oiran: cherry blossom (Default)
[personal profile] oiran
Turns out, I don't really have much of a story where I thought I did. Maybe I'll change my mind about it later, but I'm currently of the opinion that the idea I thought was easiest to finish is actually the most difficult, as it deals with a reality I haven't and couldn't have lived, and the rest of the things I'm working on are all made up shit and thus entirely at my whim.

Like, cell phones? In 1995-97 or thereabouts, what was the likelihood that a teenager from a rich family would have had one? And how brick-like would it have been? I'm not rich, I wasn't a teenager then, and I didn't get a cell phone until 1999, and it was a midrange thing about the size of a TV remote--which wasn't the smallest, but definitely not the biggest, either.

In contrast, if I am making shit up, I can just give people tablets and earpieces and whatever other access devices I can think of and connect them all up through some public utility-like network, give them personal AIs--not that far from current reality, actually--and it's believable because there's a context that supports it.

Or, social stuff. Like, if I was a really rich person in Manhattan in 1995-97, where would I live? East or West, and how far up? If my great-grandfather had built a rather grand residence, how likely is it that it his descendants would still be living there? I've spent more time on the Upper East than Upper West side since that's where the museums are, and there are tons of schools on the east side, but maybe the rich people send their kids to Connecticut instead. Also, smoking. Like, would someone who was underage and looked underage be able to buy cigarettes at that point in time? 

You know, no one cares about this shit except me and some really, really snotty New Yorkers. But I do care, because the characters are real to me, and I want their lives to seem real to any possible reader, including a really, really snotty New Yorker who wants cultural accuracy with her gay porn.

I also know zip about college--as in, which ones my characters would have wanted to go to at that point in time, and which ones they really would have gotten into--much less law school. This stuff is really stressing me out. I don't want to write about what I know, because it's awful and boring and small. I know about growing up in a mill town where everyone hated me, and I know about working mind-numbing admin jobs, and I know way more than my share about depression. I also know about relationships, falling in and out of love, and sex, and I'm more than happy to write about those things, but I'd prefer at least some of my characters to be something other than underachieving, restless complainers like myself.

No one means, "Write what you know," to be interpreted so literally, I know. It's just a mood I'm in.

Oh, and I don't expect anyone to try to answer my questions. I will eventually get around to accepting that I have a ton of research to do that I absolutely didn't foresee, and then I'll research it, probably to the very minimum of satisfaction, just so that I don't have characters carrying around brick-sized cell phones a year too early--or a year too late.

The Mr. and I saw Avatar last night. Oops, pardon: James Cameron's Avatar.  It was, as expected, stupid but very, very pretty. We saw an IMAX 3D version in order to accentuate the pretty, and I'd recommend seeing a 3D version if you've got one available wherever you are since it was created with 3D in mind. If you can't figure out what's going to happen, you are apparently someone never exposed to the notion of the Hero's Quest--or, since James Cameron must have made his characters 10-foot-tall, blue-skinned, flowing-haired demigods with tails and glowing eyes for a reason--the Mary Sue. Although it's stupid, it's not an objectionable sort of stupid, and it frees your brain up to admire the imagination and effort that went into creating such a rich and beautiful fantasy world. I may very well see it again, and certainly not for the plot.

Date: 2010-01-02 07:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jay-jay.livejournal.com
Hols and I saw it last night too. Def worth the 3-D experience. the plot borders on offensive IMO, the whole Noble Savage thing combined with the rawest and simplest of Hero's Journey stories seems dated at best, white man centric and insipid at worst. But it was gorgeous and very moving at times. I enjoyed watching it, but it definitely didn't stand up to scrutiny afterwards (except as an incredible piece of visual art).

Date: 2010-01-02 08:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rhiannonhero.livejournal.com
Curious -- does it require the 3D glasses? I ask because those 3D glasses always trigger a migraine for me.

Date: 2010-01-02 08:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] oiran.livejournal.com
Yes, it does require 3D glasses. They're the clear kind, not the old-fashioned red and blue kind, if that makes a difference.

Date: 2010-01-02 08:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rhiannonhero.livejournal.com
Ack. I just don't know if it would be worth it to try it out. *frets* Probably not.

Date: 2010-01-02 08:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] oiran.livejournal.com
I wonder if the theater would let you try the glasses on before buying a ticket. You'd still run the risk of a migraine, but at least you wouldn't be out $15.

Date: 2010-01-02 08:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rhiannonhero.livejournal.com
Now, that is one pretty icon.

Hmm, maybe. I got kind of migraine-y just looking at my friend's Xmas card that was a 3D photo, but it had the blue and red glasses with it.

Date: 2010-01-02 09:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] oiran.livejournal.com
This is a lot more subtle than that, which might be either very good or very bad, I suppose. The 3D version of the film is different than a regular movie--it looks fairly crap when viewed without the glasses--so they may have built more of the effect into the actual movie so that the glasses could be less brain-confusing.

