It's amazing to me how the things that people enjoy are always up for judgement. Right now Comic Con is going on in San Diego and, of course, there are a lot of attendees dressed up like their favorite characters from comics, television, and movies.
I, for one, am amazed by the sheer creativity that goes into the costumes that people construct. Some of them are ridiculously smart and clever, and those who create such cool things have my respect.
As well they should.
But whenever I see photos and videos posted of these cos-players, there are always always always people in the comments seeking to tear them down. Always.
Usually it's in the vein of making fun of grown adults who like dressing up in costumes. But sometimes you get somebody truly deranged. One "Good Christian Woman" weighed in with her unwanted 2¢ by saying that cos-play is a tool of Satan to lure children to adult so they can be groomed for "sex abuse." She ended her lengthy tirade by calling all the cos-players "sick freaks."
And all I could think of was who the real sick freak was in this scenario.
And it is most definitely not the people who are having fun dressing up for a comic book convention.
It's uncanny how often I Google something... then come to Facebook and see an ad for what I Googled pop up first thing.
What's bizarre is that most of the time the ads I'm served are useless. I Googled to find local landscapers. As predicted, Facebook has an ad for landscaping services as the second thing in my feed. But it's for a company 3-1/2 hours away? That company just wasted their ad dollars because Facebook apparently can't tell my location... despite them having my address.
We're told all the time that we should welcome being tracked because it allows companies to serve us information that benefits us. But the only beneficiary in this case is Facebook, who gets paid for serving a useless ad. Neither me nor the advertiser benefits at all. But, yeah, you keep selling that utopia, Facebook.
Here are the YouTube creators I can't live without... meaning that I watch every single last one of their videos... PART TWO!
(in no particular order)
Nobody... and I mean nobody... looks at tech the way that Marques does. Not only is his approachable, relatable, smart takes on tech essential viewing for me... the guy is so good that I wish he would produce more videos on non-tech issues as well.
Phillipp Dettmer (with Team Kurzgesagt)
I've raved about Kurzgesagt many, many, many times. A deep dive into very cool subjects.
Probably one of the most entertaining people on planet earth, Grey tackles all kinds of subjects to excessive degrees and I love every precious minute of it.
Thomas loves film. And his deep dives into film discussion is the stuff of cinephile dreams.
Julian restores art, and his videos are like soup for my soul. Relaxing, informative, entertaining... and always fascinating... you don't have to even like art to appreciate these soothing videos.
There are a lot of photographers on YouTube. Tyler is my favorite. He's very talented, mostly Apple-based, and has a unique approach to talking to photographers about the tools we use.
Arun has a plethora of tech videos with an interesting look at the tech I love. But he also has cool videos about extreme tech, weird tech, and unbelievable tech that are entertaining as all get out.
One of the most fascinating travel bloggers around, Johnny has been around for a while (I first became a fan when he was doing Borders at Vox). He always has a unique take on cool stuff I love... travel... maps... international news.
If you crave adventure and travel from a more intimate perspective, Nathaniel makes videos just for you. But he also makes videos about what it means to be fundamentally human, and those are worth watching too.
Derek's videos run the gamut. Some of them are just interesting looks at information or concepts that make life fascinating. Others are technically complex subjects broken down into (mostly) understandable chunks. Then others are just... science weirdness.
Here are the YouTube creators I can't live without... meaning that I watch every single last one of their videos... PART ONE!
(in no particular order)
It's like... it should be illegal to be this entertaining while being this funny. And so very, very British.
Lachlan & Jaxon Fairbairn (with Darcy Ahrns)
These videos are just nuts... but in a good way. Aussie vlogger Lachlan Fairbairn comes up with funny takes on just about everything, and enlists his brother and friend to make videos about it.
If you're deep, deep into geek tech, then I don't need to tell you about Linus and his channel of high-powered tech nerd porn. You already know. The guy is an institution, and now has an entire team making videos for his channels. I watch most of them. But I watch every one of Linus's videos. There's not much hand-holding here... but I don't want to waste the time, so it just makes me a bigger fan.
This guy makes the absolute coolest stuff.
I happened across Quinn after a video he made about Dune landed in my suggestions (the guy talks about Dune a lot). Then proceeded to watch all of his videos because he's got such a great take on the nerdy stuff I love.
Patrick (H) Willems
The guy has really cool takes on popular cinema... and also some weird stuff that pops up from time to time as well (to varying degrees of success).
