Wednesday, July 25, 2018

The Wrong People for the Job: Keeping CEOs in media and business that are going to sink the boat.

"Failure to learn from past mistakes begins with the belief that what happened was never a mistake in the first place."
      -Me, just now.

Although it may seem as if you, dear reader, are in for an art history lesson, it is the actual Medusa event that is the inspiration here.  It is something I have been thinking about as it applies to contemporary matters.  Famous for being immortalized in "The Raft of the Medusa" by French master Théodore Géricault in 1819 currently on display at the Louvre in Paris, The Medusa Affair was  a horrific event involving incompetence, cronyism, class-ism, and not only epic, but consistently poor decision making by "management" you could call it. 

Since Wikipedia exists, the entire story need not be retold here, only that due to the above stated reasons (and maybe a shark or two), the evacuation of most of the people on board met with an 8% success rate, and in case you were wondering, that would be -92% return on living people. The result was mutiny, murder, suicide, and eventual cannibalism.  It is a situation with striking parallels to the result of current business practices in these the times in which we live.  The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Also the boat itself sank.

For more information, visit your local youtube video where a college freshman will blur the lines between explain, extol, and pontificate, while talking about what they read about this in an art history book published in 1992.  It will be followed by a google ad-sense link for where you can find the best deal on a sub-par print you can hang in your tiny apartment to make people who come over think you're smart.  (Which is good because you have really got to stop telling people that "The Scream" is your favorite Van Gogh painting when you point to that old poster of it you got from the campus bookshop that's still up in your kitchen). I put so many miles on this joke I could take it to an antique dealer at this point.

Moving on; The recent episodes of corporate death and disease we have been seeing, which range from MGM to Toys R Us, and from G.E. to Toshiba, are not specific to any one industry, but rather the result of a potent mixture of a failure to adapt, generational disconnect, staunch baby boomer self-righteousness, Executive Worship, immense misplacement of corporate social responsibility, politically complicit corporate corruption, and simple greed in the notion that selling the soul of the company to an investment bank so you could have more money to carry out your bullshit was somehow not going to end up like a real life version of Faust (but hey, you're "executive level" so what do you care...). 

As these companies navigate the turbulent seas of global business, success and even survival depends on command decisions with the health of the vessel in mind as paramount.  All too often in the past two to three decades, concern for such welfares  have found themselves replaced by some nebulous commitment to unknowable collectives of financiers, with priorities far too narrow to sustain anything other than the monetary equivalent of theoretical physics that only finance majors could hold so dear.  This has elevated the concept of the all-star CEO to something of value.  An asset of luxuriant necessity who's lack of presence is as inconceivable as the absence of air-conditioning in a car owned by someone living in Arizona.  It is not.

 March 2017 

March 2018
"How do ya like THEM APPLES?"

Such is the function of self aggrandizing smoke and mirrors.  But much like smoking cigarettes, it only looks cool in the movies, and that intangible coolwill* can dangerously overshadow the real irreparable damage to very tangible healthy tissue.  Damage which is obscured from being a cause of concern until the lifeblood of the drained body-corporate pours from a gasping desiccated mouth twisted in the physical pain of necrotic tissue attempting in vein to maintain its life, quivering below eyes widened by the fear of  inevitable mortality, dripping with impotent tears impregnated with the lamentable knowledge of the fact such a fate as final as this death was by their own hand, preventable.  

Basically their way of running a company is very harmful but they don't realize it until it bites them in the ass.  This is because like the Captain of The Medusa, they have gained their position through favoritism and noble title, not by showing an ability to navigate an overloaded military naval vessel in the dangerous shallows off of West Africa.  Being appointed to such responsibilities leaves most executives genuinely questioning how their "brilliant plan" which relies on strategic metrics and business sensibilities which fully petrified in 2002 could have missed the mark by so much.  And why their concerns for rescuing things from their disastrous endeavors are egregious cries of "assets and golden parachutes first!" when filling the few lifeboats who's shortage and inadequacy seems to exist by design.

 Despite how awesome this looks, in reality it is the result of some very poor life choices.

 *What is "coolwill"?  Related to the business concept of goodwill, coolwill is an intangible asset not generated not by deeds which create general feelings of gratis and dependability in consumers, but by deeds which create feelings of envy in competitors.  This can include everything from innocuous flamboyance, to seriously self-destructive behaviors such as the insanity of CEO Dennis Kozlowski. While Tyco is an extreme example, the notion of the "cool kids" having the run of the school despite being anything other than human garbage, is a long and storied one and continues into just about every aspect of society.  So coolwill is when a Company or Executive benefits from such enviable and not rewarding or dependable behavior.

This brings us to today, where a mix of said "coolwill" and baby boomer selfishness have created an invisible monster that is giving corporate sepsis to companies that make the things we love and which employ the people our communities depend on.  Nothing appeals to older executives like being atop a social pyramid and older such people are finding out that the only such pyramids they can stand atop of are ones where they stand on the shoulders of those simply too economically terrified to ever contradict them.  Even if that pyramid is one they are ill equipped to take command of.  While the myth of the CEO being something valuable is well known and documented, they react like the owner of a pit-bull which has already ripped open 2 Yorkies and human toddler's face, oh well that's not ME and MY doggie, I'm totally different.  Yeah, sure you are.  But that's only a small part of the reason these companies are showing signs of ill health.

The more important part is that the solution to these problems is going to have to include the strategy of filling positions based on ability and competency, not experience and seniority.  Nothing makes a baby boomer start worrying more than the realization that their skill-set of telling other people what to do and their "experience" of working with dot matrix printers is not an asset.  We see these people paid more for doing less.  The notion of "not being able to set up your own email" was cute in 1998, but 20 years on that's like proudly admitting you don't know how to dial a phone or order a pizza.  Why does the VP of marketing need someone to explain to them what tent-poling is, or how to analyze new market data?  The notion that the keeping of their positions might get tied to their demonstrable abilities and not simply the fact that they just have been there forever will make them dangerous wounded animals.  Anyone who says "I've been in the business a long time" needs to be told "yeah, and look what you've done to it."  But of course that's always someone else's fault.

