Friday Flotsam: Everyman, Top Gun, Bofuri, and Sabaton

1. First off, my latest piece is up on The Everyman, where I talk about how the world doesn’t change (and slip in a little plug for Gentleman Instructed):

Again and again, it was the same pattern, and rarely did I find a point that had been genuinely left behind since the 18th century (e.g. pride in one’s family line or maintaining distinction of rank). Even then, in such cases it was simply a matter of fashions changing. No one boasts of their family history anymore because it is not the sort of thing people value; they boast and brag of other things. The matter changes, but the form remains exactly the same, down to the defenses (“For I find these men are the great champions of virtue that are not able to be vicious, and those declaim most against pleasure that are past enjoying it”).

As I say, going over all this served to reinforce an idea that I have long held; namely, that for all the rapid pace of advancing technology, all the social upheaval, all the talk of how different things are today from how they have ever been before, the truth of the matter is that, on a fundamental level, very little has changed. We’ve re-arranged the societal furniture, we fixate on different ideas, and we have different tools wherewith to do so, but at the end of the day this is all window dressing. The essentials remain exactly how they have always been.

That is to say, the world doesn’t change, only our experience of it does.

Read the rest here.

2. Been a rough week, psych-wise. The grinding wheel of cyclic failure digs a little harder each time. Looking at myself and wondering at my own poor habits and how little I apply my good insights. It all gets more painful every time around. Maybe that will finally goad me into turning around, like a stubborn elephant with an increasingly fed-up mahout.

3. Today at work, one of my co-workers had a guy whose app was running slowly, so she suggested he clear his browser cache (basically clears out all the temporary and unnecessary data from the browser, including current logins and so on). Well, that worked, except he then wrote to angrily complain that doing so had caused huge problems on the other 67 tabs he had open at the time!

Free tip; if anyone tells you to clear cache, make sure nothing important is running on the same browser.

Also, if you find a certain web application is running slow, the fact that you have 67 other tabs open might have something to do with it.

4. Earlier this week I revisited Top Gun for the first time in a long while (I’ve been meaning to see Maverick, but wanted to refresh on the original first). I’d say that it’s the kind of movie that doesn’t get made anymore, except that increasingly applies to good movies in general; the ultra-competitive, macho setting, the fact that almost the whole thing is about training rather than actually fighting, the light, but thoughtful character study of Maverick, and so on. Not to mention the incredible aerial footage of real jets in flight, albeit in a highly staged fashion (because when they tried to film realistic aerial combat, they found no one could see anything, since the planes are so far away from each other).

Something else that struck me was how good all the performers are. I’m not quite sure what it is, but the cast here all, or mostly, really made me feel like I was watching professionals, people who genuinely excelled at their chosen craft (rather like the pilots themselves). Especially whenever Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer go head-to-head; they may have been the heartthrob pretty-boys of their time, but damn could those guys act!

5. Speaking of Kilmer, something I liked is that Iceman, though a rival and kind of a jerk, isn’t an exaggerated bully or a swaggering asshole. As a matter of fact, he actually turns out to be completely right about Maverick most of the time. A lot of Maverick’s character development involves him taking Iceman’s advice to heart, and Iceman never steps out of line at any point: his dislike is completely reasonable.

These days Iceman would probably be a complete bully, they’d probably come to blows, and he’d be shown up as a fraud or something. This is much more interesting, not to say cooler. Guys, if you have a rival character, for goodness sakes, make him interesting.

6. Bofuri Season Two is out at last, and I’ve found the subtitled version of the show as a bonus! Two episodes in, and it’s pretty much exactly the same as the first season: a cute, sweethearted girl plays a VR game and becomes ever more insanely powerful within it, with the fun coming from watching her growing ever more god-like while making new friends from the people she crushes in PvP. This season looks like it’s going to work on fleshing out the supporting cast, which I think is a good move, though I wouldn’t mind spending the whole time just watching Maple do her thing.

Incidentally, like the first time around, it’s gorgeous. It’s kind of fitting that this came out the same time as Avatar 2, where the pretty visuals were about the only draw to see this film. Why slog through a 3-hour mess of a guilt lecture when I can sit at home and get stuff like this in 20-minute stretches of pure fun?

7. Finally: new Sabaton song!

Definitely look up Albert Severin Roche: good Lord! If they made a film about this guy, people would say it was too ridiculous to believe.

3 thoughts on “Friday Flotsam: Everyman, Top Gun, Bofuri, and Sabaton

    • Oh, there’s a lot of stuff in OG Top Gun I didn’t mention: Tom Skerritt (who I just discovered is *not* Tom Selleck) and Darkseid as the instructors, that great soundtrack, the fact that the romance with the not-Amish lady is the least interesting thing about it, etc. Yes, there’s gratuitous beach volleyball scene featuring hot, oily male bodies in slow motion, as well as copious shower scenes.

      Just saw the sequel, and I mostly loved it, but, yeah, that’s one part that was definitely weaker than the first film (though at least he gets a redemptive character arc).

      Liked by 1 person

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