Friday, August 31, 2018

Flashback Friday: The Series' Finale of, "Dinosaurs," Was Pretty Dark

That Was Ominous
When I was little I loved the Disney show, "Dinosaurs." It was hilarious with the baby beating his dad, Earl, with a frying pan and I loved dinos, so it appealed to me. As I got older I noticed that there was lots of interesting messages, topics, etc. addressed by the program. Also, I realized how freaking dark the series' finale was. Basically, due to corporate greed the dinosaurs doom themselves to extinction by destroying the environment (it is uncomfortable how many ominous parallels can be drawn from that). Yeah, bit of a downer, eh? Reading this article about how that funny-in-a-really-dark-way finale came about was quite...I guess, "Fun," isn't the right word as it is about the show killing it`s whole cast, but you know what I mean.

In this era where series' finales often seem to disappoint fans by not doing enough to seem, "Final," the idea that, "Dinosaurs," went for broke and subtly made it clear everybody was doomed is impressive. After all, when you destroy the Earth that kind of eliminates the chance of any pointless spin-offs ("Friends," never should have followed-up with, "Joey,"). In this era where people online critique the smallest aspects of a show I wonder what something as dramatic as the finale of, "Dinosaurs," would get in response. Anger? Satisfaction? Whatever the case, everyone would agree it was better than how they ended, "Dexter."

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

"Cyberpunk 2077," Looks Promising

I generally try to not let myself get too hyped-up for a video-game. Often we will see promotional videos, read exciting preview-articles, and otherwise be told we're getting the equivalent of a fancy buffet when the actual product turns out more like a bucket of eggs from Denny's--possible to digest, but disappointing and unappetizing. That said, the more and I see and hear about, "Cyberpunk 2077," the more excited I get, with only a handful of reservations. Since watching the 48-minute gameplay video at the top of the article I'm only more enthusiastic.

The company behind, "Cyberpunk 2077," is CD Projekt Red, best known for their series of, "The Witcher," games. I played some of the first one on PC and a good deal of, "The Witcher III," on my Playstation 4, and found especially the third game to be masterfully designed, but not really for me. It's set in a big sprawling fantasy world which is good and all, but I've just gotten more and more tired of fantasy over the years and would rather be in a sci-fi location than one full of dragons and magic. Hence, hearing a team with the pedigree that CD Projekt Red has was working on this game had me optimistic. Based on the tabletop game, "Cyberpunk 2020," this was actually announced some years ago, and then we heard nothing. Years went by and CD Projekt Red insisted they were working on the game, but it was mostly radio silence. Then at the most recent E3 a bunch of gameplay footage was showed to the press of, "Cyberpunk 2077." Now, a bit later that footage has been released online with some extra narration from a designer carefully emphasizing this is all a work in progress and a lot could change--basically, trying to manage expectations. Fuck it though, I'm all-in on the hype-train at this point.
The idea of a futuristic open-world where your character can tweak their body a variety of ways and solve quests as peacefully or violently as needed just gets me pumped. I've loved the, "Deus Ex," games but have found them at times a bit dry or lacking in feeling, "Alive." This though, it just bleeds character. Watching your character, "V," wander through Night City is amazing, witnessing this world full of little details that seems full of life and otherwise bustling. It is amazing, gorgeous, and then we see the driving. The one thing that didn't really make me go, "Wow," was when V got behind the wheel of a car. Suddenly everything seemed a lot less busy and more static, this universe dripping with character looked like a a mess of roads and highways designed to get you to the more exciting locales. It was meh. That is okay though, because as soon as V stepped out of the car everything was cool again. We witnessed complex conversations trees, cool little abilities you can install in your character, and otherwise I was impressed.

I know the game is still deep in development and CD Projekt Red is notorious for saying something will come out, "Once it's done," as opposed to rushing out a mediocre game. That said, even if we have to wait until 2020 or so I'm very, very eager to play this game and if it is merely a smidgen as good as it looks and sounds like it will be, we're gonna have something magical on our hands. I know I should temper my expectations, but CD Projekt Red has the skill and dedication that makes me believe this is going to be one awesome open-world RPG...just maybe they can tweak the driving-elements a bit more, you know?

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

My Inner Middle-Schooler is Excited at the Thought of a Spice Girls Reunion

I just recently had a post on, "The Jerry Springer," show where I talked about how huge it was in the 90's, and discussed a kind of spice in my last post (pumpkin spice) so why don't I follow that up with a combination of sorts--a blast from the somewhat-recent past involving metaphorical spice? You see, apparently almost all of the Spice Girls will be reuniting to do a series of shows across the United Kingdom. Posh Spice AKA Victoria Beckham is apparently sitting it out because other than Mel B having a successful T.V. career, Ms. Beckham is probably the most wealthy/least in need of a check. When I was growing-up I absolutely loved the Spice Girls because when we are children our taste in music is sometimes simplistic and foolish--but I make no apologies! I was a preteen who enjoyed the catchy melodies, singing, and basic lack of mental challenge that came from listening to the Spice Girls. I rewound my the cassette of their album, "Spice," to keep hearing "Say You'll be There," so many times it broke the tape, and I repeatedly watched, "Spice World," on VHS and loved it completely without any irony.

I by no means am planning to fly to the UK in order to see these reunion concerts in 2019 (an approximate date, Mel B has just entered rehab due to an alcohol addiction brought on by PTSD and I wish her the best), but if I can buy a webstream of a concert or two I'd be open to that. Nostalgia is a Hell of a drug, and I clearly am hooked on it when it comes to certain things, such as the music of my youth. While I'm sad Posh Spice won't be a part of the reunion tour, I am glad that 4 out of the 5 members will be present and am excited for a trip down memory line if I catch any clips of a show!

Monday, August 27, 2018

Get Ready, People, Pumpkin Spice Returns to Starbucks Tomorrow!

Before you think you're clever for calling me it, I'll announce it myself. I am basic, or as the kids these days say, "A basic." I say that because I am excited for the imminent return of the Pumpkin Spice flavor at Starbucks. That's right, as of tomorrow, August 28th, it is essentially Fall (regardless of what the calendars or absurd heat says) because I'll be able to buy Pumpkin Spice Lattes at Starbucks, which I will most likely follow-up with by buying a pumpkin to put on our porch and getting excited for the leaves to turn colors ( I'll of course be counting down the days to Halloween as well). I love the Fall and October is one of my favorite months (I always am eager for September to end), so as soon as Pumpkin Spice is for sale at Starbucks I'm pumped-up and excited. Mock it all you want, but more and more people are disregarding criticism from others to enjoy the splendid pleasure that is a pumpkin spice latte.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

A Retrospective on "The Jerry Springer Show," and its Impact on American Culture

It is over. "The Jerry Springer Show," had existed in some form since 1991, although it started out like a, "Regular," talk show before when ratings were bad then moprhing into the pop-culture phenomenon it was in the late 1990's. Eventually it became a standard daytime talk-show in people's minds as what was once wild and crazy seemed less shocking now that we have the internet to look-up all of kinky desires--lasting all the way up to June 2018. Apparently it was cancelled, with episodes staying in reruns but no more ordered by the CW. That's right, "Springer," was cancelled and basically nobody noticed. I only realized this when I read an article that came out recently from the AV Club written by a woman who worked there once. I then did a Google search and sure enough, the show is done.

