OCP: March 2005

2103 Breathe stretch, shake, let it go.

Several days ago, I saw an advertisement on G4 for a program called 'Attack of the Show'. It would apparently be a show[gasp] about 'Cool crap, before it's just crap.' This piqued my intrest, until I realized that that was the premise of The Screen savers.[or rather, the pitiful, tattered remains of said show, rustling in the wind.] My suspicions were further reinforced when I recalled that a member of a mailing list I am a part of mentioned that he has seen pictures on Sarah's moblog indicating a name change for TSS. As the denial began to set in My worst fears were all but confirmed by what was presumably the new show's title graphic at the end of the spot; a five-minute After Effects affair, featuring gryscal pics our two favorite TSS hosts-and some dude with a gotee-orbiting ugly silver text on a red field. Earlier today, in a moment of idleness, I ran a Google on the show's title and had my worst fears confirmed, the mons't'rous hearts of the G4 nobility laid bare before mine opened eyes.1

If you listen to the fans, G4 did not disrespect TechTv's shows after the buyout. G4 killed TechTV in the most brutal fashion. G4 leapt out from behind a dumpster, slapped it's filthy hand over TechTV's crimson lips, wrapped their arm around its slender, struggling form, dragged it kicking down an alley, and defiled it's virgin, previously unsullied corpse. G4 was the gunman on the grassy knoll, the true mastermind behind the 911 attacks, framed O.J. Simpson, and killed the one tree that grows in Brooklyn. G4 took the Lindbergh baby.2

One of the repeated claims of the G4 supporter-of which there are precious few in number, as well as common sense-is that the TTV fans are only "whining" because of changes to their "beloved" TSS. This theory is ludicrous, since G4 was a target of critics long before the acquisition, while X-Play had ratings among the 18-35 male demographic rivaling Adult Swim and the Daily Show. [Aside: XP seems to be the only show which hasn't changed since the merger. If anything, it's gotten slightly better, in spite of the discordantly designed set. Just ask Shad Grimgravy.] Another frequent claim is that the TTV viewers should stop whining and jsut not watch the show, since they apparently have no right to complain about something they dislike. On the G4 message boards.

Those who support G4 all invariably have something in common.
  • They like Portal
  • They like Cheat!
  • They think TechTV merged with G4 because of low ratings.
  • They think TechTV was failing before the buyout.

When I say all, I mean, literally, every single one. They will argue tooth and nail for G4 being 'better' than TechTV while simultaneously revealing that they don't even know the basic facts. And they didplay terrible taste: Portal is the worst Machinima, ever. I could use Super Mario Bros and make a better show. For the NES. Cheat! expects you to pay your cable provider for something hundreds of websites will give you for free. They also did not watch TTV before the acquisition. The only good point I've heard-in the past year, mind you-is that the buyout let people with digital cable watch TechTV shows. Which is strange, because TTV is on basic. The only show left is X-Play, anyway.

The fans at the G4 message boards believe that the TSS name should've been changed months ago, to avoid sullying it further. I disagree. Up until this point, there was enough, just enough, of the old TSS left to bear the name. Attack of the Show is a shallow, meaningless travesty, meant to appeal to humanitiy's basest members.

At least they bought Dark Tips back.

1. I was going for more Tycho than Shakespeare, but it works.
2. That's better.

2303 Sahara

I have, of course, seen the trailers for Sahara, the film based on the best selling book by Clive Cussler. The only problem is that I didn't realize that was what it was until I saw a copy of the book recently, but from what I've seen, all the wisecracking, sex, and action have come through intact.

In case you've been, oh, dead since 1976, it's been hard to miss Clive Cussler. His works have sold millions, and are nearly as ubiquitous in airport newsstands as Grisham, Steele, and King. Despite the books being fairly formulaic, they are still quite good. Put Dirk Pitt and James Bond in a ring, and my money's on Pitt, given that he is not a prissy Brit in a tux or impeccable buisiness suit who'll sleep with any woman who'll hold still. Pitt is a Senator's son, a self made man who is not afraid to get his hands dirty, which explains his weathered look.At least, it supposed to be weathered. On Matthew McConaghey it looks like he fell in an orange dye vat. Steve Zahn does nt look like a powerful looking Italian dude. Frick, he's from Minnesota. At least he and Matt have the banter down, apparently.

Incidentally, Cussler has been working on getting a movie out for probably more than my entire lifetime. Cussler info.

