I happened upon this interesting event during my travels in Tokyo yesterday, a rather large,well-organized, peaceful but very noisy anti-nuke protest march. I took the opportunity to shoot a quick video of the event, sorry for the low quality and also for the fact I was a little bit too far from the march itself to document it very well, but it was certainly of interest to me as I’ve seen a lot of anti-nuke stickers and posters and other forms of more passive complaints but this was the first real protest I’ve seen in the downtown area (in fairness, I don’t get out much lol…I have heard of these protests on the news but this was my first encounter with such).
I’m not quite sure where I really fall on the issue, personally. Of course, I went through a long period of stress and worry last year along with everyone else who lives within a few hundred miles or less of Fukushima. And I can certainly understand the concerns these people have, as I do share them to some extent, although in fairness I have no inkling of what the people of Fukushima are still going through, some of whom had their very lives turned upside down by the disaster.
However, even taking all of that into consideration, I think it is a touch unrealistic for people to be shouting for “no more nukes!” since I really just don’t see that happening anytime soon. The problem is, we modern humans are absolutely voracious consumers of power (just stroll through downtown Tokyo at night for plenty of neon evidence everywhere you turn), and for a country like Japan which is short on pretty much any other natural resource, nuclear is just an inevitable reality given the lack of alternatives. All the trappings that go hand in hand with a modern lifestyle do come at a cost, . So although I can appreciate the sentiment, I just don’t think it’s going to happen and I feel as though it would be better to try and have a more realistic conversation about what we can and can’t do about our need for energy and what we must do to make sure it is conserved as much as possible and made as safe as we can make it, particularly for those who live within range of these power plants of course.
If I lived a good deal closer to the disaster perhaps I’d think differently. I might very well feel as though a complete elimination of nuclear power is the only alternative. There are some people here in Japan who’s lives have been forever altered by this disaster, there’s no questioning that fact, and I certainly wouldn’t be one to go up to them and tell them they shouldn’t be protesting, or even that they shouldn’t be calling for an end to nuclear power. It’s just not that simple though, that’s what keeps going through my mind.
Thanks for reading!
So I was thinking about trying to come up with an interesting and topical board game for the 21st Century, something like Monopoly on steroids or something but more geared towards adults but still lots of fun to play.
I’m trying to decide between straight up money style Forex buying and selling versus more of a Stock Market oriented game where people invest in fictional companies, with perhaps an Apple clone or maybe Microsoft or Google in my version of the “BoardWalk & Park Place” zone, maybe cleverly disguised as Mapple & Goober or something like that. Maybe we could work in some of the failed banks and mortgage lenders in there as well, either as dirt cheap properties or perhaps as fodder for the penalty round or something.
The real question is, do people even bother with traditional board games anymore these days? With all the emphasis on online gaming and computer stuff, I wonder if board games are just too quaint and passe to be bothered with. As a kid I used to love playing Monopoly and Clue and Life, most of the other kids were into Risk but I never quite got into that one for some reason. Anyway, there’s something fun about taking that box down from the shelf and spreading out the pieces and setting up the board and all that jazz. It was even more fun if you had a decent sized herd of kids hanging out and you could play rounds, or at least several player games, which was always more fun than just one on one. These days, the kids all just jack into their own little devices and “play” together, although I don’t really think it much matters whether or not they’re actually physically together or not, it’s just as much interactivity if they’re all sitting around their individual homes for all the “playing” they do when their brains are hacked into the game systems, eyes glued tightly to the screens.
But on the other hand, maybe I should be thinking along the lines of an online game, although when it comes to Forex or Nasdaq or the other exchanges, who needs a game? Anyone can just open up a brokerage account and ‘play’ the real thing right? So there needs to be an angle that would attract players to the game the way old Monopoly used to capture everybody’s imagination, or Pictionary and Trivial Pursuit after that. I can’t remember the last time I heard about a “hot new game”, although maybe there is one and I’ve just not been paying enough attention. Although a hasty Google search didn’t turn up much of anything of interest, even though I specifically typed in “hot new board games” the second search result was for “best Nintendo” and the third for “best PC board games” (maybe that count’s, though). A glance at the first result, “Amazon Hot New Releases” offers up, well, Monopoly (the national parks version..*yawn*), Sudoku (who wants to have to think!?), and a new board game version of Angry Birds. Perhaps I might have a chance after all, the playing field seems wide open, assuming anyone even cares about getting together to play some games any more.
