But what do I know? I'm just a twice clicken brown shirt teabaggin tjroll. Right? --PatP

Not now. There are dirty, swaying men at my door. They’re looking for Brian. I need to go deal with that. --Thor

If Joss Wedon was near me, I'd of kicked his ass. --PaulC

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Edward & Bella: abusive relationship?

If you haven't read the books or seen the movies, don't commentate. First, read this article from io9. I shared it in Google reader, so if you subscribe to me there, you can check it out there as well. Then, see below for my point-by-point rebuttal.

Before I get to that, a quick summary. About half of my rebuttal boils down to: "does not apply to vampires." The other half boils down to "you didn't read the book/see the movie."
Spoilers throughout.

Does your partner:
* Look at you or act in ways that scare you?

Okay. Won't deny that Edward does this. But he's a vampire. Scary by nature. It's supposed to scare you when he looks at you. Neither here nor there. Being "scary" is not abusive. I don't care what the NDVH says.

* Control what you do, who you see or talk to or where you go?
"Stay away from the werewolves. I love you."

Part one of "you can't apply the same old rules to this unique situation." You're really arguing that “stay away from werewolves” is abusive/controlling? Werewolves are dangerous. In particular, Jacob is more dangerous for Bella than Edward is. Jacob is a nineteen-year-old, freshly made werewolf who has not yet learned to control himself. Edward is a 300-year-old (right?) vampire who has learned, not only to control himself, but to not feed on humans. "Stay away from werewolves" is not controlling or abusive. It's good advice, which Bella pointedly ignores.

* Make all of the decisions?

Part 2. Who should take who's advice: the eighteen-year-old girl who WANTS TO HANG AROUND WITH DANGEROUS MONSTERS or the 300-year-old monument to self-control? Also, untrue. Bella makes the decision to become a vampire. Edward is against it from beginning to end, but eventually gives in because it's what she wants. Other examples include: what to do with the baby, whether or not to run from the Volturi and whether or not to allow Jacob around the baby, whether or not to allow Jacob near Bella, and whether or not the werewolves in general are to be trusted. All things Edward and Bella disagree on, and all things that go Bella's way.

* Act like the abuse is no big deal, it's your fault, or even deny doing it?
"If I wasn't so attracted to you, I wouldn't have to break up with you."

How can breaking up with someone to protect them from yourself possibly be considered abusive? Healthy? Maybe not. Abusive? No. Edward is a vampire and doesn't trust himself to be around Bella, and doesn't want to see any harm come to her.

* Threaten to commit suicide?
"I just can't live without you. In fact, I'll run to Italy and try suicide by vampire if anything happens to you."

Edward never threatened to commit suicide. He tried to commit suicide, without a word to Bella. He would have died, and she would have thought he kept doing the “immortal vampire” thing, had his sister not intervened. Threatening to commit suicide can be considered psychologically abusive and a cry for help. Attempting to commit suicide and not telling anyone about it... not so much.

* Threaten to kill you?
On their first date.

Again, unique situation. Edward never threatened to kill Bella. He warned her that she should stay away from him because he might unintentionally cause her death. According to the letter of the law, I suppose this is technically a threat, but the connotation of a threat is that there is intent behind it.

These are some more signs of an abusive relationship.
Has your partner...
* Tried to isolate you from family or friends.
Bella doesn't have time for anyone else!

Bella's choice, not Edward's. On at least one occasion, Edward suggests that Bella ought to spend some time with her friends or her father.

* Damaged property when angry (thrown objects, punched walls, kicked doors, etc.).

No argument here. Edward has super-human strength. When he gets angry, things break. Things: not people. I break things when I'm angry too. I don't get angry very often, but when I do, I find something that will make a satisfying “crunch” or “boom” when I put my fist through it. I've never attacked a human being out of anger in my entire adult life. That doesn't mean I abuse my wife. Granted, this can be an indicator of an abusive personality, but not necessarily.

