Sunday, August 30, 2009

Re: My Failure

Yeah, so I fail. Sue me.

(The above is in response to this and the discussion revolving around it)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Re: NIMF Nimrods

I was perusing the 'net looking for info about my new favorite obsession, and I stumbled onto this:

NIMF Disappointed with Nintendo

"Hardcore gamers have been anxiously awaiting MadWorld for a long time. But not everyone is happy to see the stylish, kill-happy game arrive. The National Institute on Media and the Family (NIMF) issued a press release this morning complaining that Nintendo has "shed its 'family friendly' reputation with MadWorld's release."

"The release of MadWorld for the Wii brings violent videogames to a once family-friendly platform," said Dr. David Walsh, president of the National Institute on Media and the Family. "In MadWorld, gamers use the Wii Remote to make the necessary physical actions to chainsaw an opponent in half, impale an enemy with a signpost or decapitate a victim with a golf club. MadWorld is another reminder that parents need to make sure they watch what their kids watch and play what their kids play."

Ha ha. :P MadWorld brings violent games to the platform? What is wrong with these guys? Violence has been a staple of the Wii game library forever. No More Heroes, House of the Dead, all incarnations of Resident Evil, the more recent Deadly Creatures, and of course the shitstorm that was Manhunt 2. Hell, one of the release titles for the Wii was RedSteel! Nintendo may like their casual players and family-friendly games, but the 3rd-party devs still love the hardcore gamers, and Nintendo obviously has no intention of banning these games from their hardware, violent or not.

Whatever. This stuff is still sensitive material. I'm turning 22 in like a week, and I still got carded buying the game. R-rated movies and mature tv shows don't even have that kind of security around them. I really don't see why parents have to point fingers and play scapegoat games when it comes to something as fundamental as raising their kids. You can't blame videogames for your failure of a child. If the kid's under 17, they shouldn't be able to get M-rated games anyway. As for the more important part, before your kids get ahold of violent stuff like this, it's the job of the parents to educate their kids on the differences between fantasy and reality. Hell, you can't even swing a real-life chainsaw around that easily. It's got too much inertia. Don't ask how I know that.

So, rather than continue arguing the same point that's been on the books for years, I'm going to dismiss this as yet another case of powerless peons pointing fingers because they think they have to control absolutely everything their child is every exposed to if they hope to raise anything but a menace to society. A child is the sum of all the love, attention and discipline you put into them. If you're doing your job right to begin with, some bloody games shouldn't be able to shake that. I play plenty of violent games, and I'm not a total antisocial psycho-

Okay, bad example there. But you get my point. Okay, see you around, kiddies. Peace and love. And chainsaws. :)

Michael Pittarelli Raped My Mind

I just got out of one of the most excrutiating lectures of my life. And believe me, that's saying something. I've had some awful teachers before, but this one takes the cake. I can sit through mind-numbingly boring and ineffectual lectures, but most professors I've had, however dull and convoluted their lectures become, usually stop short of being physically painful to listen to. Mike Pittarelli crosses that line running. Seriously, I've had bouts of food poisoning less painful than the experience of listening to this man talk for two hours.

First of all, he takes the full class period, and in fact runs out of time at the end, to discuss maybe 30 minutes of material. This is because he has a very confused, misguidedly casual approach to lecturing. It's never really clear what point he's trying to get across, just that he's trying like hell to make it. You can only hope to guess at what information he's hoping to convey, while he aimlessly circles the point of the story for what feels like hours, occasionally straying close to the point but never really reaching it. It's kind of like watching a bashful young schoolboy trying to work up the courage to ask out the preppy cheerleader.

Then, after ten minutes of ambling about like a late-onset Alzheimer's patient, just when you think he's about to make the point he's been working toward the whole time, he stops and switches to a new topic, wandering off in a completely different direction than you expected. If there is a more perfect living example than this of a functional adult with severe ADD, I have yet to encounter them.

I also don't understand how he can possibly justify jumping back and forth between chapters the way he does. There's a reason the more advanced stuff is saved for 200 pages later in the book: if you present them all together just because they seem related, it makes the whole discussion too confusing for new students to follow. At least, I'm pretty sure the discussion would've been confusing, if I in any way had the ability to continue listening, but by then I had lost all will to go on living, let alone keep listening to him prattle on about decomposing and rejoining database relations.

