My Life Right In This Very Moment

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That damn thing happened again. This uncontrollable entertainer slash wannabe author has exploded inside me again the moment I started the life hacking away from the catering, home repairs and yards — odds and ends bullshit — and back toward my old way of being a hardcore nine to fiver giving up every day off I could to squeeze every drop of green out of the whole deal. It’s a problem. In one mindset it is key at this job app’d up point to go do the face-time thing anywhere where it’s not just a “blah, whatever” type resume submission.

But instead I’m in the process of opening a Patreon centered on my writing and just finally bought a web-cam of merit to adhere to the “best practices” guidelines they provide. Probably a new YouTube channel before long too. The thinking here is that, as I have whined about before here into the blogs, there really isn’t any good reason for me to online-publish things like pieces of upcoming fictional works and poetry anthologies. Don’t get me wrong, I love doing this style of free-flowing Web content and this style of post would always show up on this blog.

However, when I look over my hard drive there is a lot of pieces on here that are better suited for a Patreon feed than just sheer live blogging potential future IPs so third-parties can just come in and give zero credit to the author while using a level of ads that is obviously excessive. People should get paid for their best work and art is work like any other. If I were to guess the objections some raise about this style of crowd-funding it’s that they don’t see writing, music, and art in general as something valid to pour money into unless it comes pre-packaged by the existing industry involved.

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What I think many are unaware of in this matter is that in the “old days” a writer of merit would receive an investment in the form of a large lump sum directly from the publisher then given a deadline to produce. This investment was expressly for living expenses, research materials, leisure time, and anything else that might enhance the final product. No going back from the Digital Era, obviously, so e-publishing is just a beast all serious writers have to tackle to ground or be eaten alive when you try and call yourself that in public. But there are many projects going on here and no time at all to finish all of them unless I do that thing where the heady stuff and the final draft prose is paying for itself.

Enough about that. My neighborhood was popping off a second ago. Live music from up the hill and little kids singing some pop song I don’t recognize from over the fence. Out here in the backyard after running around town a bit. This is Santa Cruz, CA by the way or “Surf City USA” or as I want to be known as the birthplace of NHS and Santa Cruz (Brand) Skateboards & Clothing. No I don’t work for them it’s more that you might have seen those stickers around and those are referring to my little surf / skate town here.

Think I liked San Francisco more but the housing costs are just stupid high so that’s off the table unless I could network that shit. Oh what else? All this poetry explosion going on in my head is probably because I’m in love again, which is nice but complicated when these new feelings are for a long time close friend who is keeping at a distance most days. Always been a fool for love but thanks to serious bumps in the road in my youth I can speak very openly and directly about these topics if people are comfortable enough with me to do so. Often the things left unsaid in romance can be sexier than spilling your guts twenty-four seven but oh doggies do things get complicated sometimes and the need for honest communication shifts into the foreground so strongly that it’s almost slapping you in the face.

Okay, that was a “rant” they call them in this box of digital expression that is linked to other boxes that occasionally do this creating unique ideas stuff. Peace, love and chicken grease.

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Eric Lightborn / Eruptide@YouTube out.

Anita Sarkeesian: Entrepreneur, Activist or Phony?

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For those not keeping up with the pulse of YouTube: a channel by the name of Feminist Frequency run by Anita Sarkeesian has recently gathered $160,000 via Kickstarter to produce what is currently a three part video series focused on sexism in videogames entitled “Damsel in Distress.” Originally she asked for $6,000 for this project and spoke of academic value as well as intense research involved in the final product.  But the videos about videogames are only the catalyst in a tale of Internet Infamy that begins with feminism and ends with pseudo-science.

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The dubiously high amount of money involved raised many eyebrows due to the fact that YouTube videos of this exact nature are produced on shoe string budgets every day. She refuses to allow comments or ratings which is a tactic looked down on by most Internet users for obvious reasons. Compounding this is some evidence to show she likely screen captured the videos of other YouTube users rather than recording original video from the games she supposedly bought for the research stage of the project. But I’ll return to that topic later. Whatever else may be true of Sarkeesian there’s no arguing that she has become extremely successful directly as a result of this Kickstarter project and is rumored to have entered the professional gaming industry as a consultant to EA Games on the title Mirror’s Edge 2.

