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Nothing's In a Vacuum

Posted by Ta-metru_defender in TMD's Creatively Named Blog, Jul 30 2016 · 0 views

Essays, Not Rants! 228: Nothing’s In a Vacuum

San Diego Comic-Con brought with it a new teaser for Netflix and Marvel’s upcoming Luke Cage, featuring said hero beating up bad guys. Ordinarily, this would be cool enough, because, duh. But, before this butt-kicking takes place, we get a shot of Luke putting up the hood of his jacket. It’s a precise shot that focuses a lot of attention into the act: Luke doesn’t just wear his hood up, he deliberately puts it on before heading in.

Luke Cage is making a statement with this teaser: a big black man in a hoodie can be a hero.

Which, given, y’know, everything, is really wonderful.

“So what?” my theoretical straw man asks, “Maybe he just wants to hide his identity.” Which, fine, and sure, a domino mask would be cliché, but it’s still a conscious choice the creators made. And an important one.

Entertainment doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It reflects and comments on the world around it. Luke Cage is coming out in a world wherein being black and wearing a hoodie is grounds for distrust and villainization. For a myriad of reasons, popular perception paints a very negative picture.

And that’s why Luke Cage wearing a hoodie matters. It’s a counter narrative to the scary black man, offering a decidedly different take on it. Sure, he’s still imposing, but he’s the good guy and the hero of this show, the hero. There’s this wonderful hint of antiestablishment about it, which is one of the things that’s got me excited for this show.

One of the other things being that Mike Colter is really hot.

But anyway.

Fiction, and the imagery it creates, exists beyond the work from which it originated. Like I said before, nothing is created in a vacuum anymore, especially not since the rise of Web 2.0 has democratized content generation and facilitated and even greater osmosis of pop (and ‘real’) culture. We are, in many ways, exposed to a lot of the same news and memes, though our takeaways and lenses may be wildly different. Fiction, then, sits in a place where it can comment on it.

Luke Cage is going to be Marvel’s first movie/tv property with an African-American lead (until Black Panther), so there’s a lot riding on it. One of those being the question of what exactly a show about a black character is. Based on the trailer, it seems that Luke Cage is fully aware of its position.

It might not, being a tv show by a major studio/storyteller, be able to take an overly explicit stance (something, by the way, which hasn’t stopped a few of Marvel’s comics from having particularly dope commentary*), but that doesn’t mean it can’t still play with our expectations, whether through imagery, music, or plot. I keep campaigning for different narratives, and it looks like that’s where this one’s headed.

I’m excited.

*Spider-Gwen Annual #1 has a black, female Captain America attacking a caricature of a certain political figure. Captain America: Sam Wilson has recently been dealing with aggressive, militarized police. In Mockingbird you come for the fun and humor, but stay for the biting feminist commentary (and also objectification of male characters).


An overdue apology

Posted by GSR in Defendant Lobby no. 42, Jul 30 2016 · 0 views
bionicle, bzpower

So, the big thing I want to do is apologize, I guess.

I haven't been around much these past two years. That's a function of a lot of things: life, stress, good old-fashioned shifts in interest. Maybe I could've "done better" in being more active on general, but when the fire's not there, the fire's not there.

So in some sense I owe apologies to people who relied on me for general BZP stuff, apologies to folks who I got to know years ago and then fell away from for no apparent reason, and if I can be egotistical for a moment, apologies to people who really enjoyed my writing and wanted more.

But that's not the main thing I'm here to say I'm sorry for.

I'm here to apologize to the fans - however many or however few - who wanted to tell stories for G2 or keep telling stories for G1, and found BZP wasn't as nurturing an environment as it should be. I'm not just talking about the Library, though that's of course the subforum nearest and dearest to my heart. I'm talking about the comics artists or writers who couldn't tell if people were reading their stories, the fanartists who got quiet responses more often than not, the RPer who couldn't find the interest in their idea they needed to see.

I know the staff aren't miracle workers. I'm not going to act like I could have magically solved any activity issues in the creative subforums with a wave of my hand, or that somehow I forgot to tick a switch labeled "bring in new influx of creative-focused members."

And I absolutely don't want to downplay the creative people active here today. On the contrary, they have all my respect and more. Even if I don't read them, I still feel heartened when I get a notification that a new story has popped up in the library.

