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Thursday, April 28, 2016

The TMS Chronicles: Majoring in Economics?

It's that time once again, where I pick up on the exploits (words chosen carefully) of one of my favourite digital rags and their quest for clicks. TheMarySue has really hit it out of the park this time, with a stunningly titled article called Don’t Blame Readers for Low Sales of Diverse Comics

In the simplest terms here I'm going to say this: No. No, I am definitely going to blame readers for low sales of diverse comics. 

But let's look at some of their reasons first. Their article is allegedly a rebuttal to another one, titled Comics: You’ve Got Your Diversity, So Why Don’t You Buy Them?, but it's written in such a way that the original article serves as its own rebuttal to TMS's, so again I feel like I'm beating a dead horse, but it's a dead horse that refuses to roll over and die completely.
When it comes to accessibility, everyone doesn’t obtain their comics the same way. Some may visit their local comic shop, bookstore, or even Walmart.
The original article takes this into account, and even if it didn't, I guarantee you Marvel knows how many copies of Ms Marvel Wal-Mart sold, returned, or had to mark as loss prevention.
Others may buy digital comics from places like Comixology or Humble Bundle. 
These are two completely different beasts. Comixology reports that information back to Marvel and DC, so they know how many copies of what book are selling, and can take that into account in deciding which titles continue to be renewed. Humble Bundle, on the other hand, probably doesn't report that, but in the end it doesn't matter because the way profits are set up on those a customer could pay all of their money towards a charity, towards the publisher, or towards Humble itself, or split it any of those ways. That's not a guaranteed return, no matter how much the comics are enjoyed by the end user.
Moreover, some people borrow comics from other people who bought comics, such as a friend or a library.
Look, I'm sympathetic to this one. When I was a kid and didn't have much money, I had to borrow comics from friends, too. The first issues of X-Men and Excalibur (which would later become one of my favourite books) were borrowed from a friend. But as much as I enjoyed those, and later went on to buy marvel books of my own (including a lot of those issues I'd borrowed), they only counted as one sale: the original purchaser. If one person buys a comic and 20 people read it, that's not 21 readers in the business sense, that's just one.
Another important factor to consider is whether comic shops are friendly enough to their customers that they want to buy comics. In 2014, Comic creator and cartoonist Noelle Stevenson made a Tumblr comic about how men treated her at a comic store. While tools such as Girl Wonder help with finding comic shops that treat their female customers well, there are still less respectable comic shops that can discourage female comic book readers.
There's precisely one way to go about fixing this: Go to the comics shops in droves. Fill them with women to the point that any icky cis-het while dudebro comic shop owners see a change in their bottom line. What you're having to overcome is being part of a demographic that another demographic associates with ridicule of their hobby while growing up.

It will take time. There will be misunderstandings. But change is slow and painful and worth it. If you want to be part of your local comic shop scene, then make yourself a part of it.
Sometimes, accessibility is also tied into whether or not people can afford to buy comics. As a comic fan on a budget, I rarely buy comics more than a few times a year (birthdays, a couple personal treats, and Christmas).
Again, I get you. I feel terrible today because I just bid $40 on an imported figure of Lightning from Final Fantasy and another $30 on an out-of-production unmasked Batgirl figure. I got bills to pay, too, but having a hobby can be expensive and it's a sacrifice you'll have to make. You either buy the product and show your support of the manufacturer in a way that impacts their bottom line, or you blog about it and give moral support. You may decide which is more important, but you won't necessarily come to the same conclusion as the person selling it. Also, did you just say that you write about comics but hardly ever buy them?
Of course, you can’t buy or read any comics if you don’t even know about them.
Invalid. Agreeing ideologies practically own Bleedingcool, ComicsAlliance, and any number of geek culture websites, and if you don't feel you can trust people who agree with you on practically everything, go to your local comic shop and ask "What's new? What's good?" I'm sure icky cis-het white dudebro will happily make a suggestion if you can give him a clue to what you're looking for. On top of that, I Googled "diverse comics" and not only was given a ton of suggestions including your own article, a Tumblr blog and Facebook group dedicated to diverse comics, but also a Google image search including Miles Morales, female Thor, Sam Wilson's Captain America, Ms Marvel, and some book I'd never even heard of by Gail Simone. It's 2016, people. If you want to know about something, it's never been easier to look it up.
Even television shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Jessica Jones aren’t as diverse as they could be, with characters of color either relegated to the background or killed off.
You... you do know that Jessica Jones review I wrote was a parody, right?
Comic book readers and potential comic book readers are just as diverse as the characters and stories they want to see. They are more than just numbers and statistics, but readers with circumstances and personal preferences that affect how they read comics. Instead of blaming existing readers for not buying diverse comics, we must devise better ways to make them accessible and draw in more readers —something all publishers should be interested in.
Yes. Yes, they are. And they've always been. They're just more vocal about it now. And that's great, but they can't *just* be vocal. They have to go out and support their favourite books, otherwise they can't cry foul when a metric shit-ton of collectors go out and buy All-New All-Female Thor #1 and then the sales figures drop by 75% by issue 4.

