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Aug. 22nd, 2014

That Is The Biggest “Size 8” I Have Ever Seen

So once again kid's cartoons are coming under fire from the outrage brigade. And unfortunately, I can kind of see where they have a point this time. I'm not sure how to feel about this. Last time it was Thomas the Tank Engine, this time it'sScooby Doo. Daphne apparently pissed off the bad guy and got cursed to lose what was important to her, so she went from being very thin and pretty to seriously overweight and with bad hair.

The article reports that she was supposed to have gone from a size 2 to a size 8. I haven't watched the episode in question, nor have I been able to find it online so I can't check to see whether or not that it was actually outright stated that she became a size 8, but either way, someone is being a dumbass. I'm a size 16 (and yes, I'm working on it) and Daphne in those pictures looks like she's twice my size. If that's a size 8 then I must be Godzilla or something. Daphne looks like she's suddenly become 300 pounds.

I don't really like to talk about my weight, because it's kind of a sore spot for me. My father is obese, and I've seen how miserable he is. I have gained weight over the past two years, and it's really frustrating for me.So when I see gigantic Daphne there supposed to be eight sizes smaller than me, I wonder if to other people, if I look twice as huge as she does from those images. And that's kind of a disturbing thought.

On the other hand, I've watched Scooby Doo since I was a little girl, and Daphne has always been a bit dim and self-absorbed. And let's face it, suddenly gaining 150 pounds would be pretty horrifying. Even going up a pants size can be pretty upsetting. And apparently in the end of the show Daphne learns that what she looks like and how much she weighs doesn't matter at all to her friends, which is a good message. But I'm just not sure that showing a 300-pound woman as a standardized, fairly normal “size eight” is a good thing.

I don't know. I'm really, really hesitant to agree with the outrage brigade or give any credence to the movement that is at the forefront of decrying this. But I think this time, I have to say I'm on their side. I'm not happy about it, and I really hope this is the last time I have to do it. But this time, I will join in the voices saying that this isn't cool, WB.

And now I feel like I need a shower. Thanks a lot.

Jul. 24th, 2014

This Is The Dumbest Thing I've Read All Week

Cripes, not even Thomas the train is safe anymore.

For my readers not familiar with the story of Thomas the Tank Engine and all his train friends, they are a bunch of sentient trains that live on an island somewhat reminiscent of Britain, where they work hard for their company and learn lessons about being well-behaved and how to get along with others. In other words, it's basically every other children's show out there, only with trains. I watched this show growing up, as did my brother, as do my various younger cousins and nieces and nephews.

Let's tackle the author's assertions here one by one, shall we?

First off- Sir Topham Hat isn't the “ruler” of the island of Sodor. The Mayor of Sodor is this guy. Contrast him with Sir Topham Hat. Clearly they aren't the same guy, and if I have to spell it out for you any more than that, then... well. The author complains that Sir Topham Hat makes the trains do things for him. Well, yes, he is the business owner and the trains work for him. That's kind of the point of work. But he always treats the trains fairly.

The author's next complaint is that the diesel engines are racist because they pump out black smoke from the diesel, as well as being the bad guys. Uh. Well, Diesel himself is the “bad guy” as much as anyone is the bad guy in the show, but there are other diesel trains who are nice. Mavis, Paxton, BoCo, Dart, Salty, and others are all valuable part of the team. Also, the difference between the smoke is that if a steam engine is well-run and tuned up, it will not expel anything other than water vapor, while diesel fumes are darker in color and a bit more dangerous to inhale. Have you ever been behind a Mac truck on the highway? That stuff they emit? That's diesel fumes.

Then the author complains about James being painted pink for a little girl's birthday party and some of the other engines laughing at him. But he learned that it's okay to be pink at the end of the episode! That was the whole point!

She's also wrong about the lack of girl trains. There are plenty of female trains in the show- Molly, Mavis, Emily, Belle, Lady, the passenger coaches, Rosie, and a bunch of other ones.

