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The Fate Roll: Handling Initiative In A Split Party   1 comment

I had a curious situation this last Tuesday: I had a 3.5 gaming group where nearly every player had a character who would be in an entirely different place, doing different (though related) things at the same time.  I wasn’t sure how best to handle this… my instinct said that they should just roll initiative, but initiative wasn’t really a good story-excuse for ordering; initiative is about who can get the upper hand, about who’s faster, and about who’s wily enough to get the drop on other people.  And I didn’t want to just make it a “roll off” where everyone rolled a d20 and the number on the die was your order; one of the subtle brilliances of initiative is that it has an automatic tie-breaker, wherein those who get the same “score” can still check sheets and determine that even in a tie, one player would logically be faster than the other (though this can still lead to more ties, causing a roll-off, but that only has about a 1 in 400 chance of occurring, and then only between characters with identical Dexterity scores.)  So I wanted a Dexterity tie breaker, even though Dexterity was pointless.  Clearly I needed another stat… but all the stats were seemingly useless.

Enter the Fate Roll.  Borrowing some ideas from a few different games, I had the players add their Wisdom and Charisma scores together and divide by 2.  Wisdom tends to model your awareness of the world around you, and Charisma tends to model your self-assertion within that world, so it seemed logical that those two things might be related to a character’s ability to manipulate their own fate or destiny or what have you.  (This was probably way too much math to demand of my players; going with a Wisdom or Charisma score was probably enough, but dangit once I was committed to the idea I was gonna do it, no matter how many players had to double check what I was asking.)  This number would then be rounded down to derive a “Fate Score”, a sort of seventh ability score that could represent Luck or Fate or whatever.  Then a simple roll off to determine order of group.

As it turned out, the order was a decent one.  Everyone only had two “turns” for the entire session, but each turn represented an hour of in-game work.  In the current game, I’ve set things in Eberron and I’m using the Alabaster Cup tournament as presented in the book Complete Warrior.  It’s set in Karrnath, and many of the players joined the tournament while a few others chose not to.  The previous events have included Archery, an Obstacle Course, Wrestling, and Jousting, and the players have been trying to keep the campaign’s villain from winning the tournament since (in my version of the tournament) the winner has historically been able to ask for a “reasonable favor” from the monarch of whatever nation the tournament is held within.

All of those previous events, as you can probably imagine, didn’t really require much of a change to the order; people either did things at the same time (like in the archery tournament), in a turn-based fashion (such as the obstacle course), or they were randomly assigned placement in a bracket (like in wrestling or jousting.)  Hunting is the next stage, though.

One of the real benefits of doing it this way is that I was able to involve the players who weren’t in the tournament, who have been good sports the last few session while the action hasn’t really focused on their characters.  I grouped them together as a sort of security detail to watch the forest, and I’ve had them work as a group to discover an ominous figure who they know to be working with the campaign’s villain, apparently working with rival packs of Winter Wolves and Worgs.  They don’t know the reasons why,  yet, and they opted not to attack the figure in the forest or his wolves, but they were able to advance the story itself rather than wait for the other players to “be done” with their hunting.

Anyway… this in’t a hug revelation, and it could have been handled in a fashion as easy as me saying “Okay guys, we’re gonna go around the table from me, clockwise, to figure out what order you go in” but I liked having an actual reason. for it.  Take care, all!

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A Cup of Kindness Yet…   Leave a comment

I’ve not actually checked, but I’m sure this title is being used by lots of people writing blog posts today.  You probably recognize it from the chorus of Auld Lang Syne, though I actually wanted to run with a lesser known line from the second verse.  Sadly, “Surely you’ll buy your pint cup, and surely I’ll buy mine” is kind of long for a title.  Plus I don’t buy pints, but I doubt anyone’d fact check that.

The fact remains, we’re sitting at the end of the 2016th calendar year in the Gregorian system.  The system’s not even that old in the grand scheme of things, clocking in at roughly 434 years (to make the math nice and fun they went ahead with the switch in October instead of just waiting three months for January.)  There have been a lot of opinions about 2016 as a year to the point that a few people have even started personifying it, typically as a sort of bumbling thing but every once in a while as a kind of malevolent one.  It’s a subconscious thing, but for the last few months pretty much anything unpleasant that’s happened has been blamed on the year.

