Archive for June, 2011

Loudmouthed and Obnoxious; Is That Really So Bad?

A very interesting concept has recently come to my attention; what if, for once in our lives, we all become loud mouthed obnoxious human beings? What’s the worst that would happen? Would we all dissolve into a state of tribal warfare, where multiple castes arise and each is ruled by a separate power? Would the world dissolve into martial law, where only the strong survive? Or would everything remain relatively the same, except that more feelings are hurt and in the process more work is accomplished because more people ask stupid questions where they aren’t afraid of being wrong, or (furthermore) being proven wrong? Better yet, if we all (for a day of course) regressed into an infantile state where we say everything that’s on our minds, would the world really implode, or would everyone just ignore the useless information and only take in the useful information? That is to say, would we care about who calls us fat or would we just focus on the people trying to give us the facts that ACTUALLY matter?

Well I, for one, need to draw a comparison between the options present for “Civilized” human society and the options we have in regards to how we treat each other and “Act” in general. On one hand, we have the polite individuals; for those who don’t know, there are the people who respect the social conventions behind manners. They don’t speak with their mouths full, they don’t put their elbows on the table during mealtimes, they don’t insult someone’s idea because it’s different than their own, they don’t call out illogical errors on a speakers part and they always remember to buy a nice bottle of wine or bring a cake or even flowers whenever they visit the homes of friends. On the other hand, we have the exact opposite; these are the people who are disrespectful of others. They blare Fat-Bottom Girls at exactly the right moment, they point out small flaws and insecurities and various people and MOST importantly, they show a complete and utter lack of disregard for MOST social conventions. Suffice it to say, if their heads weren’t attached to their bodies, they’d be rolling on the ground thanks to a random attack from a passerby who they’d insulted.

So, based on these two possible options of how to “Behave” one really must ask: apart from the obvious safety associated with being polite, what are the benefits of NOT being loud mouthed and obnoxious? Likewise, what are the benefits of NOT being polite and prim as a China tea pot? The answer: simply put, it’s more fun to be loud mouthed and obnoxious than it is to be polite and proper. Now don’t get me wrong, it is FAR safer to be polite; people won’t constantly feel the need to point out your rudeness, and they won’t feel the need to point out that what you’re saying is inaccurate nor will they point out how improper you’re being. Incidentally, however, if one manages to maintain a certain level of decency with their loud mouthed obnoxious ways, they will find that the world magically opens itself to a new level of possibilities that are previously unseen if one chooses to stick to the mannered way.

For example, it’s very difficult to properly vocalize your opinion in a polite manner, and moreover it is EXTREMELY difficult to debate or even ask a proper question when one is polite. The reasoning is quite simple really; appearances are absolutely everything in the world, and how one acts leads people to certain inferences and implications about the certain individual. That being said, if one is polite all the time, others assume that they are well educated and that they come from a kind and respectful family, when the truth could be that they are merely afraid of being proven wrong and have found that by being polite and amiable, they are “Picked” on less and therefore they don’t need to be held as responsible. Contrarily, if one is loud and obnoxious, others assume that they are hyper active or socially inept, when the truth might be that they are just as educated as the polite person is supposed to be and that their social skills are further developed. Though those are rather flimsy arguments to base myself upon. The fact of the matter is that before we are judged on how we speak, we are judged on how we look (which includes, but is not limited to, the way we walk, the way we dress, the was we accessorize, the way we stand, who we are standing next to, where we are standing and [my personal favourite one] which hands are in our pockets and whether or not ANY hands are in our pockets), so whether or not we are loud mouthed and obnoxious is one of the LAST things one is judged upon.

Therefore, it can be said that such a thing is almost entirely inconsequential apart from the obvious social situations; interviews are almost always the first thought. Getting disciplined by authority figures is another situation; if you’re already in trouble for disturbing the peace, proving that you’re NOT a threat or a hazard by screaming at the top of your lungs and insulting the authority figure will DEFINITELY not help the situation. However, I have a belief; it is more fun to be loud mouthed and obnoxious because it enables you to look at life with a rather simple view. You are able to tell the truth and people will often challenge you and your statements and (if you’re able to provide SOME argument) you’ll find that the world is a far more interesting place if you open yourself up to the possibilities of NOT being polite.

I will say this on a final note, however; be polite when you have to and when it is MANDATORY, otherwise, be a loud mouth and see where it gets you. You’ll notice that it doesn’t necessarily close all of the doors that we have been taught. Then again, it might not open any doors for you. Though, what do I know? I’m loud mouthed and obnoxious and if you want to, you can find mistakes and loop holes riddled throughout all of my work, ESPECIALLY faulty arguments that have no ground to stand on. Remember this, however: I’m going to learn about all of these mistakes because being a loud mouth lets people be more open towards me (they will that I’m prepared to accept criticism; it’s actually quite interesting) and they’re more vocal towards me. Likewise, I’m more vocal towards them, which is why small things like keeping my mouth shut aren’t as easy as one would hope!

As always, this has been your Admin, comment and criticize and DO remember! Always look on the BYTE side of life!

-EK

A Day At The AGO; A Lifetime At The Weighing Scales

It seems to me that Walmart gets a bad rap these days, and sure, it pretty much destroys the chance for any other nearby store to exist, and SURE, its workers can be decisively VOCAL about their opinions, and sure, it’s not exactly the BEST company to represent American or North American culture but…honestly I don’t think I can even salvage this topic at all. Walmart is terrible, and people are going to keep on shopping at it because they somehow manage to reduce stuff like pudding to costs of 92 cents, instead of $1.50 and STILL earn a significant profit, something which, to this day, still amazes me. Instead, however, I think I’m going to talk a bit more about downtown Toronto and why I ended up going back there today.