If you're a theme park junkie like me who just loves to think back to all those great rides that don't exist anymore, then Kevin's channel will fill you with the nostalgia that comes from a deep dive into defunct attractions of days gone by.
Chefs on YouTube are a dime a dozen (I actually prefer shorter format cooking videos on TikTok because they waste less time with stuff you don't care about). Matt has this approach where he posts his TikToks on YouTube, thus neatly bringing me what I want to see on a platform that's less annoying. But he does have interesting content built for YouTube as well.
That other YouTube cooking channel I watch, which became popular as "Binging with Babish" but has grown into something so much more. Most of what's here is cooking famous dishes from television and movies... even when the idea is absurd. But it's all entertaining.
This guy found a stray cat, Nala, while biking around the world and now takes her with him everywhere. As if seeing the world wasn't good enough, being able to see it with a cat? Priceless.
ZOMFG! FACEBOOK IS DOWN! FACEBOOK IS DOWN! Everywhere you look in the news today, it's the same story and the same headline... Facebook is indeed down. What a tragedy (insert eyeroll).
Which struck me funny because I recently re-read Watership Down... a beautiful story about rabbits which is surprisingly deep and smart for something meant to be a children's tale. If you haven't read it yet, I can't recommend it highly enough.
So every time I see "FACEBOOK IS DOWN!" I'm thinking "WATERSHIP DOWN!" which is a far more important thing to focus on.
And so I shall.
So I shall.
I've stepped away from most of my political ranting here because it was consuming my life. Politics is so heinous in these United States of America that justice doesn't even fucking exist here. And people just don't care. Thus it's pointless to keep screaming into the void.
Everybody reading this blog knows that I have a healthy distrust of government, loathe 98% of our politicians, and detest the fact that wealthy & powerful people own this country and those we pay to represent us. It's why I advocate for term limits and breaking the stranglehold that lobbyists have over the oppressive load of shit that our government shackles us with.
And yet there are times...
This morning on Facebook somebody reposted this tweet from 2020:
This was referring to this article: Open-Access JSTOR Materials Accessible to the Public. The tweet was based on a minunderstand presented in the article (which has since been cleared up with a revision)... but the sentiment being presented is accurate.
Our government drove a brilliant and tireless political activist to suicide with a heinous campaign of overreach and lies.
As our government does.
Past precedent shows us that the government will always, always, always exterminate those they cannot control.
And we let them.
I first became aware of Aaron after his Infogami CMS was merged with Reddit, of which he is listed as a co-founder. But he didn't move to the forecfront of my thinking until his work in stopping the horrific government SOPA and PIPA laws. Aaron, along with others, got me to be a vocal opponent of this stupid shit, and removed any doubt that the poiticians making our laws don't give a single fuck about being educated about the legislation they advocate. They only do what their wealthy asshole owners tell them to do so the rich get richer at the expense of our citizens. And the only reason... THE ONLY REASON... that our government reversed course on SOPA and PIPA was because enough people got mobilized that their power and wealth were threatened.
And we can't have that, can we?
The U.S. Government: The Best Government You Can Buy!
And so now I am furious all over again... hence this blog post.
Aaron Swartz deserves to be remembered for the fucking hero he is. And of course it's equally important that we remember that our government of the money, by the money, for the money, shall not perish from the earth! We vote in people to keep it that way, after all. Hope you have a ton of money so you can take advantage of it.
If you want to know of Aaron's fascinating story, have I got a video for you. This documentary is essential viewing, so I'd get on that right away if I were you...
Rest in Peace, sir.
And thank you.
If you're in a video-watching mood, Johnny Harris has yet another incredible video that's worth your valuable time...
So it goes...
If you put yourself out there on the internet, you're going to get hate. Sure you're more likely to get hate if you have an opinion online, but I've seen people get attacked for every reason and no reason at all. Cyber-bullying is our new normal, and given just how bad it's getting, I worry about kids being able to survive it. Because some don't.
I have a blog where I post my opinions, ideas, and thoughts on a daily basis, so I get my share of hate. In the early days of blogging it bothered me a great deal. As I grew accustomed to it (though, honestly, you never really get accustomed to it) I was able to compartmentalize things and not have it ruin my day. All I can do is be as kind as I can be to people and carry on.
Though some people don't really deserve kindness.