210305 [sarcasm]

Wow. I mean, wow. I just found this list of men women and robots who are just bad, and I have to say I like the originaity of the prem-waaaaiiiiittt...

And the bottom drops out.
I have rediscovered pro-ana.Needless to say, it has parodies. I particularly like the following quote.

This community is in support of those with eating disorders.

We do NOT support the idea of prolonging an eating disorder.
We do NOT support the idea of creating an eating disorder.
We do NOT support the idea of "giving" oneself an eating disorder.
We do NOT support the idea of an eating disorder as a lifestyle choice.
We do NOT support the idea of glorifying an eating disorder.

This community is for those who are currently suffering from an eating disorder, but are not yet ready to recover. We exist on the basis of support. We will not teach you how to aquire an ED, nor will we tell you how to hide one. We are not in support of you prolonging your illness.
I could've sworn that supporting those who aren't ready to recover was supporting the eating disorder. Especially when there's stuff like this floating around the blog. And this is rather disturbing. Yes, she is apoligizing for gaining four pounds.

What I find interesting is that she is holding herself beholden to her invisible readers. The journal may be a crutch for her.
[/amateur psychoanalysis]

I would ask that both of my reades exercise a little maturity when visiting the above sites.

A pitiful tale of woe from a twice widowed woman? A right-wing nut marching into his enemy's house and brandishing a metaphorical pair of six shooters? Incredibly callous n00b laughing at the worst incident of school-related violence since Columbine? Never fear, it's the Troll Corps! Trolling forums here there and everywhere? Coming soon to a bbS near you!

100305 Women who steal art too much.

Andrea Hensley Brooks. In any well-blogging furry, that name inspires a reaction. Sometimes a twitch, or a gasp of surprise. Sometimes a peal of laughter. The commonn factor is that they always almost think of her negatively.

Andrea is, simply put, an art thief. She's been doing so for over half a decade now, concentrating on the works of Yuko "Aido" Ota, widely esteemed artist of Fallen, going so far as to lie to her own best friend, among others. While this promotes feelings of anger in some, and sarcasm in others, she is widely reviled as one of the most persistant art thieves since the first picture was posted online. She regularly accuses Aido of theft, and has even gone so far as to send her husband as a fake lawyer to serve a fake lawsuit, and publishing her home address.

As I said, persistant.

Or perhaps insane.

If you read the friend's journal entry, you may notice something.

In retrospect, I can see how remarkably adept Andrea was at explaining Yuko's descriptions of pictures that Andrea claimed as her own. There was nothing Yuko wrote that Andrea couldn't convince me was hers...not that I needed much convincing. I believed that this was the art of my closest friend, and nothing gave me cause to believe otherwise. I don't think Andrea had publicly posted her art at that point, or if she had, no accusations had yet been made. Either way, I heard nothing about it.

I will never forget the time, a few days later, halfway through the fall semester of our junior year (fall 2001) when Andrea and I and our mothers sat in my living room and talked it out. For a long time nothing art-related came out and then, in a silent pause, I looked right at Andrea and told her that I just had to know, I didn't care what it meant, I only wanted the truth. And she looked at me and I said one word: "Aido." With tears in her eyes, she looked away and shook her head. And this was the epiphany of my youth: that things aren't always what they seem, that you can't trust everyone and that trust can be broken, that no matter how hard you fight for something, just fighting for it doesn't make it the right thing. And so on. Things that everyone has to come to grips with at one time or another, but for me it was all at once.

And that's when my friendship with Andrea ended.

Yes, that's right, we're dealing with a manipulative, lying, possibly mentally disturbed girl with no respect for the effort invested in the artwork of others.

I cannot remember which of the links it was, but I believe it was Kaledora's, which mentioned that our dear Andy was depressive. I have a theory, which required me to play armchair psychoanalyst. Except that I enjoy amateur psychoanalysis, and I haven't sat in an armchair for more than five minutes for over a year.

Andrea may be depressive due to a psychological desire for attention. Stealing art not only wins her easy acclaim, but she is also allowed to vent her anger upon the original artist by flaming them. However, when her art is shut down, as it inevitably is, or she takes the piece down, she moves to a new furry art site, and keeps moving, garnering new accolades. Her very persistance works to her advantage, as the original artist decides to stop giving her attention. The problem being that online, silence is a tatamount to a confession. Unless you expressly state thet you're tired and will be shutting up, she comes off as vindicated, and you come off guilty. Any logical person would realze that the kneejerk defensiveness and evasions are not the hallmarks of a innocent woman. Andrea, like many unstable personalities, may actually believe that she is the wronged party, or that she earned the recognition in some way.