And I have to admit that general events in the United States haven’t been great.  My understanding is that events in the rest of the world have also been less than awesome, even if the non-Brexit specifics aren’t coming to my mind right now.  From zookeepers who had to make a horrible decision about the life of a boy and a gorilla, to a ridiculous amount of beloved famous people passing away, to an election that was just mean no matter what your political leanings are, to callous disregard for the lives of black people in the face of armed police officers… and lest we forget, the city of Flint, Michigan still doesn’t have clean water.  This is just what I remember off the top of my head, and this is just the United States.

To make it worse, 2015 was a tough act to follow.  We celebrated the date that Marty McFly went to the Future, often at the exact time that he got there.  MST3K fans raised enough funds to create a new, twelfth season of the show.  Star Wars’ fabled seventh installment came out, and while the fans who’ve been keeping the franchise alive had strongly mixed feelings about it and what it meant for the expanded universe, the film was also applauded for taking steps toward less of a cast of white guys.

Possibly most surprising about that film was that its director actually agreed with criticisms that it too slavishly followed the plot of the original film and said he’d lessen so much imitation moving forward!  Legitimate response to a fair critique of a movie that most people admit was okay? Sweet.

So… 2016 already had a lot working against it, it doesn’t compare well to 2015 especially if you’re a fan of nerdy things.  But 2016 wasn’t all bad, either.  There are some gems here.  Ghostbusters 2016 was, despite fears that it would “ruin our childhood forever”, a really nice movie (with a villain that was, hilariously enough, seemingly composed of all the worst parts of the Internet’s complainers.)  It’s sad that Gravity Falls and Wander Over Yonder concluded, but they had amazing final episodes.  Police around the country are taking stands and saying that things have gone too far and they’re working for reform in their own departments to, hopefully, save lives.  People seem to be done talking about Deflate Gate.  Everywhere I look, I see signs of positive change.

Like, I’m not trying to sugar coat anything here.  2016 was a lousy year.  But a lot of the problems with it seem to be indicative of change, and I think there’s a lot of good change.  There’s bad change to, definitely, but the good change is really good.  I feel like the really bad stuff, not counting celebrity deaths, are suggestive of growing pains.  We have some entrenched systems in place and a lot of people don’t want those systems to change because change is scary, so it’s expected that we’ll see resistance in the form of both a lack of initiative and a presence of active opposition.  This resistance isn’t really stopping the change, though, it’s just… well, it’s just resisting it.

So when we remember auld lang syne tonight… that is, times long past, or even just “old times”… let’s remember the good parts of 2016.  The bad parts of it need to go away forever, yeah, but let’s celebrate the wins we got.  And, of course, let’s take the time to remember those no longer with us.  I’ve got lots of plans for 2017, and most of them wouldn’t be possible without the way that 2016 went, so… here’s to the good old times, and good riddance to the bad ones.  Seeya in 2017, everyone!

Indie Gamer Groups   Leave a comment

Weird thought: how many Indie Games exist because of the popularity of Indie Games?

I mean, naturally, it feels like that should happen.  People realize that they don’t need to be part of a big video game organization to make video games, and set out to make their own, so sure, there’d be more games.

But on the other hand? I sometimes feel like some Indie Games are meant specifically to hit the Indie Game niche.  I’ve never quite seen an Indie Game that appeared to be made exclusively for being watched by YouTube streamers… but the thought isn’t too unrealistic.

Let’s be honest: there are many more people who have watched Markiplier play Five Nights At Freddy’s than there are people who have themselves purchased and played them.

And this isn’t a bad thing, or even something unprecedented.  Take languages, for instance: the US Military has an accent that’s unique.  Nowhere in the rest of the United States does that “vaguely southern, drill-sergeant drawl” appear.  The military is so large that it can act as its own society with its own method of speaking.  Now, THAT’S worth talking about.  I’m not a linguist, though.

Anyway… I’ve discovered Itch.Io and the kind of games that can be found there, and these were just thoughts that came to mind as I saw that the majority of comments on the site were from people who were posting links to themselves playing Let’s Play videos.  I have to admit that I’m guilty of that as well.