"The Jerry Springer," show was by no means still as huge an element of our cultural discourse as back 10 or 20 years ago when it was getting all the headlines, pop-culture references, and otherwise dominating the airwaves. The show was hated by many, considered tasteless trash with its focus on weird family drama, sexual fetishes, fights, and sometimes all three of those elements combining in odd ways. I remember when I was barely older than 10 years old in 1998 my parents forbidding me to watch it--so I of course did whenever I was able. I found, "Springer," to be a weird and fascinating show. A peek into a side of America lots of people maybe didn't realize existed, or maybe wanted to pretend didn't exist. An America of weird love triangles, sexual domination, gender fluidity, and people who were so desperate to either get on television or just be listened to by someone, anyone, they were willing to go on National T.V. to air their dirty laundry about how they were cheating on their spouse with their husband/wife's twin (which was actually one of the tamer subjects the show could have).
Not an irregular subject for the show.
My parents perhaps were worried 10 year-old me wouldn't understand all the adult content on the show, but I was fascinated by this then rarely-discussed by mainstream society world of weirdness. While in later decades the show did become more silly and basically just had confessions of infidelity, "surprise," reveals of transgender dating, or stripper contests, when it was at its highest point of success (so in a way, its nadir), it also spotlit things people didn't want to talk about that needed to be addressed. America's hidden little corners of Neo-Nazism and White Supremacy were covered by the program, with Jerry Springer himself almost once physically fighting a guest who made a disgusting comment about Springer's relatives who died in the Holocaust. Back before this current era where these people now sadly feel safe to emerge and spread hate, we needed a program like, "The Jerry Springer," show of all possible programs to shine a bright light on these horrible hateful groups and expose them for the morons they were.

"The Jerry Springer Show," was by no means a production with lofty-goals or a high-minded concept once it started leaning into being trashy. It was a program looking for scandal and outrage, which at the height of its popularity it had a ton of for sure. Still, in a weird way it helped put a microscope on elements of society that at the time maybe weren't getting much attention or discussion (remember, the internet wasn't as huge in the 1990's so watching a show about transgender dating or BDSM was the opposite of easy), but thanks to being broadcast on T.V. helped spread some awareness of how there are people out there with kinks, startling secrets, and America has a lot of interesting folk hidden away who could very well be your neighbor too.
Springer had a humorous cameo in, "Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me."
Whether your loved it or hated it, "The Jerry Springer Show," was a big part of American culture for almost three decades. That's an astonishing accomplishment for any T.V. program. Springer himself will be fine, over the years appearing less and less interested in hosting the show so much as using the fame from it to pursue other interests, having always seemed to enjoy various guest-hosting duties for other programs and events more, or engaging in discussing politics whenever able (he was after all a campaign-adviser for Robert Kennedy and politician himself before he became a journalist and eventual show-host). He always seemed like he had an air of detachment from his show, with it giving him a weird charm and contributing to his ability to step-aside when needed so the guests could express themselves and get the majority of the attention--which was of course the point of the program.

"The Jerry Springer Show," will live-on in reruns for some time, but nothing new is going to be recorded and eventually it will quit being broadcast. When that occurs all we will have are our memories and the old, "Too Hot for T.V.," VHS tapes from back in the day. I for one will miss the show, in all its dysfunctional and disturbing glory.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

"The Fang," is Pulpy Goodness

I was at one of the local comic-shops I enjoy browsing and spotted on the shelves with newer releases what looked like a fun little book, sized like the pulp stories of old. It was titled, "The Fang," and upon my skimming through it I was impressed and bought it! Having now read the entire comic I can say it is good fun thanks to its mixture of supernatural violence, eroticism, and humor. I'm quite glad I picked it up!

Written and illustrated by Marc Palm, "The Fang," is focused on its titular character, a vampire who also is an assasin-for-hire who kills other monsters in exchange for a big payday. The book follows her as she almost kills a werwolf, but hesitates because they have some romantic chemistry and agree to meet-up again later. Then we witness her burn-up a slime monster, get high with her friend the Hash Hag, and later hook-up with the werewolf via some saucy, "Mouth-stuff," as folk call it these days...before shooting him with some silver bullets because she may have thought he was cute, but she's still a professional! Also, there is an extra chapter about her fighting a Dr. Jekyll-type person that turns from a man into a huge monster baby. It is all good fun and boosted by Palm's stellar artwork.
Marc Palm's art-style reminds me a bit of Colleen Coover's thanks to its light and fun appearance, meshed with the more stark shapes and minimalism of Mike Allred. It has just the right mixture of cute and sexy when needed and gross and rough when a scene calls for it too. This results in The Fang and her Wolfman-date's scenes looking quite sexy whilst Palm also excels as showing a slime monster melt into sludge. It is fantastic stuff.

Marc Palm can be found at his Tumblr and also maintains a Patreon for those interested in following his work. If you want to purchase a copy of, "The Fang," he actually sells it in his own Etsy store, and it was recently picked-up for wider distribution via Fantagraphics, which is how I imagine it ended-up in the comic-shop where it caught my eye. I am so happy to have stumbled upon this book and eagerly give it 5 out of 5 stars.

Friday, August 24, 2018

"Black Hops," From Antarctic Press is Great and Silly Fun

Antarctic Press publishes an interesting variety of comics, from one of the longest-running comics currently in existence, "Gold Digger," to assorted parody books, and other fun reads. They just recently did a two-issue mini-series I couldn't help but find myself intrigued by, "Black Hops: USA-*-G.I." which is a mouthful of  a title so I'll just call it, "Black Hops." It starts an unnamed rabbit (his official name is always redacted in files) who works for the United States Government in various combat situations. You read that right, a cute bunny who also is a well-trained killing machine. It sounds silly as Hell, and writer Mark Pellegrini has just the right mixture of deadpan presentation with tongue-in-cheek disbelief from anyone who sees the rabbit that it works.

