As people are often here for pics and can’t find them, be sure to check this out for them all:
So by now some of you know but this trip to San Jose I had was plagued with problems and me just not having a real good time. I wanted to sit and explain why. First happened sorta before any of the event happened and that is my one carryon luggage piece had its wheel break. Now since I had three bags, my carryon, my clothes and my photography kit, not being to efficiently roll one was slowing me down like crazy. On top of that, I missed the first train down to the convention center so I had to wait longer than I had hoped to get there. Once arriving I changed into my costume (Reisen) and standed in line for what felt like an eternity to pick up my registration and badge. I think it lasted some two hours all said. Once I got it I walked onto the convention floor and saw my friends. One had noticed me, the other hadn’t. I walked up to the one that had to stand behind the one that hadn’t to surprise her and the girl who saw me slapped me in the gut with her purse. Intentionally, but she said it was playful. I wasn’t really feeling myself I guess. So we hung out for a bit but then through a series of events I can’t quite explain, the girl who saaaw me said I should go away or she would contact security. I was “Wait, what? I thought we were friends! Where did this come from?” I spent the rest of the day being incredibly moapy and beside myself. I tried to get some pics but all my ideas just kept coming too late for some people. Like, I found a Sonico and Shimakaze that would have made for an amazing hotel shoot but she was gone before I could catch her and a Yandere-chan (Yes, from Yandere Simulator) who I thought would do the same and titled “Dreaming of Senpai”.
This was just day one. On day two we did the group Touhou shoot and the girl from the first day did apologize to me but I felt like our relationship was gone at that point. It wasn’t well of me as part of the reason I came out was to see her again. The rest of the day was fairly uneventful, as Touhou cosplay was the most serious of serious business. I didn’t really spend any time with some of the other people I went to see (like Zelda) so I spent it trying hard to keep me from feeling sad. The evenings went by and I always felt like I was missing out on something instead of feeling satisfied. However, my spirits immediately perked up at the sound of the first chords of Mick Gordon’s amazing rendition of “The Instinct”. I followed the source and found out that I was going to be treated to the final four of a Killer Instinct tournament. I was so excited I sat in the front row and was giddy at the things going on. Our special guest was Maximillian Dood who worked on the game when it was with Double Helix. I did get to play a round on stage myself too! I realized how out of practice I was that day, but I had fun. I met an Excalibur that was putting on an act that I thought was hilarious and could not pass him up.
Day three was pretty bad, as about 3PM I noticed the suit was wet. Its wool, which made no sense until Idealized I had sweat completely through my undershirt and dress shirt all the way until the wool jacket. I had enough of that and had to get changed into some normal clothed, which all I had were what I flew in on. It didn’t make me happier, but it did make me feel a bit better since I didn’t feel like I was suffering from so much heat exhaustion. Later, I caught up with the girl again and got a couple snaps for fun, though I still sensed some tension. The night went on and once again it felt like I missed something that night.
Last day and holy cow this one is a mess. Got up and packed bags, put them into storage, hit the con floor in my flight home clothes. I didn’t end up seeing the girl again (though I did want to) and instead spent most of the afternoon swimming in Deadpools (ha!) and generally trying to have a good day as the con was about as dead as Otakon was on its last Sunday (somehow). Anyway, there was an advertised event of cosplayers taking over a nearby Dave and Buster’s after Fanimecon. Apparently they forgot about the Golden State Warriors game at that time. Anyway, one of the Deadpool gang decided to drive us all, but he left his car lights on and it was stuck in a garage with no way of starting it. Great. We decided to push it out of the garage while I drove (since I was the most experienced driver and the dune buggy had no power steering, I knew what I was getting into.) I got it out of the garage and onto the street where a man stopped to jump the car. By the time we got to Dave and Buster’s my time was up, so I caught my first Lyft ride ever (hilarious since I’m also a driver) and got to the airport. I am now cruising in the sky as I write this and don’t think I’ll ever come to this convention again. Four days is far too tiring to work and I’m not sure I really had a good time.
What a weekend.
*Rubs temples* Okay. I need to say a few things.
Wikipedia has standards and policies written by its editors. I will be referring to them constantly throughout this article using the WP terms. Here is a quick reference:
WP:COI – WP:EW – WP:3RR – WP:BLP – WP:WEIGHT – WP:BLPZEAL – WP:BIASED – WP:AGF – WP:RS – WP:SPS – WP:NPOV
Over the past couple of days, people have been attempting to insert information into the Neil deGrasse Tyson article about him supposedly misquoting George W. Bush. First Edit. It never appeared on the article because the user was an IP address and nobody with reviewing privileges (which I have) accepted it. It lasted 14 minutes in the review queue before being rejected by somebody else. Some edits went back and forth about its inclusion and the talk page sprung up about it. This morning a review came up in my box which removed all mention of the controversy. I skimmed the talk page and decided it was for the best since no consensus on its inclusion was reached. I accepted the edits (review powers allow me to) and let them go live.
