Archived entries for stray thoughts

I dislike Halloween. For numerous reasons.

Amateur drinkers think they can keep up with the professionals, and then the sidewalks are awash with puke the next morning.

Girls with self worth problems decided that being slutty is suddenly a costume. (Darlin, it would be if you didn’t already put out after two Bacardi Silvers.)

Asshole teenagers constantly ringing my doorbell – even though my light is off – for candy I don’t have.

And then there’s the children. The hordes and hordes of children. God, I hate them.

But, what I do like is the origin of Halloween.

It all started with the ancient Gaels. They noted that toward the end of October and the start of November, nights overtook days. Daylight became scarce, plants and animals started to die, and winter followed close behind.

They divided their calendar year into two halves around the dominance of light or dark. The dark half that started about now, and the light half that kicked off some time in April/May. But when they transitioned from light to the dark? That’s when magic things happened.

The Gaels believed that at the point of transition from the light half of the year to the dark half of the year, the edges between this mortal world and the spiritual “otherworld” became blurred. Spirits were able to pass through the veil and return to this world on this day.

They called it Samhain.

Literally translated it means “Summer’s End.” It is the point of origin for our modern day Halloween. Gaels celebrated it by building bonfires, wearing masks to hide from spirits, and carving faces into turnips to confuse them. Any of that sound familiar?

But, you didn’t have to avoid spirits. You could seek them out. Passed on family members, dead friends, tragic lovers. For one night you could talk to them again. You could be together again. Death didn’t have to be good bye forever.

And that always appealed to me more than a child on a sugar high banging on my front door.

It also brings up an interesting question. If there was one person you could talk to again, for just one night, what would you ask them? What do you hope they would say?

Happy Samhain, everyone.

If you’re looking for me, I’ll be staring into a fire, trying to talk to my grandfathers.

It always makes me happy to see a group take religion and package it in a way that puts them heads and shoulders above the crazies that are responsible for things like the Obama is the Angel of Death ad.

Sure, my views on religion are pretty harsh (I’m the guy that sides with the negative end of the Omnipotence Paradox), but I like people that can talk to me rationally about why they like a religion, why the believe in a faith. I mean after all, I’m living in sin with a girl who thinks Jesus is hot.

As to the prayer in school issue, since that was the actual point of the ad: My grandmother was an elementary school teacher. She was the first one to tell me the adage that so long as their are tests in school, there will be prayer in school. If students want to pray, let them pray. If students are made to pray, then everything has fallen apart.

Bottom line? Eloquent arguments are good. Shouting matches are bad.

Some backstory before we get into this.

In addition to all the state, local and federal elections going on, there are also 184 state ballot measures (as of this writing) that people will be voting on November 4th. They run the full political gambit, from general budgetary funding measures to more high profile issues like California’s legalization of recreational pot use and Colorado’s declaration of a fertilized egg as a legal “person”.

Those two ballot measures are probably more meaningful, in a broad test-case sense, than the inevitable bitch slap the Democrats are going to take from the right – Republican or Tea Party.

The California pot issue isn’t what I want to talk about, but it does have some interesting implications if they can save their budget while at the same time lowering their crime rate and prison populations.

What I do want to talk about is the Colorado ballot measure that specifies the moment a sperm and an egg legally become a “person” with full legal rights and not just a group of cells with potential.

Yes, boys and girls, I’m going to talk about abortion. So, you might as well start drinking.

First off, let’s talk about me. Personally, I wish there was never the need for another abortion. I wish all pregnancies were wanted, complication free, and all children were born to parents who loved them, nurtured them and could provide for them.

I also wish I had a space ship and could explore Mars.

Too bad the latter wish is more likely to happen than the former.

I don’t like abortion, I don’t encourage people to have abortions, but I’m not going to push external morals on some one in a situation I could never understand. I am Pro-Choice. Which is distinctly different from Pro-Abortion, a fact that seems to escape an alarming number of people.

