Sunday, August 25, 2019

Top 5 favorite Aquaman moments



So the truth is I am writing this at 3:30am after another horrible night's sleep. I haven’t been sleeping well. I’ve been waking up with headaches or too hot or having to pee or some other issue lately. It’s probably all tied to anxiety but shit who ISN'T anxious these days? How do you fix a condition that isn’t just in your head? No idea. One of my continual frustrations is my lack of close friends. I have friends with whom I feel I COULD become very close but I don’t have any ride or die, this person is like a sibling to me, I tell them everything, they will randomly stop at my house when I text them I am sad kind of friends. I don’t have any friends I have finished a carton of ice cream with. I haven’t had that kind of closeness in a long long time. So it goes.

I feel like the potential is there but at 37 years old everybody has already decided who their best friends are and somehow I missed distribution day. That’s fine, I’ve made my peace with it. I am grateful I have such a loving and wonderful husband because he is really my best friend other than my parents and sibling I guess. Unlike my ex, I can be completely emotionally vulnerable with him without judgement and as a result our relationship is incredibly close and supportive. We just have this bad habit of not really socializing all that much so we end up getting high and watching TV together which I have to say isn’t the worst way to spend the evening without kids with the person you love most in the world. Last night I had the bright idea for us to play 5 Grand Prix of Mario Kart as well which was pretty brilliant of me because we are so evenly matched (he did end up winning 3-2, though). After that we watched Aquaman on HBOGo again which was also my idea because Aquaman is a perfect fucking stupid movie. It really is. It isn’t a great movie, it is a stupid fucking movie. But a perfect stupid movie and for that I truly love it.

Sooooo after much rambling preamble here are the top 5 moments from the 2018 film Aquaman

 1. The part where he is training with Vulpix (yeah I know that’s a Pokemon, whatever the Willem Defoe character is named) when he is a kid and he flops out of the water like a dolphin. This moment is so absurd that I wait in anticipation for it eagerly. It is literally like that merman scene in Zoolander. Just perfection



2. That part when he is battling OCEAN MASTER (DUN DUNNNNN) for the first time (side note I love how it goes DUN DUNNNNN every time someone says OCEAN MASTER) and before they begin, an octopus plays the drums like in Little Mermaid. Like this whole scene is insane, including but not limited to the fact that they show their “stats” on a display screen for the audience like this is a WWE match and Arthur has no pros only cons, but the octopus playing the drums just really tips this over the edge for me in its absurdity bc it is literally exactly like little mermaid and that is fucking hilarious.



3. When he finally gets the trident and rides on the back of a giant seahorse while holding the trident because it looks just like the comics and it is so silly and perfect. I mean all the riding on sea horses and shark scenes are amazing but when he stands on the back of that sea horse it is just like ::chefs kiss:: this is Aquaman, ya know? 



4. Mary Poppins, the Kracken. Or whatever the fuck that eldritch monstrosity was supposed to be. That Pacific Rim looking crab squid that was inexplicably voiced by Julie Andrews. How did they get Julie Andrews to voice a giant crab monster? Now John Rhys Davies voiced one of the regular crab people and THAT is perfectly logical because like dude is just leaning into his Brian Blessedness and that is definitely a career choice I respect, but Julie Andrews??? Wow. 



5. Oooh picking a 5 is actually really hard. I nearly went with Randall Park as crazed Atlantean obsessed science dude, but in the end I have to go with the very end of the movie where Atlanna and Jango Fett get to fuck again. The thing I like about Atlanna and Jango Fett fucking is that it is so rare you get a happy ending like that, ya know? BOTH parents get to live! This is a really sweet thing given how parents are usually fridged in superhero movies. Good for you Jango Fett. You get that sea pussy. Sidebar, but do Atlanteans get their period bc that would be weird in the ocean. Presumably their reproductive system is similar to ours because they can interbreed with surface people. Lot of questions. I’m also assuming they are all just peeing in the ocean while they are battling, ya? They just pee right there? I mean what else do they do just like swim away to pee? Wouldn’t the pee just float back? Nah they have to just pee right there. Anyway, hurray for happy endings. Everyone gets to fuck. Even the crab people and the fish people who I am going to assume, as they evolved from humans (they said this happened in the movie though how they evolved into fish people so quickly is beyond me) that they all have penises like in shape of water how his dick is hiding. Hooray for fish people sex. Everyone get some.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Being American

