Online Coward

I have friends that blog Anonymously to protect their jobs, their family, their privacy. I censor myself constantly because I am professional enough to know where to draw the line that I try to use to protect my job. Protects, not guarantee, because I am sure that saying things online can have repercussions beyond.

When I lived back in Michigan nerdrage ensued in one of the forums I used to frequent. One of the people started making very serious threats and it just so happens that most of the people in that forum were highly competent with computers. Finding that person’s personal information was pretty simple and cops were knocking on a door I believe that same day. Sure, the threats and insults were empty, and the guy was not man enough to say them face to face in the next big meet up (which btw he never attended.) Anonymity in that case was just in the dude’s brain.

Nuke always says that alcohol removes inhibition but does not make anyone do anything. I wholeheartedly agree. I think the sense of anonymity and disconnect of the internet does something similar.

The internet is in an uproar for the last couple of days since Google was court ordered to release the identity of a blogger. She ran a site talking crap about models, specifically one model that apparently was someone she knew IRL (In Real Life). Now the cowardly blogger, that spewed the venom towards the probably not completely innocent model, is suing Google for $15 mil. This has huge ramifications legally because it sets a lot of precedent in the area of anonymity on the internet.

I have never felt like I could put content on the web and be anonymous. I have encountered plenty of trolls throughout my internet adventures, but not many have any substance or staying power. They come and go and even quicker when they are totally “anonymous.”

I think the blogger that was calling models “skanks” was just bitter and jealous of something she probably could not be or obtain. Any time I see people trying to criticize others on a personal level, I am sad for them because they are obviously trying to cover up the sadness that it is their own life. Why are so many grown ups acting like they were back in high school? How is there a blogger out there that has the desire or even the time to create content just to attack another human being? Pretty pathetic.

I am glad that a big portion of the people that read my blog know me in real life, know that my name is actually John and that I am the same person online and off. I actually enjoy being public and thanks to that I have an awesome group of friends that I met through the internet. Think of it, I might just switch my blogroll around to people that I know IRL and people that I would love to meet!

Le Weekend

Bea and I had a pretty full weekend ahead of us when Friday came around and we were able to wrestle it to the ground.

Friday kipkillagin and I had our first play date lunch together (are you reading this @queentuffy!)

Saturday even “The West” became more than just fictional characters in Banky‘s mind (I TOLD YOU THEY WERE REAL PEOPLE!!!). I even managed to be groped by a waiter related to @Taracuda in the barbecue joint where the (some random mathematical calculation) armadillos were playing. Watching a trailer with Meesha (next time bring chips with the salsa dude) and then have him describe Avatar’s new trailer as “Titanic f@cks Narnia.”

*Takes Deep Breath*

Then we needed to meet the love birds (@wrytir @kayhaswings) that were at the #KCTweetup with the local geek king and his queen (I wonder what the process to apply to be like a Count would be). Cardinal taunting by @arogersphotos and @vivid13 followed by good (@angelchrys) and (@markvanbaale) interesting blowing.

As if it was not enough the tour continued with an almost drunken trampstamping and talk of a sparkly frozen object that I rather not discuss ever again. Thanks for the hospitality @average_jane(Thank Alex for the tour of the studio, it almost makes me want to start practicing the guitar again).

All the running around was not enough, we even managed to do what seemed like all of our laundry at once (I swear somebody else is sneaking their laundry into our pile), watch Grand Torino (or the reverse Karate Kid as I will call it from now on), more BSG, mass (I don’t like going to the Spanish one because the hyms were monotonous and distracting enough to actually made me forget “Our Father”) and sushi!

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District 9 (****)

From Wikipedia

Apartheid—meaning separateness in Afrikaans (which is cognate to the English apart and -hood)—was a system of legal racial segregation enforced by the National Party government in South Africa between 1948 and 1994.

Racial segregation in South Africa began in colonial times, but apartheid as an official policy was introduced following the general election of 1948. New legislation classified inhabitants into racial groups (black, white, coloured, and Indian), and residential areas were segregated by means of forced removals. From 1958, Blacks were deprived of their citizenship, legally becoming citizens of one of ten tribally based self-governing homelands or bantustans, four of which became nominally independent states. The government segregated education, medical care, and other public services, and provided black people with services inferior to those of whites.

Good movies about Aliens expose some of the worse traits and weaknesses in humans. They also highlight how we have redeeming qualities. Movies that move people to tears are a lot more common than movies that make you feel uncomfortable. I dislike violence towards children of any form, even when it is just simply alluded to. District 9 is a very violent movie and not for people with weak stomachs, certainly not for children.

I have huge issues with shaky camera work. I understand the realism that it tries to convey, but that was one of my biggest concerns going into this movie. I have really bad motion sickness when it comes to movie and video games with crappy graphics. I discovered how bad it can be from a movie after watching The Blair Witch project. It protected me watching Cloverfield, but this movie had a trailer that made me curious enough to want to watch it. So when some friends put a movie and dinner night together and when they offered this as one of the movie choices we jumped at the opportunity.

I am not a Peter Jackson fanboy. I did love LoTR but disliked the horrible mess that King Kong was. District 9 more than makes up for it and really becomes a feather on his cap on making things that are not real seem very believable.

