The Alabaster Sock

We Will Fight the Threat with Fighting

Archive for February, 2010

Posted by Matt on February 27, 2010

Dumb news stories Vol. C

David Jaffe ‘doesn’t connect with specialist press review scores’

This is problematic. It is more problematic when you read this line:

and prefers reading fan feedback online.

“I don’t like hearing from people who know what they’re talking about, I’d rather listen to masses of sycophant retards.”

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Hilarious ending to horrible-sounding movie revealed. It may rival ‘Will Smith commits suicide with jellyfish’ as the most ludicrous way to end a drama in recent memory. But, as much as I like this sort of thing, that is not the only reason I posted this link.

I know I don’t usually condone this, but read the comments. Swarmed with humourless twits who apparently are oblivious to the fact that if they didn’t have to read post, and that the guy was very clear about the subject of his post.

Of course, there’s also the chance that they weren’t being serious. And this is why the Internet is pure hate.

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Posted by Matt on February 27, 2010

Another new digital rights law that is more complicated than it’s actually worth.

Why is it that every time someone’s government tries to update their copyright/digital rights laws, they always end up inadvertently screwing over regular people rather than pirates? It’s like they’re all kneejerk reactions prompted by corporate whining, and not honest attempts to adapt laws to the Internet age.

To be fair, they at least sound like they might be interested in rethinking parts of the law so that small businesses, libraries, and universities won’t suddenly be denied Internet access because one guy among thousands likes Pirate Bay too much. But why would you ever draft a bill like this without a reasonable amount of consideration about how it applies to different sorts of people and organizations? Read the first paragraph in this post again.

It reminds me all too much of the last attempt to amend Canada’s digital rights law, which was filled with blatantly sneering provisions that, shockingly, hurt more normal people than law-breaking n’er-do-wells. Of course, that thing was nixed when our witless leader went for a mediocre power-grab, sweeping this unfortunate piece of bad legislature under the carpet before it could be torn apart in parliament and shifting its mastermind to a completely unrelated position in his cabinet.

So now we are still a hive of Internet scum and villainy, according to the people whose job is to determine such things. Somehow, I’m not entirely concerned about that.

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Posted by Matt on February 25, 2010

I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned this before, but Tim Burton’s Alice in Tim Burton Land looks really annoying. Like, I can’t even stand looking at any of the marketing because it looks so awfully Tim Burton that it just bugs the hell out of me.

Remember when a Tim Burton movie was something quirky and different? That was back when it was (a) new, and (b) usually attached to something other than ‘TIM BURTON MAKES A TIM BURTON MOVIE’. Did one of his movies bomb so bad he went into shellshock or something? Is he afraid of branching out? Or does he just love money?

It really doesn’t matter what the answer is. We’ve lost another talent to the abyss, and that’s what hurts the most.

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Speaking of similar things, my latest big Internet ‘research’ voyage was into the realm of Frank Baum’s Oz series. They seem like my kind of thing, filled with high-concepts that put my own attempts to shame. The Wizard of Oz is only the beginning: read up on this stuff yourself and have your mind BLOWN.

Also, look at this.

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Posted by Matt on February 24, 2010

Want.

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Posted by Matt on February 23, 2010

NO WRITING ONLY PICTURES FOR YOU

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Posted by Matt on February 21, 2010

The Worst Words #1

Mature

This is a horse that has been beaten dead for many a year, but I feel like giving my take on it, even if it isn’t significantly different from others’.

‘Mature’ is one of those words that should be banned from all sources of nerd information until they can prove that they actually know what it means. ‘Maturity’ in nerd media has become a joke, and it’s all because of the overuse and misuse of the term since nerd media really began.

Real maturity indicates many things. It means you have embraced the responsibilities associated with adulthood. It means you can think rationally, you can empathize with others, you exit the black and white morality of childhood, you realize that life is both good and bad. You can see, then, why most nerds have no idea what maturity really is.

But they know it must be important, because they see intelligent people using it (despite the fact that they always talk about how much they hate those intelligent people, they want to look smart too, so they also emulate them). What happened, though, is they looked at what was being described by others as ‘mature’ and got the wrong idea about them. For them, ‘maturity’ meant the violence, the dark storylines, the sex…you know all that. And thus started the ‘grim n gritty’ trend that has mostly been associated with comic books, and most forms of entertainment in the nerd sphere.

The comic book connection is a strange one. Most people trace the 90s (and even today’s) grim n gritty trend back to the 80s, with the success of Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns, both of which were darker, more violent take on a prior to that kid-oriented genre. There was darkness and death before in mainstream superheroes (see most of Uncanny X-Men, a comic that honestly surprises me was really that popular with the youth set back in those days, considering its soap opera melodrama), but not only were these REALLY dark and violent, but they were also critically acclaimed. But they were critically acclaimed for their ideas, their satire, their take on the genre as a whole (DKR a little less so on all accounts; it’s still pretty good, but I’d say Frank Miller has his own maturity issues). But what did a lot of the fans, and even the companies who produced those comics, think of them? They were dark, violent, and had nudity and swears and stuff, and that’s what makes them mature and important! And that is what they’ve been basing their reading/writing on for the past twenty years.

