April 21st, 2011


Start The Next Generation Without Me

The gaming sphere is abuzz with reports that Nintendo is about to unveil its new HD-enabled Wii at the Electronics Entertainment Expo this June.  It's coming.  We know it is.  Retro Studios, based out of Austin, TX (a fav studio of mine, they came up with the amazing Metro Prime trilogy) has revealed they've already gotten their dev kits and are working on a launch title.  Nintendo will pretty much have the floor to themselves, as Sony and M$ are telling everyone they will not ready any next gen systems until 2014 at the earliest.

Everyone remembers how much I wanted a Wii and how thrilled I was when I got one.  So everyone is probably figuring I want a Wii 2.

Actually, no, I don't.


Can I transfer my DLC from my Wii onto a Wii 2?  Like all those Rock Band tracks I paid for?


Then fuck it.

This is actually the reason I feared DLC for a long time, it's just I couldn't resist Rock Band, no matter how hard I tried (well, regular Rock Band.  I have no trouble not bothering with DLC for Rock Band Unplugged on my PSP).  The only other DLC I have on my Wii is Columns and the original Shinobi.  Because DLC is not transferable due to digital rights issues, I also recognize that, should something go wrong with my Wii, I have to have that particular unit fixed for whatever price they are asking.  The days of a unit breaking and you just hie yourself down to the store to get another are gone if you buy into DLC.

I now have a reason to stick with what I have instead of jumping on the next generation platform.  Give me a reason to upgrade, I'll do it.  Until then, my collection stalls out at the Wii.

Follow Me, Follow You

Before you think I'm just bashing Apple, I will point out I've said far more complimentary things about them and their iPhone/iPad than I have Google with Android.  Just looking to head off the dissent.

Guess what?  If you have a 3G enabled iPad or an iPhone, you're being tracked.  And I'm not talking casual.  Your locations are stored in a file on the devices and are backed up to your computer if you sync.

I would like to point out this is one of the great things about Open Source.  If a feature like this were baked into Android, people examining the code could find it and use their GPL'ed rights to remove it.

Apple has done a lot good.  They are destroying the M$ monopoly and the Flash monopoly.  Their proprietary platforms are turning out to be FOSS' best friend.

But guys, if you like Apple, remember -- just because you like them doesn't mean you can trust them.
Epic Fail

It's Not 4Kids Anymore

Holy shit!  4Kids has filed bankruptcy!

There was a time when 4Kids projects were everywhere.  They built on the runaway success of Pokemon and start scoring Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Cubix and YuGiOh and all kinds of stuff.  How did they wind up in bankruptcy?

Well, it turns out they were using the YuGiOh license in ways that weren't covered by the contract.  The Japanese rights holders told them to pay up.  They couldn't negotiate their way out of it, and they're toast.

Never forget -- as quickly as you can succeed, it can vanish.

No, Thank You, I'm Having The Turducken

Vegans may want to skip this post.

You might consider this the first sign that Japan is recovering and getting back to normal.  They're once again making weird shit that makes even us Japanophiles go, "...wat?"

I don't know how many of you remember when Denny's had a hot dog wrapped in bacon and covered with cheese.  Drew Carey said it was the kind of food that said, "Follow me, boys!  We're going straight to the heart!"

Well, that is just so passe now....

Longtime readers will recall the launch of Windows 7, and how Japanese Burger Kings were offering the Windows 7 Whopper.  For those who don't remember it, here's the image....

Strictly speaking, this isn't that unusual.  When it comes to fast food cuisine, Japan has some interesting stuff.  For a while, McDonald's restaurants there have had the Ebi-Filet-O (goddammit, can't McDonald's spell anything properly?!?).  For the curious, it's like a Fillet-O-Fish, but stuffed with shrimp.  If you know anything about authentic Japanese cuisine, you'll thank your lucky stars to have something so tame on your plate.  There's an old Polish proverb that says, "With some ethnic foods, the less authentic, the better."

Well, here we go again.  Japanese Burger Kings are now offering the "Meat Monster" burger.  This...device consists of the following:  two beef patties, a chicken breast, two slices of cheese, and three slices of bacon.  Plus some veggie to make it healthy.  1,160 calories.  But wait, there's more!  For a little extra, you can also have added to this...thing an egg, a fish patty, or teriyaki sauce.

I feel like I need bypass surgery just from looking at it.

Now, please note this isn't the most calorie laden burger at Japanese BK's.  That honor goes to the Pizza Burger, which rings the bell at 2,520 calories.  I can honestly say I've never made a pizza burger with that much oomph.

