Teaser Trailer for The Marvels Has Space Kittens!

A new Captain Marvel movie is now in sight. The Marvels entangles the lives and powers of Kamala Khan, Monica Rambeau, and Carol Danvers, and a teaser trailer shows what’s in store:

Marvel Studios’ The Marvels | Teaser Trailer by Marvel Entertainment on YouTube

Starts with an intriguing sight, doesn’t it—a huge space station on Earth’s orbit! Can’t say I recognize S.A.B.E.R., but it does sound like there should be a connection to S.W.O.R.D., right? I hope we get more info on both organizations. And what is this jump point? It looks to be worryingly close to Earth.

Speaking of worrying, I really, really hope they’ve toned down the character of Kamala Khan. We tried the series Ms. Marvel but had to stop after the first episode, having barely made it through that. (Basically hoping that it would change before long. It didn’t.)

Obviously Khan’s actor Iman Vellani is doing a great job, if she can raise such a visceral reaction, but I seriously don’t want to spend two+ hours with that git of a girl. (I guess I’m officially an old fart now.)

I am looking forward to more Brie Larson and Teyonah Parris; I like both very much in their roles. Thank goodness for a trio of protagonists. And space travel, plus possibly a litter of flerken kittens? How amazing would that be! Also, I don’t think Samuel L. Jackson could be bad if he tried.

At this writing, The Marvels is expected November 10, 2023.

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Are You Aware of National Velociraptor Awareness Day?

Were you aware that tomorrow—April 18—is National Velociraptor Awareness Day? I wasn’t, but now I am. So, consider today National “National Velociraptor Awareness Day” Awareness Day.

In case you were worried that we would not be taking this important holiday with the seriousness it deserves, let us put those fears to rest.

And that’s all we have to say on the subject.

Cartoon by Erik Jensen

Some things are just too silly not to share!

Vintage Car Looks Exactly Like a Character from an Animated Movie

Doesn’t this vintage car look exactly like an animated character from a Pixar movie?

Twitter QuirkyRides Belka

Developed by the Central Scientific Research Automobile and Automotive Engines Institute of the USSR / Russian Federation, known also with a much more user-friendly abbreviation NAMI, the car even has an appropriate name for a cartoon character: Belka means ‘squirrel’.

I’m used to thinking—wrongly or rightly—that Soviet design is, to put it politely, butt-ugly. (Think of brutalism, for example.) But this car is, indeed, very cute for midcentury modern design, even if it looks top-heavy (and perhaps therefore too wobbly for safety).

Image via QuirkyRides on Twitter.

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Visual Inspiration: Steller’s Sea Eagle

Here’s a bird of prey with a different look. The Steller’s sea eagle has white bands at the front of its wings, on its legs, and on its tail. It also has a short, thick yellow-orange beak.

Steller’s sea eagle at rest on ice, photograph by Michael Pinczlits via Wikimedia

The normal range of this eagle is along the coasts of northeast Asia from the arctic to Japan, but in recent years there have been sightings as far away as Texas and Nova Scotia.

Steller’s sea eagle hunting, photograph by Julie Edgley via Wikimedia

I’d love to see more birds like this in media, not just the usual suspects like the bald eagle and red-tailed hawk.

Visual Inspiration pulls the unusual from our world to inspire design, story-telling, and worldbuilding. If stuff like this already exists, what else could we imagine?

Creatures Trailer and Final Trailer for Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves

Paramount Pictures is trying to drum up interest for their D&D movie with a short creatures video and a final trailer.

Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves | Meet The Creatures (2023 Movie) by Paramount Pictures on YouTube

Clearly by creatures they really mean monsters. The big fish-like critter at the 4-5 second mark interests me most, because it’s the least media sexy and I can’t think of what it could be. Or why they’d include it! But I could’ve done without the brain monsters, though—urgh, blech.