As always, I began the trip by riding the incredibly easy to use and EXTREMELY efficient Toronto Transit Commission, though today, I also rode a GO Transit vehicle, and capped off the day by riding a MiWay vehicle as well, just because I wanted to try out three of the best public transit systems in Canada. Suffice it to say, I think that the public transportation in Canada is absolutely fantastic, and if I’m ever back in downtown Toronto, I see no need to rent a car. Though I suppose all of this can be easily understood and derived from the last article about the Distillery District. Today, however, I went to the AGO (and because it’s been a paragraph without me completely breaking away from the topic at hand and “Tirading” onwards, I hope everyone can see that I am, in fact, attempting to add hyperlinks to these articles to insure that anyone who wants more information can find it. I’m also doing this because it adds colour to an otherwise black and white page, and frankly? I think it makes everything rather pretty. That’s right folks, it makes my work look pretty and therefore I declare it to be good; notice that this is the same argument one gives in grade school for using various coloured and “Gel” pens to write essays and reports, though I digress) for its Abstract Expressionism gallery, held in the same wing that they use for almost every other “Featured” exhibitions.

The works of art are all under loan from the MoMA (the Museum of Modern Art [hyperlink!]) of New York City and the exhibition features work by Jackson Pollock, Ad Reinhardt, Helen Frankenthaler, Lee Krasner and so on, and is actually extremely well organized and brilliantly put together. Depending on the popularity of the artist and the amount of work they’ve done, in comparison to their peers and fellow artists, more or less room is taken by the gallery to feature their works. Obviously, the MoMA didn’t provide every single piece created by each artist, though fairly popular pieces have been loaned. More importantly, however, each room is arranged in such a way so as to show the artist’s progression with their styles, and (additionally) possible contrast that may arise with each piece of art. Furthermore (as one would naturally assume) the exhibition is arranged in chronological order, beginning with the early pioneers of Abstract Expressionism and ending with the prominent works released during the height of the cold war. It’s actually very impressive to see such a large exhibition organized outside the MoMA and praise must be given to the Art Gallery of Ontario for their brilliant arrangement and overall professionalism in the matter. Credit’s gotta be given to where credit is due; the exhibition is GORGEOUS and there is nearly NO bias to the artists presented; if you were popular, you get a big room, otherwise, your work is shared with such greats as the ones already listed.

Though, I suppose, all of this is mere fact at this point; the concept of Abstract Expressionism, or Abstract ANYTHING is whatever you want to interpret it as, and that unto itself is as fascinating as it can get. If you want to draw a tree, but claim it to be your long lost cellular phone, the power is yours. Perhaps that unto itself is the real beauty of abstract art. Through the use of our imaginations and the mere restrictions posed to us through such means, we are able to literally create or destroy whatever we please. This might seem odd to illustrate seeing as how almost EVERY form of art gives one this freedom, but I certainly won’t be discussing the strengths and weaknesses of one art over the other; which, incidentally, is my point.

Over the past week or so, I’ve spent almost everyday surrounded by SOME form of art and I’ve come to the rather solid conclusion that one can no longer compare art forms and claim superiority over another. When said out loud, such a notion is extremely obvious, though to this moment, there are still people who claim that live theatre is a better form of expression over film and cinema; that the written word trumps the spoken word; and that the drawn world is far superior to that which can be found within a photograph, and to those people I say this: you have your kingdoms, and perhaps it’s time to retreat to them. There’s a very simple reason why multiple people can have such diverse talents, and there’s an even more obvious reason as to why we praise those with MULTIPLE talents; it takes so long just to become GOOD at something, becoming good (at the least) at EVERYTHING is something to be praised and lauded, though I digress. My main point is this: one absolutely CANNOT compare different art forms and expect to reach and the arguments posed in this video (this is no longer about being pretty, it’s about reason and logic), while incredibly optimistic towards the latest Transformers movie, are inaccurate and rather one sided.

The reason that plot isn’t a major part of ballet and opera is simply BECAUSE the visual achievements are far more important than the written achievements. That being said, if your ballet is pretty and SOUNDS fantastic, then the plot can be as incomprehensible as you desire (assuming that it isn’t so mind numbingly written that the audience doesn’t leave mid solo). Likewise, if your Opera SOUNDS fantastic and the pieces are moving in an emotional and auditory sense, then the plot doesn’t need to be that comprehensive. Now for the comparison; your movie can be as visually destitute as you want it to be, so long as the plot is fantastic, the writing is tight and controlled, and the acting is superb, and why? The reason is this: movies and plays are about PLOT, and NOT visuals. Meaning if everything looks relatively normal, but is acted fantastically, then everyone’s happy because they paid for something worthwhile. However, if the visuals are fantastic, and the giant robots are the best actors, well then the audience will be wondering why it didn’t just go to the ballet or the opera (assuming that the target audience even cares enough to think that far ahead), because that’s just one of the MANY double standards that exist in the artistic world; plays, operas, ballets, movies, and concerts are rated on different scales and by different standards.

It’s no longer becoming a matter of combating bad movies, or bad plays, or even bad ballets. It’s a matter of understanding that different art forms are different for a reason and that claiming that writing is better than singing, or dancing is better than drawing, or sculpting is better than sewing, is both extremely illogical, and significantly a great way to waste one’s time. And to think, all of this because of a BEAUTIFUL Jackson Pollock shown at the AGO.

