Thursday, January 31, 2013

Hire a hit man to kill your husband? Claim abuse to get away with it!

In 2007 a couple in Nova Scotia, Nicole Doucet Ryan and Michael Ryan, separated. In 2008 Nicole is caught on video attempting to hire a hit man to kill Michael. Thankfully it wasn't an actual  hit man but an undercover officer.

While on trial Nicole testified that Michael as abusive and controlling. According to her she was acting under extreme duress and feared for her life.

Yes she was so fearful for her life that she took the time to hire a hit man to kill a husband that she was already separated from. Now let's just say that that is somehow entirely possible. It's possible that Micheal was abusive and trying to control Nicole and it's also entirely possible that law enforcement didn't respond to her calls for help but let's keep going.

During the trial it seems that Michael himself never testified during the trial in order to refute the claims Nicole made against him.
If he had been called, he says he would have explained: that none of this ever happened; that they were living apart at the time of her allegations; that he was parenting their daughter because psychological assessments of them both had raised questions about Nicole’s ability to care for the daughter; that Nicole had stopped communicating with the daughter of her own accord; and that Nicole’s testimony was simply one false allegation after another.
The trial ended with Nicole being acquitted of her attempt to have Michael killed. However the Nova Scotia Appeal Court and the Supreme Court of Canada have overturned the verdict due to her claims of abuse being unsubstantiated. Now here comes the twist.
But the stay of proceedings means she is off the hook for another trial. The reasoning was that she had been through enough already. “The abuse she suffered and the protracted nature of these proceeding(s) have taken an enormous toll on her,” the judges wrote (with one dissent). “It is an exceptional situation that warrants an exceptional remedy.”
 In short despite overturning the verdict on the grounds that her claims that Michael was abusive were unsubstantiated they then turn around and say that she has suffered so much that she should not be put on trial again for what hiring that hit man (and yes she hired the hit man it's on video).

There has been no shortage of attempts to paint Nicole in a sympathetic light. She's the poor battered woman that had no choice but to hire a hit man to kill her husband.

Essentially this has been a one sided story. Nicole has had the spotlight the entire time and decisions have been made without hearing from the intended victim. She has been free to commit a terrible act (attempt to hire someone to kill another person), make a string of accusations to cover tracks, get acquitted, have that acquittal overturned because the accusations are unsubstantiated, but then be spared another trial based on the presumption that those unsubstantiated claims are true.

Thankfully he is not taking this lying down. Michael has taken to Youtube to speak out with his own words on the situation in question.


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Constructive criticism, or "I'm rubber you're glue...?"

For years when customers had reason speak about their experiences with businesses they have had sites like Yelp and AngiesList to turn to. Be it to express the joy and wonder of a good story as a customer or to tell a tale of horror that makes angels cry, there is a place for it. However it's not all sunshine and rainbows.

Over the years there have been countless negative comments and sharing of bad experiences on these sites. Well now it seems, after receiving one negative comment too many, business owners are taking things to another level.

Fed up with problematic customers, landscaper Matt Stachel started the site NastyClient. Those who pay the membership fee are granted access to reviews of customers by other business owners. The logic is simply a reverse of aforementioned Yelp and AngiesList. In the case of NastyClient members are allowed to read and post reviews of customers. There are even categories for different types of customers: 
The Freebie: The client who keeps asking for things above what’s been agreed to, without offering to pay more. 
The Negotiator: The client who agrees to a price initially but starts shaving figures when it comes time sign a contract.
The Hoverer: The client who stands over the workers’ shoulders.
The Tirekicker: The client who asks for upwards of 10 estimates, then never calls back to say he’s no longer interested.
I'll be the first to say that on one hand there are most certainly customers out there who act in these ways towards the people they are doing business with. I myself have worked as a sales associate and have personally met the Negotiator and I've acted like the Hoeverer before myself at times when I was the customer.

However on the other hand I wonder if the creation of this site is doing more harm than good. Ideally the best thing for customers and businesses to do when differences arise would be to find some sort of peaceful resolution so that both sides get what they need (customer gets the service done, business gets paid for performing the service).

For a long time customers have had an outlet to tell their story and now businesses have their outlet. But will this become a chance for service provider and customer to meet in the middle? Will this forum develop into a place where customers can listen to the service provider's side of things or will this just end up becoming another battleground where there is only shouting and no communication?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Killing that which has no life...


Okay I understand that there are times when people get just a little into video games. They end up lagging in their performance in school. They start going out less. They start to disconnect from the rest of their family.

It can be a serious problem (not necessarily in terms of how often it happens but when it happens) to be sure. But is getting someone to "take out" their kid in the online world really the way to go about it? Is it really that serious? One father in China decided it really was that serious.

A man identified as Mr. Feng, was fed up with the amount of time that his 23 year old unemployed son was spending playing games online. In order to deter him from playing games so much he contacted other online players to kill his son's character in game.

While the father and son have been said to have reconciled some worry that this may not have been the best way to go around resolving the situation. Prof Mark Griffiths, a gambling and addictions expert at Nottingham Trent University comments, "I've never heard of that kind of intervention before, but I don't think these top-down approaches work. Most excessive game playing is usually a symptom of an underlying problem."

Chances are the son's excessive play could be part of a larger more deep seated issue. But I have one question.

What if the son had trained harder and turned around and killed the online assassins?

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Cooking with Danny Stage 8

My girlfriend got me a crock pot for my birthday a while back and now that it's winter it's soup time. This is one that I put together by taking some leftover odds and ends (and a can of cream of broccoli soup that I accidentally picked up thinking it was cream of mushroom).

Broccoli Soup

3 broccoli crowns, chopped (I would say make sure no piece is bigger than a half inch or so, you don't want them so big you can't get them into your mouth).

