Monday, November 22, 2010

Do what you want, 'cause a pirate is free...

I love the smell of blatant B.S. in the morning--especially when it comes to the RIAA, aka Republic of Ignorant Assholes of America. That's what it stands for, right? No? Damn. Wrong again.

Before I start this long entry, please read everything in this link. It will disgust you how the RIAA has us by the balls, literally.

I have a long history with piracy, starting from when I was about 11 or 12 on 56K internet. We used what everyone else used back in those days: Napster. At the time, downloading one song took about an hour or so, depending on how many people had the song. Even with 200 people, it still took about 20 minutes. But between me and my sister and a few months, we downloaded maybe 50 songs! Holy smokes!

Shortly after, that's when Napster started getting a whole lot of media attention and kids my age were getting sued for sharing music. You'd think that would stop us, but my sister had the smarts to switch to a new program. It was a much smaller community, but most of the songs weren't mislabeled and/or viruses. Meanwhile, another 12 year old is getting sued while we dodge bullets. Also around this time, we started burning CDs to make room for more music, which we promptly shared with our friends. Lars Ulrich, I gotta admit: Master Of Puppets was on half of them. Don't worry, when I found out your stand on piracy, I immediately stopped listening to everything associated with you.

Napster was shut down at this point, and soon after we got DSL internet. Songs downloaded in minutes. I actually managed to download an entire album, song-by-song, in about a day. I was still buying a CD here and there, mostly because I wanted to support the artists. But some CDs were impossible to find because I liked a few bands that didn't have badass record deals. I would always check the band's website first to see if they had any songs up on there (some actually did) before scouring the internet. If they didn't have anything, all I had to do was ask around and someone would have it. Piracy still did not seem so evil.

At 15, I had my first run-in with Torrenting. I didn't quite understand it, but now I was downloading shows, movies, etc. My mom was spending hundreds of dollars on satellite TV that only worked during the winter because the trees blocked the dish, and they wanted her to install a pole herself to stick the dish on--with no reimbursement. Even if we had decent television, I still wouldn't have been able to watch shows from Japan, or the vast number of documentaries available as OnDemand didn't exist yet. I thought BitTorrent was probably the coolest thing since sliced bread, and I got hooked. I started downloading all sorts of stuff: music that I never would have had access to previously, shows I wouldn't have become addicted to...Hell, half the concerts I went to were bands that I found through friends linking me Torrents.

Still, I bought CDs. I continued to try and support artists and labels, because it made me feel better about what I was doing behind closed doors. Should the RIAA ever come knocking on my door, I would show them my massive CD collection, all of them scratched to shit and say, "I'm not a bad person." Apparently, the RIAA and the FCC don't care. Probably over the years, I have downloaded hundreds of terabytes of stuff that they think no one profited from.

But here's the real kicker: the only people that didn't profit from my downloading were the RIAA and the FCC themselves. I have spent hundreds of dollars on concert tickets, band merchandise, fan club/street team memberships, and much more--all of which contributed to the artists in one way or another. As for movies, I still go to the theater for things I really have to see on a big screen, and anything that's worth the money, I'll buy the DVD. Of course, I won't watch it on the DVD because of the 500 ads that I can't skip or the bullshit programs they want me to install just to watch one fucking movie. If it weren't for fansubs and torrent websites like BoxTorrents, hundreds of anime shows and movies would not be licensed here in the US to this day.

The sickest part about this whole "pirating" thing is that the RIAA claims pirates just want things free. That's not the case. I'm a huge stickler for copyright laws--however, the money I shell out deserves to go to those who really created what I'm purchasing, and not whoever is selling it. Record companies create contracts with bands that literally rape and pillage them for everything they are worth. For every CD they sell, they only get about $0.05, sometimes less. As for iTunes, none of that money goes to the artist (depending on the record label). If you're an indie band, you'll see some profit. Signed with WMG? Nothing. 500,000 downloads and they might give you 1/100th of the profit out of the "kindness" of their hearts.

So what about the lawsuits that are supposedly benefiting the artists? Apparently, that's all bullshit too. The RIAA is actually in debt from chasing around children and single parents, so they're asking the government to get involved with piracy (see: COICA). They've also commissioned ISPs into cutting out the middleman and just directly tracking everyone's download information, sending out letters with summons to court stapled to them. And now, any money they do get from these lawsuits goes directly into the RIAA's pockets to fund anti-piracy ads. They figure it will scare pirates away from downloading, because the last thing pirates want is to fund an anti-piracy campaign.

