Monday, December 31, 2018

Emo Goofy Part Duex

The random immaturity continues.  I finally finished this after getting the will to draw back.

I have some more stuff coming soon.  I've made some commitments which I'm late on and need to finish start.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Get The Old Almonds Activated

If you keep up with internet drama you may very well be aware Sargon of Akkad was banned from Patreon for saying mean things.  It's somewhat interesting that those mean things were said several months ago on a channel not belonging to Sargon and not on the Patreon platform.

Here is the statement from Patreon.  And if you'd like to view the offending video, here is a link to the full stream so all context can be reviewed.

To be frank, I don't like Sargon and prefer to think of him using Mister Metokur's tag of "Smuckles" (Smug Chuckles).  I find him to be a self-righteous, overconfident jerk who engaged in petty internet drama to get clicks from outraged followers.  I also find his ideals and speech misguided at best and abhorrent at worst.  Personally, my main reason for knowing of him is due to my laughter at the failures of his group of allies.

Regardless of my feelings concerning Sargon, much like Alex Jones, this is another situation where we need to be concerned about overreach.  We're in a time where our society is more concerned about people saying mean things than they are people actually DOING mean things.  The question everyone should be asking is "Who decides the line between free speech and hate speech?"

Was what Sargon did nice?  No.  Was it illegal?  Not in the US.  Was Patreon banning him illegal? No.

Then why bother wasting bandwidth if Patreon was within their rights to do this?  For me, the fact he was banned isn't surprising, chalk it up to "Play stupid games, win stupid prizes," the concern is where does he turn after the ban for income and how does this affect all users going forward?

If you have 6 minutes and 37 seconds to spare, please watch this video.  It asks some interesting questions and makes you wonder how much the different platforms are working together as one.

It is interesting that as some users moved from Patreon to SubscribeStar as a crowdfunding option, PayPal pulled support from SubscribeStar ,essentially killing SubscribeStar as an alternative.  Normally if you are banned from a platform, you find another platform, or medium, to work with.  If the different platforms work together to essentially blacklist a creator, then the free market system fails.

Thankfully YouTube is losing its monopolistic hold on video hosting with alternatives such as BitChute and, but it is still the preferred platform for many.  What alternatives are there for payment for creators?  Jordan Peterson and Dave Rubin have plans to open an alternative payment platform.  Perhaps it can fill the gap, we'll have to wait and see.

For the current time, the question every person need to ask themselves is, "How long will it take 'The Overton Window' to move until what "I" think, say or write is considered 'Hate'?"

Saturday, December 29, 2018

When Disney Fails You

This guy gets it.  Before we go any further, take 15 minutes and watch this video.

You back? Good. 
The channel is called Star Wars Theory and the guy running the channel has a deep respect and love for the franchise.  I know the film isn't perfect and there are some things I would change, BUT he gets it.  He understands what makes a Star Wars film, Star Wars.  Conflict, tragedy, adventure, but above all else, HOPE.

He got Disney's blessing to make the film and he isn't allowed to monetize it per their rules on fan films.  I have to give him amazing respect because this film looks, sounds and feels like a real Star Wars film (Looking at you Ruin Johnson).  Even though he can't make money off of it, he got Danny Ramirez to direct a great fan film THAT WASN'T SHOT IN A FRIGGING FOREST LIKE EVERY OTHER FAN FILM!  May God smile on you for that alone.

I'm anxiously awaiting the next episode in this series.  Go give him a subscribe and help him reach his goal for the next episode.

The Death Of Logic And Critical Thinking In The Twenty First Century

While sipping my coffee this morning I ran across a Wall Street Journal article written by Terry Teachout entitled, "What’s Wrong With ‘Green Book’?"  I'm a bit dismayed reading through it.

For those of you who missed this movie,  "Green Book" is the story of the meeting, and eventual friendship between Dr. Don Shirley and Tony “Lip” Vallelonga.  Dr. Shirley was a musician who, in the movie, is embarking on a tour of the American deep South.  For the tour, Dr. Shirley hires Tony "Lip" Vallelonga as his driver.  During the course of the movie, we see their travels on this tour and the beginning of a friendship between the two.

I found a few interesting points in the article, one of which was complaints from the Shirley family that the "Green Book,"

"...not only exaggerates the closeness of his relationship with Vallelonga, but falsely portrays him as having been estranged from his family."

I can understand this and appreciate the criticism.  The movie is tagged as, “Inspired by a true story,” which can make stories gray as far as what is, and is not, factual; a general rule is, no family likes to be painted in a bad light so I get where their frustration comes from.

The frustration for me lies in the criticism turning to the lack of focus on Dr. Shirley in the movie.  From the article (emphasis mine):

"To make matters worse, “Green Book” is a “white savior” film in which Vallelonga is presented as the hero of the piece, with Shirley being seen almost entirely through his eyes. Again, this may be more of a problem for younger, self-consciously “woke” viewers, but it’s absolutely true that “Green Book” doesn’t tell us nearly enough about Shirley, an all-but-forgotten artist who should be far better remembered."

Once again, I can appreciate the criticism for the lack of focus on Dr. Shirley in the movie, but my disagreement is in this being a "White Savior" movie.  How, exactly, did Mr. Vallelonga "Save" Dr. Shirley in the movie?  The movie is as much a journey for Mr. Vallelonga as it is for Dr. Shirley.

