Den of the Cyphered Wolf

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A shameless plug for my other stuff

Okay, so I do stuff for other sites, I have a youtube and a devart account so here are some things from them. You can get to them by clicking the links link, note to self rename that.

Based selfesteemboostfailure2 by ~cypheredwolf on deviantART

Life At-10:15 9-8-2010 by ~cypheredwolf on deviantART

Out Back by ~cypheredwolf on deviantART

Erykah Badu by ~cypheredwolf on deviantART

What I do When I'm bored 1 by ~cypheredwolf on deviantART

Monday, October 18, 2010

My World of Cardboard Speech

For the past few years I've been a bit down on my self, for all sorts of reasons, but over the summer I had a series of epiphanies. And so now I will write my world of cardboard speech.

"A World of Cardboard speech is where the hero acknowledges that this mental block has been limiting them. And because of a recent personal revelation about themselves and/or their situation they have found a way to excel past their previous limits."

Not Knowing What I Want To do Is Okay
I know some people who know exactly where they want to be in 10 years and are working really hard to get there. And you know what. I am jealous. They have things figured out, but after doing some thinking I figured something out. If there is something you want to do with your life, get on with it. Work towards it, but some folks like yours truly don't have some grand ambition and you know what? Under certain conditions which will be pointed out later that's okay.

The Golden Dream Is For Me To Get Paid To Do What I Would Probably Do For Free
I will be the first to admit I haven't got a clue as to what the heck I want to do with my life, and then it hit me. There are lots of things I want to do, but none of them could be called a job or a career. They're all just projects and I can rattle off a dozen of them. Anything else I do is just what I do to pay the bills, and you know what? That's okay.

If You Want To Get Paid To Do What You Would Probably Do For Free, You Have To Be Willing To Do It For Free

With the advent of the internet fewer and fewer advertisers, employers and investors are looking at resumes. They're looking for the stuff you already did so they can profit off of letting the dog chase the bone. This means that I have to be prepared to do the stuff I want to get paid for on my own dime for at least a while.

It's Okay If You Don't Know What You Want To Do As Long As You Don't Let It Be an Excuse For You To Sit On Your Ass All Day Watching Cartoons And Eating Frosted Flakes
The culmination of it all. As long as I am doing something I should not feel guilty for not knowing the future.

Do What Makes Sense Now
Being a student writing this blog, taking the internship I took over the summer, I don't know if those things are going to lead me somewhere or not. They are just what made sense to do at the moment. Figuring out what I want in the next 5 weeks is easier than figuring out what I want in the next 5 years and in a weird way more important. Oddly enough I owe this one to Spoony and his review of Scott Pilgrim.

In short if you want to be a writer, write damn it.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Why I think that it is going to be a little tougher than people think for the GOP to win Congress

As the election comes closer and closer I hear a lot of whispering on the wind about why it's likely the GOP will retake congress this election. Honestly I think it's bunk. I'm not saying the Dems are going to win, but the GOP isn't as in a good position as they want people to think.

Is not losing the same as winning
Most of the political commentators I respect say that the primary reason for the republican advantage is America's general dissatisfaction at the government. That dissatisfaction is not just aimed at the democrats but the republicans as well. Even if they win there is almost no way the electorate in the current political climate will stick with them. Within months the same people who elected them will be just as angry at those who deposed the incumbents. Put simply the dissatisfaction is bipartisan. Even if they won it wouldn't be as if they had a carte blanch mandate and to be clear it would be that way regardless of who won.

