Cigarettes contain Pig Blood

Pigs of the breed "Bunte Bentheimer"...

Image by AFP/Getty Images via Daylife

Dutch researchers have found pig hemoglobin in cigarettes:

The pig’s haemoglobin was found to be a fairly effective filter for cigarettes but this information was not on cigarette labels because the Tobacco industry was not required by law to disclose the ingredients of their products

via Ozcar Guide “Cigarettes Found To Contain Pig’s Blood

The pig’s hemoglobin blocks toxic chemicals from entering the lungs. That is all fine and dandy, but cigarette companies really should disclose what is in their products. The new health care bill requires all restaurants to make their calorie counts publicly accessible, so why isn’t this the case with cigs? An Aussie Professor says it best:

‘It just puts into hard relief the problem that the tobacco industry is not required to declare the ingredients of cigarettes – they say “that’s our business and a trade secret”.’

via Daily Mail “Warning to religious groups after traces of pigs blood found in cigarette filters

If you are Jewish, Muslim, or a vegetarian, you now have another reason to quit smoking!


Anime: Why two nukes on Japan wasn't enough

Atomic bombing of Nagasaki on August 9, 1945.

Image via Wikipedia

Two days ago, New Hampshire state representative Nick Levasseur wrote this as his facebook status: “Anime is a prime example that two nukes just wasn’t enough” . (Click here to watch a video compilation of  the local media’s take)

The medias coverage has focused on him either being a racist (another right wing media link), or on how this is an insult to anime.

Nick appears to be around 26 years old. Nick looks like he watches anime. I think Nick was telling a joke. A really bad one, but nonetheless, a joke.   Would you ever hear a Japanese politician joke that they should bomb Pearl Harbor again because they just can’t stand our summer blockbusters? Absolutely not.

This isn’t the first time Nicky has made really bad jokes though. Back in 2007, on his Myspace page he listed under his interests: “the hunting of neo-conservative Reaganites” and in 2008, also on his Myspace page, he described himself as “the magic mushroom. Shove me in a dark place, feed me a fist full of shit, and watch me grow!”  This latest attempt at a joke, by insulting the Japanese tragedy, reveals his under developed sense of humor.

No other country in the world has been attacked with nuclear weapons, and if you know ANYTHING about Japanese history, or culture, you know to this day they still struggle with that happened to them (hello, Godzilla films?).  Consider the new book, ” The Last Train from Hiroshima” or even this  recent gem about Hayden Panettiere’s efforts to save dolphins in Japan:

As the group arrived, a truck of right-wing nationalists blasted slogans, saying Japan should not be singled out for whaling and dolphin hunts because Westerners “are killing cows.” They also demanded President Barack Obama apologize for the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

-‘Heroes’ Actress visits Japan dolphin hunt town via Associated Press

Japanese society has long used the arts to deal with their nuclear past, and if you are going to include anime in this artistic realm, you have to mention the famous manga-turned-anime-turned-American-film Astro Boy. Astro Boy was born in 1951…. just years after the bombs were dropped. Astro Boy’s name in Japan is “Mighty Atom” and is a direct reference to the nuclear attacks. Astro Boy was made to appeal to little boys, perhaps to help the children cope with new post-war reality?

Sadly, this joke also reveals that Nick has never seen any good anime. Action movies tend to be really bad too, but I don’t go around advocating the bombing of Hollywood…. and every once in a while, an action film does comes along that I can appreciate (Fifth Element, for example…). The same applies to anime.

If you’d like to watch some good anime films, I’d recommend anything by Oscar winner Hayao Miyazaki, as well as the films Paprika, Ghost in the Shell (which Spielberg is remaking), and Perfect Blue. For anime series, I’d recommend Cowboy Bebop, Neon Genesis Evangelion and Lain (though the last two do get creepy later on).


New website lets male gamers pay to play with hot female gamers

OTTUMWA, IA - AUGUST 13: Five-time video game ...

