A Static Front Page

So it turns out that it’s easy to make a static front page. I’ve wanted one for a while, because I’d rather present readers with information I consider important rather than just what’s new. I know it’s a bit fascist, but I’ve always hated how if I were to write something actually interesting, it would constantly be pushed down by weird rants about Digimon.

So yeah, I’d like to make a static front page. What I’d do is present you with links to content which I think is particularly meaningful or useful at the moment, and then provide an additional navigation method to help you find whatever you want.

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Digimon: Vocabulary List

Like a lot of anime, Digimon comes with its own set of terms and concepts which help define the action. This article will collect those terms and try to define them, so I don’t have do so in the individual reviews. I’ll update this article as new terms need to be defined, but this should be a good start.

The Digital World: A world parallel to ours consisting of digital information which manifests as a landscape, inhabited by strange beings called Digimon. The exact nature of of the Digital World is often unknown, or is explained by the story as the plot develops.

Digimon: The inhabitants of the Digital World, Digimon take a wide variety of forms. They are as likely to look like masked humanoids as dinosaurs. Despite that, they are organized into three types: Vaccine, Data, and Virus. Each is supposed to be strong against one of the others, but that pretty much never matters.

Digi-Destined/Chosen Children: The protagonists of Digimon Adventure, these are human children who were transported to the Digital World. They are prophesied to save both worlds, though they don’t know that for a long time.

Partner Digimon: The Digimon bonded to a given Digi-Destined. I’m not actually sure this is an in-story concept, but it describes a dynamic which is definitely present.

Digivolution/Evolution: Digimon are able to shift between forms, thanks to a process called Digivolution. Unless you are in Japan, that is, where it’s just called Evolution. Digivolution always refers to the process of moving into stronger forms, though. Each form is tied to a particular tier, however, which I’ve listed below!

Digi-Egg: When a Digimon dies, its data compresses into an egg, which is called a “Digi-Egg” because this franchise has a very predictable naming scheme. Eventually, the egg will hatch, reviving the deceased Digimon in its Fresh form.

Fresh/Baby I: This is an infant Digimon. It usually resembles a bouncing head. You barely ever see this, because it can’t really do anything.

In-Training/Baby II: This is a somewhat less infant-like Digimon, probably closer to a toddler! At this stage, Digimon gain very rudimentary attacks, which are basically useless. This is also a rarely seen form, almost always representing a tough defeat, or at least a difficult battle.

Rookie/Child: The show’s “default” form for Digimon, this is what they basically walk around as. Occasionally the show will have characters fight like this, but it’s only serious in early episodes.

Champion/Adult: The first digivolved form. I’m not really sure there’s much more to say about these guys, except that they are both important and yet quickly discarded as more powerful forms appear.

Ultimate/Perfect: The second digivolved form. These are truly powerful, and usually comes about as the result of a major moment of character development.

Mega/Ultimate: The third digivolved form. These are among the strongest characters in the show.

I Totally Messed Up E3 Coverage

So I have these other papers that I need to do, and I foolishly didn’t finish them before E3. Now that the conferences are over, I’ve been thinking a lot more about them, and how important it is to finish them. Problem is, I’m really behind on my E3 write-ups as well, and I’m not sure how to balance the two (actually like nine).

So the E3 coverage is slightly on the backburner, even though it’s time sensitive as well. I’m just not sure I can have everything written by the end of this week. The good news is, no one’s reading this.

Since I can’t rely on the E3 stuff for timely content, I’m also going to be using it in some other projects. It will be my first real complete unit of coverage, and I’d like to explore how I package and deliver that.

E3 Conference Coverage: A Warning

Okay, so all of the formal press conferences are over. I took notes, but they were really boring for the most part, which makes them boring to write about. To keep myself interested, I’m making them a little more thinkpiece-y. That’s probably for the best, since it’s not like I’m delivering them soon enough for them to be news articles, but I thought I’d give advance notice.

What Is E3?

E3 (formally the Electronic Entertainment Expo) is a video game trade show held by the Electronic Software Association each year in Los Angeles, California, United States of America. The industry’s most expensive developers and publishers gather to show off their work in a three day convention filled with trailers, t-shirts, and electronic dance music.

E3 is simultaneously the most futuristic and backwards event in gaming. The developers at E3 have the largest budgets in the industry, and build around the latest technology available to consumers. Yet those costs involved make these companies risk-averse: They need to sell millions of copies, and that means they often favor increasingly-discredited “traditional” gamer demographics, mostly young white men. It also means favoring traditional game genres, especially the first person shooter.

