Today we went to CAKE, the Chicago alternative comics expo, then Fiesta Del Taco.

I had certain expectations about Fiesta Del Taco, based on things like Perogi Fest and Tamale Fest. One assumes the titular food will have a significant presence.

I'll be honest, the first thing which came to mind when I read "Fiesta Del Taco" was this:

Which is not entirely out of bounds, given that Mr. Perogi and Miss Paczki are a thing.

Alas it was a generic street fair with funnel cake and wildly unsafe looking rides and about ten of the usual street fair booths - mobile phones, sports drinks, Budweiser - with just one offering tacos. Which is weird considering it was the west end of 26th Street, the very long retail strip of the La Villita neighborhood which has many top rated taquerias.

This fest is run by Special Events Management, one of the two companies who handle nearly all the finances and logistics for neighborhoods festivals, which is why the same filler can be found at each one. They are like carnies gone corporate and dull,filler crap to every fest.

It's up to local organizers to create a distinct personality around the standard crap, and Fiesta Del Taco is an example of what happens when the local element - in this case a Church - is too weak to do much. I'm sure SEM was fine with this and would prefer just moving the shabby midway and sponsored marketing booths to various spots around the city with no extra trimmings..

StarEvents, the other major street fair player, may actually be worse because they also do entertainment and their roster is almost entirely inoffensive bullshit bands. I don't know if local organizers have become less interested in booking talent or StarEvents is good at pushing them around, but bands like Too White Crew and Hairbangers Ball and Mr. Blotto are undeserved dominant sounds of summer.

Still I do love a fair, the humanity and the quirks which manifest around the carny stip mall elements. This one was just particularly half-assed. We ended up having tacos at Taqueria Los Gallos a large pleasant place with a rooster motif including two stuffed fighting cocks mounted on one wall. They are famous for their soup, but the tacos were excellent as well.
My account is now active on LJ and DW as Fengi.

Dreamwidth's strength is the ease with which one can import all Livejournal entries (except for videos and some polls) and the cross posting feature. The layout options are more limited, but overall I'm glad it is there.

For various reasons, Livejournal remains my primary site for now. I anticipate copying Livejournal posts into Dreamwidth by hand more than I use the DW crosspost tool. We shall see.
The forums of Men's Rights guys are a seething mass of misogyny, full of revenge fantasies and tacit to open advocacy of violence. Alpha Male is a favorite word, a way to signal allegiance to the cause when used with certain rhetoric.

Elliot Rodgers was a men's rights guy, a resentful "incel" and self proclaimed alpha male. His language, tone and internet behavior all reflect his connection. Even his alleged hate of pickup artists was fury at their methods not working; the PUAhate group he belonged to was full of violent misogyny.

The persistent undertone of violence of men right's types is undeniable. Paul Elam, leader of a Voice For Men, started an enemies list site, which included personal information, and described his mission this way way:
I find you, as a feminist, to be a loathsome, vile piece of human garbage. I find you so pernicious and repugnant that the idea of fucking your shit up gives me an erection...We are coming for you, and we are coming for all the liars out there that have been ruining people’s lives with impunity...You are SO fucked.
Men's rights inspired violence is an ongoing pattern. One example: Darren Mack, who murdered his ex-wife after and tried to kill the judge on his divorce case was a rabid men's rights activist who was represented by father's rights crusader Dean Tong (who tried to distance himself after).

Now it's happened again and they are all pissy that people are accurately observing over the top internet tough guy talk about making women pay is intrinsic to the movement and the only thing they do consistently despite pretending to care about other issues. Boo hoo. That's your bed boys, lie in it.
In a recent debate, I mistakenly thought several posts about free speech and racism *written by other people* had been written by [ profile] bemused_leftist. While I disagree with some of [ profile] bemused_leftist's opinions, parts of my comments were unfair and confusing because they were directed at opinions written by entirely different people.

I apologize for the misdirected vehemence. It is the sort of careless reading and skimming that I dislike when others do it.
The Raid was one of the best action movies I've seen in years. It had a propulsive setup involving one building and an arrest gone horribly wrong. It was essentially a dance film with bone crunching fight scenes, a showcase of Gene Kelley, Fred Astaire, Donald O'Connor and Bob Fosse brawling.

The Raid 2 is about 45 minutes too long because it is a full musical to the first film's dance recital. So there's more plot, characterization and build up to each violent set piece, some unnecessary. There's also a lot more blood and gore, including a scene of multiple executions as two secondary characters negotiate which struck me as being similar to a humorous patter duet and, like those numbers, it's skillful but not as clever as it's supposed to be.

