SciFi Fandom Pride: Where’d You Go? “He tends to say whatever comes into his circuits.” – Cassian Andor, Rogue One

The Force Awakens

To think about pride, like for me familiarity with popular science fiction, it is true that in 2015, enthusiasm for the Star Wars films, Star Wars fandom, soared nearly beyond measure when Lucasfilm presented the Star Wars film The Force Awakens.

The realization was great that appreciation for the popular trilogy of films of the nineteen seventies and eighties was “striking back,” an achievement again like the success of Star Wars in the spring of 1977.  George Lucas nearly didn’t get his 1977 film made, according to accounts of what happened, and even though it is true that most film projects whether original in scope or not fail to get made, it is an endearing success story that Lucas made the movie.  The phrase “success story” lacks the weight behind what Star Wars actually did to Hollywood cinema, which was as expansive as what became of the Star Wars galaxy a long time ago and far away.


Photographer:
One Idea LLC

The fervor for Star Wars returning in 2015, helmed by J. J. Abrams, was awe-inspiring.  In fact, Star Wars’ ability to create awe is what gives it such a punch.  For The Force Awakens, original cast members from 1977 joined a new cast for a continuation of Return of the Jedi.

The Force Awakens was a giant success and seemed to bring with it the promise that Star Wars would be once more returning with aplomb and dedication.  Despite unravelling the plot of the original Star Wars films by undoing the Rebel Alliance’s success destroying Supreme Chancellor Palpatine, and failing to bring Harrison Ford, the late Carrie Fisher, and Mark Hamill together in The Force Awakens, it was implied that untied ends and more importantly the reunion between the actors from the original movies would appear in Star Wars Episode VIII in 2017, directed by Rian Johnson.

Discouragingly, Johnson’s film about Star Wars horrified and divided the Star Wars fandom, by dismantling thoughtlessly a trove of Star Wars lore, failing to shoot what would have been an extremely important reunion of Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa and Han Solo, and, also front and centre, bringing identity politics into the movie.

There has always been a deep-felt pride in Star Wars and while I’m a Canadian, I felt pride when Star Wars returned loud and strong in 2015 with The Force Awakens.  Then I felt that pride evaporate when I realized that The Last Jedi is potentially ruining Star Wars, which sounds catastrophic and yet is indeed a possibility.  There is every chance that the best science fiction, at least science fiction on film, the best of the entire twentieth century, will be undone if Episode IX fails at the box office.

The rest of Star Wars will be history.

There are voices on the Internet, the fandom, divided by The Last Jedi, that organized and presented a call to Disney to save the glory of Star Wars by insisting CEO Bob Iger and Kathleen Kennedy do the work to successfully market Episode IX, for which we have not yet heard a title or seen a trailer.  Star Wars Celebration is in a few days, helping Star Wars on its way.  Youtuber and filmmaker Star Wars Theory has promised to upload video he’ll shoot at Celebration.  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8CbFnDTYkiVweaz8y9wd_Q

In the event that Episode IX is good, the Star Wars fandom will unite, and pride will spread throughout.

If the film flops, Star Wars will go to that great “clearance bin” in the sky.  I hope very much for pride but chances are it is through.

You are welcome to click “like,” to follow the blog, and/or to comment.

Will this be the #spring in history that sees curtains for YouTube?

While the protests and the petition signatures were clear, the directive to restrict copyrighted material, known as Article 13 in the EU, received a “yes.”

Video on YouTube will likely no longer include “remixed” content once individual nations of the EU establish how they’re going to legislate protection for mainstream media, its images, film clips, and music.  For years now, the Internet has taken liberties in the name of freedom, to borrow from established media and then return to it transformative work, for the purpose of review, satire, parody and other kinds of humor.  This will likely end.

On YouTube, content filters for video uploads could become stodgy, and uninventive.  Removing freedoms to speak with ideas recycled from mainstream media inhibits Internet creators’ ability to articulate.  These come in the form of memes, even when it is an upset to the original, and identities in solidarity with views closely held to championed archetypes.  In the face of traditional media protected by Article 17 in the EU, emerging voices can and will fall by the wayside.

School bus pausing at Louth United Church, St. Catharines

If the nations of the EU no longer can upload or view content that contains copyrighted elements, for YouTube, a platform that facilitates hundreds of millions of hours of new and original video every day, doors are closing for what is a livelihood for hardworking creators.

In addition, the possibility that social accounts would be charged fees to link to webpages is a terrible limitation for small bloggers, with pages that have no hope of affording such a privilege.  This was the spring, 2019, that Articles 11 and 13 became Article 17.  There is every possibility that the restrictions on uploading copyrighted content in the EU will drift into the same freedoms available regardless where the Internet is accessed and overtake them.

