What Am I Working On? February 26th

It’s been a while since I made one of these update posts, haven’t it? Most of it has to do with me not going on vacation for a while, but some of it has to do with it not having a lot of inspiration to sit down and write. I’m not sure if that’s worth apologizing for. If anything, I won’t talk about the stuff I have written or anything, but I will say this: I’ll be going away, and I think that a change of scenery will help me out.

I have some good stuff going for me right now, although I’m at the point where I need to ask others about where to take my stories. That’s one of the things I’m worried about as I’m worried about my shortcomings being completely exposed and I’m seen as a hack who has no idea what I’m doing. I’m seeing somebody about this predicament about my mindset.

Another thing I’m working to get over is that it’s okay to be a guy who makes meaningless fluff, like the Michael Bay Transformers movies. I think part of that comes from watching movie reviews on YouTube where they always talk about things like cinematography, character motivation, themes, and that fun stuff. And here I am thinking I don’t have any of those things to begin with. To anyone reading, I ask you: Am I overthinking it? Am I looking at the finished product the wrong way? I really think if I can get to the bottom of this, I could make a breakthrough.

Anyway, sorry for the lack of concrete updates as I wanted to get some things off of my chest. I hope I have some better news for you soon.


Prove Me Wrong, Feds

If you’re not following this scandal that’s rocking college basketball, you should be if you’re a fan. To sum it up, the FBI has been investigating under the table payments made to top programs to get the best recruits, and it features a who’s who of college basketball, and the word is that Hall of Fame coaches and fans of top programs should be shitting bricks.

I’ve been following the FBI scandal for a few days now, and the schools that have been named have me going, “Holy shit”. While it is possible that college basketball could change completely and it’ll be funny to see Chattanooga as a 2 seed, I doubt that we’ll see any real big heads rolling. The reason? The blue bloods won’t be affected. Do you really think that the FBI and NCAA have the stones and the ego to go after Duke, North Carolina, Kansas, and Kentucky who are the pillars on which this sport is built on? Do you really think that the NCAA will go after Coach K, Roy Williams, Bill Self, and John Calipari, the equivalent of gods walking this planet? I don’t think so.

If I’m a fan of one of these four teams, I’m not breathing a sigh of relief, but I’m bunkering down for a fight…which may not happen because there are more top-tier programs that can be taken out in the name of this scandal. The reason for this is because paying players under the table isn’t severe enough to be deemed a problem with “culture” and is widely seen as an open secret, resulting in elite programs being taken out and most fans being content, while the most elite programs can escape still resting on their ivory towers.

If you’re a Duke, North Carolina, Kansas, or Kentucky fan, have cautious optimism. Louisville and Rick Pitino however, have had their wings clipped. Arizona looks pretty damn fucked, Michigan State can get fucked and nobody will lose an ounce of sleep over Sparty, the luck is running out for Notre Dame, and the party at Betsy’s that’s been going on ever since the Eagles won the Super Bowl looks to be over because someone called the cops on Villanova.

I’m not sure where this scandal goes, but one direction won’t surprise me in the slightest. Prove me wrong, NCAA. Prove me wrong, FBI. If you have the hard evidence, go after the blue bloods. Show you don’t give a damn about clout, prestige, or the banners hanging from the rafters.

The Story of MartintheDragon

They say that what you do on the Internet will come back. The Internet never forgets. Employers will look at your online footprint. And anything else that I’m missing. So, that’s what prompted me to make this blog post. You see, when I was in high school, I  decided to make the decision to enter the massive pool of social media. While Facebook was straightforward, on Twitter and Instagram I found everyone was using some sort of handle/alias. And I did it too.

That resulted in MartintheDragon.

The reason I did this particular one was simple: the school I was going to attend, Drexel University, had the Dragons as their mascot. I thought nothing of it. Then, as my college career moved on and I developed new interests, and I decided to join websites (though I wouldn’t pay for them mainly because I was unemployed and couldn’t pay the fees on a regular basis. That money had to go to books and software). For starters, I brought back the Tumblr account that I created the summer before my freshman year of college because I had a reason to use it. Again I used the name MartintheDragon. Nothing horrible right?  Now begins the weird path.

First off, I lost my cell phone, which was the only way I could access Twitter. It took a few years for me to think about going back to Twitter, but I did again, and you can find me @MartinWhite78.

