Sometimes the old ways aren’t better

March 26, 2015 § Leave a comment

Like it or not, one state in the union has brought back death by firing squad and, as liberal as I seem to be, I’m super fine with it.

Here’s the thing: if we’re going to kill people we need to make sure to do three things. Make it affordable; Leave the body in a state where the organs can be donated; finally, we need to make sure that before we kill anyone we’re absolutely sure that they did it. Seriously, a lot of cases have been high profile lately for coming up being false convictions. One man spent thirty-nine years in jail only to be awarded one million dollars after he sued the state.

Really, we need to make sure as few innocent people go to prison as possible, but that’s another story.

So, Utah is going to be kicking it old school with shooting squads, but there’s one important question nobody is asking. Why the fuck are we using actual people to fire the bullets . I mean, the state goes through this weird tradition where they issue all but one man real bullets. The person who doesn’t get bullets is firing blanks, but no one knows who that person really is. This is meant to give them a clear conscious about killing someone.

My problem with all of this is more that you’re wasting time trying to figure out how to have people do something that no person actually needs to. Meet this thing:

sci_fi_weapons_2a

What the fuck is that thing? I don’t know either. It looks like it could be automated and there’s a camera up top. If you can program robots to catch balls and recover from being pushed you can give this little tank robot facial recognition software and program it to shoot someone in the face. I doubt the robot will ever feel guilty or know what it is doing. It also wouldn’t get cold feet and botch the shot, hitting vital organs that could be donated.

All of this talk about the men pulling the trigger just pulls to me that law makers are still thinking with old fashion mindsets, not because they want to dispatch of people quickly, but because they’re still so set on doing everything the old way.

Holy Cover Controversy, Batgirl!

March 20, 2015 § 2 Comments

VbZ1OyfOver the past several days there’s been a manufactured scandal brewing at DC over the variant cover of an upcoming Batgirl book. I use the phrase ‘manufactured scandal’ because there isn’t any real merit to the problem that a lot of these people are having. At the moment the only DC superhero I follow is Batgirl. The new creative team and their book is kind of near and dear to my heart. I’ve read all of the New 52 Batgirl stuff, but it wasn’t until book thirty-five that it felt like they were trying to make Batgirl a character not trapped in the shadow of her mentor.

The book’s cover can be found anywhere online, but I won’t post it here. It’s been posted to death all over the web. Despite people are claiming fans are upset about it, I haven’t seen anyone who reads the comic complaining about it.

The creative team behind Batgirl (Stewart, Fletcher and Tarr) pointed out that the cover wasn’t in line with what they’re doing with the book. So, why is it that the artists behind the meat and potatoes of the story have input that doesn’t matter?

tumblr_nin3b5xM1P1rxvh4oo1_1280And the three of them are right; Batgirl lives in a much more lighthearted and colorful side of Gotham. The plots have dropped a lot of the melodrama and woe-is-me bullshit to have more fun with. Fun was something missing from the first part of the New 52 Batgirl run.

Then what’s the problem exactly?

There’s this push around the web from the old guard of niche groups to claim they fight for artistic freedom of speech, but only as long as what the artist is creating falls in line with the status quo. When an artist is willing to fight audiences for their right to put their creation out there, that’s alright. But if someone puts a cover on your book that you don’t like you shouldn’t have the right to have it taken away?

The whole thing doesn’t seem fair to the artists or the people they’re creating the work for.

Meanwhile, across the road at Marvel artists have taken their precious page space and used it to take shots at sexism in books like Thor. Of course people have a problem with it even though it’s what the artists want to do.

All of this fuss over the cover isn’t really an issue at all. The comic book team didn’t want it. A lot of fans didn’t want it. I’m actually in agreement with the ‘didn’t want it’ school of thought, yet people who probably aren’t even reading the book are telling everyone else what they should have to look at or what should be stuck to the front of their book.

If you really respected artists – aka the people behind the story and drawing inside of the book – you’d see this is a non-issue and that they’re the ones benefiting from it.

Artwork at the above taken from Babs Tarr, check out her stuff at Babs Draws.

Forum Feeling

March 19, 2015 § Leave a comment

AstleyFeaturedThere’s a special time of year where I get the need to join some writer’s community. I can never maintain a presence on them for too long and while I’m there I’m not even sure why. An old forum that I used to be part of is still up and I popped in to check and see if it was ripe for my return.

See, the thing is that I was banned from this place about six years ago. Usually that would keep me away, but I’ve moved a few times and would use a name that I’ve never used anywhere else to make it harder to connect the dots. The only problem is that when I checked in on the place it was like looking through a portal into the mid-1990s.

People were having to be taught the internet as if it were this new beast. Forum posting and forum etiquette might as well have been daring, unexplored territory.

They might as well have been the Congo River from Heart of Darkness.

Their ignorance toward tech and internet norms is what caused my banning years ago. I posted a link to a Rick Roll site in a discussion thread and some old man complained that it frightened him and he turned his computer off to stop the virus.

Someone thought Rick Astley’s haphazard gyrations were kin to malicious script.

I was ready to go back to that place, maybe have a little fun with it. Pretend to be something I’m not and only post pieces of writing which would be outside of my normal realm of doing things – I wanted to push my boundaries with it, but do I really want to push my patience with them

Forums used to be one of my favorite things online. There was a time I lived for them. I was there when the old Nintendo of America forums fell; before the word forum was even used to describe what we had called a BBS. I was on Maddox Mania back when Maddox himself might pay an actual visit. And at one point I even though it worthwhile to pay the five dollar entry fee for Something Awful .