A content filter is complex; it could be, despite how valuable original content is for Google and for Facebook and Twitter, that content filters will only function effectively if they are applied universally, and not just in the EU.  This could be a matter of months or years from now, but the challenges facing the EU, by creators on YouTube, and users enjoying social, and the right of Google to chart the world as it’s understood online, should be informing you.  You should at least consider the possibility that you need to be informed.

Photographer:
Kelly Sikkema

An Internet structured around Article 17 will heavily favor the promotion of mainstream media.  Independent voices will lose the opportunity to include portions of copyrighted media, and this could mean a “talking head” style of video on YouTube rather than video containing the freedoms we enjoy now.  All art and video would be required to be free of copyrighted material, which I think is a practical impossibility.

There are creators who thrive on the “remix” of media images or industry music or PC games.  Formerly, they were smart enough to make a living doing that, and exceptionally.  Their opportunities are going to disappear.

The outcome of Article 17 in the EU is only just beginning to take shape, but there will be changes for Facebook and Twitter and YouTube that Article 13 is necessitating, the requirement to filter content video users upload.  Users on the Internet, with the support of the infrastructure of YouTube and Google, will have to strategize differently once Article 17 goes into effect.  It is a sea change.

You are welcome to “like” this post, to follow the blog, and/or to leave a comment.  Whatever your age, if you are interested in tech, you stand alongside the brightest minds challenging the narrative of the mainstream media.

How a #spring ruling on Content Curations made me a better person

My sister and I write friendly letters to each other by email, every other month or so.  She wrote to me this spring that she lately read Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People.”  She said the book impacted her interpersonal interactions at work.

Yesterday morning I opened my content curation tools on the internet, and to my surprise, the app appeared completely redone.  I had little idea of where to start.  If I’d never taken the notes that I did, I would have been at a disadvantage given that I needed to start over.


Photographer:
Jeffrey Betts

I work in a mostly volunteer capacity at a cemetery off the beaten track.  We operate a graveyard.  I put in duties as an SMM in order to reach the outside world.  http://www.maplelawncemetery.org

What the app revamp did was to require me to get honest about what I am interested in doing.  The reality of whether the more fringe areas of my research were or weren’t going to fly in the face of other people squarely confronted me.  Some of my ideas just weren’t going to work, I saw.

Our Facebook page is small, only sixty-five or seventy people, but those people aren’t going to be swayed, I now believe, by where I was putting my nose if I am being transparent.

There is an idea in business that employees don’t work for the boss, that in fact, the boss works for the employees, and it is true with our page.  I am an SMM, but I work for the people who like the page.  I don’t have the freedom to indulge every avenue I want to if I don’t want the people I speak to laughing at me, and it is probably true that new people I might interest will have similar sensibilities to those who are already involved.

If I’m not confident in my ability to bring my interests to the attention of those I work for, the people who like our Facebook page, I realize now that I can’t expect any newcomers to have any different opinion than those with who I already have a connection.

This is how the spring ruling for the content curation tools instantly makes me a better person.  

I am lucky.  While the reworking of the content curation tools is for relevancy’s sake, and while my hands are tied as to how to go forward from here, facing a truth that I wasn’t formerly comfortable with facing is now a solution.  I hadn’t been aware this was a problem, and without my input a solution presented itself.

I had envisioned that I would find a strategy to make this work when the time came, and the time came yesterday.  With fresh eyes, I began to see how to use the tools going forward.  In the process, I became, in a small way, a more honest person, at least more honest about what I am doing on Facebook and on Twitter.

As the Buddhist maxim states, “Never lie, cheat, or steal.”  I got a little more spiritual, yesterday, you might say.  It was unexpected all the same.

Maple Lawn Cemetery is on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/LouthUnited 

Maple Lawn Cemetery

I’m on Twitter at https://twitter.com/findingenvirons  

My content curation tools are provided by DrumUp, an app found on the world wide web at https://drumup.io (a shoutout).  The DrumUp starter plan is inexpensive and it offers a lot of use for someone with a business model utilizing Facebook, Twitter, and/or LinkedIn.

You’re welcome to “like” this post, to follow the blog, or to comment.  Have a great spring.

Why Do People Think Pathfinder Version Two is a Good Idea?

Ten years ago the gaming company Paizo introduced the first season of the tabletop RPG Pathfinder to the public.  In the nine years since each year there’s been an additional season until now we are Season 10.  Each season brought with it new ideas for players of the role-playing game.

