (Tali and Garrus) are back. And two of the new characters, Thane and Mordin, are complex, thoughtful creatures that I loved poking at. The rest were all right, but hey, twice the interesting teammates is an improvement in itself.

Lack of clear villain aside (which was a game weakness, the muddiness of the game's thrust), the NPCs in general were a little better done. I cared less about the plot, cared more about the individuals on individual planets. Writing was at times a bit weak and repetitious, at times brilliant. I liked the "action" prompts that allowed you to punch people mid-conversation because I am violent and evil. Female Shepard VO still far superior than male. Occasionally rolled my eyes at all the obvious shooter-style layouts in all the combat areas (how convenient!), liked the resource gathering/planet scanning to a point, liked that the developers finally stopped making all asari psuedo-zen sex objects. At least not all. Still cannot figure out why quarians and asari both have breasts and remain just about the only girl aliens we ever see. And while I can only complain too much that three of the most interesting characters are romance options, they are also alien, alien, alien and I am just not sure this is a good idea. Biologically. How would this even work? The strict fade outs are here for a reason other than prudery, I think.

Still, good fun. Will probably play again. The sequence in which you briefly play Joker is illustrative of the best bits of the game. Witty and harrowing at once with a touch of character nuance. (If only we could be Seth Green voiced characters all the time.)

Wicked Baggins [userpic]

New laptop

April 2nd, 2010 (11:15 am)

My faithful old Toshiba bit it and I definitely do not have the money, but need the portability anyhow. I bought a fair decent Asus, about as good as now-defunct Toshiba, but a lot cheaper.

It's funny how tricky it is to acclimatize to a new computer in the first few days. Some buttons are in different places, the mouse is too sensitive, I have to redownload everything, etc, etc. Love the mouse pad, though. Possibly only laptop mouse pad I have ever loved.

Wicked Baggins [userpic]

How To Train Your Dragon

March 27th, 2010 (03:35 pm)

I lost interest in Dreamworks after they turned to smirky, sarcastic modern-reference-dropping humor. Lost interest enough that I didn't see Kung Fu Panda until, well, forever after it came out.

And I found it well-drawn and charming.

I found the previews for this movie also charming, heard that the Lilo and Stitch guys were behind it. Amp up the charming then. I saw it today.

It was better than I expected. Oh, no new ground covered here. The plot has broad thematic similarity to Kung Fu Panda, if not half all animated features ever made. Misfit finds purpose and acceptance through perfecting and applying his natural talents. Only while Kung Fu Panda was primarily an action comedy with scenes (and performances + great animation) that gave it a little extra heft, How To Train Your Dragon looks like a comedy, but isn't. The humor is often dry and sometimes very funny (occasionally distractingly anachronistic), but never the real focus of the movie.

The flight sequences are beautiful, the relationships are lightly, but largely convincingly drawn, and the action sequences are taut and thrilling. My only real complaint is that at some point, dragons other than Toothless (and one I won't spoil) start to seem, well, a little toothless. It's part of the thematic shift (I couldn't quite call it a twist) in the movie, but even so, there's something fascinating about the early scenes with Toothless, the peril hidden just under the surface of affection and trust. This is a wild, dangerous, intelligent animal.

Probably getting it when it comes out. I think what firmed the movie beyond lovingly crafted, but light entertainment was the sense of consequence to character actions. I mentioned peril above, I'll mention it again. This isn't a grim movie, but character risks are taken very seriously, which gives their choices a little more gravitas.

Wicked Baggins [userpic]


March 25th, 2010 (12:33 am)


Wicked Baggins [userpic]

Lessons I am (re)learning in graduate school.

March 7th, 2010 (12:29 am)

1. Deadlines are your worst enemy. Not so much in the sense you have too much to do to make them, but because the likelihood of forgetting one or two (or more) in two or so years is high. Don't let yourself be lured into a sense of security because some professors will send plenty of reminders and clearly mark when something is due. Keep your own calendar and make it thorough - and make it at the beginning of the semester. Often, a due date for mid-semester will be marked on a page of introductory material and may never be mentioned again until it is too late. (This has real life relevance enough! Reminders are nice, but you're ultimately responsible for getting stuff done.)

