Friday, September 27, 2013

Why you should read Chessmen: Opening Moves

Hey, it's shameless self promotion time! But have no fear, I plan to make points of significant interest. So give me a chance here and have a good time.

It's a fair question. Why should you read Chessmen? You aren't interested in Chess anyway. Well, fortunately, it's not actually about chess. Click on the opening image to see what the back of the book has to say. Now I'll give you some supporting points on why you'll find this cast of heroes very interesting. The Chessmen are the Royal Guard of the planet, Chyssia. Imagine if Chess actually came from another planet and you'll immediately get the idea behind this amazing world. There are 8 members of the Chessmen (technically 9) and that brings us to our first point because:

In order for the most powerful member to appear, one of them has to die.  How's that for an opening point? And how does that work out? You'll have to read the book to know because telling would be a huge spoiler!

One of them could kill an entire planet. He's sealed in a containment suit of armor that can never be taken off; because he's a virus. Again, to see how that works out, you have to read it. I promise you he's one heck of a character. How does someone like that wind up being part of any Royal Guard?

Faith really can  move mountains.  One of them has a power you don't see in stories very much. It's the power of pure faith. You won't believe what he can do with it.

The comical doofus is one of the strongest members. You'll enjoy his amazing power and hilarious behavior.

The accused will earn your sympathy in spades. The member accused of actually killing the King, is permanently bonded to bladed gauntlets. He doesn't remember why he has them. For that matter, he's not even from Chyssia. He was found in the mountains with a severe head injury. Just what is his story?

A mystical falcon is in love with her partner. But how can such a creature pursue love with a humanoid?

It goes beyond just clearing their name. They discover that they have to save their entire solar system and the first book is only the beginning.

How can you read this?  Check out my author page and bookmark it   LINK

You can also keep up with all of the Galaxy Zento universe at my FACEBOOK page.

You can get it for Kindle cheap and paperback the same way. So I do hope you'll check out my universe and give Chessmen a read. I think you'll be glad you did.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Heroes of Cosplay causes online war

Heroes of Cosplay, the SyFy reality television series has caused an online war between the “stars” of the show and some cosplayers from the season finale. If you don’t know about the series, it follows a select group of people as they pursue contests in various conventions for the sake of their careers and reputations. 

Yes, they tell us that Cosplay is about having fun, but the producers don’t support that very much with how the show plays out. YaYa Han, a noted cosplayer and judge says the word “reputation” more than any other in her entire vocabulary. If we are to believe the commentary (even though she says it’s about having fun) every single thing she does is of utmost importance because of her reputation. Also, before I get too far:

Cosplayer: One who dresses up as iconic characters of various fantasy or science fiction genres (nutshell explanation, because there is lots more to it than that).

In the season finale, the cast goes to Planet Comicon in Kansas City, MO. In the second part of the finale, we get to see what looks like a group of “locals” making nasty comments to the members of CrabCat Industries and their partner Becky. But all is not as it appears and it has exploded into an online war that just makes everyone look bad.  Check out these two links (and those attached to them) for both sides of the story:

Now I’m going to use some quotes from Chloe (Sorry, Chloe) to hit a few highlights and make some points. Chloe’s response missed some essentials that I think bear pointing out. Let’s start with this:

What if I told you those judgmental Doctor Who cosplayers were plants? That Syfy told them they needed to cause drama with some of the cast so it would be a more interesting competition?
That’s not true, but you’d believe me, wouldn’t you? Because guess what, you want to demonize a dumb reality show.”

Aaand stop right there. While the following points of that paragraph are fine for showing that the cast were real people doing real things, this statement essentially calls us a bunch of idiots and haters.  Actually, and this may come as a surprise, you’d be shocked to find out just how many people watch reality shows and believe everything they see. Not because the want to “demonize” anything at all. It’s because people are people. Something that should have been remembered here. But alas, it doesn’t get better from there.

Syfy didn’t tell the Doctor Who girls they needed to cause drama. It happened all by itself because of three things:
1-People don’t like things like TV shows invading their small community (understandable).
2-People don’t like when the odds are stacked against them in a way that feels unfair (though the cast entirely made their own costumes and paid for almost everything). Either way, they won something.
3-Cosplayers tend to tear down their own kind when they feel threatened. All people do. Especially the cosplay community, though, as I’ve noticed A LOT on Tumblr during the airing of this show.”

I just plain don’t agree with this and you’ll see why as you read on.

