Monday, May 19, 2008

This is Sparta. Full scene.

Ah, 300. I've been blogging about Anime a while now, and I've been wanting to do something a little different for this post. What better to entice Geeks, than with GREEKS? Ok, so almost none of these actors are real Greeks, but 300 spawned a Geek meme that was popular for more than 15 minutes, even spawning a far worse movie, Meet The Spartans, which was a spoof that hardly did justice to the source material.

Not that 300 was the perfect film, many viewers found it disagreeable. However its legacy will undoubtedly remain among action movie fans and Geeks who enjoy a good "kicking men into a pit of death" scene.


That was the catch cry for one of last year's most popular films. However historically inaccurate 300 was, I don't think that's going to harm its popularity.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Testing Blogger Draft

Fiddling with new features for Blogger Draft.

Let's see if the hyperlink that didn't work in the last post will work here:

I hope this works, because if it doesn't, I don't know how to link you to the Round Robin blog for girl bloggers.

Secret Men's Business Anime blog Round Robin

So I saw this:

And it got me thinking, since the women bloggers are having their own Round Robin of Anime blogging, us blokes might as well have our own.

By this I do not mean discussions of how big the cup sizes of certain female Anime characters are. I mean talking about men's issues in Anime. Is Goku from Dragonball Z a character based on unrealistic male expectations we enforce on ourselves, forever wanting more and more insane levels of power? Is Kimura from Azumanga Daioh problematic in his viewpoints about high school girls, and the messages he gives to his male students about how women should be treated? Or is he just a character put in there for laughs?

Have male Anime body types and gender construction led to the feminisation of men within the artform?

These questions and more, as soon as I get more people signing up to blog about them.

Sign up in the comments page, and remember, women have their own round robin at the moment, this is just for the guys to talk about our issues. I don't consider it as petty revenge, only as a measure to ensure that feminist bloggers don't take us out of context. I've already been roasted by Germaine Greer once in my life, and I'd appreciate it if women allowed men to ask questions about, and even question, the constructions of their gender.

Thank you to the developers of the original round robin for women bloggers for inspiring me to give the guys a chance to talk.

[edited because hyperlink doesn't work on my version of Blogger]

Nerd is a Culture - Documentary

As a documentary this is as indie as it gets, and you can learn a lot about current Nerd/Geek culture. It's about someone's experiences at DragonCon '07. I've been to a few fan events and I've enjoyed them, it's nice knowing you're not the only strange person there.

There's commenting on what you experienced yourself in the Geek and Nerd lifestyle, and then there's YouTube to explain the latest. This will be my last post (pun intended, those of you familiar with Anzac lore) for tonight's blogging. I think I'll go to bed soon.

Men DO Make Passes at Girls Who Wear Glasses

Glasses are more than an aid to the eye, they hold a certain mystique to them. The staple fashion item of librarians (librarian chic is a recent term that has embraced the new image of the sexy librarian, rather than the old haggard librarian of the past) and the official eyewear of the Geek and Nerd, there's something about glasses, if worn well, that captivates the mind.

Yomiko Readman, from the Anime and Manga series R.O.D: Read or Die is an example of how Japan truly has brought us the new development that glasses aren't unattractive for a woman to wear.

This, for those who aren't familiar with Anime and Manga, is Yomiko:


Hardly unattractive is she? Some might argue that Anime objectifies women, but I prefer to admire her in "the Spirit of Art", as a refined gentleman who would pay respect to any woman, real or imagined.

As you can see, the culture of girls with glasses being unattractive may have just blown up in your face. But for some of you even Yomiko may not be enough to prove that glasses can be sexy for women to wear.

Think about it. The sophistication of the woman who wears glasses as she shelves library books, her grace as she turns the pages so gently... it would make any man swoon, whether he was a Geek, Nerd, or neither.

They say that wearing glasses makes you look smart. This association has usually been met with anti-intellectual bullying towards men in thick glasses. But things are changing for women who wear glasses. You may be complaining that my choice of Yomiko Readman as the first example of attractive glasses girls is just the depraved fantasy of a Geek who has lost interest in real women. But I like to have a healthy appreciation of both. Like an appreciation of the woman in this picture:


Oh, my lady... I'd lay my coat over a puddle for you any day...

Compared to the tone of my previous, serious pieces, this may seem a trivial post, but nonetheless it's an opinion of great importance. Some young ladies I know feel ashamed of their glasses they wear, but if only I had the courage to tell them how beautiful such eyewear makes them. I think I've said enough on the matter for now. Forgive me for rambling, I'll stop before I get untidy.

This is for Technorati so I can claim my blog

Technorati Profile

On the Playing of Video Games

I've had itchy trigger thumbs of late. The urge to play video games is common amongst Geeks and Nerds. No matter what your platform or system, the emphasis is usually about winning, or to own n00bs in multiplayer games.

The trouble of all this is that in focusing the hate on the new players who have barely started their video game experiences, a large portion of gamers, the "casual gamer", is ignored as capable of learning how to play a game.

Pure Pwnage in particular is a product of a video game culture that favours winners over losers. It is a good and entertaining show, and it satirises video game culture well, but it has made people think that video gaming is all about winning.

