Friday, May 20, 2011

spare this child your sideways smile, the crack in your veneer

Meet Indus. The Indus system, btw, gives me serious technolust.

Tiki Dalek!

Thinking of something impressive for your next Hallows party? Inject a little science into the proceedings with Boo Bubbles! (A little dry ice, a little dishsoap, and clean-up after seems like it'd be dead easy.)

This next bit's going to take a small amount of explanation. So, Sony somehow (I don't recall how at the moment, but it's not at all difficult for me to envision multiple potential pathways for the specific how) pissed off a group of hackers, and they attacked, and took down the PlayStation Network, compromising some vital information on behalf of their users. The PSN was down for some time (longer, even, in Japan, who told them in no uncertain terms that they would not be reinstating it in Japan until they could prove their security was sound), but finally, a workaround was employed, and customers were asked to log in again after changing their passwords.

Whereupon it turned out that Sony had been compromised again, in what external commenters initially said was a second hack, and what Sony stated officially is just an "URL exploit"--which they say, by the way, is now closed.

Frankly, an URL exploit that allows anyone who knows the email and the birth date of the potential target account, to reset the password of the account itself--I don't care if that's a specific hack, an URL "exploit" would be bad enough! Especially because that was part of the information that was hacked out of the servers in the first place!

I guess the end result for the lot of us is: don't trust Sony. Ever.

And people are talking, once again, about William Gibson's Neuromancer hitting the big screen again. The one thing we're all hoping? Is that the director doesn't tap Keanu Reeves to be Case.

NOTHIN'S GONNA STAND IN OUR WAY: Joey Comeau wrote me back
NOTHIN'S GONNA STAND IN OUR WAY: I said how I'd been re-reading asw and finding it all relevant and shit and he thanked me
NOTHIN'S GONNA STAND IN OUR WAY: I have touched the face of God

This was the original tweet he sent; and yeah, I'm kind of in the same boat. I don't think I could ever write Comeau a fan letter, but I have A Softer World pretty much permanently linked on the sidebar with the (few, but sadly growing) selection of web comics I read.

Why? Because it's painful. Because it's raw. Because it's meaningful. Because it reminds me of my friends on occasion (that one, in particular, reminds me of Stiv). Because sometimes it's funny. Because on occasion, I go back and read the really hysterical ones in the archive, the ones that still make me ponder, the ones that make me shiver, the ones that still make me giggle even as I'm shaking my head.

It's definitely not a comic for everyone, I know that. And I know that part of the reason I resonate with Comeau so deeply, and by extension, comedians like Christopher Titus, is because Titus, Comeau, and I--and, let's be honest, some of my best friends, as well as the rest of my family--are damaged people. In greater or lesser ways, there has been past damage, and it shows.

Let me be very clear, here--I am not saying this is always a bad thing. As Titus says, at the time he wrote Norman Rockwell is Bleeding, 63% of all American families were considered dysfunctional. Father gone, mother gone, father addicted, mother insane, aunts and uncles alcoholic--something. Abuse, neglect, illness (either physical, emotional or psychological), addiction, compulsive behaviors, interpersonal violence, brushes with the law both major and minor--all of these leave their marks on developing psyches.

From then, it's up to us to figure out our lives around the damage. Integrate it, understand it, accept it, move to minimize it--whatever our personal responses are, and they do vary: but it's our call.

Christopher Titus? Became a comedian. Joey Comeau writes A Softer World, and the occasional book (and newly, a horror blog). Me? I'm working through things, and working on getting back to writing the Great American Space Epic in the background.

We all take hits in life. Sometimes they knock us all the way to the ground. Sometimes we find other people there. Sometimes, we find people who already found their way back up. In rare cases, people who've been there, who know how hard it gets--they help us stand again.

So I understand why Stiv got emotional over the personal thanks. Because for him, and for me, Comeau's one of those people that helps us get through the bad things, sometimes simply by reminding us the bad things exist, and can hurt us, still. Understanding that bad things happen, and that sometimes, there just aren't any good reasons why--sometimes, that's all we need.

Plus, Joey Comeau has a very similar life motto to me. From his mini-biography on the comic's bio page: Joey is a firm believer in the idea that if you can't be a good example, you have an obligation to be a horrible warning. Indeed. So am I.

Next entry: more Minecraft. I'm thinking I need more fluffery and nonsense after this entry.

(You can buy Christopher Titus' Norman Rockwell is Bleeding DVD on his site, btw. If you like his comedy stylings, it's well worth the value of the purchase, and it hasn't been out on DVD that long. And A Softer World has a web store, with products from Emily Horne, the photographer, and Joey Comeau both.)

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