Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Review: Noah

Warning: Spoilers for "Noah" ahead. Seriously, I'll spoil the whole movie. 

I finally got around to watch "Noah". I have found this to be a really, really disturbing experience. "Noah" is the weirdest piece of movie I saw since "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas", and it left me deeply unsettled. The imagery, the story and the characters all align into something that doesn't fit any category, and the movie switches with ease between different genres, watching first some post-apocalyptic flic, then reenacting the battle of Helm's Deep before we get "The Shining 2" aboard the Ark. So why is this, and does it work?
This! Is! Noah!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Video: Laci Green about Sam Pepper

Laci Green, who I think I never recommended on the blog until now but have been watching quite some time, made a video about the Sam Pepper prank stuff (she explains it, don't worry) which I can only recommend to y'all. Watch it after the break.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Supreme Court of Westeros, ruling 46

Thursday is court day! 
Welcome to the Supreme Court of Westeros! Every week, three pressing questions from the community will be answered by the esteemed judges Stefan (from your very own Nerdstream Era) and Amin (from A Podcast of Ice and Fire). The rules are simple: we take three questions, and one of us writes a measured analysis. The other one writes a shorter opinion, either concurring or dissenting. The catch is that every week a third judge from the fandom will join us and also write a dissenting or concurring opinion. So if you think you're up to the task - write us an email to stefan_sasse@gmx.de, leave a comment in the post, ask in the APOIAF-forum or contact Amin at his tumblr. Discussion is by no means limited to the court itself, though - feel free to discuss our rulings in the commentary section and ask your own questions through the channels above.
One word on spoilers: we assume that you read all the books, including the Hedge Knight short stories, and watched the current TV episodes. We don't include the spoiler chapters from various sources in the discussion, with the notable exception of Theon I, which was supposed to be in "A Dance with Dragons" anyway.
And now, up to ruling 46 of the Supreme Court of Westeros! Our guest judge this week is Michal H, a Show-watcher turned book reader, forum member of Podcast of Ice and Fire and speaker on Vassals of Kingsgrave.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Discussing Sarkeesian with 16-year-olds

Today, I used Anita Sarkeesian's "Women as Background Decoration" in class. The pupils are 10th graders, which in Germany means they're about 16 to 17 years old. The class is small, consisting of ten boys and one girl. Much testosterone to fly around, I can tell you. Since I know that all of the ten boys are playing video games, asking them whether they heard of #Gamergate, I expected some positive answers. In fact, two people had heard of it, and two others joined in once they understood what I meant. The term itself was new to them. We watched the aforementioned video together, with me pausing several times to explain some of the heavier vocabulary, but refraining from taking sides. During watching, they constantly shouted out their disapproval, citing that men get beaten and killed in these games, too, and that it's just "normal", and that if Sarkeesian didn't like it she should stop playing. Two pupils grew a bit more thoughtful after a while, pondering the arguments, but didn't get on Sarkeesian's side. All pupils stated how dismayed they were at the fact that Sarkeesian countered all their own arguments in advance, calling it unfair.

Supreme Court of Westeros, ruling 45

Thursday is court day! 
Welcome to the Supreme Court of Westeros! Every week, three pressing questions from the community will be answered by the esteemed judges Stefan (from your very own Nerdstream Era) and Amin (from A Podcast of Ice and Fire). The rules are simple: we take three questions, and one of us writes a measured analysis. The other one writes a shorter opinion, either concurring or dissenting. The catch is that every week a third judge from the fandom will join us and also write a dissenting or concurring opinion. So if you think you're up to the task - write us an email to stefan_sasse@gmx.de, leave a comment in the post, ask in the APOIAF-forum or contact Amin at his tumblr. Discussion is by no means limited to the court itself, though - feel free to discuss our rulings in the commentary section and ask your own questions through the channels above.
One word on spoilers: we assume that you read all the books, including the Hedge Knight short stories, and watched the current TV episodes. We don't include the spoiler chapters from various sources in the discussion, with the notable exception of Theon I, which was supposed to be in "A Dance with Dragons" anyway.
And now, up to ruling 45 of the Supreme Court of Westeros! Our guest judge this week is J Alex Keene, a member of the community.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

The connection between Open-World-Games and misogyny [UPDATE]