Essentially, the rabbit survived the nuclear bomb that America dropped on Japan in 1945 and was recovered by a U.S. trooper who noticed it had changed from radiation exposure to be super-intelligent, capable of camouflaging itself, and that it did not seem to age at a regular speed. This resulted in it working for America in various wars and eventually retiring to a farm. The rabbit is pulled back into working for the U.S. though when a North Korean missile test with faulty equipment puts Hawaii at risk. Over two issues the rabbit infiltrates North Korea, fights other enhanced creatures, and thankfully saves us all--with the comic cleverly claiming that missile-scare in Hawaii some months ago was actually related to this, and the rabbit successfully taking-down the silo resulted in recent talks by North Korea of nuclear-demilitarization, so a clever way of tying current-events into a fictional yarn.
Timonthy Lim and Brian Denham provide the interior artwork, which is solid if not amazing. I never found myself especially impressed with any of the drawings on the page, but also could clearly follow the action as our unnamed soldier-rabbit fought his way through opposing forces. Also, at just two issues the comic never wears-out its welcome, realizing the concept of a rabbit who also is a soldier only has so much traction before the joke is exhausted. I found myself quite entertained and would give this two-issue mini-series a glowing 4 out of 5 stars. You can ask your comic-shop to order you a copy or buy it from the Antarctic Press website as well should you like to read it!

Thursday, August 23, 2018

I'm Done With Ethan Van Sciver

I met Ethan Van Sciver at one of the Wizard World conventions some years ago. He seemed like a pleasant enough guy. We chatted about comics and his art-style, and I asked him about his politics because I was aware he was outspoken in being what he considered, "Conservative," in a field he thought had many Liberals (comic-books). I friended him on Facebook and would see him occasionally post stuff with his artwork, nothing too wild. Then as time went on I noticed he was getting more and more out there. He became a vocal as someone who wasn't conservative but just in fact hateful. He is part of the moronic, "Comicsgate," that exists to harass women, minorities, and etc. in comic-art. He left DC, but was possibly told he had to leave or get fired, depending on whom you ask. I kept myself as Facebook friends with Van Sciver out of a morbid curiosity of sorts, watching as his, "Cyberfrog," crowdfunding project made a lot of money (which is good for him) but had lots of comments from people funding him that immensely disturbed me...and which he welcomed.

There are Conservative comic-makers out there, just look at Chuck Dixon who has discussed being a Republican but also seems like a reasonable and pleasant human being. Van Sciver just has gotten more and more out there, with it getting to the point he took offense the widow of Darwyn Cooke, Marsha Cooke, discussed how Darwyn would hate Comicsgate and Van Sciver sicced his alt-right fan-base on her.  That's right, Ethan got into it with Cooke's widow about who knew the deceased creator better and Van Sciver's devoted fans harassed her. I'm done with Ethan Van Sciver and I'm sorry Ethan, but we can't be friends anymore (I unfriended him today). I won't be friends with someone who treats others so terribly, and if my openly discussing this gets his fans all mad at me and I get hate-tweets or such that is a price I'm willing to pay for having principles.

One Person Bugs Me On, "Bachelor in Paradise," Because They Symbolize the Series' Biggest Flaws

I know it isn't Tuesday, but this isn't exactly a, "Television Tuesday," post so much as a thought on a television show that then spirals into thoughts on the complexities of human attraction. Plus, I don't want to wait any longer to bitch about this. Basically, it really bugs me how this season a man named Colton has been so popular despite being incredibly, terribly dull.

For those who aren't aware, "Bachelor in Paradise," is a spin-off of the, "Bachelor/Bachelorette," franchise where people who did not, "Win," the heart of the main person in various seasons go hang-out at a resort, drink, hook-up, and maybe fall in love. Basically, if the main show is dedicated to the fantasy of finding a perfect soulmate through competitions and elaborate ceremonies, this is the more relaxed and low-key version where everybody realizes they just want to drink, make-out, and possibly fuck. Even the place they go to bone has a humorous name, referred to as the, "Boom-boom room," instead of a, "Fantasy Suite." It's also a very self-aware show and hilarious as the men and women all alternate between having a great time and squabbling. I can't stop being annoyed with Colton though and how he symbolizes some of the series' biggest flaws.

Colton essentially finished 3rd on Becca's season (the most recent). He is handsome, good at sports, and still a virgin who isn't waiting until marriage, but wants to find the right woman. He also is really boring. He's not a bad guy, he's just bland...yet so many women on the island were interested in him. I don't get it, there are guys like John and Kenny who are handsome as well as smart and funny, yet so much drama happened on the show with Colton not being sure if he wanted to just date a woman he knew previously named Tia (who was also on the show in a different season competing after a dude named Arie) or interact with other women. He is so boring, yet a number of women on the show were interested in him, Twitter loves the guy, and I'm just like, "Huh?"

I suppose even if, "Bachelor in Paradise," is a more chill version of the main show it still suffers from promoting certain social conepts. Colton is the stereotypical, "All American," boy--handsome, strong, and tough, yet still virginal and vulnerable enough with his occasional crying to be masculine but not toxic. Oh, and he is white and blonde. He's a concept viewers of the series are comfortable with. this way they don't have to feel challenged by difficult discussions such as the ones about race that happened in the season where Rachel was the Bachelorette (the first-ever Black person to be the star of the show) and ratings dropped, or when past contestants on the show have called-out how silly it is to think every season has to end in a proposal as opposed to maybe just agreeing to try monogamously dating once the show is done.
Bibiana is often more outspoken or bold than other women on the series.
She also is often treated as, "Crazy," or comedic-relief.
America as a nation still has many issues with race (just look at my post yesterday about our racist-in-chief, Donald Trump), gender, feminism, and I feel like the bland, "Classic," option of someone like Colton appeals to people so they don't have to think too much. The more upfront and, "Loud," or opinionated women on the series are generally treated as comedic relief or edited on the show to appear annoying/crazy. It is at its heart a show about how in the end we get one man picking one woman and if they don't play by the rules of the show they go home. Despite some hints of the series acknowledging that not everyone is heterosexual (past contestants have declared they are bisexual or pansexual or come-out as such after a season was filmed), it still is one of the most heteronormative programs you'll ever find.