Social issues are also very important, especially in creative and entertainment media.  No one wants to work for a generation that denies civil rights to Americans, and calls video games (a multi-billion dollar industry that pays enough taxes to keep their precious Medicare, bailouts, and unending wars going) as dangerous as lead-poisoning, unless they get paid enough to off their student loans I guess.
 (oh, 2016... See what I did there?).

Although this argument could fill pages upon pages, I will simply conclude that this economic environment of terrible terribleness is only going to bring us more bad decision making by a management with inherited and artificially portable power, and unearned reputations of competence value, and a desperate need to stay relevant despite sucking at their CEO jobs.   (Jeff Immelt I'm talking about you... You can only sell NBC once).

So what does this mean for media creation and consumption for Otaku?  Well I think it means this:

For the USA:
This means that media companies will finance irrelevant projects, use outdated strategies, and fail to give the necessary importance to emergent technology ("disruptive technology" is the wrong term, it is just something the old world execs use for new inventions that they can't figure out how to turn on or off).  Companies will make crap, and eventually we will see a decline in creativity and content.  Just look what FOX did to every single good show they had... yeah, we really need that Tim Allen reboot of whatever it is.  Look how well Rosanne did ammiright?

You just know Fox is gonna bring this one back in such a socially tone-def manner, the lack of self-awareness is going to create a vacuum which rivals a black hole.

For Japan:
The risk for Japan comes from a direct threat to financing.  In terms of content and licensing "keep doing what you're doing" is not only a prudent idea but it's such a Japanese way of doing things that it's gonna happen that way no matter what. Sure there are in-studio changes that should happen which won't, but that's just going to make life continue to suck there.  What keeps most anime actually happening, is financing from massive corporations and banking networks which are too frequently starting to fall like diseased trees and take out whatever happens to be in their way as they plummet into dysfunction.

Is the Shining top of an Oji-san's head the new face of Japanese Global Industry?  

It's getting there, but recent events indicate that Japan is still playing more of a long-game, which seems like a good idea since we're now in a current climate where the only way to win is almost not to play (at least for the moment).

As The Medusa triggered the fall of the Bourbon Restoration and eventually lead to the July Revolution of 1830 in France (actual photograph of the event below), perhaps we shall see one of these disasters spur on the recognition that the balance of power, opportunity, and long term national preservation, so desperately in need adjusting.

Friday, June 22, 2018

CalArts: The sad end of the American animation renaissance.

For many, the exact moment when the creative outlet that CalArts provided, metastasized into the unhealthy black mold of media entertainment is easy to identify:

Right there.  That's where it happened.

Like many such situations, the confluence of different emotions and negative expectations give rise to a lackadaisical pessimism that at once is so palpable yet in turn, so difficult to articulate.  To summarize; we can call it a galvanization of assumptive reasoning which over time has evolved to invoke a general negative.  To summarize the summary of the summary; CalArts is a problem.  Much like a movie using the words “Staring Adam Sandler” will guarantee you won’t be watching it, now a CalArts design will serve as the singularity of information which will be interpreted by potential fans as “avoid this in general.” It is the entertainment equivalent of vegan ice cream. 

As with any modal thing, CalArts by itself is not by default “good” or “bad” but becomes associated with one or the other as time progresses (fool me once, blah blah blah).  What seems to have developed is a transition from CalArts being associated with creative, progressive, socially attuned, and intelligent ongoing/connected story-lines, into simply the packaging of recycled properties which are considered financially safe and churned out with a rubber-stamp monotony only permeated by the occasional reversal of a gender dynamic or a reference of an internet meme from 8 years ago. 

Much as Adult Swim had many years ago gone from something creative and funny to the mental hellscape of what it is today; something which only holds entertainment value to suburban stoners who couldn’t remember what shows they watched the very next day if their life depended on it and subsisting on a diet of 50% weed, 50% Cheetos, and 50% Mountain Dew (common core math, it totally works), CalArts seems now to simply be the indicator of a production with the least amount of animation effort set to a script that would make a better radio-show than anything else, and will seem just forced as all fuck.

Artist rendering of the potential absolute hell we could be seeing by 2019.

The only positive to come from this situation is that it may possibly spur a backlash strong enough to push truly well-made, and beautifully animated new and original productions to the forefront.  The people will demand change and will vote by changing the channel or whatever.  It is difficult not to become outraged when one sees this CalArts repackaging crap-fest brain child of an actual man-bun sporting parody of a parody of "woke" hipster given priority over amazing artistic works like this:

Seriously, why is this not on TV in its 3rd season by now?

Animation is a visual medium.  Those visuals communicate immense amounts of information in both the form of a singularity and of a linear progression.  Not only has CalArts become the new face of over-homogenization, but it is also now associated with rehashed, unoriginal productions which are treated far too much like financial instruments based on "bankable properties" and not enough like creative endeavors.

Will things get worse before they get better?  No, I am thinking things will get worse and just stay that way.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Returning to Normal.

I'm back.  No, I didn't get deep-sixed by goons, I am not in jail, and no I haven't died from liver failure (yet, but it is on my to-do list).  I was in a physical accident involving the, I think the medical term for it is; Nut-Sack, which ended up causing a few other problems as I did the classic early Gen-Y think of just waiting for it to go away because you don't have health insurance, even though now I do (and with only a 12 million dollar deductible!  Isn't America just the best?).  Short story is a long hospital stay, a massive change in diet, and lots of pills.  I am not out of the woods yet even either.  So people out there, a steady diet of aspirin, 72oz of 7% ABV beer, and nothing else for 9 days is bad... m'kay.

Then my internet was out because of my own hardware issues.  Just had to use my phone of the wife's tablet when she wasn't using it.

So after all of that, I am hoping to resume.  And gosh, quite a bit has happened... or has it?  Something something names change something something stay the same, something something complete

I have got to say ever since NYU took over a bunch of facilities around here, the medicine waitresses have gotten a lot better.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

The Cheeto In Chief and You; How the FCC is about to change your media consumption for the worse.

Making America great again, because having 6 channels on your black & white Zenith was just oh-so much the bestest!