Fortunately The Raid 2 inverts the weakness of many classic Hollywood dance films in which there are fewer big numbers as the plot develops. Here there's more action once the stakes are clear, right about the time this character appears:

Hammer Girl.

She and Batboy are on screen for 15 minutes at most, but holy shit. Holy fucking shit. She gets one solo and one duo and scenes are stolen. The pace picks up and it's like everyone else stepped up their game to match the sheer awesomeness of Julie Estelle. Even a car chase scene - which might as well be the waltz of action films - is lively and amusing.

So I can still recommend the film. I can also imagine more than a few couples going with low maintenance but high reference value costumes like this:


May. 17th, 2014 12:16 pm
In 2008 I wondered how long it would be before we reached this point, where even the thinnest of veils started to drop. We're almost there.
I believe I did use the ‘N’ word in reference to the current occupant of the Whitehouse. For this, I do not apologize — he meets and exceeds my criteria for such...While I believe the problems associated with minorities in this country are momentous, I am not phobic.
-a public statement by Wolfeboro Police Commissioner Robert Copeland, in response to resident who complained after he called Obama n----r in a restaurant.
He's worked with a lot of blacks in his life. ... He said some harsh words about Mr. Obama, and here we are. This woman, she's blowing it all out of proportion.
-Commission Chairman Joseph Balboni Jr. on why he won't ask Copeland to resign.

It was just overheard in a public place, but he doubled down in a public statement to a constituent without exactly repeating it. It's just short of an official or pundit calling Obama n----r on the record. A direct statement is the last line left. I think it will be crossed before 2016, and a lot of bigoted white guys will whine about the response with some bullshit about "free speech".

This isn't defending "free speech", but speech free from consequences (or even criticism). The idea powerful white men who can, and often have, harmed the targets of their bigotry should be free from others responding by saying they shouldn't have power.

These false free speech arguments often include"next time it might be us". The real issue isn't speech, but fear what was done to others will be done to you. It's the bully assuming everyone else would be as bad if they could. Thus the pretense that a white guy facing consequences for talking shit is the like a lynching, or a gay man losing his job just for being gay.

Everyone else already lives in a world where saying anything, let alone whatever the fuck you feel like saying, may lead to problems. Free speech means everyone can say an asshole shouldn't have power and everyone does, quite often, only occasionally with real impact. Considering many other groups face disadvantages without saying a word, rich white bigoted dudes can handle being responsible for what they say.
There's a community which follows Russian LJ News, created after they realized SUP rarely keeps English users informed. They have a post summarizing the Russian announcement of the site change.

They link to the original post (from one of the developers, apparently).

What's interesting is the comments. The Russian userbase is more active and varied so there was demand for modernization. More importantly, SUP took time to promote and explain the changes in advance. Most negative responses criticize details or bugs. There's the usual back and forth between haters and lovers of change: "This is garbage." "No, what's garbage is people who do nothing but shit in the comments."

Some, however, are dramatically frustrated in a way which resembles English user reactions to LJ changes over the years. Using Google, I've made a crude translation of a few. It shows the LJ persona can be universal, at least when disgruntled.
Rats pose experiments under the guise of St. George ribbons...
"All information is now in one place"

Copywriters who use this phrase should be mercilessly beaten :)
How to bring back the old style!? This new profile is pizdets [Russian for fubar]! You should have tested on dogs first then on humans!
This nonsense. Everyone is just Talking how to bring back the old design. I hope your team can see these conversations. THE PEOPLE HAVE SPOKEN!


Yes, the team do not care. Yandex had pics of this [update] and there 98% were against. I personally design a new LJ style, a huge contrast font and so on. In general, good-bye, LJ site format, I use my style only.
The new home page is just hell and I will not read! You sawing the branch of on which you sit...
How much and who do I pay to NEVER HAVE ANY innovations appear in my journal?
I think you need to completely reprocess this bad design. I have virtually no positive impressions...As long as it's possible I will stay on the old version. It's much more functional and intuitive.
How do I remove this fucking tape widgets in friends list? It's useless and only eating space on the screen.

1. Who needs a touch interface with buttons on half of the screen on conventional computers and laptops?
2. Active zones - rubbish. The button should work instantly and not force the user to look for it. The delay between "point the mouse" and "result" pisses me off.
3 . Font - magical crap. Looks like squashed Mushin shit except on iPads with retina. On conventional displays, it looks muddy and weak (if ClearType is enabled) or ugly (if off). I'd like to make a law requiring use on sites Sans Serif font and prohibit Calibri, Segoe UI, Lato and SolidoPro except in the headline with a font size no less than 64 pixels.
4. Huge margins and dimensions of interface elements - rubbish. It's touchscreen pornography which allows less content, devalues normal monitors and infuriates owners with lousy noutov 15" with 768 pixels in height.
5. Background Color admin panel is subpar. Everything else - annoyingly dull.
6. You need to chop off the hands of the designer who put labels and headings in uppercase.
7. Tape-style Google-plus - not that that is not the best solution, but just a hell of a shit. [Ed Note: I was unable to interpret this one.]