When I talked about my relation to Anita Sarkeesian's videos last week, I found something curious: the "Women as Background Decoration" trope that she talks about and that so infuriates gamers is especially prevalent in open-world-games. GTA, Red Dead Redemption, Kane&Lynch, Hitman, Assassin's Creed, Far Cry 3, Watch_Dogs and others popped up with alarming regularity (and yes, I know they're not all technically open-world, but they give players more freedom than your average Call of Duty). I think there's a connection between this fact and the sexist scenes that Sarkeesian dissected in her video, and it has to do with the mechanics of open-world games. 
Yay, freedom for the player!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Supreme Court of Westeros, ruling 44

Thursday is court day!
Welcome to the Supreme Court of Westeros! Every week, three pressing questions from the community will be answered by the esteemed judges Stefan (from your very own Nerdstream Era) and Amin (from A Podcast of Ice and Fire). The rules are simple: we take three questions, and one of us writes a measured analysis. The other one writes a shorter opinion, either concurring or dissenting. The catch is that every week a third judge from the fandom will join us and also write a dissenting or concurring opinion. So if you think you're up to the task - write us an email to stefan_sasse@gmx.de, leave a comment in the post, ask in the APOIAF-forum or contact Amin at his tumblr. Discussion is by no means limited to the court itself, though - feel free to discuss our rulings in the commentary section and ask your own questions through the channels above.
One word on spoilers: we assume that you read all the books, including the Hedge Knight short stories, and watched the current TV episodes. We don't include the spoiler chapters from various sources in the discussion, with the notable exception of Theon I, which was supposed to be in "A Dance with Dragons" anyway.
And now, up to ruling 44 of the Supreme Court of Westeros! Our guest judge this week is Thomas Fichtenmayer, who has the tumblr Stannisifthefury and covers Game of Thrones for esquire.com. He was already a guest judge in ruling 15.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

No country for Old Gamers

Bringing feminism to a gaming console near you.
I have never liked feminism. Then I watched Anita Sarkeesian. This may sound melodramatic, but in the light of the developments that loosely run under the tag of "#Gamergate" these days, melodrama is called for. I won't bore you with the details of the conflict, for which you can turn to the trusted explainers over at vox.com. The reactions from the community of people calling themselves "gamers" has been so much out of proportion that "melodrama" isn't beginning to cover it. When people are forced to ask the police for protection and flee their homes, you know that something has gone terribly wrong. The hatred that Sarkeesian, Quinn and others are receiving bars no relation to the quote on quote "provocation" they are posing to the gamer community at large. I guess I'm too old to ever have named myself a "gamer" (the term didn't exist in my really active days), but I certainly would've. Now, I can only try to make a firm stand, rebuking the stupid attitudes of my teenage years and agree with the many who came before me in renouncing the term.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Supreme Court of Westeros, ruling 43

Thursday is court day! 
Welcome to the Supreme Court of Westeros! Every week, three pressing questions from the community will be answered by the esteemed judges Stefan (from your very own Nerdstream Era) and Amin (from A Podcast of Ice and Fire). The rules are simple: we take three questions, and one of us writes a measured analysis. The other one writes a shorter opinion, either concurring or dissenting. The catch is that every week a third judge from the fandom will join us and also write a dissenting or concurring opinion. So if you think you're up to the task - write us an email to stefan_sasse@gmx.de, leave a comment in the post, ask in the APOIAF-forum or contact Amin at his tumblr. Discussion is by no means limited to the court itself, though - feel free to discuss our rulings in the commentary section and ask your own questions through the channels above.
One word on spoilers: we assume that you read all the books, including the Hedge Knight short stories, and watched the current TV episodes. We don't include the spoiler chapters from various sources in the discussion, with the notable exception of Theon I, which was supposed to be in "A Dance with Dragons" anyway.
And now, up to ruling 43 of the Supreme Court of Westeros! Our guest judge this week is K-K Bracken, the writer of the Game of Thrones Comedy Show in Columbus, Ohio and an attendee of the Ice and Fire Convention each May at Ravenwood Castle in Ohio.  Her personal tumblr is http://zombee.tumblr.com

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Supreme Court of Westeros, ruling 42

Thursday is court day! 
Welcome to the Supreme Court of Westeros! Every week, three pressing questions from the community will be answered by the esteemed judges Stefan (from your very own Nerdstream Era) and Amin (from A Podcast of Ice and Fire). The rules are simple: we take three questions, and one of us writes a measured analysis. The other one writes a shorter opinion, either concurring or dissenting. The catch is that every week a third judge from the fandom will join us and also write a dissenting or concurring opinion. So if you think you're up to the task - write us an email to stefan_sasse@gmx.de, leave a comment in the post, ask in the APOIAF-forum or contact Amin at his tumblr. Discussion is by no means limited to the court itself, though - feel free to discuss our rulings in the commentary section and ask your own questions through the channels above.
One word on spoilers: we assume that you read all the books, including the Hedge Knight short stories, and watched the current TV episodes. We don't include the spoiler chapters from various sources in the discussion, with the notable exception of Theon I, which was supposed to be in "A Dance with Dragons" anyway.
And now, up to ruling 42 of the Supreme Court of Westeros! Our guest judge this week is Alex Smith: co-founder of Tower of the Hand, one of the contributing authors to A Flight of Sorrows, and repeating guest host at A Podcast of Ice and Fire.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Sounds about right, True Blood