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Which brings me to the first quandary: Is she a capitalist genius or just a case of luck combining with opportunity? I don’t think it’s as easy as some of her detractors would like to discount her as simply a “troll” (meaning intentional instigator) taking it to the next level. That’s one possibility but considering the nature of human greed I find it also likely she uses pop culture as a crutch to avoid the more scientific elements of social commentary all while appealing to her base, in this case hard-line feminists, to keep the donations coming with lots of red meat. All the benefits but none of the heavy lifting. As an example of this she doesn’t present any information to the viewer about learned and demonstrated behavior in the field of Child Development Psychology which would be the cornerstone of a hypothesis involved in linking external input like the themes and plot devices in videogames with outward attitudes toward the opposite gender.  Fancy way of saying she is obviously not doing an academic piece.

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One thing that occurred to me when I saw her first video was most of her arguments could be transplanted to rail against rap and hip hop music, or against the fringes of the artist community, or pretty much any extreme form of expression. But somehow I don’t imagine a young woman who wants to decry the evil rap music industry right next to figures like Bill O’Reilly and Pat Robertson would catch much traction on YouTube. Sarkeesian’s main point in summation, while it takes a different route to get there, is no different from the position of the religious right-wing: society is harmed by things I find offensive being popular.

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That brings me to my second quandary: Is she an earnest activist that is merely making amateur mistakes or is there intentional deception by stating her opinions as facts numerous times? Again I’m not entirely convinced the worst to be true. It’s not all that impossible most of what she has presented that has ruffled feathers is just us witnessing a slow learning curve on her part to avoid logical fallacy. I read some old political posts of mine and felt deep shame … because I wrote them prior to taking a college course on critical thinking and proper argumentation. So hey, total benefit of doubt thing going on here. But to ever buy this one in full I need to see her start basing factual statements in facts and come to see that if you decry a social injustice you perceive but provide no positive solutions then others who feel as you do are left feeling disempowered (common theme in her videos) instead of united in this common worldview.

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My final quandary: Are we being lead around by the nose here or not? The strongest point that leads me to think this a con artist at work is not so much the large pile of cash she got but rather what other users pointed out: she is almost certainly using footage of Let’s Play videos (someone voices what is essentially a podcast alongside a game they’re playing) to pad out her game footage shots and blatantly ignores or misrepresents the context within a story line she critiques. As a quick example of misleading viewers about the contextual story line within these games she references Fable 2 as a title that represented the “male revenge fantasy” overlooking the fact you can select to be female without affecting any element of the story and after the death of your sister you are mentored by a powerfully authoritative female character. As to the other point I’ve heard some users say she “stole” these clips of game footage but (1) not giving attribution is bad Web-etiquette but not stealing per se and (2) with the exception of the audio these Let’s Play videos are likely the sole property of the game makers or YouTube not the person who used a computer to mesh together game play and commentary. Find a copyright lawyer to really nail that down but in the case of potential plagiarism I’m near positive that unless they have a partnership with a gaming company thus a legal department behind them they can forget about this sort of thing being declared anything other than Free Use by YouTube. That said, it’s beyond suspicious to me that such a highly funded project would borrow footage in this way at all.

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The sad part is no matter what Sarkeesian holds as her true intentions the focus on tired clichés being overused in gaming and how these plot devices, or tropes, are used to enforce unfair gender stereotypes is an opinionated stand to take but it’s just a simple fact that the professional gaming industry is predominately male and could greatly benefit from say a youthful female voice on YouTube encouraging women to strike out toward careers in gaming design and development. I have no doubt the gaming industry as a whole would welcome a more gender balanced input when it comes to design and development. The number of female gamers in the market keeps rising and they often bring different tastes and expectations to a videogame than male gamers do.

