Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Simple Technology

Most people are a bit surprised when they find out I'm not a tech junkie. I don't know the first thing about fixing a computer, I probably couldn't tell you what the latest brand of ipod is, let alone alone all of it's features, and I'd probably look like a baboon talking on a basic flip phone. I can appreciate advancements in the technology that we use in our daily lives, but at the same time, I could do without some of them.

These day, we have phones, Androids, BlackBerry, Robot, whatever name they go by, that let let you go on the internet as well as come with all the bells and whistles of a standard phone like video, pictures, texting, and all the others that I can't even think of. Usually, when I go on the net, I do it from my PC. I don't text nor do I even know how to text. Unless you can say it to my face, in an e-mail, phone me, or post it on facebook, I probably won't get the message.

I'm perfectly fine with DVDs. Yes, I've seen the super crisp, crap-your-pants picture quality of Blu-Ray, but I don't feel like forking over even more money for better quality when DVDs have served me well over the past decade. Besides, it's taken me a while to build up my DVD collection and I don't even want to think about how much money replacing those with Blu-Ray would cost. As long as my 20th Anniversary DVD of The Goonies still works, I'm a happy camper.

I also like my video game systems to be simple. Most PCs these days already have built in DVD playback and your standard DVD players are pretty cheap too. When I buy a video game system, I want it to play games, not be some high end super computer. Adding extra features increases the system's price and with the rising cost of game and console development, shelling out even more cash is something we could all do without.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying all the extra added stuff we get sucks. I'm certainly not looking down on people who take advantage of all the features a super phone gives them. I'm merely saying that I'm fine with basic tech. Who knows, maybe someday I'll do a 180 and fully embrace advanced technology and end up texting like a teenage fool.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Why No Comic Book Love?

Since I started this blog back in March of 2008, I've done a plethora of posts about comic books. Early on, I did talk about other things, but it didn't take long for this blog to be dominated by comic book talk and comic related entries. That has died down considerably and not without reason.

As far as just comic books go, my interest in this was gone down quite a bit. The biggest factor in all of this relates to Spider-Man. The character has always been my favorite super hero and twice I've been there when Marvel has run the character through the ground. The first was during the Clone Saga in the 1990s when the company attempted to tell readers that the Spidey of the two decades they had been reading about had been a clone.  The second was at the end of 2007 where they had Spidey make a deal with Satan to save aunt May in exchange for his marriage. If you've never heard of the story, I'll save you the trouble and say just say that it's even more stupid than it sounds and far worse than the Clone Saga. Unfortunately the dark days of Spidey were just beginning. After Spidey made his demonic pact, things just kept getting worse with the protagonist being portrayed as constant idiot, lame new villains, bland new supporting characters and bad writing. For the last 3-4 years the regular line of Spider-Man comics have been an unfunny joke.

The worst part is, there doesn't seem to be a clear end in sight for this mess. We've yet to really be shown anything that make's Peter's new girlfriend, Carlie Cooper, a worthwhile love interest and no, having the entire supporting cast tell us how awesome she is does not count.

Did I mention the insane amount of variant covers? Since Spidey sold his marriage to Satan and became single, just about every issue of Amazing Spider-Man since #546 has had multiple variant covers, so this sort of inflates sales numbers, which are a far cry from what they used to be before this debacle began.

There's also talk that the comic industry is headed back to the 1990s and from the actions we've seen both DC and Marvel take, there is some truth to this. Captain American was killed a few years back. He's all better now. Batman was killed recently. He's also fine and dandy. Seeing a pattern? Shock value and gimmicks seem to be taking top priority over telling a good story just as it was in the '90s.

Johnny Storm, the Human Torch of the Fantastic Four has just been offed and FF #587 was the last issue because the FF book is going to be rebooted. The issue where Johnny died was also polly bagged, just like Superman #75 was when big blue was killed. I'm sure Johnny will have had enough chicken soup to get better in time for FF#600, which is when the "new" FF book will go back to it's old numbering, something just about every single Marvel book has done.

I'm tired of rape stories, fed up with people in power making decisions to take books back to "the good old days," and I am sick, sick, SICK of comic heroes/villains being killed just to make the reader gasp, or I should say try to make the reader gasp because many of us already know that death in comics is super cheap.

My disdain for comic books doesn't mean I'm completely done with them. I still think Tiny Titans is a fantastic book for kids and adults and I want to check out the Disney BOOM! line of comics like Rescue Rangers, Darkwing Duck and DuckTales. I still have some DC graphic novels I need to pick up and talk about and when I get the chance I'll give me thoughts on those. There are also things I'll being talking about that relate to comics such as some shows in the DCAU (DC Animated Universe), which is my all-time favorite series of cartoons.