On the other hand, I totally would have played Cat Nigiri’s Keen even if I wasn’t making Let’s Play videos.  It’s just a great game, and I’m positive that it would’ve existed on its own.

I guess my fear is that indie games may become the next Web or Wild West; it’s still a mostly unsettled frontier, but I can also see it being latched onto by corporations.  Removing the Indie from Indie Games might not kill them per se, but I can see it changing the market.

Posted December 12, 2016 by John Little in Uncategorized

Ghostbusters 2016 In Review   1 comment

Ugh, what title to use… “Ain’t Afraid Of No Reboots”?  No… “Blockbusters Make Me Feel Good”?  No…  “Who Ya Gonna-“… oh, hi there!  Sorry, wasn’t quite ready, I was… I couldn’t think of a good title.  I’m just gonna… let’s just start the review.

Ghostbusters 2016 might not have been the most anticipated film of the year, but it was definitely one of the most talked about, and a lot of that talk was negative.  Like, strongly negative.  Like, unreasonably, angrily negative.  Some of it was a bit more reasonably negative, but the whole general tone seemed to fit on a three-point scale between “They’re ruining my childhood”, “Ugh, I can’t believe that they’re trying to reboot everything”, and most infamously “Ghostbusters are supposed to be dudes!”

The fact that nearly all of the previous cast of Ghostbusters were okay with the film being led by a female cast didn’t really seem to matter.  The fact that before this movie there were other movies and that this movie wasn’t going to be like those other movies in some way was an insurmountable obstacle for many.

Having said that, my birthday was July 15th, the opening day of the film, and I wanted to see a movie as part of my birthday celebrations.  Part of me wanted to see Warcraft, but Ghostbusters felt like it’d be more enjoyable.  Then, when I checked movie times, I discovered that Warcraft had actually been out of theaters for weeks now.  Ghostbusters was inevitable (though I still wanna see Tarzan, despite all the negative reviews.  I’m a sucker for pulp fiction.)  Enough preamble: on to the show!

ghostbusters-2016-movie-trailer

Naturally, a few spoilers will follow.

First things first, this movie’s script managed to pull off a really difficult trick: they created a story that fits the Ghostbusters aesthetic without just being a rehashing of what had come before.  One of the most frequently levied criticisms of The Force Awakens was that The Force Awakens was pretty much just a beat for beat imitation of A New Hope, and many (myself included) feel that this hurt the movie.  The creators of A New Hope were trying to rekindle a lot of the feeling of the first movie to assist in bridging the gap between old and new fans, and while I think the movie was “generally good”, I think it fell short.  J. J. Abrams himself has said that he went too far with this and would probably have toned it down had he known what people’s reactions to it would have been.

This movie, on the other hand, has a lot of fun nods to the original two movies but doesn’t make its plot beholden to anything that’s come before.  Rowan North, our villain, is played by Neil Casey, and he’s someone who reminds me of Vigo the Carpathian from Ghostbusters 2, but only indirectly.  He’s the sort of person who would research people like Vigo and hope that he could imitate them.  He doesn’t have a consuming obsession with figures from the past *cough*Kylo Ren*cough* but he is *very* aware of how these sorts of things work, and seeks out methods of bringing about his own power.  The movie doesn’t really focus on if the villain is working out some prophecy, or if “The Fourth Cataclysm” is a product of his own design, but I think dwelling on that would have slowed the movie down.  He’s ultimately a mad scientist who’s tapping into supernatural forces and incorporating magic and the occult into his work.  I liked what he brought to the production, even if I felt that his acting was underplayed at times (the part of “despised genius who’s decided that the rest of society isn’t worth saving” is actually tricky to pull off, in my opinion; too much and you’re chewing scenery, and too little makes you seem drab.)  They leaned too far in the drab direction when I feel like they should’ve gone in the scenery chewing direction; there were times in the movie when he wasn’t on screen and you could only get his voice, and I think at those times he really shined as a character, and I think if he’d acted on-screen as he did when he was off-screen he could’ve been a scene stealer.

