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Immigration and Name Change

Posted by Jean Valjean , in Humor Jan 15 2019 · 47 views

:kaukau: If I were a rich man (da ba de ba de ba de ba de ba de ba de ba dum) I would be a sponsor for a few thousand people trying to immigrate to America, although because I'm someone eccentric, there would a a certain condition. Lately, I've been offering several friends to pay for all of the expenses should they legally change their last names to "Skywalker."

So anyway, in the age-old tradition of Americanizing the surnames of immigrants, if I could pay ten thousand people to change their last name to that, and then immigrate to the United States with my sponsorship, we'd then have a substantial population of people with the surname Skywalker. That needs to be a common Amerian surname. Plus, I think that that people will get naturalized more quickly it they clearly and visibly embrace STAR WARS.

Yeah, I know, other rich people think, "Cool! I can get a cheap source of labor!" And then there's me, thinking, "Hey! I can artificially increase the number of Skywalkers in America!"

Well, I don't have the money to actually do that for ten thousand people. In the meantime, there's a friend of mine who has a boring last name, and I'm offering to pay him to change it to "Dangerkill."

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Subscribe to PewDiePie!

Posted by Jean Valjean , in Events Jan 14 2019 · 31 views
Youtube
:kaukau: Panic time, guys! Who would you rather be the #1 Youtube channel, an individual who embodies the Youtube ideals of people with ADHD vlogging for fun, or an established corporation that is merely using Youtube as one of many prongs in its multi-media empire? Subscribe to Pewds!

(Also, how do I talk him into going to the Amazon and doing that Bullet And ritual? How do I contact him, period?)

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Aquaman: Quick Thoughts

Posted by Jean Valjean , in Movies, Reviews Jan 10 2019 · 33 views
Aquaman, DC, DC Comics, DCU
:kaukau: Well, I watched it a couple of days ago. So here we go:
  • This is one of the only movies I've ever immediately bought a ticket to rewatch it after leaving the theatre. It really excited me.
  • At various points, it reminded me in the best possible way of Avatar: The Last Airbender, Avatar: James Cameron Edition, the Sam Raimi Spider-Man, Mad Max: Fury Road, TRON: Legacy, Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park, Godzilla, Atlantis: The Lost Empire, Finding Nemo, Jules Vern, old pulp serials about pirates, the Disney Renaissance, WWE wrestling, and even Lord of the Rings. I can't believe that they actually fit all that in there.
  • This movie literally surprised me more than The Avengers. With that one, while putting together all its elements was difficult and unlikely for lack of precedent, it was still fairly easy to imagine how it should go down. Besides, the MCU had a good track record leading up to it. This? It included everything that I could ever want in an Aquaman movie, everything that I thought should be in an Aquaman movie, and yet never expected. I mean, you really did have to essentially combine everything that I mentioned in the above bullet point, and what were the chances of a studio seeing that? And furthermore, even if that was what they went for, how was I to expect that a director could do all that justice? There's a reason why genuinely iconic movies like those are rare.
  • If it could use one major improvement, I do think that there needed to be one slow scene that existed slowly for the feels, so that we could bond and identity with Arthur Curry.
  • Other than that, the movie had so much in it to content me that the only possible thing that I could think to add would be that I wish they brought in David Peterson to write a fictional language. Jason Momoa already has experience with those.
  • Amber Heard as Mera was great.
  • I thought that Nicole Kidman as Atlana would be distracting, but it wasn't. I was even sold on the Hallmark-style romance between her and Tom Curry. I think that they are the main reason why you root for Arthur. Given that, I understand why there's such a large chunk of the audience that are mothers, and why some of its highest ratings are with mothers.
  • I'm totally going to watch this again, and drag my father along. If I have the chance to watch this with my mother before it's out of theatres, I'll do that as well.

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Most "Debunkings" are Rebuttals

Posted by Jean Valjean , Jan 06 2019 · 73 views

:kaukau: I've been seeing this on the internet a lot. People will address the opinion that someone else has on something large and complicated, and they will make a video which they will title "XXXXX Debuked" for your suggested videos list.

Then I will see people who make videos that debunk the videos that debunked the original point. Presumably, somewhere out there is a video where someone debunks the video debunking the video debunking the original video.

"Debunking" sounds pretty definitive to me, like it should end the conversation. People really should be a bit more honest about their comprehensiveness and just say that their videos are a response providing, in their limited time, the opposite viewpoint to someone else.

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BZPower Rewind 2018

Posted by Jean Valjean , in Humor, BZPower Jan 03 2019 · 73 views
BZPower
:kaukau: No more BIONICLE. Hasn't had much BIONICLE in a while.