2. You are responsible for your own competency and your own education. Not all teachers are good at teaching. Not all companies/bosses/coworkers have any time, inclination, or talent for training. In a perfect world, every teacher would be involved, interested, and capable. However, this is not always the case, sometimes especially in academia. If you think that a class is lacking, your feedback to the institution should reflect that - but in the meantime, if you didn't think you learned what you should have, take the lead in self-supplementing.

3. Keep your zen. Hoops are everywhere, obstacles are commonplace, there are a thousand things to find frustrating in a given day. Dwell on every mistake (or dwell on every time you're done wrong by) and you're likely to become an anxious wreck. So don't dwell.

4. Always be polite (even when you don't want to be).

5. Keep your priorities straight, but remember not all priorities will strike everyone as being as important as they are to you.

6. Be confident in your choices. Choose one class over another, drop a class if it's pointedly not a good fit, spend more or less time here. There comes a point of no return, when a choice is set in stone. At that point, be happy with them. Or, uh, close enough.

7. Go to bed.

Wicked Baggins [userpic]

Time and time

February 28th, 2010 (03:04 pm)

current mood: coughy

It's remarkably hard to get back into the employment mindset after a year of just-schooling, but now that I'm almost out of the 'trial period' of adjustment and am getting more than two hours a day if I'm lucky, I need to step up. It'd be aaawful nice if I didn't have to take out any more loans this year - and after this year, I'm done.

Unless I decide to go for a degree in philosophy, too, or something really helpful like that.

Need to delve back into the novel. I've been writing scenes out of sequence and doing a lot of worldbuilding, but it's just not quite coming together. Even if I am very proud of some of this worldbuilding. I feel almost clever.

Wicked Baggins [userpic]

So yeah.

February 8th, 2010 (10:04 am)

current mood: restless

I dropped one of my classes, so I say to myself, now I can afford to get a part time job, which is good because I get intensely antsy if I do not feel altogether monetarily capable of supporting myself. Trouble is, finding a part time job is difficult, even if you are like "Hello, I will set things on shelves for money, also, I have sexy resume and will not set things incompetently." I have a strong suspicion that if I was able to get a full time job, this would be easier, since apparently people with minor-Internet-editing-guru skill sets are better used in full-time settings. Or so I would like to think.

Meantime, I keep writing my novel wildly out of order, work on class, apply some more, apply some more. Occasionally play Dragon Age. I have a whole essay I'm working on about that. But I will say a few things - it is far more fun and clever than I initially wanted to give it credit for, but it could have been a masterpiece if they'd pushed it a little more in-as-far as original theme and if we could have ground a little less. Six completely different origin stories a brilliant idea, if some of this particular brilliance may have been unnecessary if parts of main story a little deeper. For example, dwarf area politics rather missed-opportunity-ish unless you are playing a dwarf (at least a dwarf noble), then the narrative is awesome. Thing is, dwarf area narrative should be awesome regardless.

Local sci fi/fantasy convention opening this week. Will verily attend.

Wicked Baggins [userpic]

Poetry is great!

February 2nd, 2010 (11:26 pm)

current mood: artistic

Especially in the context of an increasingly headache-y-complicated fantasy novel. Guys, forget having protagonists who are wonderful at everything. Sometimes, there is nothing better than being able to write a poem in-character-voice. And have it be totally crap.

Oh, Lachek. My little mud-pit. A swollen tumor on the Valerii.
Can pits be tumors or tumors be pits? Does it matter? Lachek,
My ode to you. When the window is open, the wind through the curtains . . .
Is airy.
In dear brown Lachek, the fish are fish. Yes, the fish are definitely . . .

The girls are reasonably sweet, when they aren’t staring at you wide-eyed.
Or slamming doors in your face or calling on the gods for deliverance from your face,
Which is a perfectly nice face. So fear and overreaction aside, I take it in stride.