Eh. I've seen hotter male gamers! Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Online gamers know what happens when a female (or a dude pretending to be female) joins a match. Every sex-starved dude pounces on her like a dog in heat. She doesn’t even need to speak if her handle contains words like “chick” or “lady”. You can guarantee that at least one tongue-wagging guy will flood her inbox with messages or attempt to harass flirt his way into her heart, completely unaware that she’s probably a hideous monster. On that note, it’s tough competing with all that testosterone, and even tougher finding a hot gamer girl, but that’s about to change, courtesy of GameCrush, the world’s first website that hooks you up with hotties who can handle two analog sticks at the same time

via Game Daily “Hook up with GameCrush”

This news is ridiculously apt, considering my latest post on gender issues in video games…

On one hand, this sounds like a great way to make some extra cash if you are an attractive lady, but at the same time, it doesn’t really help with the whole “women aren’t respected in the gaming industry” bit. Hmm…. 30 dollars an hour? Tempting, but I must remain strong on principle…

After a session you can rate your PlayDate on her hotness, gaming skill, and flirtiness. The highest-rated girls will receive preferred placement on the site. GameCrush is assembling a team of its most highly regarded PlayDates called JaneCrush, which should be similar to Ubisoft’s Fragdolls. Members of JaneCrush will generate content for the site like blogs and editorials. GameCrush wants to turn its most popular girls into gaming stars.

via IGN Xbox Live “Would you pay a Girl to Play Halo with you?”

This newest development might as well  say “only sexy ladies (or those that pretend to put out) have a place in the gaming industry”! And GameCrush wants to be like Ubisoft’s Frag Dolls? Please. The Frag Dolls are normal, respectable ladies that did not start out on some sleazy pay-to-play chat-roulette style game site.  I don’t know who is being exploited here, the ladies, or the “sex-starved”  males that would fork over cash…

Also, why isn’t there a website like this for girl gamers? I mean, there are some really atrocious looking male gamers and I would love to play with some attractive males.  Oh wait, I almost forgot, they wouldn’t make a site like this for women, because women aren’t that desperate-

Or maybe I am overreacting, and this will be the newest way for gamers to meet each other… What happened to the good ol’ fashioned way of falling in love with one another over the internet before you saw each others faces…. : /


Gender issues in video games

I read Katharine Fletcher’s piece “Confessions of a Call of Duty girl: Women in Games today” with my usual omg-article-about-girl-gaming zeal. Fletcher’s piece was interesting for a couple of reasons:

First,  Fletcher admits that she probably got her job because she was female, and that is perfectly acceptable, and understandable in the gaming industry. If you have been reading my blog, you should all know that women gamers make up about 40% of the gaming population (includes casual gamers), yet we are severely under represented, and if we are represented, it is in an overtly sexual way.  Case in point, Fletcher mentions Alex Sim- Wise, the NSFW model and game columnist. While I am not saying she should not take her clothes off to make more money off horny virgin males, it doesn’t really help us gamer ladies be taken seriously.  And, her nakedness, while strictly meant for the males, is potentially a big turn off for women who might be interested in gaming. That’s just my “feminist” two- cents popping out to say hello…. and this video below, narrated by a male, says everything I could possibly say on the subject.

[youtubevid id="R8ZVZRsy8N8"]

Second, when talking about the cancellation of Women In Games, Fletcher wonders why the conference couldn’t sell enough tickets. I never even heard about the Women In Games conference until news broke that it was canceled this year. Ouch. Well, gaming media is male dominated, and I don’t see much effort being put by the gaming media to reach out to women, so the fact that I never heard about the conference isn’t a surprise.

Could it be that, as with third-wave feminism, the embracing of diversity of viewpoints and lack of a single unified cause is harder to promote?

via Confessions of a Call of Duty girl: Women in Games today

Third,  I wonder if the apathetic attitudes and the mis-notion of feminism as being about women over men and not about equals is a British issue, because the ladies over here in America just want some R-E-S-P-E-C-T. I don’t think the goal of gender blindness is reasonable, because let’s face, we’re all animals at heart, all motivated by sex.  Mutual respect should be our the top priority, but we’re a long way from that….

When it comes to women in the gaming industry, sexually charged conversation is the dominate voice. When male gamers ask to see your boobs, or why you don’t have a sexy picture of yourself as your avatar, they do it because they don’t respect you as a person, and view you as a sexual piece of meat, even if they won’t consciously admit this. But hey, those males don’t know any better, because there aren’t other opinions or behaviors in that subculture, right? Have they been conditioned to behave this way?

I agree with Fletcher wholeheartedly, the more voices in gaming, about gaming, the better. I would think the notion of “many voices”  would be easier to promote….


New street artist emerges in Chicago

Very few street artists do faces or figures, which is a shame considering “faces” get noticed more often than tags. Faces are easier to relate to than a word, no matter how powerful that one word is.  Here enters Snacki:

In February of last year, a new street artist began assailing Chicago’s public space with his scrawlGarbage bins,  the back of signs , and newspaper bins were a favorite for then Snack Attack (now Snacki?).  If you look at Snacki’s work in February, you can see he is figuring out his style and building his confidence.

