Seinen, Little Brother, and the Importance of Whuffie

Parasyte and Dragon Head

Parasyte and Dragon head are seinen manga I just recently started reading. I getting very into seinen lately for some reason. Probably because it’s more serious than shonen manga. If you don’t know already, seinen is slightly more mature manga. It’s sort of like the M-rated kind of videogame. It can be bloody, and it tends to be full of stuff kids don’t want, or don’t need to see. (not counting those kids that like that kind of thing) Seinen is marketed to an older male crowd. Shonen is marketed towards the younger male crowd. Enough with the manga definitions  for now though. The point is that Parasyte is fun so far. It’s funnier than I expected a  horror manga to be. There are aliens involved, and I’m not very far in, so I don’t know exactly what they want yet, just that they kill things.

I’ve made even less progress in Dragon Head, but it’s interesting so far. It’s a survival seinen manga and it freaked out a friend of mine who reads horror manga for fun. I haven’t read much survival manga, so we’ll see how that goes. So far the situation looks worrisome. Vaguely claustrophobic as well. Gonna finish it though, because I want to know what freaked my friend so badly.

T61 (why I’m still listening to it)

The last post I wrote mentioned thesixtyone and how I ended up listening to it. This section of this post is about why I still do. (Sorta. I don’t rightly know, I’m just guessing)

T61 quests, for one. That might be part of why I go back. I’ve got eight I need to finish right now, and I’m working on one at the moment. The quests are mildly addictive. I don’t much care to leave them undone. They also help me level, and (as I’ve mentioned before) leveling is something I can easily get addicted to. Having the levels and quests kind of makes listening to music into a game.  Games I can do. Especially passive games, like the ones on Facebook, (Click to grow things much?) and listening to T61 is kind of like that in a way. Turn on music, and wait until the quest is complete. Easy. Some of the quests are slightly harder though. By harder, I mean that you actually have to pay attention. The ones I’m talking about are the ones that require a certain amount of plays from more than one playlist that belongs to someone else, and the ones that require a certain amount of listening time on certain moods. One other one requires a certain hearting to plays ratio.  Hearting things is kind of cool too. It also helps me level, but I usually only do it when I like something. One song I hearted was almost completely inconsistent with the type of music I tend to like. It was a song about math. Trigonometry, to be specific. It’s ridiculously catchy and I keep thinking that it will come in handy sometime. Even if I don’t care for Trig.

Little Brother

I stumbled across mentions of Little Brother after reading an article about a school using webcams to spy on their students. The mentions I ran into were in the comments, which I read all of for some reason. Should have felt like it was a waste of time to do that, but it was actually just interesting. Little Brother is a book written by Cory Doctorow. It’s really…well… It’s hard (for me) to sum it up in a word. I went and read the whole thing two thirds of the way through the comments.  I’ll probably read it again sometime, or just buy it so I can read it again in hard copy. One of the great things about Little Brother is that it can be read online, for free. Craphound (Cory’s Blog) is down at the moment or I’d add a link. Edit: Link added further down in the post. It’s basically about a computer savvy kid and what can happen when surveillance gets out of control.  It made my usual paranoia (though mild) seem justified, and ARGs are suddenly something I’m curious about. Harajuku Fun Madness, anyone? (Yes, I know it’s not real, but daydreaming is fun.)

