Sunday, May 12, 2019

When Headlines Lie - George R. R. Martin did NOT say he is sad about HBO's ending of Game of Thrones

Here's what was actually said, in an interview George R. R. Martin did for Rolling Stone (source)

R. S.: How do you feel about the show ending?

Martin: You know, it’s complex. I’m a little sad, actually. I wish we had a few more seasons. But I understand. Dave and Dan are gonna go on to do other things, and I’m sure some of the actors were signed up for like seven or eight years, and they would like to go on and take other roles. All of that is fair. I’m not angry or anything like that, but there’s a little wistfulness in me.

So why are media outlets reporting that George R. R. Martin is sad about the direction HBO has taken the ending of Game of Thrones?

We know it's because the more sensational headlines are clickbait, which draws traffic and drives up revenues. But this illustrates a fundamental problem with "journalism" today. When news is entertainment, when news sources rely on clicks or ads to survive financially, the pressure to exaggerate or misrepresent the facts in the headline is just too much. And because most people never read anything beyond the headline before commenting, the incorrect information spreads.

Truth isn't necessarily simple. Facts aren't always easy and they don't always come to us in perfect headlines or soundbites. Reality is under no obligation to make sense to us, or to be simple, or easy to understand and digest. So the easy headline, the exciting turn of phrase, the clickbait, becomes the preferred choice for people inundated by oceans of information, most of it at best obfuscated, at worst barely intelligible in the ceaseless din of content shouting for our collective attention.

This is how people like Trump get elected, or here in Canada, corrupt assholes like Doug Ford, but that's another story for another day.

This is how people like Trump get elected, or here in Canada, corrupt assholes like Doug Ford, but that's another story for another day.

Please verify "news" before you share it, and call out the media for using clickbait headlines whenever you can. If we don't stay on top of this, eventually there won't be any factual news left. And that's not a world I look forward to living in.

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Let people enjoy what they enjoy!

I don't like tattoos, rap music, or red velvet cake.

But I've never stopped someone from getting a tattoo, I've even gone with a friend while she got one, and I can appreciate the artistry of it. I would never make someone turn off the radio or change the playlist just because a rap song came on. And if someone brings red velvet cake to an event, what the hell, it's cake. If I really can't stomach it, I just won't have any, but I'm not going to stop other people from enjoying it.

So why are people so hell bent on mocking other people for what they enjoy? Or worse, stopping them from enjoying it at all?

Avengers: Endgame and Game of Thrones' "The Long Night" came out last weekend. The astounding number of people on social media making fun of people who enjoyed either of them is appalling. My facebook feed is inundated with "I've never watched an episode of Game of Thrones" and MCU fanboys bitching about what small aspect of Endgame didn't satisfy their personal expectations so the whole movie is garbage and anyone who watches it is stupid. (I'm not even going to address the entitlement of those pathetic people STILL whingeing about The Last Jedi.)

When did we all become a bunch of whiny, self-absorbed, entitled twats?

To quote George R.R. Martin, "Art is NOT a democracy". If you don't like the way someone created a story, or finished a story you enjoyed, you have two adult choices. Don't financially support that art, and/or create your own story. Otherwise shut the fuck up and let people enjoy what they enjoy.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe isn't perfect, but it's a miracle we even have it to enjoy. It almost never happened. Game of Thrones (the HBO show) has problems and there have been questionable choices on the part of the show's creators, but we have a fantasy show with DRAGONS that is the most watched (and most pirated) TV show on earth right now. People who loved comic books or Fantasy have never had it so good. The art we got called nerds for liking in school has gone mainstream.

Those of us who like these works should be ecstatic! And people who don't like these amazing stories should simply not watch them/read them. How hard is it to not be a jerk to people who enjoy things you don't?

There are stories, music, games, etc. to suit everyone's tastes. So why not enjoy the things you enjoy and let other people enjoy the things they enjoy? How immature and shallow a human being do you have to be to take pleasure from mocking what someone else enjoys, or mocking people who enjoy things you don't?

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to eat some fried chicken, listen to movie soundtracks, and get ready for tonight's Game of Thrones. And I'm going to leave those who don't like fried chicken, movie soundtracks, or Game of Thrones, the hell alone and let them enjoy what they enjoy.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

BONUS: Throwback Post #1

This piece was originally posted in 2007. Enjoy.

Shortly after I started working at Gino's Pizza, the woman I worked with (who ended up marrying my best friend) turned to me and asked me a question. Whatever she asked was lost forever beneath the exhaust noise from the oven, the ringing phones and the sounds of traffic from outside. I looked at her and said, "Did you just say 'Do you have poop in your bed?'" She started howling and that was the end of getting any real work done that day.

Now when we meet, instead of asking each other "How are you?" (which is a really dumb thing to ask, especially if you don't want a real answer) we ask "Do you have poop in your bed?" It's a much more interesting conversation starter.