Four hours later, Phil Kerpen (User:Kerpen) makes the first edit with an attempt to shoehorn in the controversy over his quotes. I first assumed good faith by rationalizing “Oh. He must have skipped over the talk page.”, read his edits (making note of the references of The Federalist and The Friendly Atheist, the second of which violates WP:SPS) and did my first revert because he removed an image of him with Barack Obama (and Bill Nye) and I questioned the WP:Weight of the argument. I probably should have also included the stuff about the talk page, but oh well. 22 Minutes later, instead of going to the talk page, his block of text is reinserted (the image stayed this time) and I get another ping to review it. Before doing that I was considering leaving a note on his talk page to hit the Neil deGrasse Tyson talk page, but when I saw his user page, then his article I became a bit suspicious.
My WP:AGF is getting a crack here. Hmm…The Federalist has a conservative slant and this guy has worked for Club for Growth, Free Enterprise Fund and Americans for Prosperity. What are the odds he has also written for The Federalist? Let me bing that for you. Son of a gun! He has! This clearly violates the Conflict of Interest (WP:COI) policy as he is a writer for a reference he is trying to cite. Groovy. I revert this item citing the WP:COI and WP:BLP (which cites a whole bunch of other policies.)
Two minutes later, Dawn Bard doesn’t agree with me. I’m bumping up against the WP:3RR rule here, so I do not revert him outright. Plus he is a veteran editor so I assume much better faith with him. I go to the English Wikipedia’s IRC channel for help and guidance. First, I was looking to open a COI investigation against Phil Kerpen. No admins were around at the time and I would have otherwise gone to the Arbitration Committee. Whatever. He is not worth that much of my time. I begin conversing with some of the other people in the room and one of them brings to my attention Phil tweeting about me. So…I went to see one of his presentations and got my picture with him. Apparently this counts as conflict of interest? I’m not paid by Neil nor have I done anything for him.
I take to his user talk page. I cite his work, the conflict of interest policy and a possible block if he continues. He comes back with a straight denial of citing The Federalist (Uh…), calling me an obsessive fanboy about one of my heroes (I do not have any heroes, just people I respect), while citing WP:NPOV and WP:BLPZEAL (which is an essay, not policy). I replied once then felt that I was beating against a wall. Moving on.
IRC pings me again. This time it’s a Federalist article about this very situation. A blog attacking Wikipedia for a biased perspective? I want to say I saw an article about Markos Moulitsas (Founder of Daily Kos) saying the same thing. But anyway, nothing to get too crazy over, let’s read… “When it was reinserted, it was deleted yet again by an editor who describes himself as a childless progressive and an apostle of Daily Kos” Oh hey! They’re talking about me! My ego! The childishness of the article! *Dances*
So the first thing I do is bring this up to the talk page and post this. It is clear to me that The Federalist has some stake in their links being used as a reference, so I point it out and move on. Phil comes back with a parrot of what he posted on his own talk page. Another user chimes in and says how impossible it is to now assume good faith (WP:AGF) against Phil. The discussion ends there on the page. It is looked as an always revert until discussed on the talk page.
While this is going on, NeilN jumps onto Phil’s talk page and reminds him of the edit warring (WP:EW) policy. Phil comes back and says I’m in violation of the WP:3RR rule (I’m at two reverts at this point) and asks NeilN to block me. I cringe because NeilN isn’t an admin and I hadn’t gotten to three reverts yet. Then he tries to say he has one revert when he has two. NeilN and Phil butt heads but I stay out of it.
I’m riding the wave of an ego boost so I decided to check out the comments on The Federalist. One person has posted my profile to The Escapist (of all things) and another to my Facebook page. Since as far as I can tell I am the only person with my name, finding out anything about me is laughably easy, so…why is nobody vandalizing my website yet? But yes, I look like a girl. Hence why I dress like one too! Okay, really I have no concept of gender constructs when it comes to clothing and appearance so talking about it is just not worthy of my time.
At the end of the day, I’m not bothered by this. In fact, if The Federalist thinks I am worth talking about, it is just stroking my ego. I can turn off my internet and sleep at night and I’m very much okay with this.
So I kinda wanted to surprise the guys on my New Year’s party, but I must get out the word on how much Microsoft kicks ass and how I walked away with two free games.
Really. Read on to find out.