It's fun and trashy television, but for every time it seems to be making social progress, a chunk of the audience seems to want to have any step forward be followed by two steps back. I feel like Colton unintentionally epitomizes this, and as this post has made clear, that irritates the Hell out of me. I still enjoy, "The Bachelor/Bachelorette," as well as its wacky, "Bachelor in Paradise," spin-off, but seeing all the self-imposed limitations the shows give themselves just is a bummer.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Thought on Donald Trump and the Possibility of a Tape Where He Says the N-Word

Note: This post contains vile language that may upset readers, especially as it is stuff our own President has said.
I honestly don't care if there is an audiotape of, "President," Donald Trump saying the N-word. I don't care because I know it will make zero difference. The majority of the Republican party will still blindly pledge loyalty as long as they get their nation-dismantling agenda pushed-through and his supporters who stood by him through controversy after controversy will excuse it along with his affairs with porn-stars, racist statements about immigration, and how he is generally horrible. We don't need a tape to know Trump is racist, we all know and his supporters don't care. There could be an HD video of Trump punching a pregnant Black woman and yelling, "Take this you slutty bitch, I hate Black people!" and it wouldn't do a damn thing to change anyone's mind. People would make elaborate lies about how the woman came at him with a knife and he was just defending himself with a fake audio dubbed-over, or that the woman was going into premature labor that was causing her to pass-out he was trying to say something vile to shock her awake.

I mean seriously, everyone tried to make-up a litany of excuses or theories for his tape where he bragged he likes to commit sexual assault and, "Grab them by the pussy." He has said repeatedly how Mexico is full of rapists and has never hesitated to call black people who anger him, 'Dumb," or a, "Dog." Donald Trump undoubtedly has said, "Nigger," because he is a racist, and racists especially love to say that word. The majority of us who know he is a disgusting man don't need to hear a tape to know this, and those who are loyal to him despite all the evidence of how terrible he is would easily brush-off this tape (or even be pleased to hear him say horrific things). Basically, unless there were a tape where Trump declared he wanted to end tax-cuts for the rich, create a single-payer healthcare system, and reform our immigration system to allow more people, his party will never abandon him.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

I Read Three Comic Collections by Simon Hanselmann and Loved Every Moment

Simon Hanselmann (he often dresses as a woman but declines to identify as female or transgender so-much as a, "Straight male," who likes to dress as a female, therefore the male pronoun will be used in this article as he identifies).
I read three books by popular comic-creator Simon Hanselmann, pictured above. He is best known for his work involving a witch, cat, and owl named (respectively), Megg, Mogg, and Owl. Megg and Mogg are a couple who spend most of their time dealing with anxiety and depression through large amounts of drug use whilst Owl struggles to pay most of the rent, hold down a job, and sometimes do drugs too when he's not off making questionable romantic choices (he has many STI's from not using protection). They have some friends, such as Booger, a former Boogeyman who transitioned to being a female, Mike, who kind of looks like a garden gnome, and utterly reckless Werewolf Jones, whom I'll discuss more in a bit. The comics with these characters don't have an overarching plot at first glance, although some general stories begin to form over time. Often it is just weird little segments that can be hilarious, depressing, or both.

I read three collections, "Megahex," Megg and Mogg in Amsterdam and Other Stories," and the latest 2017 book, "One More Year." The characters will often appear in a variety of comics, magazines, websites, and such so having these books to collect much of their adventures is wonderful and saves me time tracking-down a variety of publications/webpages. When reading the comics it is clear that Megg and Mogg are not bad people per se, they just are horrifically flawed, need help dealing with their issues (both personal and relationship-based) and have a codependency with Owl who honestly enables a lot of their worst behavior. Then there's Werewolf Jones.
Now, Werewolf Jones, he's just chaos in a humanoid form. As addicted to drugs and mayhem as he is attention-seeking, WWJ will run a cheese grater on his genitals, crash a car into a Target to steal baby-seats to sell, and take all the drugs available just because he can. He has two middle-schooler sons who are always jacked-up on sugar, leftover drugs, or a mixture of both. He's a supporting character so as to not wear out his welcome in the book, but man is he wild with his insane schemes--such as selling fabric hats on Etsy and at a trade show, but then getting stopped by airport security, stripping naked in front of everyone, and declaring they can search him before he passes out from all his drugs and ends up in prison, asking his son's about the Etsy store.

The assorted adventures of Megg, Mogg, Owl, and everyone else may sound like mostly idiotic stoner comedy, and that is an element, but there is some sharp and incisive commentary running through the book. Owl tries to act like a stand-up citizen and better than everyone else, but has a lot of his own vices and is so obsessed with status-climbing at a miserable telemarketing job he struggles at realizing just how deeply unhappy he is. Plus, throughout the books we see the sadness as Megg and Mogg come to terms with how their relationship is one of distrust and anger with them only getting along when deeply intoxicated. Plus, gender issues are discussed with Booger and how people treat her as a transgender Boogeyman/Boogeywoman. Oh, and we never see Megg's mother or hear/read her voice, but the times she is discussed it is made clear Megg's relationship with her mother is really damaged and miserable. Oh, and the flashback in, "One More Year," to everyone in high school is mostly heartbreaking. Basically, a whole lot of sadness and drama lurks just beneath the surface of some great humor--and don't get me wrong, despite the misery these books are hilarious and made me literally laugh at loud.
Left to right: Owl, Megg, Mogg, Werewolf Jones.
Some of the comics/mini-comics and magazines that have featured Megg, Mogg, and Owl are long since sold-out or out-of-print. However, thanks to Fantagraphics having these three big collections it is easy to take-in Hanselmann's genius. Between his stellar illustrative skills, masterful storytelling, and keen sense of humor these were all amazing comics. I look forward to the upcoming book Hanselmann has discussed, "Megg's Coven," for sure and any other work he puts out!
5 out of 5 stars (for all three books).

Monday, August 20, 2018

The Miss America Pageant Seems to be Stuck in a Big Mess Lately

Hey, remember those Miss America Pageants that used to get a chunk of press but over time people quit caring? Yeah, those. Did you know they have been trying to rebrand it as something besides a beauty contest with the name, "Miss America 2.0," and by eliminating the swimsuit competition and emphasizing how its about achievement and scholarships? Yeah, that's a thing. I mean, if you are a contest judging people on how they look, walk around, and pose, just own it, but I digress. Apparently, the current reigning Miss America, Cara Mund, wrote a letter that leaked (or she leaked it, I'm not sure) to the folk in charge of the Miss America pageant talking about how she felt bullied, ignored, and otherwise mistreated--something which she says makes her sad to state as the pageant is clearly in a fragile place right now. This made shit go crazy.

