Mermaid’s May 2019 WordPress Tea Party

Stephen Malkmus

The Little Mermaid website belongs to a blogger who organizes month-long tea parties, inclusive blog hops that invite participants to mix and to write collectively on a theme.  I have read some new bloggers, accordingly, and enjoyed some new bloggers accordingly.

May’s theme is “music.” It’s a fun theme. https://www.thelittlemermaid.site/join-in-the-fun-join-in-the-may-2019-tea-party/

While music is not my lifestyle, I hear some.  My taste runs to College Rock, Electropop, Art Rock, Folk-Rock, and Soundtrack.

I can’t play an instrument, but it’s lovely to think of the musicians who make social media the method to make a name for themselves. Before the days of social media, musicians had to count on other resources to become successful.

One song I have a preference for is the Stephen Malkmus single Jenny & the Ess-Dog.  STEPHEN MALKMUS “Jenny & The Ess-Dog” (2000) https://tinyurl.com/yyebecd8

  Malkmus had broken away from his famous band Pavement, and I remember his next band the Jicks did Jenny & the Ess-Dog for his first appearance on David Letterman.  I don’t believe he had ever been on Letterman’s show.

I regard him as a favorite.  Pavement – Perfume-V https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n5qnAwmVTv0

Stephen Malkmus
@EvaMcGreggor

I find music to be a pleasant pastime.  I’ve heard of painters, for example, who play music while they work on a canvas, or the like.  I often play the radio, or the streaming app Spotify, when I blog, do Facebook and Twitter, clean the apartment, those kinds of household business.

I’d like to thank The Little Mermaid for helping with such a great idea as the monthly tea parties.  Such are the fruits of blogging with WordPress.

Let’s hope there are more tea parties down the road and thank you for reading about my experience.

You can see me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/findingenvirons.  You’re welcome to “like” this post, to comment, and/or to “follow.”  Have a beautiful springtime.

Boldness of The Skywalker Saga: Where’d You Go?

Dedicated to a love of Star Wars, Celebration this month in Chicago flabbergasted fans.  The assembly included panel discussions and all manner of Star Wars exhibits, and also celebrity appearances, a teaser for Episode IX, along with trailers for EA’s game Jedi:  Fallen Order, The Clone Wars S7, and The Mandalorian.  The celebration also took a look back at The Phantom Menace, embracing the sci-fi franchise once again.


StarWars.com

I took in some of it owing to its availability on YouTube.  Celebration, I recall, is nine years in the running, and in 2019 it highlights Episode IX.  Celebration revealed the title of Episode IX, and a teaser trailer.  There is excitement in the business sector of the entertainment industry, being the introduction of Disney+.  Disney+ is making available animated features from Disney’s history of films, along with Marvel Cinema Universe titles from the last ten or eleven years, and the Star Wars films, of which by now there are several.

The reason I enjoy Star Wars is that when J. J. Abrams directed The Force Awakens, I felt the excitement that Star Wars was again back speaking to me.  It seemed to again be a film series to be passionate about.

The response following Celebration did not completely line up with the positive outlook of the fortunate people who went to Celebration in person.  While most everybody there loved what’s going on, some of the YouTube channels who discuss Star Wars have mixed feelings, to say the least.  Geeks + Gamers criticized the teaser for Episode IX, The Quartering was dismissive, and a union of voices on the Internet ridiculed reactions that were exuberantly emotional.  All that is best measured against the outpouring of support for the franchise.

It is almost as if there is a guilty conscience about being part of the Fandom Menace and hating The Last Jedi, but still wanting to see what Episode IX is about.  I am sure the average fan does not feel this way.  I waited for The Last Jedi to go to Netflix, but I enjoyed it.


Photographer:
Tim Mossholder

The influence of Star Wars is hard to comprehend, but there is a war indeed between the feelings a fan has for Star Wars in the nineteen seventies and eighties, and equivalent satisfaction with the new trilogy, however much it taps into your experience of Star Wars and however deep it runs within you that the original films were perfect.