Enough about the villain, though; this movie has four main characters who did a great job.  It’s really, really, REALLY tempting to look at each character and compare them to the original four Ghostbusters, but I think such a comparison would be unfair and inaccurate.  The closest comparison that can be made is between Melissa McCarthy playing Abby Yates and Dan Akroyd’s Ray… uh, Ray… *frantically searches IMDB* Ray Stantz.  …huh.  I only remember him being called Ray in those movies.  Anyway, the closest comparison between characters is between Abby Yates and Ray Stantz in that they’re both the scientist who’s devotedly enthusiastic about exploring the supernatural, but where Ray always had a kind of oblivious “Why wouldn’t this be interesting or believable?” optimism, Abby has a sort of “The world isn’t going to believe us, but we shouldn’t stop just because of that” cynicism.  She’s been hurt by people in the past who’ve mocked her beliefs, and even feels a betrayal from her colleague Erin Gilbert, so the sunny optimism of Ray’s character has hit some darker clouds under McCarthy’s characterization.

Speaking of Erin Gilbert, this is probably the biggest departure in terms of point for point characterizations.  Erin Gilbert, played by Kristen Wiig, is arguably the film’s protagonist, and holds a position with the group similar to Peter Venkman as played by Bill Murray by being the scientist with a foot in the “real world”, but the comparison ends there.  Venkman had a detached comical side that acted as a shield between his paranormal research and how society saw him, and he was laid back enough that it wouldn’t be hard to imagine him as legitimately being a fraud or charlatan just like his opponents claimed he was.  Gilbert, on the other hand, is trying very hard to be professional and to be respected, and the fact that she used to be a paranormal researcher is a black mark that she feels could hurt her chances for becoming a tenured professor.  Actual, tangible evidence of ghosts reels her back in to the life that she abandoned, but her character keeps craving legitimacy and acceptance in the public view.  Arguably, this is the main thrust of the film: is it better to be known as legitimate, or is it better to be known as a fraud while *being* legitimate?  Gilbert’s character has to wrestle with that over the course of the film, and the question paints a well-balanced comparison to the “why can’t women be main characters in action movies?” conversation that’s been playing out over the last few decades (especially in the last few years.)

Leslie Jones plays Patty Tolan, and a comparison to Ernie Hudson’s Winston Zeddermore is hard to avoid; both characters represent a non-scientist who’s stepping into the job.  Neither character starts off knowing a lot about how ghosts work or what they represent, but they’re both more than capable of picking it up as they go.  In a way, Patty is a negative version of Winston because while Winston joined the Ghostbusters for a “steady paycheck”, Patty shows up for the fun of it, which in a way helps to ground her in reality more than any of the other characters.  She also knows New York history and architecture (which is convenient for knowing about all the biggest murders in town and best ways to drive around), and can provide a car to help mobilize the other members of the group, so she’s the catalyst that lets the Ghostbusters roll out faster and more efficiently.

Finally, we have Kate McKinnon playing Jillian Holtzmann.  She’s probably the most tempting comparison to make, but calling her “The Egon” isn’t accurate.  There’s a trend in sci-fi or action films to have a freewheeling tech-head or hyper competent hacker, and while Jillian Holtzmann is part of that trend I don’t feel like Egon was.  Egon was an almost emotionless calculator who, while not devoid of emotion, humor, or empathy, was certainly detached from much of what was happening in a way that brought a clinical acknowledgement to the bizarre.  Holtzmann is eager and more frantic, acting like she can’t make her new technology fast enough.  Also, no matter what she winds up seeing, she maintains the same aloof giddiness.  Arguably, the biggest comparison to Egon is unflappability since they both keep effectively the same attitude no matter the circumstances.  However, she also has two very real and very human moments in the film, one near the very end, and another during the transitional period between acts 2 and 3 where she sees a lot of her work being demolished.  There’s a moment of genuine panic and grief when the gadgets and guns she’s been working on are threatened, and I think that actual emotion keeps her character from being too one-note.  Ultimately, she’s the group’s mad scientist, and she plays the part well.