They are so awful that any kindness feels as though it's wasted energy.
Take for instance "That Vegan Teacher" on TikTok...
She's a truly vile and repugnant bully, and I blocked her within days of getting addicted to the app. Unfortunately, she can still be "dueted" so she was still popping up on my feed. And I've hated it. I've been a vegetarian for 35 years, and every time I came across her disgusting antics (seriously, she compares Vegans to Jews during The Holocaust and was horrifically racist in her takes) it made me want to run out and eat a steak because she's everywhere...
She's the absolute worst, and it could easily be argued that she did more to promote eating meat than actually convincing people to stop eating meat. In fact, many of the videos I saw were just people eating meat while dueting her bullshit. Including famous people like Chef Gordon Ramsay whom she would attack often...
Now, if she wants to be a bigoted piece of shit who persecutes people for eating meat, harass farmers as if they are murderers, and be a generally terrible person who attacks non-vegans as a matter of course, then fine. I'd argue she could have done far more to promote veganism by not being such a sadistic fucking asshole, but that's who she wants to be then she has that right. Ultimately I feel she doesn't give a fuck about animals and all the shit she does is to exploit social media for money, but who knows? She's demented.
Enter Tommyinnit. A 16-year old kid that she started harassing solely so she could garner attention for her "cause." That was repugnant enough, but she didn't stop there. She started sexualizing Tommy in her videos...
Remember what I said about worrying that kids have a tough time dealing with cyber bullying? You thought I was talking about other kids... and while that's a factor, in this case I was talking about this monsterous adult. And apparently that is what it took for her to FINALLY get her ass booted from TikTok.
And I can't tell you how happy I am that once all the celebrating dies down that I don't have to see her fucked-up shit on TikTok any more.
Look, I'm all for eliminating animal cruelty. I'm all for more sustainable farming. I am all for promoting vegetarianism and veganism to get people to eat less meat or stop eating meat altogether. But this is not a diet for everybody. Some people suffer from anemia and a vegan diet will seriously harm them. Some people simply cannot afford a healthy vegan diet because our government subsidizes meat so heavily (which is why you can get a hamburger on a dollar menu). Some people have beliefs or traditions which include eating meat. There are dozens upon dozens of reasons that veganism is not a one-stop solution for the entire world.
If vegans truly want to do something to help animals... then stop attacking people for eating them and start creating a world where it's easier and more desirable to not eat them.
Lobby the government to cut back on meat subsidies and sink the money into making more affordable fruits and vegetables. Campaign food processors to add more non-meat options to their product lines... then buy them. Help promote more non-meat options like "The Impossible Whopper" at popular restaurant chains. Stop being fucking assholes that want to force people to do what you want, but instead convince them it's a better way to live. Encourage rather than condemn.
And do so in a way that's not harmful... such as making sure they have a doctor to supervise the switch in case a vegan diet is problematic for them.
And you should probably stop attacking and sexualizing kids who have to eat whatever their parents buy for them anyway. I thought this was a given, but... well... here we are.
I guess that's all I have to say. Except FUCK YOU, THAT VEGAN TEACHER, FOR BEING A HORRIFIC PIECE OF SHIT! I CAN'T WAIT FOR YOUR IDIOCY TO GET YOU BOOTED OFF OF MORE SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS SO PEOPLE WILL STOP EATING ANIMALS SOLELY TO SPITE YOUR STUPID, ABUSIVE, TOXIC ASS!
Last night I fell into a Google rabbit hole of Trans-Gulf Bird Migration articles that blew my mind so thoroughly that I was in danger of mental collapsed. It started with an article which stated that there's a bird that has a better handle on predicting hurricanes than any meteorologist and spiraled from there.
And, for me at least, even more difficult to grasp than a weather-predicting Veery Bird is how the tiny thing can keep flying long enough to cross the Gulf of Mexico in the first place.
Some migratory birds can remain in flight for months. Months! They eat, sleep, drink, and mate in the air. The only time they spend time on earth is to lay their eggs and raise their young. Then they're right back up there again. This article from Audubon discusses the Common Swift flying for ten months straight.
And don't even get me started on the albatross. Because holy shit.
Along the way some scientist guy smacked down disbelief in these creature's ability to stay aloft for so long with "Do you act this amazed by a fish who spends its entire life swimming? This is what they were made to do." And while I get their point, my brain is still "Well, yeah, but fish are buoyant. They don't flap their fins to stay floating, they only flap to move, don't they?" I mean sure there are wind currents and such that make it so an albatross can stay airborn for 5 to 10 years, but still...
