Some Changes to the Station

cropped-toon-andrew.jpgHey folks,

Premature or otherwise, I’ve decided it’s time to start taking my writing a little more seriously. I’ve been calling myself a writer for a long time, but now it’s high time I started putting my money where my mouth is. Or rather, see if other people are ready to put their money down for my writing.

Indeed, as has become common practice for those of us in the free-lance market, I’ve opened myself a Patreon account to start accepting sponsors. Initially, the rewards are pretty simple and light and won’t greatly tax my resources, but this is only initially. As a testing ground, I am going to see if I can start garnering $250 worth of patrons per month before I move on to the next step.

But Kipp, you might be stopping me, don’t there have to be some benefits to sending you my hard earned coinage? Yeah, that makes sense. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while now, there was a post in the past about how Whyte Gears Articles was a testing ground for an idea I’d been playing with. Time to put that idea into practice.

Whyte Gears Articles, as well as my regular blogging, will remain otherwise available for free users, but sponsors will be entitled to receiving a once-per-week exclusive story, completely new and unrelated to WGA, in their emails for their reading pleasure. These will be going out on Fridays as well, so for people who sign up, they get double the story goodness.

Curious what the story will be? Gotta check out my Patreon page to get some more details (I can’t do all the work for you, now can I?)

As well, to adjust for the slight change in work-load on my part, I’ve also altered the blog post upload schedule for the Station. Instead of Monday and Wednesday mornings, blogs will be posted on Tuesday and Thursday mornings instead. Don’t worry, this post doesn’t count as a blog post for Tuesday, you’ll be getting the regular goodness you come for tomorrow (hint: the topic I have in mind is related to the recent big anime Darling in the FranXX and some social commentaries/inquiries about our own public views withstanding).

Thanks for those of you who still tune in, even after my long hiatus: mental health issues can be a real inconvenience, to say the least.

Let’s see what comes of this new journey, shall we?


So Why, Exactly, Did it Work?

20180110_174945It’s unusual for me to go out of my way to see a new movie in theaters. Even more-so after I’ve gotten home once already and I’ve decided that I have no interest in leaving my household ever again #introvertlife

However, my friend and I had finished getting caught up on some of the new anime that had grabbed my interest this season (disclaimer: one really good one, one mediocre one and one mostly satisfactory one. More on those another time), and we had decided to sit down for a nice quiet evening of Minecraft. That motivation lasted for all of 5 minutes before the two of us got incredibly bored. Then, a thought struck me.

The new Jumanji movie had come out a couple weeks back and I had heard from two other friends that the movie was exceedingly good. With little else to do, we packed up and shipped out to the big city to go see the movie.

If this were to be a review piece, I’d now tease you, reader, relentlessly for about half a dozen paragraphs about whether or not I liked the movie while picking it apart on a cinematographic level and quoting some needlessly inane metaphors to make my opinion sound more trustworthy. However, this is not a review, and I’ll save my inane metaphors for my typical nerd-tastic anime reviews another time (I did say more on the three anime later, didn’t I?). Instead, all you really need to know is that I fucking loved the new Jumanji movie.

JUMANJI_LIGHT_PANEL_2_1_1Going into the movie, I was already rather confident I’d enjoy it thoroughly. My friend, however, was much more skeptical. Most of his skepticism was born out of cautious interest in anything resembling a two-decade later reboot (actually, 22 years later, but that’s neither here nor there) of a franchise that was solid in its inception with a good ending (well, good in an enjoyment sense anyway) and nothing much left to say. We’d both seen the trailers for the movie and knew about the same amount going into it.

Moreover, much of my friend’s worries stemmed from the casting choice of having Jack Black playing a 16~ year old girl trapped in an “overweight, middle-aged man’s” body. I can most certainly see where his worries would come from in that sense: we’ve all seen that trope used before and become an exercise in patience rather than good joke material. To cut to the chase on that matter, that role was played surprisingly well: Black played the girly-ness often enough to just remind the audience in who he was on the inside, but not to the extent that it was painfully in-your-face the whole time.

By end of the movie, both my friend and I agreed that the movie was amazing, the casting choices were solid, and that we’d both be willing to see it again in theatres. This, of course, brings us to the main question of this article: why, exactly, did it work?


Funny thing is: only about half the audience will actively remember a time when 4 controllers had to be plugged into the same console…

For starters, we’ll poke at the whole premise of the movie. I was similarly worried about how the idea of Video Game Jumanji would have come into existence: neatly answered by the fact that the game is sentient-enough to understand its audience (or victim, depending on wordage) and change itself into an Atari game to better work for the times. This does raise several questions that are not answered by the movie itself: why does this game seek to bring people into itself, does it feed on human souls or something, why is the game (which clearly has no regard for whom might be harmed in its playing) so strict on following its own rule set and giving the players a reasonable chance to win?

I’m not answering those today, but you get the point.

Once inside the world of Jumanji, you see the story really come into its own. It’s not a remake/reboot of the previous movie. It did not awkwardly try to tie in references to the past movie, or call on mindless star-power to sell its tickets. It also had, much like in the first movie, a core message it was trying to relate. A moral to the story, as it were.

In the first movie, the main moral was that the cowardly Alan Parrish needed to learn how to face his fears and stop running from his enemies and/or consequences. This was reinforced by the various trials and tribulations that Alan, and his unlucky companions, were forced to overcome. Specifically, in the form of Van Pelt in the first movie’s iteration: ironically played by the same actor who played Alan’s father. In the beginnings, we see how Alan’s father is hard on the boy and how he is almost portrayed as harsh and unforgiving, controlling his life and direction. Take that to the extreme where Van Pelt, same actor, is actively trying to hunt Alan and is, in many senses, the final battle.