Dedicated fans know that the fundamentals will always be there, and they'll buy Captain America when Steve Rogers has the shield, and they'll keep buying it and enjoy Sam Wilson flying around on his mechanical wings with the shield because they know eventually Steve will be back. Be dedicated fans, or don't be surprised when A-Force or Totally Awesome Hulk are cancelled because less than 10,000 copies are being moved every month.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Oh My GOD Stop "Helping"

I know what I said last night about being exhausted by the trans bathroom debate, but this is a case of Please stop "helping". You are actively encouraging behavior that will get your ass arrested or shot.
In this picture, an overzealous father has decided that someone approaching the women's restroom isn't sufficiently female and has pulled a gun to prevent entry. Not "Don't molest my daughter"; not even "You are making my daughter feel uncomfortable." Nope, this is full-on "I don't like the way you look and because you might do something wrong I'm going to hold you at gunpoint."

Folks, here in Florida this is known as aggravated assault. It is a felony. Do you really want to spend five years in jail and lose your right to own firearms just because you've decided that someone coming up to the restroom isn't sufficiently ladylike?

Of course, getting arrested for pointing a loaded gun at someone who isn't an immediate, obvious threat to yourself or another isn't actually the worst-case scenario. Want to know the worst case?
Yep. Pulling a gun on someone who just wants to use the toilet is a great way to get your ass shot. And you know what? It would be a justified shooting, because aggravated assault is a forcible felony.

Please, gun owners, stop posting shit like this. It isn't helping anyone, it's making our side look like kneejerk idiots, and it's encouraging people to take a course of action that may very well get someone arrested, hurt, or killed. It's very much our version of the "Joe Biden Defense", which is also terrible advice and has resulted in someone's conviction and imprisonment.

Just... stop doing this. You aren't helping. Please, please, PLEASE stop. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Blargh.

Hi, yes. I'm alive.

I don't know what's going on with me lately, but I'm tired. Like, Madeline Kahn in Blazing Saddles levels of tired. I think it's both physical and psychological.

Physically, my body's sleep and eat cycle is dramatically out of sync with the world. I can't seem to fall asleep until 4 am, which means I have trouble waking up before 10. But then in the afternoon I'm dead tired, literally falling asleep in front of the computer, and so I take a nap that lasts from 2 or 3 until 5 or 6 or even 7 pm. And that sleeping makes me not hungry at decent hours, so I find myself wanting dinner at 8 or 9 or later, which of course means I have energy late at night and end up staying late and that repeats the cycle. I don't know how it started, but I need to stop it.

I'm also beat psychologically. I'm sick of the constant BS of politics -- frankly, I'm ready to adopt the Lewis Black method of determining the president -- and if every single one of the candidates (yes, including the one I support) were to suddenly die from explosive syphilis I would consider that a net win for not just America, but the Earth in general. And this whole business about transgender bathrooms that's really just an excuse for people to virtue signal... ugh. I can't even work up the spite to blog about it; instead I am reduced to going "Really? Really? THIS is what we're fighting about now?"  It's all just a poor satire of the gun rights debate, only with the positions reversed.

