Going forward, Sundays are lazy days for me. I either post something silly or other people’s work. Usually both. Today, it’s a few MCU memes that hit my social media streams this week. Two you’ve almost certainly seen. One is pretty new. They all surround last week’s ComicBook.com quarantine watch party of Thor (which was awesome), which was in preparation for the following day’s premiere of Loki on Disney Plus (which was awesome).
Toonify has an app that let’s you covert a photo of yourself into something resembling yourself as a Pixar character. Everyone is complaining about their toonified image, so I decided to give it a try. Here’s the starting point:
Well, this is what I got. Don’t let children look at it.
What am I? A hobbit on Venus? My cousin, Kessel Junkie, with microcephaly? At least now I have my hair back.
Okay, I know what your thinking. Between the glasses and the background, I broke the conversion algorithm. So, I tried this one.
Stable background, no glasses. What could go wrong? Look away while you still have the chance.
Okay, how about this one?
Here we have a white background and white shirt, and at a better resolution without that screwed up eyeball touchup. Third time’s the charm, right?
Now I’m a hobbit in a meat locker or some such shit. Maybe I’m going about this the wrong way. Maybe I need to take a photo of me in a pretty bad place so that I’m bound to improve. I mean, artificial intelligence may be subject to reverse psychology just like we are. Here’s one when I weighed over 300 pounds.
Seriously? It may have well just linked me to Pearl from Blade.
Dammit! I shall not be denied. Maybe I can intimidate the algorithm.
This guy looks like he couldn’t beat up Napoleon Dynamite. I’m going to give this another shot.
This defies explanation, but that’s never stopped me from trying. This looks like the skin of a baby turned into a doll. They could write a horror movie out of this one.
Like Pinocchio, that doll became a real boy and then grew up. If anyone makes a horror movie about this character, I’ll sue for the rights.
I think it’s safe to say that none of your pictures are really that bad, and I couldn’t get one good picture from any of my photos, so I . . . win, I guess?
If yours is worse, you’re going to have to prove it. Until then, quit your bitching.
I’ve written a few times about MeWe. I pointed out that our instinctive dislike of MeWe‘s exposed out our hypocrisy with respect to privacy concerns. I talked about how my first and second Facebook suspensions were driving me towards MeWe despite my instinctive dislike. I then took a thinly veiled stab at Facebook. So here I am trying to find a replacement for Facebook, but it’s been tough. Last weekend, I posted the following to Facebook:
I’m really trying with #MeWe, but it’s just not going anywhere.
After navigating my way through some commentary that were mere diversions, I reached a conclusion as to why I’m having so much trouble with MeWe. Sure, the privacy protections make MeWe unwieldy, but that’s because it isn’t meant to be used the way we use Facebook. With Facebook, it’s all about “friendships.” I hate that they use that term. We’re not necessarily friends. “Connections” would be more accurate, but less marketable. Obviously, the latter is Facebook‘s concern, but I digress. To use Facebook as intended, you should have as many connections as possible. MeWe‘s technology isn’t conducive to that, but I get the impression it isn’t meant to be.
I think the idea behind MeWe isn’t about making numerous direct connections. Instead, the idea is for you to join groups that cater to your interests, and interact with people within those groups. That is, you’re not supposed to just post a random thought on your timeline and expect to receive reactive comments from your connections list, nor are you supposed to see the random thoughts of your connections hitting your timeline and giving you an impulse to rant. Instead, you’re expected to do these things within the groups you’ve joined, thus reducing the noise on the site, and avoiding the need to connect directly with other accounts in a way that could compromise your privacy.
And MeWe is great with groups. I’m a member of many music-oriented groups, and despite song lyrics often addressing sociopolitical issues, I’ve never once seen a sociopolitical debate in those groups. We can discuss the lyrics of, for example, Gimme Shelter by the Rolling Stones, which are about the civil unrest of the 60s, in particular the Vietnam War, race riots, and Charles Manson. As long as we discuss the Stones’ opinions and don’t inject (or at least don’t emphasize) our own opinions on analogous modern subjects, there’s no true mixing of politics and music in a way that spoils the group. If you want to share your opinions on modern issues, there are plenty of political groups available that are designed specifically for that. Go there. You may even see many of the same people there. Problem solved. Everyone’s happy.
In contrast, I’m a member of a Far Side group on Facebook. I’ve never once seen a post that didn’t devolve into a sociopolitical debate. I’m not exaggerating. Every single Far Side post is a debate between Republicans and Democrats, vegetarians and meat-eaters, etc. It’s maddening, and it’s typical of Facebook. Perhaps when MeWe gets more popular, it’ll devolve into that as well, but for now, these groups really work well.