By the fall of last year, Snacki came into his own and reached that level of cocky required for any good street artist. His pieces are now largersprayed, and in hard to reach places, thereby becoming prominent additions to the urban landscape.

The Snacki faces are distinctive. They come in a variety of colors and are always very tired. The bags under the eyes are large and lopsided, and combined with the words “snack attack”, you have to wonder if these are portrayals of  weary druggies or drunks with the munchies. Or if we are supposed to get philosophical with his work, is “Snack Attack” about today’s cultural gluttony?

via Chicago Art Magazine “Snacki Attacks Chicago”  (by yours truly)

Whenever I take the Brown or Red Lines, I check the status of his faces religiously.  Some of his work is still up, but I don’t want to give away their location and ruin the fun of finding them yourselves.

edit: it has been revealed to me that Snacki has been around much longer than originally thought, perhaps 3 years now, though there is no record of his work on the internet until last year. I personally have never seen his stuff until last year. You can read an “interview” with Snacki, from last spring, here.


Lady Gaga is a nerd?

I know, I shouldn’t be jumping on the Gaga-”Telephone” video-page view-bandwagon, but I promise to stick to my focus: the poison diner scene, because it references geek culture and video games.

The most obvious thing to note would be that Lady Gaga is a nerd, or attempting to be one…. or her creative director is …. or Lady Gaga herself feels that it is important for the nerds to love her too by throwing in obscure references only they would get. The poison that Lady Gaga super-popstar-feminist concocts in the kitchen includes the following ingredients: Fex-M3 from Star Wars, Meta-Cyanide from Dune and Tiberium from Command and Conquer.

poison picture

Can I imagine Lady Gaga reading science fiction and playing Command and Conquer late at night? Maybe. I mean, she was pretty wacky when she was a brunette so I can’t come out and call her a “poser nerd”. Most likely though, her creative director googled “List of fictional toxins”, since they cannot use real toxins  for fear people would actually poison others, and this is the list that showed up.  All of those toxins mentioned in Gaga’s video are on that list….

Moving into “feminist” territory:

By Lady Gaga using poison to commit mass murder, she is engaging in a stereotypical feminine form of murder. Women traditionally controlled the food, and you’d be surprised how many men have died throughout history by the hands of women using poison, and it was never noted or observed because men felt it was beneath them to go into the kitchen?  There is a saying among the Hungarians that the bride Ildiko killed Attila the Hun on their wedding night by poisoning him.  A nosebleed? Come on…. but it’s cute how the men back then thought the women were content enough and incapable of committing such nefarious acts.

So it makes sense in Lady Gaga’s music video homage to Quintin Tarantino that she uses poison instead of blood shedding phallic weapons (NSFW link).  Why would Gaga, with her creative director, decide to use fictional poisons from science fiction and games popular with the males? The use of poison in a setting that asks for guns is too symbolic to ignore. But Commander and Conquer, Star Wars, and Dune don’t seem to be poisoning society like the bad man-made porn, hyper-sexualized advertising, and reality TV shows are… so why were these poisons used, instead of others on that list?   Or maybe I am reading too far into this, and these toxic references are all just for some male geek love.



Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal Theater: Time Traveling Geek (video)

Sigh.  I guess we ladies ruined everything …  :(

[youtubevid id="HVlIsUoQsjY&feature=player_embedded"]

Also! Everyone is obsessed with cats because of this.


Famous girl gamer used in viral marketing campaign for 'Repo Men' movie

Wired, Universal Pictures, and Lone Shark Games launched an alternate reality game combined with a manhunt. It’s connected to the upcoming March 19 release of the movie Repo Men. In the futuristic movie, characters who have received replacement organs from “the Union” fall behind on payments have to go on the run from Repo Men. In the new game, four real people have gone on the run, and it is the job of the public to find them.

via Wired.com What’s This Crazy #repomen Thing on Twitter?

Ciji Thornton (StarSlay3r) is one of the very few professional female gamers out there, and I was personally excited  that she was picked to participate in this viral marketing campaign. She’s already been in two gaming reality shows and proven her acting chops, so if anything, this will only further her career…. and maybe get her an acting gig? It’s all about the connections, lady.  Ciji’s got that punk rocker/”guitar hero” look (complete with tattoos) that works well with zombie movies, futuristic post-apocalyptic flicks,  and if any studio wants to make a film revolving around video games, she is a natural shoo-in.  And acting wouldn’t necessarily prevent her from gaming….

