New Bumblebee Movie Trailer Reveals – He’s Still Just a Dumb Metal Pokemon

The new “Bumblebeemovie trailer is out! Bumblebee is FINALLY back to changing into a Volkswagen Bug (so his name makes sense), and as a robot he’s much less of a Bay-mess and more reminiscent of how he’s looked in every other place for the last 30+ years. Plus, this movie isn’t directed by Michael Bay at all, but by Travis Knight! So, fans of Transformers should be thrilled, right?

Nope.

And it’s not because this one finally has a girl lead – that’s fantastic, and something Bay could never do. It’s not because of how he looks, either. At least he doesn’t look like one of those magnetic metal shard sculpture toys that “cool” uncles have on their coffee tables. This new Bumblebee actually looks pretty cool.

It’s because, once again, a director has decided that Bumblebee is best without the ability to speak.

Now, that might not seem like such a big deal, right? I mean, what kid didn’t see Bumblebee and Sam in the first Bay movie and think, “Aw, I want a Bumblebee!

But, that’s the problem.

Bumblebee is a thinking, feeling being. Stripping the ability to talk reduces him to being some kind of pokemon, that you can imagine catching and making yours (which is also weird, but not what this article is about!). Ripping out his voice makes him unable to express how he actually feels, what he thinks about, who he really is. The old term for mute is “dumb,” which is what these movies make of Bumblebee. His personhood is stripped away, making him a loyal pet. A dog, who can also give you a ride to the mall. How fun!

For the last 30+ years, in 20+ different animated series, 10+ different comic book series, 3 hit console games (not counting the ones based in Bay’s universe), a pile of game apps, and much more, Bumblebee has been a talkative, youthful Autobot who you can identify with, and dream of being like, and friends with, rather than wanting to OWN.

That small difference is actually huge. There are HUGE ethical problems with wanting to OWN a fellow intelligent being, AND with taking on that sort of attitude simply because you can’t understand their speech.

If you haven’t heard Bumblebee’s voice, here’s a clip from the original Transformer’s movie (warning, Spike (cartoon version of Sam, though he’s now adult here, cusses in this, which made my mind explode as a kid!). Skip to 1:16 if YouTube doesn’t do it for you:

Beyond these ethical issues, this is simply weak and lazy storytelling. In the Bayverse, Bumblebee lost his ability to speak “through battle,” and even though he can clearly play clips from his radio that aren’t on the radio right at that moment, he is too stupid to dice the clips up into useful noises, and communicate. Then, at the end of the first movie, he suddenly CAN speak, and says he’d like to stay with Sam! Only to start the second movie not speaking again, but this time, because he’s refusing to.

We should expect better storylines, for entertainment we pay for.

The fact that this movie has a new director is encouraging – perhaps we can someday get free of Bay’s versions of transformers as pets and prop pieces, rather than fully developed characters and stars. We can see a story actually about Bumblebee, rather than about a girl who finds a pet and learns a valuable lesson in whatever.

Maybe after this we can get a Transformers movie with Transformers characters who we can get to actually know, who can learn lessons of their own, who we can identify with rather than wishing we could keep. Maybe we’ll get a Bumblebee who struggles as a fully developed and actualized person with flaws, opinions, feelings, dreams, and hopes. The Transformers are an ancient race of sentient machines who have been in civil war for over 4 million years.

Maybe give them a voice, to tell their story.

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Watch the Dead ’til Dawn Unboxing Video!

The proof copy of the game is here, watch me open it up for the first time!

I saw a few things to fix, but for the most part it looks PERFECT! The game feels and looks so professional, the manufacturer has done an OUTSTANDING job!

I hope you enjoy the video – if you can’t tell, I’m excited!!!

I’ve Sold a Romance Story!

An erotic romance story of mine, “The Brownie will Help,” has been scooped up by Lethe Press for their Stoner Boys anthology! I’m excited, not just because I love getting my stories out there, but this marks a new type of popular fiction for me to jump into.