PS: Sorry for the abundance of swears. Other epithets can not be printed at all.
So I resorted to an all caps support ticket and got a prompt friendly reply. Big thumbs up to LJ Support for being nice about it.

The reply itself is pretty awesome in terms of site design failures:
When viewing any system page that shows the standard blue header banner (such as the home page), there will be a link labeled 'Post in blog' near the right side of the banner, a blank space, and then an envelope icon. Click on that blank space between 'Post in blog' and the envelope icon'.
I tried this and it worked. Here is where you need to click:


Last Straw

May. 15th, 2014 12:34 pm
It has been achieved.

Does LJ still support crossposting to Dreamwidth? Can I import all my posts over there, or just the unlocked ones?
So is this good or bad? This dumbed down dashboard is not as friendly to power users, and kind of feels like a rock band of a certain age issuing an electronic dance music album a bit to far into their career. What I'm saying is acting like Bono when it should just coast like Sting.

It also appears they've half broken filters. One can still post using a specific filter, but at this point one cannot select a filter for viewing your friends feed. Which sucks because LJ occasionally starts omitting friends posts at random and the only way to see them all was to go to "filter friends page" and select "default".

Remember when this would produce a tsunami of "what the fuck" and angry macros and threats of flouncing? Will it create a small squall this time? Will it drive more people away, or are we few going to hold out no matter what?
Tomorrow, May 15, the FCC will vote on rules which would effectively end net neutrality using a bunch of weasel terms and workarounds.

It's time to take action to protect what remains of neutral access to online communication and commerce.

There are several options, the lazy (and perhaps not effective) one is at the bottom.

Option A1: Email the FCC.
Here is a new link to an inbox for internet comments. Thanks to [ profile] microbie.

Option A2: Call the FCC
1. Dial 888-225-5322
2. push 1, 4, 0
3. A person will answer.
4. They will ask for your name and address. you can just give them a zip code if you want.
5. Be courteous: "I'm calling to ask the FCC to reclassify Internet Service Providers as Title Two Common Carriers."
6. They'll ask if there is anything else you would like to add.
7. "No, Thank you for your time."
8. Hang up.

Option B: Call Congress
Go to OpenCongress & type in your zipcode. Pick up the phone and call each of the these folks. Believe it or not, someone will answer the phone, and phone calls make a difference. Politely tell the congressional staff that picks up to "Have the FCC classify internet as a Title Two common carrier." Ask them to repeat what they wrote down.

Option C: Online Activist Shortcuts
These are sponsored by the Free Press PAC, who will add you to their mailing list.
Stop The Slow Lane automated emailing to Congress
Email Petition to FCC
Before giving money to the Free Press, check out the evaluations here, here and here.

The "crisis fatigue" narrative is now being imposed on Net Neutrality, sometimes by people who should know better. It's the bullshit idea the ability to care about real ongoing issues is the same as audiences being bored by fictions which go on too long. This crap arises from various agendas, be it a shitty journalist who confuses their own lazy boredom with what qualifies as news, or a vested interest who wants people to stop paying attention.
So Kaleb Horton wrote this amazing post which uses Atari's failed ET game and rumination about mythic narratives versus mundane acts as a roundabout way to insult the portentious marketing for Interstellar. I love this sort of thought piece with a punchline strategy when it works. It touches upon the sort of things my brain finds delicious: cognitive dissonance, perception and reality and advertising metastasis.

The full essay is good if a bit loose - these excerpts distill the awesome:
...The reality is that in 1983, Atari threw a bunch of games away because they made too many. What’s out there in the desert is just garbage, and lacks even sentimental import. They made millions of those games. None of them have first-draft code that can bring down the Kremlin.

But the Atari landfill mythmaking imagery is just too powerful for reality to get in the way...It’s a great American story, at least in a vacuum: a long time ago, a convoy left Texas and entered New Mexico to bury something shameful....Atari’s failure takes on a mythic hue after 30 years beneath the desert. “E.T.” has gotten mythical too: it’s no longer the caffeine-addled last minute work of one overworked guy but instead the worst game ever. By burying some of that legacy in New Mexico, Atari made its failure mean a lot more than it did when they poured that concrete.