Fact of the matter is, piracy has basically been the figurehead for technology these days. Without Napster, we wouldn't have the iTunes store. Without BitTorrent, we wouldn't have 1TB external hard drives for chump change. Without TV Links, we wouldn't have Joost or Hulu. Many companies are now realizing that "free" doesn't always mean "profit loss". When you give more to people, they want more.

There are thousands of artists, comedians, directors, and actors that wouldn't be where they are today if it weren't for people like us who got their name out. Do you honestly think Bo Burnham would be the youngest comedian to film a Comedy Central Presents if it weren't for YouTube? YouTube wouldn't even exist right now if it weren't for the love of sharing. Pirates are not thieves. We don't destroy businesses, we don't harm anyone. We have facilitated more to the economy, technology, and the entertainment industry than the RIAA, FCC, or anyone else has.

And if for whatever reason the RIAA is interested in this blog post, I have a message for you: you should take a note from the people you sue, who work hard for the money they have to fork over. People claim bankruptcy, lose their homes and cars, can't afford to feed their children--just because you missed out on $20 for a CD. When you scare people into doing something, they won't do business with you. Piracy hasn't boomed because of the pirates--you are the ones who tell me I could get your overpriced shit on the internet for free every time I put a DVD in.

You give yourself a bad name, and during your pathetic crusade, you have single-handedly made millions of people become pirates. Every news story that breaks about how you sued yet another 13 year old girl or someone in a wheelchair, people rush to the internet to download stuff. So instead of trying to destroy the one thing that has given you your tools against us, start working with them to figure out how you can make your customers happy--and I assure you, people might actually spend what little money they have.

Friday, October 1, 2010

The PowerPoint Sex List (sort of NSFW?)

 I'd like to apologize for the lack of funny in this entry.

Someone posted this link today on Facebook, I think, and it took me at least an hour to read all of it. For those of you who want a summary, it's a story about a typical college girl who is into typical college "bros" and her evaluation of the hookups. It was a play on some of the "fuck lists" that frat boys make all the time, and something that her and her friends could enjoy.

A lot of people are up in arms about it. Some argue that it's slutty (many pointing out that 13 partners is *gasp* whorish at best), some say that objectifying men as payback is not equality, and there's a good handful of people who praise her for what she did.

This is what I think.

Maybe it's because I didn't grow up in a close-minded area, but all the women I know have talked about sex--just as much, if not more, than the men I know. We talk about the good times, and the absolute worst times. And the bad stories aren't just about how the boys weren't "up to par", quite a few of them are when we ruined the entire rendezvous, and we all have a laugh.

Sex is one hell of a taboo topic. If a man creates a list like this, he's a chauvinistic pig in the eyes of all women, but he gets pats on the back from most of the guys. It's shocking to see that so many women and men think this girl is a terrible person for what she did--even though it was not meant to be seen outside of her friends group. Any woman who is able to be open about sex the way she is, admit that she had sex for the sake of pleasure, and have no regrets about it all deserves a fist bump.

I know lots of girls who were open about their sexuality, myself included. The names we got called just because we said "I hit that" to a passing guy were absolutely shocking, compared to what a guy would get called if he openly yelled out during a party all the girls he's had sex with. The social stigma that women are not promiscuous and ladies only "make love" are disgusting, and seriously damaging.

Now, for my negative comments...

I have a beef with her scoring system. No, not about the attractiveness part. I don't know why people are hung up on that, especially since she also factors in personality (and it's a one night stand, for Pete's sake). My issue is that she factored in their athletic ability--or even that they were athletes at all. It reeks of "groupie" to me, and it really put me off. But to each their own, I suppose. If I were to do something like this, I'd probably rank on musical tastes instead, and I know I'd have a blogger say, "What does that have to do with anything?"

The other thing was bonus points for accents. Wouldn't that factor into attractiveness? I know that it is a bonus to hear some "down under dirty talk", but in reality, it seems only one subject received extra points, while only one had extra points removed because of an accent.

And lastly, this is only my take on it, I'm very disappointed that she enjoyed the way these guys treated her around their friends. I'm no militant feminist by any means, and I know that boys will be boys and talking about a girl's boobs like they're a new Xbox game or something is commonplace. But to add points for a guy treating her like she's a walking sex toy is a bit embarrassing. She should've taken out personality entirely and just kept it as a strictly-sex thing and made the playing field level. But then we wouldn't have the hilarious and amazing stories we got out of it.

