Ministry of Sound Recordings Can Go Fuck Themselves

Ministry of Sound Recordings Can Go Fuck Themselves

Why would I say such a thing? It’s easy! They are overzealous regarding copyright claims on YouTube. Allow me to illustrate the issue.

I have, for a few years now, occasionally uploaded videos to YouTube of various moments of game play from various games. The videos are largely unedited. Most of them are completely unedited, in fact. It’s only recently, within the last year or so, that I’ve started to add a title card and exit card to the videos. Other than that, the original footage is untouched. 80% of the time, this presents no problem. The rest of the time, I’ll get a notice that I can’t monetize the video or that it can’t be seen in certain countries. I’ve been fine with this because I haven’t cared to monetize any of the videos and they’re really only up there so I can share fun moments with a few friends.

Today, all that changed.

[cue dramatic, royalty-free music released under CC0 license]

I uploaded a game play video of a race in Forza Horizons 3 to YouTube. Once it was done processing, I got an email saying that the video was blocked from being viewed because it contained copyrighted material. That material was the song that was playing during the race in-game.

I bought the game. I’m not doing anything wrong. I’m not stealing from the copyright holders or making money off of this. It should be a common sense idea that sharing a clip of a game that you have your music in shouldn’t be infringing. But apparently it is and here we are. So fuck those guys.

Also, enjoy this clip of me racing a tuned Mini Cooper in Forza Horizon 3, set to music that is naturally occurring in the game.

Eat a dick, Ministry of Sound Recordings!

Screenshot Shenanigans

Screenshot Shenanigans

Well… it’s been a while… again. There’s just not enough time in the day. But I have plenty of time now, thanks to the pandemic and my job furloughing me through June.

It’s been… you know what, who cares? Lots and lots of shit happened. I left my old job, got a new much, much better and much, much higher paying job, the absolute dumpster fire in the Oval Office will likely stay there again because all the “radical left,” aka people who would be just slightly left of center in any other country, can’t get their shit together long enough to bite the bullet and vote out the president responsible for over 50k American deaths as of this writing. Yeah, the guy running against him is shit too, but he doesn’t have a 50k+ body count and your preferred guy would never have won anyway, even though I liked that guy better too.

I miss fast food. Sooooooo much. Especially terrible chain fast food pizza. And Taco Bell. And Wendy’s. And Popeye’s. On the plus side, I think I’ve dropped around 10 pounds, so that’s cool. I haven’t been getting any because I’m real leary of food prepared outside my house right now. And yes, I know, restaurants are in trouble and need my help blah blah blah I don’t care. I’d rather not potentially expose myself to a horrific disease.

In Feb of 2019 I had an allergic reaction that required an ER visit! Turns out I’m allergic to goat dairy, so that’s a thing. And in Feb of 2020, I had a couple of severe anxiety attacks that sent me to the ER twice in 4 days. Turns out I have anxiety! That was the diagnosis after running 22 blood tests (twice!) and several CAT scans and ultrasounds. So now I have to take blood pressure meds until I can see my cardio again and he clears me to come off them. Seems that each anxiety attack or even mild case of nerves causes my blood pressure to shoot way the hell up. At my last checkup, everything was fine, so that’s a good sign. Once I can see my cardio, which will probably be after lockdown is lifted, I should be off the meds. At that point, I’ll only have my Xanax to take as needed if I should have another anxiety attack. Good times!

What does any of this have to do with the title? NOTHING! Just me getting the stuff out of my system before I get to what I’m really doing here today. I have been taking a metric ass ton of screenshots of my games over the past few years, which I post on social media accounts that no one looks at. I figured, “Hey, I can post my screenshots here without any crappy compression and no one will look at them either!” Plus that gives this blog a bit more purpose, since I hardly ever use it for writing. That’s bad and I should do something about that, but I think we all know I won’t. And by “we” I mean me, myself, and I, because who visits here, amirite?

SO! Here’s some recent screenshots of No Man’s Sky. Fun fact: I just got the achievement on Steam for getting to the center in Survival mode. The last achievement I have to get is the one for getting to the center in Permadeath. After I post this, I’m gonna play some Animal Crossing: New Horizons because I just realized I haven’t played that all day today, and then work on my new Permadeath save. Enjoy!

Checking out this weird bug eyed looking space station while standing next to my ship, docked with one of my frigates.
Survival mode success!
Neat color contrast.
Birth of a star.
Uh oh…
Cotton candy skies.
Dark side of the space station.

My BSG Reboot Rewatch

My BSG Reboot Rewatch

Before we begin, I’d like to point out that this will contain unmarked spoilers for the Battlestar Galactica reboot series. Proceed at your own risk if you haven’t seen the show.

A few minutes ago, I finished my rewatch of the Battlestar Galactica reboot and it just about fucked me up. I watched the show when it first aired, and despite my misgivings about it (since I was a fan of the original), I really enjoyed it. I thought it was a well done show, with great writing, acting, production values, and most importantly, story. There is one exception to that. The story, which I did just call out for being great, does have a pretty big weakness to it. The writers seemed to have a significant over reliance on falling back to… well… magic to explain things. This is supposed to be a sci-fi show, but a lot of major plot developments end up being driven by God. Literally. The early seasons of the show have a line in the opening credits about the Cylons having a plan, but it quickly becomes apparent that it’s actually the writers’ interpretation of The One True God™ that actually has a plan.