In 2016 the Humble Bundle website again made Pathfinder available in exchange for its usual “pay-what-you-like” model.  Humble Bundle accepts funds for charity in exchange for what are usually digital materials for gaming.  It was season six when I saw the opportunity on Humble Bundle to make a charitable donation in exchange for a lovely gaming bundle of digital materials for Pathfinder.

My twitter handle is @findingenvirons and my blog is found at https://findingenvirons1.blog …so that’s why I wanted to learn some of the rules of Pathfinder.  Pathfinder is a fantasy environment to explore and combat.  Characters representing players of the game are customized to keep many choices open when players put together a class, ancestry, and background.

Looking from Louth United Church in St. Catharines for a glimpse of Maple Lawn Cemetery

Looking into what’s happening with Pathfinder, I went to Pathfinder publisher Paizo’s blog.  I saw that Wednesday, February 13, 2019 Paizo announced that they are preparing version two of Pathfinder to improve upon the existing game.  Playtest is over, so what’s the plan? https://paizo.com/community/blog

At this time Humble Bundle has brought back its offer of accepting funds for charity in exchange for more digital materials of the game, now in Season 10.

For $8 (about CA$10.58) Pathfinder game supplements Shattered Star 1 and 2 of 6 are included, along with several digital gamebooks for Pathfinder. For $15 (about CA$19.84) Shattered Star 3 and 4 of 6 become available along with many others.  For $18 (about CA$23.80), all of Shattered Star unlocks, along with many, many others.

If you’re interested in pursuing this, you will have to act soon.  https://www.humblebundle.com/books/pathfinder-10th-anniversary-books

Version Two will be streamlined, but consistent, with the original design of Pathfinder.  Tactical play will remain similar.  Likewise, magical items will be similar to how they were in the first version.


Photographer:
Skitter Photo

On August 2nd Paizo started playtesting to ensure that Pathfinder version two will be as fun and as effective to play as the original version.  Paizo made the reveal at Gen Con 2018.

Although I’ve never, strictly speaking, been part of playing Pathfinder, being familiar with how of the game works is of interest to me.  It reminds me of playing Dungeons & Dragons, which is where the game Pathfinder began (creators of Pathfinder at first intended it to be a refinement of D&D’s “3.5”).  I may pursue Season 10 for my own reasons, to get additional insight into Pathfinder, so that I better relate to players of the tabletop RPG.

It is exciting to think that this new edition is becoming available after ten years of popularity already.

To get a more accurate picture of what’s happening with Pathfinder, I turned to Quora for information.  Although perhaps odd, I put my question to Quora this way:  How would you recommend I proceed in anticipating the Pathfinder RPG version two?

Monday I received four answers.

Todd Gardiner, from Hieroglyph Photography, said this:

“If you anticipate an upcoming product, I would recommend you buy it.

“Not really sure what other advice you are seeking here. ‘How do I anticipate something?’ isn’t really a question most people ask.”

Given his constructive criticism, I see the value of his advice.

Ryan Marshall, the author of Gishes & Goblins, answered this way:

“Try not to worry about it, until it’s actually published. The beta test of the rules was a wide departure from the first edition, but it was also poorly received, so there’s no way to anticipate the scope of the changes they might implement.”

This was a problematic answer because Marshall is saying that the beta test possibly won’t stand the test of a comparison to the first version of Pathfinder.  This is a very different point of view than the other three answers I received.

Steffen Häuser, playing Pen&Paper Games for 30 years, had this to say:

“Just play them. Me and my friends who before played 5e got ourselves some copies of the printed beta rules (available on amazon) and just started playing. Imho 2nd edition pf is hugely better than both dnd 5e and Pathfinder 1st editiob” (sp).

In contrast to Marshall’s answer, Steffen here is offering the point of view that the new version is superior to the first.  A complete opposite of Marshall’s opinion!

Nelson Cunnington, a player since the 70s, said this:

“You need a plan to anticipate something? I can only suggest the usual eager looking-forward, interspersed with impatience that it isn’t coming quicker and depression that it hasn’t happened yet.”

I think Cunnington is looking at the situation with humor.

I did get one more answer a few days later.  This is what one “Richard Bachman” had to say:

“I would avoid major purchases of Pathfinder 1 books until you see how things shake out in your area. If I enjoyed Pathfinder 1 (which I do), I would personally feel no need to change editions unless all my friends insisted on doing so and I could no longer find Pathfinder 1 games.”

Another fine response.

I hope the publisher Paizo continues to be successful, and also earns many charitable donations.  Humble Bundle facilitates charitable giving in exchange for the enormous value of digital materials for play.

If you enjoyed this post, you’re welcome to “like,” follow me and/or comment.  If you play Pathfinder, I am particularly interested!

