The Internet Forums of Public Opinion are SO Unforgiving   Leave a comment

I thought about saying social media but message boards have been around long before the Facebook, Twitter and MySpace were even thought of. Basically, if Internet Message Boards was Judge, Jury and Executioner anyone who wasn’t a celebrity or had alot of money to swim in would be dead or in prison. As a friend of mine put it last year, the trouble with message boards is since everyone has an opinion, no one does.

That said, while nothing would please me more than to name and shame my two worst offenders I don’t want to give them the attention those websites feed off of. Feel free to ask me via email what websites I’m talking about, though.

Moving on, I can remember just 20 years ago (like I pointed out in previous blog post I’ll be 31 at the end of the month) the days of America Online and having internet safety drilled into you. You know, don’t share personal information with strangers and all that. As more ISPs popped up, IRC (short for Internet Relay Chat) was like the black market of the internet. Only those who were involved in nefarious internet-related activities–and I’ll leave the rest to your imagination–used them after 2000. It was around this time the Tech Bubble burst. The few years between then and the inception of Social Media websites saw the popularity of Message Boards and Blog Sites (Blogger, Xanga and Live Journal to name a few) explode into the stratosphere.

Internet communities then are of course very different from how they are now. No place is this more apparent than Message Boards. Just ten years ago, having an opinion was considered something positive. Now, it can put a target on your back or in extreme cases, turn an entire internet community on someone. You express you dislike something really popular somewhere and you’re automatically branded a hater or a troll. Those who’ve been in that position know what I’m talking about.

While keeping to my promise of not naming specific websites, the one subject both sites I have in mind have in common is video games. To scratch the surface a little bit: All of the talk you may have heard about there being a “Console War” between Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft going back now 10 years is a lie. The only people who see “competition” are the gaming community itself. The industry only sees $$$$ so…yeah. The problem is fans and gaming news sites misquote statements put out by developers to support their viewpoint for or against one of The Three.

With PC Gaming, it’s actually worse though from what I’ve been seeing folks are starting to wake up and small the coffee. The long-standing mantra of your textbook PC Gamer is “PCs are better than consoles”. From what I’ve observed on several websites, that mindset has begun to change in just the last year. What IS true is while consoles have an average lifespan of 5 to 8 years, PCs have no such limitations. What’s also true is PC Online Gaming has almost 10 years on consoles (The Dreamcast being the first console to make online console gaming mainstream). The biggest sticking point PC Gamers like to tout is with PCs, you can more easily mod your game in most cases. Modding your console is forbidden by all of the Console makers and in fact, you can get in alot of trouble if you’re caught.

That’s just platforms.

Individual games…whew. I could write 10 blog posts and only scratch the surface! Emotions are just too high xD

…Look, I’ve been there. If you asked me in 1999 if I would start blogging, I’d probably look at you as if you have two heads. I didn’t even know what a blog was after I randomly made my Xanga account in 2001. It wasn’t until 2011 that I seriously revisited the subject. 4 years later, I haven’t looked back. Remember: I once ran my own website XD

That crazy time from 1999 to 2010 saw me bounce from one Internet Community to another. It wasn’t just for the topics of interest but wanting to fit in with like-minded folks that saw me go from one site to the next. I had enough trying to prop up my website Serene Adventure.net in 2010 and retired it for good the following year in favor of doing the WordPress thing instead.

I haven’t looked back.

Given between my five blogs I’ve written over 400 posts in 3 and a half years, I figure if someone wants my opinion, they should just come here. With my blogs, I don’t have to feel like I spent alot of time or effort posting something only for my post to either be ignored or deliberately misquoted out of context.

I look at certain websites and I look at how unhappy so many people in the forum community are. Most folks will get frustrated and either move on to another forum community or just lurk. I found my own way thanks to WordPress. Folks can chose to read or they can chose not to. Some folks will find this very hard to believe but I know more than “just a few people” read my blogs. Unlike forums and social media, a lack of comments doesn’t necessarily mean no one is watching.

…So I will continue to blog.

33 Days until Anime Boston 2015!   Leave a comment

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Boy, is it going to be EPIC.