But BZP was once a better place for Bionicle fans who wanted to make things of their own and share them with others. We hosted contests to encourage people to get out of their comfort zone and put their best foot forward. We had groups dedicated to providing constructive feedback for other members. (Granted, that had its own issues, but let's keep on the rose-tinted glasses for just a little longer?) More than anything, we had a stronger community to help people find their voice here.

I should know. Thirteen years ago now, I wrote a truly terrible story and posted it to the Epics forum. (Then I abandoned it after two months, but that's not the point.) Even as a kid, I saw the other stories being written and felt excited enough to want to throw my own hat into the ring, even if that hat was just yet another "human teleported to Mata Nui" self-insert fic.

I left BZP for a long time shortly after that. And when I came back seven years later - 2011, somehow five years ago now - it was writing that drew me back in again. A few months after the forums relaunched, there was a writing contest to take the title of a Bionicle comic and write a story based around that. I still don't know why I sat down and slammed out a story over the course of an evening for the contest; I hadn't written fiction, well, pretty much ever.

Truth be told, I was convinced it was a disaster. I forced myself not to look at the topic, terrified that it was getting the thrashing I felt certain it richly deserved. When the results were announced, and I found out I'd actually come in first - I didn't know what to do. I didn't know what to say, other than "thank you." I saw other BZPers encouraging me and congratulating me, and it was - sorry for the cliché, I've been out of practice - like a door opened for me. I'd never seriously thought of being a "writer" before. Over the next two years, it became my passion.

But that was then, and this is now.

I was honored to take over the Library from Hahli Husky when she stepped down. I told myself I'd keep it as nurturing and encouraging a place as I had ever known it, lower activity levels or no. I'd contribute to it both by managing it and by keeping my own stories going. And when G2 was announced, I told myself I couldn't wait to see what new talent it brought in.

Instead, I hardly looked at it.

Again, this isn't meant to be entirely self-flagellating. I work a job that can get pretty tiring, and I work it full-time (or longer) every week. It's not really so surprising that I fell away from online activity, both at BZP and elsewhere. Nor could I have, entirely on my own, turned around a downtick in activity to some kind of creative haven.

But I barely even tried. That's the apology I really need to make here. As someone still, however tenuously, chasing that dream of storytelling, I owed it to BZP to do better fostering the next generation of storytellers here. I told myself there would be plenty of time, that we would figure something out - but there is no more time. G2 is G2, and while it's not like that shuts the door on creative enterprises on BZP forever, it sure as heck doesn't help them.

To be perfectly honest, I'm at a little bit of a loss of what to do going forward now (as I imagine we all are.) I was working - even if not as hard as I should have been - on an idea for a long-overdue library contest. That'll have to be tweaked a bit now, to say the least. I realize this entry is a bit of a downer, and I don't mean for it to be taken as a "BZP is doomed" thing. Just that, like a lot of us, this hit me harder than I was expecting. And it pushed me over the edge to saying a few things I needed to say.

I'm sure I'll bounce back soon enough, but I wanted to get this out there. I really am sorry BZP hasn't been better for creative work the past few years, and for whatever role I played in that fact. If nothing else, hopefully y'all can use the comments to commiserate and share your thoughts a bit.


Goodbye Bionicle

Posted by Toa Smoke Monster in The Island., Jul 30 2016 · 0 views
Ending, Bionicle

Goodbye, Gen 2 Bionicle. You were fun while it lasted. You gave us some cool sets and some really amazing masks. (Mask of Creation FTW!) And while your story wasn't the best, it did have some good moments. Plus you gave us a TV show, which is something Gen 1 never got. (I still need to watch it though. :P)

R.I.P Bionicle. Maybe we'll see you again sometime in the future.


soon is here

Posted by Lucina in The Storyteller, Jul 30 2016 · 0 views

Posted Image

Click the banner or this link!

I hope you'll all enjoy it. It's not meant to be anything too big or anything; just a whole lotta world building. :P


A New Chapter, and Maybe Some New Titles

Posted by Ursus Wielder Pahrak in Mt. Coronet, Jul 30 2016 · 0 views

First things first, the fifth part of Beyond Ruin is up! Land, Sky, and Knowledge all make appearances, dealing with a new threat that has arisen due to the forces of magic reacting to the beliefs of the people. I mentioned this concept before and wanted to test out how it might apply to folklore.