You might have read that (do people read this?) and thought well tell us something we don't know.  Fine, as Billy Mays said maybe once, but wait there's more!  The FCC is a massive entity.  They do everything from regulate broadcast content, to ensure your new stupid 4G whatever doesn't end up jamming ambulance radios.  Their budget is larger than the GDP of quite a few countries (no not just Bhutan) and they can bring it to bear (more or less) however they feel like for whatever reason.  Recently the FCC has past new regulations which have deregulated the need for any major broadcaster to maintain a studio within a reasonable distance of a local community it serves.  Major broadcasters are going to love being able to shut down expensive local affiliates while making the same amount of revenue by just keeping the tower and having one guy to stick in the carts for the local adverts that will run during a canned news show filmed somewhere in the state with the least regulations, or just reruns of Seinfeld.

Or this.

Now it may just seem that this just means something like say goodbye to your local news team (you can bet your ass that's gonna happen if you're some small town resident), but there is going to be more to it than that.  To get the regular stuff out of the way, people will lose their jobs, and all of a sudden, second-hand studio equipment is going to become really cheap for a while.  That degree in journalism or audio engineering is going to become about as valuable as one in post-modern feminist abstract art theory, and all of a sudden studio buildings will become either parking lots or snapped up by colleges to teach degrees in that now-useless degree I just mentioned.

You are probably thinking; well so the fuck what, I watch all the things I want to on streaming service whatever, Crunchyroll, I have Youtube channels I like, and I am still torrenting stuff even though it devalues the license and you're a horrible person for doing it.  Lulz.  But you need a bit of some harsh reality.

You ever watch Green Room?  There is a scene in there where one of the bad guys explains the difference between a bullet and a cartridge.  See, a cartridge is the whole thing that you put in the firing chamber of a gun.  It consists of a casing, containing the propellant (AKA gunpowder), with a firing cap at one end and the actual bullet on the other.  It is the bullet that is launched out of the gun at dangerous speeds, but without all that other stuff, as well as the gears and springs of the gun itself, it is just a little hunk of more or less useless metal.

The worst part, is that I pretty much look like this guy (minus tattoos ...needles... ick!) but women still cross the street to get away from me and call me a creep when I volunteer for Community Board 6 in order to get petition signatures for more traffic lights and better traffic safety enforcement in my neighborhood because there are 2 schools right here and cars and trucks drive way too fast past them. Vision Zero.

See ok, the same thing is going on in this situation.   This is just the cartridge or even just the shell part of what the FCC is doing.  There is more than just the deregulation of local stations going on here.  The result of this will be that cord-cutting will become more prevalent.  We all know it is going to increase rather than decrease.  So you are not worried.  Well you should be, because here comes part two:

Listen, and understand. Th FCC is out there! It can't be bargained with. It can't be reasoned with. It doesn't feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop... ever, until Net Neutrality is dead!

 Another clip!

But with the end of Net Neutrality, how easy do you think it is going to be to stream a Cronchyroll title vs something like HBO?  If you aren't worried, then congratulations on turning 14, I am sure you will have at least 8 years of a great life before the horrible downward spiral of the world comes and takes that away from you.   But in actual real reality of actual actuality, with the lack of localized options, (yes the local stations are antiques but lets not forget the Supreme Court can't tell the difference between an iPhone 6 and a beeper so they think they are totally relevant) it will   make the end of Net Neutrality to the right parties. Carriers, Telecoms, and now Content Conglomerates.  They have "lobbies" (AKA Bribe-Jawas Bribe-Jawas ...someone tell me I am the first person to come up with that one) anyway, they will tip the scale in the US Congress like they always do.  It will happen slowly and quietly.  And one day you will say "remember when such and such youtube channel came in just as good as the Disney Streaming Channel?"    Then maybe ...maybe you will remember that I mentioned this 6 years ago.

 Yeah, that is about how it is gonna go.  

If you are a Weird Al fan, you might know about a movie called UHF that he made. And I think it at this point strangely and inadvertently prophetic. These studios can become epicenters of... rent-able creativity.  Everyone creative can create, but an artist can't paint without an easel.  A sculptor can't sculpt without a table.  A musician can not compose without air.  These studios can become a facilitation for local creativity, eliminating the need to move to LA or New York (please stop moving to Brooklyn, I already charge you people $2400 a month for the bunch of 1 BR apartments I have, but I am getting so sick of you transplants).  You will be able to be content creators in local municipalities or just towns or even less.  But it can reach a global audience only if Net Neutrality is preserved.  The FCC and their Corporate Partners are counting on that being able to be legally abolished.  They will try anything to make that happen.  You just have to write a letter with a stamp on it and stick it in the mail box (you know, those blue things that you pass 100 of while you walk around all day...)  Just make sure they know that if they kill Net Neutrality, it will cost them votes. 

Ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure.   You know that.

Monday, October 16, 2017

There's No Business Like Show Business, Unfortunately; #MeToo

Well this is something.

First let me say that I was never sexually harassed while working at any entertainment or licensing company.  Where I was sexually harassed was when I worked at a beverage company (juices and soft-drinks) when I was the only male worker in the entire accounting department, and was walking down the hall when one of the other workers (she was Jamaican and the rest were all from DR) was twerking right there and as I walked by the other girls stopped me and asked "isn't that a nice ass?  Here get some!" and grabbed my hand and put it right on there with the bouncy bounce not skipping a beat.  Keep in mind I am at least 10 years older than anyone else there and was clearly wearing a wedding ring, but noooooooooo they did not give a shit and slammed my hand on that ass. And I am not talking about the outer round part, they shoved my hand right in that lil jon to-the-window-to-the-wall, kill zone.  ...her vajayjay if you couldn't tell.   I was told by the head of the department to "lighten up"  ...Imagine the opposite, some dudes are in a hall and grab the hand of the only woman in the department and put it on some guy's dick?  That's a lawsuit if you're lucky, but for me... it was "lighten up."  I quit a little bit later over their illegal accounting practices.  All I can say is ...don't buy any Tropical Fantasy drinks.