I love the idea of forums, but often the execution is the same for all of them. Internet hardmen ( but, honestly, what else could I have expected from Maddox Mania). The forum exists in kind of this gray area for me: on the one hand it’s a great idea and I’d love to like it, but in reality it’s always too hot or too cold and never just right.

Old

March 15, 2015 § Leave a comment

A couple of weeks ago I turned twenty-nine. Though I feel like I should think of myself as old it’s just not really sunken in yet. I still want to look ahead as if there’s so much time to do what I want, but at the same time I think that I really need to make sure that I don’t squander the time I have.

I don’t know if it’s natural to feel this way. When do you start to feel old? The first time someone calls you sir and means it in that way? The first time that you hear the newest song and think or say “back in my day”?

Maybe I’m not the type to do those things or to feel like other people define me like that. I guess we’ll see.

Fan Fiction Elite

March 14, 2015 § Leave a comment

Writing has been very slow going, mostly because I can’t decide what I want this story to be in terms of the villain. Am I writing about a concrete person or creature that the characters are up against or more of a general sense of dread and darkness that comes from a more abstract source? While I’ve been going back and forth on this I decided that I might need to work on another piece.

My relationship with fan fiction has been a love/hate kind of thing. I don’t think it’s lowly or anything of that sort—it’s just that for a medium that could be so filled with interesting ideas about things introduced in the source material fan fiction spends a lot of it’s time just being love stories with no plot other than X and X hook up.

Still, when I thought of something else to write I turned to that stuff. Fan fiction is where I started; it’s something that I feel comfortable doing and it has an audience right there waiting to read it. I set out to find a site that was a little more low key and designed around the writers to post something on. It was a Doctor Who story that I had started some time ago. There was some polishing up to be done, but it was mostly alright. Ideas raised by the show come into play and there’s something morally bad that came from a choice made by the Doctor and Amy in an earlier adventure.

I submitted it and I got a rejection letter back…from a fan fiction site. The gist of the letter was how it didn’t fit their editing standards. The things they sent me back that were the problems were the kind of things that are usually considered author choices in the world of writing though. For instance: I’ve seen many books break the rules of writing sentences in and around quotations, mostly because those rules don’t follow a logical pattern and the average reader wouldn’t notice them. Another thing they cited me for was capitalizing “sonic screwdriver” which I usually do in writing because it seems like the kind of thing that you could choose to do or not. I like it better that way.

There’s nothing said of the actual writing. At this point I tend to be able to weave a decent story together with most of these things, but it just bothers me to see a community that’s been so badly treated by the mainstream trying to act like their a literature department from some university. You’re mostly dealing in smut stories about the Doctor and Rose—let’s not act all high and fucking mighty over here. I’m not going to re-submit the story. If I do it will be down the line. The whole thing put me off of fan fiction for a while and I decided to go back to what I should be doing. 

Busy Writing

February 28, 2015 § Leave a comment

Believe it or not, I still put in time writing a good amount of the week. I’ve even had some semblance of an idea of what this story is shaping up to be about. I know, it’s not the best example when you’ve got the whole thing coming down the pipes and you’re still not sure what it is you’re writing exactly. Needless to say, I’ve had a lot of free time lately. I’ve also noticed that the more free time that I have, the more time I spend not filling it with writing.

When I’m hard at work it seems that writing comes a lot easier because I am constantly busy and thinking about how I need to just get home and work on this writing. I used to find that keeping track of the writing that I was working on and the word count I amassed each day helped me tremendously. These days it doesn’t do so much. I’m jumping back and forth so much and changing issues here and there in the story that it doesn’t really end up being all that easy for me to tell what did change and how many words it too.

It doesn’t really matter. Worrying over word count is great and it feels good when you’re getting those words on the page, but I’ve spent far too long beating myself up over the lack of writing at times when I could have been trying to write or doing something else.

There’s something romanticized about the self loathing of it all, but I don’t think it’s the only way to do this. I think that’s why I am so against the ideas put forth by NANOWRIMO. It seems like something designed to help, but it really seems to encourage people who aren’t used to writing to force themselves to do something that’s not easy and that you have to train yourself to do. And then, even when you’ve done it, you’ve put yourself there on the page to be vulnerable.

The Weight of the Issue

February 26, 2015 § Leave a comment

I’ve been noticing more and more that people have a strong hatred of the overweight. We’re not even talking about people who are big enough to be featured on a TLC reality show—I just mean people who happen to be twenty or thirty pounds overweight. This idea that you can just lose it, or that the weight comes off of everyone just as easily is something I don’t really understand.

You’ll see people claiming they’ve done all this study about weight loss and the like, but then they’ll never acknowledge that maybe it’s a little bit harder for some people (or the fact that it’s been proven that belittling someone makes them less likely to lose the weight). There is kind of this internet culture that is made that people out there dare to be bigger than they should be. People who are disgusted by the prospect of something that doesn’t really affect them.

I mean, sure, they’ll tell you it makes their insurance prices higher because they’re having to share the burden of treating people, but a lot of things like smoking and drinking do that too and no one really gets all that mad about those things.

Not sure when it happened, but around the time I started seeing more and more people talk about accepting their weight and body the way it is this other thing started to pop up that was upset about that. That’s what is really going on with a lot of issues: people are upset with personal choices made by others that don’t concern or affect them. Most of these people are the same ones that preach about libertarianism, free speech and the right to do what they want.

Go figure.

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