#MaybeHeDoesntHitYou ? how about #MaybeTHEYDontHitYou

     Let's talk about #MaybeHeDoesntHitYou . For those unaware, it's a top-trending hashtag about non-physical domestic abuse. Verbal, psychological, etc. An important topic, no question. One which deserves an open dialogue. Here's the problem:

     Why does it have to specify "he" doesn't hit you. I guess "MaybeTHEYdontHitYou wouldn't do the job. Not specific enough about who the villain is.

     It's not bad enough we pretend like *physical* domestic abuse only happens to women. It's not bad enough that men are so much more likely to not report it, because unlike women who are met with support and sympathy, men are mocked and called sissies because "a woman beat you up." It's bad enough that everyone talks about men's capacity for violence against their mates, and how often men abuse women, without ever mentioning the fact that WOMEN who are in romantic relationships with other women are actually MORE likely to be physically abusive than men. It's not bad enough that any attempts to talk about these things are more often than not thrown out and derided as "attempting to derail the narrative" away from women (because regardless of truth, women are *always* the victims and never the perpetrators). It's not bad enough that when a woman *does* turn violent, men pretty much just have to take it, because God knows if they defend themselves and she gets hurt, *he's* the monster.

     No, let's forget about alllll that (wouldn't want facts and logic getting in the way of something as important as modern feminist narratives) and continue the narrative with into the notion that women aren't *emotionally* abusive. Seriously, as broken as the idea that it's not as bad when women get physical because they typically don't hit as hard (which is funny, because in any other context saying "you hit like a girl" is a sign of misogyny, but when it's used to justify domestic violence it's just fine), as much as that rational would be quickly rejected if a man smacked a woman with as much force as the average woman could muster to smack a man; at *least* they're putting up SOMETHING. In what world world are women in any way less capable or even less likely than men of verbal and psychological cruelty and abuse?

     But no, let's make sure that even when we're talking about emotional abuse, let's put all of the focus on male on female abuse; because really, that's all that matters, right?



The price of internet fame?

So I was reading about the death and almost certain murder of Garnett-Paul Spears, and it got me thinking.

I feel like this is the ugly side of one of the internet's best features: the ability for anyone to directly share their work, their talent, and their story with the world, without the need to sign their souls away to publishing companies.

Once upon a time, celebrities tended to be people who had risen to the top by "playing the game." They had to not only be special in a marketable way, they also needed to convince someone in the content industry to invest in them and put on TV, in movies, on the radio, etc.

The internet changed all that. Between Youtube, the blogosphere, and other forms of social media, everyone was given a DIRECT platform to share themselves and their work with the entire world. In most ways, this was a fantastic thing. It was likely the biggest blessing to artists since the phonograph. Suddenly, musicians could distribute their music without having to sign an album deal with someone who would change their lyrics, their image, and take the lion share of the profits. Comedians, actors, and amateur writer/directors could make videos and share them without risking everything to make it in Hollywood. All a person needed was a good product and word of mouth. Without a doubt, this was a blessing.

But like all blessings, there's another side to it, as well.

The ability to become famous (or at least “internet famous”) has made people - particularly young people born into the first generation for whom the internet, and it’s ability to make you popular has always been there – increasingly attention-hungry. Look at some of the stuff that people throw up on Youtube. People hurting themselves, humiliating themselves and others, and some of the stupidest acts I can ever imagine a person doing – all for the chance to gain that all-important popularity. And as the phenomenon of the internet celebrity grows, people get more and more desperate and determined to be the next big thing. And while most people just try to make something, one look at Tumblr will illustrate the fact that other method people use to gain popularity and attention is “the sympathy persona.”

The sympathy persona is simple – you create a persona that is struggling with something difficult – anything from the type of struggles people are dealing with every day - being gay, being transgendered, dealing with a disease – to increasingly questionable, invariably self-diagnosed, and sometimes completely made up, issues such as being an “Otherkin” or having a “headmate.” Then you share your “struggles” with a crowd, trying to pull as much sympathy as possible. Usually, this just manifests itself in the form of talking about how society doesn’t understand you, share articles about discrimination against people with your “condition,” etc.