Marketing agencies need to look into this strategy. If you have a product that won’t sell as much as you need it to and you’re out of options, just bury it in the desert and ride it out for 30 years...Call it “The Desert Strategy.”

...When my grandma died, she left behind a whole storage unit worth of photo albums. Now, I’m never gonna look at those. It’s not gonna happen. They’re in Florida. Can’t be done. But if, in her will, she wrote that she buried “something” in New Mexico out by the Air Force base, not only am I gonna drive down to get it, but I’m gonna examine every one of those damn pictures like a forensics expert.

...Say you’re in a band. You’re 27 or so. You got some steady local gigs, opened for The Dead Weather a few times, went on Conan, Pitchfork described your first album as “haunted by the ghosts of forgotten people and forgotten places,” but it’s time for a day job because nobody makes money playing music anymore.

So go out with a bang. Record the second album. Make it even more haunted. Ten times as haunted. Press it to vinyl, drive down to New Mexico. Put all the albums in a big safe...Wait 30 years, and you’re all but guaranteed a documentary and a tour out of it. If the album’s a 7 or 8 out of 10, it’ll get retroactively canonized.

...The second angle for the Hollywood approach is to unceremoniously kill a movie that’s a guaranteed smash hit, just to make the director look like a tormented genius. Give an air of mystery to somebody fed up by the instant reaction culture of the internet. I suggest “Interstellar.”...To cancel this movie for no good reason, well, that’d turn the heads of the most jaded sons of bitches on earth.

Can you imagine it? A whole cottage industry would spring up. Websites dedicated to preserving as much “Interstellar” related content as possible. All the studio has to do is let two or three people see a rough cut and make them sign a non-disclosure agreement for 15 years, then ghostwrite books for them...All you have to do is say one little movie is buried someplace in the desert. Maybe by Roswell. Nobody knows.

Sure, there are some issues of practicality...A faceless corporation would lose a bunch of money in the interest of creating a top 10 event in movie history. And thirty years from now, if any of us are alive, we can all go “oh sure, I remember the trailers to that” or “yeah, movies are horrible” and our grandchildren will pay tepid attention to us for a few minutes.
I've been watching Hannibal, which is doing non-supernatural horror rather well so far. I thought to myself, "I cannot be the only person who thinks Hannibal Lector represents capitalism."

I did a google search and found a decent essay on a site aptly named "":
In most respects, the not-so-good doctor represents the perfect specimen of the homo consumericus. I won’t belabor this point, ’cause it’s obvious. Hannibal lives in an unnecessarily large and immaculately furnished house in the middle of Baltimore, a.k.a. The Wire Central. He drives a Bentley. He wears a $180,000 watch. Let me repeat that last one. He wears a $180,000 watch...As our pal Veblen once said, conspicuous consumption of valuable goods, such as art, is a means to reputability, and that reputability lets Hannibal get away with murder...We all know that Hannibal sees people as objects (see: “I’m having a friend for dinner,” et al.), but none more so than service providers. In Hannibal’s mind, the original sin is rudeness, which notably is the most mortal sin a customer service worker can commit...Hannibal Lecter chooses his nightly meal by flipping through the business cards of the many service providers who have wronged him by not engaging in the affective labor he paid them for.
More suprisingly, however, I found a 13 year old essay by Charlie Reese, a conservative pundit from the Orlando Sentinel. Another newspaper had printed his syndicated column under the headline "Capitalism is a Hannibal Lector".

I grew up in Orlando and knew Reese as a right wing blowhard. He was best known for his 545 people essay which became one of those things frequently emailed by conservative relatives in various forms along with the false claim it was his last column (it was written years before).

The Lector essay, however, shows how far right the goalposts have moved. Reese was actually able to admit reality wasn't always conservative.
I'm going to tell you why I am almost, but not quite, a libertarian.

First, capitalism, unless moderated by Christian virtue or government, is just as brutal and cruel as communism.

I know that's hard for baby boomers to believe. After all, they grew up in the incredibly prosperous post-World War II United States. Most have never experienced really hard times. Most have not bothered to read much history or literature. Many were content to believe the fairy tales woven by Ayn Rand and her cohorts.

Try digging coal for a few pennies a ton in an unsafe mine where you are forced to buy your own tools. Try imagining a disabling injury and, instead of receiving workers' compensation or disability insurance, your broken body is just tossed off the company property.

That's capitalism.

...Those $30 to $50 pair of jeans we wear were made by what amounts to slave labor in Central America or Asia.

I've never been a union member and don't intend to be one, but I can at least appreciate the struggle that union men undertook to improve the lives of working men and women. I guarantee you that without the "threat" of unionization, most working men and women would see a quite different face on their employers.