 

I usually talk about Anime Boston on my Anime and Manga blog but I’ve decided to give everyone an overview of what my routine at Anime Boston is like. Here it is as I put it on Facebook yesterday:

I always go for the full weekend. For me, the party actually starts Thursday evening when Pre-registration opens at 4PM (WOOT!). Once you get your badge–and you will have it no more than 60 minutes max from the moment you get in line–you are free to mingle with the hundreds of fellow congoers either waiting in line or hanging out in the halls of the Sheraton or around the Pru. If you are a panelist, It’s a great opportunity to tell as many folks as you can about your panel(s). They’ll spread the word for you xD

Friday is when things officially kick off. Opening Ceremonies starts a bit before noon and it’s intentionally set so you have to wait until after Opening Ceremonies to shop ’til you drop in the Dealers’ Room. Before opening ceremonies, there are some Anime running in a couple viewing rooms to check out. The only Opening Ceremony in Boston that can hold a candle to AB’s is First Night. This is where everyone is hyped up, all the Guests of Honor are introduced and etc. After Opening Ceremonies, HAVE FUN! I tend to make a beeline for the Dealers’ Room right after Opening Ceremonies to see which vendors are back and which ones are new this year. I also tend to buy my Anime Sets and/or Video Games Friday since they’re never marked down later. I also go out of my way to ensure my Anime purchases stay under my hard cap of $100. Otherwise I’d have no money when I go back to work on Monday. Anyway after that, I eat lunch and then check out some panels until the Swap Meet. The Swap Meet puts the Stock Exchange to shame so…yeah, no way I’m missing that!

Saturday is the halfway point. Certain obligations keep me offsite until around 6PM. When I get in (after picking up dinner in the food court or Wagamama), I go staight to the Swap Meet until about 30 minutes before the panel I do is scheduled to begin. I then head to said room to set things up. That said, this will be my 4th year as a Panelist at Anime Boston (I just hope my Pokemon and Clannad Panels are not Saturday Night this year…). The past three years, the panels I did Saturday night were main event-level: They were slotted to overlap both the Masquerade and the AMV Contest. And all three years, the room was packed! I did Persona 4 in 2014 and Clannad in both 2013 and 2012. Persona 4 will be an hour again this year so I assume it will be on Saturday night. Anywho, after I wrap up my panel, sign autograph books and exchange contact info with folks I head for the AMV Contest and then the Concert. Since I don’t have a hotel room again this year, I time my exit so I’m on the second to last Orange Line train to Forest Hills a bit after midnight (LOL!). I plan to take a cab the rest of the way this year.

Sunday is when we close out the con. It’s also when I really bring it as a panelist with two additional panels, both timed for late morning and early afternoon. The second one tends to finish a bit before Closing Ceremonies. I try to get to the Hynes Sunday Morning at around 9 so I can take advantage ofNew England Comics and Comicopia’s respective blowout sales and binge on either a new Manga series I haven’t read yet or alot of new volumes of one I already have. Last year, I started on Blue Exorcist and Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan. After that, I then hustle to do my matinee of Panels. This year, my Clannad panel will be 90 minutes long. My new Pokemon panel will be 2 hours as well so…yeah. 3.5 hours of power! After my last panel finishes, I just go to Closing Ceremonies. It pays to stay until after the credits are done: That’s when the AMV Contest winners are revealed and you get to see them all. After Closing Ceremonies, there is one panel remaining: Convention Feedback at 4:30. It’s an opportunity for congoers to talk directly to the powers that be face to face. I highly reccommend everyone go to it if they can. Then, it’s wait until next year!

…And there you have it.

I avoid taking any personal time until after Anime Boston if I can help it. Anime Boston means I can take a vacation every year without spending alot of money. In comparison, most conventions charge nearly twice the going rate of $50-$60. Of course,  it’s also true panelists get the registration fee refunded a few months later.

One point I want everyone to understand is the con isn’t just for teens, young adults or even die-hard Anime fans. I’ve seen everyone from grandparents to toddlers at Anime Boston over the years. There’s something for everyone. The thing I love about Anime Boston–which I’m sure is the reason folks come back every year–is you know you won’t be judged just for liking Anime, Manga and/or Video Games.