The way it started was that someone from the audience identified my friends as “Syfy plants”.”

Ahh, but that’s not what really blew things up. You leave out the fact that the comment was dubbed and what we, the viewers, heard was: “Out of towners go home!” Something tells me you didn’t watch your own finale. Worse yet, they made it look like the Who Girls were the ones who said it, and you know they didn’t. These girls are somehow supposed to take it and shut up when they are directly accused of saying something they didn’t say. One of them admits she lost her temper, so it’s not like they are denying the skirmish even happened. But that’s okay, because, as you later say no one could make them sign a waiver (so it must have been all their fault).

Worse yet, dubbing that comment into something it wasn’t, made the whole convention look bad. I’m sure when they agreed to filming, they weren’t looking for the chance to make themselves look like hateful small town hicks. The fact that I haven’t seen a single member of the cast admonish this behavior is highly disappointing. So maybe you should be upset with your own producers, because they made you and them look bad as a result.

No one can make you sign a waiver. It was their choice to appear on the show.”

This totally dismisses the fact that the cast were not the only people to feel stressed out. It also suggests that the layman who is put on the spot by surprise should automatically have their eyes wide open going into this. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Let me tell you something:

It was totally unfair: Chloe points out how people get when they “feel” something is unfair, but wait, it totally was. Compare the facts. Take the cast who knew they had skits to perform and had more than a day to rehearse, with props and assistants, and stage hands, etc. Now take everyone else who got the information, not just on the spot, but for some it was minutes before going onstage. That’s like taking a heavyweight prize fighter and putting him in the ring with someone who’s never thrown a punch before. Sound like a fair fight to you? Sound fairly informed to you? It’s not. It was unexpected at a capacity that had to feel ridiculous to everyone else, who hasn’t been touring around on a reality show. For any member of the cast to dismiss the feelings of people who were wrongly taken completely by surprise on the details, is just poor form.

Don’t expect laymen to act like professionals: You’re right, no one can make you sign that waiver. But you dismiss the human factor of others again. You aren’t considering the fact that these girls spent a year of planning only to be surprised on site with “oh by the way, if you want to compete you have to do this.” So for them, on the spot with NO warning, they have to decide to either throw away a year of planning and work, or suck it up and go ahead. This also dismisses the fact that the cast has been doing this all year long, but these girls get it tossed in their faces at the last possible second. So you of the cast knew what you were in for… they had no clue at all.

To top it off, expect them to have no feelings: Ignore the fact that they were there for shoots and reshoots that the cast are used to and likely PAID FOR. Ignore the fact that they were every bit as exhausted as you were. Don’t tell me that they won 500 bucks and should suck it up because everyone there knows the whole thing went into about 5 hours of overtime (and what’s 500 divided by 11 again?). Overtime on a Sunday when things were supposed to close around 4pm. Overtime that could have even jeopardized someone’s job because they had a shift to go work. Overtime only expected by the cast.  Then label them as cruel and support a horde of negative comments about them online because they had feelings too.

I think you’re getting “cruel” confused with “just as tired and upset as you could ever be”.

The cast of the show knew what to expect 100% more than the Who Girls could dream of because of sheer lack of consideration and information. Now they get to be the villains, hated on by the internet and the cast is willing to support that. Not only is that not a fair fight, but it’s something else in words I don’t use here.

Friday, September 6, 2013

California school wants to pay to keep autistic child OUT

(Credit to photo: Sydney Lupkin, World News)

It never ceases to amaze me, the horrifying leaps that school systems will take to cover their own spotted rear ends. When they think it's just too much trouble for them to do their jobs and give someone their right to education as written in law. Well, today's story really takes the cake and takes a big steaming dump in the middle of it. Get the details here and I'll explain. Yes, that's a link to the news story!

Okay? Did you get it all? Now some of you, as you are sitting there are probably shaking your heads. There are a couple of things about this story that will cause that. However, they don't matter in the grand scheme of it all.

Like the fact that David Swanson is 21 and his time is about up for what the law allows. But the law is the law, people. If this is allowed to slide, who's kid will it happen to next? As it is, David has severe autism, diabetes, and is non-verbal. The law says he has a right to be there. And why is the system so worried?

They force fed him his own gagged up food.  Apparently this was to teach a child with severe disability some kind of twisted life lesson. I can think of a number of life lessons I would like to teach the lady that did that, but I risk really losing composure. This is grotesque and cruel. It's abuse, plain an simple. And so his mother, Heather Houston, did what any parent should do. She filed complaints. That didn't sit well with the uppity school system that could do no wrong. Of course it didn't.

