Given the current consternation around social media, it has become more important to get the Smolblog project off the ground in a significant way. So here goes…
Around the end of last year, I wrote an essay about what made Tumblr unique in the blogging world, followed by another essay about different technologies that can be used by a blog platform. And then I did nothing.
Well, not nothing. I went and got a new job. I also started sketching out some more concrete ideas. And while I want to be farther along in the actual development of things, I also want to start getting feedback on the ideas themselves.
Full disclosure: I’m great at talking about ideas, but I’m still learning to actually execute on them. Which is kinda disappointing, since the execution is where so many ideas go from "good" to "awesome." So, bear in mind, this is an idea. It may not get very far, it may not get very good, it may crash and burn spectacularly. But these are problems I have wanted to solve for myself, and if I can help solve them for others, then I feel that I must try. So with that, let me announce…
The web literally exists to share content. The first web browser was also a web editor. And ever since then, programmers have been working on ways to make publishing easier and better. As such, there’s no shortage of existing technologies that a new platform can build off of.
It’s not enough to just make something. It’s got to be worthwhile. So if we’re going to do this, we’re going to do this right. Let’s start with the past.
I appreciate the place that Avengers: Infinity War holds in the Marvel universe and in culture as a whole. I do not like it.
Spoilers below, as I would like to use this to process and discuss the movie.
For the unfamiliar, a “headcanon” is a fan’s interpretation of an aspect of a work that does not necessarily align with the work as generally accepted. In a sentence: “It’s canon in my head.” What follows is my personal interpretation of The Lego Batman Movie.
Not sure if Batman spoilers but definitely Lego Movie spoilers so have a break:
The livestream was cutting in and out. There was a constant buzzing that replaced most of the audio. And instead of a trailer, the in-house audience saw a brief Sonic Mania logo followed by a Mac desktop. But after many fits and starts, the trailer finally played.
There’s a level of excitement around Sonic Mania that Sega hasn’t seen in roughly five years, the time since Sonic Generations was released. Fans are excited about the chance to play a new game in the vein of the classic Sega Genesis games many grew up playing. Polygon described it as “finding a long-lost Sonic title from the mid–90’s.”
But what makes Sonic Mania any different from previous Sonic games, introduced with much hype and fanfare only to be revealed as spectacularly mediocre at best? After all, this is the same company that has had many attempts to “reboot” the franchise or “return it to its roots,” often with lackluster (if not horrible) results. Is the anticipation justified this time?
The proof, as they say, is in the pudding. But this time, Sega’s investing in the right chefs. And before I try to string this metaphor out too far, let’s talk about The Avengers.
It started with an email:
Let’s see, do I remember that Mini?
Yes. Yes I do. Story time: I bought that Mini February of 2009. Custom-built: no sunroof or automatic A/C, but I added in bonnet stripes, fog lamps, and sport seats. 6-speed manual transmission.
My first great garage sale find was an original Nintendo Entertainment System with all the cords, 2 controllers, and 4 games including Super Mario Brothers 3 and Contra. All for seven dollars.
We sold Contra for seven dollars. I later heard about Contra and all it entails, but I don’t really regret that sale. We didn’t enjoy that game a whole lot (mostly because it was super hard), and it meant we basically got the NES for free.
Now, this was back in the days when GameStop still bought/sold classic games. We picked up original Zelda and sold it back. We found a copy of Super Mario Bros / Duck Hunt and might have sold it back; I can’t really remember.
And then we found Kirby’s Adventure.
When the Virtual Console for Wii was announced, I explained why I was looking forward to playing Kirby’s Adventure again:
First, Kirby’s Adventure is fun. Plain and simple. Not many games from this time period let you fly to get around puzzles, let alone absorb abilities from your enemies. Second, the game is expansive. There are at least six different worlds, each with several levels and minigames to boot. Third, powerups. One minute you’re throwing razor-sharp boomerangs, the next you’re a fireball, and the next you’re a floating UFO shooting laser beams. Don’t like what you’ve got? Press select and find a new one. But my personal favorite is the surprise ending, where [spoiler deleted] and you find out that [spoiler deleted].
Kirby’s Adventure is one of the best games of the 8-bit era. It has an unusual game mechanic, plenty of secret areas to discover, save files, a surprise ending, and one part even has parallax-scrolling backgrounds that most games didn’t see until the Sega Genesis / Super Nintendo era.
Satoru Iwata was a producer on that game. He’s most known for working as a programmer at HAL labs, working on games like Kirby and Earthbound (and even doubling the size of Pokemon Gold/Silver!) before moving on to become the president of Nintendo. He was there for Nintendo’s release of the Nintendo DS and Wii which were responsible for the company’s massive successes last decade, and when the 3DS and WiiU didn’t sell as planned, he himself took a pay cut. And when news of his death was released yesterday, it took so many people–myself included–by surprise.
He was an authentic president, a skilled coder, and he will be missed. Rest in peace, Iwata.
I’ve largely been silent on the issue of Ferguson, MO. Most of what I’ve “said” on the topic have been retweets and reblogs of what other people have said. Since I’m not on the ground there, I’ve ceded my voice to those that are. Since this doesn’t feel like my story, I’ve ceded my voice to those who it is.
Though I’ve been developing opinions of my own on the subject, I was waiting for the evidence and the investigation to be made public before saying anything. I feel that I need to be serious with my words; firing off half-baked opinions about a controversial topic based on shaky evidence is not what I want to be known for. I trusted our justice system to conduct a complete investigation and give Officer Wilson a fair trial.
With Monday’s announcement that there would be no trial (at least at the state level), that trust has been shaken. And so I write.
I firmly believe that there is enough doubt around the circumstances of Michael Brown’s death that a trial is deserved. The solution to conflicting reports is to bring them out at trial. The solution to conflicting evidence is to investigate it. There is a lot of noise around this event; we need a real investigation and a real trial to cut through the noise and find the truth.
Many people have bemoaned how the court of public opinion has already found Officer Wilson guilty of murder. The St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney could have taken the judgement to an actual court, but chose not to. Perhaps I am being unfair–after all, it was a Grand Jury that chose not to indict Officer Wilson. Yet Attorney McCulloch had a simple job and failed to do it.
These events have shaken my faith in the justice system in my country. I’ve always believed that the system was fair; I see now that it isn’t. I have thought that the disproportionate targeting of African-Americans by police was a factor of wealth or some other circumstance, but now I’m wondering if racism in the police force is a bigger problem than I first believed.
Even if Michael Brown was a thug that deserved to die, Officer Wilson did not have the right to make that decision. The death penalty, even where it exists, can only be given out by a jury, not a single officer. If Michael Brown did not deserve to die, then this is a crime. This needs to be investigated. We need the truth.