It's a thing

But I am not here to talk about my own experiences like that today.  What I am here to talk about is Harvey Weinstein.  It is shameful and disgusting that it took so long to have this slime-mold in a human shaped condom held accountable for what he has done.  The Weinstein once had a company called Dragon Dynasty, which was in the same business as Crash Cinema; martial arts movies for home media and other streaming outlets.  I was once in the same room as that guy at a reception and then again at a somehow different reception later in the year but it was pretty much exactly the same.  I did not rank high enough in the scheme of things to be allowed to talk to him (it was made explicitly clear by his handlers) but I was very close in proximity and I can tell you that the creep-factor was at about 1000% with this guy.  The only reason I stayed was because there was an open bar with some top-shelf booze.

I was already depressed to the point of suicide so... might as well right?

The only problem is, this reminds me of my old boss.  Scott C Mauriello, former Managing Director of Crash Media Group, Crash Cinema, or Anime Crash, whatever you want to call that mess.  And no, he was not actually co-owner, he didn't own even 1% of Crash Media Group despite what he would say in some sort of Trump-ish grandiose bellowing.  First and foremost, he seemed to be illiterate.  You would give him a memo and then 2 hours later he would act as if he never saw the thing but tell you to your face he read it in detail.  Secondly, he is an audacious liar.  He kept telling everyone that his "Japanese Girlfriend" killed herself back in Osaka or something, but she is in fact very much alive and well and part of a jazz band that plays regularly at the Chelsea Piers.  And finally, he is a walking boner with no self-control.  He once actually started having sex with the 16 year old who worked at Copy Center 2 doors down from Anime Crash, and just taking money out of the register randomly to pay for their dates.  ...uuuugg.  

Not a photo of Scott C Mauriello, but... you get the idea

He would relentlessly hit on any woman who had less than a 34" waist  and visible tits regardless to if it was reciprocated or not.  We had so many potential licensing deals and other projects ruined because he would just not stop coming on to women involved.  He would use tarot cards as some sort of intro to his shtick, and say ridiculous nonsense like  "you have an old soul" or something similar.  The biggest disaster was the almost-happened project that Crash had with DJ Honda.  His North American Manager was really ready to make a deal to do background music for martial arts montages (we had 300 titles it only makes sense to make cool music videos out of all the best parts of guys getting kicked in the face) but all that Scott Mauriello tried to do was get her in the sack.  Spoiler alert, the deal fell through and I spent hours on the phone with this poor woman telling me everything that the slimy jerk did to her.  On the plus side we traded recipes, I gave her my marinara one, and she taught me some cool Korean cooking tricks. And I did get to meet DJ Honda. There were plenty of other things he screwed up too, from the new mascot, to totally fucking up the casting for Geisters because he put girls he wanted to fuck in important roles.  (Hey baby, come back to my place and then I'll make you a star... of voice acting).

And everything was going just fine...

So anyway, I watched Scott C Mauriello act like Donald Trump without the money for 12 years and I didn't do shit about it.  I am thinking "hey ladies, you know when a skeeve is skeeving on you, so just tell them to shove off" but it often doesn't work that way does it?  I remember feeling trapped and helpless as the youngest person in the room, while all the other guys were busy making jokes about how some female employee's tits were awesome or some other female employee (who had the highest sales record for that year) was an ugly dog and how they should get rid of her because the office needs more "eye candy" or some shit.  Sipping their Grey Goose pear flavored martinis and all hyuckle bucking about things that belong in the stone age and hardee har har.   I sat there, silently.    I couldn't have changed their minds but I could have at least thrown a wrench in the gears.  I didn't.  I knew what was happening.  And I did nothing but let it happen for fear of losing my job.  Unemployed in New York City is a terrifying prospect.  I currently only have 4 clients but if I lose even one I am going to start to worry.  And that is how it continues to happen.  The oppressed are oppressed, and the good people do nothing for fear of becoming the former.  ...12 years.

Speak out.  Even if it is anonymously, speak out so that the strength of others may be your shield.

Please send all hard-liquor donations to:
Pinky Mixology


Oh and Zenger standard applies so ...fuck off.

Monday, October 9, 2017

It's a Trap! Philips 4K TVs allure but disappoint. In brief: Avoid

Why the Philips 4K TV is a Ford Pinto in Ferrari Clothing.

The modern TV.  It's that and a whole lot more... well it should be.  When people hear "Smart TV" they associate it with a generally understood number of set features, but in reality, there is no such set list.  I could add a quad-core to a set and give it some random OS that I made which basically does nothing but provide you access to pornhub and vine, and call it "smart" with no problem.  What the Philips series does is call a dumb TV smart with the Google Chromcast series.  This is a result of their lack of any on-screen menu/interface for streaming apps. Looking through commonly used apps like Netflix, Crunchyroll, or even something like iHeartRadio, is impossible to do on the TV itself.  It requires a separate wireless device which you then use to "cast" the individual program you selected to the TV itself which will simply begin playing it.  Your expensive tablet is now a glorified TV remote.  They also don't even work with Amazon Prime.  I am sure it's because Google TV or Youtube Red or whatever they are gonna call it, sees Amazon as a direct competitor.

This is like if Chevy only made their cars derivable if you were also wearing Chevy-brand shoes with the RFID pedal activator embedded in the shoe-sole as well.  It is an extra unnecessary step that no one wants to deal with.   Every other "smart" TV can have something "cast" to it, but the other option is to use the on-screen menu, which everyone is not only accustomed to, but also expects.  This is like Chevy selling a car with no steering wheel and simply telling drivers to use their new Chevy pedal activation shoes to steer with by pointing your toes in the direction they want to go in.  Customers bought a car, they are expecting a steering wheel.  Philips has decided you don't, and you're not going to get one.

The technical specs next to the price tag are the siren song they sing.  With more than your standard HDMI ports and some great resolution they are indeed utilitarian and impressive, but even these are not as impressive as they could be.  No localized-dimming, speakers that could be better, and a remote that like it was designed by Jackson Pollock Jr, son of Roy Lichtenstein.  All in all, if you don't know what you're in for, you'll see the price tag (which makes a Vizio look like Bentley next to a Kia), ad think something like:

Well don't be fooled, I am here to let you know that after you get this home and start it up, you are going to start regretting buying it and thinking; "Should I haul out my old PS3 so I can at least get an onscreen menu so it's easier to watch The Orville on Hulu while I am lying on my couch and my tablet is way over on the other side of the room?"   The answer will be yes and you will be annoyed.  Google seems to not have learned from the mistakes of Apple, and it's probably because they think they are so much better than they are.  The proprietary technology and software Apple has famously alienated itself with, will be the proprietary consumer behaviors and end-user activities will eventually create a significant reverse-value-ratio to make Samsung or even SONY products look attractive again.