* Pushed, slapped, bitten, kicked or choked you.
Does tossing her through a glass table count?

No, it doesn't. When in a house full of (friendly) vampires, one of whom is only newly “vegetarian,” Bella accidentally cut herself. Reacting quickly, Edward threw himself between Bella and harm (in the form of his “brother” Jasper), accidentally knocking her over into a table. This act of defense should not be confused with an act of aggression.

* Abandoned you in a dangerous or unfamiliar place.
"We're breaking up. And I'm leaving you in the forest."

Yep. Absolutely happened. Total asshole thing to do. Unquestionably an act of abuse.

* Scared you by driving recklessly.

Super-human reflexes. While Bella may have been scared, she was not in danger. If I bring a new girlfriend home and my dog barks at her and she gets scared, does that make me abusive? New girlfriend is in no danger from my dog, but feels afraid, and has every reason to believe that she is in real danger.

* Forced you to leave your home.
She had to run away with him to flee from the other vampires in the first movie, and she had to drop everything and run to Italy in the second.

First of all, Bella was fleeing from danger, not running away to elope. She did not flee with Edward. She fled with two of his adopted siblings. Edward didn't “force Bella to leave her home.” He helped her flee from a ruthless murderer. She didn't have to go to Italy. If it were up to Edward, she wouldn't even have known he had gone there, he would be dead, and she and Jacob would have a long and happy life together. Bella knew all of this and chose to go to Italy to save him, even knowing that she stood little to no chance.

* Prevented you from calling police or seeking medical attention.
Check. Even in the hospital, nothing is a big deal.

Wrong. After the dance studio incident, Edward and his family (one of whom has been a practicing physician for centuries, and knows what's “a big deal” and what isn't) not only brought Bella to a hospital, but they called her parents (one of whom is “the police”) to let them know she had been injured. Which part of that is abusive?

* Views women as objects and believes in rigid gender roles.
Well, they are Mormon... (I know, I know, cheap shot.)

Yes. Absolutely a cheap shot. Personally, I'm impressed when an author can write protagonists that don't share their values. If you want an example of a strong woman in a leadership role, look no further than Alice, Edward's “sister,” who practically runs the family.

* Accuses you of cheating or is often jealous of your outside relationships.
Check, wolf-boy.

Again, you're really arguing that “stay away from werewolves” is bad advice? Also, patently non-true. Edward is nothing but supportive of the notion that Bella should have friends outside his family. For the first two (three?) books, he encourages her, at every turn, to have nothing more to do with himself. He does not accuse her of cheating, and is not “jealous” of her relationship with Jacob. He knows what Jacob is and thinks (accurately) that Jacob is dangerous to Bella. I don't want my wife to hang out in prisons or lion cages. Not because I'm jealous, but because those are dangerous places. If I found out that she was visiting those places, I would be a lot more upset than Edward gets when Bella refuses to stay away from Jacob (one more instance of Bella doing something Edward doesn't want her to do).

I can't stress enough that you can't apply the same old rules to this unique situation. Edward is a 300-year-old vegetarian vampire who knows better than an 18-year-old girl what's good for her. He tries to protect her, even from himself. He's been practicing not eating people for centuries, and while he's pretty much got the hang of it, doesn't trust himself to be around someone to whom he is so attracted, as the vampire's natural hunting behavior is to seduce young humans. The fact that her best friend turns out to be a werewolf is just bad luck. If my wife's best friend turned out to be a werewolf, I wouldn't want her to hang out with him any more either.
All this being said, do Edward and Bella have a healthy relationship? Probably not. Is Edward abusive? Not by any of these criteria. Okay, there was that one. Can't refute that Edward left Bella in the woods. That was a total dick move.

My next post will be refuting a similar article with a slightly different attack.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Now I’m an Arduinoid

A while ago, PaulC posted on his blog about this thing called “Arduino.” From his description of it, I couldn’t really get a good idea of what it was. Well, now I know.