In my sophomore year, I REALLY got into Death Battle!, a web show that analyzes two fictional characters to determine which one would win a fight to the death. On DeviantArt, I found out that people were making their own fan battles in what I felt was mainly in an attempt to fill the void I felt: wanting to see battles the show hadn’t done. And some of them were REALLY good. Unfortunately, some of these were stuck behind a wall of “mature content that required an account to access, mainly because some characters featured are what you’d consider infamous for brutality and on some occasions, Mortal Kombat characters were featured and they’d bring out their fatalities. So I made the account to access these awesome battles, and later on, I’d make fan title cards that were like the thumbnails for the actual show that’d you click on if you were on YouTube. It was pretty fun and it let some things gnawing at my mind released on the Internet.

I’d also use MartintheDragon for a fanfiction.net account where I’d write fanfiction for the anime I had watched, but that’s a story for another day. If you’d like to hear it, that is.

Then my junior year happened. Tumblr starts to play an important part in this story. This is when things like Black Lives Matter start to begin in earnest. Additionally, Elliot Rodger had shot up a sorority and Sandy Hook happened my freshman year and then there was the Boston Marathon Bombing so there was a lot of politics to go around all of social media. It was pretty crazy. And do you know how people say how college is where you find yourself? Well, that’s what happened here, mainly because I saw the things being said and watched the news as they happened and something happened, especially with Michael Brown: the court of public opinion was overtaking the court of law and the idea of “innocent until proven guilty”. Combine that with the feeling that the liberal Facebook pages I had followed just looking down on Republicans and people that didn’t think like them as if they were all racist hicks that screw their cousins and a bunch of other stuff that makes me think the GOP and anyone who sympathizes with them are lesser people. I hate that in people, and it makes me not want to like you. So, I started finding my political leaning, which I’d call “middle of the road if slightly left.” I’m not much of a politics guy. I’d be much more willing to talk more about anime, if I had watched it that is. Here’s my profile on MyAnimeList.

Now to the meat of this story, Reddit. One of the things of this time was a thing called Gamergate. Gamergate is hard to explain, but the easiest way I can describe it is, “Game journalists were found being very intimate with a developer they were not only covering in their articles but was also supporting financially, was their friend or being intimate. And when they were found with the egg on their face, they decided to cover their asses by censoring and removing discussion and shitting on their consumer base.”  One of the places I’d end up frequenting was the subreddit KotakuInAction, and this began in my senior year. The mission of Kotaku In Action is copied below directly from the subreddit (which I do because if you want to hear what someone stands/fights for, or their reasoning for doing something, my best advice is to ask them directly or get as direct to them as possible):

KotakuInAction is a platform for open discussion of the issues where gaming, nerd culture, the Internet, and media collide.

We believe that the current standards of ethics in the media have alienated the artists, developers, and creators who perpetuate the things we love, enjoy, and enthusiastically build communities around. We have observed numerous incidents involving conflicts of interest and agenda-pushing within media which we feel are damaging to the credibility of the medium and harm the community at large. We believe much of the current media is complicit in the proliferation of an ideology that squashes individuality, divides along political lines, and is stifling to the freedom of creativity that is the foundation of human expression.

KotakuInAction is a community that condemns willful censorship, exclusion, harassment, and abuse. It is a community that organizes to hold the media accountable to the concept of artistic freedom by standing up for the artist, the developer, the writer, the filmmaker, and all who enjoy the freedom to create, explore, and expand. It is a community that allows the exchange of information, supports the ongoing discussion of media ethics, and protects the right of the individual to embrace their personal interests in entertainment and fandom.

KotakuInAction is built around a core focus on reasonable, friendly discussion of the issues related to gaming culture, and those involved in it. That is not all we are about, but it’s where we began and will remain our core. We hold ourselves to be politically neutral ground, not forcing anyone to conform in their opinions, and permitting a wide variety of viewpoints to express themselves in a civil manner.

Additionally, here’s some reading about Gamergate if you need a crash course. I decided to start a Reddit account because I’ve been reading it for months and I decided that it’d be better if I joined the action and conversation myself, whether it’s bringing up points or commenting. As for why I used MartintheDragon on Reddit, I’d chalk that up to a combination of not thinking of another username, and some frustration that the usernames I wanted to use were taken. It is what it is, and I’d join a lot more subreddits based on my interests.