My ancestors came to this country from Russia and the greater Eastern European region between the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th.  They were all Jews.  I did a Family Tree DNA test a few years ago that came back 97% Jew.  Yep. I'm a Jew.  Jew, Jew Jewy Jew.  The other 3% was probably some Russian dude who raped my 4x great grandmother or something, who knows.  We are new to America.  New, being a relative term.  Certainly, there are immigrants who came to this country in the later part of the 20th century and the 21st, but we came recently enough that important pieces of our cultural identity, of Eastern European Jewry, still permeates our everyday lives.  Those are my people.  American Jews. I guess for the longest time I operated under the assumption that most white people were like me when it came to their American-ness, that their ancestry was REALLY English or Irish or Italian or Polish.  I thought that "white" was a category invented to deprive people of their ancestral culture under the guise of white supremacy and the devaluation of people of color, that most people could and SHOULD say what they were culturally instead of just identifying as white in an effort to dismantle an artificially created racial dichotomy.

Doing my husband's genealogy made me confront the fact that some people defy such easy categorization.  One branch of my husband's family came from France to settle Canada in the 1640s.  Another branch was British and settled the Massachusetts Bay colony, one even coming aboard the Mayflower.  Another branch was Dutch, settling New Amsterdam in the 1660s. Another branch of his family were Spanish rancheros in old California, the oldest one I have found born in Mexico in the 1740s.  Another branch was German, settling the Germantown, Pennsylvania area in the early 1700s. The more "recent" branches settled from Ireland in the late 1840s and from Germany in the 1850s.  His family has been in California before it was a state. His family has been in America/ North America since before there was an America, several of them fighting in the Revolutionary War.  In fact, some even fought in the French and Indian Wars (On both sides of that conflict).  In many, many ways I am jealous of all the history.  Jealous for the ability to know the names of ancestors, to see them written in books, that Wikipedia articles are written about them, that someone in his family has fought in every single war this nation has ever fought. It is a gift to have so much knowledge.

I know my people were Russian Jews.  That will probably be all that I will ever know.  Any distant cousins I may have had in the old country were invariably killed by pogroms or in the Holocaust.  Maybe I am descended from some great Jewish thinker, though probably I am just from tailors and farmers who lived humble lives in the ghettos they were forced to live in. My culture is the culture of Ashkenazi New York in the early 20th century.  Recent immigrants to this country have the shared knowledge, culture, pride and cuisine of their homelands, even if they don't know the names of their great grandfathers.   Black Americans descended from slaves will never know from which African tribe or country their people were from, but they share a beautiful and rich American Black culture that is unique and distinguished from more recent immigrants from Africa.  Indigenous descended people may have been removed from their cultures by force in some cases, but many can make the conscious decision to reconnect with their tribal Nations now if they so choose.

And yet I have heard my husband say that he guesses he's "just a big European mutt." It is a gift to have so much knowledge about your ancestry, far far more than most people I know, more than the descendants of slaves who will never know their real names, more than the nameless indigenous people who were slaughtered in the name of conquest, but what does it really mean that your 10x great grandfather on your father's mother's side was some British lord if it doesn't bring any kind of sense of identity or belonging?  When I thought about it at first, I found that concept profoundly odd in ways I couldn't quite put my finger on, and it made me sad.