So, that out of the way, let’s turn back to Colorado and Colorado State Amendment 62. The text of which is as follows:

Section 32. Person defined. As used in sections 3, 6, and 25 of Article II of the state constitution, the term “person” shall apply to every human being from the beginning of the biological development of that human being.

Beginning of biological development of course being the moment a sperm has fertilized an egg. Which would make any act to destroy said fertilized egg tantamount to, you know, murder.

And since the wording of the amendment is so broad, it also knocks out things like fetal stem cell research, and any method of birth control that doesn’t operate on the front end – ie, condoms only, the Morning After pill is out.

62 is being supported by groups like Personhood Colorado, which do touching and subtle ads like this one.

Wait, I’m sorry, did I say touching and subtle? I mean blatantly wrong and disturbingly unhinged. The Supreme Court hates liberty and freedom? Obama as the angel of death? A fucking “abortion industry”? That makes billions? Nixon was a baby hating liberal? I…what? What the hell was that?

And let’s not forget their wonderfully surreal radio ad where they compare abortion to slavery.

That’s right, the same bunch of white people in Colorado that called the first black president an angel of death also said abortion is akin to slavery. Progressive, aren’t we?

Thankfully, these crazies have no chance of winning. The last time this measure came up in Colorado it was beaten 3 to 1, and this one isn’t expected to do any better.

No, they won’t win. They’ll just get to go around yelling about things that aren’t true for another election cycle, tearing down the walls of cogent discourse, making the other side have to yell just as loud to be heard. And in doing so, they’ll gain ground by pulling their opposition down to their level, by giving themselves more ways to point across the way and go “Look! See! They’re crazy!”

Yeah, well, you’re the one that made me that way.

Thanks to Stephanie for pointing this out.

Taken from a bit on English Russia about the vanishing culture of the Mari people.

There’s also a photograph on that page of what I think is a mother and her daughter. The mother has the fatted, leathery, burst-capillary face of the stereotypical Russian matriarch. But her daughter, maybe in her early teens, looks just like anyone you’d find anywhere else in the world. She’s young, she’s pretty, and that’s when it hits you. The line gets drawn from mother to daughter and you realize that the life these people lead changes them. Hard lives, Russian winters, all of it conspiring to turn a person into something completely different.

A few weeks back I got hit with some weird widget hack that added porn spam all down my side bar.

And unfortunately, Google cached that iteration of the page. So, now all of the search results for the site are…uh…off.

Unless you came here looking for Thai ladyboi on Uyghur bbw porn.

Which if you did, I say WELCOME BROTHER!

Anyway, does anyone know how to do anything about that? Or do I have to wait for Google to re-index the site?

Oh, and here’s a funny picture from a real movie:

*Hstk.Click.*

*Hstk.Click.*

“Do we know what happened to them?”

“No idea. They were making all sorts of racket for about a century then they went dead quiet all of a sudden.”

*Hstk.Click.*

“Bad choice of words, man.”

“What? I didn’t mean…goddammit.”

*Hstk.Click.*

“So, if it wasn’t nuclear war, or a plague or a something big – what the hell happened to them all? What kills a planet full of over-evolved apes?”

“Ahhh….sir? I…I think I found it.”

“What’ve you got?”

“An Internet, sir. Looks like it spread into everything. Entertainment, vehicles, appliances, communication, medicine, military, it integrated itself into all of it.”

“Those poor bastards. They never stood a chance.”

*Hstk.Click.*

*Hstk.Click.*

In J.W. Buel’s Land and Sea (1887), the Ya-te-veo (“Now-I-see-you”) plant is said to catch and consume large insects, but also attempts to consume humans. It is said to be a carnivorous plant that grows in parts of Central and South America with cousins in Africa and on the shores of the Indian Ocean. There are many different descriptions of the plant, but most reports say it has a short, thick trunk and long tendrils of some sort which are used to catch prey. – Wiki

I want a yard full of these to keep the 8am-on-a-Saturday Jehovah’s Witness away.

Or the fucking asshole lawn care people that do the same thing.

Yeah, wake me up with a hangover, guy, that’s sure to put me in a generous mood. Or a stabbing one. WHY DON’T YOU FIND OUT WHICH IT IS.

