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.

Busybody time

Yep I've been inactive on this for a while, but that doesn't mean I am outta here.  There is a bunch of stuff that is the happenings.

Stuff that has to do with me:
LSATS;  I scored slightly higher than the national average on the LSATs in June.  I might have done better if I had remembered I was signed up to take them... or was sober (I drank 2 bottles of wine before realizing I had to go to the thing, but at least I got in, I can't tell you how many test takers were crying on the sides or in the hallway because they brought their cellphone with them or didn't have a #2 pencil... The were all Asian looking actually...they were, what do you want me do to about it? Lie?) .  But it's good enough to get me to where I wanna go.  This means that in a while I'll be able to win internet arguments by saying "fuck you, I'm a lawyer" and it won't be a lie.  That is not the only reason I am going to law school, but it is the most fun one.

Suck my habeas corpus bitches!

Speaking of legal things, I am also currently suing the crap out of a certain City Agency for sucking at their job.  After that, I will then be suing the private company that was involved.  If that works out I will not have to worry about law-school tuition now that I think about it.  Although I am still gonna go get a bottle of Jonnie Walker Blue Label.

I have been taking on new clients so I am actually a bit busy.  But we will try to bring you plenty more of this nonsense.

Go Fuck Yourself Awards:

Apparently Hulu has decided they hate their customers and no longer wants to be in business, because that new interface/menu they came up with is complete garbage.  I was lucky in that I used the PSN to access it, and they didn't get around to ruining that until September of 2017.  Much as I love some of their original programming and the fact that I could rely on HD quality of programs I wanted to watch (no, Time Warner, I am never signing up for cable TV ever ever again), that menu is just so atrocious that the reverse value ratio it creates is just way too high and I'll just go back to pirating the shows I want to see.   Seriously, was this designed by the nephew of the CEO or something?  Because that shit pile seems exactly like the crap you get when nepotism and cronyism is involved (remember that Obamacare website disaster that happened because they no-bid farmed it out to one of their friends?  Yeah, this is that).  Dear Hulu, fuck you so much for doing that.

Also the target of many a "fuck you" from their users in recent memory is Photobucket.  Yes the photo hosting service with the unsustainable business model has decided to change their game in the most Martin Shkreli-esque way they possibly can and charge exorbitant fees to anyone who wants their photos back.  Now this should tell you something about Photobucket; the company (formerly owned by Fox News, so you know the kind of people there are just going to be absolute gems... oh no wait, germs) has absolutely no plans to exist past 2018.  They're outta here.  They know they're outta here, and they are gonna loot as much out of whatever they can before it happens.  The MBA types (I already have one of those so ha), are doing some down and dirty ratios and have figured out that there is a significant percentage of users who will pay that fee. Either they have businesses that absolutely need to have images hosted and can't function of they go down even for one day, or they have more money than smarts and who gives a fuck.  They are going to get as much money as they can, and then fold, because someone there is not gonna have this end without a golden parachute.

But if you didn't have locally stored copies of your photos and only had them on Photobucket then you're an idiot. 

Boxing the office
So box office revenues are down and this year has apparently been abysmal.  As for reasons, I tend to subscribe to the perfect storm scenario. The ingredients for this perfect storm are three main ones I think; 
#1; stagnant wages.  Let's face it, the generation that is supposed to be going to these movies has been screwed hard and nothing is going to get better.  years ago, someone with a minimum wage job would only have to work 2 hours to afford to go to the movies (to say nothing about the baby boomers who didn't even need to work more than one to afford a movie ticket).  Today, that is a laughable fantasy.  When a movie ticket costs close to your entire shift at your shit-job, you are not going to purchase one lightly.  Jacking up prices and charging extortion rates for flavored wax and carbonated sugar water is going to really bite into the whole willingness to pay part of consumer behavior.
#2; There is something better out there now.  If you are already paying for Netflix, you are going to maybe say "fuck going to that 5th reeboot of whatever the crap it is" and just binge-watch Stranger Things or get caught up on episodes of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia or Dragon Maid or something.  Online content, streaming whatever, that youtube show you like, all that stuff is the "something better to do" part of the decision to not go to the movies. 
#3; No one wants your shit.  Seriously, blaming Rotten Tomatoes for falling movie revenue is like Hillary blaming Bernie Sanders for losing the election to Trump.  Not only does everyone realize that is complete horse shit, but you come off looking like a out of touch artard who simply thinks so highly of themselves, they can't accept reality.  No one is going, because the movies are crap, mostly made that way in a transparent cash-grab attempt at the Chinese market.  Adding fuel to that fire, is the fact that marketing movies seems to be the only industry where it is permissible for the advertising to straight-out lie to consumers about the product.  We have all seen trailers which basically show a completely different idea of what the final film is about, or even use scenes that are not delivered in the film itself.  No other industry is allowed to lie to consumers with such impunity like that.  So it has fostered a heavy skepticism regarding making the decision about whether it's worth spending money on.