The final trailer really sounds like a puff piece, though:

Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves | Final Trailer (2023 Movie) by Paramount Pictures on YouTube

I’m perfectly willing to be entertained by a D&D movie that turns out to be better than my expectations, but “Best movie of the year”? Please.

More exciting is the 3-minute “Let the Games Begin” clip:

Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves | Let the Games Begin Clip (2023 Movie) by Paramount Pictures on YouTube

That’s more like it, even if it doesn’t tell us why our intrepid adventurers end up on the arena, let alone competing with at least two other groups.

Looks like Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves opens today, if it already hasn’t in your neck of the woods. I really hope it’s at least a little good.

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James Webb Telescope’s Breathtaking Protostar Image

The James Webb Space Telescope has taken near-infrared images of the protostar within the dark cloud L1527, providing insight into the beginnings of a new star. Below is the most spectacular of the images that NASA released.

NASA James Webb Protostar L1527

Here’s NASA’s description of the image:

“The protostar itself is hidden from view within the ‘neck’ of this hourglass shape. An edge-on protoplanetary disk is seen as a dark line across the middle of the neck. Light from the protostar leaks above and below this disk, illuminating cavities within the surrounding gas and dust.
“The region’s most prevalent features, the clouds colored blue and orange in this representative-color infrared image, outline cavities created as material shoots away from the protostar and collides with surrounding matter. The colors themselves are due to layers of dust between Webb and the clouds. The blue areas are where the dust is thinnest. The thicker the layer of dust, the less blue light is able to escape, creating pockets of orange.”

Wow. It’s really stunning, isn’t it?

Considering how much incredible data the James Webb has already gotten in its first year (and I’m not even properly following its work), I cannot conceive how much more it’ll provide in its decade-long planned mission.

Image by NASA and the Space Telescope Science Institute

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Tolkien Reading for Tolkien Reading Day

Saturday of this week, March 25th, is Tolkien Reading Day, and what better way to celebrate than with Tolkien himself reading one of his favorite passages from The Lord of the Rings?

Before The Lord of the Rings had a publisher, Tolkien was visiting a friend who had a tape recorder and encouraged him to record himself reading a selection from his work. Tolkien chose to read one of the most powerful moments from the novel, the charge of the Rohirrim against the Orcs of Mordor at Minas Tirith. Here that recording plays over the same scene from Peter Jackson’s movie version of The Return of the King, for extra powerful effect.

Tolkien narrates the Ride of the Rohirrim by Sîdh Aníron on YouTube

This moment is one of my favorite pieces from both the novel and the film. What a rare treat to hear it in Tolkien’s own voice!

Story Time is all about story-telling and how stories work, and what makes us love our favorites.

Discovering Genderbent Ori Cosplays from The Hobbit

The other day I fell into the rabbit hole of cosplay from Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy. I was sure there’d be a lot, but I was surprised of how much there actually is. And so much of it exquisite! The cutest ones by far are female versions of Ori, the youngest Dwarf in Jackson’s movies. I found three. Lizard Leigh both made and modeled this detailed outfit:

Tumblr frauleinninja Ori Cosplay1
Tumblr frauleinninja Ori Cosplay2

AmeZaRain’s version of Ori was a group effort:

DeviantArt AmeZaRain Ori Cosplay

This unknown cosplayer…

Alexander Turchanin Unknown Ori Cosplay

… even looks a little like Adam Brown from the movies!

Pinterest Chen Ori Portrait

I do love how she included Ori’s notebook and quill; a very nice detail that’s also beautifully included in the photo.

Here’s Ori’s base costume on display for comparison:

Pinterest Sofia Ferreira Oris Costume on Display

They all did a great job invoking the essence of the character, didn’t they?

Images: Lizard Leigh’s Ori by Karina as Lazy Cat via Leigh’s Tumblr (frauleinninja). AmeZaRain’s Ori by Elemental Sight via AmeZaRain’s DeviantArt account. Unknown Ori cosplay by Alexander Turchanin on 500px. Ori portrait found via Chen on Pinterest. Ori’s costume on display found via Sofia Ferreira on Pinterest.