Down and Out In the Magic Kingdom

Twitter led me to Down and out in the Magic Kingdom. Twitter via Mashable. Did I mention I how much I like Mashable? I really like it. It links me to cool stuff, and tells me cool things. Mashable didn’t link me to Down and out in the Magic Kingdom though. This is what happened. A Mashable blogger made a list of people who one could learn from on Twitter. This blogger mentioned that one of these tweeple (Yes, I do the silly Twitter lingo now) taught her the meaning of Whuffie. Well, I googled Whuffie because I’d never heard of it. Turns out that Whuffie is a fictional currency from Cory Doctorow’s book: Down and out in the Magic Kingdom. Cory Doctorow’s books are available online for free, so I ran off to read it. I gotta say, it was pretty cool.  Whuffie is  a currency based on merit. If people are pleased with you and your ideas, you will get more Whuffie. This way, no one gets Whuffie who isn’t in good standing with others. The book takes place in the future, so there’s other cool stuff too. Stuff like a cure for death. Plus, the narrator practically lives in Disney Land. Plus, computers that fit in your ear. Craphound  is still down (at time of writing) so here’s a link to it on Project Gutenberg. While I’m at it, here’s a link to Little Brother as well. Ain’t the internet great?

I originally read both books on craphound, which is why I keep wanting to link to it. I linked to where the actual story starts, because the first few pages are testimonials and the Creative Commons License.  Back to Whuffie though. I thought it was a pretty cool idea for a currency, but I’m not sure I would actually want to have to use it. It’s more because I’m not too sure about the idea of having to be in high regard in order to make money. I keep thinking people would try too hard to please each other in order to get it. They would be nice, but they would be fake. I’m not sure how it would affect the brutally honest, or people who aren’t good with people, or with ideas. (Maybe they could get put on some sort of Whuffie disability?) Then again, it might not really be so bad. People in general might switch between those personality types that they hold in high regard from time to so that maybe… um…

Never mind. I didn’t think this through as much as I thought I did. The point (part of it) is that Down and out in the Magic Kingdom is a pretty cool book, and Cory Doctorow is awesome for putting it, and his other books, on the internet. I don’t remember the rest of the my point… something about seinen I think. Ah yes… aliens that kill things, and vaguely claustrophobic survival manga.

So…bye.

Next Time: Will the blogger who doesn’t do blogs think their thought’s through? Will manga be the starting topic of yet another post? Reply hazy. Try again.

Bonus link for no reason! This.

Advertisements

Uzumaki, thesixtyone, other assorted randomness.

Uzumaki

Uzumaki is a horror manga. I read it. I believe I mentioned this in a previous post. I said it didn’t scare me, and it didn’t. I found it to be a little on the weird side, but not really too strange. The strangest thing  to me was the entire story being based on spiral related deaths. No real monsters of any kind, just spiral related death.

Nicely drawn, I thought.

Funny how there’s no actual monsters, I thought.

Scary, I did not think.

A couple of parts I disliked, mostly because I don’t care for snails that much, and some parts… Well… I don’t want to spoil it. The point being that I wasn’t really scared at all, only slightly disgusted by the behavior of some people.

Uzumaki starts out with people getting obsessed with spirals and dying. It pretty much continues this way, with plenty of dreadful, spiral related things happening along the way. The story is told from the viewpoint of Kirie, a girl who lives in a town called Kurozu-cho. Kurozu-cho appears to be the only place affected by the spiral incidents, and Kirie’s boyfriend, Shuichi, keeps trying to talk her into leaving.

Some internet peeps reported being scared of spirals after reading Uzumaki, which seems reasonable. Uzumaki didn’t scare me, but it was decidedly horrifying. A good read for if you want to end up being scared of something as random as a spiral.

thesixtyone (T61)

thesixtyone is a music site. It seems to be geared towards indie musicians and the people who listen to indie music. I don’t know why I still listen to music on this site, or why I even started, but I do, and I did. What follows is the exceedingly boring tale of how I came to know about this site in the first place.