People talk a lot about America as a nation of immigrants, though such a designation ignores both involuntarily transported slaves and indigenous peoples.  But I think it is also not quite accurate in other ways.  All white people came from somewhere else to be sure, but when their people came from that somewhere else so long ago, long beyond living memory, how are they to think of themselves as anything else other than "American," whatever that term is supposed to mean, other than white?  The rah rah America attitude displayed by a lot of people on the right I think is indicative that a lot of people latch onto whiteness when they lack any other strong cultural upbringing.   Thankfully, my husband doesn't have any of those inclinations, though there are certainly members of his family who do.  It isn't that I don't blame them, I think blame when it comes to white supremacist thinking is a really complicated topic but that ultimately regardless of upbringing people are responsible for their own behavior, but I do understand a bit better now how, lacking anything else to bind them to each other, some people choose whiteness.  The melting pot has melted away everything else. 

America is such a beautiful mixture of so many different kinds of people, like my husband is.  We need to find a way to uplift a concept of American culture that is not dependent on a known cultural background, which I think is how the language was used in the past, while also including those for whom cultural pride is everything.  Nobody should be asked to give up what makes them uniquely from their cultural group, but at the same time, those without an established culture should be able to say their heritage is "American" in a way that is more inclusive, positive, responsible, and aware of its history than is currently common.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

What Comes Next

I was going to write this in the style of one of my imaginary conversations, but elected to forgo the pretense.  Here's an old fashioned blog entry.

For the past two years I have felt a growing dread about our future as a democracy.  I have had people try to tell me that it isn't as bad as all that.  I've had my father say that he "lived through Nixon" and "this is just another terrible thing that will pass."  I've had people on the right laugh at me openly about my concerns.  I have listened to and read the words of people of color who have spoken to the racism they experienced their entire lives and their frustration with white people who are just now figuring out how fucked things are because we see it on social media.  They aren't wrong.  Maybe none of them are wrong.  Well except the right wing assholes.  They can get fucked. I dunno.

All I know is what I know and what I feel.  Here's what I know.  What I know is that the other day I saw somebody on Twitter sharing the tips their grandfather used when they were in the Resistance fighting the Gestapo.  And this list had lots of detailed points on what people in the Resistance did, what everyday people can do can muck up the works of a totalitarian government.  What I know is that somebody else who grew up in another totalitarian government shared their experiences and what they did to survive it.  What I know is that I took notes.  What I feel is that whether history repeats itself exactly or just creates a new spin on an old theme, things are happening now that ARE different from other things that have happened in the past 36 years of my life.  What I feel is that all of it: the anger over police brutality, the spread of social media, the crackdown in immigration, the oppression of minorities and people of color, the rise in mass shootings, the racist rhetoric on the right, the wealth inequality in this nation, the loss of jobs oversees due to tariff wars, and global warming, among a host of other issues that are happening all at once are leading to something...bad. I don't know what the bad thing will be.  I don't know if the bad thing will be another terrorist attack.  I don't know if the bad thing will be a civil war. I don't know if the bad thing will be nuclear annihilation.  I don't know if the bad thing will be a Fourth Reich.  I feel, deep in my soul, that whatever it is will be the end of America as we know it.

I don't know when the thing will happen.  I don't think this is a next year thing.  But it feels like something major.  Like something WW3 major.  Like something Napoleon major.  Like something French Revolution major.  Like something cataclysmic. I talk to my friends about this and it is shocking to me the number of people who are also in agreement that yeah we are basically fucked.  I have a few friends who remain optimistic about 2020, but I just can't.  I used to think that as soon as Mueller finished his report then it would be all over and this nightmare would be done and we could go back to how it was.  Lol look how that went.  I realized there is no going back.  I don't even know if there is going forward.  I really and truly don't know that if Trump loses the 2020 election he won't just declare the election illegitimate and make himself dictator for life.  I really, really don't.  Even those more optimistic people have trouble coming up with concrete answers to my questions.  I

The other day I was reading an article about disinformation campaigns and how bots were creating whole image composites of people in their efforts to sow discord and those images looked so real that I think I failed this test to spot who was the fake.  So like robots are posing as people to influence our democracy and spread hate and are we living in a fucking movie right now because if you say it like that it is legitimately insane.  Do we even need Terminator if we die by a thousand cuts?  Or warm our earth so much that our crops will start dying?  Apparently the administration is investing a lot into space now.  Of course they are.  Because the rich will gtfo this planet before it dies.  That's why they don't care about the rest of us.