But more and more; these people are going beyond simply creating a persona and making up experiences. Now, they’re going to elaborate lengths to create hoaxes to further their personas. At least twice that I can remember in the past year or so, we’ve been treated to stories that went viral of a waitress being stiffed on a tip, with some sort of hateful message left on the receipt – both of which turned out to be fake. I’ve read at least three stories now of women who have either fabricated an ex-boyfriend/stalker/misogynist, complete with fake social media platforms, or else actually recruited someone else to play the part; in order to convince people that they were either rape victims, or under threat of becoming rape victims.

It seem to me that Spears began by simply creating a blog with the persona of a widowed mother dealing with the death of her fabricated KIA police husband. As she got more into it, she started using her little boy to gain further attention; and ultimately killed him in the process.

It makes me wonder; is this the other shoe dropping? Is this the second edge of the sword?

  • Current Mood
    contemplative contemplative

Facebook: make the world's biggest social network feel SOCIAL again with two easy tweaks

Let's do an easy math experiment. Take a look at your Facebook feed. Look at the first 25 posts. Count how many of those posts are written by companies, celebrities, or other entities that you don't truly interact with on a 1-to-1 basis. Multiply that number by 4. That's the average percentage of your "social network" feed that isn't really social. What you're looking at is basically micro-sized newsletters. It's the social network equivalent of what we call "grey mail" - you know, those emails from Amazon.com about new DVD releases, sales fliers from that website you bought a gift from 3 years ago, etc.? - None of it's really SPAM, because you did "like" or follow wherever those posts are coming from, but it does clog up your feed and gets you away from the reason you probably signed up for Facebook: to socialize.

"But Wraith," you say; "a lot of times interesting stuff appears in those posts. I like having interesting news, comics etc. on my feed." I get that. And I'm not going to ask you to "miss out" on anything. lose them. I 'm just going to show you how to get the most from your feed, and make social again. So, on to the two tweaks that I think every Facebook user should try:

Tweak #1: Keep your primary feed social, create secondary feeds for entertainment/news/commercial posts.

Your primary feed is the stream of posts you see when you first open up Facebook. Once upon a time, this would be filled with stuff from your friends. We're going to make it that way again. So how do you do this without losing posts from the brands, celebrities, and sites you're interested in? Simple: interest lists.
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Dear Wrestling: value your titles!

I've notice a big problem with pro wrestling these days: companies devaluing their titles.

Once upon a time, everything in a given promotion revolved around the titles. Everyone wanted to be champion. That's why they were there. And the people who were champions? They were the best. They were the marquee players. They were the faces of the company. When Hulk Hogan held the WWF championship, he was the man. Bret Hart, HBK, The Rock, Stone Cold, Ric Flair, Sting, The Undertaker, it used to be that if you wanted to know who were the top guys in a company, all you had to do was look for the guys with the gigantic, gold belt buckles.

These days, most titles as symbols of excellence has been all but destroyed. They've become novelties. Here now are the commandments for keeping your titles sacred:

1. Though shalt have no one but top talent hold the belt.
2. Though shalt not have your champions incapable of gaining clean wins.
3. If though cannot find time to feature thy titles, thous shalt officially retire them.
4. Thou shall not have redundant titles.
5. Though shalt not directly treat thy weight division titles as second-class.

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The Rise and Fall of ECW

I got The Rise and Fall of ECW, for $5.00. Pretty sweet. It's my favorite documentary; they really did a great job of covering everything. The history of ECW is really well chronicled. I've long wondered if they would still be around if video streaming over the internet was what it was today when they were around. They did streaming even back then; the video quality at the time was poor, and there certainly wasn't any convenient way of streaming things to your TV.