Clearly this author doesn't know the first thing about Thomas the Tank Engine. Equally clearly, she spent a lot of time typing up a ridiculous indictment of the super horribly offensive kid's television program.

And I typed up an entire blog post about Thomas the Tank Engine. Clearly I need a life...

Jul. 14th, 2014

ScamCon

I honestly don't even know where to start with this.

People who've followed this blog for some time know that I don't really like much of anything. It would be easier to make a list of things I don't dislike than a list of things I do dislike. But there are some things I hate more than others, and scammers are one of those things. Even more than that, I hate scammers who try to make themselves seem like the victims. Fuck them with a cactus. In the ear.

Over the weekend, there was a fan convention in northern Illinois. Okay, no biggie, right? There are fan convention all the time. And most of the time, they're very fun for the attendees. This one... not so much. The con that happened this weekend was known as DashCon, previously known as Tumbl-Con USA. The name was changed to avoid confusing people into thinking that they were officially affiliated with Tumblr itself. And that was about the last honest, above-board thing that happened at that con.

I do not like the Daily Dot very much, but this is a relatively balanced account of what happened at the con, although the Daily Dot is a lot more willing to go on “this was an honest mistake, not fraud” than I am. To make a long story short, along with a whole lot of other issues, the con's organizers got on stage, claimed that they were going to be kicked out unless they raised $17,000 in an hour, and started begging for money, which they received. Even with all of this last-minute slapdash fundraising, they still didn't have enough money to pay for the hotel rooms of the celebrity guests they invited, couldn't pay the performers, and had to sell pizza at a ridiculous markup to feed the hungry guests. But they apparently had enough money to put a down payment on the convention hall for next year, And not only did they get a convention hall for next year, they upgraded massively, into a convention hall used for massive, already-established conventions in actual industries, that would probably cost even more than $17,000.

Anyone with a rudimentary understanding of business law knows that once a contract has been signed, one party cannot renege on that contract by deciding that they don't like the people they signed the contract with and demand more money. That's not how contracts work. In my (humble and unprofessional opinion), they either never signed a contract, or didn't pay their fair share of the money to book the venue this year, and the hotel realized this belatedly. They could have also given a bad check, and realized what they did, and started trying to extort from the con attendees in order to cover their asses. This is called check kiting, and it's a federal crime, so this should be interesting to see if anything comes of this in the future.

If that wasn't bad enough, they also did not have enough money to rent the rooms for their high-profile guests, or even pay them. Welcome to Night Vale, a popular podcast, ducked out when they realized what was going on. I don't have the best opinion of the WTNV people since the podcast has stopped being funny and been more heavy-handed commentary on social issues, but my opinion has risen a bit based on this. Not only did they realize that they weren't going to get paid, most likely, they realized that if they did get any money at all it wouldn't have been ethically gotten, or could potentially be seized as part of an investigation into the fraud, if that's the way the defrauded parties choose to go.

But that's enough about the potential fraud/sketchy business practices. Let's get into the other sketchy things that went down at this con. For one, there was no security to speak of whatsoever, so anyone could wander into the con itself without paying for a ticket. There was a panel about BDSM, that was supposed to be restricted to adults only (18+). Reports are kind of all over the place about what actually happened, but it seems that they weren't very stringent with the age requirements, and minors went in and attended. That is a federal crime, and a very good way for the presenters to end up on the sex offender registry. Whether or not that's fair is a discussion for another day, but the fact remains that they really needed to be more careful about who gets into restricted panels.

And if that wasn't enough, now some people are complaining that the fact that the WTNV people bailed when they realized how sketchy this was are sexist because the convention organizers were “young women.” Never mind that at least one of those “naive young women” is approaching 40- technically old enough to be my mother. And serously? You're going to go the route of trying to paint scammers and fraudsters as naïve, poor, misunderstood young girls? HA. And Bernie Madoff is just a misunderstood old granddad.

I should end this by saying that I did not attend DashCon. But I can recognize a scam when I see one, and I have no sympathy. Well, that's not entirely true- I have sympathy for the attendees who got scammed out of their money. Given tumblr's demographics, it's very likely the majority of people who lost money actually were, in fact, naïve teen girls.