I'm tired.  I'm trying to live a normal life and plan my wedding and help the kids with homework and go to Trader Joes and still live in this sense of utter and complete bewilderment whether the life I see as normal will be what life will be like 20 years from now.  I mean, I knew there would be changes, technological changes.  But just seeing how fast things have changed from the 90s to now makes me really wonder what 2040 will look like, whether anything will be recognizable at all.  I wish I had a time machine not to go into the past but to go into the future just to check to make sure we were still okay.  Just a peek.  Then I could come back. SOME kind of reassurance that we, and by we I mean this nation and the vast majority of people in it, will be alright.  I guess nothing is ever that easy.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Done with Seuss

So Dr. Seuss' birthday is coming up and I am frequently asked to read at schools for this occasion. I have very conflicted feelings about Dr. Seuss. On the one hand, his books were among the first I remember reading, in particular A to Z and Hop on Pop. On the other, his books often contain racist characterizations, the "Chinaman" in And to Think that I Saw It On Mulberry Street, for example, and his art from the WW2 period was extremely racist as well. Seuss himself said that his story Horton Hears a Who was dedicated to a Japanese man, Mitsugi Nakamura, as a way of atoning for his past misdeeds and racism, but I'm not sure that allegorical storytelling is sufficient to make up for the real harm inflicted upon Japanese Americans because of his racist art.  On top of this is the issue of Cat in the Hat and how he, as well as other classic cartoon characters of the period, exhibit all the tropes of minstrelsy. More information on this can be found here.  For this reason I have not decorated my library for Dr. Seuss' birthday or otherwise celebrated it the past two years.

A lot of people push back against this notion of not reading Dr. Seuss or not watching some old movies because they believe that the racism in them was typical of the time and thus should be excused away. There is this notion that things in the past, things one has grown with as a child are somehow sacred and should always be the canon, should always be taught to the next generation. "Oh its just X what's the big deal?" they say with a shrug. Why? Why do people feel the need to defend things that don't need defending? I love sharing Star Wars and Princess Bride with my daughter, but I don't feel the need to read her Little House on the Prairie because how incredibly racist it is to Native and Black people. I don't know if you are aware of this, but more books have been written since you were in school. I hate to break it to you, but your childhood favorites aren't inherently better because they were loved by you when you were children. Why must we prop up Dr. Seuss over any other author, over authors of color, over women, over people whose characters have not be blasted all over lunchboxes for the past 50 years?
When I was asked by a school to read today, I did so but with a caveat: I asked if I could read another book from the library. Instead of reading a Dr. Seuss book, I read Wild About Books by Judy Sierra and Marc Brown about a librarian who opens a library in a zoo. It is a fun rhyming story in the style of Dr. Seuss and even mentions Dr. Seuss among the books the animals at the zoo read. I read to three classes today: 3rd grade, 4th grade, and 5th grade. All of them are older than the typical audience for Dr. Seuss anyway which makes me wonder why this holiday is being celebrated in their classes in the first place. With the younger two classes I simply said "I don't have a Dr. Seuss book today, but this is another fun story that has a lot of great rhyming words." Then I came to the 5th grade class. These are 10 and 11 year old kids. A sea of brown faces: the school is about 90% Latinx. I said, "Hey, so I don't have a Dr. Seuss book today. A lot of older Dr. Seuss works are, frankly, kinda racist. I kind of have mixed feelings about Dr. Seuss because I grew up with him but I thought I would share this other fun book instead. If you like silly rhymes I encourage all of you to write! One thing Dr. Seuss was great at was making up a lot of crazy words. Maybe you can try it." It was the first time I think I was that blunt with a group of kids. I wondered why that was.
If we are going to create a new generation of kids who embrace diversity, who understands the role that race plays in our daily lives, who deconstructs old notions of gender, then we have to do some real work. Some of that work requires us to let go of the things we used to love and accept that, yeah, maybe that mammy in those Bugs Bunny cartoons was pretty gross, and maybe the crows in Dumbo were pretty gross, and maybe all those books we read as a kid with monkeys as main characters looked like blackface caricatures. For many white people, it is hard to acknowledge one's own racial biases, especially when you perceive yourself as an otherwise liberal person. So you voted for Obama and you hate Trump and you are against the wall. Great! So why when people of color or Native people are telling you that the old books or movies you like are hurtful to them do you push back? Is it simply that you are willing to be a "good" person when it is easy and not when it requires you to make any kind of substantive changes to your thinking? I am trying to do better. It is hard. It takes work. But if my fellow white educators, parents, and librarians put in the same amount of work what a wonderful world we could live in. A world where an author of color rolls off the tongue as quickly to every school child as Dr. Seuss' does.