The two main thing that ultimately killed them in the end was their TV deal with TNN. They put ECW on the air pretty much just to see if wrestling would play well on their network, before giving Vince $100 mil to bring RAW to the network. They constantly demanded ridiculous changes (you can't say "hate" for example) never promoted it, never even put up a commercial for it. Once WWE signed the deal, ECW couldn't get TV, because looking for a new network would violate their TNN agreement, until TNN publicly announced their intention to drop them. That was the final nail.

It makes one wonder if they could have kept afloat if they could have just streamed it online. That's what's so great about the net: the big "gate keepers to the audience" that was the networks is no longer a barrier.

All that being said; the other big problem was that Paul Heyman was a genious as far as creating content and producing product, as a business man, he was absolutely terrible. Clueless. His bad decisions can really be summed up by the fact that the Duddleys asked for a $1 raise - just a little sign of respect, really - and Paul let them go because he was adamant that he couldn't compete with Vince and wasn't going to try, saying "the only people working here are the people who really *want* to be here." He really needed to be head of creative, or head of wrestling operations; whatever you want to call it, with someone else heading up the business end.

"Fat acceptance"

Smoking never killed anyone.

It’s true. Technically. No one ever took a breath of tobacco and keeled over dead. It was the cancer, the emphysema, the heart disease, the myriad of other ailments that were CAUSED by the smoking that kills people. Same with drinking and driving. No driver ever exploded the moment he took a sip of beer. It was the wreck that resulted from the slowed reflexes and impaired judgment, which, in turn resulted from drinking, that kills them.

Stupid distinctions? Yes indeed. Because the root causes in both situations are clear. That’s why deaths resulting from drinking and driving and smoking-related illnesses are all classified as “preventable death,” just like suicide and overdosing on drugs.

Know what else is classified as preventable death? Know what the #1 most PROMINENT cause of preventable death is? Obesity-related illness. More people die every year from obesity-related illnesses than from every form of drug – be it meth, heroine, crack, steroids, all of them – combined. More people die from it than all forms cancer. And yes, feminists, that does include women dying from breast cancer. More people die from it than AIDS. It steals our sons and daughters, it makes children into orphans and wives into widows. It is the single largest burden on our still-broken healthcare system.

So you’ll have to excuse me if I’m in no rush to support this push to discourage anything that reminds people that yes, obesity is a problem, and no, it’s NOT just superficial one. When did we become a nation of people who have such an overwhelming sense of entitlement that we’d rather demonize people and ideas that promote HEALTH than admit to ourselves the importance of staying within a healthy range of body fat? When did people start deciding that society had more of a responsibility to ensure that people were happy and comfortable with remaining SICK than to encourage them to get HEALTHY?

RE: The MLP backpack kid.

     I’ve now seen several people posting about the little boy who was being bullied for having a My Little Pony backpack, whose school told him that said backpack was like a “trigger for bullies.” There’s a LOT of outrage over this. People are calling it “victim blaming” and comparing it to when women are advised not to dress or behave in certain ways in certain situations because doing so will make them more likely to be raped.

     Can we please stop confusing objective threat analysis with “victim blaming?”

     Real talk: I’m going to ask you all a question as if you’re parents. If you’re not, consider it a hypothetical and pretend you are. Do you tell your kids to avoid strangers? Do you tell them not to get in someone’s van, even if they say they have puppies? If so, why? Why are you “telling your kids to not talk to strangers instead of telling strangers not to kidnap/molest?” Are you blaming the victims of child molestation and kidnapping for what happened to them? Do you think that “kidnappers and child-molesters can’t control themselves?”

     Or is it something else? Is it that you’re smart enough to realize that “tell perverts and psychos not to be perverts and psychos” is not really a realistic, viable option for ensuring your child’s safety, and so you advise them to take reasonable steps lessen their odds of becoming victims? I’m betting it is. Because that’s the reality of this world, people. In a perfect world, you would only tell people not to do something if it was illegal or immoral. But we don’t live in a perfect world. We live in a screwed up, dangerous world, filled with screwed up dangerous people who do screwed up dangerous things to other people. Acknowledging that and advising people to plan accordingly is not “victim blaming.” It is not an endorsement or an excusing of wicked behavior. It is simply prudent common sense.

