is it weird that my two favorite movies are basically identical

A Kylo Ren Theory

One of the things that I find very interesting about the current Star Wars canon is that, unlike Anakin before him, we still have no idea why Kylo Ren fell.

I think it’s fair to say that it probably wasn’t about family, given how the movie proceeds.  (Even if he was far enough gone to lash out and kill like Vader was, I’d expect some kind of indignant “I DID THIS FOR YOU”, if family had been his reason.)

The only clues we have so far is him begging to be shown the power of the Dark Side again, and the vague promises from Snoke.

Brainwashing has been ruled out, by both creator comments and Bloodlines.  Kylo Ren was a grown adult before he fell, with no clear indication of a connection to Snoke at that point in his life.

So why did he fall?  More importantly, why not tell us?  If Kylo were meant to be redeemed for example, or even if not, it would humanize him to show us the reason why.  If it was for a sympathetic reason, it’d be seed for redemption or tragedy.  if it was for a monstrous reason, well, we’d appreciate that too.

But nothing, we don’t even get a hint beyond Snoke maybe talking to Kylo as a kid.

It’s a weird sort of silence.  Kind of like the weird silence regarding Luke’s whereabouts between ROTJ and TFA.

So, I kind of have a theory.  Now this theory relies on the assumption that Rey Skywalker is true.  So if you don’t buy that theory, you won’t buy this one.

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Anxiety and Identity: I Wish I'd Appreciated Those Handjobs More

I didn’t realize I liked men until I met my wife. There are very sad stories that start that way but this is not one of them. We are still married. Newlyweds, in fact. This is a happy story. She taught me more about my feelings for men than dating one ever could have. It was late one night early in our relationship. We were both a bit drunk, facetiming each other from our separate beds before we fell asleep. We were telling each other secrets, things we wouldn’t guess. She told me she owned two copies of the movie Taxi starring Jimmy Fallon and Queen Latifah. She told me she’d been on the debate team in high school. I told her I’d had a boyfriend in high school. I’m sure it couldn’t have been quite as sudden as I remember it being but she fell asleep almost immediately.

The next day she told me she’d dated women too. She asked if there’d been more than just the one and how I identified. I told her it was just the one and I identified as straight. She nodded and the conversation continued. It seemed amazing to me that anyone could accept a man who had dated other men as straight. I’d accepted it but I’d also shoved it deep down inside of myself, convinced I was some sort of weird anomaly. That’s dumb though. There is no reason to believe that your sexuality is something you must fully understand at all times. And so, in some strange way, her telling me that it was okay to be a straight man who had once dated another man is actually what made me realize that isn’t actually who I am. I am a man who would happily date men again, if they were men I felt like dating. I would also date women. I would also date anyone else. I am married now and have no intention of dating anyone of any gender, but the fact that I would is still very much a part of me and my identity. Checking one box on a form does not mean you need to check the same box the next time. This doesn’t mean your sexuality isn’t an important part of your identity, it is. Or at least it can be, if you want it to be. All it means is that your identity is your own. God, I wish someone told teenagers that. Gay teenagers, straight teenagers, asexual teenagers, bisexual teenagers, whatever.

My identity never felt like my own. It felt like some asshole had pinned it to a sign on my back and I was doomed to spend the rest of my life trying to figure it out. That the chorus of people asking “are you sure you’re not gay?” knew something I didn’t. It came at me relentlessly from all sides. From the bullies who had taken to yelling a particular ‘F’ slur at me in the halls, and from the friends who were really honestly trying their best to be good people when they repeatedly told me it was safe to come out to them. As an adult I’ve been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. I take medication every day, I see a counselor whenever I can. But at the time I was just a tightly wound ball of nerves, wondering why I’d never been given the instruction manual on how to be a real human being.

It was scary and indescribably lonely. Whenever my anxiety is at its worst, I develop this severe worry that everyone in the world is able to hear each other’s thoughts except me. That I am missing out on a very basic human function and that everyone but me knows it. As soon as I come down I realize it is a batshit insane worry but in the moment it feels real. It doesn’t happen often but it happens. The basic gist of it is the fear that there is something fundamental being held from me and that’s exactly how I was being made to feel about my own sexuality. I was petrified of getting it wrong, of missing the greater truth. But there is no greater truth. You can’t be wrong about what you enjoy. The things that feel right to you just are right to you. It took me too many years to figure that out. Too many years and one very uncomfortable relationship.