Monday, February 25, 2019

Nothing

I've often wondered if part of my problem making friends is that I just can't commit to having a "thing."  People with "things" always seem to have friends, or really they have many acquaintances that might develop into friends, but that's much the same thing isn't it? If you are super into biking you meet cycling friends.  If you are super into music you meet musician friends. If you are super into D&D you meet D&D friends, or at least have the few people you regularly play with at any rate.  If you are into goth you meet goth people, into cosplay you meet cosplay people. Shit people super into furries and stuff could probably meet other furry people more easily than I can make friends.  This is not to say that I don't like things or even that I am not passionate about things.  I think if you took a random sampling of people I know they would all acknowledge that I know about and like Star Wars and Game of Thrones and other sci fi and fantasy stuff.  But I don't write fan fiction, I don't care enough about Marvel movies to make long YouTube videos speculating what will happen next.  I don't care enough about books to even regularly write book reviews just to meet other book people.  When I enjoy something, I enjoy it, and sometimes I will gush on Twitter or Facebook but I just don't have this identity I think that is defined by things I do or like.  Lots of people online talk about their "brand."  I don't really know what mine is. I don't think I ever really have.  The other day I met a dude who has 47K Instagram followers because he has some internet famous cat.  I don't even like my cats enough to devote the time and energy it would take to actually be a "cat" person.  Who am I even?

This isn't a new phenomenon for me.  When I was a kid I was the same way. I liked to act when I was little but never "got into" theater in high school to the point where all my friends were theater friends.  I was in choir but wasn't really a "choir person."  I listened to some alternative music but never committed fully to an alternative or goth aesthetic because it just seemed kind of silly to me. I remember once in 9th grade wearing black to school on the day I was going to be seeing Smashing Pumpkins in concert.  A few people called me a poser.  An attempt was made.  The truth is, I just never got having "things."  How could you limit yourself to only liking one genre of music?  How could you dress yourself to conform to an arbitrary identity defined by others?  I was a poser because I just never really got it, I never really got any of it.  I've never liked something so much that my identity or "brand" is built around it.   Shit even now as an adult, I really love people with cool colors of hair but the time and money taken to maintain just feels like more performative unnecessary bullshit to me.  I am Jewish but I'm not like one of these SUPER involved in the temple or Israeli dancing Jews.  I'm political, but I'm not really an active member in organizations. I'm a librarian but I'm not involved in ALA.  I just don't have it in me.  I just... don't really DO "things."

I think the closest I have come to "branding" myself is the fact that I usually walk around with an R2D2 purse which is basically my minimal effort attempt at nerd social signalling that I, too, like the space wars.  Other than that... I dunno.  I think a lot of my struggle in life has come from this notion that I am supposed to have a "thing."What if not having a "thing" is ok, though?  What if just being kind of interested in a lot of stuff and not really being a stan for any one thing exclusively and not really doing stuff all the time is ok?  What do I really need out of life that I am not currently getting?  Why get jealous of other people's lives when I don't really want what they have?  I get so stuck on what I should be doing that I get down on myself.  I see other people's busyness and question my own slothfulness when the truth is I am much happier not doing than doing the vast majority of the time?