I don't know what's going on. My body is screwed up, so it might be kinda sick -- but I don't feel sick. I don't have the desire or energy to go out and do stuff (like shooting, which is why I haven't done any Monday Gunday posts recently, and I feel VERY guilty about that), and while I don't feel like I'm depressed, I recognize that not taking pleasure in things which used to be fun is one of the signs of depression.

I think part of my trouble is that I have become acutely aware of the passage of time. For example, when I sit down to watch a television show, or read a book, or play a computer game, my brain says "You are sacrificing an hour of your life to this thing. It's an hour you'll never get back. Is this really worth an hour of your life? Are you happy with this exchange?"  And of course I'm not, because I have this impression that my lifespan is so valuable that I ought to spend it doing ONLY AWESOME THINGS, like parachuting off of mountains or scuba diving in the Bahamas or snorting lines of coke off the epic tits of porn stars... but that isn't a reasonable belief, because even incredibly awesome people do mundane things like sleep and use the toilet and, yes, watch trashy television.

I don't know if I'm coming to grips with my own mortality now that I'm middle-aged or what. I just know that on one hand I am intensely dissatisfied with how things are going -- both for my life in specific, and for the world in general -- and yet I don't know how to fix any of them. Or indeed, even if they need fixing.

So yeah. It's pretty obvious I need a break, which is why I'm looking forward to going on vacation this weekend -- I and a bunch of other gun bloggers will be going up to Tennessee and we're going to have a blogshoot.

I'll let you know how it goes, and hopefully it will revitalize my ability to deal with things.

Thanks for checking in on me. Ideally I'll be back to writing about guns and Traveller and ponies and other awesome things next week.


Sunday, April 24, 2016

Gun Blog Variety Podcast #88 – The Group Podcast with Special Guest Luke Apps of Triangle Tactical Podcast

It was a long week moving Casa Sorrentino and URS Studios, so instead of a regular show, Adam and Sean bring you a special group show!
  • Sean tells you about another Sean Sorrentino. One who is a very naughty Sean Sorrentino. This Sean Sorrentino will not be podcasting where he is going.
  • Adam relates the horrifying story of the legal system run amok.. or is it? A teen is arrested on Felony Robbery charges for stealing a cup of soda from McDonalds!
  • Erin Palette holds an Ask Me Anything. About preps, you dirty minded people. 
  • In our main topic, we endure the nails-on-a-chalkboard sound of Hillary and her daughter Chelsea confirming that a President Hillary Clinton will, in fact, be coming for your guns.
  • Special Guest Luke Apps of The Triangle Tactical Podcast, thinks you should start a blog or a podcast. He's a great person to tell you about it because he's the person who encouraged me to start this podcast.
  • And finally, Weer'd plays a few clips from the latest episode of no one's favorite anti-gun podcast, Loaded Conversations. To say that this woman has "issues" is to grossly understate it. You've got to hear it to believe it. 
Thank you for downloading, listening, and subscribing. You are subscribed, right? We are available on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, and now on Google Play Music!
Listen to the podcast here.
Read the show notes here
Thanks also to Firearms Policy Coalition for their support. Go to StopNewsome.net to help FPC crush Governor Newsome's ammo ban.

And a special thanks to our sponsor, Law of Self Defense. Use discount code "Variety" at checkout for 10% off.

Upcoming Law of Self Defense seminars:
  • August 7 - North Carolina specific - Raleigh, NC
  • August 13 - Oregon and Washington specific - Sherwood, OR
  • August 20 - Tenessee and Kentucky specific - Nashville, TN
  • October 1 - Pennsylvania and New Jersey specific - Bensalem, PA
  • October 15 - Arizona specific - Glendale, AZ
  • October 16 - New Mexico and Texas specific - Las Cruces, NM

Thursday, April 21, 2016

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised 8: An Autopsy of the SocialAutopsy Situation


Part 1: An Introduction

Part 2: A History Lesson
Part 3: Born in Fire
Part 4: Factions Form
Part 5: The Curious Tale of David Pakman
Part 6: The SPJ Airplay Bomb Threat
Part 7: I Do Actually Stand With Mustafa

The survivors of the nuclear fire called the war Gamergate. They lived only to face a new nightmare: the war against their own hobby's press. The ideology which controlled the machines sent two agents to the forefront. Their mission: to draw the aggro and act as bait. But they picked the wrong drama to initiate, and may be failing.