As always, this has been your Admin, comment and criticize, and DO remember! Always look on the BYTE side of life!

-EK

A Day At The Distillery District

A few days ago, I believe it was Saturday the 25th of June (2011) I ventured on a lengthy quest to the mysterious land know to few as “Downtown Toronto, Canada.” There’s an Ontario missing there, but I’ll skip that. Actually, NO, no I don’t think I will. Like many ex-British colonies, Canada does not have STATES, it has PROVINCES. So in the land of Canada, the proper name of a place is “Name of City” COMMA “Name of Province” COMMA “Canada.” Meaning that Toronto would properly be described as Toronto, Ontario (Ontario is the largest province [of 10] in Canada), Canada. That was a little geography lesson there, so you all can have that one. However, I wasn’t in Toronto for a business trip and I certainly wasn’t there because I was being forced to be; this Saturday, I attended the Toronto Jazz festival a 9 day festival held in almost every nook and cranny of Downtown Toronto. I, however, attended the portion of the festival found in the Distillery District; a part of Toronto where all the major brewing companies once held ground, and by “Once” I mean from 1832 to 1988, when the district was designated as a National Historic Site of Canada. Suffice it to say, only a few ACTUAL brewing companies have any land there, and the ones that do are small and usually quite local to Ontario; regardless of this fact, the district has somehow managed to evolve into a MAJOR artist district.

Now, I know that it seems like this is nothing but a geography and history lesson (or WORSE, a travelog), and for the most part? It is. For example did anyone know that the Mill St. Brewery is found in the Distillery District? See, I didn’t even know that! Though that’s not entirely fair, now is it? Let’s start from the very beginning of the day; the very beginning of the journey. As always, the journey starts by moving forward and getting to the place that one must to BEGIN their journey the location of which, people, I took the bus to downtown. Though not just ANY bus; I took a TTC bus. Most days out of 7, the Toronto Transit Commission runs on a fairly decent and accurate schedule. If you want to get somewhere, you pay a single TTC token or 2-3 dollars (depending on your age group and how often you plan on riding).

That’s not too difficult to figure out, but what becomes REALLY troublesome is when the TTC decides that it’s a good time to go on strike, and the WORST part is that you don’t know when it’ll happen. All you know is that it WILL happen; maybe today, maybe tomorrow, maybe next week, but it WILL happen. See, I have the bad luck of having to go downtown WHENEVER the TTC goes on strike, meaning that whenever I go to Toronto, I’m always part of the lucky few tourists who have to endure the strike, and trust me when I say that the TTC KNOWS how to go on strike. Luckily though, this time the trip was safe and easy. The kind people at the TTC decided NOT to bargain for safer conditions and higher wages, and the kind people of Toronto decided NOT to do anything that would force the conductors, drivers, and workers of the TTC to go on strike and ruin my trip!

The subway was running on time and didn’t require maintenance; the buses ran on time and the drivers were neither disgruntled nor disheartened; the streetcars were quick and easy to use, and MOST importantly, the conductors were happy. Fast forward about an hour or so, because it takes a while to get to the Distillery District via TTC, and I’m there and staring in the face of artistic beauty. See, the thing that I love about the distillery district is the fact that (and if you were reading the twitter posts while I was there, you’d know this) almost EVERY SINGLE SIGN or piece of public structure has text that is (say it with me) SANS SERIF. Meaning that as soon as I stepped foot on the brick lane roads, I was greeted with BEAUTIFUL typography, all of which lacked any reference to Roman Architecture (that’s a comment on typography, not the Roman empire), which is (for all intents and purposes) FANTASTIC. Though I am focusing far too much on the typography of the district; thanks to some sort of universal irony, the Distillery District is actually one of Toronto’s largest artist districts. What does that mean? It means that almost every SINGLE road leads to a gallery, or a studio, or a lounge, or a parlour, where SOMEONE is playing music, singing, painting, sculpting, writing, drawing, or sewing their next masterpiece.

Speaking of masterpieces, I should point out that while I was exploring the creative outlets of many an artist, the prominent focus of the trip was, in fact, the Jazz festival itself. Unluckily, I managed to miss the earlier shows at 3, but I was able to catch the 6 o’clock show by a French (see: from France) groups called Les Droits En Hommes, with a style that is predominantly French and Gypsie (French is called Freedom jazz for some reason; go figure, am I right?) with punk and rock mixes. That pretty much means that at any given moment, they could play a jazz beat and throw in some Green Day just because they feel like it. Which they did; American Idiot on double bass sounds just as awesome as one would think it does!

Though, I am getting a little ahead of myself in the critiquing portion. You see, I’ve a theory that jazz cannot be critiqued, it can only be listened and experienced; that might be because I’m too lazy to critique it, but it’s also because jazz is nothing more than an umbrella term for HUNDREDS upon THOUSANDS of musical styles that all feature a “Swing” beat. Therefore, claiming the ability to critique jazz is like claiming the ability to critique singular grains of sand in a beach; it’s EXTREMELY time consuming and ever so pointless. Jazz, much like sand should be enjoyed and listened to and, frankly, so long as there’s a bass instrument, ANYTHING can become jazz.

