Every Month I’m Tumblin’ – September & October 2014

Another two for one special! Can’t even feign surprise.

I’m about to post regular blogs as I am to finish my book, at this point.

But anyway, we’re not here to talk about my failings as an author. We’re here to laugh at the little things!

  1. Shakira, Shakira.
  2. How the new Apple iPhone announcement went down.
  3. Just some great subtitles.

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  4. Click the image.

    [View]
  5. I missed October 3rd. But that’s okay. Time is an illusion.
  6. Cats stuck in things.

    [See More]
  7. Tywin Lannister, Lord of Casterly Rock, Shield of Lannisport, Warden of the West, and Hand of the King.
  8. (Un)necessary explosions.

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  9. A card for dealing with your troubled teen/friend/family member.
  10. Later, nerds.

I’ll try to make this monthly from now on, I really will.

So obviously, I’ll see you in January 2015.

Later, nerds.

“The only winning move is not to play.”

[I’m guessing you’ve already seen WarGames–the 1983 film with Matthew Broderick and a computer called Joshua. If you haven’t, this post will spoil the ending for you. If you don’t want that, you shouldn’t read this. Sorry.]

In an ideal world, this post wouldn’t be necessary. But hey, this is reality, so let’s get to it.

So there’s a battle going on in the comment sections of nearly every web site that has a comment section.

It’s a battle between three armies:

  1. Regular Commenters
  2. Social Justice Warriors
  3. Trolls

It can be difficult to tell them apart, at times, and there is often overflow from one army to another. Regular Commenters might actually be Social Justice Warriors; they just don’t realise it until something triggers them. You could read a post and assume it’s a troll, when in reality it’s a Social Justice Warrior with stronger-than-expected levels of aggression. (We’re going to ignore the unmentioned fourth category, the genuinely naive commenters. Genuinely naive people can often be reasoned with, be taught, and actually, it’s quite rewarding when you can have a positive impact on them.)

I’m going to assume that you’re category one. (If I’m wrong in my assumptions, you’re probably not going to enjoy the rest of this post. Just saying.)

You don’t have an agenda behind your comment, when you leave it. You just want to have a healthy debate about an article/video. But then you leave your innocent little comment, and a someone from category two or three replies to it with either aggressive vitriol or provocation, and you find yourself–normally a considerate, rational human being–overflowing with rage.

Some people thrive on conflict. They want to argue. They have their (possibly unpopular) opinion, and damn it, you’re going to read about it. You can’t stop them from putting their opinions online, whether on their own Tumblrs or blogs or whatevers, or in comment sections of any and every article they can find. You don’t have to follow them online, but you do have to read their comments, if they’re on an article you’re interested in reading.

And there’s nothing you can do about it.

“The only winning move is not to play.”

At the end of WarGames, Broderick’s character–along with the guy who designed the computer’s AI–tries to stop Joshua from launching nuclear missiles (he thinks it’s a retaliation, there’s a whole story behind it, don’t worry about that now). Through a game of noughts & crosses (or tic-tac-toe), Joshua learns about an un-winnable game (and “Mutually Assured Destruction”), and relinquishes control of the missiles.

[after playing out all possible outcomes for Global Thermonuclear War]
Joshua: Greetings, Professor Falken.
Stephen Falken: Hello, Joshua.
Joshua: A strange game. The only winning move is not to play. How about a nice game of chess?

I realise that comparing online commenting to nuclear war is probably a bit of a stretch, but the lesson is the same.

Difference between WarGames’ lesson and the lesson here is, the game is winnable, but it’s never won by you.

XKCD: Duty CallsYou try to convince a Social Justice Warrior that their opinion is wrong/flawed. They will ignore you.You get frustrated/angry. You lose.

You reply to someone, arguing your case. They (and anyone else who latches onto the fact that you’re affected by the things that are being said) either laugh at you or ignore you. You get frustrated/angry. You lose.

You call a troll out on being a troll. They ask you if you’re mad (bro). You get frustrated/angry. You lose.

Someone jumps to your defense. Whoever’s attention was on you is now on both of you (and they probably bring some anonymous friends to the party). Now there’s two of you entangled in the web. You both lose.

The only way you can win an argument online is not to get involved in one.

And the best way not to get involved in an argument? Don’t be aware of it.

So I was driving to work this morning, when it hit me: someone should really build a browser extension that stops a site visitor from viewing any comment sections.

Of course, within around thirty seconds of Googling, I’d already trialed 3 different extensions that did that very thing.

Late to the party, as usual.

The Software

The extension I settled on is a neat little thing called, quite aptly, “Shut Up“.

I haven’t tested it thoroughly yet, but so far I can confirm the following:

  1. It works with BBC News.
  2. It works with the Daily Mail.
  3. It works with YouTube(!)
  4. It works with any site that has a Disqus installation.
  5. It works with some (not all) site-embedded Facebook comments, but it doesn’t work with comments on Facebook’s own site.
  6. It also works with Reddit, which is a site based entirely on comments, so that’s kind of counter-intuitive…but anyway.

If you want to read comments on a particular site, you can click the icon in the browser, and all the comments come flooding back.

You also have the option (the only option) for the extension to remember which sites you’ve allowed comments on.

first!
Shut Up’s Option (Singular)

“Shut Up” is a browser extension available for Chrome, Firefox (using the “Stylish” plugin), and Safari, and can be added manually added to any browser.

Details and download links for the extensions and files can be found here.

The extension isn’t without flaws, and it doesn’t catch 100% of comment areas on web sites. If you want to take it a step further, you can add the Stylebot extension and add extra CSS to hide more comment areas as you find them.