And that may not be too far off. Under phony free-trade deals, unions are being broken and pressured by the movement of and the threat to move factories overseas. Anybody who expects real compassion from a corporation would mistake Hannibal Lecter for a vegetarian. Unfortunately, the union leadership is so infected with socialists that they would rather pursue their ideological goals than look out for their members.

So, although I strongly believe in the maximum possible freedom, I also believe in community and in responsibility to that community. Not only is no man an island, but no man is self-made. Some people are just good at forgetting all the people who helped them get where they are...Freedom is not a virtue per se. It can mean the freedom of the strong to bully and enslave the weak. It can mean the freedom to exploit the poor, to despoil the land and the water, to turn your back on the oppressed, the sick, the dying.

I fall in with those old-fashioned conservatives who believe in ordered liberty, strict observances of the Constitution and a mind-our-own-business foreign policy....don't confuse me with chamber-of -commerce conservatives who say that anything good for big business is good for the country. That's horse manure.

At the same time, I'm definitely not a socialist...The idea of a mean, something-short-of-pure, unregulated capitalism and pure, over-regulated socialism is what we should strive for.
I don't know if Reese became more extreme with 9/11 and the tea party. Those occurred after he retired from the Sentinel. I do know he opposed the Iraq War, supported raising the debt ceiling yet dismissed health care reform.

Thing is, anyone who can acknowledge the merciless appetite of capitalism is not all bad. It's the sort of person you can reason with. The dead-eyed social darwinists who seem to dominate are just accomplices to the cannibal market, whether they recognize it or not.
From Slow Riot:

[Kramer bursts into the apartment] "Jerry, there was a fish in the percolator!"
Jim O'Neill was driving his taxi when he noticed a man being chased by a beaver off King George Highway on Tuesday.

"You look out the corner of your eye and see a beaver backing somebody up the driveway,” he said.

So, O’Neill stopped the cab and took out his camera.

Snapping a few pictures, O’Neill got about 2.5 metres away from the beaver before it turned on him.

"Slapped his tail on the driveway, slapped his front feet on the ground. He came on,” he said.

"So I backed up to try it again and jeez he got quite aggressive. He was camera shy."

...Miramichi Police Force were also called about the beaver as it was roaming around the northern city.

Sgt. Ed Arbeau said the Miramichi police deal with animals on a daily basis but this was a first.

"The damn thing was lost, it was going down the street. We didn't do anything, we showed up and seen what it was,” Arbeau said.

“The guys left it alone, told the citizens to leave it alone and it went on its way to where it was going."

Although quite rare, beavers have been known to attack people.

Arbeau said it's possible the large rodent had been provoked during its time in the city.
Hat tip to [ profile] internet_sampo
It was Deadend Margo and mine's anniversary - 11 years since we met at Quimby's via an online dating service which I'm pretty sure no longer exists.

The day could not have been more aging hipsterish - we ran into Livejournal friends at a brunch spot, plus other people we knew all day, saw an amazing documentary about the twist at a music and film festival, went to two fascinating art openings and free comic book day and a fund raiser for a local activist group where Deadend Margo saw a reprint of a poster from her childhood and I ran into this local candidate who beat the Democratic Machine. Then we finished with cocktails, and perfect potatoes au Gratinin the brisk but not intolerable outdoors at this somewhat fancy bar.

It was this sort of day:

Note: The theme from Mtv's The Cutting Edge.
In the last month I've heard headlines in which scientists have announced: A) the global disasters caused by climate change have begun and it might be too late to limit the damage. B) drug resistant diseases are now a major threat and it might be too late to do anything. C) the reason it's too late is because the ruling class will never do what's needed.

In this context, I can understand Rob Ford a bit. Why the fuck not just do whatever the fuck you can get away with for as long as you can until you collapse? If the nightmare begins, will there be any gratification in having been sober, restrained and responsible during the good times?

Wait, Whut?

May. 1st, 2014 07:54 am
Rob Ford, AKA The Family Guy Sketch That Goes On Way Too Long Because They Think If It Goes On Long Enough It Will Become Funny Again But It Doesn't Made Flesh, is still running for office after this.
"It’s not really a buying campaign, but it’s a bully campaign, and it’s being carried out by radical homosexual activists who intend to trample the freedom of Christians to live according to the dictates of scripture."
-AFA spokesman Buddy Smith, reacting to Equality Mississippi's sticker: "We don’t discriminate – If you’re buying, we’re selling!"

The campaign started after Governor Phil Bryant signed a ‘religious freedom’ law protecting homophobic business owners.

Via [ profile] theweaselking