Tag Archives: Facebook

Links of Possible Relevance, Part 19

Stop Saying “Whilst”

“Stop Crying” subreddit – That link doesn’t go anywhere because the subreddit doesn’t exist. Someone needs to start it, though, kind of like the “I Am Very Smart” or “Le Wrong Generation” subreddits, to highlight all the people who comment on Facebook images or Youtube videos of overtly sentimental subject matter with tears in their eyes (“damn those onion-cutting ninjas!” etc.). It’s getting out of hand.


Red Deer man punches cougar at Tim Hortons to save dog – I thought cougars would be more into Bob Evans.

SpecFaith: The Need for Diversity in Christian Fiction – No. God, please no. God doesn’t need diversity in anything any more than He needs a peanut butter sandwich or a stovepipe replacement. Evangelical Christians are like conservative Republicans—they hop on cultural trends 5-10 years too late, when everyone else has moved on to the next progressive cause.

Oh No, a Shortage of Dead People – Some folks are too retarded to figure out the negative, unseen, unintended effects of their favorite public policies, but the moment the private sector does something, there’s a sudden burst of insight!

The world is getting more frighteningly stupid by the day. – Yes it is, Jill. It is.

Megadeth’s “Hangar 18” – Ending on a positive note! One of my favorite songs from one of my favorite albums…and it still holds up today, 25+ years later. This seems to be the remastered version, and thankfully they didn’t quiet down Dave Mustaine’s and Marty Friedman’s solo dueling. Hey, speaking of solos, as far as metal it doesn’t get any better than these solos. Keep in mind this was pre-Protools, make-everything-sounds-the-same era. You can feel them beating the crap out of those strings raw to get them to sound the way they want: lots of string scraping and accidental pinch harmonics. As one user commented: “Best solo battle ever, best solos ever, best solo tone ever.”

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How Not to Do a Convention Center Website

Don’t mind me here. It’s part of my mortgage-paying job to notice and fix the things I’m gassing on about below, so none of this post is necessary. It’s all sidebar observations. Is anything on here that necessary to begin with?

It’s not that Pittsburgh’s David L. Lawrence Convention Center website is bad, per se, but that it has an information gap problem. I went there to find a way to get updates about their upcoming events, for no real reason other than curiosity, since the center is down the street from work and happenings there can affect my commute, etc.

The front page doesn’t have much in the way of their event calendar; that’s a separate page. But, more importantly, there’s no RSS feed or a mailing list that would provide updates. Nothing. Schlepping to that events page every so often to see what’s coming up is the only way, and there’s nothing there that denotes anything as a newly-organized event*. You’d have to go to their Facebook or Twitter page for that, but even then you’d need to subscribe or follow them, assuming you are signed up for either (I am not).

I’m probably not the typical user that accesses their site. It’s most likely designed for potential convention organizers, or attendees who are already planning to go to an event and need information on parking or lodging.

* Not to mention, the events page is in a table format, not a calendar, which would convey date information much more quickly.

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Mia Kim Got Scratched!

This is Mia Kim’s thumb and new copy of Pale Blue Scratch.

Send in a photo of you with a copy of the book (paperback or ebook version), and I’ll post it here and link back to your site/blog/Twitter/Facebook/Geocities page.


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Facebook Deleted, and a Poll

I deleted my Facebook account. I remembered I had a GitHub account that I did little with—deleted that one, too. I had planned on doing that some time ago when they started getting infested with SJWs, but it fell off my radar.

So, an informal poll. I have the Links of Possible Relevance posts that I do, and since my Facebook is gone, I’ll publish more of those posts here. Would readers here prefer the Possible Relevance format, like a link dump, or a lot of smaller posts dealing with one link? I can see the Possible Relevance format being easier for me, but I’ll try anything.

You can leave a comment with your vote. I know some of you prefer email, so you can email me your vote or other ideas instead.

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God’s Nose Wiggles

If you didn’t hear, scientists discovered some unusual gravitational waves emanating from two black holes. It’s a big deal since it strongly bolsters Einstein’s space-time theories.

Mike Duran quoted astrophysicist Hugh Ross on Facebook:

“The existence of gravity waves is an important prediction of Einstein’s theory of general relativity. Einstein’s theory of general relativity is a critical component of the spacetime theorems which, if general relativity is a true theory, implies that a Causal Agent beyond space and time must have created our universe of matter, energy, space, and time. The Gods of the non-biblical faiths create within space and time. The God of the Bible creates independent of space and time. Thus, increasing evidence for general relativity yields increasing evidence for the biblical account of cosmic creation.”