I…I don’t even know what to say to this.

What you need to know: Anderson Cooper is interviewing a Michigan assistant Attorney General about his blog where he rails against the gay head president of the University of Michigan student assembly. And by rails I mean says some really over the top and offensive shit.

Hit play and give it a few minutes. When you’re sufficiently creeped out by the guy’s eyes, I’ll be waiting down here for you.

Yeah. Look at them twitch. Beady little things. Bouncing all over the screen, avoiding reality.

Done? Ok.

The best part of this video? The subtext that Anderson Cooper is in all probability gay, interviewing a guy who is probably in the closet, about a guy who is out and the guy who’s in the closet probably not even realizing that his interviewer has been on the cover of The Advocate.

The guy’s a troll that’s getting trolled by Anderson Cooper.

How awesome is that?

Pat pointed this out today on Twitter.

@Patorma Hey the assistant AG from my home state is fucking insane (and probably gay) : http://bit.ly/btw4yy

From Wired.com’s Danger Room:

Seven elderly retired Air Force officers called a news conference at the National Press Club in Washington on Monday afternoon — covered, improbably, by CNN — to disclose that they witnessed the UFOs rendering U.S. nuclear missiles temporarily inoperable during the Cold War.

…..

Hastings didn’t serve in the military himself, but he worked with Robert Salas, a retired Air Force missile launch officer, to assemble a crew of former airmen whose stories shared a remarkable similarity. From 1963 to 1980, all were present at U.S. nuclear missile sites when the flashing lights of alien spacecraft — some disc-shaped, some conical, some spherical — appeared before them or their colleagues. (Hastings said he couldn’t rule out that alien contacts we haven’t heard about are ongoing to this day.) Some confessed that they didn’t see the ships themselves, but heard reliable accounts from trustworthy comrades. In most cases, though, when the aliens approached, the missiles stopped being responsive to technicians’ controls.

But the aliens didn’t actually zap the missiles. They just flew over the bases, worked their advanced-technological magic and disappeared into the night. “They could have done a lot more damage,” Salas told Danger Room when asked how he knew the alien counter-missile efforts didn’t portend a more hostile purpose, like a forthcoming attack.

Like most of the veterans recounting their close-encounter experiences, Bruce Fenstermacher, a ruddy, 68-year old retired Air Force captain, didn’t actually want to be quite as definitive as Hastings and Salas were about the aliens’ policy preferences. “I think they’re monitoring us so that we don’t mess things up,” he said, expressing faith in the aliens as enlightened interplanetary guardians.

Hastings allowed that his theory was “speculative,” but “given the available facts, it is a viable scenario.”

…..

Robert Jamison was a young lieutenant working as a Minuteman targeting officer in on Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana in 1967. “My main job was to point the missiles in right direction,” he joked. But one night in March, all ten of his missiles, known as a flight, suddenly went off alert status — right as rumors of a UFO visit circulated through Malmstrom. While he never himself saw any aliens, he heard about a UFO landing in a “deep ravine” nearby and interviewed a security guard who described “two small red lights off at a distance” that began to close in; the guard broke down and cried at the recollection. Jamison believes the encounter was an incident that’s come to be known as the Belt, Montana UFO sighting

…..

If people will allow themselves to listen, that is. Dwynne Arneson, a Vietnam veteran who served at Malmstrom alongside Jamison during the the 1967 incident, lamented that the anxieties of the age are proving dangerously distracting. “People are so wrapped up nowadays in their own world,” he observed. “They’re worried about jobs. They’re worried about mortgages. They could care less about UFOs and ETs and paranormal events.”

I used to be a big believer in aliens and alien conspiracy theories. Probably that whole being a 12-15 year old boy when the X-Files was in its prime. When I discovered girls, and girls that wanted me to touch their bits, well, as you can imagine I stopped thinking about aliens.

