Tuesday, July 22, 2014

45th Anniversary of the Moon Landing. Yeah, we did go there.

Yesterday was the 45th anniversary of humanity's first step onto another body in space. The moon. Sadly, it is still the only other surface we've managed to reach, and even then it's been quite a while since anyone has returned (all not included unmanned mission, of course).

While the fact we've retreated from space exploration is an annoying reality, there are more galling things. The conspiracy theories.

We've all heard of them at this point. We, apparently, have never reached the moon. Never. We couldn't get there before, and seem not to be able to get there still. It lives in the same mindset that questions the age of the Earth, the validity of vaccines, evolution, that ancient humans could build pyramids, and the impact of climate change.

People to this day passionately will argue a great conspiracy existed to fake a launch of a rocket and then a landing of a craft on the moon. Then we have the other conspiracy to continue to hide "the truth" from the public.

Amazing. ...That sounds positive. It's pathetic.

Creeping on women is creepy. *UPDATE*

For some reason, there are guys that think commenting on women's physical attributes is pleasing to women...when it has nothing to do with what the women are doing/talking about. Then there are the guys that think they are accomplishing something valuable in "screaming" words like TITS in comment sections... Guys? You are just being dicks.

From Cracked.com:

As has been long noted, this is something that happens to women. If it happens to a guy, it's a rare thing, and it isn't built into a hostile sexual cultural norm. Women are expected to just put up with it, or never come on the Internet ever again. That's the choice women are often given.

Fuck that.

And if you want to swim in the inane mindset that is pleased to be an ass to women, just go to the comments and see the guys that are indignant about the this video. And then the guys that think they are being such a wit by doing things described as offensive and hurtful.

Lesson: Just don't read comment sections. Thankfully, for me, I have nothing in my comment sections...Well, there is the occasional bot generated ad.


Here's an article looking at how women get treated in the game industry. And another article.
Women in the industry are told by men what is valid for us to feel. The conversations tend not to recognize the reality of the situation, and the very real threats that can occur at gaming events or in our day-to-day lives. We’re told it doesn’t matter, to grow a thicker skin, and that men go through the same thing. 
I have yet to talk to a man who has had to call a police officer due to a stalker, only to be told nothing can be done until they are physically assaulted. It’s hard to explain what it’s like to be at a gaming event, cornered by someone who claims to be a fan, and to be physically kept from leaving by someone holding you in place or putting their body between you and the exit.
Far too many guys either are or choose to be blind to what women are being put through. They outright dismiss the abuse and the fear. No one deserves to be made to feel unsafe in our virtual communities. No one deserves to have their concerns so casually dismissed like this. We should expect better, not just tell people to suck it up and take the abuse.

Then there's the anger. The hostility from guys towards women that speak up. It's almost not surprising. Women just talking about the latest phone release, or app, will have abuse thrown at her. Why not when she dares to speak out as well? ...Sigh.
We all deserve better than this.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

How Not to Stay Neutral on Net Neutrality

Net Neutrality has been an issue of great concern to people who work online. The end of it may likely mean an end to those smaller operations, or new ideas looking for a place to blossom. It has also been of great concern to corporate interests and the Telecomms, who all look to cement their control on what we see and use. It all comes down to how neutral we will see information and services online treated.

FCC after Dark - from College Humor
But the FCC (Federal Trade Commission) is eyeing an end to neutrality. Not surprising from a collective largely made up of former and future executives of the Telecomm Industry. And the head of the FCC thinks it makes perfect sense to end neutrality, but make a caveat that all access must be kept at least at the levels they currently are at.

That would be great if time and technology stood still. But that's the point of the statement from the FCC. Sound good, mean nothing. Throw out a platitude while handing the power, wealth making potential, and speed to their corporate friends.

These Assholes - By College Humor
After that, we are all left to the whims of Internet Service Providers, and to the select online services that have paid up large sums to run suitably. And for many in power, that is how the world should work. You shouldn't have things if you can't pay up a nice size fee for it. Schooling. Water. Knowledge.

