Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Thou Shalt Steal

Fixing an Archaic Machine 

How much stolen shit do you have racked up on your laptop right now? Couple gigs? I know guys with terabytes of stuff. That's a 1000 gigabytes, a trillion bytes, of 'illegally' downloaded stuff. But it's kind of gray area. Is it wrong, is it right? Depends who you ask. So let's just ask the dictionary.

Steal: v. & n. a take (another person's property) illegally. b take (property etc.)without right or permission, esp. in secret with the intention of not returning it.

There's about another bazillion (which I'm sure is the amount of bytes someone has illegally downloaded) definitions but I nearly fell asleep just typing that so God help you poor bastards. The big problem with theses definition is that they work in the context of me robbing your 'thing'. Not your thing-thing you get it, (but some of you, if you give me half a chance...mmm-hmm) but your property. But no-one really owns music, movies etc. That is no one person. Said own-ings are myriad in the amount of people that stand to capitalize on their successes.

You've heard the expression 99% of musicians are unheard of. In that the record company drops them or takes their money if they can't deliver the cost said company has put into them. In short: the record company has been fucking these artists long before you or I got the idea. Now this doesn't mean that we should say if the record company is being a powerful cock knocker that it's okay for us too right? Yeah, I can get on board with that. So what's the answer?

Listen up bitches, I gots 'dis:

Go indie, let everything go indie. Not only does this give any kind of artist more control on their own IP but it means you cut out all the arbitrary shit that goes along with being 'signed'. The fact that the internet is changing the game means that every artist who wants to make some coin has got to change with it. Check out the case of stand up comedians Louis C.K. or Joe Rogan. They've independently released their new live stand up shows for $5. It's a fair price and one that I think most people can afford. By cutting out the establishment they stand to gain more. Of course these guys are established names, what about the little man? The little man's got to slog I'm afraid. And why the fuck not? In a society that wants everything here and now, no one wants to put effort into anything. They want their career to come on like a winning scratch card and bask in shit loads of easy cash. That ain't the way son.

If your serious about trying to make a living on any kind of art it should be because you love the art. For example a lot of writers are turning to indie publishing right now. And I don't mean the Steven King's of the world who could release a book written in ancient Aramaic on papyrus and still get it published by Harpur Collins. I mean the new guy who hasn't published a jot. Where a traditional book deal will give the writer 10-15% of the earnings Amazon gives 70%. So where you'll earn a dollar or so for a new paperback, you can make the same or more digitally by charging significantly less. What this means is that you can digitally market your own book via social media etc. and try find an audience that way. Is it gonna happen over night? Like fuck it is, you might be lucky to make a tenner so keep trying but most importantly, if you are writing 'cos you love it keep it up. Most traditionally published authors don't get a book published until they're two or three deep. That's a lot of time spent writing without a reward. Make the choice. Also if you think that getting noticed by a publisher validates your worth as a writer just look at the plethora of shit getting published right now. Granted Twilight sold well but the writing style is not good. I'm not ragging on it, it's sold well and certainly found an audience but from a purely technical writing stand point it just isn't that good. Does that make it bad? Obviously not, there are people out there that want to read that. That's fine, credit to Stepheine Meyer, all I'm saying is getting picked up by a big house publisher does not validate your style. It's like comparing Niki Minaj to Brahms.

For example independent video games, which are really starting to change the digital downloading landscape of console sales, are made by far, far less people with much less money and, in the opinion of a lot of gamers are every bit as enjoyable as the new Call of Duty or Assassin's Creed. In my own opinion the level design and refusal to 'hold the gamers hand' taken by Super Meat Boy, Braid, Limbo, Journey and other games makes them much, much better than the high production costs of multi-million dollar games. I think the new Assassin's Creed is one of the most boring games of 2012.

Movies are a bit more complicated. With services like Netflix there seems to be some balance but certainly going indie here doesn't seem to be the answer. In truth I'm not sure how to address it. But what I will say is that if you chose to download the likes of Avengers, Avatar, Dark Knight Rises or any other big budget fantasy type movies instead of seeing them on the big screen in all their glory you are indeed a miserable loser.
Anyone who wants to create something and make money from it has got to start playing by the new rules. Sure there'll be exceptions and why shouldn't there be. Also there's always going to be people pirating things, same way there'll always be any kind of crime but charging people a fair price, I believe, will encourage people to buy as opposed to torrent. But, to be honest, what the fuck do I know?

The days of making top dollar are over save for a very small group. But, that's a good thing, because if you believe you're good enough at something to capitalize on it you're probably right and you should try. But if you believe that because you can make an entertaining product you deserve more money than a special needs teacher a nurse or a guard, the kind of money that is totally possible by going indie.

Bring your fevered ego outside and shoot it in its tiny mind.

Monday, 7 January 2013

Are porn and games ruining men?