The last thing that I’d say is worth mentioning is the subreddit r/uncensorednews. I found this through Kotaku In Action, but they’re not related in any way. Here’s what this subreddit is about:

/r/uncensorednews was born on June 12, 2016, the night of the Orlando nightclub shooting. The event was quickly reported on /r/news, reddit’s main news subreddit, but, as soon as it emerged that the culprit was an Islamist terrorist, the moderators of /r/newsbegan removing comments and then whole threads, leading to a complete information blackout, in an effort to stop what they perceived as ‘islamophobia’ . Outraged at this behavior, tens of thousands of redditors unsubscribed from /r/news and flocked to /r/uncensorednews.

This subreddit thus exists to fill the information and discussion gap that ideological censorship creates on reddit, hence the moniker “uncensored”. This does not mean that we have no rules, but rather that our rules are explicitly designed as technical requirements that never impose or leave room for ideological censorship of any kind.

More specifically, the things that were censored were that the Orlando shooter, Omar Mateen, called 911 either before or during the shooting (I don’t remember which one) and pledged allegiance to ISIS. Additionally, news about how to donate blood to victims was censored as well. It’s not my main way to get news, but it helps to give that perspective from the other side which I consider helpful for a Democrat like me. The only thing I’ll say is that r/uncensored news is VERY politically incorrect, more politically incorrect than Kotaku In Action could ever be. To me, it comes from the idea that it’s the anti-establishment place to get news, and while I don’t carry that mindset, I will say that it’s one of the few places where you won’t see Donald Trump painted as Hitler reincarnated, which is probably why I got attracted to that in the 2016 election cycle, even though I wouldn’t call myself a fan of his (personally, as long as we’re not in war and we’re not at risk of the planet turning into a nuclear wasteland, I’m happy, though I’ll probably say if something is really fishy or villainy, probably on Twitter). I’m not much of a political guy, okay?

Why do I write this? As I said in the beginning, I imagine that at some point, some of these things will probably end up coming to the forefront again, and I’m hoping that with this blog post, the matter will be released on something resembling my own terms.

Will I get rid of my Reddit account? As of the time of my writing this (Febreuary 2018), I’d say…nah. As much as I find as my opinion is just a drop in the ocean in many of the subreddits I’m subscribed to,

I enjoy the conversations and sometimes debates. I hope that any superiors or employers that read this understand something from my college days that influence how I see the world…or something that I can’t really put into words in this situation.

And if there’s one thing that I’d like to end on, it’s this: freedom of speech, even if the speech is something horrible, is absolutely worth defending. Everyone has the right to state their opinion in a safe way, and let the horrible opinions die as a result of being ridiculed to Hell and back. Freedom of speech will be a great hill to die on if I can figure out a way to fight in the event I’m forced to do that.

Thanks for reading. Have a wonderful day.


EDIT 2/20/2018: I realized that my YouTube channel is worth mentioning as well. I started it in my sophomore year in a combination of starting it so I could get a Dungeons & Dragons character sheer from my roommates at the time because it struck my interest to a thought of making YouTube videos. Nowadays, I don’t make videos anymore and all I did was upload some of my old videos I made for classes, mainly final projects. The main reason I still have it is my liked videos, resulting in having my favorite stuff being in one place in case I want to watch them while doing laundry or something. And now you can know my weird taste from the Eric Cartman of music named Rucka Rucka Ali to anime to way back when I watched CollegeHumor videos and everything in between.

That is all.


UPDATE: 3/13/2018: It turns out that r/uncensorednews has been banned by Reddit for failing to police its subscrsubscribers. While it went a bit too far sometimes, I’m kind of sad to see it go.

Goodbye, Football.

Well, it’s the first weekend without football this year. And what a year it was. What a Super Bowl it was. I didn’t think Nick Foles had it in him, and I didn’t think that the Eagles defense would prevent Tom Brady from doing Tom Brady things (although #12 was freaking awesome). And now, the Philadelphia Eagles are Super Bowl Champions. The Birds beat The Dynasty. The Patriots are in fact mortal. And now, The City of Brotherly Love has a memory that lasts a lifetime. They have something that’ll be told for generations and they’ll no longer be the butt of jokes most of the time. The only bad thing is they won’t be able to call themselves underdogs. Bye bye, dog masks.