…That kind of thing is important when you’re over 25 ^_^

Here’s why I give Bill Cosby the Benefit of the Doubt   Leave a comment

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And why Hollywood is, too.

Folks jumped on CNN’s Don Lemon last summer for pressing one of Cosby’s 14 (and counting) accusers.

Note the word I’m using: “Accusers”, not victims. All anyone has to go on is their words. Simple background checks on just a few of the Accusers revealed not only isn’t this the first time some of them have accused himof Sexual Assault but he isn’t even the first they’ve accused.

Now, you might have the arguement “Why doesn’t he just say they’re lying?” and to that, his ackowledging the accusations would dignify their words and you can be sure he doesn’t want to do that.

I’m going to entertain some speculation on my part and say what I think this is: Someone tried to blackmail Cosby. He didn’t go along with the plan so whoever tried to blackmail him paid these women–most of whom I’m sure never actually met him–to ruin his name. If not a third party then the women are looking for a cash grab. It’s not exactly uncommon for those in the entertainment industry. I think this applies to both the women accusing him now and the ones who accused him 25 years ago. Some of the women accusing him now are the same ones who accused him 25 years ago.

Before folks decide to jump on me, just think about it: Do you honestly believe there would be such overwhelming support for Cosby in both instances if the facts revealed his was guilty of wrongdoing? Seriously, think about it. All we have right now is the “testimony” of these 14 women who seriously expect everyone other than the media to believe them at their word.

 

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For SNL’s 40th Anniversary, Eddie Murphy was asked by Producers to do a skit as Bill Cosby. Out of respect for his longtime friend and fellow comedian, Murphy refused to do the skit. Apparently, he backed out at the last minute. He did appear on SNL though to thank fans for the years of support, though. He felt now wasn’t the time to add to Cosby’s character assassination.

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SNL regular Kenan Thompson did the skit in his place. It wasn’t meant to be disrespectful but I still think Kenan should have refused to do the skit, too. Thompson and Cosby worked together during the late 90s when Kenan was a child actor. I get it, he has a family and he is under contract but he should have refused out of principle. I haven’t lost my respect for Kenan over this but he should’ve followed Murphy’s example and flat-out refused.

 

…As the topic title says, Bill Cosby deserves the Benefit of the Doubt.

Ok so we can probably agree the MBTA needs to upgrade   Leave a comment

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…This winter weather making the need very obvious.

Alot of folks might find it hard to believe but the MBTA works round the clock well after the T shuts down at 12:35AM. Outside the Winter, that 5-hour reprieve is spent putting the bulk of our tax dollars to work cleaning tracks, platforms, cars, buses and tunnels. The lion’s share of the T’s budget is spent on simply keeping the aging infrastructure running. During the winter, there’s an increased emphasis on snow removal to keep the trains and buses running.

Alot of comparisons have been made with the Blizzard of 2015–more recently renamed Snowmageddon–and the Blizzard of ’78. There’s alot of key differences between then and now which I will talk about in a separate blog. One thing that is almost unchanged are the vehicles and equipment used by the MBTA. The Orange Line cars are the same and many of the Red and Green Lines cars are, too. The Blue Line’s fleet of cars were completely replaced almost 10 years ago mostly due to the Big Dig so…yeah.

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The decision to open the MBTA during incliment weather–for example back to back blizzards–is just not going to end well. As thousands have experienced going on 3 weeks now. The Red and Orange lines both have a unique issue that will likely be revisited in July. The cars used by both lines require the Third Rail to power the trains. Both also have stations outside for most of their stops. Bet ya didn’t know that one! The Green and Blue lines draw power from overhead electrical cables so they have one less problem to deal with (snow and ice).

The Commuter Rail isn’t doing much better even though most of ‘em are Diesel-powered. I took the Commuter Rail from South Station last Friday to bypass taking the #32 Bus from Forest Hills to Cleary Square. I ended up taking a different train than the one I normally would due to earlier trains getting cancelled. The train was VERY crowded and since it was making additional stops, it was even more crowded than usual when I finally got off at Hyde Park.