This is… less than thrilling to me.

It would be one thing for this to be the case in some run of the mill drama or some specifically religious show, but it’s sci-fi. Science Fiction. SCIENCE Fiction. The key, defining feature of science fiction vs other forms of fiction is the science. It should be the science or things resulting from that science that frame the show, not magic or religion or mysticism or anything in that vein. It’s completely out of place and really damages my enjoyment of the show.

But you know what? I’ve mostly made my peace with that during the first run of the show. That’s not even what’s fucking me up about this.

The way it ended… man. It was kind of the capstone on this dread that I felt building the farther into the rewatch I got. While I still don’t like the direction they went with in the ending, they at least did it with their usual high quality. What fucked me up was just… all the loss. The entire human civilization gone, not once but twice. First on Kobol and then on the 12 colonies. Thirteen total planets filled with human life, all gone. And on a smaller scale, there were so many heroic deeds, people, ships even that helped save the remnants of humanity throughout the show and I feel like the way it ended, they’re all just gone and forgotten. It’s bothering me. A lot of stuff was wrapped up, but too much was left to the whole… “And they rode off into the sunset” sort of thing.

Let’s look at each group and how we got fucked out of an ending for each:

  • The Final Five – So these are the remnants of the Thirteenth Tribe of man. I wasn’t too clear on if they were a tribe of Cylons created by the 12 tribes of humans on Kobol, or if they were themselves human. There’s a scene where the rebel Cylon scientists talk about how the organic and machine remains somehow tested the same, meaning they were all Cylon. However that didn’t quite make sense to me because in none of the Final Five’s flashbacks do we see any Cylons, even after the revelation that that’s what they all were. Not only that, but why’d there be a scattering of Centurion-type Cylons mixed in with a world of Skinjobs? Did the Thirteenth Tribe decide to do their own AI research, forgetting about what happened on Kobol (I suspect hostilities between them and the other tribes led to the events that destroyed Kobol and split their tribe from the other 12, but who the fuck knows because maybe God did it), or was it that they just kept making a small number of Centurions to do the manual labor and… well no, that would basically be the same as the first thing I was thinking. Basically, the original Earth in this show is destroyed in what seems to be a Cylon uprising, but the inhabitants of the original Earth are all Cylons so who are the Cylons rebelling against? I’m down another rabbit hole here and this isn’t even the point I was trying to explore. The Final Five! OK, so these guys are the last survivors of Earth that was. They have their own arc and end up on Earth that is (those that survive, anyway). And… now what? They’re a distinct group of humans with literally thousands of years of history and they’re just gonna settle down in a nice animal skin tent by the woods? WTF? I mean, one of them even goes off to be a hermit. This is how the last of the Thirteenth Tribe, who fought so hard and so long (for thousands of years!) to survive and make sure humanity doesn’t repeat the same mistakes (which again, were they originally human or not? Like WTF.) goes out? This is how they meet their end? Shit.
  • Colonial Cylons – I guess by blowing up their home base, that means they’re all dead? What’s stopping all the rest of the Cylons who, you know… weren’t home when home blew up, from seeking revenge? Granted it seems they pulled out of their occupation of the 12 Colonies, but was the massive structure in the finale really all of the Colonial Cylons? There was that splinter group of Guardians mentioned in Season 2 or 3 that were guarding the first hybrid. They haven’t been destroyed and are there no other groups like that, or even fleets on patrol? What about the Cylons at New Caprica? Are they still there oppressing any humans that didn’t make the evacuation?
  • Rebel Cylons – So the rebel skinjobs are just gonna live out their lives on this new Earth, which is fine, but are they breeding with the humans, both Colonial and terrestrial? If so, how? They basically act like Hera is a miracle, which hey, with all the religious stuff in the show she probably is exactly that. The thing is, if she’s not magic, then why can’t there be other hybrid babies born? Since they seem to say that Hera was the mitochondrial Eve, did not a single other Skinjob fall in love with a single other human? So a Base Ship full of Skinjobs just lived out their natural lives and died, happy to have helped out? What? And what of the Centurions? They got the Base Ship and almost literally rode off into the sunset. No mention of them in the future/present day scene?
  • The fucking magic angels or whatever the fuck – Head Six and Head Baltar… What the shit was that? No explanation of who/what they actually are or who sent them. I mean, it’s probably God, but Head Baltar got all SUPER creepy and was all “HE DOESN’T LIKE THAT NAME!” when Head Six called him that, so is it God or some other shit? And maybe it’s just me, but I sort of got the sense that maybe Head Baltar was the she’s God or whatever, based on that last scene with him and Head Six. I could be and probably am wrong, but something about the way she talked to him and him getting his back up over the name “God” made me think that. While we’re at it, I’ll throw Starbuck the White in here as well. WTF was this shit? None of her arc made any goddamn sense. She blows up in a storm in a gas giant’s atmosphere and her remains and ship’s wreckage end up light years away on Earth that was? How? And Leoben doesn’t feel the need to tell anyone about Starbuck the White finding Starbuck they Gray’s body? WTF? Srsly, WTF! Beyond that, where did she actually come from? Who sent her? (God, obvs.) How did the first Hybrid in Razor know about her upcoming shenanigans since she hadn’t done her Gandalf thing yet? How did she just disappear if she was corporeal? I get Head Twins vanishing because they’re ghosts or angels or whatever, but Starbuck the White seemed to be more physical. So what’s up with that? She fulfills her literally God given destiny and just poof?