I was drunk at a party the night Alan asked if it would be okay to kiss me. He was short and slim. Not only could you see his ribs through his skin, you could almost make them out through his t-shirt. His cheeks were spotted with acne and he had gold braces that seemed to match the frosted tips of his hair. I shrugged my shoulders. I thought maybe this would be the kiss that would answer all of my questions. To finally tell me who I was. It did not.

I don’t know if you’ve ever had the experience of kissing a scrawny fifteen year-old boy with braces but it’s an awful lot like kissing a scrawny fifteen year-old girl with braces. They both have the same smooth hairless cheeks, marred only by hormone-induced acne breakouts. Both will be just as sloppy and awkward and just as regrettable in hindsight. Both will give you that same excited feeling in the pit of your stomach, the feeling that someone finds you attractive. Especially when you’re feeling lonely at Lisa H.’s party and you’ve just finished the four pack of green apple Smirnoff Ice her older boyfriend bought you. Do not let that be the thing that defines you. You should probably never let any kiss define you, but certainly not that one.

We didn’t talk about that kiss after that night. Not until the next party, with the next pack of Smirnoff Ice. Tara was there, an older girl I’d had a crush on all year. We spent the night talking about Bjork and our favorite movies. I thought things were going great until she quietly asked if I was gay. I told her no and optimistically hoped she had asked to save herself embarrassment before declaring her love.

“You don’t like guys at all?” She added, seemingly unable to take my word for it.

I shrugged.

I didn’t know because I’d just finished my four pack of green apple Smirnoff Ice and didn’t feel mentally prepared to tackle my very complicated feelings on my sexuality. I didn’t know because I’d just finished my four pack of green apple Smirnoff Ice and I’d been made to feel like that was something guys who like guys do. I didn’t know because this seemed to keep happening. She reassured me it was okay and I wandered off angrily. I collapsed underneath the stairs next to a pink-haired boy named Ben. He was from out of town, no one at the party really knew him. I thought he could be my impartial jury. After I finished spilling my guts out he asked if I’d enjoyed kissing Alan. I said it was nice. Sort of fun. Ben told me that settled it. The answer was clear.

“You’re gay.”

That didn’t feel right! I ran to the bathroom and locked myself in. I got down to my knees and threw up in the toilet before realizing that someone had tried—for some inexplicable reason that would probably make a good story of its own—to flush a phonebook down it. I sat on the edge of the tub, unsure of how I could possibly leave the room. I’d be entering the room as a gay man and I wasn’t prepared for that. I also wasn’t prepared to explain that I’d thrown up and wasn’t sure how to flush the toilet because of the phonebook that’d been shoved down there. But eventually I did it, I walked out nonchalantly and sat down on the couch. Alan asked if I wanted to kiss again. I said okay. He asked if I’d be his boyfriend. I said okay.

What followed was a very short relationship in which I avoided Alan as much as I possibly could. We held hands at lunch but I hardly said a word. He texted me all day and I’d respond once or twice, when I could get up the nerve. Instead of enjoying time with the boy I enjoyed kissing, I spent every waking moment agonizing over my sexuality. What if I was dating this boy and I wasn’t actually interested in boys, what sort of monster does something like that? He gave me a handjob in his basement and I stared at the ceiling wondering—as I came—whether I liked handjobs from guys. To that point Alan and myself had been the only people to give them to me, it seemed hard to tell. We broke up after a couple of months. He got in a fight with my best friend and I chose that friend over him. I was relieved. I would never have to think about any of those things again. And I didn’t. For a long time. At least I never admitted I did.

There was a guy in one of my classes who called me a f*ggot every time he saw me. And I walked past, awkward and ashamed. He seemed to get a little louder every time. He said it in the hall one time, as I sat with all of my friends.

“So what if he is?” They shouted after him. My stomach turned. Like yeah, so what if I was. But god, I didn’t want to have that conversation. And surprisingly I didn’t have to. My friends stopped asking me about my sexuality after I dated Alan. I assume because they felt they’d been proven right. But I took it as the opportunity to slink quietly back into the closet, intent on never discussing my sexuality again.

A while after I’d first told my wife (then girlfriend) about Alan she brought it up a second time. She didn’t want me to feel any pressure or anything but she was curious what about the relationship had made me so sure I was straight. I told her I didn’t have a good answer to that. I just didn’t feel like I had the necessary qualifications to be anything but straight. I’d dated a man and no one had given me my Queer membership card. It felt easier just not to think about it anymore.