The rest of the world is like that, too. Alien sightings spike when people are worried about things they can’t control. Nuclear war, Biblical apocalypse, things that are so massive that they’ll just sweep over you like you weren’t even there. Adolescence is like that in a lot of ways. Your body is changing, your concept of the world is changing – no, wait – getting drastically fucking altered, and there’s not a damn thing you can do about it, save just ride it out.

But then when you’re given real, tangible problems like making rent or feeding yourself (or in my teenage self’s case – getting a bra off), you could give two shits what’s happening or not happening in space. Alien sightings have dropped off dramatically since the end of the Cold War and the start of the new millennium. There’s been a bit of an uptick as we get close to 2012, but the grim reality of The Great Recession is keeping people’s eyes out of the skies and on their wallets.

Not that I wouldn’t mind a world where everything these guys said wasn’t completely true, mind you.

It’d be nice knowing there are benevolent aliens out there making sure we didn’t wipe ourselves out.

Back in April 2009, just before Tax Day, I wrote a rather hasty one-off tirade about the Tea Party. Called, rather uncreatively on my part, “Fuck you stupid idiots and your fucking #teaparty“.

Ahem. Needless to say, I wasn’t going for the subtle. I thought then, and I still think now, that the Tea Party is a hodgepodge of bad ideas with no direction and no mandate. The only reason it’s managed to reach this point is because certain media outlets have been using their considerable influence to give them legitimacy.

(The same media outlet that’s been recently outed as spying on private citizens and government officials in England to generate news leads. Personal freedoms? Pfft!)

On the whole, I think the whole thing reeks of “I’m taking my ball and going home” now that Washington is trying to play a different game than they were for the first 8 years of the 21st century.

(Which in, full disclosure, I’m not thrilled about. Obama really hasn’t hit anything out of the park and has proven his inexperience time and time again. I refer to him as President Pussy now.)

The last time that I wrote about the Tea Party, I pointed out that one of their main support groups in that nascent stage was the American Family Association. Which I called then, and still call now “One of the great moralist cesspools in America.”

And what should I hear this morning on NPR as I’m getting ready for work? This:

Tea Party Supporters Debate Movement’s Direction

Morning Edition is taking a closer look at the groups that make up the Tea Party. Steve Inskeep talks to Toby Marie Walker, lead facilitator for the Waco Tea Party, and Bryan Fischer, of the American Family Association. Walker says the Tea Party’s issues need to remain strictly fiscal. Fischer says that if the Tea Party doesn’t incorporate social issues into its agenda, it runs the risk of dividing the conservative movement.

Listen to that. Listen to the AMA open its maw, put the Tea Party between its teeth and growl “If you fuck with us we will KILL YOU. We made you, we can end you just as easily.”

It almost makes you sad for the Tea Party. This lady, who I’m sure has some legitimate, if misguided and probably far-fetched, complaints with the government is basically being beaten with an inch of her political life by a crazy man who thinks that homosexuality is criminal, all Muslims are dangerous and that you should have to be of a certain kind of Christianity to hold office.

And you know the saddest part? He’s right. All the Christian Right has to do to kill the Tea Party is say that they are trying to erode the morality of the country and the Tea Party is done. Just like that.

That NPR bit? It wasn’t a conversation about the Tea Party, or a friendly debate. It was a knife to a throat, it was a threat to play along or else.

So, not only do I say Fuck the Tea Party, but I say Fuck the American Family Association doubly so.

You’re hate mongers that are scared of change and sex and the rest of the world. And I’m not.

That’s what the 2010 Hugo Awards look like.

They look a little different every year, this one pulling heavily on old Edwardian woodcut illustrations and title plates for the base of the classic rocket ship (the common element between all Hugo awards).

I’ve never wanted an award until I saw this. I want one of these. I want to look up and see it on my bookshelf. I want to smile at it, and know that it is mine.

Guess I’d better get back to work then, no?

Putting together a piece about the asteriskpunks (*punks) sub cultures/genres that are out there. Focusing primarily on the cultural impetus for their appearance in the zeitgeist.

Dumping loose notes here so I can have a web-based reference point.