One of the sites I’ve been playing around with and trying to figure out in my efforts to become a “social networker” these days is Tumblr. The more I learn though, the more confusing this particular space seems to become.
At first glance it seems like a blogging platform, similar to Blogger perhaps. But although when you sign up the first thing that seems obvious is to write a post, when you browse around to other Tumblr pages you start to realize that not many people over there are doing any blogging in the traditional sense.
It’s a weird sort of mix, in a way it’s like Twitter on steroids. There’s no particular 140 limit or anything, but people don’t write much in a post, if anything at all. Mostly people seem to put up pictures, gifs and videos in a long stream of consciousness sort of way, and not many people seem to really engage or comment on each others’ posts. There’s a lot of liking and re-blogging, so each page turns into a sort of amalgam of the posters’ own personal contributions along with content they’ve ripped off from other peoples’ spaces.
Some pages look a lot like Pinterest, some blogs carefully crafted collages of images along with others which are little more than just a bunch of random pictures, and there’s also a YouTube element that I don’t quite understand yet that seems to involve telling the world incredibly personal stuff via video where you write your innermost thoughts on pieces of paper and hold them up for the camera while playing some seriously Emo sounding music of some kind.
Then there’s TumbleTrain, which is not actually on Tumblr but somewhere off-site and seems to be a sideshow focused on getting more Tumblr followers, which is apparently the holy grail of the whole Tumblr thing. If you have a lot of followers you’re cool. Or something.
Anyway, I don’t quite ‘get’ Tumblr yet, but perhaps it will come to me over time. At the moment, it hasn’t really hit me so I find myself frustrated trying to figure it all out and wonder why exactly the communication age has turned into such a multi-media, random seeming cluster that people use to try to explain to the world who they are and what they’re all about. Somehow, even Twitter seems rather quaint and simple in comparison!
Oh, and they also let me know that signing in through Facebook (a method they have on offer in plain view) is a way to get myself in trouble because I should’ve used my old handle, one I’d used years ago and had practically forgotten all about.
Couched in friendly language, the meaning was clear. “Watch your step, or there will be consequenses!”. Interestingly in one of the posts the moderator said, quite unnecessarily, “unfortulately we recently had to ban some longtime members for posting about their blogs on this site”, or something along those lines. Had to ban people. “Had” is such an interesting word selection here isn’t it? As if they had no other choice, it was out of their control. You “have” to call the police when someone is threatening you. You “have” to pay your taxes. You do not “have” to ban internet posters because they don’t fall into lockstep with whatever rules and regulations you have set forth for your little vitrual kingdom you’ve got going on.
This whole thing is pretty funny, it smacks of schoolyard politics and it’s so pervasive around the internets that people don’t even really have to check the rules pages on individual sites because they’ve got so much in common. Do this, don’t do that, or you’ll be punished, that’s the gist of it.
You would think the internet would be a place of free thinking and libertarian ideals, but instead it has tribalized to such an extent that it really does mirror the outside world in striking detail, and the world it mirrors is one of juvenile threats and summary retribution. Which makes it comfortable for the masses, I suppose, since most people inherently want rules and regulations to tell them what to do. It is such a function of society for people that entire religions have been founded and based on just such principles on a grander scale. I suppose that compared to eternal damnation, banishment isn’t all that bad. Although when you stop and think of it, aren’t they sort of the same idea?
There’s a video making the rounds on YouTube featuring a supposedly Korean youngster making rather vile comments about his happiness in hearing about the disaster in Japan. I’ll not link to it as I don’t want to offer any support, implicit or otherwise, but you can find it easily enough if you’re of a mind to do so. In any case, he says some hate filled things such as “So you guys are already contaminated with the radiation?” and “I’m always thinking about Japanese people dying but I can’t kill them directly”.
What really struck me is how young this person is. Whenever I see a kid engaged in such hate mongering, the first thought that comes to mind is “okay, who taught this kid to think this way?”, because it’s obvious in this case as in so many others that the kid isn’t speaking of any personal life experience he himself went through, rather he was clearly trained by his elders.