Paizo Announces Pathfinder Second Edition for Summer 2018

Posted by Rob Wieland on March 7, 2018

https://geekandsundry.com/paizo-announces-pathfinder-second-edition-for-summer-2018/

Mermaid’s February 2019 WordPress Tea Party

The very courteous Little Mermaid returns, for another tea party. Her theme, this month, is making confessions. The tell I want to bring, to the party, is how roadblocked, I’ve been, by Zork.

I know I am in a sense very old. Have you played Zork? It’s a game where you explore a dungeon and combat monsters.

Your commands for playing Zork typically consist of two words apiece, often a verb and a noun, short and sweet.  It commands hours of your time if you are among the dedicated.

Did you run Java? It once boasted a solid three billion devices did. I’d sit, sometimes, on the main page of a Java site, to read chat remarks.


Photographer:
Elliott Chau

In college, a savvy young woman from Scarborough got to know me a little. Her name was Julie, and she was a singer. I’m sure she knew nothing about Zork.

All the same, Julie was outright a rock star on Livejournal. Her email was routed by beer.com, appropriately fashionable for that subculture.

When she wrote, ”it’s called myspace, and there are millions of brilliant people,” I was taken aback. I’d played Zork, in a retro edition. Facing the myspace site, I had a silent question.

“How do I move to the next room?” It was weird. Years later, Christmas, 2016, my very smart nephew referred to that, nonsense in the distant past.

I remember, because of Rogue One, a Star Wars Story. About IRC, “Justacrap,” my brother’s boy pronounced with scorn. Discounting me?

For wasting time with websites? Can you believe that? Sure, I made friends one way or another, but those people are now gone.

It wasn’t the sum of my activities, I guess. Truth be told, I was rotten at Zork, too.

The tea parties are great. You can find that blog here: https://thelittlemermaid09.wordpress.com

Resolutions for 2019

Seeking ideas for this small blog of mine, I began last month to refer to the weekly newsletter Publishous.  Publishous is a little more than a year old, with about 5800 supporters.  The newsletter is a collection of semi-connected ideas about content and the like and includes a writing prompt.

Formerly I would refer to WordPress’ own daily prompts before that came to an end, owing, I presume, to WordPress no longer wishing to organize their once-a-day prompts.

The prompt for the current newsletter is Resolutions.  I am late because I did less work between Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

As you know, the custom among many New Year’s revelers is to identify resolutions for the coming year that mark a life change.  Resolutions can be in the spirit of fun, or they can be difficult to declare if a resolution requires the kind of change that is hard to make.

I kind of hate resolutions because I cannot think of useful ones.  I do have a few tactics ready, for better productivity in 2019.

I was inspired in 2018 to read Robert Greene’s book The 48 Laws of Power.  This book was a difficult read, but rich enough with great ideas to benefit from having read the book.  Even though 2019 was far off, I thought to resolve to make some attempt to apply the book to my strategy in the year ahead.

I was not confident that I could apply much of The 48 Laws of Power until I came across a Twitter account that helps by mentioning ideas from Greene’s book–
https://twitter.com/48tweetsofpower

I want to apply more commitment to the areas of work for which I am already present.

My digital social interactions are largely confined to Facebook and Twitter.

At the cemetery, we have been working together since 2011, and we soon thought that a page for the work we do would be useful.

Maple Lawn Cemetery, St. Catharines

On Twitter, I don’t specifically refer to details of the work I do with my dad.  Instead, I tweet a few articles, generally about tech, and some about charity and a few other concepts.  I have the idea that, if I do this, it could prove useful.

On Facebook, real “real estate” is hard to market, because of the competition among business users, to make ads which are interesting.  I wish my dad and I had a marketing budget, but we don’t.

Most of the work I do for my dad’s little business is done on a volunteer basis, and I rarely include a call-to-action that deliberately invites business (you could say I leave money on the table).  It’s just not my responsibility.

That’s all part of why I struggle with effective New Year’s resolutions.  It is frustrating to think that life improvement could be worked out without a yin and yang down-side, that depletes the benefit of strategy in business, and in life.  I want to check the work in case there is a down-side, that I am blind to, that could defeat me.

I want to blog at approximately the same pace at which the newsletter prompts are e-mailed, in Publishous.  You may wish to check it out for yourself.

The spirit of the blog is to put out an “ask” identifying that I’m interested in taking “real world” work online and also that I’m capable as a creator, to use the buzzword, to keep active in a role which for now is valuable to my dad’s business in terms of the results I effect.  I’m an optimist.


Photographer:
Jiyeon Park

Thank you for reading my post here, and good luck with your own blogging in 2019. Take care, and all the best.

