Ghosts and Goblins

When I was a kid, Ghostbusters was a Thing. I got into the cartoon—both of them—and the movie. I wrote ghost stories and read far more than was healthy. One book, I remember, I had to physically get rid of because the cover carried so much residual horror after I read it. I’m 95% certain that I was initially interested in Supernatural because of Extreme Ghostbusters.

The name is stupid, but it had an awesome cast. I will still fight people in the street over how great that show was.

Anyway. There are many reasons I grew out of Ghostbusters. The first cartoon was of that kind of 80s/90s quality that does not age well. The jokes are bad and/or tired, mostly puns, and it accidentally teaches some upsetting moral lessons. There also aren’t actually that many ghosts in it.

From the very first episode, you can see that whoever was in charge, they did not know what to do with the property. The voice cast is phenomenal, but the character designs are cosmically confusing when you know what the actors look like, and the ghosts are so not ghosts. They never resemble anything living, they’re garishly colored, and they behave like corporeal beings. The first episode has some goofy decisions, like an obese ghost getting stuck in a pipe and the ghosts using the terminology that the Ghostbusters made up like “Level 5 apparition.”

Often, they were expressly dealing with things that were not ghosts. The Grendel, trolls (bridge trolls in New York, seriously), a leprechaun at least once. Demons and goblins.

Goblins are an interesting “thing” in mythology. Outside of places where the meaning of the word has been thoroughly codified, like Dungeons and Dragons, there’s not really a set appearance, although it carries connotations of being vaguely humanoid and usually ugly. Culturally, goblins tend to live in the dark, be cunning or tricksy, and are not the nicest creatures.

This is one of the reasons why 쓸쓸하고 찬란하신 – 도깨비, which was originally translated as The Lonely and Great God—Goblin saw a mid-broadcast name change to Guardian: The Lonely and Great God. The titular 도깨비 was more of a benevolent force in the world than a grimacing trickster.

Goblins are a better choice for children’s television than ghosts. Goblins are more readily dynamic in how they can affect the world than ghosts. They don’t have an implied history. Nor do they necessarily have feelings or agency. They can just be nasty things that need to be hunted down and contained. They don’t need a reason to exist or to do any of the things they do. Just like bugs.

Ghosts have the problem of questionable visibility and tangibility. They’re usually lacking in one or both to some degree or entirely and that is what makes them ghosts. Also being the lingering spirits of a thing that was once living. Usually a human.

Put that context on the ghosts in an episode of The Real Ghostbusters and it just gets uncomfortable.


[Everett Peck’s stock ghosts for the show]

The Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man is a construct created by a malevolent god. So. Not a ghost. But what was that pink thing with the blue crest and antennae in life?

Goblins, demons, or monsters fit better. The first has the most palatable parent-friendly name.

I’m not sure if I have some kind of conclusion other than that the ghosts in The Real Ghostbusters were usually not ghosts any more than I am a block of cheese.

[post requested by dither]


Lagoon and more Assassin’s Creed

We are going to go to Lagoon today! It’s funny, I’ve been looking forward to this since we went (last year? oh my gosh) and I actually kind of forgot about it. Maybe because my schedule is a little bit weird. And the other stuff that goes on. Like finding out that I’m diseased. Hehe.

So yeah, to bed late and up by 6:25, as I would have predicted had I bothered to do so. I wanted to get my blog posts and word session done, and I was able to get at least some of one post in my session. I’d say ‘killing two birds with one stone’, but that’s beginning to sound quite barbaric. And I don’t even like birds.

Maybe it’s all of the Assassin’s Creed going on in my house. Pigeon coops and bird crap signify two of the best parts of this game. Bird crap means you get to do the awesome leap of faith (which really shouldn’t have carried over from a story-telling point, but it’s my favourite thing so I won’t complain). And the pigeon coops are where you command your elite assassin troops.

Honestly, if they had just released an assassin-commanding game on XBLA or something, I would have bought that and played the heck out of it. It’s really just point-and-click resource management with only one resource (the florins would be meaningless if this were the sole feature of the game, as they are strictly income). I just like the numbers and doing it. I don’t know, I still play Solitaire for fun.

Something else I was thinking about re:AC and I swear that it’s positive and this will be the last time I talk about it for awhile (have I said that before? recently? meep) is that The Secret of Kells would have been a perfect setting. Just take the movie and make it Assassin’s Creed somehow.