Those three things all at once are a perfect mix of factors that are going to keep people from buying movie tickets. And like any industry dominated by head-up-ass CEOs, Hollywood will absolutely not figure it out until more studios go the way of Blockbuster Video.

The New York Post; Still stupid as hell.
In a September 8th article the NY Post proved that once again the lights are on but nobody's home, by using a photo of the helmet from Skyrim in a story about an actual Viking era burial site.

Come by next week when images from The Fast and the Furious will be used in a story about the New York Department of Transportation.

Whoop Whoop that's the sound of a cash-cow:
Long-running manga and excellent anime series Kochi-Kame (full name; Kochira Katsushika-ku Kameari Kōen-mae Hashutsujo) which ended its 40 year run last year will be back as a manga again.  In terms of animation there are no plans announced so far as I know.  While based on police officers, they're Japanese police which are not as horrible as our American badged thugs so it makes it easier to like.  Plus the cast of the anime is superb.

This is a fun one and one of those perennial titles that are more popular in Japan than the rest of the world.  However if you are learning Japanese, it is a good one to read to improve your abilities and/or stay sharp.  Lots of every-day type conversations in there but with some decent jokes as well.  There is also some frequent nudity.  Because butts are funny.

That's it for now.  See you in the funny papers.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Waifu Tourism: Using Japanese IP to market "Content Tourism"

Japan see the potential in Content Tourism; Government immediately starts doing it wrong.

So what is Content Tourism and why are they putting it in a blender with Cool Japan and then just pouring it randomly all over the place?  Well apparently, it is in the hopes of increasing international tourism in Japan.  Content Tourism is simply capitalizing on people's desire to visit specific locations because said locations were featured in a particular work (novel, TV show, movie, youtube video, whatever), this is slightly different from historical tourism (civil war battlefields, Jack the Ripper crime scene walking tour), only in that the source material for the impetus behind undertaking content tourism is fictional.  Both try to attract visitors by providing an intangible value to their tourist activities, in this case access to places connected to things they find interesting.  Or tangible value depending what's available in the gift-shop.

I'd like one meth please.  Every fandom has meth.
Every. Fandom.

Japan, being a popular setting for many modern fictional works of popular culture, has no shortage of such locations, but has been sorely lacking in the ability to genuinely connect them to the "Content" of Content Tourism.  Yes, you may have loved Initial D but are you gonna go rent a Golf GTI or whatever and drive around Gunnma?  You might think Crayon ShinChan is hilarious but are you going to go wander around Saitama trying to just drink it all in? (Side-note, It's best just to never ever go wandering around Saitama, seriously, there be some strange things that happen there, arg).  So the conundrum is obvious perhaps, connect places with popular anime and you'll get your tourists looking when where that thing happened that time in their favorite anime.  How do we connect things?  Well technology, it's Japan how else are they going to approach this, you expect them to hire some kigurumi people to just walk around and wave at everyone?

It costs extra if you want to know which ones in this picture pee standing up.