That being said, the group was FANTASTIC and if you’re ever in a location where they might be playing, I say go and listen to them. Just be wary that their ballads ARE a little dry and emotionless, though suffice it to say they’re playing skills can go nowhere but up. Now, I suppose I could continue on with the details of the day, but apart from the Distillery District, no other part of the festival was really intriguing. The remaining acts for the day were good, don’t get me wrong, but there was something about them just didn’t compare to those in the district, and while they were good, they DEFINITELY weren’t great. Though, who knows? I could be incredibly wrong and due to me not critiquing jazz properly, I could’ve been listening to some of the BEST jazz on the planet and I wouldn’t know. Then again, they weren’t playing American Idiot on a double bass!

As always, this has been your Admin, comment, and DO remember! Always look on the BYTE side of life!

-EK

So We’re Back; Now What?

If anyone’s been paying attention to the twitter feed over the past few days, they’ll notice that I’ve been back from the hiatus for quite some time, back…in a certain DARK shade, one might even say. SO, to “Celebrate” me being back, I’ve decided to start doing somethings a LITTLE differently. The first things to present is a minor tweak to the twitter feed; from now on, anything posted on twitter will have the letters “TBC” predating it. This isn’t a very MAJOR change, but I decided to be a little consistent with my work. TBC stands for (as it has always stood for) The Byte Corner, the name of the twitter feed. However, I haven’t been very consistent with MAINTAINING that the TBC is, in fact, the TBC. So from now on, anything posted to twitter belongs on twitter. Take from that what you will, but I rather like the idea, so therefore! I declare it to be done!

Next up to discuss is the WeeklyReview. In the vein of many news websites, I’ve decided to begin posting a weekly review of everything discussed on the blog (with links) in addition to a weekly review of things that happened to me. I may also complain about the news, I may also complain about movies, and I may also complain about Taylor Swift’s “You Belong With Me.” Play this one by ear; additionally, the latest post found here is the first ever WeeklyReview, except this was a review of two weeks. It’s kinda weird, and it’ll be tweaked a LOT over the coming forever, but I am fairly certain that this is a good idea…yeah, FAIRLY certain. The WeeklyReview will be found every Saturday, and if NOT, well then feel free to complain where ever you chose, I’ll be more than happy to address the complaints with more complaints, quite a bit of sarcasm, and genuine heart felt honesty. The honesty may not be genuine OR heart felt. Play that one by ear too.

For now, that’s everything to talk about. As always this has been your Admin, comment, and DO remember! Always look on the BYTE side of life!

-EK

Hello and Thanks For All The Viewship (First ever WeeklyReview)

Often times in life we find ourselves at a crossroads of some sorts. We are given multiple paths to take and only one option to make. Often times in life, we can be confused, scared and you’re not buying ANY of this are you? Well NEITHER am I! Often times and fear and blah blah blah blah blah! In case anyone’s wondering, I’m BACK and frankly, better than before. Well that’s not quite right now is it? I mean, yes, I’m less busy, but in all fairness I’m certainly not BETTER than before, I’m merely more relaxed. Though in all seriousness, me being more relaxed IS a better me. So where I have been over the past few weeks and what have I learned; those are the questions I’ll be answering today. Or rather, those are the questions I’ll be answering in this article. BEFORE I DO start however, I’d like to say this: before I went on the 2 and half (or so) week hiatus, I DID try to write one more article (about dumb people or something, I honestly can’t even remember at this point) but I stopped because I knew that it wouldn’t be up to par to my usual work. Actually, that and the fact that I REALLY didn’t want to. I wasn’t exactly in the right mindset to word anything so I decided not to. Couple that with my abundant laziness and you can imagine how much fun I had NOT wording something for 2 and a half weeks!

SO! Where was I for 2 and a half weeks? Well viewer, that’s a VERY good question you pose; simply put? I’m not telling. I suppose I COULD tell you where I’ve been, and I suppose I COULD explain to you the circumstances under which I had to disappear for such a long amount of time, except that would ruin the ambiguity I’ve set up thanks to the internet. So I’m not going to tell you where I’ve been; what I WILL say, however, is this: where I’ve been was incredibly annoying, and I’m glad that I’m over and done with all of that…for 2 months, and THEN I’m back. Luckily though, I won’t be going through another hiatus for a LONG time, so that’s always refreshing. NOW on to the good part! The stuff I’ve learned over the past 2 and a half weeks. Let’s start with the obvious thing; if you want people to be there for you, you need to be there for them. This one was pretty easy to figure out, and it was actually thanks to these articles that I was able to learn about this truth. You see, it’s rather simple to understand the viewership for the blog. People come and read the articles I post when I actually POST articles; when I STOP posting, people stop viewing, and people stop visiting the blog. This one took some time to figure out actually, because the page views usually drop by 2 or 3 viewers with each passing day (day 0 being counted as the day an article is posted). So around day 3, the viewer numbers spiked, and then (of course) they dropped. Soon however (around day 6 or so) the numbers dropped to about a viewer a day, and the day I announced the hiatus, the viewers dropped to 0.

I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised at all seeing as how the concept of supply and demand is ingrained into ALL of our minds, but I am now about 85% sure that if I ever announce that I’m going to go on another hiatus, the viewer numbers will drop to 5-0 within the first day of announcing it. Suffice it to say, I don’t plan on taking more hiatuses. Moving on from viewership, I learned that a notebook is an EXTREMELY handy way of designating oneself has an individual to be ordered around. Furthermore, if you carry a notebook around, and people actually NOTICE said notebook, they will almost IMMEDIATELY ask you to remember something for them or ask you to DO something for them. It’s weird, but over the past few weeks I’ve done everything from get Mexican food to writing down the numbers for someone’s expected salary and the reason being nothing more than “Well you’ve got a pen and a piece of paper.” In retrospect I REALLY should’ve expected this (noticing a trend are we?), but the data surprised me. I hope everyone understands that I became the scribe within my groups of friends and associates for no OTHER reason than the fact that at the times that they required it, I (and only I) had a pen and a piece of paper. I’ve now decided to start carrying around a shoe horn and a baseball bat to see who else I attract (I’m kidding of course, but if you see an individual carrying a shoe horn and a baseball bat, please be careful. It might be me going around the neighbourhood looking for signatures for my new charity “Batters and Horners.” Actually, you know what? Scratch that; the charity name sounds like something a triple-x production company might come up with on a bad day and the LAST thing I need is an affiliation to Hollywood (I hope everyone saw what I did there).

