Thursday, May 28, 2009

Karissa Niehoff and Paula Schwartz are douche bags

Still.

So there’s a bit of a titter going on right now about President Barack Obama’s nominee for Supreme Court, Judge Sonia Sotomayor. I recently read an article about how she was part of a panel that dismissed an appeal by a student blogger against the principal and school superintendant for disqualifying her from student government because of dark words she’d posted in an opinion about them.

I’m not here to comment on the nomination. But I am here to call this principal and superintendant what they are:

Asshat douche bags.

The exception here is that neither of these cretins are actually able to readily injure me by misusing their granted authority. Just like Avery Doninger, I am posting on my blog, which is not connected to their school and I’m publishing my opinion about their self-righteous, bad behavior. The difference here is that I am not in a position to be wrongfully scorned by these sniffy creeps who misused their authority as school officials to snub Doninger.

Now, these two jerks could have done the right thing and backed off after they thought about how petty and asinine their behavior was; but no, they wanted to take a mule’s stand on the subject and went straight-backed into a court battle over the issue. Of course, if the qualifications for student government include such vagaries as “this student is qualified or not because I say so,” it makes it a legally indefensible position to suggest that they did something wrong by the law; but if they had any other sort of standards, instead it makes these two look less like stand-up adults doing their jobs and more like whiney butt-hurt ninnies who looked at the blog post and said, “She’s disqualified because she said something mean about us! WAAAAAH!

No wait, even if it is legally defensible they’re still juvenile asshats.

Karissa Niehoff and Paula Schwartz grow up.

Link, via NBC.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Do AIs Dream: 2 - Imperfect

Monday, being Memorial Day, suffered from a significant lack of visitors when the newest strip of Do AIs Dream: #2 - Imperfect.

Working my way into the narrative of the strips. Pretty much, this is a way for me to introduce the story to people by talking about one of the characters. It's almost half-way done.

Go check it out.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Do AIs Dream: Second Strip

Friday, I posted the second strip to Do AIs Dream, #1 - The Edge.

Already elicited some pondering comments about how epilepsy could be similar to a computer reboot and random interest. So thou could come along also and take a look!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Do AIs Dream?

About a year ago I envisioned a spin-off for Mill Avenue Vexations in the form of a spunky, geeky college student story and now it’s coming. Introducing the beginning strokes of Black Hat Magick.

Black Hat Magick is a series of occult noir detective fiction webserial novels written by Kyt Dotson. The stories follow the exploits and adventures of college student, computer geek, and occult detective Elaine Hadaly Mercer. She begins her career as an undergrad at Arizona State University majoring in Computer Science and Engineering; but comes from a long blood line of dabblers in the arcane arts with a strong bent for the scientific—hitherto that strange alchemy of genius courses through her veins and neurons.

It is going to start off with a miniseries webcomic called “Do AIs Dream.” The very first strip published this morning.

Wander on over there, let me know what you think, subscribe to the RSS. Let’s make an event of this new webserial!

Also, I think it would be interesting if people would like to write messages to the individual characters. I might even run a tiny contest (where people could win signed back-copies of Vexations.) So, during future posts, feel free to write commentary to characters in the story. We’ll have to see how that might run.

Do AIs Dream? a miniseries webcomic for Kyt Dotson’s Black Hat Magick occult detective noir webserial.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Vex Harrow Cosplay Images

This is a repost of a news item that I recently put onto Mill Avenue Vexations. The reason is that I’d like to get this one far and wide. At the recent Anizona 2009 during April, an absolutely amazing friend of mine came dressed as Vex Harrow based on the cover of Something Funny Happened at Matsuri.

There’s another picture in the news post, but this is probably the best one that I’ve received. There’s a few more from the con itself, hither and thither. It was rather a fun surprise.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

The VenomfangX Scandal: Venomgate

...is over?