No really. It does sound ridiculous probably. But it’s gorgeous, there are thousands of surfaces and heights to do the wall-climbing. Aisling’s forest has tonnes of trees and there is at least one instance of ruins. The Abbot’s wall has scaffolding and crap EVERYWHERE. I watch this movie after playing too much AC and I can see everything that I would want to climb on.

There’s also the looming threat of the Northmen coming that gives the story a sense of immediacy while still maintaining–and indeed creating–a kind of inevitability. They are coming no matter what happens. Not just because it’s a movie but…well, maybe that’s the place to start. RPGs in general tend to feel a little like books to me. That anything could happen, even if you already know it by heart. *cough*QfG*cough* This is great, but not when the events of the story are supposed to have ALREADY HAPPENED.

Grr. Anywho. That was my funny thought the other day. I love this movie.



Silly doodle

I really ought to have more of these in order to justify the post, but I’m lazy. Also, I was really proud of the hand. I drew it while staring at my left hand in rather the same manner as this guy is regarding his own fatso digits. (yes, right now mine are swelling, it’s kind of funny)

Maybe all of this time that I’ve been having trouble writing (well, finishing more than writing) is because I am in an art bend and I was not paying attention to it. The dolls were a GATEWAY INTO MADNETHSSffFFff.

Seriously though, the only reason that I didn’t go all-out and full body shot this guy is that I couldn’t figure out what to do with his other arm without killing the anatomy. Aside from the issue with his pinky, that hand really did turn out rather well. I need to stop looking at and/or thinking about it though. The creeping list of ills is itching into my brain. His knuckles are not right!

I’m done.

Short post to make up for yesterday’s long one. I’ll try to post another one today to even out my empty, empty month. Especially if I get a chance to re-read the Blue Fairy Book.


My ears

They are quite sensitive. No one can freak out like me when a bug flies too close. I have also worked up quite the reputation for recognising voice actors.

But sometimes, it gets in my way. For example, I can’t watch The Fairly Oddparents anymore. Or anything else where Grey Delisle plays ninety per cent of the roles. And while watching just about anything at all, I can get some weird mental images.

My favourite for today is to do with The Princess and the Frog, but it requires a bit of background for full effect.

The voice actor for Prince Naveen was chosen because of how sexy his voice sounded. I can honestly imagine a group of women sitting around in a dull room, listening to several different actors saying the same stupid lines.

Even when a consensus is reached, it’s pretty much a given that a significant number of people will not agree with the assessment that the chosen actor’s voice is sexy at all. Let alone the sexiest.

To me, he sounds like Pepe from the Muppets.

Really. I spend the whole movie waiting for him to say, “I am not a shrimp! I am a king prawn, okay?”

He certainly has a similar inflection.


So I got my haircut

It’s pretty awesome. I’ve been testing it out these past couple days, and I think it works good. Hopefully I won’t need a new one for the next five years, because if I need one in a week it will take that long to bother actually doing.

Last night I was watching Lie To Me (the good one with Yoon Eun Hye) and I needed something to do with my hands. So instead of pulling up a card game or something, I opened MS Paint and started drawing a weird little face. It looked like it needed to have a hood…which made it look like a mask. Then I just started messing about and ended up with a mask at the end of a slug-like ribbon.

I wasn’t done drawing (each episode of Lie to Me is an hour long), so I went through the old doll bases folder on my computer and found one by If Looks Could Kill.

And I made myself a self-portrait doll. With my new haircut.

It’s made me want to do some more of these things. I used to do a lot of dolls, some baseless or with my own bases. They were never terribly good, but I like the shading. Which I do very poorly.

Next time I do this, I’ll have a better palette.


Success equals morality?

I think of the oddest things at the oddest times. Usually, a common thread in those things is films for children, animated or otherwise. No worries for people who hate my rants on that subject, this is a lot more general. And also not quite a rant.

Why is it that in fiction, heroes are often represented by high skill or success in some area such as finance, education, or society (class)?

I don’t really presume to know the answer to this question. I just noticed it. In children’s movies, which is what caused me to start thinking about this, many good guys are often shown to be the most capable or the “best” in any number of things. The bad guy in contrast, is made to look like an incompetent fool.

This is hardly good television, as the saying may go. When taken too far, there is nothing for the hero to gain, nothing to improve upon. There is also no conflict. It’s a foregone conclusion that he’ll win. The bad guy is a loser.

This is even the case with stories wherein the main character is meant to be sympathetic to or even a projection of the audience, by being portrayed as some kind of ‘loser’.

I would offer up the movie I saw as an example, but I’m absolutely mortified that I live in a world in which it exists, let alone that I saw it, so I won’t name its evil name. I might invoke a devil or something. But the thought stands even without my specific example.