They offered a settlement of $86,000 to basically go away. Let's face it. That's exactly what it is. It comes with stipulations that she drop all complaints and may not file complaint against them again. Yes, the said the money is to take him to a private school, but here's what makes this an exceptional smoking pile of bull:

The law says they have to do that anyway, stipulations not included. Think about that for a second. The law says, if the school finds they cannot provide FEPA that it falls on them to place the student in the alternative educational setting and pay for it. It is not supposed to be "throw money at the parent and kick them out the door (with a list of stupid demands)". Her complaints will more than net this for her without their worthless offer. Yes, I said worthless. It comes no where near what would be needed to pay for the costs of a private educational setting with all his needs met. And their stipulations are especially garbage because they are supposed to do this anyway. Leave it to some stuck on themselves group of educators to try and make what they're supposed to do by law sound like some big generous thing on their part.

Heather Houston does not want their money. Apparently this comes as a big surprise to some of the commentors on the link above. They still accuse her of it even after the article says she didn't want their money. What she wants is what her son has a legal right to. It's also what your child has a legal right to. Should a year's difference make it okay to treat your child like that? Do tell.

Hold them accountable. That's my message to Heather. Don't give up. Don't take their pitiful dodge attempt. Don't let them get away with it. The educational system needs major changes for things like this. For example, it's almost impossible to fire a teacher. That's the most ridiculous thing in any job field ever. I realize everyone needs job security; but if you force field a child his own coughed up chunks until he vomits, you should be out of a job and being prosecuted to boot.

Now Heather and the nurse, Annette Armstrong have chimed in on their position in the comments. I applaud them. Keep up the good work, ladies and God bless!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

My own cosplay adventures and lessons learned

I've spent a considerable amount of time comparing opinions on Heroes of Cosplay. After watching the most recent episode where Monica (?) slams a fellow cosplayer saying "You're the last person I would ever want to cosplay with" (following that up with further degrading remarks); I realized just what a dark shadow this show casts on the cosplay and costuming community.

Now a bunch of you are going: "Wait a minute, Dave does cosplay?"  Yes, actually, I have. But let me tell you what Heroes of Cosplay taught me.  First, check this out:

That's a pic of my son when he was 2. He won the child's section of the GenCon Costume contest. He won because he was cute as cute could be and went on the stage rolling dice. We did it for fun. After watching Heroes of Cosplay, I realize we didn't even belong there. It has taught me that, if you enter these contests for fun, you are stepping on some elitist's toes. If you win the contest they way my kiddo did, you are slapping everyone else in the face.  You see, we didn't make that costume (and we told the judges that). We found it at a yard sale. Someone made it, but we had no idea who. That means our kiddo won over people who spent laboring  hours on their costumes, possibly just like the people on the show. Don't get me wrong. I'm damn proud of my kiddo's accomplishment with his power of cute and rolling those dice. He rocked. But we didn't make that costume. And again, don't get me wrong, no one mistreated us over it. The point is, the show causes me to reflect and realize that we must have been so out of place, or that's how they would have it look the way they are going.

"But, Dave, that's your kid cosplaying, not you."

Oh fine, here:

Hey, not bad for a firsts time doing it at a con. Later that night I did Zombie Joker and that turned out pretty wild.

 I always tried to make myself pull off a look as completely as possible (before this I did halloween stuff a lot, but can't find any of my old pics). I knew it would entertain. You know that's more the purpose of the full cosplay experience. You're supposed to enjoy yourself, share a talent and interest, and just have a really good time. There are a lot of very important sides of cosplay that the show doesn't bring. It's not about being superficial and shallow. It's not about bashing other peoples looks because you didn't place in a stupid contest where the bag was just a grand (yes I know what title means, but if you do your stuff well, your appearance says it all).

I would rather do the fun things, like charities and special events. No thanks on the contests. And I don't think that everyone who goes to contests is an elitist snob, but that show seems to want you to think so.At least where one or two of them is concerned. And I realize that I'm not trying to make a living at it. But if you are, and you can't handle it when you don't win a contest, maybe you shouldn't be there. Maybe that's not a good living for you. Seriously, if you are going to test minefields, you can't get all mad when you get blown up.

So, no contests for me. I like what you aren't getting to see. I like the heartwarming side with the freedom and acceptance. Oh, but I will say that Ya Ya Han does an awesome job of showing what craftsmanship means.