Although not all forms of entertainment have such a clearcut origin, the effect is the same. Not only was maturity debased in the minds of the many, but its debasement meant that nerds who thought themselves the arbiters of good taste began to use the term to justify their current obsessions with things they really shouldn’t be taking part in (mostly cartoons), to say that they are ‘mature’ as well. I’ve seen the Wikipedia entries for shows like Darkwing Duck describe aspects of the show as ‘mature’ because they may not gloss over death or have ‘themes’, which is ridiculous, and I’m sure the creators of those shows would agree. This misuse of the term is very popular among nostalgic and anime nerds.

That, of course, is one extreme. The more common abuse of the term is when it is applied to ultra-violent pieces of juvenile junk, especially in the worlds of video games and comics. Everything from GTA to Metal Gear Solid is called mature, even when they most certainly are (in the case of MGS, many mistake pretentiousness for actual maturity). While video game media has evolved over the years, and for the most part we no longer need to worry about them calling Gears of War a ‘mature’ in ways other than its ESRB rating, it still ends up being on the negative end of usage. I cringe every time I see some blog call (or dumb major website) for Zelda to become more ‘dark and mature’. But at least they’re making progress, right?

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Posted by Matt on February 21, 2010

Hello. I was on vacation for the past week. I went to many different places (including Montreal, Chicago, and Albany), all by train. It was very exciting! I may have to write about it some time.

Not now, I’m tired. Go away.

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Posted by Matt on February 11, 2010

Not that long ago, I considered myself an agnostic. I had entered my rage-against-the-machine age (with the added benefit of the Internet telling me what machines to rage against), and had decided that religion was bad and stuff, but still maintained some level of confidence in the possibility of the supernatural. I didn’t know what exactly it was, or what it did, or how that makes any sort of sense at all, I just could not completely disbelieve in…something.

I did not come from a religious background in the slightest. My parents never went to church or even talked about religious beliefs at all. Even my grandmother, who regularly volunteers at church functions, never appeared to be openly religious around me aside from the aforementioned volunteer work. So, unlike some, I did not have some previous religious belief to justify that lingering belief.

No, the reason I refused to stop believing in some unnamed supernatural thingamajig was because I had come from a childhood obsession with unsolved mysteries. Stuff like cryptozoology, UFOs, ghosts, psychic powers, that kind of thing. My consumption of musty books and TV documentaries about these subjects had trained me to ‘look beyond’, or more specifically, to be skeptical of skeptics. When I was the kid, the guy from The Skeptic who was always asked to appear on the documentaries was the enemy, coming on to rain on our parade. In my teenage decision to go agnostic, I was still in the grip of this type of thing, although I can’t say I believed in that stuff as strongly as I had previously. I created a sort of scientific way of approaching the completely unscientific, just so I wouldn’t look like a sucker buying into every tall tale I heard. For example, I thought that the Yeti was more likely to exist than Bigfoot, because there was more ‘evidence’ for it (evidence that, strangely, was never really tested by anyone with credibility, and seemed to disappear quite frequently), and due to some kind of logic, the Ogopogo was more likely to exist than the Loch Ness Monster. Stuff like that. I even remember writing an article on Lit.org, explaining my approach, with the example being that even if there are people out there who have never heard of a squirrel, and thus don’t believe in the existence of squirrels, doesn’t mean squirrels’ don’t exist; and somehow this also applies to supernatural things. Not the most accurate comparison, I know. But this was the kind of belief system I was working under at the time.

My decision to maintain that mindset that the supernatural could still possibly exist, even if most of the supernatural beliefs professed by others were wrong, was because I just couldn’t shake that part of me that wanted desperately to continue believing in the stuff I had been reading about for years. I continued to use the Bigfoot researcher criticism of ‘mainstream’ science, that it couldn’t possibly know everything, and often they ignore things that don’t fit into the status quo (I now know that is entirely against the nature of science). I honestly thought it was the more logical route, between pure religious belief and pure scientific thought; for people with want of information, the middle ground always seems to be the best road, although I now understand that most of the time it really isn’t.

Of course, I’ve grown out of that stuff now, and I fully recognize it for what it is: a field of cranks and weirdos. I think it was the later exposure to science and sociological theory, coupled with my studies in the evolution ‘controversy’, that showed me the more logical path to take. I now call myself a rationalist, although I really can’t say that what I label myself is going to be the most accurate description. I still kind of find those unsolved mystery-related things from my childhood to be somewhat enjoyable, although far less than I used to, and I don’t take them seriously at all. To me, Bigfoot is just another folktale, and unlike many things I liked when I was a kid, I am actually still interested in folklore and mythology. I think I have my priorities straight at this point.

And that was my longer personal post for the year. Expect long-winded speeches about Street Fighter‘s character roster to be twice the length of this.

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Posted by Matt on February 9, 2010

Via this via this.

This.

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Posted by Matt on February 9, 2010

Don’t ask me why, but I opened a new mini-blog.

Enjoy.

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