Oh Lachek! When I was young, under rickety stilt-houses I raced!
And the good grandmothers would call for a good rain to cleanse the taint
Of my feet from their darling dirt, and perhaps I laughed, because any witch’s boy
Can make any good grandmother’s radishes wither and their chickens faint!

Oh Lachek! I leave you for wider rivers than old Valerii, leave for wider things with joy.
But is there a little regret? To trade sluggish waters with cold dead women singing
Under the surface for . . . anything else? To trade grey skies filled with grey birds for
. . . anything else? Oh Lachek! Where is this regret I’m supposed to be . . . bringing?


Wicked Baggins [userpic]

Avatar - Hey, Earth Mother

January 12th, 2010 (02:09 pm)

skywaterblue pointed out in my first (over-ambiguous) post that there was no way James Cameron had enough interest in minority groups to justify comparing two very minority-group concerned movies to Avatar. She is right. Avatar is not really concerned with minority groups, or, we may as well rephrase, Avatar wants to look concerned with minority groups and James Cameron may think it is. But much of what we have here does not cover new ground. It is a bright pastiche of every "noble savage" cliche, beginning with the Roman perception of the early Germans. And, of course, as the army dude appropriates the geek culture and saves the geeks, our white army dude appropriates the Na'vi culture and saves them as well.

But let's discuss this culture a bit. I appreciate that Avatar tries to develop it more than "But I know every rock and tree and creature has a life, has a spirit, has a name," if the general gist is similar. I doubt the purpose of a certain spoilery ritual beyond making our protagonist more special (what day to day application could this ever have?), but making everything literally interconnected at least gives the fluffiness a bit of concrete grounding.

That said. Why is it impossible to make a culture that bears some resemblance to pre-technological cultures? Any resemblance? How about any resemblance to non-Western-European-derived cultures? I am a bit of a culture geek over any kind of expert and even I know that, actually, neither American Indians nor the Japanese nor any African culture nor Siberian shamans sat around and grooved to nature. I am now going to make a less ambiguous comparison between Avatar and two movies I mentioned before.

So. Princess Mononoke vs. Avatar. Nature, right? Well, Princess Mononoke has a complex hierarchy and rivalry of gods. At no time is Ashitaka or the Princess sitting around grooving to nature. Nature is just not sitting still for them and, besides, it's split up into hostile factions that have to be appeased or - not appeased. The only stable hostile faction we end up with in Avatar is that the war leader is pissed that army dude is appropriating his girlfriend.

So. Smoke Signals vs. Avatar -- well, you know that somewhere, Sherman Alexie is laughing his head off at yet another one of these movies. I'll cover more of this in my last post on the movie (less culture based, more 'why the obsession with white heroes even when it doesn't make any sense?'). But I did notice that the corporate dude responsible for all this mess had a dreamcatcher on his wall. I think this is meant to be a sly joke (and it is kind of funny), but it's undercut. Yes, dreamcatchers are high on the American Indian chintz list, but unfortunately, this movie is in many ways exactly what it mocks.

One nice mention, though. The actress who plays that appropriated girlfriend is quite good. She is trying to sell this culture for all she's worth, and that takes some acting.

Wicked Baggins [userpic]

Avatar - Geek Chic

January 12th, 2010 (08:51 am)

current mood: geeky

Roleplaying (and, perhaps, fantasy escapism in general) is associated with geek culture. You know, those adorable, emotionally stunted, reality-impaired shut-ins who pretend to be tall and sexy elves to make up for the fact that they are skinny (or overweight), unsexy pimply people or whatever. Of course, we who are immersed in geek culture can attest that roleplaying can be a form of narrative exploration and development that has relatively little to do with pretending to be someone cooler to make up for bad self-esteem. We can also attest that there is something more to science fiction than adolescent booms and pshews and we are adults, really, who have real adult lives and do real adult things (at least part of the time). Or we can say that there are all kinds of people that make up a world and people with inner lives that may occasionally be richer than their outer lives are not necessarily sick, as long as they do not neglect their outer lives. We may say that easy crowd-friendly social skills are not the be-all and end-all of human development. We can say all these things, defensively or proudly or off-handedly. But I am not sure it is what Avatar says.