The current head of Miss America is none other than a former Fox News host, Gretchen Carlson. She released a statement basically saying Mund should have kept her mouth shut and by saying all this is now hurting the Miss America brand, or something. Instead of responding with a, "We will work on this," she instead went the route of, "Shut-up, now we're gonna have more problems and you're to blame!" Essentially, Mund pointed out the ship is sinking and the captain/Carlson claimed Mund is making the water pour-in faster. Carlson already is not especially liked by past winners/folk associated with the brand, so this is like a rock and a hard place for her in regards to staying employed.
Cara Mund AKA Miss America 2018
Look, I'm not going to go on some rant about how in we shouldn't have beauty pageants. If there is a market for it Miss America can keep happening and people can attend/tune-in or ignore it. Trying to rebrand it as some kind of feminist showcase however is stupid. You're judging women on their looks and it is shallow, but some folk are really into pageants and more power to them if they want to spend hours trying to perfect their smile in hopes of winning a crown. I'm just amused that something I haven't heard much about in years is now getting so much press for reasons I'm sure people behind Miss America would prefer didn't make the news.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Divinity: Original Sin 2 Definitive Edition Early Impressions

I mentioned in a previous post about assorted video-gaming news that the upcoming release of the updated/"Definitive Edition," of the popular game, "Divinity: Original Sin 2," had a unique promotional feature. The game itself isn't for sale in its new, "Definitive," form until August 31st for PC or Xbox One, but Playstation 4 owners who buy the game now digitally can play through the whole first act, a solid chunk of the game for sure that is advertised as being about, "20 hours worth of content." Seeing as how I have a Playstation 4, wanted to play this game, and have a PC woefully underpowered for it, I figured I might as well give the PS4 version a shot as I was saving-up to buy it anyways as either a physical disc or a digital copy. Having now played a total of 10 or so hours as two different characters I can offer some early impressions.

Now then, this is a game that can take hours upon hours to accomplish, and I have not even completed the first of the three acts that those who bought the game now can already dive into. Therefore, my opinions are by no means a big, comprehensive review. That said, I have enjoyed enough of a chunk of the game to know I really like it. I first started out as one of the premade, "Origin," characters who have their own special quests (and whatever ones you don't play as you can meet in the game). She was an elf with a , "I need revenge," back-story and I got the hang of the controls while I was her, but found the whole, "Angry and quiet badass," routine of the character a little meh. Following two hours as her I decided to play the surreal undead character, Fane, and have not regretted re-rolling as someone else in the slightest.

Fane has an issue where his appearance is that of a skeleton. People do not take kindly to undead so he has to either disguise himself in lots of clothes and a hood or literally take/rip-off the faces of dead enemy races to appear as if he is a human, dwarf, elf, or lizard-creature. Besides being undead he is perfectly friendly (if you want to play him that way) and a scholar. The game starts with he (or any character you play as) stuck on a ship heading to a prison colony for characters with magic powers that threaten reality (there are some plot elements that relate to the first game about all this it seems). Once the ship is wrecked by some otherworldly creatures ("Voidwoken,") you end up on the island and want to escape. From there the game leaves you to wander around, take side-quests, and figure out a way to leave the island through a multitude of options (once you leave the island more areas open-up too). The whole point of the game is to be very open-ended and I greatly enjoyed exploring around and chatting with the assorted characters on the island. Then combat would start.

Fighting in, "Divnity: Original Sin 2," is turn-based and that is good because so many different things can be happening at once you need to go slow and carefully plot your actions. When a fight breaks out the mixture of spells, environmental hazards, armors, weaponry, and the like can make the smallest quarrel feel like an extended slog. You have to flip-through various menus as you try to anticipate and react to a wide array of enemy actions and while there is a fun tactical element to fighting, so many dynamics are happening at once it can be bewildering--especially when you think you've got it all figured out only for everything to suddenly go wrong as fire erupts everywhere, your enemy uses a potion to heal themselves, and your entire party ends-up burnt to a crisp (seriously, fire-related spells and tools are used a lot in this game). I would rather just be chatting with all the cool characters and walking around the beautiful landscapes, but, "DOS2," just loves to throw you into trouble and laughs as you struggle to figure out all the elements of the fight to avoid a gruesome end.
Fire, poison, and menus everywhere?
It must mean there is combat going on.
Considering just how much there is to, "Divinity: Original Sin 2," and this, "Definitive Edition," of the game I have barely scratched the service. There are other races to play as, other classes to master, a whole bunch of environments I have yet to visit; honeslty, I'm still not exactly sure if I've been choosing the right skills for my characters every time they level-up or if I'm dooming myself to speedy defeat as the fights get tougher. From what I have played however I have been having a really fun time, and combat-confusion aside love basically every aspect of the game from the clever writing to how hilarious you can be as a snarky undead gent. I'm excited to continue playing through the rest of this first act and once the full game unlocks on August 31st play the rest of this massive game as well!

Friday, August 17, 2018

Film Friday: Sony, Please Don't Do A Cinematic Universe Of Spider-Man's Secondary Characters Without Spider-Man

Trouble Brewing
The start of something great, or a tipping-point into a terrible idea?
With the upcoming release of the hopefully-decent, "Venom," movie approaching, Sony has made it clear they have big plans for all kinds of movies featuring characters who are best known for their associations with Spider-Man...but these movies will mostly likely lack Spider-Man, and this seems as if it is a terrible idea. Seriously, the more I read the more horrifically stupid this sounds. To understand this upcoming possible future however, we need to understand our history of how it all came to this.

A Fast Review of the Past
"Captain America: Civil War," featured the first shared-rights appearance of Spider-Man.
Let's begin a quick-ish refresher: Marvel was on the verge of bankruptcy in the early 2000's and sold the film rights to various popular characters. Fox snatched-up the Fantastic Four as well as the X-Men (but Marvel's now-owner Disney is getting those back) and Sony bought the rights to Spider-Man and anything associated with his character. From this we got some solid, "Spider-Man," movies featuring Tobey Mcguire as the Web-slinger, and then those, "Amazing Spider-Man," films which the less we talk about, the better. Eventually, Sony and Marvel came to an agreement where Spider-Man could appear in Marvel films and Marvel characters would in turn appear in his films, with each corporate entity retaining the rights to those characters but being able to bathe in the incredible amount of money this deal made.

Here's the thing though, this kind of ties-up Spider-Man into the Marvel Cinematic Universe for some time and only he (and anyone who appears in his movies that specifically involve him and the Marvel folk) can really be in a Spider-Man related movie by Sony. This means unless we were to get, say, Venom, Morbius, Jackpot, Black Cat, or anyone else in his specific movies Sony can't mention him in any other flick. I mean, these characters can have their own movie, but he can't be in those right now, or else they de-facto are in the Marvel Cinematic Universe too--which ain't part of the deal. I know this sounds confusing, but what I'm basically saying is Sony has all these Spider-Man friends and foes they might like to make movies with, but can't because Spider-Man--whose relationship to them is their defining feature--is tangled-up with Marvel/Disney. Unless of course, Sony made movies with these characters without having Spider-Man actually involved, but that would be pure stupidity and...oh no.

