I Geek, Therefore I Am.
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Old Spice’s ‘Sweat Mop Boys’ Are Here to Deodorize College Basketball

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Branded integrations at sporting events are usually forgettable affairs, with the sponsors seeming interchangeable and often unrelated to whatever they're slapping their name on. But it would be hard not to notice or remember Old Spice's "Sweat Mop Boys," who clean college basketball courts midgame using mops designed to look like sticks of Old Spice...

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rgsunico
5 hours ago
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Quezon City
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These Cheeky Ads From Haiti Hope to Use Trump’s Words Against Him

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President Trump's comments referring to certain nations, including Haiti, as "shitholes" provoked widespread anger and outrage. But one agency creative in the Caribbean nation is working on a more lighthearted response--raising money to run out-of-home and print ads in Washington, D.C., that aim to use Trump's words against him to boost the image of Haiti....

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rgsunico
8 hours ago
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Captain America Is the Most Overrated Avenger by Fans

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A fascinating analysis exposes the discord between how Marvel rates its superheroes and villains compared to fan opinions.

If you’re here because you’re angry at me saying Cap’s abilities are overrated, it’s not me, it’s math (I have an entire shelf dedicated to Captain America toys, so I can personally vouch for his high favor among the people). We got an exclusive look at the awesome charts that go with said controversial math. Prior to espying these graphics, I never thought I’d type the words “awesome charts” but there’s a first time for everything. Look at their tiny perfect faces!

The team over at Yellow Octopus put together a deep dive that compares Marvel’s character rating database with those same ratings as chosen by fans. I’ll let them explain how they generated said awesome charts:

Marvel retains an exhaustive and official database of its characters, documenting their backstories, battles, and alliances over time. As a part of this trove of character information, Marvel maintains a rating scale of 1 to 7, assessing the degree to which each hero or villain possesses a number of valuable traits: intelligence, strength, speed, durability, energy projection, and fighting skills.

There’s a catch, however: Fans can rate each character on these criteria as well, and their opinions can often differ wildly from the official ratings. In this project, we’ll explore just how much fans confirm or reject what Marvel says about its own characters and investigate where the greatest differences lie. Ready to see where Marvel fans are calling the official ratings flawed? Let’s do this.

As your run-of-the-mill Marvel obsessive, I find these over/underrated charts intriguing indeed. While it’s not surprising that fans would lavish high points on many members of the original Avengers cinematic team, it seems like a lot of their other choices are ruled by emotion and personal opinion rather than a level-headed ranking based on the character’s displayed traits.

Just look at how fans have propelled Thor: Ragnarok hilarious standout Kronan Korg into the stratosphere, while Vision—a vastly powerful being capable of, well, almost anything—received a far lower rating on his abilities, likely reflective of the fact that we haven’t seen him in the MCU outside of Age of Ultron and Civil War and he wasn’t all too funny or endearing therein.

As Yellow Octopus puts it:

[…] fans have significantly different standards than do Marvel’s makers for their heroes – they’re far more glowing, in fact. In all but a few cases, fan scores for these characters were far higher than Marvel’s. This was particularly true for Korg, whose stock among fans was likely sent soaring by his scene-stealing appearances in “Thor: Ragnarok.” “Guardians of the Galaxy” pillars Yondu Udonta, Mantis, and Rocket Raccoon also ranked among the most overhyped heroes, although they weren’t the only superhero crew with inflated states. Fans were also far more generous than Marvel with several of the Avengers, especially Captain America and Black Widow.

If this is reflective of fans’ personal favorites and sentiments concerning our heroes, what about the villains? Fans also attributed higher ranked skillsets than Marvel’s official estimation to some surprising baddies.

Some villainously inclined characters avoided fan score inflation, however. These included Dormammu and Thanos, who received relatively modest fan appraisals despite their powerful appearances in the highly regarded “Doctor Strange” and “Guardians of the Galaxy” films. Thanos will likely have an opportunity to bump his fan scores higher: According to the makers of “Avengers: Infinity War,” the villain is set to figure prominently in the next installment.

Should Marvel worry that the fans who love Marvel enough to rate characters don’t appear too impressed with Thanos’ abilities? Maybe they should bring Surtur back for Infinity War. (At this point I expect pretty much everyone and their roommate’s dog to turn up in Infinity War, so hey, you never know.)

If you’re curious about the areas where fans tended to give characters a bump vs. Marvel’s estimation, Yellow Octopus has that all charted out.

It looks like fans were ready to overestimate the allotted intelligence of their faves, which is an interesting trait to get a boost considering that so many MCU movies hinge on heroes’ strength and dexterity in general, plus their badassery in the final fight. On the flipside, when it comes to villains, Yellow Octopus found that fans tended to give them more credit in certain areas than Marvel accorded them:

Fans took issue with slightly different attribute ratings for villains, finding their speed far more impressive than Marvel’s own assessment. Certainly, plenty of evil characters possess remarkable agility, although they do have an inexplicable habit of slowing down to explain their devilish intentions instead of just executing their plots. Fighting skills and intelligence tied for the next most overrated villainous traits – after all, Marvel might say, there’s a reason they don’t often emerge from final battles victorious.