The past few years of my life I have come to know myself better than I did when I was younger.  What I've realized is that the energy I spent trying to fit in was kind of pointless. The difference now is that I have a partner I really and truly enjoy doing "nothing" with.  "Nothing" is sometimes my favorite part of the day! Doing things makes me tired.  That's ok. It is ok to acknowledge that brief interludes of social activity can be followed by periods of inactivity.  It is ok to acknowledge that I work in a public facing job, am surrounded by people all day, talk to people all day, enjoy talking to people in the capacity of my job, or talking to friends, or talking to my kids or my fiance, but that making socially awkward chit chat is unappealing, and in my spare time can spend hours saying nothing to anybody and really enjoy it quite well thank you very much.

I made a goal for myself to be more social this year, to actually reach out to people and attempt to hang out with them.  But I've realized I can do that without a "thing."  Maybe just hanging out is ok.  Maybe I'm alright the way I am. Or maybe I'm not.  That's ok too.  I just need to be honest with myself.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your STOOOORYYY: Infinity War Wrap Up



DO I HAVE TO TELL YOU THERE ARE SPOILERS IN THIS

WHY ARE YOU READING THIS IF YOU DON'T WANT SPOILERS

SPOILERS OBVIOUSLY

DUH SPOILERS

LIKE SERIOUSLY COME ON NOW

AT THIS POINT YOU ONLY HAVE YOURSELF TO BLAME

I AM DOING THE BEST I CAN DAMMIT





Ok, hello there.  If you are here, then you have either already seen Infinity War or you don't care about spoilers.  I don't know why you are here if you haven't seen the movie, but ya know what?  I won't judge your life decisions.  In my last post, I predicted the following characters would/ could possibly die in Infinity War:

Black Widow
Captain America
Gamora
Nebula
Drax
Iron Man
Loki
Vision


So who actually died?

Heimdall - I had completely forgotten to mention Heimdall in my last post, but I actually figured he might die on the ship.  I did predict that Valkyrie would show up in a brief appearance guiding at least some of the Asgardians to safety, but that did not happen.  I still think that Valkyrie and possibly Korg are still alive until proven otherwise

Loki - Yep, I figured this would happen and he died pretty much as I assumed he would.  Rest in peace you beautiful, horrible jerk. 

Gamora - Did not die as I expected her to, and actually in a much more dramatic and emotional way than I expected her to, but I did expect that her ties to Thanos made her a target.  I was genuinely surprised that Nebula did not also die in this film.  

Vision - As I predicted, Vision died when Thanos took his stone, despite Scarlet Witch's attempts to save him.  Will he remain dead is a question for the next movie.  I believe Shuri imaged his brain before he died so that she could resurrect him in some capacity.  If anybody could it is her.  She is the smartest person in the MCU.


That's it.  The other characters who "died" in the film are: Spider-Man, Black Panther, Bucky, Black Panther, Dr. Strange, Scarlet Witch, Star Lord, Groot, Drax, and Mantis (and Maria Hill and Nick Fury in the stinger at the end).  I put "died" in quotation marks because it is pretty clear that Thanos' snap which killed half the universe's population in one swoop is going to be undone.  


A lot of people were very emotional at the end of the movie because of so much loss, but for me... I dunno.  As soon as they killed Spider-Man who is headlining his own sequel in a year I knew that these deaths weren't permanent.  This is a common trope in comics, but didn't work quite so well for me in a movie. It was impactful but not in the way, say, a death like Tony Stark's would have been.  In fact, when Tony got stabbed and nearly died my audience reacted much more strongly then the deaths of everybody all at once at the end, which left many people walking by me on the way out just saying "what the fuck?"  I'm not saying it wasn't necessary to the storytelling or will make the next movie really interesting, but, as an example, Guardians of the Galaxy 2 spent 10 minutes on Yondu's funeral only to have literally all the Guardians except Nebula and Rocket just die in a poof?  That just kind of hurt.  