Ciji_with_Guitar_jpg_650x10000_q85Says StarSlay3r on her website:

“I did this for the opportunity to take a break from my normal life. I’m hoping to meet new people, experience new things, and experience life on the run to the fullest extent. I’m going to be keeping a notebook with me at all times so that I can log everything that happens so that I can share my story upon my return. I hope the fact that I have a decent size fan base will help me to make it the full 30 days by having them tweet misdirecting information, planting moles in the repo men chat rooms and leaving messages to warn me when the repomen are getting close to figuring out my location. I’m very thankful that I was one of the 4 chosen out of hundreds of applicants and I can’t wait to start my adventure!”

Sadly, after having been on the run since February  25, Ciji’s journey ended yesterday.  Ms. Thornton was caught at a skating rink by Geneva Conventional who is now $15,000 richer, thanks to grabbing not just Ciji, but another runner named Usman Akeju. (Woah, this viral marketing campaign is giving out money!?) Ciji’s capture is disappointing for a couple of reasons:

One, Ciji cannot win seven grand now that she has been captured, and we know she has a daughter back in Michigan. Cue the Les Miserables song “Castle on a Cloud”…. j/k!

Second, the clue that led Geneva Conventional to the skating rink to capture these two, was just for Usman Akeju who had an “assignment” there. It appears that Ciji was just tagging along. That sucks. That’s what you get for being friendly, Ciji!

And… for those of you who want to get involved in the manhunt and win some money before the movie comes out, go here to enroll, …..and  here is a more in depth post by the Alternate Reality Gaming Network about Ciji’s capture (including links to podcasts and the video of Geneva Conventional talking about her experience).


Gaming industry targets women with 'Project Runway' game

Victoria's Secret supermodel Heidi Klum waves ...

"give me moar money!" says Heidi Image by AFP/Getty Images via Daylife

Last Friday saw the unveiling of Nintendo’s newest game for the Wii console titled “Project Runway”.  The game is a collaborative effort between Nintendo, Atari, The Weinstein Co (producers of the Project Runway TV show) and Tornado Studios. I don’t know whether to be insulted by this development, or pleased, as this game is clearly just for the girls.  It doesn’t help when other media outlets say “This could be the future of gaming for women“. A fashion game based off of a reality show? Please! 40% of gamers are girls, and we were doing just fine before this game came along. If anything, this game ruins our cred as gamers.

First off, I am a little bit offended that this game is about fashion considering this will be “the future of gaming for women”. This game is clearly trying to get new girl gamers, and ignoring the already established gals that game. If any gaming company were to look at the games most popular with females, they would see that we like puzzle games. Just look at the  casual gamers that like internet based games like Text Twist, Bejeweled and Mahjong Tiles, to DS games like Professor Layton. Did anyone in the industry stop to think about why the horror shooting games with puzzles (Tomb Raider series, Resident Evil series, Bioshock series) are more popular with girls than those that do not have puzzles?

Second, I am a little offended that this game is being marketed to 6 – 12 year old girls, and that this game is all about fashion  and models on runways (Super model Heidi Klum is also in the game). Do we really need to make little girls that play video games feel bad about their weight? Do we need to start giving them body image problems when they are 6 years old (if we don’t already)? It is the 21st century…. why are we still boxing our genders? (Down with the system I say, quietly….)

Jonathan Anastas, Atari VP, was quoted telling the press:

“We really believe the core target audience is girls 6-12. Girls are starting to buy their own clothes around 13 and 14 and as they are learning to make their own fashion choices this is a way for them to interact and participate with style.”

via Victoria’s Secret “Angel”, Heidi Klum, to be in Wii game

Third, if I were to be one of those people that would use video games as a scapegoat, I could blame this game, and other games like it, for the vapid consumer society we live in and for the whole American way of living beyond our means.  If I could say that shooting games are responsible for all those school shootings, why wouldn’t a game like this be responsible for Confessions of a Shopaholic and our recession?

Fourth: Think about it. The reality TV show “Project Runway” has drama and suspense. Contestants don’t like each other. The judges are cruel. Does this game have any of the qualities that make a reality series good? No.

As for playing this game, of course I will play it  (will I buy it? No…). For the record, I love games that let you design costumes  or have amazing character customization (and I will admit I spend hours on designing clothes/characters within those games), but for a game that is only about clothes and fashion?  It will get boring and repetitive…. just like any ol’ shooting game.


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