Plus, the main group of humanity’s survivors… You see what happens in their future and… Well, part of it ends up being a big fuck you, which I always hated, but part of it is they went so hard on the weird religious angle that the closing scene seems almost about the mysticism more so than the future of the people you spent 4 seasons giving a shit about. And if you’re going to go that route, THEN FOR FUCKS SAKE EXPLAIN WTF ALL THE GODDAMN WOO WOO MUMBO JUMBO SHIT WAS AND WHERE IT CAME FROM! Going beyond that, I just feel like the human sacrifice and the blood and hardship of these people will never be known and in the end, it was all for nothing, because humanity always falls into the same old patterns. The names of Galactica and Pegasus will never be known. Starbuck, Apollo, Admiral Adama, Colonel Tighe, Helo, Athena, Hot Dog, Kat, and so many other big damn heroes are just… forgotten. The Adama maneuver on New Caprica, the fight against Scar, Kat’s Radiation Rescue… It’s not all for nothing because all of these ships and people and acts of heroism helped save humanity but goddamn you’d think when they were throwing out all human progress because robots or whatever, they’d have at least kept fucking writing so they could tell the stories of these places and people and deeds. For fuck’s sake, if Pythia hadn’t recorded the account of the 13 tribes leaving Kobol, you fuckers would all be dead! Not one of you thought, “Hey, maybe we should keep good records just in case shit goes bad, our descendants will know what to do and maybe these records can even help them avoid the type of mistakes that led to all this. You know, kind of like what Pythia should have done instead of writing in bullshit metaphor and not actually mentioning the minor detail THAT IT WAS AN AI REBELLION THAT LEAD TO THE EXODUS FROM KOBOL SO HEY MAYBE TRY NOT TO MAKE ANY MORE AIS.” Granted, at least Pythia wrote some shit down, which did help, but a lot of trouble could have been avoided if she was better at her job. That aside, you’d think someone would want to be a Pythia analogue to maybe help out the future generations.

So humanity goes boldly into the future by literally forgetting it’s entire history so that they don’t make the same mistakes. The idea behind this being that if they leave behind all the trappings of their millennia long civilization, they won’t fuck up in the same old ways. See, the thing is, there’s that old saying we have about not learning from history and doomed to repeat mistakes and the like. Seems like this was actually exactly the wrong thing to do. I do think they also dishonor the memory of those who gave their lives to get humanity to this point by throwing away their past, which is a big part of what’s bothering me. All that knowledge, lost. All the stories of those people, lost. The ships, lost. Tales of heroism, lost. Why? Just so they don’t build murderbots again. Meanwhile, they could just try to rebuild civilization and make it their highest law not to build murderbots. Literally every person in their new civilization would know how bad it can be if you build murderbots, so they won’t do it. And if they teach this value properly to their kids and pass this cultural facet down to future generations, they’ll hold it in high enough regard not to build murderbots. To just throw everything away… goddamn.

That scene in… Daybreak I think it was, where Hot Dog is taking all the pictures of pilots off the memorial wall for safe keeping, that scene really fucked me up. Partly because of all those they’d lost, but also because of what he said about the other pictures being left behind. There was no one left who knew who they were. That’s heartbreaking. These were all someone’s loved ones. They’re gone and so are the people who survived the genocide and held them in loving memory. That scene left a deep ache in my chest. All of that knowledge and history lost. No family or friends to keep the memories alive on a small scale, and the collective output of a dozen worlds of civilization also gone. The Galactica was dying and could never be replaced, as was all the knowledge and history they’d left behind and as was now happening to all those people in the pictures. It really gave me pause. And then the finale, in which they go on a suicide mission to rescue the magic baby so that Starbuck could realize she had the jump coordinates to the new Earth… So much waste and loss and for what? I feel like there had to have been a smarter way to do this. Even though this is all fiction, the idea of the loss of that much knowledge, culture, history, and such hurts me as someone who’s scientist-trained and values knowledge and history quite highly.

The really fucked up part is that I think they were going for a hopeful note to the ending, but that’s not what I got from it at all. Especially with the montage of our own early forays into AI and robotic tech. As they said on the show, all this has happened before and all this will happen again.

4 Dashes – A Springtime Story

4 Dashes – A Springtime Story

Earlier this evening, I wrote a silly short story for a friend (we’ll call him Buzz Killington) in a group chat. He was having some issues with his roommate (Buzz named him Captain Liar) paying the cable bill and his service had been interrupted. He was asking for advice, and the following exchange occurred between Buzz and another friend (we’ll call this friend Banner Bryce):

Buzz Killington: According to Captain Liar he called them just now and paid the bill with a card. That is promising, if it wasn’t for his super hero name….
Banner Bryce: “Services still aren’t working. Let me call and see if payment posted”
Buzz Killington: Now Banner said what he said in quotations, so I’m not sure if he said that or if he was implying that if Captain Liar was a good man or even human in general he would have said that in response to me telling him I’ve still got my dashes.

That’s been edited slightly to reflect name changes and to remove unrelated text. Buzz not knowing what Banner was trying to say inspired me to construct an elaborate explanation of it. Why? Why not? Its been a while since I wrote creatively and this seemed like a fun little exercise. Without further ado, I present to you my first piece of original short fiction in almost 20 years…

4 Dashes – A Springtime Story

It was a hot late spring day and Phteven was steamed. It wasn’t just this unseasonably warm heat that got his blood boiling though — oh no! It was also the fact that his rapacious roommate had once again forgotten to pay the cable bill. Likely he’d spent the money on cheap women and even cheaper booze, as was his way. Phteven tried not to get mad, as he’d always lived by a well intentioned, but ultimately misguided code to not beat the asses of those who deserved it.