 This was not good news.

This review is mostly based on the Philips PFL5922 series, but looking at others in the showroom were pretty much the same.  Don't you hate it when you get "gifts" of things you want but the exact type of said thing is something you'd never want... like when you were growing up and you wanted an NES so you could play it and talk about it with your friends and then one day there's a wrapped up box at home, you get all excited, and it's a ColecoVision.  You know you can't be mad, but at the same time you know you're gonna use it once and then just ...not anymore.

Then like with the flat-lining of Google Plus (no small part in the straight up resentment it caused with it's unexpected anal-fisting into Youtube), this will likely make these Philips turds so unattractive that the office of whoever thought making Google Cast the only way to go is going to be in there thinking long and hard...

The just won't know what went wrong...

So to summarize, don't buy this.

Monday, October 2, 2017

I Luvz Mah Gun... Luvs Mah Gun! Guns and their role in entertainment media.

Well, if I had one I'd love her... her name would be Alligator.

So Las Vegas happened.  Yeah that was a thing.  Although Alex Jones is already screaming "false flag" because, of course he is, it won't take long for other people who actually live on planet Earth to start looking at the idea of guns, the ownership of guns, the use of guns, and the availability of Guns.  But in all that, there is going to be one term that keeps getting mentioned I'm sure; "Gun-Culture" and the thing is, you can't really have that without the need to include the concept of "guns-in-culture" along with it.
Pay attention.  This is very important.
I actually just realized she's got one eye totally covered and the other one 90% closed... how she gonna hit anything like that?

I think everyone who grew up in the 80's or 90's knows that one kid who's mom wouldn't let them play with any type of toy gun or gun-like object and if she caught them watching The A-Team there would be hell to pay.  These were the days of Dr. Spockian absolutisms of hippy-dippy child rearing and Mel Leveneish notions that literally everything in the environment a young person is in will have some sort of indelible impact on someone growing up, even if it is an abstract concept.  Yep, the baby boomers believed that if you just shielded your child from anything negative, then they would grow up to be perfect little conformers to your specific set of values.  ...You go ask the Mormons how well that actually works.  One of the first aspects of popular entertainment this phenomenon was that moment when you realize G.I. Joe went from being good to sucking ass.

Real guns and explosions on the left... this ridiculousness and "lasers" that move so slow you can dodge them on the right.
But you kept watching it... and you know why.
Yeah, you know why

Fast-forward to post-Columbine and all of a sudden it's; Leather duster jackets are potential warning signhs!  Mortal Kombat did this, quick get Hillary Clinton and Captain Kangaroo (no seriously he was a part of that insane shit) they will ban them there vidja games!  Schools need more security than airports and every student is guilty until proven innocent!  Marylin Manson!  ZERO TOLERANCE!  ...oh and people shouldn't keep loaded guns where victims of prolonged sanctioned bullying who may show signs of mental illness can get them  ...ya know, just maybe.

Did entertainment media get less violent as a result?  I'd say not really.  What happened was the kind of person who was "allowed" access to it was changed.  And it was based on age.  The generation that said "never trust anyone over 30,"  smoked weed in public but then embraced the war on drugs, and would gladly give a blowjob to Holden Caulfield because he was just the best, does a 180.  All of a sudden there was now a wrong kind of music.  A wrong kind of clothing style.  A wrong kind of media entertainment.  And they are the ones who knew everything (I mean they totally changed the world, man!) so you will obey them and do what they say.  They declared a straight up war on cultural evolution.  A war they would eventually lose, in part thanks to anime and manga being so out there and so under the radar and shared through technology they did not understand, that they didn't know they were supposed to hate it until it was too late.  Even before you could download anything, in my college anime club running days I had a VHS trading network that reached from Canada to Bolivia and it was all arranged online (yes I am that old).  But the "guns-in-culture" problem popped up in that "zero-tolerance" zealotry.  So kids; Bring a 1 inch plastic accessory gun held by an action figure to school?  Oh, you criminal scum!  Wear a clip in your hair that might have a gun-like image as part of it?  You're aiding terrorism!  Bite a pop-tart in the shape of a gun?  IT'S CARLOS THE JACKAL!  And Big Brother is always watching.  Even when you think he isn't.  That has unfortunately more or less continued and will probably keep happening for another 10 years until the kids who ended up on the business end of that retarded retardedness get their hands on the wheel.

If you are under 18 in America today, you have no rights.  ...sorry kids

So, like I said, now Las Vegas happened.  And what are we going to get?  First we're going to get people asking for motive, and the NRA going into full head-up-ass damage control mode.  Some people are going to say we should ban all guns, some people are going to say we should ban some kinds of guns, and some people will say from my cold dead hands.  The thing is, the weapon used in the video of the event which is widely circulating is clearly a fully automatic machine gun or sub-machine gun and those have been banned and prohibited for decades.... It is not one of these.  So what are you gonna do, give them super secret double probation banning or something?  Guns are a Constitutional issue and as such will take a Constitutional level action to change the question of availability.

*Edit as of 2017-10-08: I did not know what a bump-stock was when I wrote this and now I do know.  I also find that disconcerting.

Seriously if a Constitutional action can let some salty dried up cunts make this Constitutionally illegal in the USA for over a decade, then the gun thing is not impossible if that's what you want.  oooo language.  ...Hey, the sister blog of this one is called Pinky Mixology, you think I don't want to dig up Carrie Nation and piss on her dead body while her relatives have to watch on CCTV?   Anyway that means that one time, all three branches of the US Government once banned this because they thought it was too dangerous for America, while letting anyone buy one of these at a hardware store.  Yeah, nice one guys.