Personally, I was thrilled when I got my first flamer, on my old diary. That may sound odd[and it is], but I knew that the statistical likelihood of one particular homophobic nut finding the thing were remote, and that the chances of that occuring increased in proportion to my amount of readers. Oddly enough, I'm not gay. All I did was ask if it was okay for a guy to play a girl in an MMORPG. That was over a year ago, possibly two. The nut's last post was late last summer.

Returning to the subject...now.

Andrea is an anomaly among art theives; she does not communicate in a near incomprehensible form of Netspeak, uses hardly any emoticons-though still far above average for an accomplished artist-and appears to be fairly skilled herself. Real world art theft takes skill, but most digital art theives simply save the orignal image and post it as their own. Andrea seems to be good enough to reproduce the original artists' work in an almost identical style, and to erase any trace of any watermarks which may have been present. Given the apparent volume of the woman's larceny, I'm going to say the latter.

Perhaps because I'm an artist myself, I cannot, and never have been able to, empathize with art thiefs. The idea of taking the credit for another's work is as alien to me as breathing helium to survive, or flying. Possibly it is because I know I'll get caught. I also know the first rule of compting

A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.


Everything has a timestamp.


You can rewrite the time on your webpage, but you can't check the caches of everyone who say the image, or wipe the memoriues of the people who remember when they saw it. Deviantart, in particular, has logged submission timestamps above every piece, and they're unchangable, short of the admins deleting the page. Even the comments are for keeps, and the forum posts.

The end result is that if you post a poor piece, and you've just joined, and the piece you allegedly ripped off is high quality, shows skill,and the artist is vastly popular in their field, you're done for.

Andrea has avoided this problem by switching hosts often, under a flurry of different handle, but always the same real name. Much like the /fic fan on a Smallville board who had upwards of twenty different aliases, all of them supporting each other, all of which were eventually traced to a public library and some house. Oooh...sloppy!

In conclusion, I would like to tell you to look out for Andrea Hensley, or Andrea Brooks, or Banrai, or Ashleigh, or whatever she calls herself. And remember that art theft is everyone's problem.

EDIT: Huh.

040305 Oh no.

I found this article via Penny Arcade. It's obvious to anyone with even a modicum of debating skills-and common sense-that this guy has no idea what he's talking about.

What constitutes violence in video games?

There's no real debate over that. Any M-rated game has violence levels unacceptable and definitionally harmful to anyone under 17. The industry will rue the day it accepted this labeled scheme.

Someone better tell that to Hollywood. And Television. Why would it be better to have no way of discerning age-appropriate content?

What percentage of all games made would you say are violent, based upon your previous definition of violence in video games?

This gets to a fundamental lie being propagated by the video game industry.
GTA [Grand Theft Auto series] has sold 30 million units, with San Andreas expected to hit 20 million on its own. It's the #1 seller in the world right now. That fact alone does not square with ISA and ESRB's dodge that "the majority of games are not violent or M-rated." What matters is how many units delivered are violent, and to whom they are being delivered.
No, what matters is how many games are voilent, who's buying them, and if they shouldn't be getting them, who's fault is it?

Not to mention the fact that the GTA series, concerns about violence aside, are generally very good games. So if mostly adults are buying a good, though violent product, what does that do to your claim?

If a guy falls asleep smoking, wakes up, realizes the cutains are in fire, and throws gasoline on them, is it the firemen's fault if his house burns down? No? Then how is it the manufacturer's fault if a psychologically unstable child is allowed to play videogames.

How many hate or violent crimes would you say are linked to or directly related to violence in video games?

I have no earthly idea, and no one can guess at that. I can tell you that some crimes would not occur but for the violent entertainment. For the families of the deceased, that is the only statistic that matters.

I'm sorry, I missed the point where you indicate how the vast minority of families speaks for the rest of humanity. Oh, wait. You don't, and they can't. You, sir, begin your response by admitting you have no idea what the answer is.

And of course violent entertainment causes crimes. Among individuals who were unstable anyway. But it takes a lot if pressure to change anyone's mind, even a little.

Does age or sex play a factor in violent, aggressive behavior?