Late last week, a Kickstarter campaign launched for a service called Social Autopsy, ostensibly an anti-bullying service, which aimed to collect information on harassing and/or offensive speech and tie it to a database that would identify a person by name, by image, and possibly even by employer. I, like many others both in the free speech camp as well as those against it, immediately saw the flaws and exploits in a system like this.* But something strange happened with Social Autopsy.

I mentioned Gamergate earlier because several individuals opposed to whatever-the-narrative-is-this-week stepped in. Zoe Quinn and Randi Harper, who run anti-bullying organizations themselves, got involved with Social Autopsy... but not in the way you'd expect people working in the same field would.

Less than a day after the Kickstarter launched, Social Autopsy's founder, Candace Owens, was contacted by Quinn to discuss the project. In Owens's own words, Owens provided Quinn with her personal e-mail address, and Quinn spoke with her both over e-mail and phone. But not words of support, as you'd expect, but to try and talk her out of it. Why would someone who was the victim of harassment herself allegedly fight so hard against a way of unmasking and identifying harassers?

Owens was suspicious, but rebutted each argument Quinn had and, again according to Owens, Quinn grew more frustrated, again giving her credentials and claiming to be representing various anti-bullying organizations that she declined to name. With red flags going up, Owens stood firm, refusing to back down, with Quinn eventually warning her that Gamergate would come after her.

And sure enough, that's what happened. The anti-bullying advocate was then harassed off the internet and into hiding by a boogeyman that was simultaneously a bunch of powerless whiners and also the unnameable threat stalking the tech blogs and gaming press of the last two years.

Nah, I'm kidding. Hours later, Owens began receiving nasty messages first on her Kickstarter campaign profile, and then emails on her personal e-mail account -- the one she'd given to Quinn -- with all manner of offensive language with a single common thread. “Men, Misogyny, and Gaming,” as she put it. All of the messages came from male names, using gendered language against her, and with video games somewhere in the address field. Keep in mind that Owens had been nowhere near gaming until now. She hadn't even heard of Gamergate, but now she was getting emails from addresses like “gamedeveloperyal@animalfetishporn.us.” Hours after that her Kickstarter was shut down, and Randi Harper (again, a noted anti-GG name and herself a... harassment expert) wrote a post on Medium where she blasted Candace Owens and Social Autopsy's Kickstarter before claiming responsibility for having it shut down.

There's two possibilities I'm seeing here for what happened next. Candace Owens is either incredibly smart (if misguided, considering how terrible an idea SocialAutopsy was) or so uninvolved with the tech blog drama world that she immediately saw a pattern and started putting things together, because she then spent the next several days blasting Quinn and Harper on Twitter, all but accusing them of being the entire harassment machine that Gamergate was accused to be themselves and writing an epic history of the situation on her own website (I strongly suggest you read it) that puts mine to shame. Candace Owens continues to make noise about more information she has.

Of course, there was retaliation from the usual suspects. Jesse Singal penned a hitpiece than ran on New York Magazine's website. Embarrassing human David Futrelle has smeared her. I'm waiting for more to drop. But what I'm really waiting for is for the gloves to come off and get really dirty, though. Candace Owens is a black woman. That's not important to me, but that means she's further up the progressive stack than Quinn or Harper, and that means her voice should carry more weight with those most involved in this narrative. I'm 100% sure there'll be some justification, though: being accused of "internalized misogyny", or called an Uncle Tom, or something equally heinous to discredit her and protect the narrative.

Now we can only sit back, wait, and make more popcorn and hope more evidence is presented, because this ride *still* hasn't ended.


*For one, I believe that unless someone's job is directly tied to the things they say online, don't go after her job. For another, how do you weed out fake profiles, anonymous names, and impersonations to make certain that the wrong person doesn't get shamed?

In Memoriam: Prince


I heard that Prince died, and the first thing I thought was "I wonder where I could get six raspberry costumes?"