I don’t want to give away much of the plot or the jokes of the film, and it’s hard to say much more without that.  I will say that the movie contains a number of homages and references to the Ghostbusters franchise ranging from the subtle to the blatant, and many from the original cast (apart from Rick Moranis) had small cameo appearances that touched on the plot of events in the reboot.  The film isn’t set decades after the original movies, but it’s almost easy to believe that this is a parallel reality of sorts.  I doubt it is (at least, I doubt it is in any official, easy to get on paper fashion), but the movie is well aware of its roots, ranging from a smirking bust of a dearly departed buster to a familiar receptionist managing the front desk of a prestigious hotel.  The movie also makes a few reasonable jabs at its own impact on the fandom, with comments from YouTube thinking these Ghostbusters aren’t up for the job.  (I’m mostly unfamiliar with the whole “nice guys” and “fedoras” side of the Internet apart from hearing a few things from friends, but I thought it was interesting that the primary opponent of the Ghostbusters wore a fedora which was commented on as a “nice hat.”)  The movie treats these sorts of naysayers in, I think, a fair and reasonable light: thinking that it’s unfortunate that they have these opinions and even uncalled for when the meaner comments show up, but ultimately the Ghostbusters move on and keep doing their work without letting it get to them too much.

Speaking of negative YouTube comments, I think this movie had a shocking lack of violence, cursing, or gross-out humor.  Maybe I’m just desensitized to it, but I really didn’t notice much.  I’d even say that there was more in the original movie than in this, so having said that I’m surprised this film has a PG-13 rating.  I’d personally rate it as PG, although I come from the era when, as The Nostalgia Critic once put it, “PG actually meant something.”  I mean, yes, there are one or two gross jokes, and that’s not even counting the huge amount of slime (this is a Ghostbusters film, after all) but in addition to being a fun addition to the franchise I think it’s even appropriate for younger kids who can handle scary ghost images.

The movie isn’t without its flaws, but I think my complaints with the film amounted to less than thirty seconds if not less than twenty seconds, something I already said on Twitter.  Most of my problems were related to aesthetic taste, however.  Case in point: the opening scene has a few obvious jokes rather than being a straightforward ghost-story cold open like in the first Ghostbusters movie.  I would’ve preferred that opening scene to just be a regular horror story opening, with the humor coming later, but that’s not what happened.  Ultimately this isn’t something that made that first scene bad, it just made it an opening that I would’ve preferred to see tweaked.  Similarly, the movie includes Slimer, who is (in many ways) the franchise’s spirit animal.  At one point Slimer steals the Ecto-1 for a joyride, which I thought was brilliant; later, you see him still joy riding but with another lady Slimer who’s wearing a wig.  It was a funny idea, but didn’t quite work well for me (although seeing those two at the end of that subplot was great; the two Slimers getting along felt like an appropriate metaphor for the relationship of this film to the previous ones, one where they can coexist without really hampering each other, and both can have fun together.)

ghostbusterslarge

So, my final verdict: this is a great popcorn flick.  I hate calling it that because the term “popcorn flick” is usually synonymous with “bad”, and this isn’t a bad movie.  It’s good, really good.  It’s a fun piece of summer movie action that you can enjoy and have a great time with, and it’s got an attention to the craft of movie writing that most mindless blockbusters lack.  It’s not Citizen Kane… thank heaven it’s not Citizen Kane… but it’s not trying to be.  This is just a good fun movie.  Enjoy it in theaters and maybe, if we’re lucky, we can start reclaiming popcorn flicks that are enjoyable instead of popcorn flicks that are stale.  Enjoy your time at the movies, everyone!

Dandar Dexdrer, I Dresume?   1 comment

Can’t remember as much of it as I’d like, but I wanted to share this dream o’ mine.

I was looking for someone.  Dexdrer was his last name, eventually, but I can’t remember anything about the first name except it starter with D (Dander, as mentioned in the title, is as close to it as I remember.  I went to brush my teeth saying the name to myself so I wouldn’t forget it, but stopped saying it to myself somewhere along the way, so now I can’t recall.)  This person used to be in a military unit, and I was scouring over an old military base that, in dream fashion, had an interior comprised of some places I know (or reminiscent of them enough for a dream’s production values) in real life.  I had some people helping me to look for them, but rarely saw anyone else.

Everything around the base was grey and washed out, taking on the appearance of winter even though it wasn’t covered with snow.  Like, snow-covered greyness, but without the snow to justify it.  The clouds were grey enough, though, so maybe it was just overcast.  It was flat enough that I think it was in some sort of desert.