In short, I don't have a RateMyProfessors account, but this experience made me consider it. Guys like this may have some talent in their given field, but Mike clearly has done too much acid in his heyday to adequately teach his craft to impressionable youngsters like myself, and it's a terrible shame that he's allowed to continue doing it. If anybody else has him, I'd love some tips on how to survive this class, which is a requirement for pretty much every other class in my major.

EDIT: I found his profile on RateMyProfessors:
I guess I'm not the only one who's noticed. Of course, not many raters on the site had him for 350, which I do. I think the only reason people like/pass his class is because he does the same open book/notes tests that Sam Sengupta does, except Mike has a weird grading curve where having 53% on a test can net you a B+ or so. And at least Sam was bearable to listen to in lecture. I learned quite a bit without even reading the book. Mike lost me in a hurry. I think I might be better off just reading the book and sleeping through his lectures.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Hey, guess what?

My life's kind of boring. MadWorld, however, is fun. Thus, my time is being divided to allow more for MadWorld than for life. One-A-Day energy supplements don't seem to work for me, but the natural high of vivisecting things still does alright. Who knows, maybe one of these days I'll actually find the time/energy/will to get that webcomic/game/video series of mine started. I doubt it'll happen soon, though, since it's something of a daunting task for someone who can't really draw, code, or even write all that well. Plus... vivisections are fun.

Also, Schunk fails.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Back again

So, I'm settling into my new room. So far, so good. The weather is absolute crap, and I spent most of the afternoon being overheated, wet, tired, itchy, and generally pissed off at everyone. On the bright side, my room is mostly pretty nice. The desk is a bit screwed up, since it doesn't have the movable shelves like I had last year. I mean, the shelves are here, but they're disconnected from the desk and there doesn't seem to be any easy way to stick them back in like there used to be. Weird.

Also, my desk has a huge gash in it. I hope there's someplace to report that so I don't end up paying for it.

I did finally get to watch another movie yesterday; Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Thing is, the movie was actually really good, and I somehow feel weird writing a review for a movie that had nothing really bad to rip it a new one for. So, I think I'll just call it a 4/5 and say I'd recommend it.

Well, I'm sure I'll have more to blog about when something actually happens here. In the meantime, I want to spend what's left of my weekend taking it easy. I love you all. Most of the time.

Friday, August 21, 2009

A Change of (Healthcare) Plans

Double meaning intended for that title.

Yeah, so, my plans for movie blowout week or whatever kind of fell through. I underestimated the amount of stuff I'd be doing this week, and I really haven't had the energy to sit through 2 and 3 hour movies than I'm only mildly interested in, let alone to sit down with a computer typing during the whole thing.

Again, this'll be easier all around when I'm at school and have a good desk to work with; it's a much more conducive writing environment. Plus, I bought some energy supplements to try, so I'm hoping that will help. That, and maybe if I can get a solid, uninterrupted night's sleep a couple times a week. I'm really useless when I don't get a good night's sleep, yet it's almost impossible to get one around here. Some vacation, huh? :P

Anyway, I don't know how many of my readers watch the Daily Show, but I'm guessing all four of you have heard about all this controversy surrounding the proposed healthcare bills currently going through Congress. As often happens, John and his guest's conversation ran long and they couldn't show the whole thing on tv. The parts missed last night are on the website now, and I recommend taking a look. It's pretty interesting stuff:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Exclusive - Betsy McCaughey Extended Interview Pt. 1
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealthcare Protests

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Exclusive - Betsy McCaughey Extended Interview Pt. 2
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealthcare Protests

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Movie Review: The Strangers

Sorry about yesterday. The power went out here, so I couldn't watch a movie if I wanted to. Anyway, I've fired up the DVR and am all ready to kick off

Dan Mayer's
End of Summer
Movie Review

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So, since it's going on 6 and I wanted to get 2 movies in today, the first movie I'm doing is the shortest one I could find on my list:
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The Strangers stars my heart-throb Liv Tyler (<3) and some guy, but seriously who gives about him? Liv Tyler!
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In a break from tradition, rather than just writing something afterward, I'm actually typing while I watch to save time (with a few minor edits afterward). So, let's dive right in.