Sure, the sex and violence centers of the brain overlay one another, which is why the increasing mix of sex and violence is troubling. Armies have been known to go on rape rampages after battles because the violence stimulates sexual aggression. How lovely that GTA weds sex and violence in the same game. We are training a generation of teens to combine sex with violence, just what America needs.
I always love it when they try sarcasm.

The games are M rated. Which means they shouldn't be played by anyone under 17 years at least. Not to mention the fact that rape is psychologically about power, not violence. aNd with 20 million units moved, I think we'd've noticed a trend. Even with just one percent of the players, it stll represents 200 thousand rapes, at least.

Is there a correlation between playing violent video games and acting in a violent manner?

Of course. Every parent who is paying attention knows that it is garbage in, garbage out with kids.

The heads of six major health care organizations testified before Congress that there are "hundreds" of studies that prove the link. All the video game industry has are studies paid for by them, which are geared to find the opposite result. Lawyers call such experts "whores."
Oooh, you tell im, girl!

Mr. Thompson, why is it that you are not actually naming any of these studies? Or quoting any? Is it possible that they were made up?

Is gaming escapism?

Yes, just as Ted Bundy escaped into pornography. It is not a release of aggression. It is training for aggression.
Answer the question, Mr. Thompson. Directly, Mr. Thompson. Without ignoring the fact that Ted Bundy was nuts, Mr Thompson. Without acknowledging the fact that less than fifty crimes proven,or even evidenced to be related to videogames have ever been commited, Mr. Thompson. Out of billions of games sold, Mr. Thompson. Mr. Thompson? Mr. Thompson? Are you in there? Mr. Thompson?

Do you think the interactivity of game violence makes it different than violence on television, which is passive?

Of course, as you actually grow neural pathways called dendrites that enable you to perform more easily the physical acts of violence. Plus, from a psychological perspective, to act out of virtual violence in a virtual setting is far more damaging than just viewing it. You enter into the violence, you become the protagonist.

I'm just gonna quote Cathodetan:

The way Jack puts it, it sounds like Rockstar is actually capable of altering your brain chemistry to make you into a serial killer. In truth, your brain is doing this kind of stuff all the time. Sure, it's easier to commit acts of violence as you get older. It's also easier to hold a beer, click the remote and dance the tango. While video games might improve your hand-eye coordination, there's no proof that Counter-Strike would improve your aim with a sniper rifle.
Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.
Different mediums, as they've come along, have had their share of controversy. From pulp horror and graphic novels, to movies, music and television; is this part of a cycle?

Yes, it is the last cycle. These are murder simulators. Manhunt has been called the video game equivalent of a snuff film. I am working with an Oakland, CA prosecutor in a murder trial in which the older gang members used GTA 3 to train teens to do carjackings and murders. The Army uses these games to break down the inhibition to kill of new recruits.
Killing and murder are two differnt things. A soldier is supposed to kill. If they don't have there inhibitions down, they turn into, what are they called? Pussies. If you can't shoot, if you're not willing to kill to defend your country, you shouldn't live in it. God bless America.1

Look at the Institute for Creative Technologies created by DOD to create these killing games. Tax dollars paid to the industry to create the games to suppress the inhibition to kill, and then the industry turns around and sells these games to kids. One instance is Pandemic Studio's Full Spectrum Warrior. If it works for soldiers, of course it works for teens. The video game industry has absolutely no rebuttal to that argument. NONE.
You didn't ask, did you? You're like the kid who doen't ask his parents because they'll say no.

The game is designed to tech tactics. TACTICS. Not to show them how to kill.

Is the self-imposed rating system for video games enough? Is the ESRB working? What is the relevance of a rating system for video games if the powers that be will black-list certain games because of their graphic content?

No, of course it's not working. Senator Lieberman and Dr. Walsh just had their latest "Video Game Report Card" news conference. Underage kids can buy the most violent games half the time. I just successfully sued Best Buy and compelled them to institute a new nationwide policy. They will now ID anyone appearing to be 21 or younger to make sure no one under 17 buys M-rated games. This is a huge development. You really need to report that. It is an industry first.
It's also bordering on unconstitutional. Children can watch R-rated movies in some theatres, if their parents are doing a bad job. They can also watch MA rated programs on TV, if their parents don't use the parental lock, which has been built into almost every TV since around 1998, I think.

Are parents paying attention to what their kids play?

Which means that he'd like to destroy "Gone with the Wind" so kids can't read it. If parents aren't paying attention to what their kids play, that means they're bad parents. By definition. I'm surprised the interviewer didn't pursue this.