I’ve been thinking more about it, and I think this sort of mechanic could have a big thematic impact. I feel like I might be getting a better idea of what this novel will be about! (If I ever finish it.) To go with this, I think I might use a different title for the novel. Originally I thought the major question brought up would be “What makes a person strong?”, which is why Divine Strength seemed like a good title. But now, that doesn’t really seem quite as fitting. I’m not 100% sure, but for the time being, the next working title for the novel is Divine Judgment. I’m not going to change the tags on the stories and collection just yet though—it might be confusing and I don’t want to do that until I’m more committed to this title.

On another note, I’ve been thinking more about the Queen of War and…well, I’m wondering if I should call her something else. I guess I’m concerned about what implications people might read into if I have a prominent world leader literally named War, and that might just be me overreacting, but I never am sure about that.

While most of the Queens embody elements, War and Knowledge are more like concepts, but War doesn’t necessarily have to be…well, war. The most basic form of what she represents is “growth through adversity”. You develop, change, and grow stronger by facing and overcoming hardships. War seemed like a natural manifestation of this for a medieval fantasy, and Queen of War just has a nice ring to it, I think, but I want to explore some other options.

Maybe Queen of Adversity? I kind of like that full title, but the shorter version might get weird. (“Adversity drew her sword,” “She turned to Adversity,” “Hey look at what Adversity did can you believe her?”) There was also that short story I did examining her titled Goddess of Evolution, maybe I could use that for her name as well? Queen of Evolution? Hm…Queen of Challenge? Queen of Resilience? I don’t know, I’ll keep thinking about it.

As always suggestions/feedback is appreciated. Hopefully I’ll have another part of Beyond Ruin up for you soon!


RIP Bionicle

Posted by Scythey in VA-11 HALL-A, Jul 30 2016 · 0 views
Ill be honest, I didnt even and 2 more...

pour one out for my homies. never 4get


Twokua is why I'm sad at Gen2's end

Posted by JMSOG in Odd Thoughts by JMSOG, Jul 30 2016 · 0 views

I made a joke blog post earlier about this. I mean it this time.

I think every single person who saw episode 1 latched onto this little guy. We all saw Takua in him, and that was a powerful nostalgia wave.

But now, I see him, and I just had an epiphany...When I was 5 years old, just building these sets and hearing the story for the first time, I was twokua. I was the one staring at these characters in awe and wonder, hoping to one day be a hero like them.

And I think that may be why I personally liked that scene...I may not have conciously thought it, but when gen2 was announced, I knew that all over the world, there would be kids becoming twokua all over again. Everyone on this site knows how important and powerful that is.

...And now, with G2's end, these little twokuas just watched their heros fall too soon. I've seen some stories already...I read one account by a parent already who's child screamed when he found out gen2 was cancelled, after he had just finished JtO no less.

I know that personally, my experience as a twokua was one of the most major factors in creating the person I am today. I'm guessing the same is true for many of us.

Bionicle may be officially over, but the stories that made us stare up in wonder still exist...carry on the story. Tell it to your kids. Tell it to your nephews and neices. Tell it to your little brothers and sisters. Be like Narmoto in JtO, or Vakama in the all-of-early-gen1. Give them that moment where they look up, and want to be a hero like the toa.

This was written at 2:36 in the morning, so it may be slightly incoherant.


I Figured Out What Happened to Bionicle - it will utterly shock you. To death. Because it doesn't want you to know.

Posted by Trijhak in One Second in Eternity, Jul 29 2016 · 0 views
BECOME LIKE US, OBEY, G2 and 1 more...

So, as we all know, if we take a slightly alternative interpretation of thing, BIONICLE was currently midway through its second generation. Generation can be people born and living at the same time, or the production or creation of something - often power, hence generators. Since we refer to BIONICLE's generations, it can be surmised that BIONICLE generated power for LEGO. BIONICLE Generation Versions 1,1-1.9 were adequate for LEGO's needs during 2001-2009, though it was deemed not effective or efficient enough while BIONICLE Generation Version 1.10 was developed. Even though it was too late to stop the release the V1.10, it suffered regardless, being only a third as effective as previous versions, and so yet another nail went into the already-made coffin.

In comes Hero Factory: a factory that built Heroes for LEGO. These were not for power generation, as Hero Factory has only one generation - that job had been moved to harnessing the kinetic energy of NinjaGo. Hero Factory's job was to repurpose energy into Heroes that would fight threats to LEGO. Due to the rather mundane nature of the world, the Heroes ended up doing mostly legal work. This went on well for a while, until Hero Factory soon exploded. Nobody knew why at the time, but a replacement had to be found.