Rian Johnson directed The Last Jedi, and while that film was a commercial success, the popular response to the movie, as, for example, those voices on the Internet made known on Rotten Tomatoes, divided the fans.

None of this will be settled until December, but there will be a lot of excitement that grows this summer and fall.  As is typical of hot takes, animosities, apprehension, and outrage for Star Wars will be evident in the backlash that is going, “to battle,” for whatever reasons.

Publishous this month presented the Where’d You Go writing prompt.  Publishous is an 11,000-strong Medium newsletter which presents and highlights Christian writers who seek to make it, in the sense that they are writing because of the compulsion they feel to do so.  Although I’m not a member of Publishous, I look over articles they present, which provide some inspiration to blog in light of their writing prompts.

I am also a volunteer at a cemetery, Maple Lawn Cemetery, and I am their SMM.  You can find out more about us here: http://www.maplelawncemetery.org

Thank you, and please feel welcome to “like,” “follow,” and/or comment.  All the best.

Star Wars Celebration on YouTube: Where’d You Go? Chicago

It’s Good Friday, and I’m having browser issues.  Microsoft put up an alpha version of its Edge browser, and I tried, like a web developer, to surf it before it’s finished, and it lasted maybe three days.

Star Wars Celebration went on from April 11 to April 15 in Chicago.  The celebration is an army of devotees sharing a love of Star Wars.  This year Star Wars Celebration premiered a teaser for Episode IX, a preview of Star Wars series The Mandalorian, the cinema for Jedi:  Fallen Order, and a trailer for S7 of The Clone Wars.  It is all interesting.

Being that this year is 2019 and that Lucasfilm put The Phantom Menace, a prequel film to Star Wars, in the cinema in 1999, the twenty-year anniversary of Phantom Menace was observed.


Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace score
S

Five days is a long time to spend with Star Wars, but between Thursday and Monday a viewer watching the events on the Star Wars YouTube channel got to see the panel discussions each day at 12:00 and 4:00 Chicago time.  Celebration, which I think is nine years running, moves around the US, but this year they put it on in Chicago.  Given the audience’s enthusiasm, it seems like that worked well for them.


Photographer:
donterase

Jedi:  Fallen Order is the name of the EA game that is the first new Star Wars game since Battlefront II.  EA is a notoriously difficult game company.  The decisions EA makes are known to send gamers away.

I suspect Disney needs Episode IX in December to be a sensation if they want their investment in Disney+ to succeed.  Disney+ is the streaming service available this fall, in November, when Disney is making available their animated features, along with the Marvel Cinematic Universe films, the Star Wars films, and The Mandalorian.  Disney+ could rival Netflix, and it is expensive for Disney in the short term, so it is reasonable to think that if Episode IX is a major success, it is an indication Disney+ will do well.

It is hard to anticipate what Netflix is planning in response to its rival.  If there is already talk about what Netflix is going to do, I haven’t caught it.

I believe that Lucasfilm CEO Kathleen Kennedy is leading Lucasfilm for the next ten years, and her decisions to put a lot of roles that are empowering for girls affect her hold on the Star Wars fanbase, because a large number of male fans of Star Wars have made a backlash owing to the perception that they are “toxic.”  A space opera such as Star Wars has a lot of male fans, so the response has been loud about how Star Wars has met its “demise” in the sense that there will never again be a great trilogy.  The next trilogy of Star Wars films is going to be directed by Last Jedi director Rian Johnson.

The Last Jedi was the film that divided the fanbase, perhaps deliberately.  That said, there was a backlash to the Star Wars Prequels, which subsided, so the same may be true of the problems facing the Star Wars Sequels, the films The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi and now Episode IX, concluding the Saga.  Be that as it may, The Mandalorian, continuing Return of the Jedi from 1983, looks fantastic.  Some of the success of Disney+ is probably going to be affected by whether Episode IX proves to be a giant.

Good luck to Lucasfilm.

You’re welcome to “like” this, to follow, and/or to comment.  The inspiration for Where’d You Go? is from the Medium publication newsletter Publishous, 11,000 strong and available every week or two.

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/