"What do you need 6 costumes for, Erin?" you ask, likely with trepidation.

"Why, so his pallbearers can throw him a Raspberry Parade, of course. I'd better start looking in secondhand stores."
I think Dave Chappelle gave him the best eulogy, though:

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Traveller Tuesday: Skill Clarifications

Mongoose's second edition of Traveller changed the organization of skills. I approve of some changes, disapprove others, and feel that in some cases 2e didn't follow through to the logical conclusion.

Herein are the changes I have made to skills in my heretical version of Mongoose Traveller, including previous posts on skill expansion.
My use of Traveller setting and dress falls under
fair use guidelines for both Mongoose and Far Future Enterprises.
Zero-G
This skill still exists in my game. 2e subsumbed it into Athletics, but I still operate on the notion that there's no unskilled penalty for not having the Athletics skill, and if I did it the 2e way that would mean everyone could move around in freefall unskilled. No thank you, I don't think so...

Technology
This is what 2e calls the Electronics skill. I approve of how 2e has turned the high-tech skills of Comms, Computer, Remote Ops and Sensors into a single skill -- not only does it make it easier for a PC to be appropriately tech-savvy early on, it also mirrors how Gun Combat is a single skill but with different specialties depending on the weapon.

I've renamed it to prevent confusion with the Electronics specialty, below. 

Science
I'm sticking with the 1e version of this, as I don't like the notion that being a biologist automatically gives you an understanding of planetology or economics.

Repair
2e did away with the Electronics specialty of Engineer, and folded it into Mechanic. Since mechanical repair and electrical repair are quite different, I've made Electronics and Mechanic distinct specialties of the Repair skill. 

Navigation
Folded into Survival. 

Medic
Continuing to harp upon "If slug pistol and slug rifle are two separate specialties, then completely alien biologies ought not to be lumped into the same skill," I have made each alien species its own specialty as explained in this post

Language
As explained in greater detail in this post, Languages are now separate skills. Related dialects (such as all Vargr languages being offshoots of Arrghoun) are specialties of the same root. 

Heavy Weapons
I'm taking the best of all the versions here:
  • Artillery - indirect fire weapons
  • Man Portable Energy - PGMP/FGMP
  • Man Portable Kinetic - launchers and direct-fire large-bore weapons like machine guns
  • Vehicle Mounted - tank guns, rocket pods. miniguns, etc 
Gun Combat
This is one of the simplifications of 2e that I don't like. After years of having skills broken up by both projectile and size -- and from my own knowledge that shooting a rifle uses different techniques than shooting a pistol -- I'm keeping the differentiation and adding a few. 
  • Archaic (by name, like Bow or Blowpipe)
  • Energy Carbine 
  • Energy Pistol
  • Energy Rifle
  • Shotgun
  • Slug Carbine
  • Slug Pistol
  • Slug Rifle
  • Zero-G Weapons
Drive/Flyer/Pilot
Air/Rafts still require Flyer in 2e, but fortunately Flyer is now a skill that anyone can choose as a background skill and is more easily acquired in character generation. That's great for people who are making new characters, but what about those PCs who were generated in 1e? Well, there are two options:
Battledress
Still a skill in my game. While I am comfortable with the very military skill of Battledress working as the Vacc Suit skill, I am not at all comfortable with the very civilian skill of Vacc Suit being used to operate the most advanced power armor in the Imperium. Again, no thank you. 

Advocate
Much like with Medic, I broke down what it means to have the Advocate skill and at which point it makes a character into an actual lawyer. There are also differences between military law, Imperial law, and planetary laws, and they are all specialties. Read my blog post on legal certification for further information.


Monday, April 18, 2016

Apocabox Unboxing #11 (April 2016)

I didn't even try to put this out on Friday. I embraced the inevitable delay and figured I could post it over the weekend, or on Monday at the latest.

This post is back-dated to Monday, but it's actually late Tuesday night as I write this. Sheesh! I can't win.

I have a better camera now, a replacement mic stand, and a decent video editor so I can cut out any mistakes and generally trim a lot of the crap in between. Given enough time I might even figure out how to do transitions and that will speed things along as well.