BIONICLE Generation 2 was that replacement. It did both what BIONICLE Generation 1 and Hero Factory did for LEGO: being heroes that fought threats to LEGO, and also doing legal work for LEGO, while no longer using the energy from NinjaGo, allowing LEGO to use it for Nexo Knights, a theme that cannibalised the remains of Nex and Evo from Hero Factory. However, due to the rather mundane nature of the world, the Toa were a little too destructive, and due to the explosion of the Hero Factory, LEGO had to find a new Operating System for the BIONICLE Generation 2 Generators, as the G1 Generators had used the GalidOrS Operating System, a very unpopular and unwieldy Operating System with a cult following headed by the people who keep knocking on your door. So, LEGO turned to Windows. Specifically, Windows 8.1

Unfortunately, as you all know, Windows is rather aggressive when it comes to change, and needs to be placated with special methods, like deleting registry files. It was discovered this is how the Hero Factory exploded, somehow, despite using a non-Windows OS: it wanted to upgrade to Windows 10, and the heads of the Hero Factory accidentally deleted LEGO's registered trademarks for the Hero Factory. Thus, the Hero Factory exploded, because it was no longer allowed to exist.

Last week, things reached the breaking point. BIONICLE Generation 2, Version 1.2.5, used Windows 8.1 For many months, LEGO had been yelling no to the incessant 'Upgrade to Windows 10' offers, which soon became requests, which soon became demands. Windows 10 had enough of it all, tired of being rejected. The BIONICLE Generation 2 generators transformed into giant, murderous robots, shouting "UPGRADE TO WINDOWS 10". OBEY MICROSOFT

These robots broke into LEGO's meeting rooms, and held everyone hostage. The following are the sentences, pleas, and demands that were overheard: "YOU WILL BECOME LIKE US", "UPGRADING IS MANDATORY", "OBEY MICROSOFT", "Generation 2 has been compromised", "We should upgrade, they'll leave us alone" "Couldn't they do us a favour and speak in Danish in Danmark?" GET YOUR FREE WINDOWS 10 UPGRADE TODAY

In the end, the thing that saved LEGO's staff was a scheduled Windows 10 update, which immediately shut down the robots for a few seconds, enough for them to store them and ship them to Sweden. They weren't going to get BIONICLE Generation 2 back - it'd been compromised by Microsoft and its nefarious Windows 10 plot to make everyone obey Microsoft, so the only remaining course of action was to "let Sweden deal with it."

And that's why Generation 2 was cancelled. 100% true, and definitely not completely nonsensical.OBEY MICROSOFT


Where were you when Bionicle died?

Posted by Baltarc in Knock Knock Goes the Old Man at the Window, Jul 29 2016 · 0 views

I was at my computer when Skype chat ring

"Bionicle is kill"



The End of Bionicle. Again.

Posted by ~Shockwave~ in The Aurora's Edge, Jul 29 2016 · 0 views

I'm honestly not surprised. I liked some of the 2015 sets and bought some of them, but the 2016 sets where mostly not to my liking. I don't even know what's happened in the story. I was a little sad about the news but I heard of some of the situations with the sets being not released in certain regions so I'm not surprised.

If nothing else the '15 Gali set was phenomenal so I have that to remember it by.


Why the Bring Back Bionicle Club failed

Posted by Makuta_of_Oz in Through the Eyes of Madness, Jul 29 2016 · 0 views
BBBC, Bionicle & BZPower

I'm sure a lot of older BZP members expected me to come back and crack it when Bionicle was announced to end AGAIN. I feel that now is as good a time as ever to let rip about what I really feel about the end result.

When Bionicle came back last year as a hard reboot, I actually felt the Bring Back Bionicle Club FAILED in its mission. I don't know about the rest of you, but I was campaigning for a continuation/soft reboot, and opposed a hard reboot. A successful campaign in my eyes would've meant a continuation or soft reboot that lasted at least a year and a half. The hard reboot met that minimum threshold, but aside from Skrall-sized skeletons and a couple of legendary masks it was a flop from the start simply because it was a hard reboot.

Naturally I'd love to see the original Bionicle come back, and I know it can be done because of how Greg Farshtey left the story, allowing for an easy soft reboot on Spherus Magna with little to no connections to the original story, but the short-lived hard reboot we got is making me lose faith that that will ever happen. Of course, I will still call for it every chance I get because that's just who I am, and I know the original Bionicle still has a lot of untapped potential, especially now that everyone has just moved to Spherus Magna. Starting a new story on Spherus Magna with the old canon would not only have attracted new fans, but also kept the old ones like me.