That’s not how things work though. My relationship with Alan was not a lesson about my orientation, it was a lesson about my anxiety. About my self-doubt. I’d gotten so caught up in giving myself the correct label that it hadn’t quite occurred to me that those identifiers are only there to identify the way you feel.

There is no wrong answer when someone asks you if you like something. Your honest answer is the right one. I was paralyzed by a fear of failure but it turns out it’s really incredibly difficult to fail at having sex with whoever you want to have sex with.

anonymous asked:

so wat would your ideal JP movie be?

Oh man okay so 

  1. Right off the bat, I’d like the dinosaurs to be more accurate. I accept they can’t be perfect. But I don’t think feathers are too much to ask for, and accurate body reconstructions - no more pronated hands, tails higher off the ground (I’m looking at you, Stegosaurus), acknowledging that the raptors are Utahraptor or Deinonychus and not Velociraptor (and if they changed the head shape that would be neato.) I accept that it won’t ever be completely accurate - I myself don’t want them to get rid of the hyper-intelligence in the raptors (the raptor squad was my favorite part of the last one, I don’t want that given up). They can explain it as they wanted to make the animals realistic in the wake of the JW tragedy; I mean yeah they had a throwaway line about the dinos not being right but at least it was there and can be utilized. 
  2. Have at least one of the children be female. Furthermore, have that female child be the dinosaur-obsessed one. It would also be awesome if she were the older kid. Dinosaurs are painted as obsessions typical for young boys and young boys alone; as a woman who had to grow up being told basically the whole time that it was inappropriate for me to like dinosaurs (by society; my parents encouraged it, don’t get me wrong here), having this sort of representation would be wonderful. Have a smart, teenage girl, who wants to be a paleontologist or something, constantly explaining things to the other people, and being annoyed when people are surprised she knows the stuff. Seriously. I mean now that I’m an adult I have Sarah Harding to identify with in TLW, but kid and teenager me would have really appreciated the representation at the time. 
  3. Bring back Barry and Owen and Claire (yes, even Claire; I don’t think her portrayal was as sexist as is being argued; no, she shouldn’t have kept the heels on, but other than that I didn’t mind her character arc so much as I minded her wandering off in the sunset with Owen at the end. I didn’t mind the kiss, even; people do that in high-stress situations. I literally just frowned loudly at the dramatic exit at the end, that was unnecessary and cheesy). Have Barry have a bigger, more important part; it’s great he was a black guy who wasn’t killed off; let’s build on that. Have Claire have changed from JW - you can’t go through something like that and not be different - but still a businesswoman; still focused on her work, but a little more compassionate towards the dinosaurs, and definitely more hands on with them. She and Owen can be together or not, I don’t care much about that; but if there are going to be a LOT more JP movies (and I get the feeling there will be, given JW’s success,) they can hold off on them having kids or getting married for at least one movie, I feel. 
  4. Maybe an LGBTQIAP+ individual? Romance has been at least a little bit present in each JP movie - Ellie and Alan were implied to be together in the first one; Sarah and Ian were together in the second; and you get the feeling that the Kirbys might kiss and make up in the third; and then the fourth was the most blatant and obvious. What would be neato would be the romance plot of the new one - hopefully subtle, I mean you don’t go to JP for romance, but whatever - to be non-heteronormative. And oh yeah, don’t kill the LGBTQIAP character. 
  5. I’m done with the carnivore-as-villain plot. Gulper and the raptors were the heroes in the new one; let’s keep with that theme. Have an herbivore get territorial and go wild (that’s more REALISTIC anyway); breed a new type of herbivorous animal that has the defensiveness and violence of things like hippos; have people not expect this herbivore to gore them to death and then people need to have the raptor squad control the situation. Something different than the usual large carnivore battle that it’s been in the last two movies. Maybe even have Gulper or the raptors escape - make it look like the carnivores are the bad guys - they get into an herbivore pen, and then the more dangerous ones get terrified and go berserk - escape, charge into the park, destroy stuff, that sort of thing. The carnivores would have gotten at least one thing to eat by then and would be calm; use the carnivores to round up the escaped herbivores. 
  6. Bring back more people from the original trilogy besides Wu. I’d love to see Sarah Harding (re: point 2) again; hear comments from Ian and Alan and Ellie on the episode in JW; see Lex and Tim and Kelly all grown up (especially Kelly, I LOVE her) and come to help oversee the reconstruction of JW, that sort of thing. Also address the question of Isla Sorna. Is it still essentially a biological preserve? How is it being handled or treated? I want that openly and deeply discussed in the new movie. 
  7. More diverse dinosaurs as well. I’m sick of seeing the usual five: Tyrannosaurus Triceratops Apatosaurus Stegosaurus and raptors (I know, there were more, but we barely saw them, apart from the Ankylosaurs). I want to see a huge herd of the most bizarre hadrosaurus imaginable. I want to see some “prosauropods” grazing and someone to comment on how horrible they are. I want to see a whole slew of fluffy, almost indistinguishable Maniraptoriformes; and I want people to comment about how they all look almost identical. And yeah, more small dinosaurs - we get it, the big ones were huge and amazing, the point’s been made; most of them were a lot smaller than that (don’t even get me started on what including birds does to the size distribution) - stuff like Yi and Troodon. Have a slew of small Ornithischians - Kulindadromeus, Dryosaurus, stuff like that - they never get enough love. More new and weird kinds of ceratopsians other than Triceratops - have Diabloceratops, for example. 
  8. Erm, stop having so many POC be eaten. I mean the first guy eaten appeared to be Latino; then the first member of the ACU team to be killed appeared to be Asian; it was a miracle that Barry lived considering he was a black sidekick. I’m not saying not have them be eaten, I guess I’m just saying stop having almost all of them be, and having them be the first to go, etc. 
  9. If they’re still going to have pterosaurs, have them be more accurate in their body shape… and don’t call where they live an Aviary, they aren’t birds, you don’t call a pen holding bats an Aviary, do you? Also, more different kinds of pterosaurs - there are so many truly weird ones, like Azhdarchids. Also, make them less territorial, I think. You could also have small ones just kind of flying around the parks, like birds do at zoos - they really wouldn’t have been that dangerous. 
  10. I want real dinosaurs to stop being called boring or uninteresting. The past few years of paleontology have been amazing for dinosaur discoveries: Nanotyrannus, Kulindadromeus, Yi, Chilesaurus, the new Spinosaurus, Dreadnaughtus, Lythronax, Wendiceratops, etc. The line that “we’ve discovered more in the past 10 years with genetics than we had for 100 years of digging up bones” was just disrespectful; on top of the inaccurate dinosaurs, it was just plain misleading. 
  11. If you’re going to have marine reptiles - which, I’m not sure you should; I’m against captivity for cetaceans and marine reptiles were definitely as big and not suited to such small water area as cetaceans are - have more of them; showcase the diversity and weirdness of them all, have some different types of plesiosaurs and icthyosaurs and everything. Show an icthyosaur giving birth to live young, even; challenge the public’s perception of “reptiles,” that’s what Jurassic Park set out to do in the beginning, after all. And make sure they’re mostly small ones… again, it really wasn’t okay to have that huge Mosasaur all pent up like that. 
  12. A return, at least in part, to animatronics. I think most fans of the series agree with me on that one. Over-use of CGI takes away some of the gritty realism that was present in the first one. There’s a reason Walking with Dinosaurs and Jurassic Park have both stood the test of time as dinosaur films - they use a delicate balance of puppetry as well as CGI to make the animals look as real as possible. And have the CGI done by people who know how to do CGI well, and not have it just be spectacular, Hollywood eye candy. I want to feel like there are real dinosaurs on the screen in front of me; that’s why I love these movies, after all. 