Although I do think it's kinda cute when I'm opening one of the bags and you actually hear me humming "la dee dah". It was a completely unself-conscious moment and so I left it in.

Anyway, enjoy the video

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Gun Blog Variety Podcast #87 - Special Stunt Co-Host ERIN!

This week on The GunBlog VarietyCast, Adam is "On Assignment" doing post-surgery bed rest, so holding down the co-host chair is Erin Palette!
  • Just because Erin is co-host doesn't mean she can't do her final segment in her "Thinking about how we think" segment, "Why our brains reward failure."
  • With all the other dangerous threats to US security, Nicki Kenyon decided today was the day to address that incredible threat posed by... Panama?
  • Beth Reoch Alcazar reminds us that we shouldn't give up on our anti-gun/anti-hunting friends. Why? She used to be one of them.
  • In part 2 of his Batteries series, Silicon Graybeard explains the differences in charging the various rechargeable battery types.
  • And even though Adam and I talked about that anti-gun podcast two weeks ago, you just knew the Weer'd wanted to take a shot at it. Well here it is...
Thank you for downloading, listening, and subscribing. You are subscribed, right?
Listen to the podcast here.
Read the show notes here
Thanks also to Firearms Policy Coalition for their support. Go to StopNewsome.net to help FPC crush Governor Newsome's ammo ban.

And a special thanks to our sponsor, Law of Self Defense. Use discount code "Variety" at checkout for 10% off.

Upcoming Law of Self Defense seminars:
  • August 7 - North Carolina specific - Raleigh, NC
  • August 13 - Oregon and Washington specific - Sherwood, OR
  • August 20 - Tenessee and Kentucky specific - Nashville, TN
  • October 15 - Arizona specific - Glendale, AZ
  • October 16 - New Mexico and Texas specific - Las Cruces, NM

Friday, April 15, 2016

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Batman Punches Superman: Dawn of Injustice

I've now seen Deadpool three times in the theatre: Once at the normal cinema I go to, once in IMAX (my first IMAX movie!) and once with a friend that came to visit. I'm also looking forward to Captain America: Civil War. I bring these up because I do not have the mixed feelings for the vast majority of Marvel films that I do for Batman vs. Superman. And it can't be just that I'm a Marvel fanboy -- I love Batman and the Bat-family more than I do any one particular Marvel hero, even RDJ's Tony Stark.

(Erin says: It's true. He practically has a fetish for Batgirl.)

But if I'm honest, I've never been a Superman fan to begin with. The Reeves films were variable in quality, with the first one being the only truly good one (minus the time travel sequence), and Superman Returns actually put me to sleep despite the absolute perfection of casting Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor. I honestly didn't think Man of Steel was that bad, but then... I'm not a fan of Superman, so that's probably why. So continuing the Man of Steel thread into BvS was really my only interest as far as Superman is concerned, and BvS was definitely a Man of Steel sequel... for all that's worth. No, the reason I forked out the cash for two IMAX tickets (You're welcome, Jacob) was Batfleck.

I have spoken previously on the subject of Batfleck, and I stand by my previous words. Ben Affleck as Batman was inspired. There has not been a Batman on film yet that had the physicality, the stature, and the cold rage that drives a Batman that Ben Affleck brought to the role. No one yet has looked the part so much and made me believe the role so much. I'm ready to say that Batfleck currently has my Number 2 slot, behind the Arkham/Animated Batman of Kevin Conroy. Any part of this film that has either Batman or Alfred in it could easily be cut out and still be good watch on its own.

Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman is pretty great, too (when she's there). This is the first time I've seen a live-action Wonder Woman I enjoyed, and she had far too little screen time.


This is what we've been missing from cinematic Batman.