Phteven had already talked to his roommate about paying that bill and the roommate swore up and down that he had just paid it with his credit card. Phteven was skeptical, as was right and just when it comes to claims made by his possibly mentally handicapped roommate. His skepticism was also justified because despite the claimed payment, he was still confronted with a lack of TV service as indicated by the dreaded 4 dashes displayed on his cable box, which somehow managed to be cheaper than both the women and booze favored by his ill-mannered roommate.

What to do? He’d already vented to his friends in the chat while asking about how his cable company’s non-payment process worked. They’d given him the information requested, although at least one of them wondered how it could be that Phteven didn’t know, given they’d both worked there at the same time. New knowledge or forgotten, the problem remained.

The 4 dashes.

They stared at him. Mocked him. They laughed at his roommate’s claimed payment.

Phteven was starting to get nervous. “What should I do,” he asked himself. He gazed across his room at the cable box, thinking wistfully of all the DVRed shows he could be watching right now. Looking out the window and seeing the beach that lay just a few blocks down in his mind’s eye, he thought, “Services still aren’t working. Let me call and see if payment posted.”

For a moment, Phteven had a sense of cognitive dissonance. He usually thought in complete sentences, following all the rules of grammar, but for a moment there he constructed that thought with the bare minimum required to be understood, leaving out prepositions, articles, and all his Grammar Good Guys, as he liked to call them. It was almost as if… as if it were someone else’s voice speaking in his mind…

But no, that couldn’t be! That sort of thing is relegated to the world of the comic books he enjoyed. Just then he noticed that the cable box was no longer displaying the 4 dashes! The time was now emblazoned upon it, for all the world to see! The oddly phrased thought forgotten, Phteven reached for the remote control and turned on the TV, bathing himself in the LCD glow of one of his favorite pastimes.

Who’d have thought his recklessly irresponsible roommate would have come through? An argument could be made that he should have paid the bill on time, but at least he didn’t have to cajole him into paying it over the course of several weeks like he had to do last time!

Even that thought fell away however, as Phteven made a selection from his DVR and hit play. He slipped into the fantasy world of his TV show and let himself be immersed. There was no unseasonable heat, no unruly roommate, no unexplainable thoughts… just pure, televised bliss. Phteven smiled and settled in to watch, unaware of the brush he had with the lurking horror creeping just beyond the veil of reality…

Security? Where we’re going, we don’t need security!

Security? Where we’re going, we don’t need security!

This article has been edited to reflect the facts of the San Bernadino shooter case

Have you heard about the latest governmental overreach into our rights and privacy? If not, read this article from Ars Technica. It sums things up nicely. Earlier today I was speaking with a friend online about this issue and he said something that inspired me to write a rather lengthy response. I tried to keep it somewhat succinct while speaking with him, but I feel like I have more to say, so I thought I’d post it here. It think it’s an important topic and I also think that a lot of people don’t understand it or even give it much thought. While this site sees only a tiny bit of traffic even on a great day, I hope that by writing this and putting it out there, it may be seen by at least a few people and get them thinking. The more people that are knowledgeable about security in this digital age, the better off we all are.

So here’s what was said that got me thinking and writing:

I have mixed feelings about this FBI Apple case. On one hand it is creating a backdoor loophole that they can’t control such privacy. Then on on the other hand this is something that had this been used in other cases, this could have prevented numerous deaths in different scenarios. It’s a catch 22. You’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. There needs to be another way to catch criminals but we all know criminals are using their cellphones to communicate or other wireless devices.

There’s several things that strike me about what he said. I think a lot of people feel the way he does, so let’s take things line by line.

Then on on the other hand this is something that had this been used in other cases, this could have prevented numerous deaths in different scenarios.

That other hand that’s talked about is how the government has been able to systematically strip away our rights and freedoms for the past 15 years. They prey on people’s fears that something might happen and that by giving up your day to day freedoms and rights (including your right to privacy!), you’ll somehow prevent some catastrophe or save lives. Meanwhile, there’s been no evidence that this has ever been the case. We’re not any safer now than we were before our government started hardcore spying on us. Not only that, but I can’t think of any example where the government has drastically expanded its power and reach and has only used it for “just this one case,” or with a narrow and targeted scope as they always claim. These things always wind up being abused and it usually happens pretty quick.

It’s a catch 22. You’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

Its really not a catch 22, though. That’s the problem here. Too many people believe that the only effective way to catch criminals is to give up your rights. Ask yourself this: Since the NSA has started logging all of our phone calls and spying on the entire fucking country, how much has crime dropped? How many trials have actually gotten convictions due to the invasive spying of the NSA? How many criminal plots have been foiled? The answer is that it hasn’t done shit. It hasn’t made you any safer. It hasn’t stopped anyone from doing bad things. It has in fact put you more at risk because the government’s cyber security is laughably bad and there have been multiple foreign intrusions into the government’s infrastructure, putting your data at risk.

There needs to be another way to catch criminals but we all know criminals are using their cellphones to communicate or other wireless devices.