Attacking 4 *punks as the best examples of this

  • Cyber
  • Steam
  • Diesel
  • Wind

Clockworkpunk, Atomopunk, et al are really just narrow slivers that don’t really attack things in new ways. Effectively like working at a hotdog restaurant, then spinning off a new restaurant that serves everything with extra relish and calling it a new cuisine. It isn’t, and they aren’t.

Need to establish definition of PUNK as a whole. Speak to nihilistic, dead-end leanings. Something is lost in punk, a death is coming, and this is the raging before the long quiet.

All *punks pull something from previous forms of literature. Pulps, etc.

Cyberpunk

  • Original *punk. Came from the rise of instant digital communication, personal computing, and the potential of unlocking the human gene as a tool.
  • Also of note is the ever present megacorp. Massive employer/producer/state that is more present than the national entity.
  • Essentially it’s about the loss/erosion of individuality through technology and the corporate system
  • Oddly, Cyberpunk is positioned against the current Nerd Cult of Singularity.
  • Pulls from Noir tropes for stories in a lot of cases.

Steampunk

  • The Big One right now. Really just sort of an updating of what Jules Verne was doing 100+ years ago.
  • Reaction to the lack of heirlooms in modern life. Coveted, saved for possessions are iDevices, laptops, game systems, TVs, etc.
  • Desire is to go back to a point where the artisan could still craft something that hold modern functionality.
  • In past, man would buy a pocket watch with his first check (example). That would get passed down, build history/story. Current things are trashed for newer versions.
  • Parallel to Arts and Crafts movement that came as a rejection of Industrialization
  • Irony? Devices used to build community are the things they are railing against.

Dieselpunk

  • Newer, but building in relevance.
  • A swan song to the internal combustion engine. The device that powered trains, automobiles and planes.
  • The engine that shrunk the world is now dying, replaced by electric
  • Examples of electricity powering the villain is common. Robots, lasers, etc.
  • Pulling from the classic 30s/40s stories of air combat.

Windpunk

  • Smallest of the *punks I’ve chosen. But, still has a clearly defined message
  • Key points of this talk about giving people the kind of mobility/life they have now, but without environmental impact
  • Survivor’s guilt seems to play into this. Guilt that the world is in this state, so imagine a better one.

Try to work 4 elements angle.

End with noting that this is the year NASA dies. And that I expect Spacepunk to be the next big thing. Akin to Atomopunk, but goes further.

All of these is through a non-academic, personal filter. Meant to bring up discussion and talk directly about the metaphors *punks are conveying.

The first and most significant change is that in the near future, anyone posting or replying to a post on official Blizzard forums will be doing so using their Real ID — that is, their real-life first and last name — with the option to also display the name of their primary in-game character alongside it. These changes will go into effect on all StarCraft II forums with the launch of the new community site prior to the July 27 release of the game, with the World of Warcraft site and forums following suit near the launch of Cataclysm. Certain classic forums, including the classic Battle.net forums, will remain unchanged.

That is part of a bit published on Blizzard’s official Battle.net forums, the Blizzard discussion run hub for all of their video game properties. For those not familiar, Blizzard makes World of Warcraft, a persistent world MMO with a sustained player population somewhere north of several European nations. Oh, and then they make Starcraft, a video game with a professional gaming league in South Korea and where a two cable networks broadcast footage of the decade old game 24/7. Last but not least is Diablo, which is really just a giant time sink based around the cover of late 80s metal albums. That didn’t keep it from selling a bajillion copies, though. All three of these games are having either expansion or new versions releasing in the next two years. Which mean Blizzard’s forum traffic is going to go through the damn roof.

Probably why they want to get a handle on the incessant flaming and troll wars that are common place.

They’ve gotten their share of flack for this, though. Several different groups have suggested that this policy would lead to game conflicts spilling over into real life conflicts. That the lack of anonymity could in fact be dangerous to the player base.

I have absolutely no idea why people would think something as trivial as video games would inspire people commit acts of violence. I mean it’s not like there’s a history of that happening all over the world. And every video game player I know is a even-tempered, emotional mature adult. There is absolutely no way anything bad could happen from this.