Presenting: Sony's Universe of Marvel Characters...Yes, Really
Just some  examples of what we can apparently expect to be hitting movie-screens in future.
Yes, that is the real name as an article in Variety discusses. Apparently Sony is so confident that characters such as Silk or Nightwatch can stand alone without Spider-Man--despite the fact their entire existence is inexorably linked to Spider-Man--that a whole slate of Spider-Man-less films featuring his secondary characters are planned in the Spidey-less-Sony-verse (I'm gonna trademark that, don't rip me off, Bleedingcool). Now, I am not mocking this idea due to the fact the characters are less-known. Back in 2007 only hardcore comic-book fans could tell you much of anything about Iron Man before the film came out a year later. There is more to this than that.

See, it is perfectly reasonable to take a character people don't know and capitalize on its potential to make a great flick. What isn't reasonable however is to completely get rid of the very thing that defines a character (e.g. how all these folk know Spider-Man). That would be like, "Iron Man," but he never gets injured and then dedicates himself to stopping violence, instead he just keeps selling weapons (that might make a decent, "What-if," comic, but not a movie). To have all these people who basically have as their defining trait--"I know and love/hate/have worked with Spider-Man," be ignored just seems odd and makes me wonder how the characters will even work in a movie. I guess we will see relatively soon with the upcoming, "Venom," flick setting a bit of a tone for what the future holds in Sony's so-called cinematic Universe. I'm not sure how many times I need to say that this whole, "We gotta make a cinematic universe!" idea  studios have is an issue, as while it has worked great for Marvel, that doesn't mean it will always work for everyone--or is even a good idea to try in the first place. It is going to happen again though, apparently, and I sincerely hope Sony knows what it is doing. I honestly hope whatever movies they do end-up making are good and not a total mess, but I'm clearly a bit pessimistic.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Judge Me if You Want, I Love the Viral-Hit Song, "Mooo!"

Just yesterday I was saying how the concept behind the song, "Medicine," was stupid and resulted in a super-weak result. Then, I'm reading the AV Club today and learn about how a rapper from South Africa known as Doja Cat created a jokey song titled, "Moo!" The whole thing is basically an exercise in her doing silly cow and barnyard puns whilst referencing other rap songs with a farm-twist. She is literally rapping as if she were some kind of cow, a concept far-fetched enough as the basis for a jam that it makes me think of the elaborate plots Warren Zevon would weave back when he was alive with his tunes--of course this is moreso incredibly absurd and corny, yet it actually works really well and is quite entertaining. That she made it up basically on the fly as a lark is especially impressive.

There is a smooth beat and the verses are a great mixture of funny, bragging, and self-awareness. The incredibly low video-quality of the music video just adds to the charm, with what I assume to be a production budget of about $10 where Doja Cat dances in front of a really glitchy green-screen featuring cows, food, and for some reason, anime breasts. The biggest, "Special effect," if you want to call it that, would probably be Cat's expert twerking in a cow-print hoodie, which is as weird as it sounds. "Mooo!" is just the right mixture of dumb and ingenious--kind of like the show, "Aqua Teen Hunger Force," with about the same intentionally bare-bones graphics-work. I am intrigued to check out Doja Cat's official release debut now, so I guess that's an example of a viral video doing its work to get people interested in her other musical output!

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

I'm Baffled by the Concept of the New Song, "Medicine," by Queen Naija

On the radio I've been hearing a new song titled, "Medicine," by a singer named Queen Naija. It has a catchy sound, but the whole concept of the song is moronic. Basically, she knows the man she is with has been cheating on her with numerous women, which makes her angry (normal concept for a song so far), so she gets revenge by...sleeping with a bunch of guys he knows in order to then tell him about it for no reason other than revenge--wait, what? Seriously, of all the reasons to have sex the idea she is doing it to, "Give you a taste of your own medicine," is one of the worst excuses I have ever heard. We as humans have sex for fun, to relax, and of course if we feel horny, but just to make your spouse angry? I ain't buying it, she's having sex because she wanted to have sex and her man being a scoundrel just serves as a handy excuse, I'd say.

Plus, if this really is a case of just boning a bunch of dudes to make your man, "Cry," how unhealthy a relationship is that where all you do is cheat on each other to cause the other to hurt? Apparently the song draws from a former marriage Naija was in, so thank God they got divorced if this song reflects what their relationship was like. I get the idea of the song, that she feels slighted, but I'd get the concept more if that meant she then went and slept with some former lover or someone she has been fighting feelings for, etc. Instead it is just like, "I'm gonna call up all these guys to spite you!" I just find it baffling, and it results in a pretty weak basis for a song, methinks.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Ed Benes has a Neat New Kickstarter

Back some years ago, on a day I felt particularly salty and cranky, I made a post where I called Ed Benes a hack. Some time later I took a long hard look at his work and myself, and realized the dude had talent and was not a hack, but a creator I enjoyed, as I discussed in another post. After all, there are lots of creators whose work just makes me recoil in disgust (hey there, Greg Land), but Benes ain't bad at all. Hence, in my effort towards self-atonement so I feel like I'm not a mean person, I want to share with folk how I noticed Ed Benes is doing a neat new Kickstarter campaign for a comic-book.

Titled, "Nina and Ariel," it is the first issue of, "A post-apocalyptic sci-fi series inspired by Ed's love of Heavy Metal Magazine and similar European comics of the time, and also the work of Frank Frazetta (Fire & Ice, etc)." Also, it puts fears of long delays to rest, assuring backers, "All of the work is has been scripted, drawn, lettered, and colored.  Now all we need is to send it off to the printer!  The Kickstarter campaign is going to help us cover all print costs, and will also allow us to pay the creators, and to get issue 2 into production as soon as possible!" Benes is the writer and artist with some other folk on coloring, lettering, etc. It looks fun and for just $4 you can get a PDF or pay a smidgen more for a physical copy, up to big bucks for all kinds of variant covers and goodies. It looks like a legitimately fun comic with some sharp illustrations (Benes ain't phoning it in on this labor of love) and as someone who loves sci-fi it has my attention.
I'm not proud of when I was needlessly mean to Benes, but think that since my initial apology-post and now telling folk about the comic I hopefully have made it up to guy. Plus, I of course backed the campaign so that I can get a copy of my own to read and enjoy. I would encourage you to do so as well by following this link.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Scattered Observations on the Latest Video-Game News

Scraps for Lunch!
This isn't a post full or links or a well-focused article. It is some assorted thoughts on video-game news I've been reading lately. In other words, I have enough content to make a single article out of some scraps of ideas and you're going to read these scraps and enjoy them! Please?

