Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Minimum Wage Laws

"The middle class didn't exist until federal minimum wage laws!"

False. Federal minimum wage started in 1938. America had a burgeoning middle class for at least 50 years prior to this. There was some state minimum wage laws, but mainly for women and children. Minimum wage laws have no causal connection to the beginning of America's middle class.

The more you know!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Most Folks

If you use the phrase "most folks," make sure you mean a majority and can back it up with numbers. For example, Independent voters plus the centrist elements of the two main parties. That's "most folks." You can also use it anecdotally to mean your personal experience without trouble.

It's a useful and inoffensive phrase, but use it responsibly. See also "many people."

Friday, June 16, 2017

Tidbits

Those days when my brain says, "Oh, you want to prep for school? Nope! Creative writing time!"

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Random Customer Moment

This happened earlier today:

Customer walks in off the street.

"Are you guys goo?"

"What?" I replied.

"Are you guys goo?"

"Goo?"

"Are you hard of hearing?"

The customer walks out.

I heard him just fine. His question made no damn sense. Anyone else have similar tales?

Pokemon GO Reactions

Pokemon GO was a huge part of the summer of 2016 for me, though I'd later stop playing due to the ongoing issues it had. Here are some reactions I had as the game was being rolled out.

--

Install starting! Now I shall finally be a Pokemon PROFESSOR! Muah ha ha ha!

I have to use my James voice whenever I'm on this app. And make it double!

Pokemon GO installed! Now I wait for tomorrow when they get more servers running.

Would it have killed them to adapt the English anime first opening theme for Pokemon GO?

Charmander! I shall train him until he takes his final form. A MOTHER LOVING DRAGON!

First wild catch: Pidgey. I named him Grackle. His main attack shall be "poop."

Going to hunt Pokemon at work tomorrow during lunch. I'm curious what I find. Mostly getting grass, poison, and bug types here.

Caught a Pidgey and a Taurus at work. Named the former Cock and the latter Bull. Great story there.

Two Pokestops and a gym right near where I work. Ah, yeah.

I need to remember to point my camera at something interesting when a Pokemon pops up so I can take funny screen shots.

Level 5! Joined Team Valor (Red). Going by mission statement, Team Mystic (Blue) is more my style, but red is my favorite color and that beats it.

...I'm betting the head of Mystic is a glasses girl, though. I have a feeling.

Valor is Gryffindor and Mystic is Ravenclaw. (Which has me going against type for once.)
Let's all agree that Team Instinct is the Hufflepuff.

I'd be further along with Pokemon GO if the server would stay up during my lunch hour, when I'm near two stops and a gym. I've barely been able to use either stop as is and still haven't been able to add a Pokemon to a gym yet.

When I transfer a weak Pokemon, I imagine it's going to a candy factory where it's chopped and squeezed into the free candy the Professor gives you. The strong feed on their weaker brethren to grow more powerful!

Went walking through Rutland doing Pokemon GO. Ended up in a park, met two guys. Also playing Pokemon. And they were Team Valor! Nice.

Yay, lunch time at work. So of course the Pokemon servers are down.

Servers popped back up at the end of my lunch - just in time to see the double lures put on the two nearby Pokestops. Caught quite a few, including some new ones. Also met another couple Go players who work down the road.

I found a place to order Team Rocket t-shirts online. Tempted to get one in white and black.

Climbed down into a drainage field to catch an Ekans, Eevee, and Poliwag all clustered together. Totally worth it.

First Eevee evolution: Flareon! Do I name her Sailor Mars, Phoenix, or something else?

Caught a Ghastly, then my phone died. As I was catching him, had a person drive by and shout, "Are you playing Pokemon?" Second time that's happened. Also met half a dozen players near my work now.

Not bad. Pokémon servers are staying up during my lunch now so I can hit the two nearby stops.

Blanche is trash waifu. I mean, no glasses?! Seriously?! TRAAAAASH.

That feeling when you sing the Digimon theme while evolving your Pokemon.

I don't understand how folks had Eevee evolutions over a thousand but now I'm the same level they were and only getting 500's.

--

During work: Ugh, I'm on my feet. I'm in pain. Ugh. Want to sit down.

After work: Oh, the server isn't down. I'm going to walk to that gym finally!