But instead of that sort of encouragement, so far anyway, we have three videos that contain contradictions and have yet to succeed in proving or even attempting to prove the central premise that fictional fantasies lead to negative attitudes and beliefs about others. We already beat that horse to death with the whole violence in the media causes violence in real life bullshit that was debunked over and over again.

Correlation is not causation, Anita.

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More Video Links:

More than a Damsel in a Dress: A Response” by KiteTales

Three Simple Questions for Anita Sarkeesian” by IWALVG

Female Game Developer’s response to Tropes vs Women” by dolldivine

Damsel Trek…” by Triox45

GAME OVER: Anita Sarkeesian has won” by MundaneMatt

Meg Whitman Booed At Women’s Conference

(Watch the video)

 

Meg Whitman showed a clear disconnect with California voters when refusing Jerry Brown’s offer of taking down all but the two positive ads from both candidates. People in this state are not looking for the best smear agent, we are looking for the person best qualified for the job as governor.

Another aspect to Whitman’s reaction to this proposal that I have not heard discussed is that of the huge sums of money she has spent on the political attack ads flooding the media–they have effectively committed her to the political strategy of negativity since she decided to make the majority of the ads negative instead of positive. Now that they spent millions trying to convince people the “other” is so awful it would be somewhat like throwing all that money away to suddenly switch stance to a “I’m the better choice” position.

If Whitman was a smart, pragmatic leader she would have taken up Brown on his offer to cut the TV ads down to the two positive ads from each. It appears she lacks the ability to think in terms other than dollar signs, or so it seems.

I find this sort of thing very typical of the conservative-Republican side of things. They never want to actually agree to being held to ethics and standing against the smear season tactics. When the chips are down and both sides are ready to deal on how negative things are getting, it always seems to be the right-winger who simply refuses to make it more civil. Perhaps because they understand that the Republican base seems to be fueled by negativity, scapegoating and fear mongering.

Buffet Offers Optimism To Krugman

Warren Buffet has presented a rosy sunshine picture of the U.S. Economy to contrast against the desolate landscape in Paul Krugman’s warnings of “the early stages of a third depression.

I believe Buffet may be practicing the concept that psychology rules a large part of every economy. As strange as it is, it might help change a ‘fragile recovery’ to a ‘full recovery’ just by beating the drums of “we are coming back.”

The stimulus is working, though more money should have been allocated directly to the states that need it the most. And in the next two or three years is certainly the time frame in which we will know if Krugman or Buffet was right.

What Was Nancy Pelosi Crying About?

Something dangerous that is easily used for ill. Something we see running wild in right-wing politics.

But before we get to that we have to retrace our steps to around the time we experienced the recent global economic meltdown:

1. After lowering taxes, starting two wars, and doing nothing to warn of the coming recession, former President George W. Bush engaged in a government spending program giving out a Stimulus Check to people like myself who are not making any money. Then he bailed out the banks, and we lost a good chunk of the TARP” money in the exchange for his efforts.

2. Unsubstantiated claims about The President of the United States Barack Hussein Obama ranging from claims that he has a falsified birth-record, to claims that he was secretly of Islamic faith, to claims that he was a cloaked dictator, to claims that he was involved in the disaster of the Bush Presidency, to claims that he was trying to forcibly legislate an increase abortions, to claims that he was being dishonest in his Address on Health Care to Congress. Even with nothing but wild conjecture, oppositional profiling, and personal bias behind all these claims they are still touted across the so-called “news” media.

3. The first round of “tea parties” was thrown only after President Obama began the Obama Stimulus, and despite their claims they were funded by GOP big-money thus most certainly were not a “grass roots” movement. The second round of “tea parties” has been mainly hijacked by FOX News & Glenn Beck with his 9/12 Protest” on Washington. Just like before they claim their problem is “taxation” but they neglected to protest when the previous president took actions that, under their own logic, would lead to higher taxation through “bail out policy” and a “stimulus program”.