YouTUBE is a place rife with drama of every sort, however, few times are quite as dramatic as today when I logged in to discover numerous people from across different communities talking about the same thing: VenomFangX has left YouTUBE.

For those who aren’t savvy to this particular part of the Internet, or even this little tribe of thought, I’ll give a little bit of background. VenomFangX is a YouTUBE user who uses his evangelical creationist Christian message to basically run his channel. I mention it because it is the sole and primary purpose of his presence on the site, he makes no pretence about it, and it represents his eminence everywhere he goes. VenomFangX is the worst representation any religion could ever have—he's charismatic, smarmy, insipidly drippy, condescending, and borrows most of his material from fraudsters and asshats. He is, for lack of a better term, a popular villain.

He has left YouTUBE in the past; and now he’s doing it again. (Last time to no effect, obviously, as he didn’t leave.)

And he’s doing it on the heels of a huge donation scandal perpetrated by him. It started out in April when he posted a video about how he couldn’t keep a job because he simply couldn’t keep from proselytizing to customers; and he even proudly strutted his lack of work ethic when he displayed spools of DVDs he had burned at his current employment, using their equipment for his own gain. It is unsurprising that such antisocial behavior got him canned from so many jobs.

Thus, he came to his avid and adoring fan base and asked them for money.

Initially he asked for $500 a month—or, as he put it, for 500 people to give him $1 a month. In the video where he asked for this he intimated that he would give any amount over $500 a month to charity and named Sick Kids Hospital in Canada as the recipient. A misspeak on his end, perhaps, but he did little to then actually offer this money to them; instead he repeatedly attempted to renege on this by pretending that he’d said no such thing when soliciting donations.

Numerous tubers rose up to document, dissect, and point out the flaws of his behavior. His previous behavior certainly did not work in his favor in this as few people outside of his cult following find this to be on par with his previous actions. April ended and he probably collected far, far more than $500 but there’s no indication that he delivered even a cent of it to Sick Kids Hospital.

Numerous complaints rained down on his PayPal account, contacts to the Canadian revenue service, and even Sick Kids Hospital. His PayPal was shut down twice due to fraud. And now, his YouTUBE channel and website are gone.

The reason given is that he’s been receiving death threats from Muslims. A claim yet totally unsubstantiated. However, a message on his website states that his parents took it down, that they don’t support his actions, and they apologize if he offended anyone.

Links to two series on YouTUBE that help elaborate what happened, and who VenomFangX is. These are mostly cultural critiques by people who don’t like him very much, but they will probably give a good example of one side of the story. The other side is accessible via related videos and searches if you want to expand the depth of your net into this seedy event.

Goodbye Venom. Although, I doubt he’ll be gone for long. Here’s hoping this was the community nipping the next Peter Popoff in the bud.

Links:

VenomFangX Fraudster Exposed! by LordHathor

Dprjones examination of VenomFangX

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

So, I’ve been hearing more about suspected cases of H1N1 A flu virus near me in Michigan. I have also heard that another nearby county is closing down public schools for the week for it.

For those who know that I’m out here in Michigan right now, I just wanted to assure everyone that my chances of being exposed to Swine flu, or any variant of flu in general, is actually fairly low. Also, although I am a “young person” by definition of the words, the very fact that I have a weakened immune system possibly puts me at less risk than most.

Although, five years ago I had to go into the hospital for normal flu.

Stuff is keen out here. Everyone should understand the H1N1 epidemic is at phase 5 (confirmed human to human contagion, in multiple countries. Link to phases.) So the closures of schools and attempts at reducing overall coverage is an elemental first step into helping control the spread.

Stay clean. Wash your hands. Avoid touching your face while in public. You can do your part to help slow this thing down.

Friday, May 01, 2009

On Gothic Literature

The word goth has come to mean many things in our Post Industrial complex world: the Modernists have painted its name with black; the Post Modernists have draped it in the strange scrim of subculture anthropology and music; and the everyday scoffs at the word as if it holds little more meaning. The Goths were a tribe of Germany who hollered at the Romans, shaking spears and shields—they were the barbarians. And so the modern usage of the word goth still retains some of its old meaning: the gothic is that which is barbaric, viscerally atmospheric—truthful of the sublime but horrible depths of the unkempt mind.