The rest of the movie was absolutely spectacular.  I LOVED all the pairings of the characters, in particular Thor+Peter and Thor+Rocket.  I loved the Tony/ Strange/ Spider-Man dynamic too.  The movie even made me like Scarlet Witch and Black Widow which I thought would be impossible.  Pairing Natasha with Okoye was a good idea.  The writing was really fantastic and pulled together a lot of different threads very well.  There were 5 different plots/ locations at times and I didn't feel lost or that they were doing too much.  It definitely counted on you remembering certain details from previous movies, particularly Guardians, Thor, and Doctor Strange, but that is to be expected.  What was definitely NOT expected was how little Captain America was in this movie.  Really interesting how somebody like Rocket ended up with more lines in the movie than some of the original Avengers. It was WAY more of a space movie than the trailers let on.  I think that was for the best.  It brought the humor and tone of Ragnarok and Guardians to the rest of the Avengers and everybody benefited.  So many hilarious lines. 

I absolutely can't wait for the next movie and I can only hope that it retains at least some of the humor, though with everybody "dead" I know it probably won't be as much of a laugh riot as this one was.  

Thursday, April 05, 2018

Who Dies? My Infinity War Predictions


Hey all!  So Avengers: Infinity War is coming out in just a few weeks and according to the Russos, there are going to be some of our favorite characters who don't make it out of the film alive.  How many?  Who will live and who will die?  Here is an alphabetic breakdown of who's who in the MCU and my predictions on how they will fare against Thanos. Now my guesses are not based on comics, simply based on what I know about the films, the actors, etc. The MCU really is its own beast.  Trying to predict what happens based on the Infinity War comics is pretty pointless as there are SO many narrative differences.

A
Ant Man - Given that Ant Man and Wasp come out this summer it is safe to say that Ant Man lives. Heck, I don't even know if he is in this movie much/ at all. His skill set doesn't really lend itself to intergalactic battles, but he could probably shrink down and scuttle away from any danger imho. 

B
Black Panther - Lives.  I'm gonna go ahead and jump right out and say that Shuri and Okoye live too.  There is no real logical reason why they would live against Thanos, but their movie was so super popular that I seriously doubt Marvel wants to get rid of them.  I think we are going to lose at least a few Wakandans though, maybe even audience favorite M'Baku.  He was a stand out in the Black Panther movie, but his death will raise the stakes.  Listen, Ragnarok killed off all the Warriors Three.  T'Challa has to lose at least one partner.

Black Widow - I strongly suspect Natasha will bite it this movie.  There is literally nothing about her skill set that screams "useful" in this fight.  She had a part to play in Civil War and definitely Winter Soldier but in every other fight she is just been pretty ineffectual.  The only way I can see her living is if she realizes this battle is too big for her and just gets out of dodge (see my entry about Hawkeye below)

Bucky - Lives.  I think Bucky will either take up the mantle of Captain America (see entry below) or will go on to become the White Wolf of Wakanda.  I would personally rather see him in the latter role as his chemistry with Shuri was really strong (not in a romantic way, just in a fun playful way) and I think it would be nice to see them interacting more.

C
Captain America - Sorry Steve, but you and your sexy butt are gonna die.  This has been pretty
heavily telegraphed for a very long time.  Who will take up the shield after he falls is up to debate, but Cap is not long for this world.  It is time to move on to different things.

Captain Marvel - Not a question of whether she dies but if whether she shows up.  I think they have to do some kind of appearance even though Avengers 4 is where she is really going to shine after her solo film.  Possibly just a post credits sequence appearance, though

D
Doctor Strange - Lives.  I think Strange has a lot more to do in the MCU and his magical skill set will keep him pretty safe in this fight.  Wong may die though, unfortunately.

F
Falcon - I think Sam will deffo make it out alive.  Will he become Captain America after Steve dies?  I think yes, though Bucky is a more popular choice.