So far, we’ve got a story about my moleskine (which I FINALLY got to talk about) and my steadily declining viewership, and frankly, I’m sure everyone is THOROUGHLY ravished by my HILARIOUS tales regarding human morality and so on. Now, however, I feel like I should take some time and talk about the things that really MATTER in this world. Specifically? Language; rather, how people should take care when mixing TWO languages together (in case anyone’s wondering, I’m about to become THAT guy, and I don’t care). Let’s say, for example, that I went to my local Mexican restaurant and placed an order for a burrito. However, I was feeling more hungry than normal and I decided to order the largest burrito that the restaurant offered. I would want to say that I want “Un burrito grande,” a large burrito. For a moment, I’d like to point out that the good people of Mexico speak Spanish and NOT Mexican. Remember folks, Mexican’s a nationality, NOT a language. If you say that a person speaks Mexican, shame on you, now go, go and error no longer (but not before you tell your friends to follow TheByteDaily on twitter. Yes, I did just pander, it’s alright though, because I’m not popular). NOW! Back to the original point! Un burrito grande is sufficient enough to say to get a large burrito. That’s in Spanish and I don’t speak Spanish so I’m sure the fine establishment would aid me in my pronunciation and accent.

HOWEVER, I start to have problems when the fine establishment in question begins to mix English and Spanish to create some sort of verbal Alamo where both die in a flurry of miscommunication (this really isn’t a statement on the Alamo here, not YET anyway. At least, I don’t THINK it is…)! My problem is this: the “Fine” establishment offers me a meal called “THE el grande,” where the grammatical error is capitalized. Essentially what the menu has offered me is redundant; the reason being that the menu has offered me “The the big” or rather “The the great” depending on how you mean to interpret the word grande (as either big or great; the words themselves being interchangeable). Seriously, it’s not THAT difficult to understand certain Spanish and English words EVEN IF you don’t speak the language, and the meal stated above, “The el grande” infuriates me precisely BECAUSE the restaurant is Mexican. I expect the owner AT THE LEAST to be able to recognize the poor word choice, mainly because the meal is now INCREDIBLY redundant.

The destruction of the Spanish and English notwithstanding, I absolutely LOVE “The el grande” and I recommend it to all those who are interested in getting a LOT more for their dollar AND their stomachs. I have nothing but great things to be saying about the meal itself (the NAME on the other hand? Not so much), and this is actually funny to me. How often has GREAT products been given terrible names, and (more importantly) how often have terrible products been given great names? The iPad for example; great product (debate it out in the comments), terrible name, BUT I digress. Moving on from “The el grande” we move towards Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing.” In case anyone has NEVER heard of “Don’t Stop Believing” here are the lyricshere’s the original, and here’s the Glee version (in case anyone WAS wondering, I used to watch Glee but I stopped after the 5th or 6thepisode of season 2; I’ve got an entire rant revolving around the second season of Glee, but that really is for another day). Now, I love the song, don’t get me wrong, I DEFINITELY love the song. In terms of how MUCH I love it, I can safely say that it’s my favourite Journey song, and it’s also number 4 in my Top 10 Songs (Ever) list. The reason WHY I’m bringing up the song is a local game shop that I had the luck to visit while the song was playing over the store’s speaker system. As I entered the shop looking for dice for a rousing game of boggle (David Mitchell knows what I’m talking about), the patron of the shop was, in all accepted definitions and derivations of the term, “Rocking his socks off.” You know what I’m talking about, dude was IN THE ZONE and he DIDN’T care if you cared. This didn’t really teach me anything, I just wanted to point out to all of those who hate their jobs that no matter how bad you think it might be, you can ALWAYS find a little solace in SOMETHING. It’s pretty much the “Light at the end of the tunnel” metaphor except that this light requires a vast Journey (-rimshot-) to get to!

Let’s review for a moment what we’ve discussed and what I’ve learned over these past few weeks. Rather, let’s review the REALLY interesting things that have happened in these past few weeks. First we had viewership numbers, we then moved onto my moleskine love, then we moved onto talking about burritos and the poor names given to them, and finally we proceeded to a random store clerk rocking out to Journey. Now, yes, there was DEFINITELY a lot more that happened, but if I were to talk about EVERYTHING I’d run out of room, dataspace AND patience. For now, however, let it be known that I am (for all intents and purposes) back from the hiatus and I am (for all intents and purposes) ready to start the northern hemisphere’s summer with a lot of ranting, a lot of wording (because I word, I don’t write), and a LOT of Journeying.

As always, this has been your Admin, comment, DON’T STOP BELIEVING, and DO remember! Always look on the BYTE side of life!