I actually don’t remember exactly how it went down, but I do remember it having something to do with Twitter. It probably started with me reading tech news, or other news, because I use  sometimes Twitter for that. Maybe I started out on Mashable, or perhaps I started on Huffpost. Where I started (Twitter for certain) is really irrevelant,  I just ended up clicking on some news about a music site I’d never heard of. Turns out I’d never heard of thesixtyone because I don’t actually care much for indie music, and hence don’t seek it out. I found the article interesting because it was about the recent changes at thesixtyone and how angry it was making the regular users of the site. I read all the comments on the article too.  A lot of those people were upset as well. Some people were all: They took away the community features! (insert angry emoticon here), Other people were all: It’s hard to navigate! The article itself said that the new design was “gorgeous” and that the users had “predictably revolted.” The comments said (basically) that the site creators were clearly trying to get rid of the old user base by stripping out the community features and functionality. I said (to myself) that I obviously couldn’t judge whether the new design was great or horrible until I looked at the site. So I did.

The new design is gorgeous, actually, but that’s about it. There’s really not much to it. The old design (I saw a screen shot) Looked a little like the site designs for Mixpod, or Uvumi. I like the design of those sites just fine, but I can see the desire to make a music site look nicer than other sites of the same type. I don’t really see the point of stripping out useful features though. That said, I still use that site to listen to music. I’m not clear on why (indie’s not my scene, as I’ve said) so maybe I’ll analyze the why in extremely tl;dr detail later.

Seesmic (so yeah, Twitter stuff again)

Frankly, I really need to not blog about Twitter so much. I’m not quite over Twitter yet though, so…probably not gonna happen. I’m not addicted to twitter, or anything. I just don’t get it. In order to get it, I blog about it, and tweet more than strictly necessary for a person who does very little of interest. Currently, I’m using Seesmic to tweet. Seesmic is a pretty great desktop app for that sort of thing, if you didn’t know already. I’m messing with that and Seesmic Look for no reason I can fathom. Seesmic is straight forward and functional looking. Seesmic Look is the pretty version of Seesmic, as far as I can tell.

The fun part about Seesmic is that it’s easier to use (for me) than Twitter is. If someone mentions me, or replies to me, Seesmic makes it easier to see their replies. Seesmic Look doesn’t do that though. I don’t think. Seesmic Look has other fun stuff though, like Twitter trends. To the best of my knowledge, Seesmic does not show trends. That annoys me, so I switch on over to Seesmic look so I can bash or contribute to the current trending topics. Yes bash. Some trends are just dumb. I’ll probably blog more stuff about Seesmic and Twitter later. I’ll probably blog more about everything in this post later. Except Uzumaki. I think I’m done with that.

So moving right along…

Assorted Randomness (meaning Huffpost, Mashable, and other blogs)

I have to avoid Huffingtonpost these days. There’s nothing wrong with it. I actually like Huffpost quite a lot. Sometimes. The problem with Huffpost (for me) is that it’s very interesting. If I get on, there is no telling when I will get off. Plus, the comments section on Huffpost articles almost always seem to be flame war central. That might be because of the articles I read, but flame war reading does me no good. It just ticks me off, or gets under my skin somehow. It rarely improves my day is what I’m saying, even if it makes me think. I would just avoid reading the comments, but the whole reason I read them is to get an idea of what other people who read the article (and bothered to comment) think. Luckily, Huffpost divides the  comments into pages, and the pages are usually short enough that I don’t lose too much time if I only read the first page.

Mashable is a different story. I pretty much always like Mashable. People have flame wars in the Mashable comments section too, but Mashable articles tend to be about Twitter, Facebook,  Social media, and Tech related things. Not politics or religion or celebrities. The occasional Mashable comments section flame war I can handle. Techcrunch on the other hand… Let’s just say that the commenters there are out for blood. Or at least, they certainly can act like it. Saying good or bad, or even neutral things  about Microsoft or Apple will lead fanboys on either side to draw their weapons and prepare for war. Not even kidding.

Beyond the ones I keep getting stuck on, there are many other blogs I’ve ended up reading recently. i09 for one. Dosh Dosh for another. But that’s hardly the point. The point got lost somewhere between me typing an awful lot and saying very little. Something else will be the point next time.

Next time: Structure? What’s that? Also, the Sci-fi I read that one time.