So, what’s it like, writing erotica? Hard! GET IT?! But seriously, it was MUCH more work than writing about something easy, like space werewolves or alien ninja robots. Those are simple! Capturing the sexual subtleties that lie under the surface when NOT having sex… to me, THAT’S half the heat! If you haven’t tried writing something sexy, I can’t recommend it enough, even just for an exercise. If you give it a shot and want a proofreader, check in and let me know!

And, it doesn’t hurt that romance and erotica pay EXTREMELY well, especially compared to angsty poems about your dad for high-brow literature magazines.

Not that daddy issues don’t get plenty of attention in this story… I mean where would we all be, if we all had great parents?! But why ruin the story for you? Pick up a copy: https://www.lethepressbooks.com/store/p409/THCock.html

What’s Really Wrong with Black Panther

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Having seen Black Panther several times now,

I can finally put my finger on what really bugs me about that movie. Honestly. It’s infuriating, it’s disgusting, and it’s in Killmonger’s final line:

“Bury me in the ocean with my ancestors that jumped from the ships, because they knew death was better than bondage.”

See? There it is. No doubt you thought the same thing I did when it happened…

Who.

My ancestors WHO jumped from the ships.

Honestly. It’s like, read a book, Killmonger! Killmonger? More like Kill… M… Mmnnot good at grammar!

Other than THAT gross mistake, the movie is amazing and everyone should see and love it! It’s one of the best Marvel films to date, with perhaps the most sympathetic villain I’ve seen them come up with yet. And while the movie is getting loads of hype about how it tackle’s the race question, the movie ALSO presents a host of strong female leads as well who definitely don’t need no man!

Being Gay in Hanoi, Vietnam

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All packed, and waiting at CCCP Coffee for my ride to the airport, I’m reflecting on being gay in Hanoi, Vietnam…

While here, I was teaching how to write argumentative essays. Every day, when students had to come up with arguments, at least one argued in favor of LGBT rights. This was well before they knew anything about me.

One gay Vietnamese guy who I met broke down crying, scared that he’ll have to come out one day and what that’ll mean. “I think,” he said, “I wish I could choose women. But I think… It’s undeniable.”

A city ten times the size of Seattle has only ONE gay bar, that my first Uber driver refused to take me to.

My students yesterday, after an AWESOME day together, while saying goodbye, told me to come back and, “bring your boyfriend!”

My supervisor at the school just gave me a beautiful pop-up card. It’s hand made. They know all about my being gay, and we’ve talked about what it’s like here. This city, being the capitol, is old and conservative, but they say that Vietnam is the first country in Asia to make gay marriage NOT illegal. That may sound odd, but it’s a big deal.

While looking at the card, they said, “You see? It’s symbolizm. Two bears… Sitting together… Under a tree… So happy… You get it?”

I do get it. In all, it seems like Hanoi is about like most places in the US. Even better than many, actually. I’m spoiled in so many ways, living on the West coast, and so happy I got to experience this.

Playing Live Action Frogger in Hanoi, Vietnam

Spending two weeks teaching in Hanoi, one of the strangest things to me was the roads! They were packed with scooters and cars, all flowing without following lines, or patterns, sometimes even in opposite directions in the same lane!

Here’s what crossing the street was like. This is when the crosswalk light was green!

Pretty crazy, right? One of my students gave me a ride on his scooter – I was scared to have my phone out, but took this quick recording:

So that’s what it was like! The strangest thing of all? How quickly this didn’t seem all that dangerous… by the end of the two weeks, I was stomping across busy streets with no real concern at all!

Keeping Momentum on Kickstarter in your Final Days

My game funded about 1/3rd of the way through the month it ran. Once funded, it can be tricky to keep momentum going – I pushed my game’s stretch goals, and that helped, but my buddy Tommi gave me another idea – a themed series of advertisement images winding it all down. So, I grabbed a buddy (who has since become my boyfriend), and took a few pics! They were really well received, so I figured I’d show em all here on my blog!

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There’s no “right” way to run a Kickstarter, but there are lots of great ideas out there that are simple to copy and easy to steal. This is one of them! Steal away!!