New Spidey Costume Thoughts

Yes, this is old news but whatever.

Everyone has had there say on the new Spider-Man costume for the upcoming reboot (regardless of what Avi Arda says, it IS a reboot). I honestly didn't think it was a bad-looking suit upon seeing the first picture. Then more pics came out and it got ugly. No, ugly is too nice a word. Rather than go into serious detail about the suit like everyone else has, I'll just let Jay Sherman sum it up for me.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Bullying the Bullies

Last week Richard Gale, some 12 year old punk looking for his 15 minutes of internet fame thought it would be a good idea to bully 16 year old Cassey Heynes. Cassey endured one sucker punch and four jabs before he snapped and went Zangief on the 12 year old upstart. One doesn't have to eat a concrete sandwich to know that it doesn't taste good but I guess some people really are so stupid that they need to have an example made out of them. You can probably tell that I don't have an ounce of sympathy for the little snot.

The interesting thing is, Cassey was bullied for three years. That means that Cassey didn't go all pro wrestler on his attacker out of the blue. There was some build up behind this. Gale just happened to be the one that made Cassey say enough is enough. If the bully read TVTropes, he'd have known that you really shouldn't provoke nice people because when nice people get angry, it tends to be a lot worse than someone who's always mad. There was also that noticeable size difference, but from what the video showed, the bully wasn't very bright.

Bullies continue to be a problem on school grounds. When you have a problem that's as old as dirty, finding a solution is not easy. 

"Just ignore it," is probably the most common advice on escaping a bully's wrath and the most pathetic. Cassey tried ignoring his bully and it clearly did not work.

"Stay with a group of friends," is also frequently given advice but there are bullies that could care less if your pals are with you. Not only that, you can't be with your friends all the time in school. 

"Tell a teacher." Now teachers know that bulling is a constant problem and unless they are present at the time when the punches get thrown, they can't do anything about it until after the fact. All schools have a no tolerance policy on bullying and anyone caught fighting in any manner usually get suspended. I guess this is the best schools can do to combat bullying but in my personal opinion, I don't think schools really know how to deal with it at all.

The worst thing about being bullied is that if you even defend yourself by fighting back, you get put out of school for a few days. Stand there and take it and you get to stay in school but you're still a victim. What we have here is a no win situation because schools really don't know what to do to stop the bully problem. 

Schools are freaking out because this video went viral and are now afraid victims will start slamming bullies on  the ground. They act like this is the first time a bully has had a taste of his own medicine. Bully victim has been snapping for years. This is just one of the times where it was caught on video and became insanely popular. What the schools are missing is the reason it's so popular is because the lousy school system has never really fought back against the problem. Any kid that has been bullied will tell you that being a victim sucks and since the school won't do anything about it, these kids are starting to take matters into their own hands. 

Now I like to avoid violence and as much as I wish bullying didn't exist, we all know that's not the kind of world we live in. So as it stands, kids have two choices. Stand up for yourself and get suspended. Take a beating and stay in school. Life isn't fair, but what else is new?

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Vegetables are Tolerable to Me Now

"Eat your vegetables so you can grow up to be big and strong."

How many times have we heard that one? When you were a kid, odds are you hated veggies with a passion. Whenever they were on my plate, they would be the only food that remained on my plate. Though I can recall one time where my mom really wanted me to finish the green food that I'd hoped I wouldn't have to eat, for the most part, my parents never really forced veggies on me.

I never thought I'd warm up to them, but I find eating vegetables has become easier over the years. I'm not saying I load my plate up with them or I eat them on a daily basis (because I don't), but whenever they are an option, I have been eating them.

Green beans, one of the my previously most despised veggies are now tolerable to me. I can eat greens pretty easily now, too. Broccoli, however, must have cheese on it or I'm not touching that it. Period. I'm still not fond of brussels sprouts either.  Nearly anything else I'm fine with.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Window Shopping Sucks

You're walking about in the mall, comic shop, video game store, or wherever it is you shop. Something catches your eye and you just gotta have it! Only you can't because you either don't have the cash or the money you do have in your pocket has to go towards something else. I HATE window shopping.

In these tough times there are probably more window shoppers now than there have ever been. I don't mind looking to kill time. That's what I call "Optional window shopping." But when I absolutely can't buy a thing and have to look at things I want to have like a prisoner behind bars, that's called "Sucks to be you window shopping!"

Of course what I also hate is my nagging conscience. The stores can't make money unless customers buy things and I tend to feel bad for doing so much window shopping these days. Gah. Now I made myself feel bad just writing about this. Meh.