Work in Progress
“You can make a good movie out of anything.” -Bob “Moviebob” Chipman
With season two coming out, I thought it would be a good idea to remind you not to bother with watching this.
At first I was excited at the idea of a feature length something from Freddie and Brandon. The concept sounded awesome with a private high school for the instruction of playing video games. This idea is silly on its face and downright implausible, my problem with it is the way the series seems to go out of the way to make it more impossible. To wit, our story: Our Hero, Brian, is playing his Call of Duty: Modern Warfare clone of the day (Firefield) when he gets an extremely lucky break of one kill on a player (The Law) who happened to join his game and is supposedly the best. Okay, not a bad starting idea but this does not translate well to VGHS’s world. If you have played any game of this sort in your day, a player capable of an X/0 K/D ratio in a full match is either without a life or cheating, but we are told The Law does this regularly. Brian through force of his sheer ineptitude gets the one-in-a-million chance to attend the titular VGHS (without explaining how this is paid for, mind you), meets a wacky sidekick (who happens to be the son of an overbearing father played by Freddie himself), the girl of his dreams (Jenny) and a host of bullies in a cliché and not at all convincing world.
By the way, there are eight writers in this series, which sounds like it contributed most of the problems (for reference, The Avengers had two).
Video Game High School (the school, not the series) is a high school where all the courses in math, sciences and soforth replaced with video game related ones, like First person shooting, Driving Games, etcetera with the sports teams replaced with specific video games. In addition, all students are ranked on an arbitrary (and poorly explained) system, where if you get too low in the list you get expelled. I suppose this replaces grades but how is it determined if it’s too low is never properly explained either. Then again, who’s funding this school anyway!?
The main story is how Brian copes and advances with his new high school life. At first it sounds like a dream but it quickly drains into “this does not make sense”. Ignore the fantastical setting and replace the video games with varsity sports and you have Saved by the Bell as re-imagined by gamers. That was not hyperbolic either. I really think that if the writers had to leave video games out of the story it would still be terrible. Brian ends up doing terrible in all his matches making him quite a boring character to watch. I would have preferred something more like Takumi Fujiwara where there’s a hidden kick ass somewhere inside him. Instead he gets clobbered, close to expelled, clobbered again, gets in a physical fist fight, actually gets expelled, takes over an arcade overnight and must have Jenny (still girlfriend of The Law) snap him out of it by playing the DDR Rip Off. Which seaways me nicely into the next piece. I have yet to meet a gamer completely embarrassed by the idea of playing DDR (or related). Sorry, they just don’t exist. But it’s on full display here where Brian wants to bond with Jenny over it, but is constantly embarrassed by the idea he plays it as opposed to being the tough guy playing Firefield. Don’t buy it. In the end he sorta wins a match against the law and ends up getting the girl.
Let’s talk about Firefield for a moment here. It’s the shooter video game that is played by the main characters, using the players as their own avatars in the game. The only thing that does not make sense is how you’re supposed to play it with a typical PC setup.
There’s also a B story involving Ted which is funny since I cannot see Freddie having children. That’s not a blatant insult, it’s just a simple observation based on the writing of this series. Ted is under pressure from his father (Freddie, playing himself obviously) to become the best at Guitar-I mean-Rock-I mean-“”, when he’s conflicted and would rather play Drift, your generic realistic car racing game. That could have made for an interesting story on it’s own there. Anyway, Ted meets a girl at a party (Ki, using a white actor but I can excuse this one) and his opening gambit to court the girl is “Wanna watch me play video games?” Any girl worth her salt would have thrown their drink in his face and told him to piss off, but she not only goes along with it, but acts coy about it. I had to rewind a bit to ask “Did this just happen?” and apparently not only did it happen, but I could not put my face into my hands fast enough. The girl seems to like creating games more than playing them which I can totally respect and if VGHS also instructed game design and programming I would totally believe it could exist as a college. Anyway, the chemistry between them seems to be of Ted’s tear between his Dad’s wish and his own with Ki providing the moral support and by moral support I mean coyly signing him up for the VGHS Drift team instead of “”. He gets mad, they do not break up and I wonder what was the point of this all. Freddie does not even come around to support his son which, again, goes back to my thought of not seeing Freddie have kids.
If there is one thing that I have to give in the series favor is that the acting is fairly good. Josh Blaylock (Brian) puts in a good enough performance that you want to punch him in the face (ala Kamina from Gurren Lagann) and seems totally game for how absurd the whole concept is. Ellary Porterfield (Ki) has coy down to a friggin’ science, Johanna Braddy (Jenny) is sincere despite the horrible dialog she has to spit while Jimmy Wong (Ted) acts like the socially awkward nerd expected of him. But obviously the scene stealer is Harley Morenstien as the Dean Ernie Calhoun. I mean, how do you translate Epic Meal Time himself (really) into the VGHS world? You let him be Epic Meal Time. He pulverizes with his commanding voice and towering presence (almost 2m tall), though what he’s given to say makes very little sense.