There is another way to catch criminals. It’s called proper detective work that follows the laws and established procedures of our justice system. If the laws need to be updated, then we as a society, as an empowered citizenry, need to come together to have a conversation with our elected officials to modify the law or add new ones that are better suited for the current times. This does not involve giving three letter agencies a way to compromise your digital security. These people can’t even keep the personal information for their own employees safe from Chinese and Russian hackers, and you want to give them the keys to all iDevices? Fuck that noise! And if we go back to the specific case in question here, how absurdly weak must the case be against the shooter that all the incriminating evidence is on the guy’s phone? They don’t have any other physical evidence of the crime? And if they do, why not get a court order compelling the suspect to unlock the device by providing his password, instead of going nuclear and demanding a way to unlock all iDevices? Overreach like this doesn’t make anyone safer and doesn’t prevent crime. To believe otherwise is folly and its exactly what the agencies that want to expand their power want you to believe. Where does it stop?

Let’s really think about this case… The shooters were killed in a firefight with the police. Who are they trying to convict? There’s no case here. They don’t need a master key to bypass the encryption on the iPhone. Given that they have no evidence of ongoing criminal activity they can point to and there’s no active case pending prosecution that they need evidence for, it really weakens their position. This is exactly how the Patriot Act and its ilk got passed. They want you so scared that something MIGHT be happening that you’ll just hand over the keys to the kingdom. Hell, the FBI director has even gone on record as saying that the shooters are not part of a larger terrorist organization and didn’t receive direction from any outside group. So again, who’s being investigated here?

This is yet another example of the ever growing invasiveness of various government agencies. These are people who are supposed to protect us, so why are they doing things to harm us? There’s at least one lawmaker who understands this and isn’t afraid to speak out against it. I can only hope more people sit up and take notice. As a law abiding American citizen, I shouldn’t have to fear the various agencies of my government. I shouldn’t have to worry about them spying on my phone calls and all my online actions. There’s no excuse in the world that can reasonably justify their behavior and the fact that they want to continue to expand their power is beyond disturbing. Weakening encryption will solve nothing and if back doors exist to strong encryption, like that on the iPhone, its only a matter of time before people with even less integrity than the agencies tasked to protect us gain access to it. What happens then? What else will we have to give up to be protected from this new threat?

Please take the time to educate yourself on this topic. Read the articles I’ve linked to, especially the comments of Congressman Lieu. There are so many resources that you can use to educate yourself. The only way to truly protect yourself is to fully understand the issues at hand and what’s at stake. Act from a position of knowledge, not from ignorance and blind belief in the infallibility of authority.

Walking Dead? More Like Whining Dead Amirite?

Walking Dead? More Like Whining Dead Amirite?

No, I don’t hate The Walking Dead. Yes, I thought this Sunday’s midseason premiere was awesome. So why the title? Its because of this article. I hesitate to even link it because I don’t want to give that garbage site any more traffic, but to understand my response, you’ve got to read the article. Its a recap written by one of the io9 staff about the latest Walking Dead episode. Its one of many TV show recaps they do. io9 seems to be a the science and sci fi part of Gizmodo… I think. I can’t really be sure if that’s their guiding theme, because they also have articles about Kanye West and piracy, which doesn’t really fit. In any event, they wrote an article about the recent Walking Dead episode and it was so balls to the wall ridiculous, that for the first time in I don’t know how long, I felt compelled to actually comment on a website. But before I get to that, I have a question…

Is there really a market for this? Paying people to write recaps of shows they could have just watched themselves? If you’re a fan of the show, why not watch it? If you’re not a fan of the show, why do you give a shit? This makes no sense to me and just falls into the category of “Let’s watch other people play video games on YouTube or Twitch!” to me. If you’re completely awful at games, I can understand wanting to watch a game you’re bad at to see how it is beyond the part you’re good at. I don’t really see much of a reason to do so otherwise, but at least that’s something. Reading about someone else watching a TV show you like? I just don’t understand this. Is this some millennial garbage? “I like this form of entertainment, but instead of simply enjoying and experiencing it, I’ll turn to another form of entertainment to watch another person enjoy and experience it! Because that’s the same or even better, right?” If its not some millennial garbage, then what is it? Where does this come from? How does a site survive doing shit like this? I’m old and angry and confused and yelling at a cloud! But goddammit, its a stupid cloud!

Old Man Yells at Cloud

Get off my lawn!

You might be wondering how I even came across the recap, given how I feel about that sort of thing. Its because I saw that an episode of The Walking Dead had recorded on my DVR, and not trusting my garbage DVR to know what’s a new episode or not, I googled to see if the show had returned from its break. This was the first result. While the title didn’t spoil anything, it did confirm that the show was back. The title also stuck out in my mind, so I thought I’d go back and read it after I watched the episode and had formed my own opinion to see how it compared to theirs. Anyway, go back and read the recap. I’ll wait.