I don’t know what it is about Christian scientists and their careless language with respect to divine attribution. Yes, yes, I know: God did it all—somehow, but Christian scientists need to make any scientific discovery, that may kinda sorta weakly imply “God did it,” into a “God said ‘poof!’ and it totally ‘poofed.'” They reach out and wiggle God’s nose, Bewitched-style, for Him. Don’t do that; He’s perfectly capable of doing it Himself.

Additionally, these gravitational waves don’t even imply this Most Holy Wiggle, since the direct cause, or chain of causes, could still be material. If there are multiverses, the waves could have come from them. Or any manner of unknown, pre-our-universe, mechanism. Again: yes, God sure as sugar did it, but that’s not an excuse for cutting out the sciencey stuff that could’ve happened in between, especially if it’s your job to assume those causes exist.

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The Jay Test

Facebook friend Mike Duran posted about the Bechdel Test on his wall recently. I had never heard of it, but I’m happy to report any conversation between women appearing in Pale Blue Scratch fails the test. Well, not exactly happy; I’m really indifferent toward it. However, I don’t play the gender culture war and I don’t acknowledge finger-wagging moralists (looking at you, feminists and MRAs). That something I create might fail a silly test of one side is icing on the cake.

So, as a modest proposal, I offer my own test: the Jay Test (working title…I’m not that conceited, and “Jay Test” is easy to remember). Here it is, called out via the glorious h2 HTML tag:

A story passes the Jay Test if 90% of all the casualties in violent conflicts that occur in said story are female casualties.

I use 90% because of the non-academic estimate on my part—90% of all deaths in narratives seem to be male deaths. The “male death” ratio is heavily skewed by war films and books, simply because wars produce the greatest number of deaths. There are other genres—horror, for example—where the deaths aren’t as one sided, but the death count isn’t nearly as high.

For the record, not only does Pale Blue Scratch fail the Bechdel Test, it fails the Jay Test, too. Spectacularly. Lots of dudes dying in that book. No ladies.

EDIT: To tie this into Star Wars, as is the subject of this blog lately, see this video*. It’s a little flabbergasting to me, that a half-naked (attractive) female has a parent so riled up, when in the Star Wars prequels, there are damn well over 4 million cloned men, created specifically to fight and die in battle. The clones were also “conditioned to be absolutely obedient.” If Star Wars has a sexism issue, it’s this one. As I said, I don’t care about this…creating a clone army of men makes perfect sense, since men are more drawn to perform physical violence, etc. I’m using this example via reasoning by another framework, not my own.

* Interesting point about Leia’s slave outfit: it’s supposed to be demeaning. That Jabba stuck her in one is within his character, and the nature of owning another person. You’re not going to give a slave, male or female, a crown and scepter, are you?

EDIT 2: I’m retracting my perfect failure score for the Jay Test, for Pale Blue Scratch. There’s a scene were some people die, but it’s not explicit that it’s only men. In my mind, there were women involved. Also, “casualty” should be more defined if the test were to be administered. Is it just deaths, or can physical injury count? If it’s the latter, a female character in PBS gets injured often, almost critically.

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That Julia Price Story is Suspect

I don’t normally comment on these “dawww that’s cute” type of stories, but I’ve been seeing this too much to ignore it.

Story here, original Facebook post here. I was about to write it off as another useless social media story with a gratuitous selfie of Julia for maximum attention generation, until I read that she was on her morning run and the catcaller was on his lunchbreak. So was it in the morning or noontime?

Maybe she works an odd-shift job and her “morning” is really the afternoon, or the guy was eating lunch-oriented food. Whichever…Julia may have just misreported it.

There are other elements that don’t quite add up, though I’m willing to give a pass to. There’s no photo of the mom, James, or the stroller. If this really happened, Julia may have wanted to replace the unnecessary selfie with a photo of her with the family. But there are privacy concerns, so maybe James’ mom said declined the offer. The timing is odd, as well: Julia was running, the family was walking, the man was almost certainly sitting (Julia said he “gathered” his lunch before leaving). The order of events and the position/movements are strange, but not impossible.

What really tipped me off was the actions of the boy and the man. The little boy (I assume this means he was no older than 10 or so) acted like kids do in movies—just a little too perfect with his bravery and response. The man, brazen enough to catcall a woman in a public place where there are families walking (not to mention his boss or colleagues lurking nearby), suddenly gets too embarrassed to stay and finish eating when someone points it out. Again, this seems too Hollywood to be genuine.

I don’t care either way if it’s real or not. Being catcalled is barely a ping on the radar of notable life events, unless you’re really seeking attention or validation on social media. The only value for me is the casual mental exercise in looking at it logically.