Inspired by true events.
Right off the bat, there's a creepy VO and titles telling us that this movie is based on true events. An opening like that really doesn't bode well for this 2.5 star production, but we'll see. I'll admit, the 911 call was a nice touch. Not sure about the editing, but it doesn't fail to set the mood.

(And I have to pause the movie at this point because I banged my toe on the coffee table badly enough to break the skin. Reason #478 why I'll be glad to have a desk again)

You make me feel beautiful...
The timeline is kind of erratic from the start of this next scene. I get they're trying to set up the scene, but the pacing just feels weird to me. I know people like to Tarantino everything today, but would it kill directors to just let us, the audience, see the events in the same order the characters do? Maybe then I wouldn't be so lost from the get-go.

(Character note: this guy's kind of a puss, man. :P Well, maybe that's just me and my views on marriage. No need to open that can of worms right now)

After the initial clumsiness, the movie seems to find its footing and builds up to a good pace. Suspense is a little thin at first, but the sense of mystery once the girl shows up at the door grows nicely from there. I'm not sure I dig the random eerie violin notes every few seconds, though. The parts with no ambient music seem to work much better. Maybe that's just my personal taste, though.

The visual editing seems okay. Nothing to write home about. Plenty of good shots of Liv in that cute little dress, though. :)

There's someone out there...
I do like this initial scene where the person in the mask slips inside the house. It's very subtle, yet extremely effective. It's more of a less-is-more approach to horror than I'm used to seeing these days, and I appreciate that. I'm still not liking the added background music, though. Silence does far more for this scene than anything else. The sound effects have a lot more punch that way. After the next series of bangs on the door, though, the scene feels a little too familiar. And the broken record player bit is just plain ridiculous.

Don't go out there!
Once again, I'm inclined to dislike this guy playing Liv's loverboy. I will say, though, this actor does a brilliant job of playing the crappy boyfriend (assuming that's what he's trying to do). The masked girl's random disappearing and reappearing are a bit played. Am I really supposed to be scared by the same trick twice in a row?

The rest of this scene with the guy out by the car is okay, though. Again, I like the pacing of it. The camera cuts build a nice kind of paranoid suspense without being too over-the-top. It's not great, but it's not bad.

Just us and them...
I'm a bit confused about why the guy was so slow to accept that maybe these people broke into the home and took her phone. Once he finally accepts that, though, he continues to let us down be revealing that, while he was able to find a gun, he has no clue how to use it. Way to go, buddy.

Here's Johnny...
The axe-in-the-door bit was actually pretty well timed. Once again, I'm fascinated by the pacing of this film. It has a way of slowing down and lulling you in only to kick the action back up as soon as you don't expect it anymore. I like the way they keep us in the moment in the closet.

Hey, it's Mike...
Yet another character I despise. The scene is effective, though. Somehow that shot-to-the-windshield thing never gets old.

Here's a weird one: despite how much I hate this Mike guy, I don't want to see him get shot by his own friend by accident. And yet, I feel it coming... Any minute now...

Called it. Where's that Stephen Colbert graphic? Whatever, I'll find it later.

Yes, it's Mike. Congratulations, you shot your friend you called to give you a ride and get you the fuck out of there. Way to be that guy.

The masked folk are still doing their thing, and doing it well. I love how they go through all this psychological crap without seriously hurting anyone. It's good to see a horror flick that manages to be kind of scary without making it a total bloodbath. In short, it works.

I haven't said much about it up to this point, but I really do like Liv's acting in this role. She really sets the emotional tone for every scene. But I think this is even more true now. Maybe it's the horror-factor of knowing she's all alone now, or maybe it's that her wuss boyfriend was holding her back. Either way, the movie's getting better.

...Help me.
So, she's made it to the shed, and the scary sound effects continue. As before, I think we can do without the background sound here. The sound effects and the crazy broad with the axe do their job well enough on their own without musical punctuation.

I'm a little confused now as to why her injured leg suddenly doesn't slow her down as much. I guess you could chalk it up to adrenaline, since she starts hopping again shortly. Likewise, how did she spontaneously get up the courage to confront the masked girl after she starts looking at the ring on the table?