--

Tip: like Ingress, Pokemon GO can sense when you're in a car by speed. If you move 20 mph or less, it thinks you're either biking or running. Past that and it won't measure. Tested that today. Good way to level up an egg while driving slow through local streets.

--

Not serious Pokemon GO questions:
  1. Will Missing No. take over your phone and delete everything?
  2. How many children must be stacked into a pile of corpses to summon Mew?
  3. When will we have projectors that can put the Pokemon out for everyone to see?

--

For those wondering why I'm into Pokemon GO when I don't normally do video games, this is easy to explain:

Pokemon GO is my first Pokemon game.

I watched the show and read the manga. In fact, I remember watching the very first episodes when it premiered on UPN on weekday afternoons - before Warner Brothers bought it. But I never got into the CCG (I did Magic) and I never owned a handheld system for the video games. This has been the first release I can play on a machine I own.

So I can happily say Charmander is my very first and only starter. Just like I always wanted as a kid.

--

Serious Pokemon GO question: I have enough candy to start evolving some of my Pokemon. Should I only evolve those with the highest combat points? Does that matter? Or can I evolve whoever? 

Experiment: testing if the CP of the evolutionary antecedent Pokemon is positively correlated with the CP of the evolutionary descendant.

The test: two Pidgeys. One at CP 42 and the other at CP 10. They were both evolved to Pidgeotto with candy.

Result: The CP 42 Pidgey became a CP 80 Pidgeotto. The CP 10 Pidgey became a CP 15 Pidgeotto.

Conclusion: Assuming the CP isn't totally random, evolving a stronger Pokemon provides a stronger next stage. So strengthen them before evolving to get the best results.

--

Current Charmander naming scheme:
  1. Chamander - Agumon
  2. Charmelon - Grimlock
  3. Charizard - Godzilla
--

Why Team Valor? Valor is red. In anime and sentai visual vocabulary, it means you're the LEADER. You are the Red Ranger. You wear the goggles among the DigiDestined. You are the boy who will become Hokage, and then go on to be King of the Pirates. YOUR DRILL WILL PIERCE THE HEAVENS!

That is #teamvalorlife.

"Go Team Valor!" Say this ala the Venture Bros.

--

Pokémon Go algorithm right now:

1. Do not evolve Pokémon piecemeal. Do it all at once in a huge wave with a Lucky Egg in place.

2. Stockpile Pokémon to evolve. Pidgey has one of the best ratios of candy required to XP gained in the game.

3. If you can't evolve a Pokemon yet, transfer lower CP until you get there. Once you have enough, wait per step 1.

4. If you have candy to evolve more than one of the same kind, keep that number and scrap the rest. Do this until the number you can evolve increases.

5. Repeat until you can do a full 30 minutes of nothing but evolutions with a Lucky Egg. You'll get 1000 XP minimum each time. More if a new form.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Remembering Oliver Clarke

I learned that a friend, Oliver Clarke, passed away recently. He and I had fallen out of communication the last few months as he'd moved to another city. I wanted to honor Oliver by sharing memories of him.

Like many, I met him through conventions. He was Kenpachi, the tall gruff character from Bleach. He looked and acted the part. His voice boomed and he presented himself with never ending self assurance.

At a convention in 2016, I was being stalked by an ex and one of her enabler friends. Oliver learned of my situation and immediately stepped up. He knew they'd gotten a room at my hotel to try and track me down, so he offered a space in his room so I could get away from them. I didn't even have to ask - he made the offer out of the blue. Helping people in a bind was something he liked to do.

While I was working on my tabletop game, Oliver was one of the early playtesters. He gave us great feedback, especially on the difference of players and NPC's. He suggested ideas for faculties that remain in the book to this day.

Oliver worked at a FLGS that I liked to frequent for a while. He was always engaging and outgoing. His voice filled the store with his views on anime and merchandise. He made you want to be passionate about his passions, like Weiss Schwarz or Bleach.

I remember him as a man who knew what he loved and loved it fully. He loved his children and his hobbies. It amazes me how full a life he had, while still being 2 years my junior. I always viewed him as older from the way he behaved.