Is she objectifying men? Of course. But random drunken hookups are all about objectifying. You go out, get drunk, and find someone to fulfill your sexual desires. She wasn't abusing these men any more than they were abusing her. And I figure if it's a mutual "no strings attached" fling, then no real harm came from any of it. And as for the attractiveness part, it's simple science. Sex makes babies, and your brain tells you to find someone good-looking and fit to make your babies.

Ladies: what you need to take from this is that random flings and hookups are great. Fuck what society thinks; if you want to pounce on that hot guy like a Hunter on Ellis, go for it (just be safe!). Men: I hope this is a lesson to all of you out there. Women love to bang, and we love to talk about it. Maybe it also put things in perspective for you and how it feels to be on the other side of the fence.

As for my evaluation process, she gets a 9/10 for balls, a 6/10 for sexual performance (only one sober hookup), a 5/10 for writing (either go all science or all humor, no half-and-half), and a 9.5/10 for entertainment.

Raw Score: 7/10 (removed half a point for the regret of writing it).

Friday, September 24, 2010


I'm tired of people hating on my iPhone. I remember when I first got it, my friends were so jealous. Not even two years later, and I'm actually embarrassed to take it out on the train. They can't even tell that I have the crappy 3G version, that I'm running a badly jailbroken 2.2.1 firmware, they can't see the scratches and cracks in the screen, or the "I got into a fight with a bear" gashes on the back...they just know it's an iPhone and therefore they hate me with the fury of a thousand suns. Everyone assumes that I'm some sort of Apple fanboy or I'm too stupid to realize that I'm basically buying a brand.

Let me set the record straight: I am not an Apple fanboy. I have never owned an iPod, I use Windows computers, I think the iPad is only good for the accordian app, and I think Steve Jobs looks suspiciously like a cyborg with a fetish for turtleneck sweaters.

I realize the iPhone is sort of "behind the times", especially the one I have. Considering the phone I had before, it's a damn super computer. I could go out and get an HTC Evo, but I have AT&T and a great plan. I could unlock it and be frolicking in the fields of happiness and unicorn farts, but why would I go through that much pain?

I didn't get it because it looks pretty (even though it is), or to be another pretentious jerkwad and whip it out on the train and prove to people I'm oh-so-rich (even though I do). I got it because I wanted to have an mp3 player and a smart phone without having to lug around two objects everywhere I go. It was smaller than most smart phones that were out on the market, there were lots of cases and accessories for it, and it was available on my plan.

I know loads of people who have iPhones. My sister, my mother, my boyfriend, a few of my friends...but I still get tons of slack from people. If I have some sort of trivial problem with my phone and I post about it on Facebook, I can bet that at least 4 people will "like" it and talk smack. It hurts my feelings. Why hate? What has the phone ever done to you? What makes your TracFone (which uses AT&T's towers) any better than my phone?

Maybe in the next few years, I'll upgrade to a better phone. Maybe the next iPhone that comes out will be fifty times better than any phone that has ever existed, and you'll be eating your words. But until then, leave me and my decrepit phone alone.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Everyone's doing it.

My sister has done it twice this week. My boyfriend watches other people do it. My friends have done it for years. My dad knows about it and my mom wants to try it.

Yes, I'm talking about blogging.

 I feel like the last kid that was invited to the party, and I don't know what the protocol is. AdSense? RSS? Reddit? It just so happens that this is usually how I feel 90% of the time in reality and is the prevalent theme of this blog.

I'm in my 20s now, but I definitely don't feel like it. Even my friends agree, they sometimes wake up and are shocked to know they are adults. Maybe they don't feel it to the extent that I do ("Oh my God, the state allows me to buy alcohol?! Who thought THAT was a good idea?"), but I know they have that same sort of sick feeling when a former classmate adds them to Facebook and they have a nice car and an apartment and they're engaged and happy and successful and "So what have you been up to?" makes them want to lie. When I was 14, I thought I would be laughing at all the girls that used to pick on me while I drove off in my BMW to my mansion--afterall, M.A.S.H. said I would be like that. Now, I'm afraid to even leave my house out of fear I might run into someone and have to explain to them that yes, I'm unemployed and yes, I live with my dad.

My hope for this blog is to maybe get a few laughs out of people while they read about my debilitating social anxiety and my late coming-of-age story. Expect to hear my hyperbolic experiences of going to the grocery store, job interviews, doing my taxes, and buying a pair of jeans that costs more than $20.