Here’s the odd part: I started playing two roles in the dream, one as an actor and one as an observer.  I knew in my head that members of this military unit secretly developed the ability to fly.  The “title” of the dream suggested that to me, though I couldn’t tell ya what the title was right now.  And then i found a long, black-feather in the dream that really puzzled actor me but seemed a little too obvious of a clue to observer me.  There was a room dedicated to a member of the military unit, with a little plaque set up saying that the room was dedicated to them.  It was suggested to observer me that this person was very overweight and that somehow this might have prevented him from flying with the rest of the group, or at least not as well.

I should’ve mentioned by now that this military base wasn’t in the United States, it was in another country.  I keep wanting to say Tunisia in my head, but that doesn’t work.  If Canada had a Tunisian/New Mexican desert, I think it would almost fit everything I saw and/or felt about this place.  Chilly salt flats surrounded the base.  Maybe Utah would be a better comparison than New Mexico.

Anyway, I received word from another person looking for this Dexdrer fellow saying that he thought he’d almost found him, and then I knew I had to hurry.  I made it to where he was and saw the person we were looking for cornering the person who’d radioed me, and holding his fingers to his mouth like it was supposed to be a secret.  Then he looked really annoyed that I’d found them and dropped the whole “cornering the person looking for him” thing.  I then said the line I put as the title, “Dandar(?) Dexdrer, I dresume?”  Then I apologized for messing up what I was saying, and said “presume” and things moved on.

(It’s worth noting that the two people here were people I know in real life.  Both people I mostly know from gaming, actually.  They definitely weren’t “themselves”, though, they were actors in the same sense that I wasn’t playing myself unless I was being the observer me.)

Then I followed the person I was looking for while he gruffly tried to ignore me or brush me off.  I kept accusing him of crimes that he could demonstrate weren’t actually crimes, like stealing his company’s… industrial vehicle? (sort of like a salt truck or something)… to get to the base, only to learn that he owned the vehicle anyway because the company was entirely paid for by him.  “Personal seed money” was close to a phrase he used.

Anyway… I woke up shortly after that.  In the dream, he hadn’t revealed that he could fly, that was still a revelation forthcoming from the narrative of the dream itself, even though I knew it was a thing.  I expected (I the observer, that is) for him to be calling all of his old army buddies out to take over/move into this abandoned military base so that they could… relive flying? I don’t know why they couldn’t just fly anywhere, but they were definitely going to try to recapture some element of the past, and the fact that they could secretly fly was probably involved.

I’m not entirely sure where this dream comes from.  The grey, washed-out aspect of the world outside might have come from my hatred of the ridiculous use of light in Zack Snyder’s Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice movie, and a conversation I had with a friend after the fact about lighting in movies.  The fact that the other two seen characters in the dream were “played” by friends in real life sorta reminded me of the games of Cosmic Patrol I’ve been playing lately, though only one of the two dream people is a real Cosmic Patrol player.

All in all, an interesting dream and I’d have liked to see how it turned out (isn’t that always the way?  Well, except for nightmares…), but all in all it wasn’t an “interesting” dream so much as it was a “weird” dream.

My Letter to Sony   Leave a comment

I don’t really follow music news, and I admit that I don’t keep up to date with modern music trends, but the news about Kesha’s trial to be allowed to not work with someone who’s sexually abused her upsets me.

And while I might not listen to Sony’s music, I do watch Sony’s TV shows, buy Sony’s movies, occasionally play Sony’s video games, use Sony electronics… there’s a lot of Sony on the market.  And none of it’s worth this kind of travesty.  So… I penned this letter and emailed it to Mack Araki, the Vice President of Corporate Communications at Sony.

Dear Mr. Araki,

I just heard that Sony is refusing to allow Kesha to create music without forcing her to work with a person that she claims sexually attacked her.  While a judge might have ruled that there wasn’t enough evidence, I’m upset that you’re not finding some way to accommodate her.

Until Sony releases Kesha from her contract and allows her to work in a way that makes it possible for her to avoid any contact with Lukasz Gottwald, I intend to avoid purchasing Sony electronics, playing Sony video games, listening to Sony music, watching Sony movies, or otherwise participating in Sony’s marketplace.  I will similarly research companies owned by or affiliated with Sony and avoid using any of their products either.