No matter who wins America is disgusted by the politics of Washington.
Politics is the art of exchanging favor for benefit it has nothing to do with government. Time and time again senators and representatives block legislation or put forth legislation not because it lines up with their beliefs, not because they think its what is right for the country , but because when election day comes they either want to be able to say, "see they wanted to do [X] and I stopped it. They want the animosity to continue because that is the platform of both parties. That's how both parties win elections, drumming up hatred of the rival party. And they both do that by trying to keep themselves politically opposed to each other so that they can later point out their differences

Last year both John McCain and Obama supported the bailout bill. I was taking an economics class at the time. The newspapers, and my professor were saying that if congress didn't do something demon days would soon be here. In retrospect it might have all been hyperbolic but there was a serious risk of a run on the banks. Banks are this country's economic backbone. For the last year we've been learning the hard way that what affects the banks affects everything else. Another professor told me that he lost, I might be remembering this wrong, about 40 percent of his 401 K. Everyone was calling for congressional action to boost up the banks. Despite all of this the republicans want to shift all the anger regarding the bailout bill towards the Dems rather than doing the honest thing and saying, "Look we here in Washington may have acted rashly, but something needed to be done. It was an emergency that could have collapsed the entire economy. We don't mean a few lost jobs we mean the entire economic system of the United States gone. The free market would have been lost to antiquity to be only studied by children in grade school classes "

On a side note: Bank runs are arguably what triggered the Great Depression. A bank run is when people lose confidence in a bank and try to get all their money out. See banks don't keep your money. They loan it out with the understanding that normally they don't have to have all the money in some giant vault because generally people are fine with letting their money sit in the bank. Think about you aren't going to stuff your retirement fund under the mattresses. That's how they make their money. They in essence borrow your money and pay you interest on a savings account so they can loan it out and get their interest on say mortgages. The bank only generally keeps about 10 to 20 percent of all of the money people give it. Normally that's okay because again nobody cares. Banks have enough to pay out what people typically want to take out, but when a run happens the banks don't have enough to pay everyone and when they're out the money is just gone.

Now a days there are some protections against bank runs like FDIC insurance which pays people back up to a certain amount but the system wasn't prepared to handle something of the scale of the '08 crash. Okay back to the election

We're talking about swinging control by only a hair
Not every district in every state is having congressional elections. What nobody is say is that really this election is about political games. Again no mater who has the majority it's not going to be enough to be considered a people's mandate. The country will still be just as divided as ever especially considering the Tea Party republican platform of, "I'm pissed as hell at the government and I ain't standing for it anymore." A new congress is not going to change that sentiment.

The Tea Party
While I where my left wing hippiness of my sleeve, I can agree with a lot of the mainstream republican platform. While I think it's necessary right now I do believe that eventually we are going to need to scale back government spending. Okay, well that's mostly it, but I don't view most republicans as crazy. Now tea parties especially on the news those guys are crazy. A lot of at least what I've seen on television is based on false premises and on occasion racism.

Even if I ignore the chicanery of the guys at the rallys which it is really hard to do. The tea party doesn't seem to have a practical platform. Aspects of it seem contradictory and impractical . The governments in debt. The tea party decries the government debt but abhors the idea of raising taxes. They want the government to write which part of the constitution allows it to act, but sometimes it's not what the constitution allows but what it doesn't forbid. Heck otherwise one third of the country wouldn't even be the country.

Most judges for good reason don't believe strict construction. We live in complicated times. For example I think the FCC should get of it's tukus and do something about this net neutrality hubub. Strictly speaking the constitution gives not only the FCC but congress no such power, not because it's a bad idea but because the founding fathers didn't even had mechanical adding machines let alone networked computing! Also trust me make the entire federal government have to operate on a balanced budget is a bad idea. Every few years we here in Michigan have a constitutional crisis because the government is forbidden to do much of anything until the budget is balanced.

I wanted to include this but I couldn't make it fit so screw it.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

We're better than this

This weekend I find myself in a strange position. I am angry. Really angry. Why? Because I can never look at the sitcom the same way again.

I love a good sitcom. I rediscovered that fact this weekend. Why? Because there are very few left and there is only really one traditional family sitcom (not counting its spin off) holding the line. And, it is God awful.