The rest of the cast does not fare as well:
  • Henry Cavill looks the part still, but falls utterly flat. He's basically got two emotions: Mope and Rage. As I've mentioned, I'm not even a Superman fan, but even I know that Superman operates on a much broader range than that, and with an air of underlying optimism at all times. 
  • Jesse Eisenberg is hopelessly mis-cast as Luthor, even taking into account he's not technically Lex but rather his son Alexander. Eisenberg would have been much better served being cast in the inevitable Batfleck movie as The Riddler, as his performance is much closer in line to Arkham's deranged, SAW-esque version of Riddler than any previous Luthor. 
  • Amy Adams is basically forgettable as Lois Lane, and Laurence Fishburne's Perry White has somehow turned into a caricature of himself.
The story and pacing of the movie is all over the place, and has the feel of two movies that were forced into one due to budgetary constraints. There's a difference between “X happens, which leads to Y, which leads to Z” and “X happens, then Y happens, then Z happens” and this movie is definitely the latter.

I hate to lay the blame at the feet of any one person in particular, yet I can't help but question Zach Snyder on this. He says he understands and loves the characters, but it genuinely feels like he read only two stories -- Injustice: Gods Among Us and The Dark Knight Returns -- and ran with those. Not only are these stories out of comic-book continuity, the are also set in worlds in which things have gone horribly wrong and the characters are forced to take actions they would not normally otherwise take.

In Injustice, the Joker murders Lois Lane and Superman completely loses it, gravely injuring Batman who tries to stop him and seizing world power with a coalition of super-powered heroes. In Dark Knight, government overreach leads to a near-totalitarian state with Superman a government puppet, prompting Batman to finally take him down. While gripping stories, neither of these are accurate portrayals of Batman and Superman. 

In short, BvS isn't as bad as Rotten Tomatoes and the drama-addicted movie critics would have you believe, and it has some quite excellent scenes, but the movie has some real problems. I'd genuinely recommend watching it at some point, but rent it rather than paying to see it in theatres. As of this writing, a Batman film starring and directed by Affleck has been confirmed, and Suicide Squad is still coming fairly soon, so I can only hope that Dawn of Justice serves its primary purpose of serving as a springboard for a larger DC universe, and that it will bring us films of tMCU or Nolanverse quality instead of more bombs like Green Lantern or Man of Steel.

Prior to this, I had some level of faith in Zach Snyder. I didn't hate Sucker Punch (unlike most everyone else), and Watchmen and 300 were good movies. But this isn't a promising start to DC's cinematic universe.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Things Which Irritate Me Beyond Rational Levels

There are some things which irritate me disproportionately to the actual effect they have on my life.

Those things are, but are not limited to, the following:
  1. People who do not use the proper plural suffix of words and instead just add an "s" to everything. No! The plural of index is indices,  the plural of nova is novae, the plural of auditorium is auditoria.  Look, I realize that it's slightly more difficult to remember to say appendices rather than appendixes, but choosing not to use the cool unusual suffix because "it's faster and easier to use the S" is like choosing to eat at McDonald's every day because it's more efficient. 
  2. The use of "Men's room" vs. "Ladies' room".  Please note that it's not the actual words, it's the pairing. If you say Ladies' room, then please also say Gentlemen's room (or 'the Gents'); if you say Men's room, then please also say Women's room. It just bugs me that the default seems to be that when females go to relieve themselves it's always dainty and ladylike, but when males go they're never given the benefit of equal refinement. If she's a lady, then he's a gentleman. It's baked right into the greeting, folks. 
  3. Calling a magazine a clip. I just... ugh. Look, here's a simple rhyme to help you remember: If it's gotta spring, it's a magazine. It really is that simple. If you're confused, the Internet has pictures to help you out
  4. The way that "dank" now means something other than "damp and cold." Yes, I realize this makes me old. Now get off my lawn and fetch me my Geritol!
I clearly have very strong feelings about the English language. 

Monday, April 11, 2016

Big 3 East Spring 2016 Media Event

A few weeks ago I mentioned I would be going radio silent in preparation for this event. I meant to write about my escapades the following week, but being gone from Tuesday night to Saturday morning really screwed up my schedule and I've only now been able to dig myself out.

A detailed report of everything that went out would be impossible, as there was so much to see and do and I was staring at most of it in wide-eyed wonder that I didn't record as much of it as I should have. (Also, the camera I brought had a dead battery and I left its incredibly specific charger behind.)

But here's a summary of what it was like at Big 3 East:

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Gun Blog Variety Podcast #86 - Will Hillary Use NATO to Attack the NRA with Cosmo Couples?