So why am I still having trouble with it? Simple: I’m not used to it, and Facebook keeps my brain from adjusting. On Twitter, I have over 40 accounts. No shit. Over 40. I do that to reduce the noise. GSLLC is for gaming, music, and other assorted nerdity, MMADork is for sports, PropertyAtty is for law, and RobertEBodine (seldom used) is for politics. (The other accounts are anonymous satire accounts or related to a gaming project I’m working on.) I’ll never cross those streams on purpose because I’m doing my part to keep the noise down. Nevertheless, even Twitter has the same effect on my brains because none of you follow the same practice. My GSLLC stream is loaded with politics I don’t want to discuss (or even read) there, and filters are only so good at keeping those topics out. As a result, Twitter also keeps my brain from adjusting. Transitioning to MeWe successfully is going to take a lot of work. For me, that’s worth it — I’m very concerned with the antitrust implications of the Facebook/Twitter oligopoly — but I don’t know that it’ll ever be worth it for you (until you’re severely censored).
Plus, there are the small things. For example, I’ve turned off automatic notifications of chat messages, but I still get the audible ding whenever someone posts a group chat message. In other words, I can’t turn it off. More importantly, MeWe is missing distribution lists. Google+ introduced me to them because they had them from the start. Facebook eventually followed suit, but not before I had well over 1,000 Facebook connections. It took a lot of work to place all of you onto list. One of these days, MeWe will wise up and introduce them, and that’s going to create a lot of work for me. Finally, I’ll mention that MeWe avoids ads. Hooray! Right? Well, not really. In order to maintain the site and make a profit, some features require payment. We hate ads, but we’re used to not having to pay directly for social media, so most of us won’t pay for those features. Again, it’s our hypocrisy. We’re not bad people, but we’re continually making our own bed with this, and I hope enough people are paying for MeWe Premium ($5/month) that the site stays afloat.
I’m not giving up. I’m going to make this work eventually.
Last week, I watched season 2 of Ragnarok. I previously discussed season 1, which I think I liked more than I should have. I’m a sucker for mythology, so I sometimes give modern dramatizations a little more credit than they deserve (though this is not absolute). This certainly applies here. The acting was rather sour at times, and I’m not sure whether that’s because the English is dubbed. However, I haven’t seen a better representation of mythology on film than this show, and that’s despite the fact that it intentionally (and appropriately) takes the “gods” and “giants” in a different direction.
The premise is that the war between gods and giants never ends. Both groups are continuously reincarnated but in different ways. You learn in season 2 that the giants know who they are their entire lives, even as they take on new ones through reincarnation. However, because the gods represent the interests of humans, they possess or are reincarnated as (probably the former, but unclear) humans, taking time to remember/learn who they are. This creates a foot race. The giants are busy destroying the world (in the most modern of ways in this show), searching for evidence that the gods are returning. Once they learn that the gods are back, they race to complete their plans, or even kill the gods, before the gods gain their full strength. The complication for the giants are that they’re bound by the rules of the game, which doesn’t allow them to act directly at times.
Despite getting to the action this season, there’s still character development in play. For example, there’s an obscure character in Norse mythology, Járnsaxa (don’t click the link if you don’t want to be able to infer spoilers), whose role took me by surprise. Her character was in front of my face for two seasons, and I didn’t recognize her until the last episode of season 2. Based on the myths, her presence is important to how the series should wrap up. Some new characters were “born” in this season as well, including two extremely important ones, Loki and … something else.
The actor playing Loki is no Tom Hiddleston — who is? — but he does a good job, and the writing for his character is as good as any I’ve seen for any god from any mythology ever on television or in the movie theater. He’s exactly what Loki is supposed to be, which is hard to fit into modern storytelling. He’s not evil. He’s not even always selfish. He’s . . . Loki. Moreover, Thor’s reluctance to remove Loki as a threat makes a ton of sense, just as it does in Norse mythology, but not in exactly the same way, because this show takes place today.
Season 1 was very slow — all set up — but season 2 really got us into the mythology. Unfortunately, it’s only six, 50-minute (or so) episodes. I wanted a lot more.
I can’t guarantee you’ll like it if you’re not a mythology nut like me, so as always, YMMV.
As a follow up to yesterday’s post on language, today I give you a combination of language and the silliness of Caturday. It’s an oldie but goodie, and by “oldie” I mean “old in the context of the internet.” It’s not old like I’m old.
It’s not as if Caturday is supposed to be taken seriously.
If you know me personally, you know I’m a language freak. Before you assume that I, a lawyer, thinks that language is a crime (as many often inappropriately accuse language freaks of being), I can assure you my view is a bit more reasonable than that.
When I was in high school, I thought I was pretty clever. Of course, I was, but my successes aren’t important right now. I had heard about the word, “ghoti,” attributed inaccurately to George Bernard Shaw. To summarize, when you take the way “gh,” “o,” and “ti” are pronounced in other words, you can justify pronouncing ghoti the same as you would pronounce the word, “fish” (click through for an explanation). Here’s where my cleverness comes in. Whenever someone as smug as I told this story, I told them that Shaw and they weren’t thorough in their spelling. The correct spelling of “fish” was actually “ghotib.” The ‘b’ on the end is silent, like in dumb.
Get it? See? I always outdid those wannabes that were taking other people’s work and peddling at their own. I at least added to the work. I told you I was clever. But not as clever as this.
Fortunately, I’m no longer in contact with any of the people that could throw this in my face.