Oliver was a good man and one I will miss.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Ghostbusters (2016)

As expected, McKinnon and Hemsworth were the best things here. And they were VERY funny. McKinnon made every scene she was in better for it. Hemsworth had a lot of fun and that comes through. Worth the price of a ticket.

Holtzman is among my new favorite science characters. I don't give a damn about her sexuality. I'd do science with her anytime.


I want a film that focuses on McKinnon being a science geek who seduces all who cross her path with her awkwardness and quirk, while winning the day with crazy inventions. Do it action-comedy style with someone competent at the helm who can handle quirky, like the Coen Brothers, Terry Gilliam, or Barry Sonnenfeld (on a good day). For bonus points, make it steampunk so the world can be as strange as its star.

I want the comics to have a multidimensional crossover between the original and the new. Mainly so Holtzman and Egon can compare tech, fall head over heels, and bang as (literal) sparks fly. In addition to flirting with techno babble, they'd exchange snacks: Egon his sweets, Holtzman her salty.

Egon: Would you like a Twinkie?
Holtzman: Sure. Have a salty parabola.

Wiig tried. She really did. She was a good straight woman in the beginning, then became forgettable. The material failed to give her a character arc. This is especially disappointing because Wiig's character was new - she doesn't correspond to Murray, while the other three are tied to their predescessors. She was the character by which the movie could have found its own voice and themes and that opportunity was squandered.

Did anyone else notice the rather significant missing scene with Wiig's character after she gets the book from the main villain? One second they're exiting the hotel having been fake arrested and then she's in a bathrobe looking at the book. Combine this with her saving the other three from the balloons when they roll out without her.

I think after the arrest she did a, "That's it! I quit! Bye!" scene. So the part where she suits up again is supposed to be a big come back and ties into her "I won't leave you this time" line to McCarthy in the end. Why they edited this out I don't know, since it would've actually introduced some tension and character that she needed. As is, it looks like she was just further away from the action when the apocalypse started.
 
Leslie Jones could have done a decent job. The problem? She was given some truly awful racial stereotyping. Holy cow. That was jarring and bad. I liked the bit where she knew city history. But it was overshadowed by the rest of the bad archetypes as well as poor editing for her character. (One second she's joining, then she's regretting it, but nothing has happened to cause that.) This is an odd case where a minority character from the 80's (Winston) is a less racist portrayal than a modern take.

McCarthy was where jokes went to die. You know how Megan Fox brought down TMNT? That's McCarthy here. Just awful. Total miscast. Feig's fault. Even when she had good lines her delivery and timing sucked.

There are some good jokes and good scenes. Best? McKinnon busting out her dual wield pistols. That fight scene was AMAZING. Straight out of Girl Genius. The Hemsworth interview was the first place in the film I laughed out loud (though Holtzman made me smile before that).

However, there's no heart to the film, just effects and looks. The friendship story of Wiig and McCarthy is inconsequential and given no weight. There are no character arcs. Several plot points are sloppy and fall flat. This was supposed to be a tale of science heroines saving the day, but it failed to evoke the emotions of camaraderie. This lies squarely on Feig, who was not up to the task of delivering anything more consequential than a poor imitation of the original.

Should you see it? Yes, for McKinnon and Hemsworth. Holtzman was just wonderful. I'd be raving even harder if all four had been on that level of performance. The final fight is also nice, though the ending is anti-climatic. This is not a total train wreck like the first trailer implied, but it is not good or great. Mediocre.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Tidbits

“Political tags — such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth — are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire.”

— Robert A. Heinlein, “The Notebooks of Lazarus Long”

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Finding Dory

I enjoyed Finding Dory overall, but it's not as good as Finding Nemo.

The strength of the original was that both Nemo and Marlin grew as characters. Here, Dory gets most of the development, but it isn't really through any realizations or maturity. They stretch believability even further with this installment, to the point it starts to get a bit much. Remember "all drains go to the ocean?" Yeah, it's worse. Salt water fish can apparently breath any kind of water anywhere. 

My biggest issue is that it seems to teach acting without forethought and that it's good to move on instinct alone. Not the sort of lesson I agree with, unlike the lessons of the first (there's a time to let go, overcome your fears and stand on your own). The lack of a strong lesson makes this a more shallow experience overall.

The humor is good and there are some very adorable parts, though. I recommend seeing it if you liked the first.