     People need to accept a certain basic level of responsibility for their own safety; not because they’re not entitled to be treated with basic human respect, but because if they DON’T accept said responsibility, they’ll never BE safe. It’s unfair, it’s unjust, but it’s LIFE, and no amount of getting indignant, ranting on the internet or picketing people trying to give you advice on being street-smart is ever going to change that.

     This kid doesn’t deserve to be bullied, but saying a boy carrying around a backpack emblazoned with characters from a cartoon aimed at little girls is a bully trigger is not saying that he should be. It is an acknowledgment of reality. Namely, that kids are cruel and unfair, and will pick on other children for petty, stupid reasons. School administrators can only stop bullying if they catch it happening, or someone reports it (and I’m sure we all remember how easy it is for kids to make friends when they have a reputation for telling the teacher whenever someone says something mean to them). And even if they report it, I can tell you from experience, it’s then just the victim’s word against the bully’s, and the bully always has his little group of a-hole friends who will corroborate his story, and then you have to explain to the bully’s parents why you believe some other kid’s word over THEIR kid.

     In short, the school administrators were being realistic. They were leveling with the family, saying “look, this sucks, but the reality is that we can punish the kids on the rare occasion that we catch them, or he can get a different backpack so the kids will leave him alone.” Call it unfair all you want, but at least take the intellectually responsible route and try to figure out WHY they said it.

On the subject of cosplay, and its connection to the "fake geek girl" stigma

I have a few good friends who are cosplay enthusiasts and genuinely really good people; and the last thing in the world I want to do is insinuate anything bad about them or offend them, so I’m going to tread lightly with this one.

Lately, I've been witnessing a disturbing trend. It tends to happen most often with females; particularly the type who compose endless posts about “the injustices of the fake geek girl myth.” The trend is an attitude of “geek elitism” in which the cosplayers see themselves as “the ultimate fans” because the amount of work they put into their costumes show their dedication.

Here’s the thing; and I think that this may actually play a part in some of the “fake geek girl” debate: I don’t think that dressing up as comic book characters makes you a bigger fan of comics. In fact, I don’t think it automatically even makes you A fan of comics. There’s this sense of massive indignation regarding any doubt that certain cosplayers are as in to comics as other people who don’t dress up, but I think that what doesn’t get acknowledged is that a lot of times, it’s an apples and oranges thing.

Some cosplayers dress up like characters because they love the characters. This isn’t about them. But PLENTY of them dress up because they like dressing up. They like making costumes. They like crafts. They like pageantry. And don’t misunderstand me, there’s nothing remotely wrong with that. That’s your passion. That’s your little corner of geekdom, and that’s great. But crafts and pageantry are not comics. In my eyes, “I only had two hours of free time a day these past two months, and I spent every one of them crafting the perfect Deadpool costume” is impressive, but if we’re talking purely about who’s the bigger fan of COMICS, “I only had two hours of free time a day these past two months, and I spent every one of them reading every appearance of Deadpool in chronological order” is by far the bigger feat.

In short, spending a huge amount of time making a costume doesn’t make you a bigger geek, it doesn’t make you a “superior” geek, and it doesn’t make you a bigger fan of whatever the source of your costume came from. It just makes a different KIND of geek. And if it isn’t accompanied by a genuine love of the source material, it’s not going to automatically earn you a place of honor in groups whose main interest is in discussing said material.

The more I think about it, the more I wonder if the cosplay scene could actually be one of the driving factors in the controversy over the "fake geek girl" stereotype. One of the accusations that gets flung - one of the accusations most complained about at least - is that females at cons are accused of "just being there for the attention."