If you’re a fan of the show, I imagine you’re somewhat confused as to how this clown could have possibly seen the same episode you and I saw. Honestly, it sounds to me that he’s either a parent, or has a close relationship with another child about the age of the kid who got snuffed from the show and his projecting that relationship onto this kid. Having done that, he’s not able to actually watch the rest of the episode without being horribly traumatized by this thing that didn’t happen to him or his loved one. As I mentioned earlier, I felt the need to comment on it, and I did… only to find my comment was “pending approval.” I thought about what might have caused an instant hold on the comment, and I realized I used the word “fucking” near the end of my comment. Now this is a very naughty thing to do, especially since the extremely sensitive people who are watching (or maybe just reading about?) a show about the zombie apocalypse clearly would be far to sensitive to be exposed to such a word. I edited the comment to remove that word, but as of the writing of this article here, it still sits in pending approval hell. From what I gather from reading the other comments, its unlikely to ever be allowed past the filters. I find this hilarious because I used the word in response to the closing section of the recap, where the asshole hack of a writer (who by the way has no grasp of the definition of a TV trope) preemptively insults and acts demeaning towards any reader of his verbal diarrhea. That’s allowed, but I can’t use adult language in the comments section of a recap that attacks its readers of a show that is all about adult situations.


OK io9, whatever you say!

I decided to save the text of my comment and post it here. You can’t censor me, io9! I may have zero audience, but people find my site by accident through search engines occasionally, so someone is bound to read it and know of the lack of integrity of your site and the poor quality of the recap writers you hire! Without further ado, my response:

Before I begin, I want to make clear that of course you’re entitled to your opinion and yeah, of course not everyone agrees with everything everyone says. But just like you’re entitled to your opinion on the episode, I and others are entitled to ours on both it, and your article that you are paid to write for a public audience.

Last I checked, this was The Walking Dead, not My Little Pony: Nothing Bad Happens to Kids Because Kids are Magic. The fact that you use the phrase “child murder” over and over again shows that it was really that one scene that colored your perception of the whole episode. If a rabid dog mauls someone, the dog didn’t murder that person. Pretty sure the same would apply to a zombie killing someone, child or not, because the zombie has no real agency. Honestly, this really comes off as you imagined your hypothetical child or child aged relative in the scene and lost your mind about the episode. I think this was a really good episode. There were parts that were for sure tough to watch, but to claim EVERYTHING was wrong with this episode, then spend a good portion of the article crying about the on screen death of a kid (who are apparently magic and no harm can ever come to) is pretty ridiculous. You do understand for the world to end up the way it did at this point 6 seasons in, millions of kids had to die? Just because you didn’t see it on screen doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. There are a lot of other quality, safe, family friendly shows you can be watching instead of TWD if this is the sort of thing that bothers you.

Honestly, the rest of this article sounds like lashing out at nothing because you’re cranky at the idiot kid getting himself killed. (By the way, you missed the part where Rick was NOT paralyzed by the death of the idiot kid’s mom as you claimed, but in fact took action to save his son.) This line in particular had me laughing: “This comes at the end of the episode’s best scene, where Rick talks to Carl about the fight, and not because it was absurd, but because he saw their group and the Alexandrians work together for the joint cause of saving Alexandria.”
Really? This was the best scene? You realize this wouldn’t have happened if they hadn’t all gone out to fight the zombie horde, something several paragraphs are spent bitching about.

It looks like you’ve had it out for this episode since your advanced screening, though. I followed the link about Andrew Lincoln’s visceral disgust, and found that when you read the actual quote, he wasn’t viscerally disgusted! He was upset and disturbed, but since you don’t know what about (something you do admit in the other article), you’re really reaching when you decide to make it about how Lincoln has no problem killing kids on screen so that must mean the finale will be horrific and the show is terrible now.

One final thing. I did read the whole article because I was interested to see what else you thought was wrong when you said “Everything,” but it seems that “Everything” was quite an exaggeration. When you start your bullet points by insulting and being condescending towards anyone who disagrees with what you thought of the episode, you can’t really be surprised when you get comments that disagree with what you thought about the episode. However I bet it makes you feel very self satisfied when you do get dissenting comments. Because hey, we couldn’t be bothered to read that far and thought you spat on our mothers or some nonsense. Most of your other assorted musings don’t really stand up to logic. Abraham and co. came out of nowhere? You mean they didn’t come out of the truck they’ve been driving to Alexandria for hours? I could go on, but why? You likely won’t ever read this and if you did, you won’t be able to get past the child murder to discuss this rationally.

And yeah, I’m pretty sure everyone commenting, whether they agree with your opinion on the show or not, know how fucking jobs work. What a ridiculous and needlessly inflammatory thing to say. But hey, I bet anyone who didn’t agree with me didn’t read this far and is a big fat poopy head. That’s a valid way to close a comment, right?

New Year’s TV Catch Up

New Year’s TV Catch Up

Before I begin, let me just say that I am REALLY bad at keeping up with things. As you can see, I totally whiffed on that schedule above. I take some small solace in knowing that I’ve been able to make semi regular updates to Ask the Fatty. So what have I been up to? Catching up on the large number of TV shows that I fell behind on because of my move to CA and loss of access to a decent Internet connection and a reasonable way to watch things. What follows is a list of what I’ve caught up on as of today.

A word of warning! Spoilers follow! While some of what I’m talking about is from last year, I’m sure I’m not the only one not watching during the original broadcast, so a word of warning if you haven’t seen Homeland, Black Sails, or Da Vinci’s Demons. There will be spoilers for these shows!