4. Outright violence, the brandishing of firearms, the direct rejection of direct reading of proposed legislation, and extreme levels of verbal hostility toward Pro-Reform activities was the true end result of the national debate on health care via town hall meetings across this country. There has been an electronic publicly conveyed death threat against the president and a Federal Census worker has been brutally slain under highly dubious circumstances that may amount exactly to the kind of anti-government rhetoric the right-wing is promoting so avidly.

So what was Nancy Pelosi crying about?

Populism is on the rise in North America.

The worst kind of Populism that exists, the purely fascist brand of populist-thought.

It revolves around thinking that all not in agreement with you must be “indoctrinated” or “flawed” and that you and those who associate with your thinking have the purest-form of all logic.

This fascist-mentality, when mixed with elements of pure populism, makes for an atmosphere of violence. What is worse yet is there is no true agenda to this brand of Populism that we see before us today.

They quite clearly only wish to attack the Obama White House and have no real set goal beyond constant smears as can we clearly seen by the fact that if they got Obama out of office that Joe Biden would be president, and after him Nancy Pelosi.

So they wouldn’t be pleased with even two supposed impeachment proceedings, they would have to go for three and I assume try to install John Boehner. This entire movement has reached a point that it is and actual danger to our society.

Because it is Populism without Peace, it is a form of Populism I can never associate with.

I dream of a day when people could come together and settle many differences as respectful and honest citizens of this great nation, and on that day I would speak of Populism being a good thing. An element that drives democracy and brings people to the table. Something that can enhance our understanding of one another as we come together on common goals. Such a day when we could throw away political parties, or perhaps introduce more, fresh ideas into the national dialogue and power structures of Washington.

But that day is not today.

There is no doubt.

What we see now is simply an anti-Obama crusade of populist-rhetoric that is being used to spread inaccurate claims instead of reasonable discussion on facts.

Misused, as it has been in this case, Populism is a very dangerous thing.

However, the “Cash for Clunkers” program is an example of what I believe is the true essence of Populism. The majority agreed and all parties involved were satisfied of those who took part, and in the end populism ruled because the demand far exceeded the value.

When something is truly good for the whole, and the majority wants it, a Liberal Populist like myself is working toward that end.

When something is only a benefit to the selective few, and loud minority wants it, a Fascist Populist like Glenn Beck is working only toward his own selfish ends.

These are dark days in North America.

The lies continue to spread, the right-wing political-media continues to be corrupt, and people are buying more guns and ammunition than ever before.

This danger does not stop at Obama’s doorstep.

This threat is upon anyone they deem against them.

May God have mercy on all their souls.

The Last Honest Salesman in America

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2008-03-19-manWhat happened just now in America?

Was anyone else paying attention, or was it just me?

The last thing we need these days are people running a fast game and rolling out the carpet of corporate lies for anyone put in front of them.

What we need is an army of intelligent and savvy business people who can stand behind what they do and not become fast talking cheats.

1.used-car-salesmanI stand here in a world of sales and marketing to tell you that certain people push you toward something you don’t really want and all they really see when they look at you is a big dollar sign with feet.

We are not all this way. And I would like to say I’m proud to tear myself from the mold and stand on my own two feet of integrity.

There is still many things that I don’t do, that I could to help others out in their sales endeavors, that might be an ultimate factor in proving just how I am playing the sales game over here. But holding onto trade secrets and keeping things from rebounding back to the office is hardly the same thing and trying to get you to buy something you don’t really want or need.

I stand here the Last Honest Salesman in America. And when you deal with me you deal with the truth.

Bernanke On The Record

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“My goal is to talk to people outside the Beltway to hear what they are thinking, and do the best I can to explain what’s happening in the economy.”

Many people who care very little for facts have been saying a great deal of nonsensical words in regards to conspiracies and wild theories. In this time of historic actions being done by the government in what amounts to an expanse in federalism it is important to understand the truth of the matter and not allow yourself to be lead astray by people who care nothing for the truth and only seek to promote their own twisted agendas.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke recently did a open forum event hosted by PBS in which the public could ask him questions in regards to his job and the state of the American economy.