Cosplayers are unique among comic book fans, because where the traditional fan attends a comic book convention to talk about comics, acquire comics, trade comics, and meet people who read or write comics, for dedicated cosplayers, the primary reason for being there is to show off their costume, which does, in fact, equate to attention. I'm not saying it's unreasonable to want to show off something you worked so hard on and are really proud of, but let's call a spade a spade, deserved or not, it's about drawing attention to yourself and the outfit you made. And I think that for a lot of them, that IS the real appeal of it - the attention.

Consider, if you will, fan sites made by cosplayers vs. fan sites made by traditional comic book fans. You go to a comic book fan site, what do you see? Panels from comics. Pictures of characters. Drawings. Theories on stories. Debates about who would win in a fight between Spider-Man and Batman. Because that's what's important to them: the comics.

Now, go to an avid cosplayer's site. What do you see? Gallery after gallery of pictures of the person and their costumes. Because that's what's important to them: having people see them in their costumes.

Now, I'd like to address the argument I most often here from people who are offended at the notion that there are cosplayers who dress up - and in particular dress sexy - for attention. I have two words for you: Princess. Leia.

In Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope, Leia spends most of the movie in a white princess gown. It is iconic, it is elegant, it covers everything without being painted-on, and it is still beautiful. On top of this, I haven't spent any time with a stop watch (I'm thinking of actually doing this experiment), but it seemed to me like she spent more time in that outfit than any other.

In Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back, Leia begins in the uniform of a military officer. I'll discount this one as she's on Hoth and wearing basically a snow suit, and that would suck at a hot convention. But after that, she wears basically street clothes.

In Episode VI - The Return of The Jedi, she starts out wearing the uniform of a bounty hunter, when she embarks on her mission to rescue Han. Then, later, she wears a camouflaged uniform, in which she actually fights the empire. In this outfit, she proves herself to be quite capable on a speeder bike and with a blaster.

In other words, girls wanting to dress up as Princess Leia have a wide range of iconic outfits to chose from. But when you actually SEE girls cosplaying as Leia, let's be honest, how many do you see in those outfits? I have seen a few in the white dress; I'm not saying it doesn't happen, but for every one girl I see dressed as "respectable princess gown Leia," I see 20 dressed as (and I think you all know where I'm going with this) slave Leia.

Specifically "gold bikini/loin-cloth Leia." Instead of dressing up in any of the outfits that Leia chose for herself, instead of wearing her regal garments which she wore longer than any other outfit, instead of dressing up like her as a proud warrior, they dress up as her during that 10 minutes or so when she was captured, enslaved, and FORCED to put on a skimpy outfit specifically to degrade and sexualize her for the pleasure of a slimy gangster-slug-monster.

Now you tell me: why, if all these girls want to do is to share their passion for Star Wars and this character, if they're not largely doing it for attention, why would they so overwhelming chose to portray her at her absolute lowest, most degraded, most sexualized point?



There's culture-clash here, because the traditional fans are used to simply blending in. In fact, that's traditionally part of what drew people to cons - they felt like they fit in because they were just like everyone else. They didn't WANT to stand out. Suddenly (well, not "suddenly," it's been growing for several years, but suddenly in the context of the the past few decades that saw the rise of comic conventions) there's this growing in-flux of people who want to stand out, and are shifting some of the focus from what used to just be about comics to "comics, pageantry, and general pop culture."

Perhaps this accounts for some of the feelings of resentment female fans often sense.

The most judgmental gym of all time.

      The heavy-set woman approaches the treadmill. She’s somewhat aware that she’s a bit out of place in this gym, filled with large, muscular men lifting heavy weights, pushing themselves and their bodies in a determined attempt to maximize body’s potential. Still, while she may not be as dedicated as they are, she’s willing to put in at least some effort. She steps on the machine and places her magazine on the panel in front of her, then sets the treadmill going at a slow, even pace. She begins to read and she walks. She’ll never get the same benefit as those who are going all-out with carefully planned routines, but she’s comfortable.