The weather doesn’t deserve the blame in this case. You see, only 8 trains a weekday stop at the Hyde Park Commuter Rail station from 2 separate lines. It’s poorly made scheduling: The stop right before Hyde Park is Forest Hills but neither of the lines that stop at Hyde Park stop there. Likewise, the lines that stop at Forest Hills do not stop at Hyde Park. Makes absolutely no sense. Unlike the Rapid Transit Lines (Red, Orange, Green and Blue Lines) the Commuter Rail is a high-speed and travel time is WAY faster in comparison.

The situation in Roslindale and Hyde Park in regards to the T is pretty bad. Most bus stops remain unshoveled or poorly shovel from rhe first round. I have seen buses drive past bus stops with waiting commuters. The demand for increased service to Hyde Park and Roslindale is certainly there. The #32 is one of the bus lines identified as meeting the criteria to get larger buses. To my knowledge, only the #39 (Forest Hills-Back Bay) and the #28 (Ruggles-Mattapan Square) have the larger buses and increased services. That needs to change.

 

 

 

 

Saved by the Bell cast reunite on The Tonight Show!   Leave a comment

First, a group photo:

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…And how they look now:

…Yes, those are the original actors 20 years later =O

In case you’re wondering, Tiffani Thiessen (Kelly) actually is pregnant. They simply wrote her pregnancy into the sketch. Noticably absent from the sketch–as well as recent reunions–are Dustin Diamond (Screech) and Lark Voorhies (Lisa).

Lark moved on since her time on Saved by the Bell (1989-1993) according to her IMDB page. She’s still in business but does alot of off-screen work now. It’s likely her position as head of her own production company kept her from being able to make it with the rest of her former colleagues. I don’t see it as a snub personally. That said, disregard the crap being spewed about her on the You Tube video’s comments. While she is the only member of the cast who is barely recognizable (Warning: The IMDB picture of her is actually her now. Disregard the one floating around claiming to be of her. She has said it isn’t her and sued the magazine that claimed it was her.), I seriously doubt that’s why she didn’t appear in the sketch as she did appear in reunion specials with the others (excluding Dustin Diamond, see below). After all Jimmy Fallon technically wasn’t on the show yet he appeared anyway!

Dustin’s absence is ironic for a number of reasons. First, he’s sitting in jail facing attempted murder charges. Second, he cut all ties with the cast right after the series ended. Third–prior to his recent arrest–he’s been broke for some time. He actually wrote a controversial autobiography about his experience on Saved by the Bell against the advice of basically everyone. In reference to Dustin, his former co-stars opened up in interviews and reunion specials and said he was very distant with all of them outside filming. He was “Screech on screen and off”. According to his book, Dustin admitted he didn’t make friends with his co-stars because of the age  difference (he was 12 in 1989 and the others were 15) at first but also allegedly because he “was left out”, whatever that means. In short he threw his co-stars under the bus in his book, going so far as to say everyone except him was in a relationship with someone else at one time or another (what a surprise). Of course, his co-stars vehemently deny his claims. Actually, no proof backing up his claims has ever been found so it’s basically his biased word against 5 (or more) other people. What little credability Dustin had before the book was swept away after its release.

…Now he’s in a place where he can do no harm to anyone including himself. It really is a shame how his life turned out given for almost a decade, as Screech he brought joy to a whole generation of kids and teenagers. It’s sad to hear him say the experience ruined his life in one breath and trash talk his co-stars in the next.

 On a more upbeat note, the sketch renewed hope by longtime fans there might be a new series in the works with members of the original cast or a reboot with a new cast. Girl Meets World (sequel to the 90s sitcom Boy Meets World) showed it’s definitely possible to revive an old series 10+ years after it ended. A new Full House was confirmed last year so…yeah. Anything’s possible!

So ISIS really DOES want to take on the whole world   Leave a comment

Every month another country joins the Anti-ISIS Coalition. Last month France and Japan joined. As of yesterday, Jordan is on board. The reason you’d think was borrowed from a movie: The Jordanian Fighter Pilot they captured in December? Turns out he was burned to death on January 3. The Jordanian government refused to negotiate a possible prisoner release in exchange for the pilot until ISIS provided proof of life, which they obviously couldn’t.