But actual Constitutional Legislation is not not what I am here to talk about.  What I am here to talk about is the entirely different universes that "gun otaku" live in between the USA and Japan.  In Japan, a gun-otaku may not even like anime, but loves a certain aspect of firearms, that being the engineering (in most cases... I am sure there a few weirdos out there that do sex-stuff regarding them).  But that's the engineering of every part, from the action to the aesthetics, so "looks cool" is a big part of why someone might favor a type of gun.  The thing is, gun-otaku in Japan really aren't considered dangerous because being a gun-otaku there is like being an F1-otaku here in the USA.  You are never going to own an F1 car (deal with it).  In Japan, thanks to one of the most intense firearm prohibition policies in the world, coupled with the geography of the country making enforcement of said policies highly effective, it is inconceivable that there would be a proliferation of firearms.  Not so much so in the USA, where you can go get one at Wal-Mart while you buy bananas and underpants, and then potentially modify them to have illegal rates of fire (the gun... not the underpants bananas).   So since anime are Japanese productions gun violence is treated something akin to wizard-magic in other American forms of entertainment.  A scenario so fantastic that it is unrealistic both in the idea that it could ever motivate someone to engage in such a thing for real, and in the way it is even portrayed as happening.

Annoyingly, this is not an actual thing that happens

So for Japanese audiences, in anime, guns might as well be light-sabers, because there is an equal chance of the average person getting their hands on either.   In the USA you get all into violent gun anime and then combine that with the fact that you can buy them from vending machines more or less, the impression is that you now pose a danger to public safety, just as much as that F1-otaku could if they actually got their hands on an F1 car and maybe decided to take it for a spin around the neighborhood.  And that makes guns, gun-otaku, and entertainment (anime included) with guns in it something that will be subject to such sensitivities now in the USA.  This could potentially cause a rift in the number of and type of anime that become licensed by companies here.  But I think such an effect would be minimal if it happened at all.

Whole new meaning now aint it...?

What are we going to see?  It is too early to tell.  Is it possible that people will become hostile to media that features the use of guns and all kinds of murdery murder even if it is clearly fiction?  Is Netflix never going to stream Smokin Aces again? (movie would have made a better anime anyway).  Are people under 18 going to be given even harsher punishments and treated like criminals for owning a copy of Gunslinger Girl or watching something like Kite?  Will just having an image of Upotte as the background on your pc get you abducted and sent to a "rehabilitation" camp when in reality all you wanted was a Pepsi (just one Pepsi), but your parents have bought into the fearvertizing of for-profit teen crisis programs that don't give a flying fuck how they keep their beds full?  Maybe it will happen.  I think because the guy who did it is apparently one himself, the baby boomers will do everything they can to point attention away from that fact, and whenever they need a scapegoat, the come for the millennials.  They are going to really need a scapegoat now, since this guy isn't around to talk, and so said scapegoat is going to be the information we consume.  It will be the entertainment media we seek out that the boomers do not, which they will culturally and politically denounce the heresy of, and those youngins who perpetuate its continued cultural consumption, are going to get treated like like they started the fucking Reichstag Fire.  Our generation doesn't have as much control of the steering wheel as we think we do (yeah, we have to do the boomers homework for them because they can barely work anything more than a calculator... but George McFly did Biff's homework all the time and who was runnin that school?  Wasn't Georgie). 

One foreseeable yet inevitable problem is that the ADD addled mind of most of us who exist in a world where not being able to stream a show for an hour because you're in another time zone or something will have you lose your shit, is that this will quickly develop into some gasoline on the Alt-Right vs Antifa mess we normies have to walk around in our everyday lives like compost piles no one had permission to set up in public.  And most of the people I know are going to say it's all the alt-right's fault because "the left" doesn't do the guns thing.   Well...  ya know.

Except when they totally do I guess. 

That bullshit between those two groups is what is going to be the sugar-in-the-gas-tank that derails any progression towards normal thought of how to proceed after this.  Cops will be edgy and then end up ruining (or ending) people's lives, and these two same poles of separate magnets will continue to push themselves further apart while the 24 hour news monster takes the rest of us just that much further with them.  The end result is going to be a bunch of nothing and then another even worse attack will happen.  Here terrorists, you want one, I'll give you one;

The NYC, subway.  A line with the newer cars you can move freely between. A team of 4 (but can be done with two) with two in the extreme front of the first car and two in extreme back the last.  Do this latter half of morning rush-hour, when the train is packed and wait a river crossing (ideal lines are 4/5, A/C, L, or F, they have the longest tunnels with curves that make them go slower... except the L, but when does that thing ever NOT move slow, ammiright?).  Wait for the train to get half way through and then have someone hit the emergency break.  That break takes 20 minutes to reset.  Once the train stops, both teams start shooting moving towards the center of the train.  Use 9mm semi-autos and carry extra magazines.  Make sure one person on the team keeps firing when the other has to reload (reloading is how they stopped Colin Ferguson).  You are not going to hit everyone so don't try, and don't fire too fast like the shooting up in the air scene in Point Break that's worthless.  You will most likely not have to worry about anyone else on the train who is armed because even if they are, gun-control laws in NYC mean it wouldn't be many people, cops drive to work because they don't actually live in NYC (sorry Staten Island doesn't count as NYC and everyone knows it) and on a rush-hour train, the panic that will immediately set in will have a stampede of people running away from you pushing, knocking down, or at least blocking, anyone who could stop you from continuing to fire.  Do this on a rainy day, so that people have umbrellas to trip over but also because you can wear large rain ponchos and no one will see what you have under there.  Make sure you get on early on the train line so you can get in position and pick a shitty neighborhood because they won't be doing bag searches there. Once you've done enough damage or run out of ammo you can ditch the ponchos and disappear into the panic and since you have an all new outfit on, no one will know it was you.  Do with with 6 people with 2 in the middle and holy shit!  ...most of you will probably get caught though.

There, I just gave you a freebie.   See?  That's what's gonna happen when these polarized idiot morons, in a country under a really shitty President who thinks playing golf is literally part of his job, prevent real things from getting done.   ...Jesus now that I go read that back that sounds like an insane and psychopathic...

Miss Dynamite.  Great series by Canadian writer, illustrator, cartoonist and all around artist of amazing amazingness, Sirkowski.

Oh wait... someone is at the door...