      Suddenly, she’s jolted by a loud, piercing air-horn like noise that blares through the speaker in a column near her machine. She looks around, trying to determine what that was about, before shrugging her shoulders and going back to her walk. She begins reading her magazine, and laughs at an article when the noise sounds again. She looks over at the front desk, and notices the employees are staring at her. Suddenly feeling very self-conscious, she decides to investigate. She walks to the front of the gym and asks “what is that noise that keeps going off?” The employee gives her a disapproving look and responds “oh that? That’s the laze alert. It goes off when people are being comparatively lazy and not putting their all into their workout.” Her eyes grow large as she understands, and is furious. “Are you saying you set off an alarm…because I wasn’t working out hard enough?” The employ tries to calm her down “you have to understand, ma’am. This is a judgment-free zone. We want our members to feel comfortable and motivated. Seeing out of shape, undedicated people in their gym bums them out and brings down the energy. Technically, we’re not even supposed to allow you to have that magazine, that’s been banned, because it’s a casual thing, and we like to focus on people who take their training seriously.”

      The woman was understandably enraged. She quit the gym and walked out, aghast that a facility in this day and age could operate this way.

      Pretty horrible stuff, huh? Well, I’ve got good news and bad news. The good news is, this was a work of fiction. The bad news is, it’s not far from the everyday practice of a popular national gym known as Planet Fitness. Siobhan and I joined our local PF recently. It’s still in the process of being built, but the grand opening should be soon. I’ve be SO excited over this. I haven’t been a member of a gym in three years. I’ve wanted to; I’ve DESPERATELY wanted to, but there isn’t one near us that we could afford the monthly price of. Our rent keeps going up, our cars keep breaking, and every time we have to go to the doctors, it’s a fight just to get Blue Cross to cover it. I’m STILL fighting bills from months ago. We cancelled cable TV well over a year ago to allow us to afford our living expenses.

      So when we got the flier from planet fitness, we thought we’d found salvation. It was close – less than 10 minutes away, and it was cheap - $10.00 a month, with no commitment. Finally, I could get back to working out and feel like myself again. Lately, however, I’ve been hearing more about this sorry excuse for a “gym.” First of all, the free weights only go up to 65lbs, and there are no weight benches or squat racks. On top of this, you’re NOT ALLOWED to do dead-lift. With the arguable exception of the barbell squat, the dead-lift is the single most effective exercise to work your lower body, bar none. PF’s reasoning “it’s a power-lifting move, and we’re more focused on first-time gym goers.”

      Can someone tell me how STOPPING people from getting the most effective workout possible is going to stop new gym-goers? They tell me “we have trainers that will tell you which machines to use to work the same muscle groups.” No. You don’t. Do you know WHY the dead-lift is used by power-lifters? WHY hardcore gym rats do it instead of machines? You think the guys with mountains of muscle are somehow just unaware of how amazing machines are? The REASON dedicated gym members do dead-lifts is because it’s effective in a way that machines never could be. When you use a machine designed to work a muscle, that’s pretty much all you’re working. The bars keep the machine’s movement restricted to a precise track, which means the all the smaller stabilizer muscles that are normally recruited when you do a free weight lift with a natural range of motion are largely ignored. They’re better than sitting around on your butt all day, but compared to the free-weight equivalent? They’re useless.

      But what’s even worse is the “laze alert” equivalent.  Anyone who truly pushes themselves and finds themselves facing enough exertion to emit an audible grunt, of if the weight plates can be heard, the staff blare a “lunk alarm.” A loud, screeching air-horn like noise meant to publicly shame the person for getting in a hard workout. Implying that having muscles taking your fitness seriously makes you a “lunk head.” This is all done in what they bill as “a judgment free zone.” I don’t know about you, but knowing that people are watching me and setting off alarms to draw attention to me if I push myself for maximum effect? Knowing that they’re essentially saying “hey everyone, doesn’t this guy make you uncomfortable? Look at him, all focused and serious. What a lunk!” Doesn’t really make me feel like I’m not being judged.