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Quotes: By Her Efforts She Learned Writing

The lives of women in history are so often invisible to us that we become accustomed to not seeing them. Sometimes even when we do see them, we don’t always realize what we’re seeing. The ancient Greek antiquarian Plutarch certainly didn’t know what he was seeing when he quoted this poem (probably composed to be inscribed on the base of a statue) by the Macedonian queen Eurydice.

Eurydice, daughter of Sirra, dedicated this to the local

Muses when she had seized her soul’s desire.

For as a mother of young men, by her efforts

she learned writing, the record of knowledge.

– Eurydice, quoted in Plutarch Moralia 1.20 (=14a-b)

(My own translation)

Plutarch praises Eurydice for learning to read in order to help educate her sons (all of whom went on to become kings of Macedon, one of them the father of Alexander the Great). But although Eurydice does mention her sons, there is much more to this poem.

Eurydice identifies herself in relation to her mother, Sirra, not her father or husband, as would have been typical in ancient Macedon. She directs her praise to the Muses, nine female divine figures, not to Hermes, Apollo, or another male deity equally connected with learning and writing. She does mention her sons, but as an attribute of herself: she does not say (as Plutarch assumed) that she learned in order to teach them, but rather positions her achievement of learning as noteworthy for someone who has undergone the rigors of childbirth and is old enough to have sons on the cusp of adulthood. Eurydice describes her learning in a context that is defined by women and women’s experiences, not men.

While Eurydice makes her accomplishment a feminine one, she uses typically masculine language to describe it. Her language in the original Greek is active, even aggressive. When she says that she accomplished her goal, she uses the same word that other writers used to describe an army capturing a city; when she speaks of her efforts to learn, her words echo those used to describe men training for battle. She positions her learning as the work of a woman surrounded by women, both human and divine, but equal to the work of the male warrior kings in her family.

Eurydice was proud of her learning, as she had every right to be. Literacy was a rare skill in antiquity, and to have learned by her own efforts as an adult shows intelligence and determination. She was doing far more than setting a good example for her sons.

Like Plutarch, traditional history is accustomed to seeing women only in the background of men’s lives, but the records of women’s lives are still there, some of them speaking directly to us if we are just prepared to listen. Many more women like Eurydice have left a “record of knowledge” for us to learn from.

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Dark Academia: A Moody Celebration of Higher Ed and Cultivation

Have you heard of the style dubbed dark academia? According to Wikipedia, dark academia is “a literary and social media aesthetic and subculture concerned with higher education, writing/poetry, the arts, and classic Greek and Gothic architecture.”

Sounds very geeky and nerdy, doesn’t it? (Apparently, again according to Wikipedia, a number of genre novels are, indeed, cited either as inspiration for or popular among the subculture.)

Well, it seems dark academia is now sufficiently popular that mainstream sites have started catering to its fans. While digging into it, I’ve seen clothing, books (of course), movies (ditto), and PC wallpapers for sale. There are also beginner’s guides, playlists for studying, recommended emoji combos, mood guides, critiques, and opinion pieces. (You know a thing has made it when opinion pieces appear!)

I found dark academia when a DIY / thrifting / home decorating blogger I follow and admire, Sarah Ramberg, published her own take on it for the October 2022 challenge in their Thrift the Look series. Here’s one view of her vignette:

Sadie Seasongoods Dark Academia Challenge

Ramberg used mostly thrift store items to outstanding effect. The crystal skull is in fact a thrifted vodka bottle, and it looks stunning. (It’s my favorite element in her recreation, in fact.)

While dark academia (like its kissing cousin steampunk) is not quite my cup of tea, I found it an interesting version of literary appreciation.

Image by Sarah Ramberg at Sadie Seasongoods

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