Oh shit... Well, wouldn't be the first time...  Seriously, it wouldn't.  If they send anyone I hope the cute one comes back.  Oh shit I just realized I totally fit "the profile" for this kind of thing too...  Goodnight Everybody.  Ah, they know I'm an f-ing joke.  Actually if they're reading this, they should be happy about it because I just gave them something they should have been worrying about anyway.
...wonder if they're hiring

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Kya is a lesbiasn! Why does nobody tell me these things?

So I bought the Legend of Korra comic, and I haven't  read it yet... mostly because I've been spending all of my spare time really drunk, because I have once again lost every single ounce of ability to be happy about anything ever and I am contemplating suicide attempt #4  ...although if you get to #4 and still can't fucking do it, then you just must suck at everything.    I mean I could do it but I don't want to go splat off the roof and all the other options would be messy.  Living in NYC I have about as much a chance of buying a gun as I do of buying a space shuttle, so I'll just keep eating high-cholesterol foods and just wait for the inevitable.

Om nom nom nom.  Good lord I have a dark sense of humor.

So anyway my wifey reads the thing and I mention in passing that I thought Kya was pretty hot and she was like "oh well you wouldn't stand a chance she's a lesbian" and for some reason I actually felt disappointed.  Seriously, I've never felt that way before but I must have actually had a thing for Kya that I didn't even realize I had because it felt like it was such a "swing and a miss" moment I was just like ...uhhhhgg.   At least Kuvira doesn't mind getting a bit of hetero-action (if you told me she was off the table I would have just lost it).  It might be because they are just so intelligent and confident, which I very much dig, or you just know that either gay or straight Kya could teach you a thing or two about how to fuck like a pro. ...And it's definitely the choker + silver hair also. I mean I don't even think Bumi or Tenzin would mind at this point, she's a big girl she can make her own decisions to want Poon and not D...  DAMMIT, I can't keep her on the waifu-list now!

So you doin' anything later or... or what? ;)

Why the fuck am I even bringing this up?   Because AMERICA.  No not monster trucks and guns (though that stuff is cool, I mean... you know it is), and not MAGA hats and flags (I am much more likely to burn a flag in protest than to wave one ...thank you Texas v Johnson), what I mean is that the United States of America is a diverse country, probably one of the most on the planet.  The limited history of the USA allows for legal limitations regarding what in other parts of the world are strictly protected cultural institutions.  The USA has no anti-blasphemy laws, you can't say that about Pakistan or Ireland.  The USA has no official language, you can't say that about China or Poland (or even Canada).  And although it wasn't always the case, the USA has no official race that people have to be in order to be citizens, you can't say that about Saudi Arabia, or Japan (seriously, Japan is awful about that kind of thing, go look it up). 

That means that although Japan makes most of the best anime, some of it isn't as relatable to American audiences as domestic American productions because there is simply less genuine diversity.  Everyone looks exactly the same.  (OMG he's turned total SJW holy shit!)  What I mean is that no, there aren't zero examples of other people who are not Japanese, but have you ever thought about how many characters are supposed to be Japanese that you have actually been imagining as Caucasian this whole time?  Yeah... let that sink in.  So when a character is put in a Japanese anime that isn't assumptively Japanese, it is usually (not always) done in an exaggerated form to just scream at the audience "GAIJIN" or "GAY" or "WEIRDO" (of course there are definately some gay Japanese Weirdos out there... good for them)  or just exaggerate whatever they are going for.  Of course there are exceptions, Tokyo Godfathers, Gunsmith Cats, Cowboy Bebop...almost anything about WW II, all that, but those are exactly that... exceptions, not average occurrences.

 Yes I got to meet Kenichi Sonoda in Chicago in 1998 when I took him to the O'Hare ATC tower (remember kids, I used to be way cooler than you).  And he told me that neither of these two are in any way Japanese.

The same is true for LGBT characters. Not only do most anime out there telegraph the most stereotypical aspects of what people assume about LGBTQ people, they are super unapologetic about it. (I left out A-sexual and I guess all the other things to be... I don't know... people that have sex with alligators ...which is not animal abuse because if you are having sex with an alligator, that alligator is letting you do that, no two ways about it.  And do not search for "alligator sex" ok, remember when I warned you about giraffe-porn?)...   I mean, Tiger & Bunny was a cool show, but ...c'mon nobody acts like that.  OK I actually know someone who basically acts exactly like that (Daemon from the comic store was a huge muscular black dude, spoke like a valley-girl and was gay as a fairy *his words not mine* and I actually flirted with him when I was a freshman in high school just to get the employee discount... nothing ever happened, but I wonder how he's doing)  but T&B was still going over the top with the thing.

Except for the nails?

So coming back to why the fuck shit hell am I even mentioning any of this, is that there are now shows, movies, and books out there like Korra, and like the new Lego Elves series (yeah it's for kids, so people aren't going down on each other or dropping dead left and right like an episode of Game of Thrones) and even My Little Pony (seriously there is no way that Vinyl and Octavia are not an item) that have diverse characters in them that don't make a point of 4th wall obliterating exposition regarding the fact that they are who they are.  The not-making a big deal about it is what's cool.  Maybe it's just because I grew up in NYC and seeing 2 dudes kissing or playing strikebox with an interracial kid my age was no big deal, but with things being what they are today, you can't do enough to make sure that people understand how to avoid bigotry through collective experiences and not simply use pontification to get the point across.  American entertainment media is a powerful tool in that process.  And for fans of animation, it is important to remember that in the USA, it will be our domestic productions that have the largest and most significant impact in creating that environment.  ...Also probably Canada. ...With their stupid metric system.

Seriously, when some of our parents were alive, doing this was illegal.  There still needs to be a lot more social progress made out there, but I think it will be American media entertainment that makes the most effective impact on ensuring people exposed to it have their values solidified or their minds changed (probably depending on their age).

This... this is the worst thing I have written.  Not that the message is something I think is terrible, but I think this reads like a high school freshman's Livejournal or something equally retarded.  I used to be better at the word-making but I either have mid-stage mad cow disease or after all these years the  Wernicke-Korsakoff is finally kicking in.  But there is so much issue-fatigue out there that these issues can seem not even interesting to talk about anymore. And I get blowback.  Seriously, just this year alone I have been called sexist, alt-right, gun-nut, libtard, faggot, nationalist, white nationalist (because that makes a difference apparently), racist, communist, and some wackadoo sent me a message who was convinced I was part of an organization which used chem-trails for something.... dumbass, if I was, I'd be getting paid way more than I am now!  At least I wasn't putting it in the water to turn the frogs gay.  Stupid frog-metric system.  ...that's a thing, shut up.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Toys "Я" Fucked: Why this should be a surprise to no one.