This movie is starting to take a weird turn. I mean, it didn't altogether make sense to start with, but its really working on my mind now. How do not one, not two, but three people find the time and energy to do crap like this? I'm getting more confused that scared at this point. I think I'd be more genuinely scared if I had any clue at all why this crap was happening. And unfortunately this next line isn't a good enough reason for me.

Because you were home...
And at last, the masks come off. And of course, we have to play it up by not really showing their faces at all to the audience. Bryan Bertino, you shameless cocktease.

And now, I'm sorry, but this ending is so rotten, I think there's no point in not spoiling it now. After all that playing around, the terrible threesome just out-and-out stab both of them with a knife. Not even just that. They knock the two of them out, tie them up, and wait until morning to finish the job. Apparently, and ironically considering her name, Liv's character lived through the ordeal, and is discovered the same day by some random kids.

So, inspired by true events, huh? I have a hard time believing things could have really went down this way. Is there anyone on this planet so cruel and twisted, yet completely ineffectual at torturing and killing people? And moreover, why the hell did this need to be made into a movie?

I'm reminded of the opening of the movie, which I decided I had to go back and read again for clarification.

"What you are about to see is inspired by true events. According to the FBI, there are an estimated 1.4 million violent crimes in America each year. On the night of February 11, 2005, Kristen McKay and James Hoyt left a friend's wedding reception and returned to the Hoyt family's summer home. The brutal events that took place there are still not entirely known."

That last line is key. Not entirely known. In other words, they don't know what happened that night. All they know is Kristen and James were found brutally attacked in their home. Everything that happened in the movie before the stabbing bit was basically made up from scratch.

See, that's where this movie falls flat. It's an invented movie concept, but with a real ending. They build you up with all this suspense and stuff throughout, when in the end all that happens is the two of them are tied up and mutilated with a knife. The end. Buh-bye. It's a real-world crime that was dramatized by stretching it out into an hour and a half of "oh my god, what's going on?" See, in movies, when the audience is constantly barraged with that question, the answer has to be pretty fucking good. Not "Because you were home."

Seriously, this movie never needed to be made. It's less than an hour and a half, yet it felt like a lifetime for me. I'm guessing the actual crime was a lot less that this, in fact. Look, real psychopaths would've just snuck in and knocked them both out in a couple minutes. They wouldn't just douche around, standing on the front lawn and right behind them watching for an hour. I'm not a criminal psychologist, but I'm fairly sure that no one who enjoys gutting people for sport also enjoys dragging the whole thing out by scaring the victims witless while simultaneously giving the couple countless chances to defend themselves.

That's the second point where this movie fails. Real people in a dangerous situation like this would eventually start fighting back. If they knew they were in real physical danger, they wouldn't hesitate. There were countless occurrences where I thought, especially about James, "no one can really be this fucking stupid." If someone wanted to kill me, they'd have to do a lot more than scare me. They'd have to do way more than steal my phone and fuck up my car. They'd have to take away my Louisville slugger and every sharp implement in the house, because if this shit was happening to me and I had so much as a pair of toenail clippers left, I'd be cutting some bitches.

In all likelihood, the actual criminals had the victims tied up very quickly. They wouldn't allow them all that time to get weapons and scream for help and everything. The movie premise is just very bad. If things went down the way they did in the movie, the couple or at least one of them should have managed to get away.

Final Verdict:

Skip this one. It had its scary moments, but they don't make up for how far downhill everything went at the end. If you're going to build up all this suspense over the course of the entire movie, you can't just kill off the main characters and drop the audience flat at the end. That kind of ending isn't even scary or exciting; it's a giant letdown, that's all. With all that buildup, the ending has to be exciting and keep my on the edge of my seat. Two people sitting tied to chairs getting sliced up like fresh haddock is not exciting.

As of this moment, writer/director (if you can call him that) Bryan Bertino is on my personal shit list. If I ever get my own TV network, popular website (yeah, this doesn't count), etc. nothing produced by his crappy excuse for writing is every allowed to be advertised. Not on my watch. I have an obligation to protect my audience from crap like this. That's why I do these reviews.