The Conclusion

“Shut Up” obviously doesn’t stop people from posting hurtful, sexist, racist, or just generally hate-filled comments on web sites that haven’t deleted their comment sections entirely.

What it does is stop you–the visitor–from ever seeing those comments, so you can’t be affected by them.

Yes, it means the trolls are winning, for now, but bear with me here.

They can say whatever they want on any platform that allows them access, but you don’t have to inadvertently read their comments. You don’t see the comments, therefore you’re not automatically annoyed by them.

If everyone took this route, all the decent human beings will eventually be ignoring comment systems entirely and interacting on a more personal level, meanwhile the trolls will be left to argue with themselves.

Bonus

Here’s Fingathing’s Criminal Robots (great song; great band), which contains audio clips from WarGames. Please to enjoy.

Every Month I’m Tumblin’ – May 2014

 

 

Iiiiiiiiiit’s that time again, kids! Let’s see what kind of weird and wonderful things I came across in the merry, merry month of May.

1/ Miranda’s view on makeover shows:

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2/ The majestic deer.

[Moar]

3/ Photobomb from beyond the grave.

4/ Angry elk:

[Moar]

5/ Historical footage of the last T-Rex serving his country.

6/ Helpful lion is helpful.

7/ The Hobbit, edited by Peter Jackson.

8/ In-bread cat, now with arms!

9/ A classic.

10/ Snake-equivalent of WTF.

 

 

Every Month I’m Tumblin’ – December 2013 to April 2014

 

 

So I haven’t been keeping up to date with my cross-linking monthly blog posts designed specifically to keep my site active.

Oops!

Oh well.

Here’s some of my favourite Tumblr posts between December 2013 and April 2014.

1/ That one Disney movie…

2/ Game of Thrones / Jeremy Kyle

[Moar]

3/ Game of Thrones / Mean Girls

[Moar]

4/ Unable to connect to the Internet…

5/When a video game lets you move during extended dialogue…

6/ This guy:

7/ Is this a metaphor?

8/ Lord of the Rings / Parks & Recs

[Moar]

9/ An Oscar-worthy performance:

10/ Game of Thrones / Monty Python (lots of GoT this time, eh!)

[Moar]

10/ AVENGE ME!

11/ Shave about an hour of Mulan’s running time…

12/ Lion King deleted scene…

[Moar]

13/ Many readers’ and writers’ reactions to being told “they’re just fictional characters”

14/ Breaking Bad / Simpsons

15/ And just because it always makes me smile…

 

 

 

The Secret Life of Steve Carell

 

[Warning: This post contains some spoilers for The Secret Life of Walter Mitty]

I can’t sleep on planes. Being a freakishly light sleeper anyway, the constant sound of EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE and occasional roller coaster turbulence moments and people walking up and down the walkway inches from my lolling head, sleep just doesn’t happen.

So on the overnight, seven hour stretch of a twelve hour journey back from visiting the boyfriend in Illinois, I was pretty stuck for things to do. I’d already listened to all the podcasts I’d downloaded in preparation for the journey (prepared poorly, I might add), I didn’t feel like reading any more of A Dance With Dragons (42%–I’m hoping to get it finished maybe before Christmas), and I couldn’t be bothered trying to write with a bluetooth keyboard that only sends around 2/3rd’s of the keystrokes to my tablet.

I spotted The Secret Life of Walter Mitty amongst the paltry film choices, and I thought, what the hell.

Now, going into this film, I knew only two things about it: 1, Walter Mitty liked to daydream, and 2, Walter Mitty was played by Steve Carell.

You may have noticed something wrong there, but herein lies my story.

Actually, Walter Mitty isn’t played by Steve Carell. He’s played by Ben Stiller.

Google reassures me I’m not the only person to have made this mistake.

However, I’m fairly confident I am the only person who watched the entirety of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty waiting for Ben Stiller to turn into Steve Carell.

Because going into this film knowing 100% that Walter was a daydreamer and Walter’s character was played by Steve Carell, I came to the conclusion that Walter was only played by Ben Stiller when he was daydreaming.

That’s right, I watched the entire film thinking it was a never-ending daydream.

When it opens on Stiller checking his dating profile over breakfast, my thought process went like this: “Oh, so he’s not awake yet–maybe he’ll send the girl of his dreams a message in his dreams, because he doesn’t have the stones to do it in real life, and then we’ll see Carell waking up…oh, okay, so he’s dreaming about going to work. Odd. Well, he’s about to meet his new boss. Maybe the camera will shift and we’ll see what Walter really looks like…oh, no. Hmm.”

And I went on thinking like that for two hours.

When he heads off on his adventure to Iceland to find the elusive freelance photographer and get a copy of the missing negative that’s resulted in his job on the line, I thought it was all in his head. When he jumps out of the plane aiming for the wrong boat and is almost eaten by a shark? I figured, pfft, that’s far too ridiculous to be real. Any minute now…and of course, it was real, and Stiller never became Carell.

It actually made the film marginally more interesting, because without that aspect of a completely imagined impending plot twist, I would’ve turned it off as quickly as I turned off Gravity (3 minutes in–sorry, these films might impress the cinephiles, but not me, the luddite who can’t differentiate her Stillers from her Carells).

‘Blood of Ages’ Returns to the MCM Expo

Kier Gill and I will be back at Manchester Comic Con on the 19th & 20th July 2014.

I’ll be selling my books; Kier will be selling his comics based on my books.

You can buy tickets to the Expo here.

We’ll be on table T12 (Here’s a map).

Come say hi! We might not say hi back, because Kier and I are both cripplingly introverted, but Kier’s girlfriend has promised to play spokesperson on our behalf, so someone will talk to you =)

See you there, maybe ^_^