I've been a long proponent of, "If you're gonna go, you might as well go with a smile on your face."  But I don't think this sandwich is fattening.  Sure, the calories are high.  Good luck figuring out how to eat the fucking thing.

Just typing this up as I heat up some hot dogs and mac and cheese for dinner.  Thank God for simple tastes.
Bill Nye

Bewitched, Bothered, And Bewildered

Okay, this is going to go right off the fucking rails.  There will be a short period of discussion, and then, I'm gonna rant.  You'll know when I'm about to start.

This came up on my news feed -- Sol Saks has died.  He was 100 years old.  For those who don't know, he was the creator of Bewitched, the sitcom starring Elizabeth Montgomery as a witch living in suburbia.

Now, strap on your helmet, we're going in.

I hated Bewitched.

Hated hated HATED it.

I didn't watch much TV growing up.  Not just because I preferred reading and programming my computer, but because a lot of shows just struck me as stupid.  My dad would watch The Jetsons and The Flintstones and I just didn't get what made them appealing.  A lot of classic TV shows are the same.  Never liked The Brady Bunch, never liked Gilligan's Island.  How my friends could go so ape over the shows was beyond me.

(Note:  this is not to make me holier than thou.  There are some classic shows I enjoy.  The Honeymooners was awesome, I think Alice was the first empowered female character on TV, presented without apologies and without irony.  Loved Dukes Of Hazzard, because I loved the chases.  I actually didn't like Daisy because I felt she pulled too much attention away from the car chases and stunts.  All In The Family has only gotten better with time.  And I will forever be a fan of Mission:  Impossible and hate what Tom Cruise turned it into.  And The Addams Family...man, I would have loved to have been with that family.)

Depictions of women in popular culture have always been a crapshoot.  If I had a daughter, I would forbid her to have anything related to Disney Fairies and Tinkerbell in particular.  In both the original book and the Disney movie, Tink is every negative female stereotype rolled into one package.  But nowhere is casual chauvinism more prevalent than on classic sitcoms.  Sitcoms came about by presenting the ideal family life with the traditional gender roles reinforced.  Father Knows BestOzzie And Harriet.  The lemon party known as My Three Sons pretty much postulated that women were unnecessary for men to feel fulfilled in their lives.  And these shows were hits.  They resonated with viewers.  They presented an alternate reality they wanted to see.  So much so, that when a TV show called The Munsters was being created, it featured classic monsters, but only in appearance.  Their behavior was just like any other sitcom.

Some shows did buck the trend, but they were in the minority.  I Dream Of Jeannie is a good example (nope, didn't like that one, either).  Jeannie only wants to make her male master happy.  And yet Nelson spent most of his time trying to keep her from doing just that.  He wanted her to simply be, not be his servant.  He acted like a gentleman -- a perpetually flummoxed gentleman, but a gentleman none the less.  How many guys would YOU trust to have a woman who will do anything and make any fantasy come true and try to do right by her?  Not fucking many, I can guarantee you that.

Bewitched was a part of the tradition of being dismissive to women.  The show's point of view could be summarized as follows:  "Oh, you're a feminist?  Isn't that cute?"  It debuted in 1964, just as the counterculture brought on by the baby boom started flexing its muscle, the younger generation opening questioning if not outright challenging the Establishment in all forms -- governmental, artistic, and (especially) familial.  Consider the character of Samatha.  Samatha was a witch.  She could make almost anything happen, from animating objects to teleportation.  And yet, she just wanted to be a domestic housewife.  So much so, that when her husband discovers she's a witch, he makes her promise not to use her powers.


Leave us not forget that the women in the show who were aware of their independence were treated as annoyances and pests.  Especially Samantha's mother, Endora.  Endora was not a mother-in-law like a typical sitcom mother-in-law, which is damning with faint praise.  She was actually plugged into modern culture of the time, even mentioning in one episode she was hooked on some guy's hookah.  She could not understand why Samantha would give up being a witch just to be a housewife (tell it like it is, sister!).  And Sam was constantly trying to keep Endora from screwing with her husband, one who was boisterous and dismissive of Endora because she was an affront to his place in the traditional family power structure.  Bottom line:  Bewitched is one of the most insulting to women TV shows ever made.  And people love it as a classic.

The tradition survives today.  As sitcoms have tried to redress the balance, typically by making the mother the anchor of the family as the father gets in wacky situations, reality TV has become the great bastion of insulting depictions of women (The Hills, Newlyweds, The Anna Nicole Show, lots of shows depicting women as petty, jealous, bitchy, or just plain stupid).  But people will defend the innocence and charm of shows that should have them screaming about what a bunch of dicks were running the show.

Sol Saks was a good person.  The characters he created weren't.