Speaking of the Patriots, the college version of the Patriots known as the Alabama Crimson Tide won another national championship on a freaking bomb pass from a true freshman in overtime. The weird thing about that is that that pass shouldn’t have happened but it came to pass because Georgia just self-destructed on defense. I couldn’t believe it, and the Georgia fans I watched it with couldn’t believe it either. It was baffling! On the bright side, next season looks cool with Georgia having a killer recruiting class and the Alabama legend known as Tua is going into his true sophomore year. As always, my Ohio State Buckeyes are looking good, and I hope that we don’t get curb-stomped by some mid-tier team like Iowa again.

So, with two finales that were amazing last year, next season got its worth cut out for them, and I can’t wait. I wonder to see how UCF can handle Scott Frost and his entire staff leaving, and who’ll be this year’s UCF that’ll crash the Power 5 party, like Boise State did in 2006 that resulted in the postseason craziness that continues today.

I’m excited more for college than the NFL, so if I can find somebody to talk about the pro game with me, that’ll be fun.

September can’t come soon enough.


Shirobako: Learn How Things Are Made

It seems that I’m doing a lot of reviews with each of my passing posts, huh? It’s not intentional, it’s just that this is what I consider to be interesting and I think that the titles I feature here are worth sharing. I’m not sure if this is where I say “deal with it” because I don’t do this frequently enough. Eh.

Anyway, today we’re talking about another anime, and this time, it’s Shirobako. This little piece of Japan came out in 2015 and tells the tale of five friends who made an animation in high school together and made a vow to enter the anime industry and work on an anime together. The main aspect of the show is Aoi Miyamori, a production assistant at Mushashino Animation (it’s not a real company, I checked), and the Mushashino team as they work on anime projects and all the obstacles that come with them. Along the way, we also see Aoi’s friends:

  • Ema, an animator at Mushahino
  • Shizuka, a voice actor
  • Misa, a 3D computer graphics operator
  • Midori, a story writer

For the most part, though, we stick with Musashino and the people that work there, which I consider the thing that provides this anime’s biggest positive and negative. The positive is that you get a pretty decent course in the process of making anime. I’m a big fan of learning how things are made, especially when it comes to entertainment so if you’re like me and like behind the scenes featurettes, you’ll get something out of this.

In addition to learning how anime is made, you also see the characters talk about why they got into anime, which to me was a testament to what it’s like to take creative work seriously and pursue a career in the field, and anime can be replaced in this line of thinking with anything creative, such as movies, TV, or comic books. I got that message, especially in the last few episodes, and in a sense, you can put this on and binge it if you feel you need something to kick yourself into gear and work on whatever project you’re on, like me with writing. I also kind of feel like Aoi in the sense that I’ve had that position where I didn’t know what I wanted to know what to do in my field in terms of what discipline I wanted to pursue. It took until my sophomore year of college. So, there’s the connection aspect hooking me.

One of the things that I didn’t like about Shirobako was that for the most part, it seemed focused on Aoi and Mushahino, and the other girls would show up rather sporadically. In addition, that high school animation that we see in the first episode (and the one that got the girls interested in making anime and entering the industry in the first place, doesn’t get mentioned much after it’s introduced, but I think that’s a story thing as it’s more about the girls and their current jobs. That being said, I can’t help but feel that not revisiting that first animation is kind of a missed opportunity. It can help that Aoi is the main character and we see everything from her point of view in that she’s the one that’s undecided about her future in the industry, but the fact that we spend most of the time with one studio where only two of the five main characters are working just screams “wasted potential” to me. I really believe that had Shirobako lasted more than the 24 episodes it did, we could see more of these girls and their careers and the final season could be them working on that high school animation and updating it to be even more awesome thanks to their skills…but since Shirobako isn’t an anime that’s an adaptation of some mega-popular shonen manga, it’s just 24 episodes. And that makes me sad. I’ll just have to deal.

As for the score for this anime, I feel pretty comfortable giving this a 7/10. It’s got a good concept and rolls with it, and it has emotional moments that I believe any person in a creative field would be touched by, but at the same, time I really can’t shake the wasted potential and the main characters that are put to the side by an admittedly decent supporting cast.

If you’re ever interested in learning how anime is made, I’d suggest Shirobako is an anime worth checking out. Alternatively, you can just watch this video. But either way, Shirobako is a pretty cool anime, and I enjoyed watching it.

More Guardians!