Because I care. I'm like the CBS network, only broke.

Okay, I'm like the CBS network, period.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Open Post to Someone Special

You know that open letter exercise where you write a letter to somebody but don't intend to mail it? Well, this is kind of like that.

I've been following a certain blog for a while now via the Blogger website, and I just got around to reading the past week or so of posts that showed up there. I don't really remember how I know the blogger who writes it, but I recognize a kindred spirit when I see one. And yes, I can see your spirit through the web. I'm cool like that.

Anyway, the person in question has experienced some emotional hardship of late, and while it is out there in the open for everyone to see, part of me feels like it's too personal for me to respond to directly, especially to someone I'm pretty sure I've never talked to.

So, I'm writing kind of an open letter to this person because I just sort of feel like I have to put this out there, because even though I think a direct response doesn't seem appropriate, I feel like I have to say something about this in one form or another. I really don't even intend for the person I'm talking about to read this, but if I put it out in the open and they happen to see it, I'll know it was meant to happen.


To whom it may concern,

I read about your recent troubles with that person who was so important to you, and to whom you were sure you were important, too. I don't know whether that is the case or not. Maybe they told you that you don't really matter, or else made it clear with their actions, but were only trying to cover up how they really feel about you? Or maybe it was all a lie to begin with, as you may suspect already. I'm not in any position to say which I think it is.

I will, however, say this: if you see that person again after reading this, tell them from me that as long as they keep up what they're doing, they aren't going anywhere in life.

When I read your initial description of their behavior, always sitting around feeling bad but doing nothing about it, I immediately thought of myself. But as I continued, I found the similarities stopped there. We all experience hardships, and we all struggle to find meaning in what we do. The crucial difference between myself and the person you thought loved you is they have a different way of finding meaning in their life. They find it in drugs, sex, booze, mind-numbing tv (been there), and testing just how far they can shove their head up their own ass. These kinds of people have no meaning in their life, but they can't stop lying to themselves about it because that would mean acknowledging that their own actions have made them what they are.

In short, this person probably had something good with you. They could have tried to hold onto it, nurture it, and watch it turn into something good, but they didn't, and they were too naive and conceited, too wrapped up in themselves to see how they were hurting you. This story is all too familiar to me. It's the burden of misguided youth all over the world. Drop a penny off the roof of any high school; you'll probably hit somebody who is a victim of the same story.

So, what about me? Well, I guess I'm misguided too. But I'm finding my own way, blazing my own trail, and I'm making a point of never forgetting about the people along the way who help get me there. I don't always pay a kind word to everyone I think I should, and that's been my failing, but I'm trying to do better. I don't have the time and energy to help everyone I meet who is in pain, but I doubt I'll stop wanting to every day of my life.

That's why your posts spoke to me. I heard the familiar pangs of heartache, and wanted to reach out. But I'm still just a stranger, and I know I can't promise to do any better than that person who broke your heart. At least they could talk to you; I'm a thousand miles away, even to those I care about most.

Before this rant of mine gets too long, I'll wrap up by saying this: I admire you, because in spite of everything you still believe there are good people out there. And you're right. I know, because even among the sea of misguided youth, I still see a handful of good souls out there in the world. I happen to think I'm one of them. I don't know that I'm "the right one" for anybody, but then I've always been my own toughest critic. I don't have the conviction to talk to you directly, partially because I don't even know who you are, nor do you have any clue who I am. More than that, though, I think it's because I'm never sure I'm good enough for anyone. So, for now, I'll have to leave that up to you. If you happen to read this, and think maybe I'm worth talking to, if only on a friendly pen-pal basis, you know how to reach me. I don't exactly make a point of leaving the proverbial porch light on, but my door's always open.

Sincerely yours,
Dan Mayer

And on that note, I think I need to go do something immoral now. Maybe I'll fire up the wii and play Mad World for a while. Peace and love, readers.

My DVR, and Movie Review Week

Ever since my family got a DVR toward the end of last semester, I've been putting it to good use. Sometimes I'll record things I have very little intention of watching at all. Even as I cut back on my tv watching lately, the DVR's still there to catch what I might be concerned about missing.