Rather than go with that potential creepy-factor, the geniuses at JETRO have decided to Pokemon-GO the hell out of this idea.  Now you can use a mobile device to look around a specific site or building and see that hot little waifu of yours peaking out from behind a corner.  Maybe they'll even narrate self-guided tours or tell which nearby kissaten is going to tolerate your weaboo-speak that you think is Japanese.  This is an interesting add on and another way the government is going to spend money on a good idea, look back at in 4 years, and say... "well that didn't work either, so what's next?"  Well that "conundrum" I mentioned earlier is probably not the impediment in this scenario which is going to be the most immovable.  What is happening is something like the Yamato effect.  No not that Yamato.  More about this later.

So who is coming to dinner?
Well, according to the JNTO, the countries that send the most tourists by far are the countries in close proximity, so it's not surprising to see Korea, China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong  be the top sources of international visitors.  But guess who's #5 on the list... that's right it's 'Murica, which so far is beating out Thailand.  This is also based on tourist visa numbers so US Armed Forces in Japan don't get included in these numbers.  You would expect Australia to have high numbers as well but they don't. And if you combine the USA with Canadian visitors, it outnumbered all visitors from the entire EU.  Outside of East Asia, North America is the next most important contributor to tourism numbers from Japan (combined figures 2012-2016 from the JNTO). 

So, are the increased foreign tourists going to be likely coming from countries that are already among the top contributors, or will they come from new sources that previously hadn't been significant sources?  Well that's the big question isn't it, but with geopolitical instability being what it is, Japan and Russia not becoming besties any time soon, and the growing competition out there, it looks like the man source is going to be an increase from the cash cows.  But that means there's going to be another problem.

The Yen is too damn high.

Exchange rates are something I have talked about before.  Or here too.  But it should be brought up again because the JPY and its stubborn immobility when it comes to rates against the USD and other currencies , it creates the perfect storm of antidote to any pull efforts that this program is going to have with many foreign  tourists who would find value in this type of Content Tourism.  They are all young, and underemployed, paid stagnant wages, have student debt that is astronomical, and have basically been all kinds of screwed.  If you're not a baby boomer, then you are statistically nowhere near the type of person that has the money or time to go an international vacation to one of the most expensive countries in the world.  Coincidentally if you're not a baby boomer, you're exactly the type of international tourist that this program is supposed to appeal to. 

That means that this program is probably so much more effective on domestic tourism markets rather than foreign tourism (with the exception of the ROK, but ROK to Japan is like USA to Canada, it almost doesn't count as an international excursion).  Domestic Japanese will feel a great appeal for this more than foreign fans but more importantly will have the means to capitalize on this opportunity for a valuable experience.  They ill not be tethered by tourist schedules and the need to see things in order of importance.  Seriously, if you're from outside Japan and it's your first time in Kyoto, you will be going to Kiyomizu regardless of what this program has to offer.  If you live in Japan you might have seen it before or can come back to it.  If you live in Japan you won't be worried about international data charges on a wireless device or having to have a whole other one just for this to work.  If you live in Japan you would know that acting like an anime character in public is just as socially frowned upon as if you were in the USA and lived as if you were one of the characters in It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.  If you live in Japan, you are the market that this would bring the most value to.  But where are they taking it?  Where it doesn't belong.  If the Japanese government were serious about getting more foreign tourists to visit, they would focus on ways to make it affordable for a young American couple in their 20s who were born the same year as Otakon started, to be able to get there at all.  But that would mean falling out of love with Tokyo, and it's not really in keeping with Abenomics (whatever it happens to be this election).

So now, connecting that to the Yamato effect at this point should be easy. The Yamato was truly a magnificent piece of engineering.  It could shoot at you from so far away that the curvature of the earth itself prevented you from seeing it.  It had an elite crew, lots of power, and was the perfect flag ship for any navy... if it had been in the Battle of Jutland.  They had the best, most bad-ass Arceus they could have, and threw it at 10,001 Charmeleon who were all in a really bad mood.  Results were as to be expected.  So the Yamato effect is when you have something that's amazing at what it does, and do incongruous things with it.  Yes you could cut 9 feet of plywood with a premium Dremel router bit, but a table saw is going to do that better.  The same is happening here.  Japan has the best knife to win a knife fight with, and they're fighting someone with a gun they bought from a pawn shop.