In Mr. Vallelonga we have a man who is is following along with the generally racist views of his time.  He's not a caricature of racism, he doesn't participate in Klan rallies, he doesn't burn down black churches, he isn't a closet Nazi; he is an average man of his time.  His actions early in the movie show a distaste for black people.  While he isn't violent to them, it was obvious, from my viewpoint, he thought himself better than them.
Mr. Vallelonga is flawed.

Mr. Vallelonga winds up as Dr. Shirley's driver for his tour and we, the audience, get a glimpse of how Mr. Vallelonga's viewpoint changes when he is faced with a man who is more cultured, better educated, far more eloquent and amazingly talented.  We get a glimpse of what can be, when two people let their guard down, recognize the humanity in each other, and treat each other as human beings.

While the movie could have focused on Dr. Shirley, and could be an excellent movie in its own right, it would be a different movie.  From my view, Dr. Shirley had his own demons to overcome, and while this movie doesn't glance away or sugar coat them, it does the same for Mr. Vallelonga.

Spoiler alert, Mr. Vallelonga grows as a human.  In fairness, Dr. Shirley also grows, BUT the point is, Mr. Vallelonga had much further to grow.  Dr. Shirley's motivation for the tour was presented as an opportunity to advance the cause of black people.  The fact he eventually befriends Mr. Vallelonga is a testament to his success.

From my perspective, the choice to focus on Mr. Vallelonga, and him eventually overcoming his flaws, was an interesting story.  It also gives us an opportunity to see how we can grow as humans, and move beyond needing to categorize and separate everyone.

We are all one race, the human race. 

The reason for me writing this post is my frustration that a story of a man overcoming his prejudices, finding a friend and becoming a better man, is treated as a "White Savior" movie.  I view this as evidence of the inability for modern audiences to understand "Character Development" and growth.  People are flawed. (Yes, you are as well, Reader; so am I.  We ALL are.)  What makes us human, what makes us grow as humans, are the choices we make to better ourselves in spite of our flaws.  My view is, audiences not understanding character growth, is evidence of the slow death of logic and critical thinking.

If you must have a Mary Sue as your protagonist; flawless, intelligent, handsome/beautiful, perfect in every way down to never having bad breath or needing to use the bathroom, (I'm looking at you, Julie Andrews, you magnificent, wonderful woman), then the "Green Book" is not for you.

If you want a movie where the characters have flaws, but are generally good people, have weaknesses, but work to overcome them and, in the end, still aren't perfect, but are a little better because of the journey, then the "Green Book" is the movie for you.

In short, my family and I love this movie.

Link to the Wall Street Journal article:

Thursday, December 27, 2018

They Took Our Jobs (Dey Took Ur JUBZ)

While trying to caffenate myself I ran across this little gem of an article discussing the days American workers leave unused, and therefore lose, annually:

I was annoyed with myself as I am losing two days this year because I didn't take them before the deadline. I've already started plotting out how to rectify this and make sure it doesn't happen again. The reason for this year is I work for a company that was acquired by another one. My previous company decided to do something "For Us" and gave us unlimited PTO.

You read that right, unlimited PTO.

Any time we wanted off work, we simply told our boss and, as long as staffing was sufficient for that time period, we were supposed to get the time off. Sounds great right?

Here's the motivation behind it.

Those of us who have worked in the industry for a while know it's a good idea to carry a vacation balance. The reason for this is if you have to take an extended period off for a family emergency you still got a check and didn't have to fight with short-term disability. If you survived the American economy from 2004 through the Obama years you were also faced with the possibility your job would be eliminated through a RIF (Reduction In Force / aka "Layoffs"). I, like many others, kept a week or two buffer so I would keep a check coming for as long as I could if something happened. It's called "Planning."

When the "Unlimited PTO" plan was rolled out, we stopped accruing vacation. Eventually through attrition the existing PTO was eliminated from the books. No new vacation was added and everyone could take as much time as they wanted.

Work all the time and never take a day off? NO PROBLEM!

Work hard and take two weeks every year with your family? NO PROBLEM!

Show up and answer some emails occasionally so you can take a six week holiday to Hedonism 20XX? NO PROBLEM!

So why am I bringing this up? As long as you get the time off, it sounds great right? It's all about accounting my friends.

PTO/Vacation is kept on the accounting books and impacts a company negatively from a financial perspective year over year. Think of it as a bill they have to pay, like a credit card debt. My company was in the process of trying to sell out to another company and in order to get the books looking as nice as possible, they did this little trick to force the books to be cleared. This way, they could get a better price when they sold.

Full disclosure, I know about this practice thanks to ANOTHER company I worked for which "Gifted" us with forced time off at Christmas every year. It was "Great" because we didn't have to worry about work from Christmas through New Years and could "Spend Time with Family". In reality, it meant you had to always fight with keeping track of your PTO balances to ensure you had enough to get paid through Christmas and take a vacation you WANTED to take at any other point in the year other than Christmas.

So why am I wasting an agry diatribe on this article? I keyed off this line:

"Unused vacation days cost the U.S. economy some $255 billion in 2017, and Americans using that vacation time could have generated 1.9 million jobs, the group said."

Get that? By working hard to ensure our own survival, we are costing the economy jobs. What I can read into the line is, by being hard workers, we prevent the companies we work for from having to hire additional employees to cover the jobs we wouldn't finish if we took vacation.

In short? We're being dirty Capitalists by watching out for ourselves and our families and work too hard.

At least I'm honest with my bias.