Every time I think of that it reminds me of the incident my cousin James calls "The Funniest Thing Ever". When my English Bull Terrier, Frodo was just a little puppy, we put him on my bed so we could keep an eye on him while we played "Daggerfall" on my PC. So of course we lost track of time somewhere in the depths of Scourg Barrow, searching for the King of Worms (but that's another story) and Frodo suddenly decided he'd had enough of being ignored.

For those of you who aren't familiar with bull terriers, let me explain. Calling the breed "willful" or "stubborn" is like calling President Bush a "moron" or an "idiot". Those simple words fail to convey the full flavour and scope of stupidity he's capable of. (or in the case of Frodo, the Bull-headedness he's capable of.) To those who object to my categorizing the President of the United States of America using such terms, I present to you my favorite Bush Quote.

During a ceremony at the Rose Garden, in response to criticism about Donald Rumsfeld's continued status as Secretary of Defense, George W. Bush on camera said the following...

"I'm the decider and I decide what's best."

Enough said.

So Frodo came over to the corner of my bed nearest where we were sitting, hunkered down and started dispensing a thin spiral of brown soft-serve that bore a freakish resemblance to a DQ Peanut Buster Parfait. My cousin noticed first, but he thought it would be funnier if he didn't warn me that my dog was defecating on my BED! I looked up and said, "It smells like shit in here." at which point he lost it and started laughing so hard he was in tears.

I realized what was happening just as Frodo squeezed off the last little curl on the pile, gave me a look of total innocence and wagged his tail, happy that I was finally paying attention to him.

Thank god for Febreeze.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Where Do You Get Your Ideas?

A better question would be, "Which of your ideas do you use and which do you ignore?"

Fiction writing is like stone sculpture. You start with a large block of stone, then cut and chip away all the pieces of stone you don't need, leaving only the smaller statue behind. In my case the problem is, which large block of stone do I choose, from the Everest-sized mountain of stones available to me?

What? It's a peregrine falcon with a fedora. How can you not see it? Uncultured swine!

Yes, it's crowded in my head.

I've always had story elements, characters and scenes, coming into my head. Half of my earliest childhood memories are of making up stories to entertain myself. With no siblings, a sick mother, and a father always working or watching TV, I spent most of my at home time alone.

Apparently, when I was three and we lived at the house on Kenilworth, I would tell whoever would listen that there were lions in the laundry room. I also remember staging train crashes, along with their ensuing disaster narratives. Not with actual toy trains of course, with whatever was at hand. I had very few toys growing up. My mother believed they were unnecessary. She allowed me books though. My father did manage to get me Brix Blox, and later Meccano, under the umbrella of "they're educational".

We are so excited!

Red, white, and blue, the funny things you do...

Metal strips, screws, motors. What could possibly go wrong?

Any other toys I had were gifts from relatives, though those were few and far between, as my parents didn't celebrate the holidays or birthdays. I remember one incident with my grandfather at a Canadian Tire store, him holding this huge box that was clearly a train set. When I inquired about it in the checkout line he responded with a big grin, "It's a TOOL." I also remember being allowed to pick one souvenir while on a trip to I-don't-remember, and to my mother's shame and horror I picked a shiny red hatchback sedan toy. The same toy I blew up in the bathroom sink later, but that's another story.

So yeah, entertaining myself by making up stories and character and scenes became my one of my brain's most used functions in my early childhood, and as a result, my brain now does it all the time, whether I want it to or not. It never stops. They just keep coming. I can't make a coffee or go to the bathroom without thinking of half a dozen story ideas.

Where do you get your ideas? Wrong question.

How do you make them stop?

You write.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

LEGENDARY: Game of Heroes

Seriously loving this game. Best CCG game I've played to date. A fun mix of collecting, color match puzzles, tactics, strategy, and social co-operation. With excellent graphics!

LEGENDARY: Game of Heroes

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Space Exploration Is Important, So Stop Whining About Space Spending

My response to anyone who complains about money spent on space exploration, says we should be feeding the poor or providing health care with that money:

Why is it when someone spends $100M on a movie no one will care about a year from now, no one complains. Or when someone spends $100M on a military aircraft that will be immediately mothballed, no one complains? Or when the Atlanta Falcons build a 1 Billion Dollar Stadium (that's ten times $100M) no one bats an eye. For a sports stadium. But spend any money on space and suddenly everyone complains and wants to feed the poor and save the world.

My question is, where do people imagine this money is being spent? Do they think it's being hurled into the sun by a giant catapult? No. The money is spent on materials and equipment that have to be made, assembled and transported, by engineers, scientists and laborers, all of whom GET PAID to do those jobs, and every piece of equipment is bought from a company, who PAYS TAXES and contributes to the economy. Money spent ON space is spent ON Earth, creating jobs and industries here on Earth that provide jobs (which fights poverty) and create advancements (like the mammogram machines that save so many women from breast cancer, remember to thank NASA and the Hubble Telescope Program for that) but most of all that inspire and educate and make people think, get people excited. Be glad these rich people and corporations are finally doing something with their money instead of just leaving it sitting in hedge funds where it helps no one.