And that’s sad. It’s sad because the sort of people who would seek to warp young peoples’ minds aren’t just satisfied with their own hatred, they want to pass it along and ensure it’s generational survival. And that provides a horrendous disservice to the kids themselves, along with their whole generation, as it’s impossible to even attempt a clean slate or even begin to find a way forward under these conditions.
The saddest thing of all is that the trainers have been hurt or injured in some way and want revenge. This is understandable if not acceptable in modern society. But what they are really doing is making sure that their own kids and grandkids suffer just as much as they did, albeit vicariously in most cases, so in attempting to carry their anger and hatred forward in order to harm their enemies they are instead poisoning the minds of their own people and ensuring that cycle of hatred and suffering will continue.
I wonder if they ever thought about it that way.
In my efforts to promote my new online ventures, I’ve found myself run afoul of quite a few “important” internet types, the ‘internet cops’ that manage and control the social networking structure and who’s job, it seems, is to police the activities of folks who are trying to tell other folks about themselves. In other words, self-promotion is fine but not if you’re too noisy about it.
Granted, there has to be a limit somewhere. Obviously spammers have made careers out of annoying people with virtual junk mail touting their systems or their products. But hasn’t the word “spammer” taken on a life of its’ own these days? It seems that, when you cross a certain line and talk yourself up “too much”, suddenly you’re a spammer which is akin to an internet petty criminal, an outcast who is not to be tolerated.
It’s funny, I signed up on one place and, not knowing any of the rules and not being able to find any despite trying to search around the site, I proceeded to make a few posts about my blogging efforts and suddenly received a very public tweet “please don’t spam our site!”. Wow. That was a shock.
For one thing, I’d only been tweeting for a few days at that point lol. And for another, I had no idea that posting information and links about your personal blog was considered “spamming”. Dutifully, I took note and endeavored to play by the rules of that site but still, it makes you wonder. Where can one find a copy of “the rules”, and what is a newbie to do when attempting to integrate into this complex virtual society of ours? I suppose the easy answer is that a newbie should keep quiet and learn as they go, but doesn’t that take some of the fun out of it? I can’t help but wonder how many enthusiastic new participants, particularly those of us with a few years under our belts, have been chased away by the ever present citizen deputies who consider it their function to monitor the workings of the web and keep everyone else in line.
Having been at this blogging game for about a month now, I’m finding myself frustrated by the constant barrage of advice ordering me to “find my internet niche” and other advice to that effect. Seems to be everywhere I turn.
As far as my other two sites are concerned, that works out well enough. One, upbeatrhythms, is a music site, rhythm to be more exact, and so the niche is built in so to speak. I just have to create some good content. Similarly, the lulzjapan site is a photo blog and the angle is humorous observational photos from Japan. A small niche, perhaps, but still a niche.
But then we come to Mindbla. My personal blog. And it is rather personal, although I do want to create a site that can be useful to others and a place for exchanging ideas and stuff like that. But what is the niche?
In researching other blogs, I find that a lot of bloggers’ internet niche is, well, blogging. They write about blogging, they offer advice on blogging, they give handy tips about the tools of the trade and that sort of thing. But what it all boils down to is people talking about what they’re doing. Not really a niche per se, more like a general discussion about how to do what you’re doing. Sort of like authors all getting together to talk about book formatting or something. Do they do that?
So I guess I’m still sort of up in the air. I want this blog to be useful, fun, funny, helpful, and most importantly successful. Perhaps I’m putting the cart before the horse by saying that, but if I didn’t want it to be a success why bother? I could keep a diary in a notebook all for myself if I just wanted to write down my thoughts and feelings, why make something like that public?
I have given some serious thought to making this more of a current events space, and I might go ahead and write some articles with that in mind, but even so I hesitate to call that my niche. It’s just something to talk about right? Water cooler stuff.
I wonder if other bloggers have gone through similar feelings. When it comes right down to it, if I really wanted to find a niche I don’t really think it would be a blog sort of focus at all, in a blog I feel as though writing about “stuff that’s on our minds” is really the main point. I guess it all comes down to what my readers are looking for, perhaps that will give me some direction, trying to keep in mind the sort of stuff that a likely reader would find appealing. Am I writing for bloggers? For people just looking for stuff to read? Stories? Events?
I guess time will tell. If you have any ideas or suggestions, please feel free to give me a shout out here. I promise I’ll read all the comments, even if they threaten to overwhelm me out of sheer volume lol (I’ll cross that bridge, right?).