Video Games and Porn are Destroying Society (again)

Guess what. Porn and video games are ruining guys again. So say Dr. Philip G. Zimbardo and Nikita Duncan in their extremely knowledgeable article 'The Demise of Guys: How video games and porn are ruining a generation’. Don’t know if Nikita is as qualified as the good doctor but according to CNN you should probably listen to them both.
                So what is it exactly that video games and porn are doing? Well dear readers it’s making us socially isolated. We can no longer strike up conversations with ladies. And I should know I tried to talk to girl about which Zelda was better the SNES classic ‘Link to the Past’ or the 64 classic ‘Ocarina of Time.’ When she looked at me awkward I ate a mushroom, threw a turtle shell at her and yelled “Ninten-don’t look at me like that bitch!” And the only reason I called her a bitch is because of all the misogynistic porn I watch.
                Why is this happening? Why can’t I just talk to a girl about L’Oreal commercials and the new iPad 2 like a normal person? Well according to Dr. Zimbardo and the very qualified Duncan playing video games or watching porn instils in men a state of mental arousal comparable to drug addiction, gambling addiction etc. In essence it keeps us locked into ‘the present’ with no regard for outside stimulation. And when we do go outside, to buy more lube or whatever, we’re so God damned bored that all we want to do is go home, fap and get a couple of kills on Battlefield 3.
                And if social isolation and the inability to connect with another human being doesn’t put the fear in you just read this:
                 Norwegian mass murder suspect Anders Behring Breivik reported during his trial that he prepared his mind and body for his marksman-focused shooting of 77 people by playing "World of Warcraft" for a year and then "Call of Duty" for 16 hours a day.
                See guys, if we keep this shit up we’re going to decimate an island full of people. And I was raised on an island so I’m not too keen on that. Also CNN cites some guy called Adam whose wife kicked him out of the house for watching too much porn. So in essence what CNN is saying is: “look guys if you’ve got to do one of the two stick to the porn. Because porn saves lives.” I’m pretty sure that’s the message anyway.
                So just to be clear is it only porn and video games that are doing this? I mean it’s the twenty first century so obviously I’ve seen my share of money shots and dished out a fair helping of head shots. Should I be wary of movies? I saw The Avengers last week and totally wanted to be able to turn into a veiny-steroid-green-anger-machine. Is that because of the porn or the games? Also I was listening to Led Zeppelin’s ‘Stairway to Heaven’ backwards and I’m pretty sure I blacked out and painted a pentagram on the wall with my roommate’s blood. God damn you porn and video games!! That never would have happened if not for you!
                Or maybe, and I’m being a total armchair psychologist here (bit like Nikita Duncan) there’s something in our society that’s a little sick. I mean with all the debt that we owe, and I’m from Ireland so believe me I know a thing or two about owing debt, do we even have enough stuff in the world to pay it back? If the global economy is based on exponential growth but the world is based on finite substances something isn’t adding up. How about the fact that the world itself is a hugely unjust place where our leaders constantly lead us into trouble while lining their pockets? People get ahead in politics by acting like sharks and you think they’re going to stop when they get to the top? Let me know how that works out for you...
                When was the last time you saw a feel-good segment in the news? I was watching a story the other day about a zombie apocalypse. What to do if it happens. That’s not even a joke. That was actually on the news. The place we go for unbiased information. Or disinformation. Because you can’t even really trust the news. So should you really trust people? Because to be honest us people are making kind of a mess of this world. Maybe you’re better off yelling at some avatar from Paris while you launch air strikes down on him or looking up ‘German Mature Lesbo Bratwurst Sausage Massacre’. At least you know where you stand that way. Screw it, us guys should just let the women take over the world. We’ll stay inside in a state of perpetual bliss with extreme digital violence and interracial midget porn.
There’s just one problem...
What happens to the girls who play games and look at porn?   

Friday, 4 January 2013

More fantasy

“Why haven’t you cut your arm off?”
                The boy watched the cinders of the fire rise towards the leaves. Occasionally he would close his eyes and listen to the crack of the kindling. Marra pulled the scarf tighter around her throat. The skin on her forearms goosed. Hairs on end. Marra stood up and walked towards the animal carcass.
                “Help me with the dog.”
                They skewered the animal and placed it above the flames. A crow cried out in the distance. Marra shuddered for a moment. The boy didn’t seem to notice. The forest was everywhere. Occasionally the weathered remains of an old building greyed the green surroundings. Covered in roots and ivy they were easy to miss though sometimes finding them could prove invaluable. Most often wanderers of the forests died. It was hard to live long enough to starve but dehydration was a severe threat. Man had once been king of the food chain. No living human was old enough to recall that time. Wanderers used the buildings as camps leaving behind goods after death. At first Marra had refused to take these items. Rarely was a body found inside the camp. She took comfort in believing they were hunting. That they would be back. After some time she realized that her chances of survival depended on looting these camps. Marra blamed these actions on her possession. The Sin’s selfishness. But sometimes, in the quiet moments before she slept, she accepted the real truth.
                The dog’s red flesh browned. It had been a long time since Marra felt guilt about eating an animal. The boy was still used to seeing dogs as family pets. He bit into the meat and chewed. The taste was not bad but it didn’t help his stomach from trembling as he swallowed.
                “How long are you alone?” Marra didn’t look at him as she asked.
                “Maybe a couple of weeks, I lost track early.”
                “Easy to do.”
                “Best part of two years. Give or take.”
                “You haven’t found a town? Even a fort?”
                “Many. It’s hard to get accepted under normal circumstances. People are scared. The mark makes it impossible.”
                Wren tore another piece from the dog. His sense of guilt yielded to his hunger.
                “The ancients said the Nephilim were the children of fallen angels and the daughters of men.”
                “The ancients said a lot of things.”
                “Do you believe them?”
                Marra looked at the boy. His eyes gave him away. Those giant black pupils. He might die without Marra’s help. She might kill him if he stayed with her. She rolled a piece of the dog on her teeth. Marra didn’t consider whether or not the ancient’s were right. It didn’t matter to her. Even if the Nephilim that marked her couldn’t restore her she could get revenge. Or at least die fighting. Heaven or Hell. Whichever one she ended up in couldn’t be much worse.
                “If God is real he’s got some explaining to do. If he’s not that would explain everything.”