Here are some more links to the whole debacle. You know my position on it, you can form your own opinion if you'd like.

The Escapist

Oh No They Didn't! thread

Reddit thread from TumblrInAction

Another Reddit thread from TiA

Third Reddit thread

Hyperbite

Tumblr detailing what you can buy with $17 grand

Tumblr user explains the basic problems with the con- somewhat outdated but useful

Tumblr user who attended but left before the money grab happened describes the con

Lots of links

Why a lawsuit could happen
A vendor who went to DashCon talks about what she saw

Jan. 3rd, 2014

I Don't Think You Get The Point of Sci-Fi

Today I stumbled across a publisher of sci-fi and speculative fiction that bills itself as being socially conscious and progressive, called Expanded Horizons. And it is seriously one of the craziest things I've ever read.

Don't get me wrong: it starts out reasonable enough- as far as I can tell, you are not required to adhere to literally every single thing on this list, because I can't see how that would be possible, especially as multiple things are contradictory. But it's nothing particularly out of the ordinary. They want to increase the number of non-white people, women, LGBT people, and disabled people shown in sci-fi, which is an admirable goal. I have no problem with that, and I actually think it is a good idea, since I've read enough sci-fi that is basically “White Dude Saves Aliens And Fucks Alien Lady” that it's getting old. More diversity could lead to more interesting stories.

Where it goes batshit insane is where they say they want to increase representation of psychics, otherkin, otakukin, real-life vampires, and people with magical powers. And they are 100% serious about this- they really mean what they're saying.

For those of you who don't know, otherkin are people who believe they are animals trapped in a person's body. To me they largely come off as either kids goofing around, or people with some severe issues. A small subset of them treat it as a sort of religion, which I guess I can understand, since there are plenty of religions out there that come off as equally odd to me. Where it starts to become a problem is when adherents to this demand that people recognize their “true inner wolf” and demand that people stop sitting on their imaginary tail. Overall, though, they tend to be mostly harmless, but they're hardly a group that needs special representation. People who think they are wolves aren't... exactly what I would expect an organization focused on social justice to pay attention to.

Where it gets even weirder is the otakukin or fictionkin. Otakukin are people who quite literally believe that they are anime characters. If I was to identify as Higurashi Kagome from Inuyasha, I would be an otakukin. Fictionkin are the umbrella-type of otakukin, meaning people who think they are fictional characters of any type. A guy thinking he is Harry Potter would be a fictionkin.

The whole submission guidelines are a mix of understandable, if somewhat shortsighted (seeing as they are a science fiction publishing company) rules, and utter WTF-ery. No stories about aliens or giant bugs taking over the world? That's like half of sci-fi right there! No stories where mutants are oppressed? Guess the X-Men are out now. No sexbots, no blonde people, no clones, no zombies, no apocalypses in general, no aliens, especially no fat aliens or aliens that are very different from humans, but you also can't base your aliens on people... what the hell are you supposed to write about for your sci-fi? That's like 90% of sci-fi right there. And with the otherkin/fictionkin, psychics, and vampires included, I can't help but wonder- who exactly are they trying to market this to? People who hate sci-fi? Psychiatrists? Actual aliens? I don't know, and canno imagine anyone actually being able to write anything that fits to their exacting standards, especially any science fiction.

Aug. 13th, 2013

Please Silence Your Cell Phones Now

NOTE: the original version of this post had a hyperlink in it to the article. I had to go take care of some personal business for a few hours before I finished editing this post. By the time I got back, the article had been taken down and I can’t find a cached version of it. I guess he realized how insane the whole premise was, although I do sort of wish it hadn’t been deleted, because that was some funny shit.

So, some crazy guy thinks that people complaining about other people yakking away on their cell phones and texting throughout a movie are being rude as fuck. Mind you, he doesn't think that's the case with regards to the people yakking away on their phones, he thinks that people who want the cell-phone users to shut the fuck up are the offensive ones. Apparently it's a cultural concept that's unique to Americans. He uses examples from other countries, of people who interact with the movie, laughing, cheering, singing along.