-EK

Arguments; Sometimes It’s Best To Just Give Up

The article that I wrote a while back on E3 was terrible. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen 2nd graders who have written more detailed and comprehensive works than that last article, so suffice it to say, it was TERRIBLE. Luckily for all of the readers however, I was thoroughly informed about this fact by quite a few of my friends when they told me about this fact REPEATEDLY. The one thing they didn’t do very well is ARGUE their points , and frankly, that’s a trend I’m beginning to notice. Individuals will have an opinion, or they will take a certain point of view and then NOT argue it. Yes, they will become defensive when asked and they’ll make a fuss about it if they’re challenged, but the disappointing and EXTREMELY infuriating point is that they will end the discussion with nothing more than a “because I said so” and expect me (and those around me) to accept this as both a valid and ENTIRELY acceptable response. When it is most DEFINITELY not.

I suppose I should define what an ARGUMENT really is; according to the minds of google, an argument is: An exchange of diverging or opposite views, typically a heated or angry one. So long story short? People share different opinions and then they TALK about it. In a heated or angry fashion; and HOPEFULLY one where the two parties try their best to show to the other party why they are right or why they are wrong. It’s not a place where you disagree and begin to hurl insults at ONE ANOTHER but at one another’s POINTS and arguments. You don’t attack the OTHER guy directly, you attack his POINTS. That’s how you win arguments and debates; you either prove that you’re right and rest the point entirely, or prove that the OTHER individual’s point (or pointS) are incorrect or poorly constructed so they can go and (A) learn from their mistake or (B) stop them from looking like fools in front of an audience that would (or COULD) care FAR more. Suffice it to say, you don’t call your opponent an idiot and expect them to accept their designation, because THEN the idiot will call you a moron and so on and so forth leading to a MAJOR disagreement and absolutely NO ground covered.

I get it, people have rough days, they lead rough lives and things look bleak sometimes, I really DO understand that point. That’s why I can let the petty arguments we have about small things go. Well, I try my best to, and if I CAN’T let it go, then I try to calm down before I go and start talking about it again (mainly because my opponent probably knows EXACTLY what they’re going to say to me in a state where I won’t listen to reason; they’ll simply abandon reason themselves). HOWEVER, the LARGE arguments that we have or rather, the arguments that ACTUALLY matter are the important ones and if you (as my opponent) aren’t going to try hard enough to voice your opinion, than I’m simply going to treat you as a weak minded individual and (perhaps worse) simply avoid you entirely. Which, as we all know will get both of us ABSOLUTELY nowhere, which will lead to a stalemate of views.

Readers, you have to understand; this article isn’t condemning those who are slow minded or dull. I personally believe that almost any point can be argued by almost any individual so long as said individual is capable of rational and reasonable thought to the point where they can speak the same language as the person they’re arguing against. That’s right folks, get into a fight with a person who speaks Na’vi and you won’t get very far at all; assuming that Na’vi is ALL they speak. I, on the other hand, AM condemning those who ARE capable of rational and reasonable thought and provide no proof or evidence as to why they are right. They merely expect you to accept that they ARE accurate on the basis that they are (in regards to the topic at hand) superior than you. Actually, no scratch that, not SUPERIOR so much as they KNOW more about the topic than you and therefore you need to accept the data as such. This takes us back to intelligence once again and our society’s views on it. One assumes that just because they are formidable in ONE area, they are thus formidable everywhere else when this is wrong entirely. Though this isn’t accurate for everyone.

Nothing infuriates me more than an opponent who HAS argued to the best of their ability, who HAS provided the necessary data and evidence and has LOST. Yes, there is nothing I hate more than a sore loser who HAS lost the argument because their relatively strong points were WEAKER than one’s own, yet they refuse to admit their defeat. Instead, they go to the ultimate “I lost but am saving face” phrase “Let’s agree to disagree,” which is about as useful as saying “I’ve lost, but I don’t want to show it.” OH WAIT. That’s RIGHT. They HAVE lost and they don’t want to show it, which is why they agree to disagree! They have NO MORE points to make and whatever breathe they DO have left will be thrown back into their lungs to push up their chests and suggest that BOTH of you are equally accurate (yet inaccurate) to avoid humiliation at their OWN hands. The fact is this: we don’t like to lose, and even if the other individual doesn’t care, being right, winning, etc. is so important and is SO ingrained in our skulls that if it’s an option between losing and being wrong or losing yet saving face (while simultaneously looking foolish and moronic) we will chose the save face option so EVERYONE knows that we really could have won if this or that. When the reality is that we lost.

Here is the thing that everyone must know: I lose almost EVERY argument I have. No matter how strong my point is; no matter HOW well worded it is; no matter WHO my opponent is, I will almost CERTAINLY lose ANY argument I get into. But I ACCEPT the loss. I don’t “agree to disagree” to save face, though that’s because I no longer have any face TO lose. So perhaps that’s what we all should go through. Maybe we all need to be told that we’re going to lose SOMETHING someday to prepare for the day when we inevitably are no longer able to win. Perhaps then and ONLY then will we supersede our petty need to be right about EVERYTHING and to win EVERYTHING and perhaps we’ll finally be able to have a reasonable discussion without someone pointing out that the proper phrase we should have used was in fact “To whom” and NOT “To who.” Until that day, I’ll be here and there and everywhere announcing my almost inevitable losses and basking in my utter lack of argumentative glory.

As always, this has been your Admin, comment, and DO remember! Always look on the BYTE side of life!