I’ll be honest, I’m not the most well-versed person when it comes to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I’ve only seen one Thor movie, I’ve never seen Age of Ultron, and even though I’ve seen two Iron Man films, I don’t remember much. That’s not to say they’re not all bad. I enjoyed Captain America: The First Avenger, I think Black Panther looks awesome after seeing the trailer, and I enjoyed Guardians of the Galaxy.

And that brings me to my watching and subsequent posting of my thoughts of Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2. In this movie, Star Lord finds himself learning about his past, and the rest of Guardians are along for the ride as the whole movie starts once Rocket Racoon steals from a planet’s government they were hired by. Yeah, it’s pretty insane, but still believable from this team.

I consider Guardians of the Galaxy to be my favorite part of the Marvel universe. The first film I remember as a great mix of humor and music, with some pretty good action. This movie, on the other hand, didn’t have as many jokes in its quiver and it actually presented more emotional moments because this was a movie that really helped to develop mainly Star Lord. Though that’s not to say that this movie is devoid of jokes. I found myself laughing at some of Rocket’s antics and a bit of Groot, albeit with some eye rolling. What this movie lacks in humor, it makes up for in action in what’s kind of a flip from the previous movie. I really think that writer/director James Gunn sees this series as his baby, and I like how he handled this sequel.

And now the thing that makes Guardians of the Galaxy pretty awesome: the music. This movie didn’t have the big hits that the last movie had, but at the same time, there’s a good sense of using the songs to make a good soundtrack. That is something that I like a lot in a good movie and it’s something that I do when I write, mainly for fight scenes. The way the songs play, you see how the songs make the world tick, as if the songs are specifically chosen for a particular thing. Maybe that’s how soundtrack songs are, but it’s probably one of those things that you have to talk about when it’s done very well.

Guardians of the Galaxy is my favorite part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s currently the only thing out of Marvel I put a mental note to try to go see in the theater, or watch it on Netflix or TV the first chance I get. That being said, this movie wasn’t as good as its predecessor. It’s not really knocking the movie, I just think between the two, I’d pick the first Guardians film over this one.

I’m going to give Guardians of the Galaxy: Vola 7.5/10. Good action, great music selection, just not as good humor, which is kind of a letdown when these movies are what I feel the comic relief of the MCU.

What’s going to happen when the Guardians of the Galaxy return? I’m not sure, but it’s going to be hard to be a better Marvel path for me than the Guardians of the Galaxy series. Your move, Black Panther 

Hiatus Time

So, a lot of shows that I enjoy have gone into their “winter finales” last week or 2 weeks ago. While The Good Doctor is slated to come back in January, shows I follow such as Designated SurvivorEmpire, and Star will be coming back in March. I have no idea when this thing started where shows are split into what are essentially two seasons in one separated by the months on the calendar. It may make sense with how much TV goes on and having to make room, but it’s still baffling.

There’s a problem with this in my opinion: It’s going to just go crazier and crazier in terms of shows. I won’t go through spoilers, or at least I’ll try to be as vague as possible when I go through my grievances.

Empire started off as Game of Thrones for music, and the story of the Lyon family and their record label was a pretty cutthroat one with Lucious and Cookie seemingly being at odds more often than not. But when an antagonist outside the family started to emerge, it got crazy. A bit too crazy for me. I still watch from time to time but I’m not religiously watching as much as I did when Empire first began. And when they should what’s coming in March, I thought, “Ugh.”

Star, the story of three girls who head to Atlanta to make it big in music was pretty level headed for the time I was watching, while having a subplot that made sense. However, the fact of the matter is that with the recent fall finale, it’s gonna get pretty crazy, and I’m a bit worried about the future.

And then there’s Designated Survivor. My show. My jam along with The Good Doctor. The story of how Tom Kirkman became the leader of the free world is making me nervous thanks to the last fall finale. This is because the super intricate and complex workings of the subplot is making things kind of crazy. And given what happened, the subplot and the main plot is starting to be on a collision course. I think that this show has the potential to weather this storm, but it can get violent very easily.

And if you’re wondering  why I’m not including The Good Doctor, it’s the first season, so we’re still trying to figure out what’s making this show tick.

My main concern is that as a result of the constant season splitting isn’t that shows will jump the shark to stay relevant. My fear is that shows will do nothing but go crazier and crazier as if it’s trying to one up itself to the point where I have no idea what the show was originally about. I’m scared.

Here’s hoping every TV show I get involved with in the future doesn’t suffer this fate.