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The Staycation Dad Chronicles

A cut and paste post while I’m busy finishing up Pale Blue Scratch.

I recently finished a staycation and was busy annoying everyone on Facebook with my humdrum, activities in the dense suburbs of Pittsburgh. Here they are, serialized for your pleasure—because what’s more entertaining than what an average white American male does in his spare time?

Staycation Dad Achievement unlocked: charmed all the moms at the bus stop this morning. But not *too* much.

Staycation Dad Achievement unlocked: helping wife find me in the bookstore by the smell of my burps.

Staycation Dad Achievement unlocked: resisted the urge to buy a middle-grade Star Wars book.

Staycation Dad Achievement unlocked: ground (grinded?) the out-of-code stroller into smaller parts to make it easier on the garbage man.

Staycation Dad Achievement unlocked: successfully reminisced about when this was the raciest thing on MTV.

Staycation Dad Achievement unlocked: substituted coffee for soda for Chick-fil-A meal deal.

Staycation Dad Achievement unlocked: installed vise with minimal injuries.

Staycation Dad Achievement unlocked: painted garage door with “assistance” from son.

Staycation Dad Achievement unlocked: moved rocks.

Staycation Dad Achievement unlocked: drank a cigar and smoked sherry while video chatting with an old friend.

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“Look at Me. I Did It Too.”

God’s not in the business of sticking around only to cover up for your stupidity or hubris, though I am sure there are provisions sent that can account for that. To a certain extent God honors what a church body corporately focuses on—their “mission,” if you will—at least insofar that the body adheres to God’s character and not a cheap, passing cultural type. Paradoxically, with mass communication as a norm, signals will get distorted: is a church’s goal something God put under their dominion or is it the sweep of culture and that’s driving action?

There’s an issue when we fulfill a role or conform to an image set for us by a church culture that holds no accountability to the outcome of adhering to the role. With very few exceptions, if someone else isn’t vested, personally and materially, into the outcome your mission, you’d better be gosh darn sure it’s really your mission. A random person on Facebook doesn’t count as accountability, and neither does the glom of “likes” you can secure get for unlocking the right cultural achievements, to borrow a RPG gaming term.

Consider something pastors don’t really mention when in sermonizing mode, if they acknowledge it at all. There’s a danger in patterning your life after Biblical characters. The people who were written about in those 66 books were quite literally one in a million, and those Old Testament prophets that acted as God’s mouthpiece lead strange and often miserable earthly existences. You, however, aren’t so special. There were countless people who lived from Adam to John who lead very holy but very ordinary lives—lives that many of us would dismiss as not “radically transformed” enough for us to consider exemplary of Christian life. By nature we can’t all achieve fame. We should remember that this response is this fallen world’s sentiment, amplified by the boredom that comes with safe living and affluence: that the worst hell is an unremarkable life.

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Scarlett Johansson’s Race and Ghost in the Shell

ghost_in_the_shell_motokoIf you’re my friend on Facebook you’ve seen me briefly whine about Scarlett Johansson’s role in the Americanized, live-action version of Ghost in the Shell (GitS). As I’ve said on there, I don’t care much about race qua race in most contexts, but within the GitS fictional world it matters a lot. Since both movies, the two series’ season and related movie, the recent mini-movie reboot, and (presumably) the manga, take place in Japan and heavily involve high-level government workings in a near-future Japan, the artistic pressure to match the race of the protagonists is present*.

Rupert Sanders, the director, could work the non-Japaneseness of Motoko Kusanagi, the main protagonist and Johansson’s role, into the plot. Kusanagi’s body is completely synthetic. Though the ethnicity of her cybernetic body has a Japanese appearance, she could conceivably have a Caucasian body since it’s not difficult to “change” bodies out. This doesn’t seem likely since this new film is going to be marketed to a more general audience than a GitS fanbase. The former demographic is not going to be concerned or even be aware of the discrepancy. Since the nature of human consciousness is a major theme, especially in the original film, Sanders could even work in some meta-counter-criticism of race by leveraging the a-ethnicity of the soul (however one may consider the nature of the soul to be).

But my main point in all this is that many Facebook commenters are calling the casting a “whitewash” of the source material. I wonder, though, if the people making this criticism would call the newest Annie film or Idris Elba’s possible casting as the new James Bond a “blackening” of the original, or if they consider a black Santa Claus a betrayal of a European tradition? Why would Johansson’s casting not be considered a win for diversity in a franchise that is traditionally very Asian?

* As far as I remember, all of the main, recurring characters in GitS except for Batou are Japanese. Batou is actually French, and presumably Caucasian. Might be interesting to track the casting of his character as well.

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