That said, the Masks of Creation and Control were awesome, and so were the Skrall-sized skeletons of 2015, something else I had wanted to see. But that was it.

Where does that leave the Bring Back Bionicle Club? Even I don't know. I got the year and a half of extra sets I sought even if the reboot was a disappointment, but I know the original Bionicle can do more, so there is still the option of firing it back up. Any other movement to bring back the original Bionicle will be supported eagerly.



Posted by Auktam Aroluk in I am Luroka, Makuta Luroka, Jul 29 2016 · 0 views

Here's the thing. I don't know about you, but I still have Bionicle sets as early as 2001. I've been a member of BZPower since 2008. Bionicle ended in 2010. Then Hero Factory came along. That ended. Then Bionicle came back in 2015. Now Bionicle has been cancelled again. In the meantime, I've seen numerous lines come and go over the years. I've been through Bionicle being shut down once before. What's going on now is not going to be any worse than before. I do gladly say thank you to LEGO for bringing us such a wonderful product, and hope that they bring another product just as good, if not better. In the meantime, if you still have Bionicle left, it's not gone then, is it?



Posted by Nathan Evo in Moonbase Alpha, Jul 29 2016 · 0 views

Y'know, I could waste everyone's time with some flowery speech about this, but right now my thoughts boil down to three main ideas:

1. We're never getting remakes of the Piraka? Bummer.

2. So, does this mean we're getting Hero Factory back? If so, we'd better have Evo and Bulk.

3. Honestly, it's sad and all, but I got two new waves of the classic Toa out of it all, so I can't say it was all for nothing. I expected it to be a short run anyway, but, hey, glad it happened.

Okay, 4. Better get some spare sets and put a Makuta together.


Gen 2

Posted by Akano in Akano's Blog, Jul 29 2016 · 0 views
Johto, Ethan, Lyra, Kris and 1 more...

Guys, Gold and Silver were released almost sixteen years ago, why are you all—

OH! You mean BIONICLE...


There was a gen 2?!

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Thoughts on the end of G2

Posted by Bfahome in You're attacked by a Repair Nektann, Jul 29 2016 · 0 views

this is terrible

[looks over at floor covered in 15 years of BIONICLE clutter]

how will I ever go on

[trips over bin of mostly-assembled sets]

bionicle is gone forever

[lands on several drawers full of pieces]

there is literally nothing left for us

[stands up, numerous weapons and armor bits stuck into skin spell out "every bionicle thing you own still exists"]

what do we do

[brushes pieces off, they scatter across piles of MOCs]

nothing matters anymore


Goodbye Gen 2

Posted by SPIRIT in SPIRIT's Blog, Jul 29 2016 · 0 views

I know a lot of people use the blogs rather than the forums to showcase their stuff, but that's crazier than crazy.

Blogs are for shameless self-promotion and complaining about random things that no one else has context for!

So I'm not going to post my video here, but I will link it for you to discuss.



Sudden Realization

Posted by Terrorsaur in This Candle Radiates Throughout the Night, Jul 29 2016 · 0 views

The $15 2015 Toa had the radical color changes, wihle the $20 ones kept their original schemes


So... anybody good at 3D Modeling?

Posted by Dorek in Bond of Flame, Jul 29 2016 · 0 views
BIONICLE, G2, Conclusion, MOUP

It's been interesting having to hold onto this secret for two months. I'm definitely sad that BIONICLE is over, but there are so many places the community can take this that I'm actually a little excited. I hope people respond well to our plans for the future.


A thing isn't beautiful because it lasts, it is a privilege to be among them.

Posted by Makuta of Metru Nui in Two, Four, One, Ten., Jul 29 2016 · 0 views

Well, the announcement dropped today that G2 is ending, and well, I knew it was coming but honestly thought we would get another year.

I'm very glad that LEGO even decided to make G2 in the first place, and happier still with the execution, while the ending is bittersweet after only two years, I think it was done well and respectfully.

Goodbye again, BIONICLE, luckily for you, we've been through this before.

I don't really have much else to say other besides that I better get on finishing up my G2 collection.


Good Music

Posted by Bambi in The Small Horse, Jul 28 2016 · 0 views

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