  • Homeland – I just finished watching this a couple of hours ago. Season 5 was absolutely fantastic! I’m not sure if I would say it was the best season so far, but that’s only because the show as a whole has been so outstanding and consistent in quality. That makes it difficult to single out a specific season. I really liked how this season seemed to be inspired by the Snowden leaks. It was a great story line with a really good payoff. I was sad to see Quinn go (because I’m pretty sure Carrie mercy kills him after the fade to black), but what a performance to go out on. He really knocked it out of the park this season. And I’m glad Allison caught a few dozen bullets at the end! What a fucking dirtbag!
  • Black Sails – GODDAMN, SON! That 2nd season finale was amazing. And the start of the third was excellent as well! Season 2 was even better than season 1! Gotta say that I don’t like that one character who’s name I always forget… the current madame of the brothel and business/sex partner of Jack Rackem and Anne Bonny. I feel like she’s just waiting for an opportunity to turn on them. While the others seem to want to make Nassau a self sufficient, free state, she seems like she’s ready to cut and run at the first sign of trouble and damn anyone who gets screwed by that. You know who else I don’t like? That fucking militia corporal that shot Miranda in the head. I sure am glad he took a cannonball to the face. Speaking of which, the shelling of the Carolina colony was excellent. That whole escape sequence was epic. I’m really looking forward to seeing how this season unfolds. It’s off to a great start so far!
  • Last Week Tonight – Not a whole lot to say here, other than I think its great how it manages to be hilarious while still presenting you with serious news. I also love all of the social movements they try to start, the best of which was that ridiculous and completely legal church. Too bad people kept sending them semen and they had to close it. 🙁 It would have been great to see how far they would have taken that.
  • Da Vinci’s Demons – This was, from start to finish, one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. So well written and such a phenomenally acted show. Even though this was canceled before its time, I’m glad they were able to wrap up pretty much everything in the final episode and bring the series to a satisfying conclusion. I suspect that they actually edited the final episode to remove some scenes because of the cancellation. From what I understand, they got the cancellation notice after the episodes already started filming, so it was too late to make any significant changes. The last episode ended up being around 5 minutes shorter than even the shortest episode of the series to date, so I think what they did was go in and take out any scene that would have set the stage for the fourth season. While it means we got less actual show, we didn’t get screwed with a never-to-be-resolved cliffhanger, so I’m OK with that. It was a pretty satisfying ending to the series. Also, the woman who played Leo’s sister is super cute.

I’m now gonna catch up on Bates Motel, followed by Penny Dreadful, followed by the back half of Mad Men. Let’s see how much I can watch before I get tired and go to sleep tonight!

Schedule Shmedule

Schedule Shmedule

Here’s the tentative schedule I had in my last post:
Tomorrow – Recap last year’s epic shenanigans
Tuesday – Recap this year so far
At least every other day after that – Log my notable (to me, anyway) activities
Once a week – Backlog recap; what have I gotten through and what’s left?
Once a month – Drafting ideas for long form opinion pieces and/or fiction stuff that’s been rattling around my head for a while.

I am going to alter it slightly because I am equal parts capricious and lazy and a year long recap sounds like a lot of work. I’m gonna save the recap of last year for later (though I’ll be keeping notes so that I don’t forget anything). I’m gonna jump ahead to this year. So, what have I done this year?

Well, I finished off the tail end of the annual SyFy (ugh, what a spelling) Channel’s New Year’s Twilight Zone marathon. I absolutely love that show and I love watching the marathon every year on New Year’s. A lot of people don’t really get it when I tell them that this is how I spend my New Year’s Eve and Day. “You mean you don’t go out? What about New Year’s parties?” As if I’m some kind of wild party animal. While I grant that since 2009 I’ve certainly done some living, at least in terms of catching up with the drunken debauchery I’m told was supposed to occur in high school and college, I’m not really some sort of party animal or social butterfly. Even people who know me are shocked that I stay in on NYE, and these are people who should know me the best! I guess NYE has that effect on people? I don’t know, people confuse the fuck out of me at times. Anyway, this year the marathon was really great because instead of running for just the eve and day, it ran from Wednesday into Sunday! They decided to show ever episode in order and there are a lot of episodes. It was a really great time. Also, I got good and hammered on NYE with a bunch of Absolut Mango and Gulden Draak. Drunken Twilight Zone is pretty awesome. I also ordered a pizza from the place across the street, which was delightful because there’s nothing like NY pizza! Trust me when I say that, I know it from painful experience!

Moving on, I saw Star Wars: The Force Awakens on the 2nd. The United Artists theater on 110 just put in an IMAX screen and has those super comfortable seats that recline. Unfortunately the seats in the IMAX auditorium don’t recline. I’m thinking that’s so they could fit more seats in there because the reclining seats do tend to take up a lot of room. Still, it was pretty nicely done and quite comfortable. The movie was good too. As you may know, I’m not really a Star Wars guy. I never saw the magic and amazingly wondrous world that others seem to see in these movies. I will say that they do manage to do one thing really well: create a believable, lived in universe. Unlike a lot of sci-fi, everything isn’t shiny and new and clean. I can see this universe as one containing used space ship dealerships. The various planets all have varying degrees of economic success, which reflects in the infrastructure and local cultures and societies. You have the core worlds of the Republic that are well kept and bustling, but you also see the desert worlds where every protagonist ever to exist in the series grows up. These later worlds all have markedly different infrastructure, economic health, and just the feel of the place is so different. I like the fact that the galactic society is somewhat stagnant and decayed. Its a facet of the Star Wars universe that has been really well done. Oh, and lightsabers are fucking awesome.