Snippets of Thought
I am of course someone who loves the, "Fallout," series of games whether it is the classic isometric 1st and 2nd, the masterpiece that is 3, or the stellar 4 (I never played, "New Vegas," I know, I suck). With that said, the idea of a multiplayer-focused Fallout game such as, "Fallout 76," just does not appeal to me, at all--especially as more details come out. I mean, having lived in West Virginia for some time growing-up I do find it cool that there is a game set in that state, but I've always most enjoyed the, "Fallout," series when it is a solitary experience with just me and maybe an NPC comrade to help carry all my junk. The whole point of a nuclear post-apocalypse is that things will be lonely, and slapping something akin to an MMORPG on the mold with a bunch of other folk running-around just seems a bit odd for this franchise.

In this era of the internet it astounds me someone would try to plagiarize anything considering how easy it would be to check if they did. Well, apparently a reviewer for IGN did so with his review of the game, "Dead Cells," and got fired for it. I just feel bad that the team behind the mostly well-reviewed game are having to put-up with this fiasco occurring over their title.

The original, "Red Dead Redemption," game surprised everyone by coming-out with basically zero expectations regarding it and being an amazing mixture of adventuring, wild-west gunplay, and a depressing-but-touching plot. Since then people have been clamoring for a sequel and while one was announced a bit ago, precious little had been revealed. Finally more drips-and-drabs are coming out and it looks like, "Red Dead Redemption 2," will be quite fun, but I wonder if it will be able to live-up to the now immense expectations facing this series?

Some developers keep adding to a game even after it is, "Done."
Imagine spending a couple years, half a decade, or even a full 10 years working on a game, putting in your blood, sweat, and tears. Then it comes out and you're left asking, "Now what?" in a mixed state of relief and dread. As you can imagine, the whole thing is bittersweet.

In this supposedly more advanced and progressive day and age it is depressing to think we still need to have these articles about sexism and discrimination at a big company such as Riot Games. It is depressing because one would hope such articles aren't needed, and it is upsetting because without an exposé the problems would undoubtedly continue.

Lastly, I read many stellar things about, "Divinity: Original Sin II," on the PC and continue to get more and more excited for its release on the Playstation 4. Apparently if you pre-order the digital download of the game you can play the first, "Act," now. It's an interesting way to draw consumers in for sure, like a mega-demo of sorts, I suppose.

Full Now?
I hope you found these pieces of video-game news and observations filling enough. Between the good and the bad there clearly is a lot of interesting things going on with games. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm gonna look into this whole, "Play the first act free," thing with, "Divinity: Original Sin 2."

Friday, August 10, 2018

Rant-Reviews--What I Read The Past Couple of Days

A Quiet Moment
I think we all know that life can be busy, I know mine is. Therefore, when I don't have anything I immediately need to do I try to get in some reading as I of course love comics and books. I had a quiet moment or two the past couple of days  that allowed me to read some new comics I acquired this week. Therefore, let's dive-in to discussing some comic-books, shall we?

What I Read
Farmhand #2
Written and illustrated by Rob Guillory, known by many for his artwork on another Image series, "Chew," this comic is incredibly weird...which means it is perfect for me. A fascinating blend of humor, horror, and mystery, it centers on a farm that uses advanced stem cell technology to grow human body parts from literal plants, plus how the son of the farm's founder has a strained-at-best relationship with his Dad. The comic juggles high-concept sci-fi, family drama, corporate intrigue, and a good deal of jokes but Guillory balances it all out perfectly to give readers a comic I so far adore just two issues in. The book is an ongoing series with a lot already going down, so I'm excited to keep reading based on what's been foreshadowed so far!
5 out of 5 stars.

Beast Hunter X #1
I'm almost always a fan of Mike Wofler's writing and/or artwork, with his comics that carry a strong sci-fi and/or horror-focus often being a favorite of mine. His latest comic, "Beast Hunter X," has an interesting concept with a mixture of known horror monsters (vampires, werewolves) having to come together to face a new and scary creature. It raises a number of questions/mysteries and is jam-packed with all kinds of fighting and gun-play. In the back-matter Wolfer discusses how he was going for a 1980's horror-vibe like the old flicks full of creatures and nasty explosions. I would say Wolfer nails the tone perfectly and the art mostly compliments his writing with it sometimes being a bit scratchy for my tastes but otherwise solid (Demi Mandir does art). It's a delightful first issue and if Wolfer's past work is any indicator, this is going to be a great series!
4 out of 5 stars.

Automa #5
I greatly enjoyed my interview with Charles Forsman I did previously, which included us discussing his comic only Patreon supporters (or stores that support the Patreon who want copies to sell) could acquire. This series, "Automa," is that comic, and considering how good it is I'd encourage everyone who is able to contribute $3 Forsman's way to do so--that way they'll be able to love this book as much as myself. This issue has a lot of trippy visuals as the protagonist, Lee, deals with the fact that his robotic-arms from the future are basically taking over the rest of his body (if you read the comic it makes sense). Forsman is a fantastic illustrator and these surreal dream-style sequences are a treat to read, even if it is at the expense of further plot development this issue. It's rad stuff however, and if you go support his Patreon you too can enjoy, "Automa," as much as I do.
5 out of 5 stars.

Michael Cray #10
While the main, "Wildstorm," book written by Warren Ellis has been amping-up more and more with a war brewing between two secret organizations that monitor/control Earth and Space, its spin-off comic, "Michael Cray," has been more low-key, having our protagonist stop twisted versions of DC heroes in this strange world. At first the book followed a routine where for two issues Cray would fight someone and move onto the next threat with an over-arching theme slowly becoming apparent that there was a whole lot more going on than met the eye, and since about issue #7 the big plot has become apparent with Cray fighting an alien parasite within his brain that may actually tie back into the main Wildstorm book in some ways whilst also dealing with quite evil versions of John Constantine and Diana Prince. It's been a good read and it wraps-up in just two more issues, so I hope it, "Sticks the landing." Based on how enjoyable the book has been so far I'm not worried, however.
4 out of 5 stars.

Predator: Hunters II #1
With a new #1 to kick off its second volume of the, "Predator: Hunters," mini-series, Dark Horse continues this series intriguing take on the Predator concept, namely it pits the alien/aliens against humans who know from the start what they are up against. This is admittedly a hokey, "Hunter becomes the hunted," concept, but it actually works quite well with the Predator, as so often the character is the cat in a game of, "Cat-and-mouse," resulting in it being a fun twist when the tables are turned. What's left of our team from volume 1 now heads to Afghanistan and it seems there are other parties interested in the Predators as well. This issue also has some exciting and gory Predator-action so I was pleased with the mixture of plot, blood, and general mayhem.
4 out of 5 stars.