G
Guardians of the Galaxy - I do think that some of the Guardians might die in this film, though not the entire team since they are going to be making a 3rd Guardians movie.  Rocket and Groot are safe, Groot especially since he just died.  Gamora and Nebula are definitely questionable though, particularly due to their ties to Thanos.  I think Nebula of the two is the most likely to die since her redemption arc is basically completed (see also Loki below).  Mantis is too new a character to die so unceremoniously.  Drax is an iffy for me.  He thinks he is stronger than he is, which lends me to believe he will do something stupid. After all the big emotional beats from Guardians 2 I think Star Lord is pretty safe, though he doesn't have the abilities he had in that film anymore now that Ego's planet is destroyed.

H
Hawkeye - Hawkeye doesn't even get a character poster for this movie.  He isn't in ANY of the marketing of the movie.  Poor Hawkeye can't catch a break.  For me, this is actually good news because it means that I think he is going to live.  In Age of Ultron Hawkeye basically said he was retiring and going to live on his farm up state.  While he came back for Civil War I strongly suspect he might just sit this whole fight out or get out of there when he realizes he is out of his depth. If not he will die pretty quickly, though the indignity of dying without even getting a hero poster is pretty sad.  I really want them to bring on Kate Bishop as Hawkeye and have him as a mentor figure.  This would be a good way to intro Young Avengers.

Hulk - I think it is a safe bet that Hulk makes it out of this movie ok.  He is one of the strongest characters in the MCU.  Less certain is Bruce Banner.  In Ragnarok, Bruce says that if he turns to Hulk another time he worries he won't be able to come back.  Given that Mark Ruffalo's contract is over, I suspect this is what is going to happen.  Hulk will remain in Hulk form and they can bring on somebody new to do the mocap for him.  Maybe at a later date he will go back to Bruce for a while, but it won't be Mark doing it.

I
Iron Man - I thought he was going to die in Civil War, though given his mentorship of Spider-Man I'm glad he didn't.  Still, I feel like he has worn out his usefulness as a character and given the events of the previous films he just doesn't have a place in the new version of the Avengers that will emerge from this film.  Obviously i could be wrong, but I don't want to be.  I'm over Tony.  Plus RDJ is getting on in years.  He can't play Iron Man forever.  Once his bro Mark Ruffalo is gone as Bruce and only Hulk remains, Tony won't have any "grown ups" to talk to either.  I think he's gonna go.

L
Loki - Loki is gonna die.  As with Nebula, Loki's journey from bad to good back to bad and back to good again is pretty much done.  I think he will actually sacrifice himself this time, giving him the heroic ending that he imagined for himself from Dark World (and Matt Damon). Without an Asgard to fight over, I don't know that his character has anything left to do in the MCU.  I also think Tom Hiddleston is done with the character and longing to do something else.

N
Nebula (see Guardians of the Galaxy above)

S
Scarlet Witch - I think she makes it, though her character in the MCU is soooo boring.  Still, I have a strong suspicion that they are going to do things with her and Vision's kids Wiccan and Speed and they need her to live for that to happen. 

Spider-Man - Lives.  Peter Parker has a nice long career ahead of him before they decide to bring in Miles Morales.

T
Thor - This is a SUPER iffy one for me.  The trailers put him in a pretty precarious situation, but I think he is a strong enough character to make it out of this alive.  I am pretty sure Loki will sacrifice himself (and that Tessaract) in order to save him somehow.

V
Valkyrie - Valkyrie doesn't have a character poster for this movie, which lends me to believe that she may only be in it for the briefest of appearances to get some of the Asgardians away somehow.  Hopefully that means Korg will live too, though the trailers make it look like Thanos kills quite a few people on board that ship.

Vision -  His entire self is powered by an Infinity Stone so once that is taken away I don't see how he makes it out alive. But like I mentioned with Scarlet Witch, I think his living and having kids with Scarlet Witch is necessary to create the new generation of superheroes.

W
War Machine - After NEARLY dying in Civil War I think Rhodes is going to make it out of this film alive.  To kill him now would be like an afterthought and I don't think they are going to do that.

So there you have my predictions. I will be checking back in after the movie comes out to see how right or wrong I may be.