Oh, wait? What’s that, young lady? You’ve got something to say?

….fuck.

This is a terrible idea, but it is going to be a blast to watch.

My schadenfreude organ is turgid at the clusterfuck that’s going to follow in the wake of Blizzard’s decision.

There’s this half ass pretender’s spectacle called writing, that I sometimes participate in. What I do in it is akin to a hawker trying to convince you his work is more than adequate, spectacular even, than real skill at the craft. It is a song and dance game, that I lie to most everyone most every day about.

But you can’t scam a scammer. And there is always a point of reckoning. A book that makes you throw it across the room because the bits and bobs of it are better than anything you could ever hope to put down. The ebb and flow of it, the tide of drama at the very heart of the thing is something that you could never hope to grasp in your hands, let along the feeble matter of your brain.

And this is where I stand. I seek to assure that by sheer volume of production, I am something to be worth counting, but I am not. One would almost assuredly guess that there is jealousy in the genesis of these statements, but there is not. For how could one be jealous of the thing that inspires you to aspire to such chicanery.

The truth is, I am not a writer. They are made of the stuff that I am not. They are smarter and defter and ephemeral beyond what I am. They traffic in the stuff of dreams, and I am not a party to their convocations.

Yet…I am. I feel small and insignificant in their wake, but not silenced or stilled. I have still much to tell, buy maybe not say well.

I may never be a writer. But I will always be a storyteller.

Things are speeding up. People are moving faster, goods are moving faster, information is moving faster, ideas are moving faster. You can’t take a moment to study something because by the time you blink, it will have changed.

Previously, there was a definite sense of things happening around you. Identifiable periods in history were long – sometimes centuries long – and they were things that you could see and appreciate being a part of while they were going on. You could have a sense of the gravity and importance of something. But, as technology started to kick in, things sped up. They got faster. They accelerated. Century long periods were cut down to decades, then years, then months, to the days or hours that define periods now.

Think about the late 1960s. The American Social Revolution. Civil rights, feminism, anti-war, and pro-drug movements all spun into one broad counter-culture thread. And everyone could feel it happening. You knew these were the defining days of a period of history. It lasted long enough for you to be able to grab hold of something tangible and hang on for the ride if you were so inclined.

But after that? Things start to blur together, like things moving past the window of a speeding car. The 70s blended into the 80s which blended into the 90s which blends into now. The biggest event was the end of the Cold War, but that was more of a left over from a previous period when things moved slower.

Now I feel like I exist in a world that is blurring around me because it moves so fast. Nothing is tangible because by the time you’ve reached out your arm to touch it, it has already faded away. Things are more ephemeral than they’ve ever been, and it is all due to the acceleration that technology caused.

Think about it like eating a fine, multi-course meal. Except, that the time you have for each course is half of the previous one. Before you’re even out of the appetizer/soup/salad courses, you’re throat is jacked open and food is shoved straight down your throat. The flavors mash-up, you can’t appreciate any of the texture or nuance, but because things keep coming, you start to forget what it was like to ever be able to chew or savor the food. Eventually, you just go numb to the whole experience, as the only sensation that’s left is a mass of food stuffs being forced into your gullet. Time and experience have been force-compacted into bland, forgettable food stuffs.

I love technology, it lets me do things that absolutely blow my mind (like typing this piece), but this is my greatest apprehension about it.

Don’t get hung up on the name. I came up with it in two seconds. But, do get hung up on the idea behind it.

I’ve always been of the opinion that the interesting bits in the Midsouth are buried under the same kind of mud that you’d find in a lake. Things fall to the bottom, and the moving water brings in silt. Stop moving, even for just a little bit, and you’ll get covered up, buried in muck. But, all you have to do to find something interesting is drag your fingers through the mud. I think there are dozens of creative people out there that just need a hand to come along and pull them out of the mud to produce something great.

Which is where the idea for a juried anthology comes in. Originally, juried shows were designed to give no-bodies the chance to compete along artistic greats. Was your stuff better? Then you were going to win, regardless of what your name or prestige was. Now imagine this for comics. A free to enter, categorically organized contest. Winner takes all (well, all the bragging rights), and you print the best of the show as a POD book, maybe even fund it with a Jumpstarter project.