Click through to the full Yellow Octopus “study” to check out their methodology and gaze upon yet still more awesome charts. Ultimately, they conclude that “Marvel’s universe has inspired fandoms so intense that the public’s regard for these characters’ powers often exceeds the company’s own,” an idea that is immediately provable if you clicked on this article in indignation, ready to get into fisticuffs in Captain America’s honor.

“Perhaps there’s something glorious about fans refuting the official perception of these heroes and villains – in the collective imagination, awe for their abilities knows no bounds,” they write, and I couldn’t agree more. This comparison of official vs. fan estimations seems almost like a perfect visual representation of fandom, laid out in a chart—it’s a methodical example of the phenomenon of fans seizing onto characters and making them their own, canon realities be damned.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I need to go write a fanfiction where Korg takes on Surtur single-handedly since fan sentiment seems to suggest this is how Ragnarok ideally should have ended.

(via Yellow Octopus, images: Marvel, Yellow Octopus)

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The Mary Sue has a strict comment policy that forbids, but is not limited to, personal insults toward anyone, hate speech, and trolling.—

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rgsunico
8 hours ago
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The True Story Behind Han's Dice, and More Last Jedi Secrets From the Lucasfilm Story Group

io9
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Want to watch the Lucasfilm Story Group dish on Star Wars: The Last Jedi for 30 minutes? Of course you do.

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rgsunico
7 days ago
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Imaginary Friend

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Imaginary Friend

More imagination.

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rgsunico
7 days ago
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Quezon City
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Ask The Wendigo: My Advice To A Young Writer

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An email rolled into my inbox right at the end of November, and the email said this:

Hey man, I’m a big fan of yours and have been following your stuff since I was a kid. I’m 24 now, have just finished my Master’s in Creative Writing, and am seeking an agent for my fantasy novel which I’ve just finished.

I’m a couple of rejection letters deep at this point. Disheartening, as I’m sure you can remember, but I’m far, far from giving up yet. I write every day and take the craft of writing more seriously than, well, almost everything.

I just wanted to reach out to you and maybe get some advice on what I should be doing at this point in my career. Making it as a full-time writer is on my mind every day; my eyes are firmly set on this goal and they haven’t drifted – though at times it seems like an impossible thing to accomplish. After years of practising (and sucking), I am now confident in my skills and my ideas. The experience of writing a novel has honestly shocked me – it’s been exciting, tedious, frustrating, and immensely fulfiling all at once.

And I thought, instead of responding to this person individually, I would respond to him publicly (I asked him if that was okay, to be clear).

My easy, fast answer to this is, “YES, GOOD JOB,” because on a cursory read, hey, everything looks good. He writes a lot. He’s finished a book. He’s mindful of the work and the career. He’s right on about writing a book — exciting, yep. Tedious, sometimes. Frustrating, ha ha, oh shit, yeah. Immensely fulfilling? I certainly find it so, sure.

But I have deeper thoughts, too, if he — and you — care to listen.

Here goes.

a) “…have been following your stuff since I was a kid.”

OKAY SLOW YOUR ROLL, YOUNG MC — you’re only 24 and have been reading me since you were a kid? I’ve only been writing novels for 5-6 years now, jeez. Though I did work in gaming for years before that… oh god I’m getting older, aren’t I? Oh shit. Ohhhh shit. *cups hands over mouth* *eyes wide as pancakes* *quiet panic ensues*

b) “I’m 24 now.”

Actually, let’s hover over that number — 24. You’ve just finished a novel. Good! GOOD. That’s commendable work. You may very well be a talented, eager, and capable lad. But I want you also to realize that your brownies might still need to stay in the oven a while. I don’t know this. I haven’t read your book. But I’d argue most writers don’t really come into their own until their 30s — that’s not to say there are not a number of wunderkind who karate kick open the doors of publishing with their spry, energetic 24-year-old bodies, but at 24, you’re probably very limited, yet, in what you know, in what you’ve done. At 24, your brain literally stopped growing only a couple-few years before, and your heart is still a kettle of excitable fish. You don’t yet know what you know. But you expect to know everything.

You believe, at that age, you should have the world saddled up and already frothy with both vigor and distance. You expect to be miles down the road.

And yet, you’re not.

Here, then, is what I consider to be one of the more crucial tests of being a writer — it is the ability to dig in, demonstrate patience, and keep doing the thing specifically because you realize you’re not ready to do the thing.

What I mean is this: a lot of writers, at this stage, do as you have done. But then this happens: I HAVE FINISHED THE BOOK. I HAVE RECEIVED THE REJECTIONS. I HAVE EXPERIENCED THE DISHEARTENMENT AND ENNUI. THE WORLD DOES NOT UNDERSTAND MY VERBAL AND NARRATIVE PUISSANCE, AND SO I SHALL REJECT IT BEFORE IT CAN REJECT ME FURTHER.