      At the peak of my training, I weighed 230lbs and had 8% bodyfat. That doesn’t mean I judged the smaller guys, or the people with more fat. I never scowled at them, or mocked them. I damn sure never blew a freaking air-horn to call attention to them. There’s something you need to understand about the big guys at the gym: they don’t give a crap about you. And I don’t mean they don’t like you, I mean that to them, you’re a non-factor, because they are focused on their workout. Because that’s what you do when you’re determined to get in shape. You put your headphones on, you keep your mouth shut, and you work. Period.

      And this is the same gym which, in many locations, serves candy and bagels, and once a week offers pizza. This isn’t simply being non-judgmental. This is pandering. This is desperate, transparent fear that people will think that PF is a gym, where people who are serious about wanting to get healthy go to do just that. And why is that such a horrible thing? I live in the fattest country in western civilization. A country in which more people die from obesity-related illness than aids. Than cancer. Than meth, crack, cocaine, heroin, and every other illegal drug combined. And there’s a lot of reasons that we’re this fat. I don’t want to over-simplify the issue. Over-processed, artificial food is much cheaper and more readily available than healthy food, which is a major concern in a bad economy, for example. But as much as any other reason, it’s our attitude. It’s this idea that the single largest cause of preventable death in this country should be catered to instead of discouraged. No one likes the school-yard bully that picks on the fat kids, but that doesn’t mean we should be ignore the issue. We don’t cater to bulimia or anorexia, neither of which have had the devastating effect on our average standard of health that obesity has. Yet, instead of encouraging people to use the most effective exercises, PF is limiting them to ineffective machines and handing them junk food.

      I’m so frustrated – so angry right now. Life has driven me to the point that I try not to get too excited for things because they tend to not work out the way I envision them; but I really thought I was going to be able to get back to the my old lifestyle. I feel crushed. And this certainly does nothing to ease my growing frustration over living in a culture that increasingly demonizes masculinity. I feel so out of place in the modern world.

Of linux and SAAS

On April 8, 2013, Microsoft will end support for Windows XP. That means no more security patches,no more bug fixes, etc. Now, just to be clear, I don’t blame them for doing this. XP was released in 2001, and ceased production in 2007. They can’t keep supporting it forever. I get that.

That being said, my craptastic laptop still runs XP. I can’t afford to replace it, and while I've gotten used to being behind the times, I can’t accept using an OS that’s no longer supported. As those of you who follow my micro-blogs/social media know, my solution is to install Linux on it if at all possible. Right now, I’m preparing myself to make the change over. As much as possible, whenever I use my laptop, I am using SAAS. I’m using Google’s ecosystem as much as possible - Google apps instead of Microsoft Office, Gmail instead of Outlook, etc. I’m even using Evernote over One Note. The idea is that if I get used to these things now, I can still switch pull the local app as needed; and eventually I’ll get used to them. This way, when I install Linux, I continue using these apps. That’s the nice thing about web-based software: it’s almost entirely platform-agnostic. So long as you can install a decent browser, you can use them.
Honestly, it’s not that bad. I still greatly prefer the the Microsoft eco system. Particularly if I’m trying to create something fancy; such as a professional looking presentation. Google Writer simply doesn't touch Microsoft Word if you’re working with a document that that includes pictures, stylized text etc. And Evernote...Evernote is nice. I really like it. But next to One Note, well, anyone remember Microsoft Works? The watered-down budget version of office that used to come with computers? Evernote feels like the Works version of One Note.
All that being said, there’s no debating the fact that Google docs are much leaner and more streamlined. Having Outlook, Word, One Note and Excel open on my laptop was quite frustrating (works like a dream on my desktop, though!), but I see no slow down on my laptop.The most common things I do are covered nicely. And, of course, it all integrates quite beautifully with my Android phone and tablet. All in all, I don’t think this will be so bad. And it’ll be cool to really learn a new (well, new for me, I've only played with Linux a couple of times) OS. I do look forward to the day, however, when I have the money I need to move up to Microsoft’s ecosystem (new Windows laptop, Windows Phone, Surface tablet).