Thanks for reading!
Along with firing up this blog over the last couple of weeks, I also signed on with twitter (I’ve had an account in the past but never made much use of it) once it became fairly clear that was one of the ways to ‘get your message out’ as it were.
However, the more I’ve been using it the more confusing things seem to have become. There’s the retweet thing and the reply thing and then you’ve got tweet deck and some site called justretweet that seems to be geared towards driving traffic. All neat and good, but it’s a pretty confusing bunch of stuff for an internet idea that began with such simplicity (and brevity, more about that here).
To anyone who’s been following me or will be doing so (I invite you to please do, I’d be happy to hear from you, the link is just to the right of this post at the moment though I’m still tweaking the blog setup as well so your milage may vary), I must apologize if I’ve committed any faux pas or missed the point or anything else as far as twitter etiquette (twitiquette?) is concerned. I promise I’m a fast learner, I hope that being able to give shout outs in brief form will prove to benefit this blog and my readers, and I will attempt to get the hang of it as quickly as I can.
The focus of this blog has been morphing, somewhat organically which I’m rather pleased with, as I get a feel for what kind of content might be valuable here online, and I’ll be talking a lot in the coming week about that revelation along with several other life and internet related topics. Suffice to say my original title idea, “On Writing and Music”, doesn’t quite express the fullness of what I’d like to delve into here. I’ll get more into it and I hope you’ll subscribe and come on back to read about it, because in any case I’ll be broadening my overall tone while at the same time hopefully bringing my niche into focus by including my observations on life in today’s crazy fast, twitter focused internet world and some ways in which I’ve found to navigate through it, or in some cases just sit back and smile at my own reactions to it. Until then, hope you’re having a great weekend!
The more I delve into this whole online presence thing the more I realize that my niche on these internets is right in front of my face, staring me down with tiny tweets and fast paced confusion.
I am, middle-aged.
Whew. That was harder to write than I thought it would be.
Well, I don’t consider myself old, to be fair. I grew up with a remote control in hand and all the latest star wars toys like everyone else.
What’s Star Wars, you ask? Okay, leave.
Seriously, just go.
This blog is not for you.
This blog is for the pre-facebook,pre-twitter, oh-so-relaxing pace of the good old 1980′s, when Moscow nukes scared us a lot more than fanatics plotting from caves ever could, and when the price of a CD (yeah, like I said, I ain’t that old lol) meant you got the whole album WITH cool cover art and something to read along with it.
My name’s Dave, I grew up with computers but no internet (and certainly no twitter), and I speak for all us over 35ers who are still, we hope, relevant in this crazy super-fast world of ours.
Regarding our wacky crazy internets and how frustrating the lightening, twitter fast pace and constantly changing trends can be for the rest of us non-teenagers that didn’t grow up with it all. But in a way we did grow up with it, or a primitive version of it anyway, at least mostly. I’ll explain further on down, but it has to do with remote controls, the Brady Bunch (the show, not the movie), and The Force sans midichlorians. Here’s part one if you missed it or would care to refresh your memory or either found this page via hyperlink (yup, new to me too!), or else just don’t feel like scrolling (are you that lazy?).
So I’ve been thinking a lot about what this website is going to be all about, what my angle will be, that sort of thing. The more I’ve discovered just over the past couple of weeks the more I realize that my niche on these internets is right in front of my face, staring me down with tiny tweets and fast paced hecticism (yup, made it up. if it’s good enough for politicians it’s good enough for me, and doesn’t that word just sum it up perfectly anyway?).
Oh, and by the way, I do like twitter. I don’t ‘get it’ yet, but I like it. It’s neat, and you can connect with a lot of peeps all at once, and the fast pace can be entertaining, exciting even. I actually just learned about a new feature, the buffer I think it’s called, from a reader and I tried it out and it was pretty cool. But I think I’ll stick with Tweetdeck for now, it’s pretty simple and the graphics are like something out of STNG (if you don’t get that reference, you get a pass because you have to be a real Trekkie to get it and it’s a pretty old show at this point lol).
So anyway, give me a shout out on Twitter or, if you don’t bother with that stuff, feel free to leave a comment here. And do subscribe, because I’ll be updating this blog a lot and I hope to bring new and interesting commentary (and a few rants like this one) and would love to hear form you about what you’re interested in reading. Thanks!