Avatar is about several things, but roleplaying is part of what it is about. You have a former Marine who is emotionally stunted enough to barely acknowledge his brother is dead throughout the entire film. He is physically crippled and deeply embittered. The movie's title, Avatar, does not mean Avatar in the classical sense of a god acting through/embodying a person as much as it seems to recall video game avatar. This wheelchair bound man, who would be an action hero if he could only stand up or something, is accepted into geek-- I mean, scientist culture grudgingly. But once he is there, he masters roleplaying with immersion none of these eggheads that have studied for years can match, and because while geeks may be emotionally stunted, they typically have good hearts, they quickly accept him as the Messiah of their program.

Actually, a lot of this (bum-bum) geek appropriation works, because our hero, chosen-one syndrome aside, has a touch of humility and teachability which is believably appealing. The middle section of the movie where our hero is allowing himself to learn and owns that he kind of sucks a bit is rather charming. Avatar does gently point out why a however-well-meant attempt to school a foreign/alien people can be hopelessly condescending. (If without that misguided or "misguided" attempt, Our Hero would not be our hero, would he?)

However, two things: it is a little obnoxious to have just-any-dude come in and be more awesome at cultural immersion than people who actually know the foreign language (you know, more on this later). All the benefits of being a gee- scientist/archeologist without all the trouble of struggling through advanced degrees. Thing the second. Even as our gee- scientists/archeologists risk their lives/jobs, etc for our hero, he remains pretty distant from them, more and more enveloped in his other life. It's hard to altogether accept this as healthy and I wonder if it would have been portrayed as positively if our hero had the use of his legs. (It is a kind of practice linked with geeks, though, and usually condemned as bad.) We end up with an army dude roleplaying as a geek roleplaying as an alien and ultimately becoming transcendent, while still being sexy and desirable. In short, army dude appropriates geek culture and automatically does it better than anyone else. Blast these army dudes. (Much preferable when the geek appropriates army culture and automatically does it better than anyone else, right!)

One last thing in this ramble of rambles. A TV show of the same name had a character who couldn't use his legs and a major character who was blind. Both were pretty, you know, empowered. While I realize (maybe) what the movie was trying to do, I think a movie where the main character learned to re-appreciate his body would have been kind of nice.

Wicked Baggins [userpic]

Avatar - Prologue

January 12th, 2010 (07:53 am)

current mood: thoughtful

I'm going to describe a few movies for you. Might be familiar.

1. Once upon a time, there was an iron mill run by a cool, ruthless woman who nonetheless provided a haven for lepers and reformed whores. The growth of her operation threatened the well-being of the forest, which was filled with perilous gods, beautiful, but dangerous, and having a good heart was no proof against those dangers. As the tensions between the natural and the new grew into open war, there arrived a mediator "to see with eyes unclouded" . . .

2. Once upon a time, there was a reservation. On this reservation were two young men, American Indians, who were not friends, but were bound together by a man's death, and the need to both fulfill his last wishes and to discover who, exactly, he was. Their journey was quiet, two parts funny, two parts sad. As they struggled with each other and themselves and the broader identity of a largely obscured past, they both lightly and trenchantly deconstructed the appropriation and distortion of their culture.

"What would you like to hear, truth or lies?"

3. Once upon a time, there was a young hacker who was offered the possibility of maybe-probably being the Messiah of a ruined world. First, however, he had to cast off his conceptions of what was real and what, being fluid as thought if as seemingly solid as memory, could be shaped . . .

Combine these three movies, and you will have what Avatar could have been. (Namely, a surfer dude-buddy movie with a nice painted background -- no, wait. I'm going somewhere with this.)

EDIT: I am not saying this movie was a mash up of these three movies. But if it had been, it would have been awesome. I am not clear!