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

1 14oz can of cream of broccoli soup

1 14oz can of cream of celery soup

1 30oz can of cream of mushroom soup

2 chicken bullion cubes

4 cups of water

1 tablespoon of Crushed Red Pepper

In the crockpot add 2 cups of the water and dissolve the chicken bullion cube, setting the rest aside for a moment.

Add in each of the "cream of..." soups. Take that water that was set aside and rinse out the cans into the crockpot.

Mix in your broccoli and carrots and the Crushed Red Pepper.

Let the crock pot rip for about 6 hours.

Now the soup was banging however there was one thing that rubbed me wrong. The carrots were still a bit too hard for my liking. I think what I'll do next time is boil them for about 20 minutes on their own first and then add them to the soup.

Other than that it was on point.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Gaming Insurrection 1st Qt. 2013

Did I ever tell you about the online gaming magazine that I write for, Gaming Insurrection?

I'm sure I had but just in case let me mention it again.

I was talking to my buddy Lyndsey sometime late 2011 who had been working on GI since 2002 bit but in recent times she was low staffed and asked me if I wanted to contribute some reviews. Well I've been wanting to get more writing under my belt so I jumped on the chance.

We release quarterly (start of the quarter to be exact) and while we mainly do older games we do slip in the occasional current hit.

Don't be scared to drop by and give a look!

Below is a video from Lyndsey's "Editor vlog" series on the tools and talents she utilizes when putting Gaming Insurrection together each quarter.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Is there a rape scene in Far Cry 3?

(Two things. First I'm talking about the game Far Cry 3 so if haven't played it then what I'm about to talk about here may spoil something for you. Tread accordingly. Secondly I'm talking about something that may be considered rape. Tread accordingly. This video is also NOT SAFE FOR WORK.)



(The following video contains footage what may be considered rape. Tread accordingly.)


At about the 40 second mark the player character drinks a formula handed to him by a woman and goes into what seems to be a hallucination. After a long fight (you can skip to about 4:30) the scene shifts to the player laying on his back with the woman that gave him the drink on top of him. Not just on top but on top of him but grinding away with his hands on her breasts. A second or so later she gets off of him.

I'm gonna ask you plain and simple just like the title of this post does.

Did that woman rape the man in that sequence?

Feel free to respond.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

An MRA Hellhole that MRAs reject?

If you have been paying attention to all the rukus going on over the Good Men Project's recent run of rape related posts then you know that shit got real (I'd rather give ballgame some clicks than try to explain it all myself). Well in the middle of all that real shit Jill Filipovic, one of the main brains behind Feministe referred to Good Men Project as an "MRA hellhole" (giving more clicks to ballgame).

That's what she's saying. So let's go see what they are saying.

Are you familiar with Paul Elam? He's one of the main brains behind A Voice For Men. Personally he and his band of MRAs that hang out over there are a mixed bag (sometimes I can dig what they say but sometimes I want to clear my internet history when I go over there) but that's not the point. The point is this. If Good Men Project is such an "MRA hellhole" then that would at least imply that MRAs would be all raring to go to go over there and participate or at least would try to defend their hellhole from a feminist right?

Well that's not quite what they are doing.
But of course I like it a lot better when it looks like courage instead of stupidity...
Stating that Tom Matlack's (founder of GMP) stand against feminist attack is an act of stupidity.
I suppose you can put any manner of drivel on a website (which Tom has done) and with a little luck recoup your half mil of seed money.
Calling Good Men Project "drivel".
All this while still managing to have his name become synonymous with a joke (at best) in the men’s movement, the only place there is that is actually having a really substantive discussion about men.
Saying he is a joke among members of the men's movement.
I wrote a few articles for GMP when they made the foolish choice to actually talk about men’s issues for a while. They had some really catchy titles, but they have all since been renamed to “404 Error – Page not Found.”...

...It will be entertaining to watch in the coming days. As GMP wipes out all traces of MRA expression on the site, particularly the voices of women who support men’s rights, Tom will attempt to negotiate a deal with his masters to give him a small corner of his own website in which he is allowed to express his own manly opinion.
Accusing GMP of deleting posts about men's issues and being biased against MRAs in the form of deleting posts written by MRAs.

And finally....
It will go back to gridlock and tension, all because the truth is that Tom Matlack created a feminist entity to correct his own broken sense of manhood. He is just too stubborn to allow them to do it, and too weak to send them packing.
Accusing Matlack of building GMP as a feminist space.

Now for the record I don't ID as MRA and I don't (fully) agree with the claim that GMP is a feminist space. But at the end of the day it comes down to this.

A lot of the main brains at GMP ID as feminist and as far as I know none of them ID as MRA.

There are plenty of feminists that identify themselves as such in the comment sections of the site but not very many that identify as MRA.

A feminist leaps from "I don't what they are saying." to "They must be MRAs."
Like I said I don't agree that GMP is the feminist haven that Elam accuses it to be. But at least there are actual facts about GMP that could be used to support his claim. Jill Filipovic just doesn't know what the bloody hell she is talking about and in a fit of anger is trying to make GMP out to be something bad by bootstrapping it to something that is already seen as bad.

Oh well.

There was quite a dust up from all of this and in all that dust there was a big missed opportunity. Rather than try to take the conversation to a different but civil level where people could exchange their thoughts on the posts and try to get some understanding going things descended into a shouting match. Lines were dug even deeper, people doubled down on old grudges, hearts and minds closed even tighter.

And I really mean that last one. Apparently Filipovic has gone as far to call on other communities and sites to sever ties with GMP (and some of them answered and have done so).

If the uncivil complainers had come with a bit more, "I agree that we really need to have a serious talk about rape but I don't agree that the posts you have laid out were the best way to do it." and less, "You said something I disagree with so you're sucky poopheads!" some good may have come from this.