But despite all these spinning plates, there's been a lack of pace and a cloud of boredom in Bon Temps. There may just be too much scar tissue from seasons past for anyone to get too excited about a show that once promised excess. The show mistook simple for lazy, convoluted for interesting. In trying to tinker with and continually redefine its vampires, the show ended up gumming up its own motor. And along the way, it lost all the excess, and we lost all the fun we were having.
- Vox

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Mini-Review: Wanted

Not even characters.
In our last post of the Supreme Court of Westeros, I made a comparison with the comic book of "Wanted", as well as the movie, stating that I actually liked the movie more than the comic. To make this clear: I don't think the movie is a good movie. It's passable, and it has some interesting ideas, but ultimately it isn't really innovative or interesting enough to be remembered. The comics, however, outright suck ass. In my mind, they are only an excuse for a lengthy juvenile fantasy of boundless gore, violence and swearing. There is no deeper message in them, no meaning, no criticism, nothing that gets you engaged or thinking. It's just a violence fantasy. Worse, its violence is also directed at people for the expressed reasons of being ugly, of being annoying, of being female, of being in the way, of being just there when it suits you, of being fat, and a myriad of other reasons bullies usually use for excuses to torture people. Only this time it's put in a comic book. So, fuck "Wanted". I don't know why they even used the licence for the movie, whose convergence with the comic is minimal at best.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Supreme Court of Westeros, ruling 41

Thursday is court day! 
Welcome to the Supreme Court of Westeros! Every week, three pressing questions from the community will be answered by the esteemed judges Stefan (from your very own Nerdstream Era) and Amin (from A Podcast of Ice and Fire). The rules are simple: we take three questions, and one of us writes a measured analysis. The other one writes a shorter opinion, either concurring or dissenting. The catch is that every week a third judge from the fandom will join us and also write a dissenting or concurring opinion. So if you think you're up to the task - write us an email to stefan_sasse@gmx.de, leave a comment in the post, ask in the APOIAF-forum or contact Amin at his tumblr. Discussion is by no means limited to the court itself, though - feel free to discuss our rulings in the commentary section and ask your own questions through the channels above.
One word on spoilers: we assume that you read all the books, including the Hedge Knight short stories, and watched the current TV episodes. We don't include the spoiler chapters from various sources in the discussion, with the notable exception of Theon I, which was supposed to be in "A Dance with Dragons" anyway.
And now, up to ruling 41 of the Supreme Court of Westeros! Our guest judge this week is Jimmy McCullough. He has been heavily interested in “A Song of Ice and Fire” since his sister introduced me to GRRM books. Sadly, she lives in Australia now and they do not get to discuss them often, but hopefully she will return before “The Winds of Winter” is realised. He works for Bupa, a PMI company and is starting an MA in History in October.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Supreme Court of Westeros, ruling 40

Thursday is court day! 
Welcome to the Supreme Court of Westeros! Every week, three pressing questions from the community will be answered by the esteemed judges Stefan (from your very own Nerdstream Era) and Amin (from A Podcast of Ice and Fire). The rules are simple: we take three questions, and one of us writes a measured analysis. The other one writes a shorter opinion, either concurring or dissenting. The catch is that every week a third judge from the fandom will join us and also write a dissenting or concurring opinion. So if you think you're up to the task - write us an email to stefan_sasse@gmx.de, leave a comment in the post, ask in the APOIAF-forum or contact Amin at his tumblr. Discussion is by no means limited to the court itself, though - feel free to discuss our rulings in the commentary section and ask your own questions through the channels above.
One word on spoilers: we assume that you read all the books, including the Hedge Knight short stories, and watched the current TV episodes. We don't include the spoiler chapters from various sources in the discussion, with the notable exception of Theon I, which was supposed to be in "A Dance with Dragons" anyway.
And now, up to ruling 40 of the Supreme Court of Westeros! Our guest judge this week is Remy Verhoeve, who has his own blog "Stormsongs" and wrote several books about "A Song of Ice and Fire", including "Waiting for Dragons"