The Arduino is a microprocessor. Long story short, it’s a robot brain. PaulC has one. I have one. You probably don’t need one. Unless you have a little time on your hands and you get a thrill out of making some LEDs flash in specific patterns depending on the level of the ambient light. Or similar things.

Anyway. PaulC and I have them as a test-bed/jumping-off point for the robot(s) we’re going to build. I got mine a few days ago and went over to Uncle Paul’s to get a crash course in programming (pronounced: “geek ah-oot”). He showed me a couple of tutorials and sent me all the programs he’s written for it. There’s one to flash some LEDs, one to report data from an ambient light sensor, and one to receive data from the sonar units. There are others as well, but I haven’t played with them yet.

So I rewrote from scratch (just to get a feel for the programming environment) the LED flashing and the photoresistor reader. Then I threw them both in my blender and now I have a robot that lights a red LED when it’s not very bright, lights a yellow LED and a red LED when it gets a little brighter, and turns off the red LED when it’s really bright. When it’s dark, it turns off both LEDs. So much fun.

I haven’t started playing with the Sonar units yet, but I think I’m gonna need some more LEDs.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

google wave

Google Wave is a really cool collaboration tool. Very basically, it's a chat client like google talk, but it keeps every previous message or "blip" and allows anyone who is invited to the "wave" to edit them.

For example, Paul C and i are working on a robot project. So we have two waves going. One is a parts list, which for now is what we're going to buy, but might become "what we used." The other is a wave with notes like "what we want the robot to do" that we can both edit.

The really cool thing is that we edit them in real-time and can see each other typing as we're doing it. It's still in beta right now, and is pretty buggy, but it is going to be a powerful tool. I haven't figured out yet if you can upload pictures and other files, but i'm sure that will be a feature evenrually.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Toys and Rocks

The day I got my DROID, Paul C and I were talking and he said that comparing it to the iPhone was a stupid marketing tactic. he said it's like comparing a miter saw to a screwdriver. I disagree. Comparing the DROID to the iPhone is like comparing a television to a rock. Television: versatile device that tethers to any other device i want, providing endless usefulness. Rock: good for hitting things and easy to use. the clear choice for those who want a simple device with a few innovative uses, but can only do one thing at a time.

more later. need groceries.

Saturday, November 7, 2009


oh my god! Summer Glau is gonna be on Dollhouse! aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!

Monday, November 2, 2009

The internet: parting fools from their money since... forever

PaulC and I had a conversation about some shadiness on the part of Zynga, the developer of Farmville. He sent me this article from techcrunch. Read it first or I don't care what you think.

Okay. I'm not saying anyone is right or wrong, with the exception of the author of this article, who is an asshole. I have personally been fooled into spending money on several of these offers, and I can say with no doubt that every dollar I gave them was because I was stupid, not because I was tricked. Every offer (exactly like those on Farmville) said exactly how much the subscription or service would cost if I didn't cancel it within the trial period.

This guy did no research except to look at the links in the Farmville game client, which link to the actual offers, which ALL state clearly what will happen when you input your credit card information. He's inventing a conspiracy where none exists. If you're stupid enough to give the internet your credit card and/or phone number, you deserve to have your money taken away from you. I am right. I have no sympathy for people who claim to have been "scammed" because they are stupid. That being said, it has happened to me. I paid for a two-month subscription to Blockbuster and a three-month subscription to Stamp.com to get a free iPod. But I didn't get it. Did I cry about it? no. I said "well, that was stupid," and didn't do it again when they offered a free XBox.

This is nothing new. It's probably the oldest "scam" (I put "scam" in "quotes" because a friend of mine in high school actually did get a free xbox. Twice.) on the internet. This isn't going to be the end of the world that this fear-monger is predicting. It's not going to mutate or evolve into... anything. It's making oodles of money for a few people. If they get greedy and try to make more money off it, it won't work anymore. Just like that guy who was skimming a nickel a month from every account at some bank. Then he got greedy and started skimming a dime a month. Then people started asking questions and he got caught.