Kick-Ass Chicks: Illustrator, @biancaxunise

“It is better to keep your head down and keep mastering your craft than to compare yourself to other’s success.”

Impactful words spoken by the strong and talented Chicago-based illustrator, Bianca Xunise. In a world fueled by “likes” and “followers,” it’s hard not to compare yourself to others. But when you’ve got a humble head on your shoulders, and a heart hungry for growth like Bianca, there’s no reason to dig yourself into a hole of self-doubt. Our admiration for the young aritst first sprung after becoming entirely consumed with her comics on Hello Giggles. Over the years, that admiration has greatly surpassed into obsession as we watched her grow, and her illustrations mature with relatable female-centered themes. Recently, we caught up with Bianca to chat more about her struggles of growing in an “instant gratification” industry, and honing her craft in the form of secret comics. 

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the time it takes to get from here to there
Rated PG, 1.9k

One-shot that follows Sing My Imperfect Offering (aka the recluse fic). Written as a prompt fill for somethingdarrenish, who wanted to see how Chris and Darren navigated intimacy. 

Read on AO3.

Chris and Darren have separate bedrooms. They don’t always use them, but they have them.

Chris tried. He tried, he really did, but some nights the presence of another person beside him was just too suffocating. A week bled into two weeks and he began to spend more time at his computer desk during the night than he did anywhere else.

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