They fuck off.

They fuck right off, and choose not to admit that they’re unready, but rather, they project it onto the rest of the world. Publishing isn’t ready. The audience isn’t ready.

NOBODY UNDERSTANDS MY GENIUS, MAN.

Now, Guy Who Wrote Me That E-Mail, I’m not saying that’s you! But it is a trap some young writers fall into. I certainly almost fell into it myself. Even older, more experienced writers can experience it from time to time.

The greatest gift you can give yourself is patience — and, should patience fail, give yourself the gift of its darker, crankier cousin:

Bullheaded, spiteful stubbornness.

When one book fails, you write the next book.

As your failures pile up, you use that hill to climb to the next level.

c) “A couple of rejection letters”

Ha ha ha, ohhh, hah. Hah. Hee. Yeah. Yeaaaahhh. You’re going to get a lot more of those. You need to get a lot more of those. Rejections are normal. I still get rejections. Since publishing books I’ve written a couple books that just weren’t ready to go out into the world. I have so many rejection letters from my 20s into my 30s I could literally wallpaper my writing shed, inside and out. I could use them to make a siege engine. I could make ten thousand origami swans. I could burn them for warmth and it would provide me with seven years of reliable heat.

Rejections, however terrible, are your friend.

Rejections are scars; proof you’ve been fighting in the arena.

Let them frustrate you. Then do better the next time.

d) “Making it as a full-time writer”

This isn’t the worst goal, but it’s a distant one. Most authors have day jobs. I don’t, because I spent years in the freelance trenches, and once I ejected from that, I got really, really lucky. One day I may need to go back — though, let’s be honest, at this point I have winnowed my skill-sets down to “mashing action figures together to make them fight-and-or-fuck and then I write all fancy about it,” so I’m not sure what kind of job I could even get.

Regardless, let the goal be writing a good book and getting it out there.

Then do it again, and again.

Only worry about the “full-time author” thing when you have no other choice — when you are forced into a position where you can either keep the day job or keep writing books. When that happens, you disengage from the day-job, and you leap into the warm, dark void.

e) “I am now confident in my skills and ideas.”

Don’t be.

Oh, you should be able to write with confidence.

But you also shouldn’t be married to that confidence.

So, this is a weird one, because there’s a line here, and it’s a thin line, but you should try to tap-dance merrily upon it — you don’t want to be overconfident, and you don’t want to be flailing around a pool of under-confidence, either. Overconfidence means you make mistakes. It means you don’t grow because you believe you’re already all growned up. It means you view failure as someone else’s fault rather than your own. Under-confidence means you don’t think you can do it, so maybe, potentially, you just don’t do it.

Gotta walk that line, thin as it may be. Be sure in yourself while at the same time admitting you’ve still so much to learn. Writers possess a peculiar kind of ego, I find — we seem sometimes to have a big presence, a bloated ego, but soon you realize it’s more like a balloon than a wrecking ball. It’s puffy and large and ultimately empty inside. Better instead to have the ego of a small stone. A small stone is small, yes, and small in comparison to the many other stones around it. But it can also be potent in the right hands — it can break windows, it can be slung into the skull of a giant, it can, uhh, what else could you do with a small stone? Choke a bear? Let’s go with that: choke a bear.

The good news is, Dear E-Mailer, if you find the writing of a novel exciting, frustrating, tedious and fulfilling in equal measure, then I suspect you’ve at the very least got the proper mind-set to really do this thing. Just know that doing this thing is not a one-and-done measure.

It’s not about getting a degree and writing a book and then just cashing those sweet checks. It might mean getting a day-job. It might mean writing two, five, seven more novels before you really hit on your voice, your skills, or even figuring out what the fuck you actually want to write. It might mean growing up more than you already are. It might mean endless more rejections, failure after failure, where after each you have to salvage some lesson, some truth, some kind of windy wisdom that will fill your sails and move your boat further upon this seemingly silent and often still sea. It means doing the thing even when doing the thing is hard. Harder this time than the last. Maybe even harder the next time you try.

But try, you must.

Onward you go.

* * *

DAMN FINE STORY: Mastering the Tools of a Powerful Narrative

What do Luke Skywalker, John McClane, and a lonely dog on Ho’okipa Beach have in common? Simply put, we care about them.

Great storytelling is making readers care about your characters, the choices they make, and what happens to them. It’s making your audience feel the tension and emotion of a situation right alongside your protagonist. And to tell a damn fine story, you need to understand why and how that caring happens.

Whether you’re writing a novel, screenplay, video game, or comic, this funny and informative guide is chock-full of examples about the art and craft of storytelling–and how to write a damn fine story of your own.

Out now!

Indiebound | Amazon | B&N

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rgsunico
8 days ago
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