Wait, let's interrupt this rewind to talk about what's really important and pat the backs of BZPers who stood for something bigger then themselves. Like Audible! Speaking of which, they're the sponsor of today's blog post. You're busy, we're busy; everybody's busy! They told us all that we wouldn't read another book again after we finished high school, but now we can beat that statistic by listening to books on the go. I use Audible all the time when commuting to work and it works just fine for me. Change your life right now by subscribing to Audible. Enter the promo code VALJEAN to let them know I sent you and get 3 months of Audible for $6.95 a month.

Back to rewinding, though, we still didn't have any BIONICLE. Iaredos got a blog. Vohrak1Panrahk2 announced that he was moving back to the States, and Windseeker announced a move to Canada. There still wasn't much talk about BIONICLE other than a very astute observation by JMSOG that Bionicle turned 18 and that an era of BIONICLE nostalgia will officially begin, where we'll likely see it pop up in Stranger Things-esque shows.

And then Will Smith Kevin Bacon randomly fits into this all somehow.


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The Mule Review

Posted by Jean Valjean , in Movies, Reviews Jan 01 2019 · 32 views
Clint Eastwood, Bradley Cooper and 2 more...
The Mule Review :kaukau: Clint Eastwood. Living legend. One of my coworkers, an ex-military guy, was really looking forward to this movie above all others this time of year. So was I. The people who are interested in this movie know who they are, so I don't need to pitch it to them too much. For those who aren't paying much attention, I will try to sum it up as best as I can.

Mr. Eastwood produces, directs, and stars in The Mule, his latest drama. He plays 90-year-old Earl Stone, a gardener who loses his business because he hasn't kept up with the times. He's estranged from his family because he devoted almost all of his time to his business and business relations because he felt like he was better "out there, instead of the failure he was at home." Driven by his obsession to provide for others, he doesn't ask too many questions when a drug cartel takes note of his perfect record on the roads. When he does realize what he's been pulled into, it's too late. Several runs in, and he's become their most valuable mule, and also the most uncertain variable in their business. The cartel grows increasingly insecure in the trust they must place in him.

The tension of this story does not lie in whether or not he survives the drug cartel, but in his emotional journey as he debates whether or not he can look his family in the eye. From a distance, he provided for them, as well as friends, but never sticks around because he feels that he's burnt too many bridges. Gradually, he comes to accept his broken family dynamic. There's no pivotal action scene that changes his mind -- in fact I should emphasize that there is no action in this movie at all. Rather, I'd characterize the overall tenor of the film as slow, dying, and melancholy, with a style recognizable as Eastwood's.

Something tells me that this movie was a bit personal for him, since he cast his own daughter as Stone's daughter, whom he estranged by never showing up to any of her life events. Like any other human being, the themes of spending time with family must certainly weigh on the mind of a busy man like Eastwood. With that in mind, I'd encourage everyone to stop for a moment during this slower time of year to make sure that they spend more time with their loved ones.

Happy New Year.

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I subbed to PewDiePie

Posted by Jean Valjean , in Life Dec 31 2018 · 38 views
Youtube, PewDiePie
:kaukau: Apparently this is what I do with my life. I guess that's one way to celebrate the end of the year.

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Free Speech in Thailand

Posted by Jean Valjean , in Events, Wisdom Dec 20 2018 · 197 views

:kaukau: Recently, charges were laid against a popular Thai Youtuber because she criticized a dress worn by Ms. Thailand. The dress in question is designed by a fashion company run by a member of the royal family, Princess Sirivannavari Nariratanna. National law makes it illegal to criticize or speak ill of the royal family, although this only applies to the king, queen, and immediate successors to the throne. Sirivannavari Nariratanna is not an immediate heir, but there is still an argument to be made that she has been defamed. She has filed no lawsuit, but Thai law allows for people to sue for defamation on behalf of others.

As an American, I look at this and think that these are some odd laws. I enjoy living in a country where I can call out president D.J. and make fun of his hair, and I can call our oldest Supreme Court justice "Skeletor" if I'm feeling facetious or "The Notorious RBG" if I'm feeling reverent. Upcoming speaker of the house? She's Italian, I'll call her Nanny Pepperoni. I can refer to Alxandria Ocasio-Cortez as Alexandria Santa-Anna-Pinta-Nina-Maria-Quintinilla-Poco-Loco-en-el-Coco-Buffalo-Buffalo-Buffalo-Buffalo-Buffalo-Buffalo-Buffalo-Buffalo-Pinocchio-Picasso-Ocasion-Cortez. I can (and have) tell Steve King to his face that he's ugly.

So long as I stick in this country, I can call Princess Srivannavari Nariratanna simply "Siri."

Coincidentally, also the name of my girlfriend.

But if I were to move to Thailand, then I'd possibly be in trouble, if abbreviating her full noble name was considered a disrespectful slur.