The movie begins looking more like a documentary. The main character is someone that you cannot quite like or dislike. It almost feels like he is being set up to die any time. It is hard to tell when or if there is a transition from movie style to documentary and back. It feels voyeuristic at moments but then in a second you are immersed into the story.

The movie is social and political commentary at its best, but the most important commentary in my opinion is about humanity. If you like history you will see highlighted many of the atrocities that humanity has committed on itself, the kicker for me was how easily justifiable this becomes once humanity is removed from the equation. It is sad that still in this day and age so many topics from the genocides in Africa to immigration people so easily remove humanity from the debate.

Our ill fated “hero” begins partaking on the removal of aliens from District 9 to their new more concentration camp like location, District 10. The aliens just showed up one day, and after neither doom nor salvation came from their mother ship we broke in to find out malnourished people that became earths refugees.

Everything that is wrong with people “relocation” in various forms in our world was highlighted during this part of the movie. From the dubious legality of “property” to the arrogance of talking down to people that do not understand “our” system. It was specially graphic to see that killing other beings was a matter of stepping over the bodies and picking up the pieces of your fallen comrades.

Then a single event highlighted by stupidity by the main character sends everything in motion. From that point forward the supense and action don’t slow down until the end.

The acting which at first seemed very weak ends up being the right tone for everything. We do sound that stupid when discussing things we either don’t care about or don’t quite understand. As humans we are lazy enough to be spoon fed information and take it as reality until the moment it affects us directly. While there will be no Oscar performances here, it fit the movie perfectly and did not detract from the story.

The CGI work was some of the most amazing I have ever seen. I never once thought of CGI the whole time I was watching the movie because everything was a working part. One small spoiler is that after watching this movie a Mech Commander movie HAS TO BE MADE! We now have the technology, somebody make it happen.

This movie is so good and has so many different elements from psychology, international affairs to history that I could probably put a curriculum together and teach a whole semester just based on everything it talks about. Not everyone is going to love this movie because it is very grotesque at times, but I highly recommend it. You might want to learn a thing or two about human history after, if anything it will make you think about how “human” we are.

Food vs Service

Most people laugh at the phrase “No soup for you” and immediately remember The Soup Nazi Seinfeld episode. All joking aside, how far do you let something go into the bad service side if your food is some of the best?

One of my favorite places to eat is a semi fast food place. They are one of the places that has allowed me to cut down on my meat consumption for a while now. I go there at least once a week, but I have struggled with the bad service for a while. The owner is the person that greets you and takes your order most of the time, he know me, knows what I order and even goes as far as to ask me how much it is going to be because he knows I have the amount memorized. The food is prepared well every single time and I have yet to have a bad meal from the place.

The food equation in my head for price is simple. If it is something I can prepare at home in less than 30 minutes and the ingredients are 50% what the cost of the meal is, I think it is a good deal and I am not too overcritical. My favorite dish from this place is something that I think I can imitate or get very close to, but I have not tried yet. I have been trying to guess one of the exact ingredients but since my ear surgery my taste buds are still just enough off that I don’t have as discerning a palate as I used to have.

Strike one against this place came when the owner had a case of mood swings. He was always friendly and greeted me and one day acted very Soup Nazi like when I wanted to replace and ingredient that I had before, heck the food is not pre-made, and also told me they had one of the side dishes only to find out they did not have anymore when I picked up the food. I figured, bad day, and I let it go. He then surprised me the week following by saying that he tried the dish with my ingredient replacement to see how it tasted and said he loved it.

Strike two came a couple of weeks after. Most of the people actually making the food and serving the tables speaks Spanish, heck one of them even has my last name which made me easy to remember. Every time I show up they say hi, and one day the place was empty and I had a conversation with one of the cooks. The conversation was probably just a couple of minutes but the owner got supper upset, possibly because the guy has limited English so we spoke in Spanish and maybe thought we were talking about him. So I let it go again. The food is still too tasty and well priced at this point not to continue giving them my business.

Strike three just made me put them in the, probably not going to go back as often list… or maybe not even at all. I call this place about once a week for take out, he knows my order and I very rarely get something extra. I called during probably a busy time and I was put on hold. No big deal, it happens. He left the phone off the hook and I could hear him taking orders in the background.

Service logic to me dictates that if someone calls for a phone order and you have a line, you ask for the person to hold and GET HELP if you are overwhelmed. Even if you are swamped with people out the door, come back after you finish the first order and tell the caller it will be a while. Nope, the dude left the phone unhooked for a while. I hung up and try to call again to see if a new ring or light might make him remember he had someone “on hold” with no luck. Eventually I got to his restaurant and proceeded to drive past it and hit the fast food joint down the street.

To some this might not be horrible service, but I have been eating there consistently even when the place was a ghost town at the beginning of the year. I don’t think I deserve special treatment, but to just forget that someone is on the phone without answer is something that not even pizza joints do very often anymore. If your restaurant advertises that you do take out and give out menus promoting it, then make sure you at least have two lines.

So do you keep a balance between food and service? I know we talked about a similar subject before when we discussed tipping, and it brought out some opposite views. Do you value service at all, or does good food override any horrible service?