Do you think that video games are similar to sports? There are much-touted statistics that link aggression levels to video game playing, but isn't that precisely what happens in any kind of competition?

I'm sorry, but a basketball games goal is to score more points, not maim the other player. That is where sportsmanship comes in. There is no sportsmanship in any GTA game. None.
There's not much sportmanship in modern sports, either. And they didn't ask you about GTA. GTA is about telling a story, not sports.

In this particula case, Thompson seems to be doing something that a lot of internet Trolls do. Taking an isolated incident which may be connected to something, and argueing forcefully that it is proof of an epidemic sweeping the nation, nay, the world.

In 2000, 1,242 kids were murdered with guns and 174 children died from accidental deaths. Aside from stories that get covered in the news [like Columbine], there are few, if any, actual statistics that show how many children's deaths are directly linked to video games. Do the facts speak for themselves? Or is it just that nobody is really keeping tabs?

The federal government found that in the school year 2003, there were 48 school killings. The year before that there were 16, and the year before that 17. Something is going on. I submit that the video game generation is coming of age.

That it? No facs, proof, evidence? Nothing? Just an unsubstantiated opinion? Wow.

I mean, he's not even answering the question. Just quoting an unrelaed statistic, which could be cause by Nabisco changing the about of filling in Oreos, for all we know.
Where does the accountability lie? Are parents responsible for their children's behavior? Society?

There is plenty of blame to go around. The parents must do a better job, but you know what? When we were on 60 Minutes the Sunday after Columbine (we predicted Columbine on NBC's Today eight days before it happened) with the parents in Paducah, Ed Bradley asked Joe James "Isn't this a parent's responsibility?" Joe said "Ed, I'm trying to figure out what I did wrong. I had my daughter in school and in a pre-school prayer meeting where she was shot and killed. If I hadn't raised her right, she'd be alive today."

You see, the industry is selling these games to kids whose parents are reckless. How is that Joe Jame's fault? We need to punish the industry and the parents who are putting innocent people in harm's way.

You just watch. There is going to be a Columbine-times-10 incident, and everyone will finally get it. Either that, or some video gamer is going to go Columbine at some video game exec's expense or at E3, and then the industry will begin to realize that there is no place to hide, that it has trained a nation of Manchurian Children.
I can just imagine Jon Stewart now. "Doom! A doom on you all! Super Mario is poisioning the minds of our nation's doe-eyed children! Rise up! Rise up and fight!"

Mr. Thompson, you never answered the question of parental responsibility. Since, apparently, the idea of parents being responsible for their kids is ludicrous.
Kids took guns to school for 200 years in this country without turning them on one another. President Clinton understood that if we want to do something about gun violence, we need also to look at the stimuli to use those guns. 3000 gun laws on the books. Not a single law on the books to stop the sale of murder simulators to kids. Idiotic.
That's what parents are for.

GTA was not released until 1998. GTA, which was the first game in the series with graphic violence, was not released until 2001. I also note that he's not blaming the spate of late 80s, early 90s ridiculously violent movies.

Carl Sandberg, Lincoln's great biographer, defined freedom as "moving easy in harness." The selfish, childish video game industry accepts no harness. Their freedom is pure license.

Yes, that's right kiddies. He literally wants to take freedom away from videogame publishers. Someone call George W. Bush. And how can game be childish? Someone's missing the point. Parents have no excuse not to look up information on their children's media intake. You can find hundreds of parental organization reviews within seconds online. If not thousands.

They are about to pay a wicked price, and I aim to make sure they pay it.
Here's your firey sword, Mr. Thompson, you're on in six.

Violent videogames are not created for children. They are not marketed to children, or in the prescence of children. I have never seen an ad for the game-or any violent videogame-on Cartoon Network, Nickolodeon, or Kids WB, some of the top three children's networks. By law, videogames are rated by the ESRB. TV shows and movies don't have a compulsive ratings system. And why have you only mentioned one other videogame besides GTA? Do you even know of any others?

Chew on this Mr. Thompson: Of the 20 million copies sold of the game, why has only one alleged incident been recorded? And why has this incident been repeated throughout history, before videogames were invented?
-Why have you never actualy gone to trial? [Thanks, Cathodetan.]
-And what makes the videogame industry more culpable than the movies? Or the television? or popular music?
-Why are the parents, who are the primary filters of their children's media, not under scrutiny? Why can young kids by R-rated moves and DVDs?

1.I'm Bahamian, actually. But I meant it.