So, with less than a week until I return to college, I realized I should probably cancel some of the future recordings I won't be here to watch, as well as the stuff from the last couple weeks I never got around to. I deleted around 10 hours of programming, and the hard drive is still almost half full.

Anyway, I realized the bulk of space being taken up on there right now (for some reason no one else in the family makes use of this thing but me) is storing a bunch of movies I recorded with the intention of watching later. These all range from classic stuff like In The Line Of Fire and The Fugitive, to more contemporary stuff I got off HBO (The Darjeeling Limited, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, etc). I actually did watch quite a few movies this summer (including those 3 god awful hours of Lawnmower Man that I'll never get back), but there are still a lot left on the machine.

So, in order to save space on the hard drive in case anyone else wants to record something, as well as give me something to do with my last lazy week here besides go to work all morning and space out all afternoon,

(TL;DR? The bottom line starts here:)

I've decided to watch and review as many of those movies as I can manage for the next week. I'm pretty sure I can get at least 10 done by the time I have to leave on Saturday, but we'll see what happens. At least this should make for something fun to do, and hopefully will help get me out of this summer slump and ready for action when classes start.

Expect my first review post Monday or Tuesday this week. By the way, if there are any movies on TV this week that anyone wants me to watch for/with them, let me know here or email me. I love the attention. :)

Friday, August 14, 2009

Still not dead yet

Just so you know. School starts in about a week. I'll probably blog about that. Also, started work on my webcomic, though I'm still struggling with the fact that I can't draw my way out of a paper bag, yet am too much of a perfectionist to trust the project with anyone else. More on this later, plus, could the breakfast cereal you've been eating to get more fiber actually kill you? Find out tonight at 11.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

A Bill for Congress: Rough Draft

I had a thought today (just one?!) regarding the way Congress operates. You know, it seems to me like folks in politics tend to either get too bogged down on little details to see the big picture, or too swept up in the big picture to see the little details. Those groups are probably Republicans and Democrats respectively. Or Liberals and Conservatives. Or Conservatives and Liberals. Or Sharks and Jets. Pair it however you want.

Now, here's the thing: there's nothing wrong with having people with different viewpoints. In fact, it's a good thing. A group of people with differing viewpoints, when working together, are able to achieve better results than any one of them working alone. The trouble is, people often get caught up in their differences. In practice, a roomful of people with different viewpoints may find themselves unable to come to an agreement, or at least unable to agree in a reasonable amount of time.

So, I had this thought: Bills that go through Congress are huge, and have so many little points to them, it becomes easy to get stuck. I think what they need is a way to sum up bills more clearly and concisely. This could work as a shortcut for discussion to help get decisions made more quickly.

Anyway, it's still a work in progress, but I've decided I want to propose this idea to Congress and see if it can't help them work more efficiently. If it can, great. If not, at least I can say I tried to help. I'm not really sure how to go about submitting a bill to Capitol Hill, but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.


Untitled Bill

Purpose: To help streamline the way legislators consider new legislation.

From now on, all proposed legislation documents should include on the first page a brief (one paragraph or less) and concise description of what the intended purpose of the legislation is. This description should make clear what goal(s) the originating party had intended.

Many bills that pass before Congress and other legislative bodies are extremely long. Although this may be necessary to fully describe the content of the bill, this may lead to legislators spending an inordinate amount of time discussing the finer points of the issue without addressing the actual reason the bill was made.

If all bills included a short statement of purpose, it would help to accelerate the discussion of the bill. If all the legislators present can agree first that they would not like to see the goal of the bill achieved, then they can reject it without having to spend a lot of time on the details.

If they decide they do want to achieve the goal, then they can address the next logical concern: do the contents of the bill actually work to achieve that goal? If so, then the bill may be passed. If not, legislators may deliberate on changes they would like to see made. Throughout discussion of possible changes, legislators should always consider whether a proposed change would serve the intended goal of the bill. In general, if a particular change to the bill does not serve its initial goal, then it should not be applied.


Again, this is just a rough draft, but I think I could be on to something here. People can't always see the forest for the trees (even I'm still not sure what that phrase means), so a direct change to how government operates could be a good idea. After all, the advent of the Powerpoint presentations and bullet-points helped to reshape how business meetings work. Why shouldn't the business of government be improved in the same way?