When I say Goth, most people will have fluttering thoughts of bands such as The Cr├╝xshadows, Marilyn Manson, and Type O Negative; of black clad individuals wearing dark eye shadow over bleak and pale faces; of vampires, werewolves, and all manner of horrible monsters from the night—but all of these things owe the origins of the atmosphere they so vainly stretch for from the annals of gothic literature.

Often gothic literature will pedestal things such as mystery, ghost stories, strange and archaic architecture, sleepy villages, family secrets, and castles. The striking prose of these novels often follows a hero who is of rarified constitution and often flawed beyond repair being swept up into circumstances designed of his own curiosity. Gothic literature has run a great gamut of authors from Horace Walpole, Ann Radcliffe, Bram Stoker, and Mary Shelley – and have grown through that great tradition to the modern times through the work of H.P. Lovecraft and other weird horror writers.

A great deal of the focus of gothic literature is less on the fleeting inequities of life, human drama, or anything so trite; but usually rests in the subconscious fear and revulsion of things outside of perception and steeped in superstition and mystery. The unexplained, weird behaviors and customs of local townsfolk of quiet, pastoral towns, the fading memories of ancient and near-forgotten lore—all of these things make the delirious draw of gothic literature what it is.

The term gothic has taken a great deal of abuse over the years, mostly from the ignorant and wanting who think they are lashing out at juvenile subcultures; but it has a vaster, deeper, and more magnificently unfathomable history to it than all those modern-day pretenders. To any writer who wants to join into this grand tradition I say: go back to the roots first. Even a tremendous tree must be grown from a seed and a great deal of cultural unconscious exists in every writer and piece from Walpole to Lovecraft. The essence of things that have scared people have existed in the same nascent jots since the origins of the mind.

Know your literary grandparents and do not fear their influence; as much as they knew what they were doing for the eras in which they wrote their knowledge and craft may give you the buoy needed to place your own writing within the reach of all those would-be fans who are trembling somewhere in the darkness, a flashlight in one hand, a book in the other—and waiting for the next terrible truth to raise the hairs on the back of their neck.

Bram Stoker revitalized ancient mythologies and strange architectures with Dracula, keying into the latent worries of surrounding British peoples about the risen dead, returned to feast on the blood of the living. Frakenstein reflected terrific dreams brought on about electrical galvanism bringing dead flesh back to life, and the horrible ostracism and mistreatment of parents and children. Edgar Allen Poe walked the treacherous and twisted hallways of the disintegrating mind and the murderous impulse; flaying them out and shining that brutal attentive light through them.

The desire and want to be scared and terrified makes up the best bookworm’s adrenaline draw, and there are few things more terrifying than the truly weird—elements such as ancient and decrepit castles from bygone gothick eras, decaying over strange aeons under their weight of their own mold-cracked stones, and housing deep, lost-recollected secrets. They are all there, somewhere in the low rumble of the prose of many the classic gothic novel author and twinkling in the eyes of the new. Every family has a dark past somewhere, every white-picket fence and stately house has a ghost story in their neighborhood—and for each one, there is a reader: waiting, ready, and willing to be chilled to the bone by the bizarre truth of it.

A suggested bibliography:

· The Castle of Otranto (1764) by Horace Walpole (Full text at Project Gutenberg)

· Frankenstein (1818) by Mary Shelley (Full text at Wikisource)

· The Vampyre; a Tale (1819) by John William Polidori (Full text at Project Gutenberg)

· The Fall of the House of Usher (1839) by Edgar Allan Poe (Full text at Wikisource)

· Dracula (1897) by Bram Stoker (Full text at Wikisource)

· The Annotated H.P. Lovecraft (1997)