-EK

Filler Article; E3 is FAR Too Amazing

It’s been a while since I’ve watched any television and frankly, I’ve been missing it. Well, that’s not entirely true, see, I’ve been watching tv ONLINE and I’m actually considering asking the question as to why the concept of “TELEVISION” still exists to this you’re not falling for it are you? Fine fine fine; I was REALLY hoping I could follow through with it a little longer but I can’t. I don’t care about my tv viewing right now and I’m pretty sure NO ONE cares about my tv viewing right now as much as they care about E3. For those of you who don’t know, E3 is the Electronics Entertainment Expo, a really long and convoluted way of saying “It’s a convention center in LA where Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo have their yearly battle to determine the lives of fanboys (and girls) EVERYWHERE.” Last year, Nintendo DEFINITELY won. That’s debatable YES, but overall between Dance Central, the Black Wiimote (I mean Playstation Lollipop, I mean playstation move) Nintendo DEFINITELY won with the 3DS, Kid Icarus, Goldeneye, Skyward Sword and just about everything else they did.

E3 isn’t over just yet, but Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft have all played their hands, and their aces have been revealed; the winner? Well, that’s a little obvious. Nintendo won E3 this year with the Wii U, and yeah yeah, I’m sure everyone has their opinion here but frankly, it’s true. The Wii U won E3 SO FAR and unless Sony or Microsoft reveal that they’ve merged into MicroSony, nothing short of a miracle is going to change that. Also, COME ON! The thing is like an iPad except BETTER and without the unnecessary hygiene jokes.

Speaking of Apple actually! Wasn’t this Monday WWDC? I swear I read somewhere that Apple was doing something with iOS 5 and OSX Lion but I can’t remember where. OH THAT’S RIGHT! IT’S BECAUSE THEY DECIDED TO TRY TO UPSTAGE E3! And I mean that with all the respect in the world; respect to Apple, to Steve Jobs and their continuous flow of devices. Though I’m sure the marketing guys are getting a stern talking to for planning WWDC so close to E3 when most of the electronic world is looking at Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo instead of Apple, but I digress.

The original point of this writing was to point out that Nintendo won thanks to the Wii U, though while I’m on the topic, I’m annoyed at the name. Yeah I get it, U sounds like two pronounced by a three year old, and the Wii U sounds like the sounds I used to make to mimic police cars and ambulances, but still. You have to admit that it’s catchy and while the name probably will be made fun of, the console won’t be. Who am I kidding? OF COURSE it will be!

Well, that was actually terrible. Worst article so far, and I hope that anyone who USED to read these will be back when E3’s over and I’m actually NOT distracted. As always, this has been your Admin, comment, and DO remember! Always look on the BYTE side of life!

-EK

 

 

Psyren; A Discussion About Interest and A Review of the Future

 

Alright people, it’s been about 4 days or so since the last article and I think it’s about time for a review. Now I mean an actual honest review, with NO analysis, because TODAY I’m reviewing Psyren, the time traveling manga by Toshiaki Iwashiro. That introduction didn’t sound very exciting did it; it’s a shame really, because it’s the thesis statement that’s supposed to draw in the reader for any work of literature, and if you mess THAT up, well, there goes your audience. For the rest of you guys who DO decide to stay, allow me to start by saying this: Psyren is a FANTASTIC piece of literature, but it’s not without its flaws.

 

Actually, no scratch that, I’ll review Psyren later. First things first. I need a vote on whether or not Manga (and graphic novels in general) constitute being classified as things worthy of being called “books.” Folks, I took my first steps into literature when I was an infant, and seeing as how I lived in a typical family where both parents were capable of reading and writing English, I was also taught how to read and write by them, which is just brilliant, but away from the point. The point is this: when I was being read to by either parent, I was being read words from “books.” Yes, they had about 25 pages and were probably written by writers who wanted more from their careers, or by writers who just wanted to help children, or even teachers looking for an extra dollar here and there, but they were still technically “Books.” I called them books, my parents called them books and the people who sold the books to my parents called them books. There was no denying the literary power that was held in those 25 page constructions by any of the parties involved, and while Robert Munsch might not be winning any Pulitzer or Nobel prizes, he’s certainly a fantastic author either way. Soon however, I began reading on my own (as many of us who are lucky enough to do so end up doing) and with my ability to read came an interest in comic books and magazines. That was fine and dandy and still is to the date of this writing, however a rather interesting point soon began to be pointed out to me as I continued to discuss comic books and graphic novels like they were “Real” books; specifically that they WEREN’T “Real” books.

 

This is a point that has been pointed out to me a few times by people who I hold in especially high regard, figures in my life whom I both respect and admire for their abilities to think and argue rationally and logically; yet whenever I challenge their ideas, I get nothing more than a weak “Well you know, they’re COMIC BOOKS!” An argument which adds up to little more than “Because I said so,” and suffice it to say, I’m getting more and more annoyed with individuals like the one’s I’ve encountered, individuals who challenge works of literature and art as something LESS than what they really are. Now, don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a “Are video games art” train of thought (even though they are, just let it go people, let it go and keep reading). This is more along the lines of a “Why are you holding out on AMAZINGLY written works JUST because they’re supposed to be for 10 year olds fantasizing in their rooms?” Take Psyren for example; it’s a manga that was published in Weekly Shonen Jump between December 2007 and November 2010; it has 16 volumes with 5 chapters per volume (on average) and about 20 pages per chapter (this one’s actually a liberty, the number of pages is more along the lines of 30 per chapter on average, but I digress) and this amounts to about 1600 pages of reading. 1600 pages of FANTASTIC work that tackles questions regarding destiny, fate and, more importantly (if you dig WAY too deeply like I did) persecution of those who are different (racism people, it talks about racism except instead of mutants, the brotherhood is comprised of Psychics who destroy the world in an attempt to recreate it into a psychic paradise). Throw in a romance sub plot and the role we (as individuals) play in events and you’ve got a literary work of art that is, quite simply, genius.