Now, some folks might be pissed off the media has access to the execution videos ISIS puts out while at the same time refusing to air it. There is no benefit in airing it on TV in the US save to ISIS. They want the attention that would bring and at the very least, Coporate Media is smart enough not to allow themselves to be used to spread the ISIS Propaganda.  That and it’s also likely the Government explicitly said “don’t air the videos”. I see it as more of a common sense thing personally. Those who “REALLY” wanna see it know how they can. I have no interest in seeing the vids personally so no I’ve never seen any of them out of respect for the families of the slain.

Getting back to the main topic though, the number of countries committed to fighting ISIS Militarily or otherwise has grown. To say Jordan taking a more active role is a big deal is an understatement. It’s no exaggeration to say Jordan’s King Abdullah is a Warrior King. He trained in the US and has seen more than his fair share of combat. ISIS has no idea what it’s done invoking the wrath of the Jordanian military.

…Their demise is more or less a forgone conclusion ^_^

This is going to be a very challenging second half of the school year   Leave a comment

For various reasons, I won’t get into the specifics of what’s on my mind in regards to work. Mainly for the sake of being professional and also being mindful I know some of my coworkers do read my blog. I do want to share some of what I said in a blog post from two years ago.


 

When this school year started I lost much of my confidence in the classroom due to some things the happened with me the previous school year at another school. Those collective things (which I will not discuss in detail either here or in my longer explaination) were the reason I decided to leave that school community after one year. Going into this school year at the Mission Hill School gave me the fresh start I was in need of in the aftermath of the previous school year. If I had gone to MHS last year instead of this year I would have stayed on for longer than I did.

As I hinted at above several things happened last year that led to me leaving the school where I was after just a year. By the end of the first week of school this year I had made the decision to part ways with Boston Public Schools at the end of the school year. The little confidence I’d been able to muster was swept away by the end of that first week. I’d been working with children 11 years going into this is school year. For the first time since my time in City Year I found myself doubting myself and my ability to be productive in the classroom more times than I’m willing to admit. Not just that first week throughout the year. In every other area I was fine but once I stepped in the classroom I could literally feel the confidence in my skills shatter to pieces. I consider myself fortunate I not only realized it so early on but I was able to kept the cloud from ruining what was otherwise an opportunity of a lifetime.

The Mission Hill School is known to education communities all over the world. I have wish only continued success to the MHS community moving forward.


…Note the part I bolded.

The circumstances are very different this time but the feelings are the same. When I re-read that blog I wrote two years ago, I remembered what I was dealing with at the time and I why I felt so self-conscious and why I felt such self-doubt.

Like I said above, the circumstances are different. One take away I have from meeting other folks battling depression last summer is the hightened awareness. You’re more conscious of how you feel others might interpret the things you say and do. For me, this year has been an uphill battle just to get out of bed and get to work.

I quoted my past post because I know it will provide some context for those who talked to me about it two years ago. I know it’s not fair to those who will have no idea what I’m talking about and to you, I apologize. I simply can’t say anything more specific than that at this time. There are colleagues I need to talk to first and I will speak no more on this until after I’ve talked to them.

What I WILL announce now to everyone is this will be my final year at my current school.

I made that decision official last Thursday and filed the necessary paperwork. Unlike two years ago, my decision is permanent. None of the unncessary drama I caused for myself two years ago. I talked to my family about it and they agreed this is the right decision for me. As for what I might be doing next year, I’ve set aside some time this weekend to work on my resume. Ideally, I’d like to avoid the excess pool entirely if I can. Open Paraprofessional positions in the district will be made available online on March 1.

In the meantime, I will be looking for new employment opportunities elsewhere. I’ll be much more open about my job search this time around while I’m at it. In the event I find work before the end of the school year elsewhere, I will immediately file my 2-weeks notice. I know I’ve said this before to many people but this time, there the feeling’s much more urgent.

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