Which brings me to the entire problem of the series. I am under the impression that all of the writers have never felt love before. Two girls are on the writing staff, but I question if they were paying any attention. The relationships just do not work and that is not a chemistry issue with the acting, it is a genuine misunderstanding of how a healthy relationship is supposed to work. There are so many secrets and betrayals that really all the leads should be at each other’s throats. People genuinely do not act with real human emotions and if this is the future of human relationships (outside the context of this series) I fear our future.
I’m actually rather sad about this since it was sold off piecemeal. But I have some comments and questions still.
Volition was sold to Koch (no not that one) Media. This may be the end of Volition as a company since the next Metro and Saints Row games are reported to be produced by their other developer Deep Silver which means I have no idea what they are working on or if they will survive. But, Deep Silver made the X series of games which are set in space and involve trading. Could we see a FreeSpace 3 then? I hope so.
Relic was sold at the highest price of everything THQ ($26.6 Million) to Sega. Considering Relic does strategy best and Sega has Total War I don’t have much of a problem with this. My concern is who/what owns the Warhammer 40,000 license right now. My guess is that since Sega owns the license for Warhammer Fantasy that they now have the 40,000 license as well. If that’s true I expect things to be good there.
Finally Vigil who did not have a buyer. This puts Dark Millennium into an even bigger limbo than it was and Darksiders may just end with the second game. Sad. I liked those games.
Update: Platinum Games’ head has expressed interest in buying Vigil.
So the first post went over decently, so how about my thoughts on taxes and spending?
Churches and religous organizations are no longer tax exempt if their congregation building or site is valued at over one million dollars – This is (really) to prevent stuff like megachurches from existing. But my point for this is to prevent money from being drained out to give a lavish life to a pastor (who often lives in said church). This also protects smaller organizations from taxation into oblivion. On that note:
Churches and religious organizations must file income and spending with the IRS – Just like every charity and Tax-Exempt organization
Income is income, no matter the source – Capital Gains no longer will have a different rate than ordinary income
Estate Tax at 20% starting at one million dollars of estate value
Tax Rates: $250,000 – $999,999.99 at 40%, $1,000,000 – $9,999,999.99 at 60% and 10,000,000+ at 91% – This is what was done durring World War II to pay for it. We’ve put (by my count) six wars (Korea, Veitnam, Afghanistan, Iraq Afghanistan again, Iraq again plus other unnamed and undeclared wars) on the debt since then and we need to recoup the costs.
Cap Charitable Deductions on buisnesses and individuals at $500,000
Companies making more than $10,000,000 in profit are not eligible for tax subsidies – Cuts the oil industry’s teet off
Punish individuals and corporations using offshore tax havens, which can be done by looking at sales data for a company or if an individual is being paid into an offshore account directly and seeing if the books are being cooked – Explains itself mostly
Punish corporations using inshore tax havens, such as using incorporation in a state not of their headquarters (For example, a state is headquartered in California but incorporated in Nevada and files it’s taxes that way to avoid base taxes) – Punishment is taxes in the incorporated state are to be kept by the state then additional taxes and penalties are paid in the headquarters state.
Cut military spending by 5% over ten years to 50% at the end – Some $.30 of every tax dollar paid goes to the military or veterans beneifits (Not saying cut the VA). My hope is that it will choke the Millitary-Industrial Complex. On that note:
Trash the F-35 – Way overbudget, a decade late and now useless with the current state of warfare. Also, sue the contractors for the overages.
No Private Millitary Contractors – They can make weapons, equipment and train millitary on use, but they cannot be deployed with soldiers or provide them any other services.
Aid to the middle east is gone until they get their peace house in order – Especially Isreal
Cut off grants to private colleges, including G.I. Bill
Representative Income chained to Median Income, Senator Income to Median Income + 50%, President to Double Median Income and Supreme Court Justice to Median Income + 75% – At time of writing, Median Income is about $51,000, and the president’s salary is $300,000.
Increasing Spending – Economic Stimulation, if you will
Science Budget (includes NASA) upgraded to 2.5% of federal budget (from 1%) – Because I can?
Block Grant NASA $100,000,000,000 for a reasonable return to space program – Like instead of a space station, can we have a research station on the moon? The figure I pull out is about the cost for the Apollo Program (adjusted for inflation)
Grant for renewable energy on federally owned buildings – Solar Panels on the White House, capital, etc.
I’m sure I could add more thoughts, but they are running dry on me.