Sony should be BETTER than this as a corporation.  I don’t know what your personal opinion is on this issue, but I do hope that you agree, and that you will make my concerns known to the relevant parties so that in the future no one working for your company ever has to face this kind of situation again.

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

John Little
#FreeKesha

PS – Thank you to anyone who may read your mail on your behalf as well, as I’m sure you get a huge number of emails daily.

Now… I don’t know if this’ll even get read by Mr. Araki, and I know that even Vice Presidents of corporations can have difficulty enacting quick change (which is a problem all its own) but I needed to say something.

For those unfamiliar with the scenario, a judge recently ruled that there just wasn’t enough evidence to support Kesha’s claims, and that therefore she still had to fulfill her contract, meaning she has to work with her rapist.  That there’s no legal way out for her is one of the many travesties at work here, but Sony’s action as a company is where I’m actually focused right now, for right or wrong.  Just because they have a legal standing doesn’t mean they need to follow through.  It’s still well within their power to terminate the contract and allow Kesha to make music elsewhere.  Theoretically they could allow her to keep working for Sony and never have her have to deal with Lukasz Gottwald (I don’t want to use his stage name; he doesn’t deserve one, I think) but honestly Kesha shouldn’t have to work with a company that’s put her through all of this either, even if such a concession is made.

So… yeah.  I don’t know what else to say, really.  I don’t know if this is Sony being evil and spiteful because they can, if this is corporate cog-turning running on some kind of horrible automation, or if this is just good old fashioned apathy at work, but ultimately this is wrong.

As a society we need to remember that just because we have a legal right to do something doesn’t make it the right thing to do.  I hope the public response to Sony will get them to revisit their opinions, change them, and #FreeKesha.

Posted February 20, 2016 by John Little in blogging, Uncategorized

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We’ve Got MOVIE SIGN!   Leave a comment

MST3K Crowdfunding Success

Just look at that.  It’s a beautiful sight.  (A beautiful sight that Twitter user Stephen P, AKA @dim_halo has allowed me to use here.  Thanks for sharing the screenshot, Stephen!)

There’s a lot of talk about this.  Most positive, some negative.  And there are worries…

I’m worried that the show will be too “polished” and won’t actually be the same slapdash performance that I like.  I’m worried that there’s some sort of behind-the-scenes issue that a lot of the old cast and crew aren’t talking about.  I’m also worried that there’s no such issue, but that fans will imagine that there is and worry about it and bug the old and new people so much that it becomes an issue.  I’m worried that it won’t be the same.  I’m also worried that it’ll be too much of the same.  Basically, I’m a neurotic Internet fan.  But not a single one of these worries are important: what really matters is that MST3K is coming BACK, baby!  I’m giddy!

And just look at what we did.  114%!  That’s major, guys.  And that 114% is of the final 5.5 million dollar goal, not the original 2 million dollar goal.  We actually raised, like… over three hundred percent!  And it stunned and delighted everyone…

Sadly, financial pressures being what they are, I had to lower my donation just a bit.  I’m still looking forward to that printable ID card, but a lot of the higher tier rewards were REALLY nice.  I especially wanted that VHS tape…

Incidentally, if you haven’t watched the Telethon, do it now!  Well… maybe not now.  Not in its entirety.  It was a multi-hour event that featured islands of really cool entertainment and information in the midst of charming awkwardness and technical problems.  But there are a lot of moments that I predict will become big parts of MSTie nostagia.  If nothing else, the look on Joel’s face when, with almost exactly a minute to spare, the totals were updated and passed the 3.6 million dollar total.  There were also moments that some liked and others didn’t (I enjoyed the Castlevania song, though I’ve heard some claim that they actively disliked it.)

Also, did I hear Felicia Day accidentally start singing Mike’s theme song for a second before correcting herself?  I could’ve sworn she almost mumbled “Way Down in Deep 13″… funny moment.

Anyway… it’s a great week to be a MSTie.  Friends, we’re not actually living in a post-MST3K world.  We’ve simply been living in the 15+ year inter-season hiatus.

And it’s almost over.

(Incidentally, I don’t mention this often on the blog, but for the record I frequent MST3K: The Discussion Board.  If you want a place to chill and discuss the show, I’m over there from time to time.  More importantly, LOTS of people are.)