Classic Van Pelt: stereotypical British Colonialism at its finest! Except with a German name…

In the new movie, the main message is learning about yourself: who it is you want to be. It’s a message that most assuredly resonates with younger audiences today than the previous message would: high school is a sick sort of jungle on its own where the student body almost dons personalities and become artificial characters in the interest of fitting in. I could go into much more detail, but I feel many of you folks could start filling in the blanks yourself. In this iteration, Van Pelt does not serve as a literal antagonist much like he did in the previous movie.


Updated Van Pelt: what happens when Nathan Drake becomes a possessed evil bug-monster thing.

In actuality, his presence is significantly less important to the heroes to overcome than it is themselves that pose the greatest threat to their own survival. Overcoming their own personal biases, insecurities and shedding their artificial personas to find who, it is, they really want to be. The changes in these four Breakfast Club contenders from Jumanji entry and exeunt are small, but significant.

Besides the significance of the character dynamics and developments, the setting of immersion in a game world is much more relevant to facing challenges in the real world to my, and younger, generations. In many regards, the youth of today do most of their self-exploration and development in a digital format: translating that into video game terms might actually have been the only way the game of Jumanji itself would have had any sort of impact on the movies’ audience. Gaming is a very common pastime, and no longer just for the declared “nerd” culture.


While board games are making a come-back in Western Culture, they’re still somewhat an archaic form of entertainment.

By extension, this makes the intended audience much more literate in the short-hand gaming terms that are used in the movie; almost to an extent that the included dialogue used for explaining certain game functions (cutscenes, NPCs, etc.) to really be for the purpose of older audiences who were fans of the original movie and wanted to see where they’d go with the new one.

And, of course, you have all the staples on modern action-film cinematography: lots of explosions, an injection of womanly sexual push, big-name cast, more explosions, a few penis jokes… (I never claimed this was a very forward-thinking movie, just a good one) When brought together, you are presented with a very tight and well received movie but audiences at large. It really comes as no major surprise that audiences love this movie as much as they do; even if they might not understand all the details as to why it works.

Time for a Brief Intermission

Hey folks!

So, as I mentioned in one of my previous blogs, I’m back in an adult learning centre to get the courses I need to apply to university. And, as was also mentioned, I’m in a class currently that I performed quite disastrously in previously.

Over the past couple of days, we entered into a unit that I’m having a very difficult time with, and I need to spend more time than average reviewing and learning the materials. As such, I don’t have the necessary time to sit down and compose my blogs or stories, as they require a degree of mental focus that I need for school.

So, this site will be going on a brief intermission of sorts. Typical uploads will be paused for a period of time; at least until I understand the materials well enough and am confident that I’m mentally caught up with the rest of the class.

That being said, I’ll still be keeping some of my social media feeds updated with smaller or random thoughts, as well as updates as to when for sure I’ll return. Facebook will probably be the most likely site I’ll use, so if you haven’t already, be sure to follow me there.

To help keep you interested for future posts: I’m in the process of working alongside a cosplayer I rather admire for a longer article on stuff and things. It’s quite different than anything I’ve managed before, so it’ll be a fascinating experience for me.

It’s also worth mentioning that Whyte Gears Articles will resume at about the same time my regular blog posts do. These take me the longest of all my projects to assemble and write, so it was the first thing I had to triage in order to keep up with my academic demands.

Thanks for tuning in, and I’ll see you folks in the not too distant future!

The Universe is Loading, Please Wait

Hello again folks,

So, earlier this week I said I’d be doing a double upload of Whyte Gears Articles to make up for my lack of uploading a chapter last week. And while I certainly want to do that, I’m running into a slight issue with the progression of the story.

As of the last two chapter uploads, the story has greatly deviated from the initial direction I was planning on taking it. This means that I need to completely overhaul the storyboard to make it better reflect this new (and honestly, significantly better) direction. To do so, however, I’ll need a few days to put everything down on paper and refigure out the direction I’m taking with things.

As such, there will be no Whyte Gears Articles upload today; while this is probably a little frustrating for you, reader-person, I feel like this slight delay will be better than trying to Frankenstein something together to upload in a couple of hours that’ll very likely degrade the quality of the current material.

Thanks again for your patience with things; there’s a lot of logistical nonsense I’m getting figured out with this blogging thing. The regular blog posts will continue unhindered, as it turns out the ideas just keep coming to me with little challenge. Or something.

Oops… Mah Bad

Hello readers, this one is for you!

As you might have noticed, the last week or so has been a bit of a mess on this site. I missed not only a blog post last week, but also a Whyte Gears Article chapter as well and today’s blog too.

My deadlines got a little away from me, so I’m rethinking how I’ve been approaching stuff and things so I can get back on the ball with it. As such, since there will be no blog post today, I’ll be uploading the chapter of Whyte Gears that was supposed to go up last friday, and you’ll get another chapter on Friday.

We should be back to our regularly scheduled non-sense starting next week Monday, so I thank you for you patience in this matter. Maintaining a proper blog/website is still relatively new for me, so there are bound to be a couple of bumps along the road.

The new Whyte Gears will be going live at 9pm UTC assuming I don’t suddenly die or something random like that. Because, like in D&D, you could potentially roll a nat 1 at the worst possible moment.