March 6th, 2011

HolyHandGrenade

Maybe They Should Be Called "West Burro", As In A Bunch Of Jackasses

"I've learned that one of the benefits of a free society is the right to debase ourselves in any number of ways."
--Sam
"Sam And Max -- Freelance Police"

Recently, the Westboro Baptist Church, that bunch of intolerant morons who picket at military funerals saying our soldiers dying is God punishing us for accepting gays, found themselves on the receiving end of a lawsuit to stop them from picketing.  The ACLU found itself defending the West Burros on 1st Amendment grounds (I suspect the guy was holding his nose the entire time).

The justices ruled in a way they may not have wanted to, but they had to -- the West Burros are on public property and free to speak their minds.

The head of the West Burros announced how pleased he was with the ruling and that they plan to "quadruple" the number of protests they hold.

Believe it or not, this is actually a good thing.

Remember how they were going to protest at the funeral of the little kill killed in the Arizona Massacre?  A call to arms went out on the 'net and the West Burros pussed out.

They tried to picket the San Diego Comic Con.  Con goers retaliated by trolling them back, exposing the West Burros as the laughing stocks they are (PROTIP:  when even the furries are not only making fun of you, but scoring serious laughs off of you, just go home).

The West Burros have done what they've done because of selective targeting.  It's like how white supremacist groups will pick on black churches instead of gang headquarters -- they know the people who go to churches aren't armed and won't fight back.  The gangs are and will.

They're bullies.

And the problem with this is, the more they put themselves out there, the more they open themselves up to attack.  The folks behind Project Chanology will just love to harass them.  The general public will also have ammo as they see more and more techniques that work.  People don't know how to react when confronted by these idiots.  And the more they get out there and people talk about them, the more information of how to drive them off gets out there.

So, go ahead, West Burros.  The sooner you start, the sooner you're finished.
DontBlameMe

Baby On Bored

I think Mike Huckabee's run for the R's nomination for President is over.

First, there was his catastrophic brain fart saying Obama grew up in Kenya.  Now, he's taken another shot intended to rally the R's ideological base, only to find the ideological base isn't as dominant as they used to be and, if he wants to appeal to enough R's, he has to join them in the 21st Century.

Huckabee  took a shot at Natalie Portman because she's having a baby without being married.  He described her as a symptom of a cultural problem in which "we glorify and glamorize" the idea of having children out of wedlock.  "One of the things that's troubling is that people see a Natalie Portman or some other Hollywood starlet who boasts of, 'Hey look, you know, we're having children, we're not married, but we're having these children, and they're doing just fine.'"  To be fair, he was asked about Portman specifically, but that is still a slam on her and others who either choose to be single parents or those who are forced to be single parents.

Now, whatever your feelings on this issue is not what I want to point out.  He wasn't really attacking Portman anyway.  Think about this -- who is the biggest threat to his campaign to become President?

Sarah Palin.

Palin has a ton of support from people fed up with traditional politics.  The R's are desperate to stop her because they know they can't control her.  So they attack any way they can.  And that means rallying the troops that Palin does not represent their traditional beliefs.  Bristol Palin is to be used as a referendum on her mother's character.  In other words, Portman was just a strawman to let the party's traditional base know he's out there for them to back instead of Palin.

It backfired.

Huckabee sent out this statement after the media not only pointed out Portman is marrying the father (despite saying she wouldn't marry until gays can marry.  Thanks for sticking with your principles), but he's going to be Dan Quayle to Portman's Murphy Brown.  His camp sent out this statement....

"In a recent media interview about my new book, A Simple Government, I discussed the first chapter, "The Most Important Form of Government Is a Father, Mother, and Children." I was asked about Oscar-winner Natalie Portman's out-of-wedlock pregnancy." Natalie is an extraordinary actor, very deserving of her recent Oscar and I am glad she will marry her baby's father. However, contrary to what the Hollywood media reported, I did not "slam" or "attack" Natalie Portman, nor did I criticize the hardworking single mothers in our country. My comments were about the statistical reality that most single moms are very poor, under-educated, can't get a job, and if it weren't for government assistance, their kids would be starving to death. That's the story that we're not seeing, and it's unfortunate that society often glorifies and glamorizes the idea of having children out of wedlock."

If his support among the R's was strong, he wouldn't have to backtrack.  In fact, you'd have the R's media lapdogs talking about how great it is that Huckabee is telling it like it is.

It's a different world now.

And the idealogues in the Republican Party are experiencing culture shock.
Moe Cowbell

We're Getting The Band Back Together. We're On A Mission From God.

Goddammit!

Yesterday, I got new silencers for my Rock Band drum set.  And now, I'm pissed.

Here's the thing to keep in mind -- the drum controller is a plastic sensor with a sprayed-on rubber covering.  It is a bit thin.  As I learned with my original set, repeatedly hitting in the same spot (you know, like a REAL drummer does instead of orbiting all over the pad) will cause problems.  The rubber absorbs the strike by bending in.  This means fatigue failure -- eventually, the rubber will stretch and you will have a bubble forming on the pad.  The bubble will loose contact with the sensor underneath, causing missed strokes and the pad itself to pull out from the edges.  In other words, your drum controller will break.

Now, the silencers were a Godsend.  It wasn't that they made it quieter, they didn't really do much of that.  The key thing was that they absorbed most of the impact of the drum sticks.  The pad and sensor underneath stayed in perfect condition.  The silencers have some sticky stuff underneath to make them stick to the controller.  It's not very strong so that you can replace the pads.  Good thing -- the material is similar to what they use to make mouse pads.  Hit it often enough and your start gouging it.  These things don't last forever.