Fatal blows.  Rarely are they instantaneous.  Oh sure, there's the pink-mist and the head-shot, but most of the time it's a seemingly agonizingly slow process (like when that lady got stabbed by her boyfriend then rolled around and died in front of Taco Madre on Montague Street... that shit took a few minutes.  After seeing that I decided I didn't want tacos after all).  So it's no surprise that large companies can keep going along as if everything is fine, until finally, the merely potentially fatal wound they've been ignoring for years becomes an inescapable reality.

To what should be the surprise of no one, but somehow I am sure it is to someone,  Toys "Я" Us finds itself all Kobayashi Maru and is raising the white flag. 

He's gonna be sucking dicks for fidget spinners by the end of the year.

While the concept of Toys "Я" Us could have been brought into the modern day by smart people, the outdated CEO mentality of "cut cut cut" was firmly in place and has pretty much spelled doom for the place.  See, you could have a company that makes rotary telephones at 1000% efficiency from any other company at any time in history, and you will still go down in flames because you forgot what year this is.  This is called "doing it wrong" in business.  Trying to be more efficient doing something that is no longer viable as a business strategy in and of itself is how CEOs and Corporate Boards run companies slowly, but surely, into the ground. 

What Toys "Я" Us failed to realize is that they didn't sell toys.  Other places sell toys.  Toys "Я" Us sells fun.  Now of course that means different things to different people, and Toys "Я" Us was never going to be able to sell every kind of fun out there (Six Flags sells fun, but it's not the same, that's destination-fun, not portable-fun).  Toys "Я" Us had the chance to learn this early on, when they were the largest video-game retailer in the entire country.  Video games are not toys and never were.  All they had to do was realize that.  Whoopsie.  They stayed so long in the waters of traditional retail that their fingers became so pruney they couldn't climb out. 

And once again, The NY Times shows it's about as in touch with reality as your grandmother who forwards you emails about Obama's birth certificate from an AOL account. 

 So the media narrative is going to be that Toys "Я" Us was murdered and not the victim of its own incompetence and ignorance-fueled inertia keeping them in Sargasso until they ran out of provisions.  I am sure the Wall Street Journal will try to blame this on "those darn millennials" because we don't drive out to a shopping center to look for out of stock Transformer reboot hunks of plastic made by slave-labor in China, and instead just buy shit on Amazon because our bosses made us stay 2 extra hours to make a spreadsheet/power-point that they are going to take your name of off and put their name on tomorrow at the company retreat (twice a year I had to teach the CFO of a giant multinational education company what "cut+paste" was in Excel so he could stop printing out pages and literally re-typing them). 

So, who are our Giraffe murderers?  Well the finger is most likely going to get pointed at the three biggest kids on the block:

They just finished burying Sears Holdings and Radio Shack out in the desert just down from where Netflix left Blockbuster.

Now if you really think about it, Target and Walmart just beat Toys "Я" Us at the only game they chose to stay in (traditional retail), and Amazon beat them in a game they didn't even know existed until it was too late.  Oh but wait, they are going to charge a few other companies with accessory to commit murder:

Not as easy to find these things as I thought they would be.

And so this just becomes a story about how things aren't what they used to be and isn't that just too bad.  That's like feeling sorry for manufacturers of iron lungs and crutches because a polio vaccine was invented.  Toys "Я" Us had the chance to make sure they could stay relevant by not only having a website that didn't suck in terms of being able to order things, but they could have found other forms of fun to sell, even moving into exclusive or licensed media content available in non-packaged form.  You think that's too hard to do?  Oh then why just you go ask LEGO if that's a thing you can do.  Yeah, shut up; Toys "Я" Us could have done enough of that to stay relevant.  Yes it would have taken some serious restructuring, but it's not gonna happen now.

LEGO is a great example of how a company can "stand up on a surfboard after 14 pints of stout" as it were.  Meaning that as things move forward in time (as they are like to do), if you read the momentum of your supporting environment, then use your own skill and resources to move forward with that momentum, rather than ignoring it  (or worse, fighting it) you can stay afloat and maybe even surpass some other surfers out there on the same ocean.  Even Amazon is realizing that it's important to sell what you own, not just own what you sell.

You think in 2002 LEGO thought they'd be doing anything like this?

Chapter 11 ≠ 7
Yeah I know Mr. Commenty McComment-face, I literally have a graduate degree in this stuff.  Chapter 7 is a liquidation event with creditors then shareholders getting to be first in line at the buffet of what comes in.  Chapter 11 assumes that the entity will reemerge after a bit of a corporate "time out" so to speak.  Here's the thing, Blockbuster filed Chapter 11, so did Radio Shack, Circuit City, and Borders Books.  Lots of examples end up with vultures picking the bones clean anyway, and Toys "Я" Us is going to be added to that list, Sears is gonna try but the court probably won't let them because they're that far gone, and then Best Buy somewhere around October/November 2018 .  A company you don't expect to do so in a few years is Fresh Direct, but you watch what Amazon does to it with their new toy, Whole Foods.  So Toys "Я" Us is going to file Chapter 11 and during that time, under the guise of restructuring, things are going to be monetized, surreptitiously liquidated, and funneled into executive retirement packages and dividends (the X-mas holiday season is gonna be the big juicy one they just suck everything out of while they sell things "at cost").  Then they'll just toss up their hands, blame "the market" or "that there internet," local news will run paid-for stories about the lowest level workers losing their jobs and how sad is this turn of events that couldn't be helped because "new economy" or some shit, and the top level execs will have it on in the background while they are sucking down champagne on Barbados or something.  You won't care because you'll be waiting for your or LootCrate delivery from UPS and wondering when was that fucking time you were even in a Toys "Я" Us?

Also never do a search for "giraffe" and "sucking dicks"  You are gonna find a whole world of something you don't need to know exists.

Seriously it's like a train wreck; you want to look away but you can't.  ...fucking giraffe pron.