But that's possibly the worst example he could have used to back up his argument.

I've been to plenty of movies in my day. I've been alive for a while, and my family and friends like to go to the movies. There is a huge difference between laughing at a funny line in a movie, cheering when the bad guy gets pwned, or even, in some cases, singing along (when I went to go see Les Miserables, there were plenty of people who sang along with the songs). That is called reacting to a movie. Do you know what is not reacting to a movie? Complaining to your friend Stacey about how totally unfair Mr. Williams is for giving you detention because you were texting under your desk. Also not reacting to the movie is having a loud conversation with your cousin Bubba about that new truck he wants. Neither is texting your girlfriend. That is NOT reacting to the movie.

I am fully prepared to accept that different cultures have different movie viewing expectations. But I highly doubt anyone appreciates you being an obnoxious ass in the movie theater, no matter where on the globe you are. Also, this lunatic compared being told to shut the fuck up in the movie theater to slavery. Seriously, who does that? What kind of crack do you have to be on to think that’s even remotely comparable? That’s not just apples to oranges, that’s apples to the Death Star.

Jul. 1st, 2013

THIS is the news I get?


When this kind of stupid shit is reaching me when I'm on the opposite side of the planet, something is very, very wrong. I can't even get fucking CNN here, but when people are getting outraged about a magazine cover featuring Bert and Ernie from Sesame Street watching the news, supposedly in reference to DOMA (which I didn't realize had been struck down until, oh, twenty minutes ago), AND IT MAKES IT ALL THE WAY TO JAPAN, you are doing something really wrong.

What am I talking about? A little while ago, one of my friends here asked me to explain why Americans were mad about the Muppets. My response? “Wat.” So then, she showed me some links that a friend of hers had shared on the Japanese social networking site Mixi, on a sub-group for learning English. The sub-group often posts videos from kid's educational television programs (like Sesame Street), because they're more fun to watch than some random old guy standing up there ranting about English grammar. Sometimes, the group's owner will link to interesting things in the news, or blogs, as well, especially if they're connected to one of the videos that they put up. It's supposed to help the readers learn English, and to find out more about non-Japanese cultures. It's actually pretty interesting. Anyway, the group's ownerhad posted some articles with a request for anyone who understood English better than they did to explain what was going on, since all they had managed to get out of it was that people were upset about a picture of the Muppets Bert and Ernie on a magazine cover.

Here are some examples of what the group's creator was talking about. Apparently sometime last week the United States Supreme Court made a ruling on marriage equality (I guess? I can't get very good news here thanks to the university's Internet filtering software, it blocks most websites that have video streaming, which is... most English-language news sites), and the New Yorker magazine put a picture of Bert and Ernie watching television together on the cover. And apparently people are outraged- OUTRAGED, I tell you! by this. One of the complaints is- “it's trivializing and infantilizing! Why can't the New Yorker put an actual picture on the cover?” Because, doofus, the New Yorker has never put an actual photograph on the cover since its first issue- all the way back in 1925. How do I know this? My grandfather has every single issue of the magazine dating back to 1947 and I've seen the covers. They're also available on the Internet.

This whole thing is ridiculous. Seriously people, if your nitpicking is out there enough to end up on a Japanese-language website, you need to step back and reassess your priorities, because they are seriously out of whack. Lord love a duck, you guys are fighting about a picture that has Bert and Ernie watching television. Yes, in the context of what is happening in the world it implies that they are gay. But... if you can't handle that, then what are you doing on the Internet in the first place? Longcat help you if you ever come across Rule 34.

Nov. 24th, 2012

*bangs head repeatedly on desk*


(due to potentially offensive nature of this post, it will be going under a cut. Please don't click if you are sensitive to discussion of assault. Or idiocy in general. Because this is some damn stupid shit- seriously, this actually managed to offend me. And I don't get offended all that easily.)