Well, that is garbage. The Internet is supposed to be a marketplace of ideas, amusement, and disappointment.

Among those trying to advocate for no neutrality think that not all sites deserve to be treated equal. Money should buy access. The Internet should operate like many other areas of business where the barriers to entry should be high. For many of them, Net Neutrality is a regulation. And that means taxes. And, "The government will control the Internet!!!".

The attitude is that they fear/hate the government, but tolerate/respect the old boy network of corporate elite making decision on this.

I don't, obviously, trust the people at the FCC. We need a better quality of regulator there. But if I have to choose between the power being in the FCC's and the Telecomms grasp, I pick the FCC. Whipping the FCC into shape is easier. And, once industry has it's way with the Internet, we'll have to wait a decade or more to right things.

We rely on regulation by government for a good reason. Industry rarely does a fair to decent job of watching over itself.

Now you have a right to be heard, on the record. They've received around 800,000 comments so far. We need more to make it clear that this isn't acceptable. Let's hit 1 million tonight!

At least until midnight tonight you still have the podium. Go here to enter an official electronic comment on what the FCC is planning with Open Internet. Here's the list of possible topics of the FCC you can comment on, with Open Internet at the top.

If you want to speak up, you can also go through:
If I haven't convinced you to speak...

Check out College Humor on this:

Or, John Oliver:

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Friday the 13th on Sunday the 13th (Kinda) - Episode 10 - Tales of the Undead

The 13th comes again, and I'm stuck travelling. Still, that don't mean nothing. At least we can start the episode.

So, let's look at Friday the 13th the Series.

The episode is...

"Tales of the Undead"

Friday, July 04, 2014

Meeting of Minds: John Oliver and Pepe Julian Onziema

John Oliver had a sober and sarcastic look at Uganda and it's anti-gay laws. In the US many of us have been interested in what has been called the Kill The Gays law. But, as we do, we got bored with all of that. And then most of us deleted most of our anger, opinions, and facts of the law from our heads. John Oliver nicely reintroduces us to the matters.

For instance, while Uganda had some social and legal issues with gay people, the last several years has seen a significant and hateful uptick. What started with uptight British colonials is now a matter of American Conservative intervention. The Religious Right has worked to motivate the local religious communities hate, and pushed them to make changes to the law.

And then we had those freaking politicians. Another topic you may have decided to forget about is C Street and The Family. People like Jeff Sharlet did solid work bringing out the truth of this group of politicians who were tied by their religious zeal and interest in making hateful law. They've screwed people over in this country, but always have time for other countries.

So preachers and politicians have worked to bring about their dream of a hateful and homogeneous society. Not to leave out the elements of Uganda society eager to embrace hate and fear.

If you've followed news and conversations in Uganda, you've seen the fear, hate, and ignorance spread about being gay. (Stephen Fry spent some time their and showed the outright ignorance of the anti-gay advocates in his Out There documentary.) They repeatedly claim all gay people are "converting straight people. And, on having sex...You have to doubt they even understand sex between males and females.

But for a mix of stuff that will make you laugh, scream, curse, and try to hope, have some John Oliver. Also, get to know the fascinating and brace Pepe Julian Onziema, an open LGBT advocate in Uganda. He's quite a remarkable man.

From Last Week Tonight with John Oliver:

And in addition to the show, some more of their conversation presented online.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Penny Dreadful Review - Episode 2 - Seance

The next Penny Dreadful is hot off the presses. Have you got your penny?

Good. It's time for...


What Came Before? 

Well, it seems that our Dr. Frankenstein has been hard at work on his extra curricular activities. He's eager to pierce "the tissue that separates life and death." And it appears he's been inching closer and closer, until he's now finally succeeded.

"You know? Some nights it's like you're not even alive."

And there stands his creation. Bloody. Scared. Scarred. And, in need of answers.

"Daddy?I think I made a boom boom."

Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Horror Of...Writing in June


Well my effort to start reviewing Penny Dreadful weeks ago did not go to plan. I did want to find a way to start the reviews as the show started, and then by the halfway point...And here we are approaching the season finale.

Still, the first episode review is available now. For the next 6 episodes? ...I have a cunning plan.

I have wanted to think of ways to make reviews less a trek and more a jaunt. I've been working towards some brevity, but this is a chance to really work at cutting things down for quick turnaround. It may yet be a horrible disaster.

The plan is to address (until I have reason otherwise) key questions:

  • What Came Before? - How the last episode ended.
  • A Deathly Cold Open. - Does the episode have a cold open?
  • And Now! - Does the episode continue follow on from the ending of the last episode?
  • Enter Stage Right! - Are there any new outstanding characters to note?
  • To Smile and Smile, and Still... - Are there new baddies to notice or remember?
  • ...And Heard No More. - Are there fatalities to mourn this episode?
  • Revelations! - Are there any plot points we just have to remember?
  • Thoughts? - ...And the rest!

Yeah. I often feel the need to give things quirky names. It's not weird!

We'll see how that works. We'll also see if I can get anywhere near episode 7 of Penny Dreadful by Sunday night. Even if don't finish them all by then, I'll continue with this layout until the penultimate episode.

Also, I finally have finished the look at much of what leads up to Dracula (1931)... And between that and Penny Dreadful, I need a break from the vampires. So I will look at some zombies for The Horror Of... And to try and rap up June, and to start off July, let's go to the prom! ...Well, some schools actually run to the end of June (Good lord!). Also, I have no recollection of when prom occurs in a school year. So let's head to the Dance of the Dead! Woo!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Penny Dreadful Review - Episode 1 - Night Work

Another horror series? A show that will make use of various Victorian and Gothic settings, characters, and ideas? A penny dreadful motif? ...You have my attention.

Of course, they are now getting to their...season finale? ...So I am a little behind. As I mentioned elsewhere, I've had some technical, among other, issues. Still, if you haven't heard about the show, or are undecided on watching it, enjoy.

In case you've never come across the term before, Penny Dreadfuls were beloved pastime of Victorian London society. A penny each issue, they were a cheap and popular periodical of the day. They covered various lurid tales. Monsters preying on the citizenry. Murderers brutally killing God fearing families. Dark tales of the criminal life in London, from the thieves to the opium dens. The more dark and terrible the story, the better, as that brings people back looking for more. I looked a little at this in reviewing the origins of Dracula, and the penny dreadful tale of Varney the Vampire.

Penny Dreadful examples - the super natural Spring Heeled Jack and
murderous Sweeney Todd

As a source, they are quite rich. They have given us, or made us of such notables as Varney the Vampire, Spring Heeled Jack, and Sweeney Todd. The output of the penny dreadfuls were wide reaching. A developed fictional world taking advantage of these ideas is bound to be horribly fantastic.

Also, Victorian horror as a whole is a heady source. The works of Bram Stoker, Mary Shelley, H.G. Wells, Robert Louis Stephenson, J. Sheridan Le Fanu, Oscar Wilde, and others...What a menagerie! Maybe we'll get a bit from Charles Dickens and Arthur Conan Doyle as well?

But will it be fully taken advantage of?

The series has been created by John Logan. That may be a good or bad thing depending on your mood. He's written Star Trek: Nemesis, The Time Machine (2002), and Skyfall. He's also written Gladiators, Sweeney Todd, and Rango. It all depends on your love and hate for these individual movies. I can't say I hate any of them. But I do note that he's written a take on Sweeney Todd, a story that came from the Penny Dreadfuls that inspire this show. It shows a previous interest in the topic.

From the look of the show, this seems to be a labor of love. He even preemptively constructed a show bible for the story and character. There is some passion here.

But to be honest, when I did first see his name tied to this project, I was paused. But, maybe we shouldn't be too quick to judge.

Let's see what Penny Dreadful does to entice us to buy into this first chapter of their lurid tale.