It's interesting, because when I first saw the headline, I thought that someone was fined in the United States for criticizing a dress. Obviously, there is no legal basis for fining someone for disliking a dress, none whatsoever, so I thought that the story was ridiculous. However, when I found out that this was under Thai jurisdiction, I conceded that this person was subject to Thai law.

Granted, as a very Western individual I find this a bit strange. I would also make the case that this is against natural law, as Western philosophers have opined in past centuries. However, national law in Thailand is what it is, and I do believe that it should be supported and followed. I might vote for something else, but the actual people implementing the law need to simply follow the authority commissioning them.

Long story short, if this person wanted to criticize a dress made by fashion company run by a tertiary royal, she should have done so outside of her country's jurisdiction. Otherwise, she did technically break the law and does have to pay the legal penalty for that. Since I would argue that the national law in this case goes against natural law and humankind's inherent right to freedom of speech, though, I do think that an appropriate course for action in defying her country's laws lies in a form of civil protest, or in applying for asylum in another country that will recognize her rights. Should she opt for the latter, I suppose that she's free from Thai jurisdiction, although the country letting her in would explicitly have to take her on asylum claims so that it wouldn't have to honor any agreements to return criminal expats (if it had agreements with Thailand to begin with).

Anyway, I bring this up if only because it raises some interesting legal conversations. I do find courtroom topics and legal philosophy all very interesting. There's a certain intellectual feast to be had, and people like me who love the generating discussions with the Socratic method thrive off of this.

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Into the Spiderverse: Quick Thoughts

Posted by Jean Valjean , in Movies, Reviews Dec 15 2018 · 45 views
Spider-Man, Miles Morales and 3 more...
:kaukau: I will probably create a more formal review elsewhere. Until then, I just wanted to jot down my thoughts. I tried doing that last Thursday, but I literally did not have the time until now.
  • First thing's first: I think that they did a very good job of advancing something altogether new while honoring the past. I think that a lot of times when studios do a new continuity, they want to distance themselves from an old continuity as possible, but what I really liked about this is that there were a few universes that actually had a lot in common with the Sam Raimi Spider-Man. That's awesome!
  • They actually said "With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility" a couple of times, which was great, and I also appreciated the references to Uncle Ben, which the MCU avoided as being redundant, but I always thought was important enough that it warranted direct and recurring mention.
  • Miles is great. And I do think that what makes him work is this whole multiverse thing, and the idea that we're introduced to several version of Spider-Man. It's enough that we're ready to move on to an entirely new character who is inspired by him. Having multiple Peters as his mentor, I think, really helped pas the torch, and I also think that they did a very good job of making him relatable.
  • The death of Peter Parker on the one universe is a bit jarring. Peter dying in Infinity War didn't strike me much, but this was much more real. It played a pretty big role for Miles, and they treated it with an appropriate amount of gravity.
  • They did a very good job with the origin story. It did feel like a proper origin story done right. It had a really complete sense of beginning, character development, and resolution that rung emotionally true.
  • The movie knew just how self-aware it should be, and just how much humor to have, without detracting from is serious side.
  • This movie was BEAUTIFUL. I haven't seen something this beautiful since Blade Runner 2049 last year. I do hope that this gets nominated for an Animation Oscar. The last few years, the Academy has been disappointing me in this category and I hope that they and I agree for the first time in a while.
  • The Stan Lee cameo for this movie, considering his recent passing, was...perfect.

Verdict: It's really difficult to tell which superhero movie is the best of 2018 now. At one point it was Black Panther, then it was Infinity War, and now I almost want to say that it's Into the Spiderverse. I know, that sounds pretty extreme, but you have to see this for yourself. I would actually say that this one is closer to what I thought of as being a quintessential superhero movie when I was growing up.

In other words, go see it!

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The Best Ships are Friendships

Posted by Jean Valjean , in Music, Events Dec 05 2018 · 67 views
funeral, president and 3 more...


"I love you, too"


-H.W.








Me

Username: Jean Valjean
Real name: People literally don't have names in my family
Age: 24
Gender: Male
Heritage: Half Dutch, Quarter Hungarian, Eighth Swedish, Sixteenth German and Irish
Physical description: Looks like the eleventh Doctor
Favorite food: Chicken, turkey, and beef.
Least favorite food: Vegetables of any kind
Favorite band: Queen
Favorite singer: Billy Joel
Favorite song: American Pie
Favorite movie: Schindler's List
Favorite TV show: Avatar: The Last Airbender
Favorite play: Les Miserables
Favorite color: Silver
Second favorite color: Brown
Favorite board game: Risk
Favorite athlete: Michael Phelps
Lucky Number: 53
Past-times: Writing, reading, drawing
Political Caucus: Iowa Republicans
Religion: Christian
Language: Iowegian

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