I suppose this is nothing new. I have always been a defender of chivalry, and I have often said that "chivalry isn't dead, it just smells funny". Ever since I was cheated in a fencing tournament by corrupt judges stacked by my much younger opponent it has been harder and harder to keep faith in the honour and virtue of competitive sports. Video games have even become competitive sports, Starcraft is the most professionally played video game in the world as I remember.

But since the rise of the "uber-pro" class of gamer, those who are not yet as competent as their other fellow gamers are have been excluded and derided as useless. The bond between opponents and good sportsmanship between players of a game has now been reduced in video gaming to losers being taunted with remarks like "you suck n00b". Even if you can play well, I have heard cases of less than sporting videogamers online banning the accounts of players who beat them at a game too often, and this is hardly acceptable if we are to maintain fair play in online gaming.

I composed once the method of videogaming I subscribe to, however at the same time it was written when I believed in an obviously pseudo-elite strata of my gaming skills:

Videogames should not be played to win or lose. Simply play them, know the game, no matter what it is you will grow to understand it. If it turns out to be a rubbish game, play something better and grow to know a work of digital interactive art. If you do not play to win or lose, you will enjoy any game you have before you. To enjoy a good videogame without care if you fail to reach the goals and measures of success in the game’s structure, is to know contentedness in being. As you grow to know the game, you will know what to do in the game, and you will begin to win at it without trying. Yet never let victory in a game dull your senses with your ego. Never aim to win, simply play the game. Your opponent is bound to slip up sometime, and then is the time to strike and own him, reminding him of the n00b he has become.

It sounds like a mongrel version of The Art of War and The Prince, thrown into the blender with some Zen philosophy. But it is a much kinder philosophy to believe in when playing a video game than just aiming to destroy one's opponent.

Games ought to be played not only for the experience of winning, but to nobly admit defeat when it comes. We are taught that winning is everything as we begin school sports, and winners are given trophies and rewards at athletics which less athletic kids miss out on. This cult of the winner has bred a generation of people who will never appreciate the effort put into a game, whether it is a sport or a video game session. And if we never appreciate the effort that one who loses at a video game puts in, victory is a hollow shell of what it is put on a pedestal to be, some Holy Grail which only the strongest can attain.

Everybody loses sometimes, and it feels horrible. What's even worse is when your best friend teases you when you have just been pulverised in Street Fighter II. This rarely encourages inexperienced gamers putting their toe into the pool of possible gaming opportunities and computerised fun to play again, if they continue to play video games at all after being so traumatised by those who are more developed in their techniques.

I in no way wish to demonise people who are good at video games, I just want to end the cycle of hatred poured on people who aren't yet as good at them as their friends. It is possible a lifetime of being defeated by a video gaming twin brother has developed me as one who is tired of the teasing and demeaning jests that I am a n00b... and I simply wish to break the habit of those who continue the process of bad sportsmanship.

The good nature of people should not be determined by how well they play video games, and their social status should never be judged in such a way. To bring back sportsmanship to video games will renew the vitality of this form of entertainment that so many love and grew up with, and I see it as a necessity which is possibly the most important aspect of video gaming culture in the 21st Century.

Welcome to Geek Philosophy, Nerd Profundities

Hello, I'm Jacob Martin. I'm a writer and illustrator who dwells on the complex nature of human existence by an undoubtedly unconventional manner: I am a Geek Philosopher, a Nerd. When one looks into popular culture, fantasy and science fiction novels, films and TV shows to discover profundities about the way we look at life and the world around us, there are some who would call you mad. But as Salvador Dali once said, "the only difference between me and a madman is I am not mad".

Hardly a comforting thought, but when you consider the outsider status of the Geek or the Nerd, it really starts to make sense in Dali's own surreal way of viewing things. Geeks and Nerds have been viewed as a threat to the well established social hierarchy ever since high school, but why are we so dangerous?

Being Dangerous: A Geek Philosopher Essay by Jacob Martin

It is because the Geek and the Nerd sees things around them that other people don't see.

And we are dangerous because we think about life where others may find comfort in tabloid magazines, whereas the Geek or Nerd Philosopher might discover the latest threat to human life in the pages of a science fiction novel that nobody else would take seriously.

But it's one thing to be dangerous and quite another to be useful. Knowledge can be useful, because it is dangerous to those who hold power and attempt to restrict the power of others. And because those without power in social standing, Geeks and Nerds, know things that many other people don't, using them to our own advantage, we endanger the High School status of footy players and style queens at the top of the social ladder, because we're the first ones who know how to get skills for future employment, whether we already possess them or we are in the process of learning them at University.

Geeks and Nerds are dangerous. But we are also understanding, sometimes lamenting our lack of a romantic partner or our perpetual virginities, but most of the time we realise that there's more important things in life than getting laid.

We are so used to being taken for granted that we cannot help but help others with their technological troubles, or intellectual struggles. They say that nice guys finish last. This is a fallacy. Geeks and Nerds, when they learn that this popular saying is a lie, become the most dangerous Geeks and Nerds of all, because in understanding and forgiving others their human flaws and their teasing of one back in High School, we remind others that they need to improve themselves. When an enemy is treated with kindness, they grow to fear you. But it is possible for an enemy to become a friend, in the scope of time.

Nice guys do not finish last. They simply take longer to win the race. And that, my readers, is why Geeks and Nerds will always be dangerous.