 

Now, don’t get me wrong, Psyren has it’s weaknesses, mainly that it was published in a weekly magazine where the author is constantly trying to insure that their work is kept published thanks to a constantly changing reader base, and a constantly changing series of interests. Reading Bakuman has taught me enough about the world of Jump that I can safely say that being a Mangaka (author of a graphic novel, don’t act like you didn’t know) is a line of work that I’d NEVER want to enter. Though, from the horror stories I’ve read and heard about nobody DC and Marvel artists/ writers, western comic books aren’t much better. The point is this: you need to constantly change your work to suit your readership. Stuff like Naruto, Batman, Superman, Bleach, Spiderman, One Piece, Iron Man, and so on are popular because they appeal to most readers. We keep reading it because we can understand and relate to it, and they keep writing (and drawing) it because most of their other attempts either didn’t work or haven’t been tried yet. So yeah, comic book writers (Japanese, American, Canadian or Serbian) write what they want, and then we as readers either butcher their opinions online (or through letters to the editor) or praise them to the point where even Comic Con needs multiple panels to discuss their work.

 

That, in essence, is the trouble with writing comic books. You need to keep changing things to suit the reader base and sometimes things just DON’T work. That is a noticeable problem with Psyren. It starts off with a simple premise: random people are using Psyren phone cards and are disappearing. Also? This guy named Nemesis Q is somehow involved. The first few chapters start of as a battle manga usually does; we’re introduced to our cookie cutter (and don’t challenge that, thanks to DC, Marvel, Darkhorse, and Jump, almost EVERY character that’s drawn can fall under a certain category; again, readers get what they don’t complain about, but that’s fine because I complain too) protagonist, maybe a rival here or there and the possible love interest, stuff happens and OH! Protagonist is now part of the Nemesis Q plot. However, things change along the way and time travel is thrown in. And because of time travel, a lot of plot points are left hanging in the wind, and they don’t end up getting resolved. The good thing about the time travel plot point was that the “time skip” that happens to most manga (Jump or otherwise) is dealt with almost immediately.

 

For those who are confused, the time skip is when the big bad has been taken down (for now) and the characters either need to get ready for the REAL plot, or they just need time to set up the next big story arc. Either way the author takes time off for a few weeks and then things get set in motion! Naruto Shippuden is the timeskip for Naruto and One Piece had their time skip a while back. Simply put, you’ll know the time skip when you see it and Psyren handles it PERFECTLY. Moving on from that, the ultimate superpower “NOVA” is another plot point that felt rushed (which goes back to the declining popularity of the manga). Much like EVERYTHING ELSE, if manga, etc. aren’t popular, the author has a set amount of time before the higher ups pull the plug. Stuff like Naruto, One Piece, or Kochikame is SUPER lucky because making it to 100 chapters is difficult enough, let alone 600 (like One Piece) or 1600 (like Kochikame). Psyren didn’t make the cut sadly, and it had to be wrapped up. This is noticeable due to the ending; if it was popular enough, the final battle could’ve gone on longer and the part where the main characters make it back to the present for the “final” time could’ve dragged on into another story arc. Then there’s the problem of the author not wanting to continue (but if you’re in Jump, I doubt you’d want to quit, Bakuman notwithstanding; to those who are wondering, Jump is like if DC and Marvel merged into one superpower and then did EVERYTHING right and took over the industry even more than they already have), but I digress.

 

The problem, though, is that Psyren got a little confusing and that’s ALWAYS troublesome for a piece of work, written or otherwise. It became difficult to remember each character from EVERY time period and at one point, I felt lost enough that I had to go to the Psyren wiki just to make sure that I was feeling sorry for the right variation of the character from the WRONG time period. You can see what I mean by “Confusing.” So it became confusing at times, but the author fixed that later on and he did it in an interesting way. That, incidentally is where I’m going to stop and end this article. First however, Psyren is a fantastic manga with a really interesting plot, well developed characters, and is well drawn. It falls short due to its (very) slightly confusing plot and to me, that’s the ONLY problem. Everything is fantastically done and I REALLY hope that Toshiaki Iwashiro continues on, he has a VERY bright future (I hope -rimshot-).

 

The point is this: Psyren was interesting, and frankly? That’s all it needs to be for me to care about it. One can claim that comic books, graphic novels, and manga aren’t works of literature and they’d be wrong because it all comes down to one VERY important point; if it’s interesting, it’ll be printed. If it’s NOT interesting and it’s printed, well then, I suppose we only need to ask Stephanie Meyer how unhappy she is changing the collective worlds of teenage girls the world over, hmm?

 

If it’s interesting, I’ll read it. If I read it, I’ll analyze it and if I analyze it, I’ll talk about it, discuss it, and give my opinion about it, because that’s all it takes. One can challenge the notion that graphic novels aren’t “Novels” and they can sit there and feel superior knowing that they’ll go to bed right after they finish one more chapter of Anna Karenina, and that’s all fine and dandy. I’ll do the same except one night it might Batman: Year One, the other night it could be War and Peace and the other night it could be volume 17 of Detective Conan. Long story short? If it’s interesting, it’s a work of art (and yes, I DID use an absolute to get comments, GO GO GO!).

 

As always, this has been your Admin, comment and DO remember! Always look on the BYTE side of life!

 

-EK