Date: 2010-01-02 08:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] oiran.livejournal.com
SLIGHTLY SPOILERY: I tried to pay very little attention to the plot except as it specifically related to a given piece of prettiness onscreen. Examine it at all, and it splinters into a zillion tard fragments. The science is extra-retarded, even for a movie like this, those creatures are all completely unadapted to their environment, and surely the Na'vi had some experience of the Sky People's big guns prior to the battle sequences. Also, I kept wondering how he could move his tail since this was all supposedly based on matching neurons to neurons and - duh - we don't have tails. At least I don't. Not since the operation.

Still, I got very emotional in some key scenes, and I was mostly able to avoid the irritation associated with being cravenly manipulated because, well, everything was so shiny and brightly-colored!

more spoilers

Date: 2010-01-02 09:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jay-jay.livejournal.com
I absolutely loved the movie while I watched it. Bad science and all, I was pretty able to suspend everything. Except I was supremely frustrated at the lack of nakedness. Like let's titillate with the naked savage but never show anything like a nipple! This was especially ridiculous when Sigourney Weaver was naked.

But after the fact, I don't know. The story itself is actually okay, it has all the right pieces for a hero's journey which is so prevalent because it's good. However the actual application of it here felt really dated. Like from the 1950s or even the 1900s. The gender roles were so stiff and the men lead and white men lead even more thing was oddly out of place. If it had been even a tribal society with no gender roles (as we white westerners recognize them) and there had been some equality among gender with the white invaders I would probably count it as near perfect movie. As it was, Starship Troopers did a better job of upending outdated standards than this did and I believe that was written in the 50s!

Re: more spoilers

Date: 2010-01-02 09:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] oiran.livejournal.com
The gender role stuff was ridiculous and you're right--the movie would have been pretty much perfect entertainment if not for that. On the one hand, the female Na'vi are warriors and hunters, but on the other, they aren't supposed to have a choice when it comes to sex partners?

I got curious and checked and found that James Cameron wrote this one all on his own, whereas he had help writing Sarah Connor, who could certainly be considered a "strong" female character, at least in T2--though, actually, I think Sarah Connor in T2 is basically just a guy played by Linda Hamilton. I think the guy is a master manipulator and has a gift for big visions, but he's not a good writer and he doesn't strike me as someone who has any useful ideas about women's roles.

Date: 2010-01-02 08:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rhiannonhero.livejournal.com
In 1997, rich kids in TN had cell phones, yes. I'm assuming if they did, then they did in NYC, too. In 1993, not so much that I recall. But they did have car phones -- wired into the cars themselves, set into the console where one would put their CDs now; you know between the driver and passenger seat. The hump that kids sat on back in the day before laws about where kids could sit and how.

I know you didn't want answers, but there you go anyway.

Date: 2010-01-02 08:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] oiran.livejournal.com
Well, since you're insisting on giving me answers, then give me another: how big were their cellphones? Brick? TV remote? Computer mouse? If they're big, then a person has to be carrying a bag or have a very commodious pocket, and I do know of at least one character who is not about to spoil the line of his jacket with a ginormous, bar-of-soap-sized cellphone even if it does technically fit in his pocket.

Date: 2010-01-02 08:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rhiannonhero.livejournal.com
TV remote. Small TV remote. Or very small brick. I mean, not long, but like, hmm, longer than a mouse...barely. Definitely needed a decent pocket. I'm trying to remember the one Mr. Rhi had in 1998 -- it was palm-sized, didn't flip open or anything, and he lost it all the time since he didn't have a bag to put it in, and it was kind of too big for his pocket.

Bar of soap size is pretty near right! A big bar of soap!

Date: 2010-01-02 08:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rhiannonhero.livejournal.com
Aha! Like the size of my Treo! Only it was just a phone and didn't have all the fancy functions of internet, etc. And thicker than the Treo by about 1/4 inch.

Date: 2010-01-02 09:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] oiran.livejournal.com
While I described mine as TV remote-sized, it was a small remote I was thinking of, too--like the mini remotes that come with everything now, as opposed to the big remotes that were around in 1997-99.

I'd probably be all right if I had people carrying them in bags or backpacks rather than pockets, which was pretty much my plan. I'm mostly concerned about the year by which I could expect privileged people to have them, and since I haven't set any dates in stone, yet, I can definitely give them cell phones and stop fretting. There's a scene where the ability to call someone on a cell phone is pretty much mandatory, and I had a mini-breakdown when I started thinking about real-world tech timelines.

Date: 2010-01-06 05:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] oiran.livejournal.com
...and you are helpful. This is excellent.

Date: 2010-01-03 05:17 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] shaggirl.livejournal.com
I had a friend who was a trust fund kid in 1992 - 1993 and his cell phone was slightly smaller and heavier than a phone book. It came with a shoulder strap. :))

Date: 2010-01-06 05:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] oiran.livejournal.com
Brad had one--owned by his employer--in 91-2 or thereabouts that, yeah, had a shoulder strap. It looked like something that fell off of a Star Wars ship, very angular, and made of that greenish-beige plastic that all office equipment used to be made out of. Eventually, he got his very own phone--not a StarTac, but something similar, and it seemed so sleek and streamlined and AMAZING because you didn't have to wait around your house for the phone to ring. Being old--good times, good times.

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