To top the whole thing off, if your recoup costs, donate any profits to something like the Comic Book Legal Defense fund, or the charity that helps people in the comic industry get health insurance (the name escapes me at the moment, and Google is being stingy).

Dropping this idea here as a reminder to myself to bring it up to some friend of mine who might be able to make this happen.

According to the huge spike of incoming traffic, I’ve been linked to a forum post about The Buzzer, an old Soviet-era numbers station going quiet.

I wrote about The Buzzer a few years ago.

I’m not going to fall down the conspiracy rabbit hole with this, but it did make me wonder – what’s the newtech equivalent of a numbers station?

A static IP that spits out binary white noise until it flicks over and rolls out a string of encrypted text? For all of their mystery, numbers stations were pretty shitty means of transmitting secret data. You can’t encrypt radio signals, only encode them, and codes are easier to break since you can’t hide them, only smudge them a bit. Plus, radio has a limited range. You need to be able to hear it to get your super secret spy message, and if a big storm blows in when you’re supposed to receive your go/no go message, well, you’re fucked.

Things aren’t just about things.

It is a shame that possibly the most insightful and astute statement of my adult life is so completely obtuse at first glance.

But give me a moment.

Things are not just about things.

Food is not just about food.
Cars are not just about cars.
Instruments are not just about instruments.
Books are not just about books.
And so on and so on.

No. Instead they are about everything that goes into them and in turn comes out of them as inspiration, as passion.

Things aren’t just about things.

They are, in fact, about everything.

I’ve finally wrangled my pictures from the 2010 Memphis Zombie Massacre and put them up on here on Flickr. Give ‘em a once over and let me know what you think.

I was going to post a few of them here, but I’ll wait and pick out my favorites for a Project365 post.

I shot all of this with a Nikon D3000 and the kit 18-55mm VR lens. Sure, there’s a little bit of Photoshopery there at the end, but I was amazed at how versatile and exact that lens was for something so cheap.

Hope Larson has been asking young women about the comic consumption habits, and what appeals to them in the medium. Here are the results:

What can authors, publishers, retailers do to better serve teen/tween girls?
1) More and better female characters, especially protagonists. Girls want to see strong, in-control, kick-ass women calling the shots.

2) A welcoming atmosphere in local comic stores is key. Many respondents reported feeling uncomfortable in comic stores. They were stared at, talked down to, and generally treated without respect.

3) Pink, sparkly cutesy comics about boyfriends, ponies, cupcakes and shopping are widely reviled. Condescend to female readers at your peril, writers and comic publishers.

4) The hypersexualization/objectification of female superheroines makes female readers uncomfortable, and sexual violence as a plot point has got to stop.

5) Girls need good stories in a variety of genres.

6) Most girls don’t even know comics exist, or that they would enjoy them. Publishers need to advertise in mainstream media and comic shops need to reach out to girls.

7) Make comics for boys and girls. Comics with dual male and female protagonists. Comics with large casts that offer something for everyone.

8) Use licensed properties to lure new readers into comics.

9) Availability is a problem. Get more comics into schools. Get more comics into libraries—especially school libraries. Get more comics into bookstores, especially large chains.

10) There need to be more women creating comics and working in the industry as editors and publishers.

She’s got more details on her LiveJournal, and the list has pretty much become a must read for anyone who is making comics.

I agree with all of her conclusions. No hemming or hawing, no qualifying of my statements. She’s right.

If comics makers want to appeal to a female audience, moving away from musty shops run by fat slobs and into places that sell Starbucks is the way to go. We need more books like Runaways and fewer Avengers books.

We need less things like this:

And more things like this:

….actually that’s a terrible fucking example. All comic book t-shirts are horrible. We just need less shit like that stuff above.

An odd aside – she interviewed 198 women, which is the same number of mutants left in the Marvel Universe, and X-Men was the most common comic named in her survey. Weird how things line up sometimes.



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