Again, I'm not saying anybody is doing anything wrong, except the fear-monger who wrote this article. I'm just saying I have no problem with somebody who's smart enough to separate a fool from his money, having been the fool on at least one occasion.

I get that it's "wrong" that Zynga takes money from "shady" advertising firms. But the bottom line is people give out their credit card info and phone numbers when they should know better, and when they are plainly told what will happen. Nobody gets mad at the guy who invented the pet rock. They think he's a genius because he thought of a way to get people to give him money and give them nothing in return.

Anybody reading this have leather seats in their car? How much extra did you pay for them? People don't like car dealers in general, but you don't get mad when you pay extra for leather seats, which do nothing useful and unless you're naked feel the same as cloth seats. If you are naked, they feel great. Until you shift in your seat the slightest bit. Then you get your skin ripped off. While it may be obvious how I feel from the tone of this post, I am not saying anybody (other than the asshole who wrote the above-linked article) is right or wrong. Just stupid. And while I won't say that Zynga is without blame, this article is an obvious and shameless smear attempt, behind which is almost no research and even less relevance.

Whenever I hear somebody complain about someone making money off other people's stupidity, I want to punch them in the boob. There are scams and there are scams. Lying to someone to got their money is a scam. Making the title of your advertisement make people want to give you money is called "marketing." I don't care what the link text was. If you don't read the website before submitting... No. If you click a link on a website and give them your credit card info, you are a retard and you deserve to have your money taken away from you for your own protection.

PS I just noticed that there is a later post explaining that Zynga has "admitted" that one third of their revenue comes from "lead gen and other offers." A third post says they have committed to cleaning up those offers. This is not an admission of guilt. It's a choice by Zynga to avoid a PR disaster. Just wanted to pre-empt that argument.

Security! Hello? Anybody!?

Dollhouse rant. If you don’t watch Dollhouse, gtfo my internets. But more importantly, don’t bother with this post.

Okay. So I just (last night) watched the first two episodes of Dollhouse season current. Still love the show, and I like the direction it’s taking. But one thing that has bothered me from the beginning, and is a continuing trend moving forward, is the dollhouse’s total lack of security. No video cameras, no guards, nothing. At least twice now, Echo has managed to escape. This time, she was completely helpless (had to figure out how a car works) and managed to escape.

WTF? What kind of circus are they running? How is it conceivable that an active can escape from the dollhouse? Why does the chair not have restraints on it? Okay that may be going a bit too far. Why is there not a second chair with restraints on it? Do they not even lock the doors? How can someone take the elevator up to the ground floor without knowing the password AND scanning their thumb? How does an organization so clandestine not take even the most basic security precautions? How is there one square inch of the dollhouse that is not under constant video surveillance? Money is no object for these people. How can this not be the most secure location in LA? Even after Alpha escaped and killed just about everyone in the Dollhouse, there is zero security in the place. Inconceivable.

The thing that really pisses me off is that this comes not from J. Michael Straczynski, not from Ron Moore or David Eick. This comes from Joss Wedon, of Firefly fame, who’s commentary on Serenity states that he cut from the film a scene or two that made the bad guys appear foolish. Seeing the cut scenes, they did make individuals appear gullible, but they didn’t make the evil organization with more money than brains seem foolish.

This ridiculous “plot device” of the dollhouse having no security does exactly that. This is a clandestine organization that traffics human beings. They make more money in one engagement than Bill Gates makes in a week. It is inconceivable that such an organization, while being so successful, is simultaneously so stupid. Completely inconceivable. Totally destroys every shred of the show’s (otherwise reasonable) believability.

I’m still enjoying the show, and I’m still going to watch it, but if this malarkey continues, I’ll be blogging about it a lot.