I am talking about Tyler Perry's House of Payne. It ticks me off for a few reasons

We are better than this!

Right now I can name only about ten shows on the air that could call themselves sitcoms and that's stretching it. And most of them are not the traditional domesticated comedies. You know dad wife kids ect. Right now House of Payne is by default the best of the bunch. Let me say that again because you can't see my face right now.Right now House of Payne is the best live action domestic comedy on U.S .television by default.

Note: I forgot about Two and a Half Men when I wrote this but honestly I don't like it much better.

What happened to shows like Malcolm in the Middle?

There is a grand sitcom tradition out there.

Really we're better than this!

Whenever I go to a review or a forum where someone talks about how much the show sucks I always hear the same response. "Quit trying to bring the black man down." Again the show sucks I will get to why in a moment but right now, let's get dirty with the history. Black sitcoms have been around for a while and a lot of them are great. Just because it's one of the few predominately black shows on the air is no reason for it to suck. Just look at The Wire.

The Wire shows Hollywood what black actors can really do. But enough of me gushing about The Wire, my point is that it's wrong to let the show off easy just because it's black. There have been tons of really great black sitcoms.

The point of all of that was to prove simply that just because a sitcom is black is no excuse for it to be bad. All those shows made me laugh. And they all now make me think how did we go from that to House of Payne.

It gets worse
Like I said I love sitcoms. However, now I can't look at a really good one like The Big Bang Theory without it making me think, "See. This is how it's done" then getting pissed off because a show like House of Payne is going to be put in my top ten sitcoms of the year list by default.

How far we've fallen
Sitcoms have evolved. When I look at most of the sitcoms I like I see how they borrowed what was good from older sitcoms and adapted it to the current culture and technology.

Both the Everyone Hates Chris builds on The Wonder Year's narrator idea.

Unhappily Ever After
takes Al Bundy to his logical extreme.

At the end of the day one of the main problems I have with House of Payne is that it takes all of that progress and throws it all out the window. Everything in it is badly done and every time I look at it I can name a sitcom that did it better. Heck almost every sitcom I can think of, and there are a lot, had better writing, better acting, better shooting, and better editing. Again I look at them and think how far we have fallen. Part of me wants to say its production values but heck, even that's no excuse.

Why It makes me mad.
By their very nature sitcoms have to flirt with the fourth wall, but despite this almost every sitcom I watch feels organic. The characters may do ridiculous things but they do them because it's their nature.

(This is one of the reasons Malcolm in the Middle is so funny .There are several episodes where the characters are aware that their nature is detrimental to their well being yet they can't change it such as Reese in the "The Bully" or Malcolm in "Malcolm holds his Tongue")

House of Payne does not feel organic. The characters are ill defined at best. They do what they do not because its in their nature, but because the writers feel its what's needed to garner appropriate audience reaction,which by the way it doesn't. When I watched I feel annoyed not amused.

Whats worse is that people are championing this as great black television despite the fact that all the characters are one dimensional. I am not one of those positive portrayal nuts. A character is a character and not all characters are nice,but society has made real headway over the last 20 years in creating complex black characters and House of Payne shoots that all to hell.

Why it makes me sad.

Ultimately House of Payne is a symbol for how far American Television has fallen.

When I was a kid I had the TV on 24/7. There was almost always some thing on that I wanted to watch. Now I turn on my Tv may be only once or twice a week. Part of that is the lack of sitcoms on television right now. A lot of the really great TV writers out there think that it doesn't take skill to write funny but they are wrong.

The way it used to work is a show would be on the national networks or on premium channels and the cable networks would syndicate it, but now it seems they are syndicating few and fewer shows. If you don't like Family Guy or Law and Order you are out of luck.
So overall there is less variety.

There was a time when they had the time and money to not only syndicate shows but put a lot of effort into creating quality original programing, but their budgets are shrinking and House of Payne shows it.

I remember the days of The Famous Jett Jackson

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