There's so much amazing stuff happening in this world and yet we seldom take the time to look and I'm not sure why. It's probably the internet's fault. Though, in the internet's defense, I only found out about all this stuff because of the internet, so I don't know.
All I do know is that Ill be digging out my bird feeders from storage this weekend. Who knows how far that bird appearing in my front yard has flown to get here. It might could use a bite to eat.
The New Year may feel like the Old Year, but there's still something new to be had... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• TikTok! The thing that I love so much about TikTok... besides the fact that the video size is limited which forces content creators to get to the damn point already... is that it's got people constantly playing off of each other. In weird, wonderful ways. Lots of times it's clapbacks and condemnation, sure, but every once in a while you get something absolutely magical like this...
What's cool is that the woman who was (accurately) sumarizing Country music so dead-on in her parody was actually made a collaborator, and is now promoting the song on her TikTok...
#duet with @georgebirgeofficial♬ original sound - George Birge
This is not something that happens on other social media platforms so easily and organically, which is why I am still addicted to TikTok. Plus... lots of adorable animal videos.
• TokTwo! Not to mention moments of absolute happy like this...
Top moments of 2020 #fyp #trick #foryou #trickshot #foryoupage♬ original sound - Daniel and David
Is is any wonder I can blow through an hour on this app and not even realize it?
• Her Name Was Bernice! Not that it's all fun and games...
Reply to @public_enema Her name was Bernice. #fyp #foryoupage #covid #Bye2020♬ original sound - Rachel
This amazing woman is a graduate of Liberty College and has some fascinating takes on Christianity that comes from having lived through her past... and living her Faith in the present.
• What's Logic! I mean, damn...
@chris_wells_ ♬ original sound - Chris Wells
This guy is phenomenally entertaining while addressing some very touchy subjects. I could just sit for an hour and blow through nothing else on TikTok but this guy.
• TokFour! Seriously. I need to come up with a Blogography page of all the TikToks I follow, because if you are looking for some incredible takes on everything from cooking to woodworking to current events to just plain fun... I'm following it all.
• Luke! And just because it's not all TikTok this Sunday... I remember very well standing in line on opening night for The Empire Strikes Back. By the time the movie was released I was already the biggest Star Wars fan on earth, and there was just no way I could wait to see it. I was dropped off with the older brother of a friend who didn't mind having me tag along. Back in 1980, there was no "internet" to speak of, and the movie magazines were always months behind what was being released in the theaters. So when it came to one of the most surprising and shocking moments in cinematic history, I was completely caught off guard. There was simply nothing that could have prepared me. Which is why I just love videos of young kids reacting to the scene when they also have no idea what's coming...
Now-a-days, of course, it would have been spoiled either weeks before... or immediately upon release. Because people are assholes and online publications are competing for pageviews. Fortunately, nobody cares as much "old" movies like this, so there are still surprises to be had. For some of us, anyways.
• Mary Ann! I would be remiss to not mention the passing of Dawn Wells from complications due to COVID this past week. I ALWAYS picked "Mary Ann" over "Ginger" as my Giligan's Island crush...
Rest In Peace, Dawn Wells. You were a huge part of my childhood.
And that's it for the first bullets of 2021.
I've written a couple times about my love of GigaPan images. It's a really cool technology which stitches together tons of hi-resolution images to form one massive photo that you can zoom into to ridiculous degrees. Most of the time, GigaPan is used for capturing scenery. You see the scene and then can zoom and zoom and zoom to reveal all kinds of little details.
But you can use GigaPixel for all kinds of things.
A really cool application is artwork.
I've been to Milan, Italy in order to see The Last Supper. It's a magnificent work of art by one of my favorite artists, Leonardo da Vinci...
One of you bitches is going to betray me!
And now Google's Arts & Culture has posted a painting of the painting by one of Leonardo da Vinci's pupils which is presented in GigaPan format...
What's interesting is that you can see how the original masterpiece showed Jesus's feet, which were chopped off when somebody decided to cut a door into the wall of the original.
And since this is GigaPan, you can zoom into the canvas to a crazy degree...
All in all, it's pretty spectacular.
If you want to explore the painting yourself, here's a link for you.