And it really baffles me. Children actually respond very well to what they watch on telly (a disturbing topic for a much, much later date), and I can see why certain tropes keep on getting recycled. Kids don’t sit in front of a screen in order to ‘get’ anything. They don’t want to be challenged, moved, motivated, or taught.

They just want the moving pictures to send them cues. Laugh, cry, cheer. Get up and demand another. Repeat.

I’m not even being all that cynical, and I’m certainly not ranting off from nothing. Most kids (I have no idea how many are like I was, none that I’ve seen) will draw conclusions based on the movie–but these will quite often contradict what was directly stated in the movie. In every way used to create context. E.g., “He can’t decide which one to shoot” said during the scene in Fox and the Hound when the dog stands between the fox and the hunter.

But I digress. Wildly. Anyway, I brought up that point for one very simple reason: it explains this strange occurrence completely. The bad guy is the loser who never wins first place, always makes angry faces, has an annoying voice, no friends or horrible fair-weather friends, and is openly and justifiably envious of the hero.

This is so that the villain is immediately identifiable and no one has to grab mummy’s leg and ask why everyone wants that person to fail.

The hero is also just as easily identified, often as someone who is either too good to be true or obnoxious. There’s more variation here, but honestly, look to achievement for the fool-proof answer. Even though the villain will sometimes try to fool you by having informed abilities–supposedly the most popular girl in school, even though absolutely no one likes her and won’t go near her, the smartest in school even though he always loses in maths competitions, etc.–the hero will still beat them as easily as… well, maybe it’s related to the Worf Effect.

That’s all I wanted to say on that subject. Still want to do my free-writing, but I’ve been getting headaches again. I hope it’s just a dehydration thing. Even when I managed to write all of that bother up there, I had a nagging ache in my brain. It probably looks like a bunch of blather.

Which it is. Ta.


Friendship is Misrepresented

Although I will definitely say that I’m less likely to flee the room when a kid has demanded the “reward” of the latest My Little Pony animated series than if they win out on a decision to inflict Phineas and Ferb on my airwaves… It still bothers me.

Not just because I grew up on “G1”, when the ponies actually looked like ponies and not anime girls, or because the insertion of the word “pony” into the language is patently annoying. I do place a lot of importance on anatomy, and I have to admit that now I really get why the Peculiar Purple Pie-Man (of Porcupine Peak) hated berry talk.

No, what bothers me is that just like most recent-ish shows that incorporate friendship as a core value, this show has incredibly crappy friends.

I haven’t sat in on a single episode wherein the message about being a friend was not thoroughly soaked with instances of poor treatment of friends. In one, a character was overworking herself at her job and failing to meet her friends’ expectations. Only one of her friends even noticed that something was wrong, and even that one saw the overtired character as being at fault. The reaction is not to be concerned, but to be irritated.

Is it helpful to yell at someone who has trouble accepting help? Is it being a good friend to keep it to yourself rather than telling your other friends so that they can, at the very least, rescind their requests for favours that are causing their stubborn friend extra stress?

Selfishness is such a strong concept in every kids’ show I’ve seen in the past few years, this really shouldn’t surprise me. But it’s still disappointing. A lot of adults like this show. Why does no one see the unfortunate implications?

I understand character flaws. Sometimes people don’t get along. But each lesson is intended to clearly set up in each episode. Unless it isn’t. Often it gets cloudy. Or they pick a misty issue and try to make it black and white.

Such as when a old friend shows up and clearly wishes to spend time alone with the friend with whom she is reconnecting. A newer friend (on the main cast, btw), tries to tag along, when she was not invited, and initially told politely that they wanted to spend time together and not with her.

When she continues to tag along and is told in plain words that she is not wanted, because the one telling her this is rude, the rest of the episode is dedicated to saying that character is a villain.

Upon losing her composure and getting upset at a party where she is in the spotlight, a stranger, and has been continually pranked (seriously, is placing pranks at a welcoming party anything but mean? I don’t care if they’re intended for random people and not the guest) She already felt threatened by someone she views as a new friend who won’t leave their mutual friend alone.

Maybe I’m just alien or something. But I didn’t see it as a villain unmasked and teaching us a lesson about valuing “coolness” over friendship. That seemed thrown in to make sure that no one sympathised with the put-upon outsider.

I guess it all just boils down to Bad Writing and Don’t Mess with the Main Cast (within that, Don’t Mess With the Popular Colleague).