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

New Blog Idea

Remember when I posted this video with the dancing vampire guy? I think this concept deserves its own blog. If anyone wants to do me a favor, go and see if there's already a blog called "Scary Things with Innappropriate Music." I foresee more of that guy, plus scenes from Friday the 13th and Halloween movies with the Benny Hill theme playing, remixed horror movie trailers, and you know, other things you might expect.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Re: Facebook Animal Activists

Warning: Sad Images of Animal Cruelty Ahead

Now, I'll be the first to tell you, a lot of good can be done with Facebook. There are numerous apps that donate their advertising proceeds to worthwhile causes. Similarly, I think the Causes app is a nice way to recruit people to a crisis or crises that are important to you. What I have a problem with is "activists" who make causes just for the sake of having more causes. Case in point, the cause above.

Okay, I get it. Soldiers in other countries don't love dogs as much as you do. Considering there are a lot of soldiers the world over that treat people just as badly, you'll have to forgive me if I'm not shedding more tears for the poor pooch. I know animal cruelty is horrible, and I'd be happy to help stop it if I could. But how does crap like this help? It even says on the Cause page that donations go toward the Massachusetts SPCA. How exactly do donations to a New-England-based MSPCA have any effect on dogs living in fucking South America?

See, this is what I hate. Every time something bad happens to an animal anywhere on the planet, somebody decides they have to show their outrage by making a big stink about it. Right, because not pestering everyone you know with this story somehow means you're a dog hater.

Hey, I've bought into this crap before. When that one petition started circulating to press authorities to give that chick who threw her friend's kitten in the oven the maximum penalty, I was on board. I signed, I joined the cause, and I forwarded the petition to more people than I care to remember. Did my 'action' have any positive effect? Hell if I know; I have yet to hear any news updates on this. Considering Causes is a social network app that's basically designed for sharing with others, the people behind that cause sure do a lousy job of sharing information on this story. Makes you wonder what they were really trying to accomplish, huh?

Look folks, if you want to make a positive impact in the world, good for you, but causes like this don't do much of anything besides generate more outrage. As a proponent of world peace, I can't encourage anything that spreads even more hate and anger. We all know there are a lot of atrocities in the world. Shoving each and every one down my throat isn't making a positive difference, it's just giving you a pathetic sense of false achievement to prop up your ego and convince you that you're doing something that matters with your life.

Hey, activists: you wanna help the SPCA? Great. Go volunteer at your local animal shelter, or donate money. Hell, you can even ask me to do the same once in a while if you like. But don't use garbage like this to guilt me into helping. I already feel guilty enough about the kinds of people I share this big spinning rock with. I don't need any more misery added on my plate right now. I promise, once I strike it rich, I'll make sure to use my influence to help those in need, but in the meantime I'd like not to have the worst segments of the news shoved in my face all the time. I haven't had a good night's sleep in months, and I'd like to break that chain. The picture of the strung-up dog being shot at doesn't help with that.

Bolivia Bans Military Abuse of Animals

Oh, goody. The squeaky wheel gets the oil, I suppose. So, maybe sharing information can sometimes help influence things. However, it's safe to say the above decision was made as a result of other groups' actions, such as loud-mouthed PETA people making Bolivia look bad in the public eye. There is, however, still a problem with trying to make waves on Facebook with this stuff. Can you guess what it is? Well?

Okay, here it is: that article was posted on April 1st of this year. I got invited to the Bolivian Soldiers Hate group today. Yes, I'm now being harassed with causes that I not only can't help with, but causes that were already resolved months earlier.

"Oh, but Peru hasn't supported the ban yet!" you might say. "Well," I might respond, "Let me know when some headway was made on that." I say 'was', because considering it's August now, there have likely been a lot of updates on this.

Well, there's one more for you: If you want to be an activist, at least be an informed activist. I don't need any more old news from the outraged and the ignorant.

It's funny how those who know the least about an issue seem to argue the loudest, huh? Yeah, so funny I nearly laughed myself into a fit of insanity. All the intelligent and well-learned people we have left on the world, and yet these obnoxious activists are the people who get a voice in today's society? God, I weep for our grandchildren.