My laser printer is acting up. When you print more than 1 page, the image from the previous page ghosts onto the page after it. Its fucking annoying and from everything I can tell, I have to take it apart to fix it. If that doesn’t work, its likely I have to get a replacement part that is nearly as expensive as a new printer. While the printer is a few years old, it doesn’t have a very high page count, so I’m not really thrilled with its longevity. I just printed a test page and the results were not good. I should probably figure out what I’m gonna do with that thing.

I’ve also played a lot of Terraria this year. I’m building a skyway… I feel like I should have a cool name for it. I gotta say, those fucking harpies that live up there make it a real pain in the ass. I was gonna make the skyway a simple row of blocks across the sky with openings periodically to points of interest on the ground so that traversal across the world would be simple and quick, but the more I work on it, the more I want to do. For example, I’ve installed mine cart railway across the length of it and once the entire thing is complete (its about 95% done now), I think I’m actually going to put up statues with numbers on them for exit signs (maybe with names too, as you can now make statues in the shape of letters), and also lay down an overhead row of blocks to keep the goddamn harpies out. In fact, I think I’m gonna google up some videos on how to take apart my printer and then work on my skyway some more.

One more thing! I got my TV mounted! Now I have more room for my consoles and have freed up space to be able to put up some shelves so that I can finally have all my books and DVDs and games unpacked and displayed!

Mounted TV

Mounted TV

What’s Wrong With Me?

What’s Wrong With Me?

You know, some time ago, I changed my user name here to Captain Shenanigans for reasons that I don’t quite remember now. I think comedy? Who can say? I mention this for two reasons:

  1. I made this change well after the last time I made a post here.
  2. My poor posting history makes me think that I’ve earned this new moniker

This is the part where I’d sing that same tired old song about updating more frequently, but who am I really singing that song to? Let’s be real, its not like this is or ever was some high traffic hub of activity. I really write this stuff for myself more than anything. I don’t think I started out that way; I have vague recollections of having aspirations of being Internet famous back in the day (before it became equivalent with real life famous and all the terrifying things that come with that). In any event, that’s where I am now: writing for myself and not very good about keeping it up. I think it would have been really helpful over the past year if I’d been writing regularly. I know I certainly thought about it, but I never seemed to muster the motivation to do it. Instead I’d just waste time online browsing gaming forums or tech or science websites. When I think of the time wasted when I could have been writing or catching up on my Netflix queue or game backlog or book backlog… yeah, I need better time management skills. I don’t know why I keep not writing here and its very annoying!

I don’t want to make any promises to myself that I’m not going to keep, but I do want to write more. I’ve been doing a sort of OK job keeping Ask the Fatty going with beer reviews and I finally, FINALLY finished and posted those unpublished drafts of the two restaurant reviews I did like 4 or 5 years ago. I’ve been doing the review thing on Yelp and Google Maps (I’m a local guide now!), so I’m hoping that’ll get me in gear to write more both here and on Ask the Fatty.

I’m also thinking of a new domain name. I know this one isn’t all that old, but I fell out of love with it pretty quickly (and there’s another factor which I’ll discuss later). I’ve been trying to think of something new, but I’m running face first into a wall. I want something… I don’t know… evocative of tech or cyberpunk… I can’t quite describe what I want and that’s making the search for a new domain name even tougher. The few good names I’ve come up with were already taken, further compounding my frustration!

OK, not a promise, but a statement of intent. Not quite a New Year’s resolution, but more of a… New Year’s… thing that I’m casually gonna ease in to? I don’t know.

Tentative schedule:
Tomorrow – Recap last year’s epic shenanigans
Tuesday – Recap this year so far
At least every other day after that – Log my notable (to me, anyway) activities
Once a week – Backlog recap; what have I gotten through and what’s left?
Once a month – Drafting ideas for long form opinion pieces and/or fiction stuff that’s been rattling around my head for a while.

Let’s see how this goes. Oh, and Happy New Year! Here’s hoping its better than last year, or at the very least, filled with more writing.

I Did it Again

I Did it Again

Well its been a year and a day since my last update. I was doing so well for a while, and then back to the usual shenanigans. SIGH!

I’ll be headed out soon to meet some friends for beer and wings. I’m up to 140 different beers tried at Croxley’s. They give you a t-shirt for trying 40 different beers, so that’s like 3.5 t-shirts! I might have a problem. That being that I can only go there once a week! 😀

So let’s see… What else is going on… Ah yes, anyone remember that Taco Bell contest? The one where they were giving away all those PS4s? Yeah, guess who won one. This guy! I wish someone was around to take a pic of my face when I saw that “You won!” message, because I’m pretty sure it was priceless. The full prize package was a PS4, a copy of Knack, and 1 year of PS+. All together it’s a $510 value. I was pretty damn pleased! And I got it 2 days before launch, so that was awesome. I’m loving the system so far. It’s really well designed and the OS is a pleasure to use. It’ll never replace my PC as lead gaming platform of course, but its very nice for those console exclusives.

I have a Wii U as well, and I really like that as well. I might be one of 3 people on the planet that actually has one, but whatever. I need my Nintendo fix. Speaking of which, the new Mario game, Super Mario 3D World, is pretty excellent. Playing it puts a smile on my face every time. I’m on world 3 at the moment, and I’ve managed to 100% every level up to this point. Hopefully I can keep that going! Oh and Pikmin 3 is gorgeous and the HD remake of Wind Waker is excellent!

Looks like the dryer is done, so time to get folding so I can make it to the bar on time!