The problem was that the adhesive meant that the silencers would flop against the controller sometimes.  I can't help but wail on Queen's Fat Bottom Girls.  Striking the green crash, I gave it enough force that my hit would register and the silencer would bounce a little, registering another hit.  This also weakened the hold of the adhesive.  Eventually, the pad would fall off in the middle of the song.

The official Rock Band silencers held up reasonably well, but I can't find them in the stores anymore.  I ordered a set online.  Slightly different build, but basically the same.  They are falling off after two songs.  This is bullshit.

So, I'm currently considering a couple of different plans.  The simple solution is the infamous "sock" mod.  Basically, you wrap a sock around the pad over the strike point.  It will work as a silencer, but will it absorb enough impact to prolong the life of the drum kit?  There's a "pro grade" drum controller by Ion for $300, which I don't have right now.  I need something cheaper and effective.  Why is the drum kit made so shitty, anyway?  Why don't they make them like a practice pad...

...light...bulb....

So here's the idea.  I'm shopping around for gum rubber, the stuff they use to make practice drum pad out of.  Four discs about seven inches across and then affix them to the drum kit.  Thickness between 1/8 and 3/16 of an inch should be fine.  If it holds up well, I can affix it permanently to the drum controller without ever worrying about replacing it.  I'm currently looking for places in the area that have the material, and if they can cut the discs for me, so much the better.

Or, Plan B, simply use duct tape to hold the pads in place.  Peel off the tape, I can replace the silencers.  I may combine the two -- duct tape the current silencers, then once I locate the gum rubber, use that to see how they work.  If they work great and don't bow out, affix them permanently.

Time to get to work.  Assemble the minions!
Sound Waves

A Quick Note For Sound Waves Fans

Sound Waves #7 was supposed to be out this weekend.  But I didn't even get my copies.  So I checked with the printer.  The order is still showing payment pending.  I did pay, however, and have the receipt to prove it.  I just emailed them to try and get this straightened out.  It might be another couple of weeks before the issue comes out.  But this is because PayPal biffed the payment.  I apologize for the delay, but I'm working on fixing it.
RatItsAPity

Natural Selection -- Don't You Miss It?

It's one of those little things just made of stupid.

Charlie Sheen created a web show, Sheen's Korner, that debuted on Ustream on Saturday night.  Sheen is saying, if the show is popular enough, he will do it daily.  Don't you threaten me, you son of a bitch.  The format was basically cable access with more money for the set.  Segments included "Wish They Were Me," "Weighing In With Rick" (a segment featuring Rick Calamaro, Sheen's assistant), and people Sheen would like to be for ten minutes.  He continued to force his "winning!" meme, even showing he has it tattooed on his wrist.

Sheen, however, is making a critical mistake that a lot of attention whores on the Intertubes make.  He is assuming e-fame is the same as real fame.

The hit counter fluctuated through the broadcast, but it peaked at 113,251.

To put that in perspective, Two And A Half Men has averaged 14.2 million viewers this season.

Sheen's own Twitter account has about two million followers.

Does this sound like "winning" to anyone out there?

A lot of people assumed that the instant attention the Internet gave them was some measure of success.  Just ask Tay Zonday, who thought the following Chocolate Rain garnered would translate into record sales.  It didn't.  Sonicrocksmysocks is the most viewed "artist" on deviantART with 1.5 million.  If she ever released a comic book with her static Mary Sue, it would never sell.  Meanwhile, my friend Franchesco has done work for the bigs and doesn't have anywhere near the following she does.

Here's the thing to understand about your Internet presence -- you are ultimately not a real person there.  You are just a bunch of words on a display, like a web page or something.  There's a reason there are so many trolls and atrocity tours and such.  From people adopting personas that are nothing like they are in real life to potentially living down the street from you but because we don't really know our neighbors we'd never know it was them, the Internet reduces everybody something to simply react to.

At one convention where I was selling my comics, a guy looked over Sound Waves and raved about how great the comic was.  The art was engaging.  The characters were interesting.  The jokes were actually funny.  "Why aren't comic shops carrying your book?" he asked in exasperation.  Then he left without buying a single issue.  I thought, This is why they aren't stocking it.  It's one thing to hope for something to do well.  It's a whole other thing for that to actually happen.

Sheen somehow thinks that he has billions of fans.  And yet less than 1% of his Two And A Half Men viewership checked out his web show.  Sheen is too full of himself to parse the numbers and realize Tubgirl has more viewers than he did.  He better realize soon that the more he acts like this, the more the general public that actually pays to watch his "magic" is going to go away.  All he'll have left is 'Netizens who are going to forget about him when the next celebrity publicly self-destructs.  Do not assume your audience will follow you anywhere and will buy anything you do.  It's what killed prog rock.  It's what killed Mel Gibson.  And its axe is aiming right for Sheen next.
Worms Ready For Battle

NEVER Let It Be Said That I Give Up Easy

Today, I take a spin at the Axe Cop web site.

A thought hits me.

There are slots for Project Wonderful ads there.

So, I bid.

Hannah Singer, Celestial Advocate is now being advertised on one of the most awesome comics ever made.

Part of me is hoping this yields some results (when I ran ads on the Girl Genius web site, there was just the book description.  Amazon has sample pages from each story up online, so people can get a better idea of what they are in for).  The other part of me just thinks it's awesome to be affiliated, even tangentially, with Axe Cop.