Fantastic Four #1
I just recently talked about how it felt like there wasn't much hype for the return of the Fantastic Four in their own comic. After I made that post I had one personally anonymously comment on the blog to say they were excited and my friend James Doe (real name) told me on Facebook he was pumped yeah, I guess at least two people in the world are clamoring for a, "Fantastic Four," comic. Having read the Dan Slott-scripted comic I now can conclude that it is alright, but nothing amazing. The issue is mostly place-setting for the team to reunite and we witness Doctor Doom retake Latveria in an epilogue that was pretty cool because things actually happen in it. Otherwise, little occurs besides the Thing getting engaged to Alicia Masters--which is sweet--and it becoming apparent the team will finally reunite in the next issue. For a big-deal #1 this is a pretty quiet and low-impact return of this book. It wasn't bad though, just relatively unimpressive AKA average. Now I'm just curious what my aforementioned chum, James, thought of it.
2.5 out of 5 stars.

Relaxation and Writing
Some people hate writing, but I enjoy it so I took this free time to offer my thoughts on some assorted comics. I hope you enjoyed reading my opinions and are now inspired to seek-out (or even avoid) some books.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

The Stock App Robinhood is Interesting, Fee-Free, and Useful

When it comes to the stock market it can seem a little mysterious. Sometimes we think of the stock market as if it is this strange ethereal concept that can impact the economy but with little to do with us in our day-to-day lives. We might be interested in the stock market, but how can we take part in it without an expensive broker or paying fees? There have been some apps with the idea to give everyone access to the stock market, but one by far getting the most buzz is Robinhood. I thought I would try it out on my iPhone, and I like it.

Robinhood has gotten a lot of press for allowing people to simply verify they are a U.S. Resident, link their bank, and get to work buying and selling stocks. The are no fees, with the idea instead being to offer a, "Gold," level for people who do a lot of stock-trading and to continue growing a user-base. Also, people can invite friends and get a free random stock, which is cool. Once the app approves you things are as simple as putting in some money and getting to work at trading stocks during the business hours the market is open (if the market is closed you can make a purchase or sell order to execute the next day). The app shows you how well a particular stock you pick has been doing over time, will provide links to news, and otherwise is extremely user-friendly.
Robinhood also allows people in a small number of states that allow it (19 so far) to invest in Cryptocurrencies such a Bitcoin. I of course am not a big fan of Bitcoin or other digital-currencies so that interests me very little, but I know some folk love the stuff. As those, "markets," never close people can buy or sell digital coins at any time too whilst their so-called markets rise and fall. As with stocks, you transfer money from your bank to trade these faux-coins. Again though, the stocks are more interesting to me.

To test out Robinhood I transferred in $50 and bought a stock in Funko, Snapchat, an electric car charging company I read about online called Blink, and some really cheap, "Pennystocks," like company behind Moviepass that is currently hemorrhaging money and has their stock for about 7 cents each. I proceeded to sell the pennystocks a few hours later when it hit a high and made like 10 cents, sold Snapchat before its, "Earnings Call," and made 50 cents, found my Blink stock went down enough I lost 20 cents, and Funko basically held steady enough I bought another stock of it. My, "portfolio," is currently two stocks in Funko and one in Blink. If I were made of money I could of course invest a ton into playing the stock market and either become millionaire or go broke and live in the gutter. I don't have that kind of capital though, so I'm perfectly happy to watch as my Funko stock hopefully climbs over time and make a few bucks.
My testing-out Robinhood with $50 was of course using it on a very small-scale, but I still found it fascinating, full of information, easy to trade stocks with, and love how there is absolutely no fee to use it (just bonus features for the gold level). I've told some chums about Robinhood and hope we each get some free stocks from my referrals as well. I'd encourage people to try it out, but to make sure they of course invest responsibly and try and get a referral link from a friend so you can take advantage of a free stock!

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Breakfast Food is the Best Food

No, This Isn't Open to Discussion
I believe that Breakfast food is the best food, and that eating breakfast foods should never be limited to just the morning. I love waffles, pancakes, and french toast for a carb as well as bacon, sausage, or ham for meat. A tasty scrambled egg is always delightful as well and you know I love potatoes whether they be cubed or shredded! I don't get why we can eat lunch items at dinner and vice-versa, yet folk think its quirky to desire some biscuits and gravy at 5PM. Breakfast is delicious, and should be an option at any time of day. I posted about this on Facebook and found an overwhelming number of people agreed with me. It's anecdotal evidence, sure, but if I could get everyone on Facebook to actually agree about something in this era of division, that's pretty encouraging.

Corporations know that having breakfast available anytime is good for business. Look at how popular Cracker Barrel is, or the fact that McDonald's finally started serving their most popular breakfast items all day a few years ago. Plus, White Castle is aware that as much as people might crave their burgers, it is also a good idea to have the breakfast choices as an option at all times. Breakfast is awesome and I will gladly eat it anytime of day. You can disagree with me on this if you want, but you would be wrong.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Mercari is a Terrible App for Sellers

A chunk of time ago I made a post about how I enjoyed using Mercari to purchase items. Since that time I started selling items on Mercari sometimes too, listing comic-books, Funko Pops, clothes, etc. After a number of bad experiences as a seller and the worst one just occurring, I can say I personally feel Mercari is a terrible app for anyone wanting to sell anything. Curious how I came to that conclusion? I shall break it down...

Now, people will sometimes complain about eBay and how it, "Always sides with the buyer," but I personally have never had a bad experience with eBay customer service when I have needed to reach out to them via phone or email. Meanwhile, with Mercari I've had it happen to me and read about it happening to other people where a buyer will complain something was damaged or not how they wanted, and be allowed to return it with no investigation. They don't have to supply pictures of damage, or that the item wasn't packed well, etc. Now then, this time I had a Pop I sent someone and they said it was damaged, so they of course were allowed to immediately return it. I noticed they had negative feedback and probably were pulling a scam. Mercari didn't care. I requested I still at least get credit to buy stuff if not my full payment--Mercari said no. I repeated how this was most likely a scam of them replacing my Pop with one that was already damaged and it fell of deaf ears. I then sent the last message below:
As you can see, I pointed out how I was done with the app and felt other ones were more deserving of my selling on them--after all, without sellers these apps lack anyone to draw fees from. The response was one of indifference and basically the same snarky tone I encountered my entire time I was working with customer service on this issue. I'd had problems with Mercari before--as I've said--but this was just atrocious and beyond anything I'd ever had occur with any other selling app or website. Oh, and the Pop was returned and I'm pretty sure they did a scammy swap-out as I suspected.

It is needless to say I don't plan to sell on or buy from Mercari ever again in the future. I would much rather buy and sell at the many other options that exist such as eBay, Poshmark, OfferUp, Facebook's Marketplace, and other sites/apps I'm surely forgetting. If Mercari wants to have such blatant disregard for the people who make it turn a profit, they don't need me, and I surely can go without them.