Adam, Sean and the gang bring you another great episode of The GunBlog VarietyCast!
  • Erin Palette finally explains what she means by "Groupness." 
  • Just when she thought she was out, Trump drags her back in. Nicki Kenyon just wants to talk about NATO, but talking about NATO means talking about Trump talking about NATO.
  • We didn't think she could join us, but Beth Reoch Alcazar managed to get in at the last moment from US Concealed Carry Association headquarters. She and her friend Katie Strupp discuss the USCCA Concealed Carry Expo in Atlanta, Georgia 4/29/16 through 5/1/2016.
  • What are the differences in rechargeable batteries? Well, Silicon Graybeard is happy to let us know.
  • And did you see that "Cosmo Women Berate their Men for Owning Guns!" video? Weer'd has. And you know what that means! Time for another patented Weer'd Audio Fisk!™
Thank you for downloading, listening, and subscribing. You are subscribed, right?
Listen to the podcast here.
Read the show notes here
Thanks also to Firearms Policy Coalition for their support. Go to StopNewsome.net to help FPC crush Governor Newsome's ammo ban.

And a special thanks to our sponsor, Law of Self Defense. Use discount code "Variety" at checkout for 10% off.

Upcoming Law of Self Defense seminars:
  • August 7 - North Carolina specific - Raleigh, NC
  • August 13 - Oregon and Washington specific - Sherwood, OR
  • August 20 - Tenessee and Kentucky specific - Nashville, TN
  • October 15 - Arizona specific - Glendale, AZ
  • October 16 - New Mexico and Texas specific - Las Cruces, NM

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

I'm all right, mostly

I've just been really tired lately.

I'm not sure if I wore myself out with excitement and adrenaline from Big 3 East, or if I'm coming down with something, or if my cycle is starting a week early or if I'm just swamped and exhausted from trying to catch up from playing hooky for 4 days.

Anyway, I just wanted you all to know that I'm mostly okay, and not to worry about me, and I really ought to have something interesting to say ofor SHTFriday.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Gun Blog Variety Podcast #85 - The Parkers do the Hot Brass Dance on Public Service Radio

Adam and Sean host another great episode of The GunBlog VarietyCast.
  • Well, it's great even though the bratty kid sister of the gunblogosphere, Erin Palette was off enjoying herself shooting a Squad Automatic Weapon and a silenced lever action .45/70 rifle. Presumably not at the same time. She will return next week.
  • Nicki Kenyon has worked her way through all the Democrats in the race, including Donald Trump, so she thought she'd talk about Ted Cruz's foreign policy.
  • We've all seen that woman who shows up to the range in all the wrong clothes. Beth Alcazar is here to give you ladies some sartorial advice so you can be safe and ready to train on the range.
  • I always thought that listening in on fire and police radio was just a matter of buying a cheap scanner. Silicon Graybeard says it's not quite so simple any more. There's this thing called "Trunking..."
  • And pretty much everyone's heard of Andy Parker, the father of the unfortunate Alison Parker, murdered on camera while filming an interview in Virginia. Andy Parker has tried to turn himself into the face of gun control, and so appeared alongside The Alchemist, Colin Goddard on CBS's anti-gun program "Guns and America." Well you know what that means. It's time for another patented Weer'd Audio Fisk™
Thank you for downloading, listening, and subscribing. You are subscribed, right?

Listen to the podcast here.
Read the show notes here

Thanks also to Firearms Policy Coalition for their support. Go to StopNewsome.net to help FPC crush Governor Newsome's ammo ban.

And a special thanks to our sponsor, Law of Self Defense. Use discount code "Variety" at checkout for 10% off. 

Upcoming Law of Self Defense seminars:
  • April 9 - Massachusetts and Rhode Island specific - Reheboth, MA
  • August 7 - North Carolina specific - Raleigh, NC
  • August 13 - Oregon and Washington specific - Sherwood, OR
  • August 20 - Tenessee and Kentucky specific - Nashville, TN
  • October 15 - Arizona specific - Glendale, AZ
  • October 16 - New Mexico and Texas specific - Las Cruces, NM

The Fine Print


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