15 Ways the Most Youthful Adherent to Video Research is Totally Overrated. Part III

Cats at play
Kittens
Dimensions: 6000 x 3376
Photographer:
Redd Angelo
Dimensions: 5616 x 3744
Photographer:
Greg Rakozy

This post is intended as the conclusion to two earlier posts, written and published recently.

Not to say that video doesn’t have many, many uses, sometimes even critical, I have thought of some observations debunking video.  Information learned from video research can be useful, particularly if it is assembled in a blog shared on Facebook.

I feel, historically, video research does not hold up given its artifice as evidence.  With good editing, that difficulty is somewhat rectified.  Here are five more ways that video research is overrated.  These are ways that video does not provide any more substantive information than where is otherwise available.

 

  1. Twitter’s Vine, now Periscope launched people with a genius for shooting six-second long videos, usually intended to be funny, meaning that if you were a creator with a knack for coming up with hilarious six-second videos.  On Vine, you could build a reputation and attract an audience.  The problem is that Vine came to an abrupt end because behind the scenes Twitter was continually working on becoming profitable and Vine didn’t enter the equation.
    Therefore the six-second video format of Vine left the Internet.  This is an example how video did not work in a specialized format that was “cool,” new and stimulating.
  2. Another way that video has failed the mainstream is the interesting but absurd idea that you can video-record phenomena, like Bigfoot, or UFOs.  An idea of going on an expedition to get a video recording of Bigfoot in his natural habitat, or UFOs in the night sky, often gets debunked by skeptics as “hoax.”  True experiences with phenomena of this kind go with a lot of excitement and potentially lasts only briefly.
    Videos of this kind are often derided, despite, of course, the additional risk that goes with trying to capture evidence of what’s alien and supernatural.  Also, there is the problem of informing on mysteries which government authorities commonly downplay.  If you want specifics about extraterrestrial astronauts, I think you will have a hard time procuring verifiable video recordings.
    It is not video research you can easily manage, despite popularity on television and on the internet.  “NASA Astronauts Discuss Extraterrestrial Life” https://binged.it/2Ga1mXi Extraterrestrial Laboratory
  3. Celebrity video recordings are not a reliable example of a video that can be examined for research purposes.  A celebrity sells a brand.  Observations made by the celebrity have an end goal in mind, not a general desire to be casually revealed.
    Researching the brand might be an approach, however, to video research that you could apply, but I think finding both a starting point and an endpoint could be difficult.  It might even take researching techniques for analyzing a brand if you’ve never studied that.  I doubt that you will find in a video the best information about analyzing a brand.
    That being said, I have no doubt you can earn the skill-set to analyze a brand as it’s represented in a video.  I think the evidence for the success of the brand would be better extrapolated by looking at the brand in the market apart from its appearance in a video context.  To be fresh, I think you would have to apply some expert touches.
  4. Coaching lessons in packages of a student-ready video may turn out to be somewhat dull in comparison to more novel approaches to learning.  A year ago I enjoyed completing a great WordPress course.  I took photos over the course of a couple of weeks, learning a little about photography with each and making something out of each lesson.
    I liked learning like that.  https://findingenvirons1.blog/2018/01/01/doggedly-capturing-developing-your-eye-themes-to-ring-in-the-new-year/
    If you have an opportunity to do some organized learning, I tend to think it is more fun if you can find applications you can apply in real life.  Try referencing research sources, perhaps some interactive, other than just video lessons, and I am thinking in addition about getting around the price of the video information, if it is part of a curriculum, belying how useful the information is.
    For example, a life coach offering videos to elevate your self-esteem could prove fruitless if you can’t make the lessons work, or if your intention falters and you no longer are acting in the manner required by the video curriculum.  This is important to note.  You can apply change only as much as you are mentally prepared to.
  5. I want to wrap this up with the suggestion that video research could have you preoccupied and unfocused what with possibilities opening for you that are more and more seductive and complicated.  You should remember your focus; you are not going to benefit by wasting time.
    Too much video and you are not getting done anything that’s worthwhile.  I feel if you are a consumer of video from a small number of creators who have focused themselves on something relatable, the focus that puts you amid them is what will keep you thinking consistently.  By that, I mean thinking in a way that organic learning, by a process of discovery, rather than by merely looking aimlessly, will be of some benefit to you.
    Your critical thinking may engage if you proceed this way.  I would put it to you to learn in this fashion.

 

This has been a three-part post about video research and how video research is over-rated.  If you enjoyed it, you’re welcome to like this post.  You can follow and subscribe as well.  Thank you again for reading me.