This conservatism is everywhere in E3. It is not open to the general public, unlike many similar gatherings. If you want in, you apply, and a committee somewhere reviews your credentials, which should be grounded in either game development or games journalism. Until recently, E3 had something called “booth babes”, where companies dress young women in costumes designed to sell visitors on games. This practice has increasingly been banned from conventions, briefly including E3, but it still haunts the space. A 2013 Kotaku article discussed how this created a toxic atmosphere for women attending the conference, for example.

Despite this, E3 is legitimately a major event. It’s a look into the minds of the moneyed elements of the games industry, and a good place to watch for trends. Today’s internet has reduced the necessity of large showcases like this, but this is fundamentally a place where the juggernauts of the industry step out from behind the curtain to tell you what they think you care about. As annoying as it can be, that’s always worth paying attention to.

A Rundown of My E3 Coverage

It’s time for the Electronic Entertainment Expo, also called E3, which some used to call “the best three days in gaming”. At the last minute, I decided I should write about it for the blog. The convention officially starts tomorrow, but with two streaming press conferences tonight, I might as well get started today.

Here’s what this week will look like.

Tomorrow, I’ll have an article up explaining E3, both in terms of the nature of the event and its cultural importance to gaming. I should have had this ready for today, but that’s not going to happen.

This is because the real meat of the event lies in the conferences, which start today, with the Bethesda (9 PM EST) and Electronic Arts (4 PM) presentations. There’s about four or five more over the next three days, most of which will be streamed online. What I plan to do is privately blog each one, then present my thoughts in actual articles later on.

The corporate presentations weren’t always the main attraction. A few years ago, the show floor was the big deal, which is positively littered with booths and demo stations. Now you might get a few articles from reporters who who got their hands on an anticipated title, but for the most part that era of coverage has ended. I’d like to look into what exactly happened, and possibly if I’m just crazy for thinking that was a thing. Ideally, this would be up by Tuesday, but I’m a little nervous it won’t be ready until Wednesday, since the research is a little weird.

On a related note, for the first time E3 is somewhat open to the public. They have put together something called “E3 Live 2016”, which runs parallel to the main event at a different site. This is a big step for the convention, which in recent years has lost a lot of its shine, and I’m hoping there’s enough written about it that I can put together at least a list of accounts. I’m hoping this can be up Wednesday.

We’ll then wrap things up with a few Aftermath articles. Thursday, I’ll poll myself, and see if anything actually excited me as a consumer. Friday, however, I set aside my personal interests in favor of my biases with the first-ever “New Miscellany Best of E3” awards. Finally, Saturday will see me reflect on my coverage of the event, which will surely suggest that I improve my schedule-explaining skills.

Building A Mission Statement: Part Two: What’s In A Mission Statement?

Alright, so I went for a walk after my last article, and now I’m calmed down a bit. So let’s find out how poorly my little rant compares to what a mission statement actually should contain.

Naturally, I started with Google. I clicked on five links, none for terribly good reasons, and ended up at Wikipedia, Bplans.org, WealthManagement.com, the Center for Business Planning, and Idealist.org. Only four of these articles directly define the idea of the mission statement, though I’d like to come back to the WealthManagement article at some point.

Wikipedia currently calls it “a statement which is used as a way of communicating the purpose of the organization”, and that it should “provide ‘the framework or context within which the company’s strategy are formulated.'” The CPB provides a document from Business Resource Software, Inc., which notes that that any statement “should be clear and succinct”, “[incorporating ] socially meaningful and measurable criteria addressing concepts such as the moral/ethical position of the enterprise, public image, the target market, products/ services, the geographic domain and expectations of growth and profitability.”

Idealist.org, which focus on starting non-profits, focus more on what makes a good mission statement, offering two versions. One is a single-sentence encapsulation of “who the agency is […], what it does, for whom and where”, offered by Ron Meshanko of Ecumenical Resource Consultants in Washington, DC. The other (from The Support Center, of San Francisco, California) suggests a larger document, describing the purpose, business, and values of the defined organization.

Finally, Tim Berry at Bplans.org describes the corporate mission statement as “your opportunity to define the company’s goals, ethics, culture, and norms for decision-making

Just thinking off the top of my head, I have a lot left to think about. My angry discussion doesn’t really define its contexts at all, nor does it include any discussion of ethical values, products, or whatever the internet equivalent of “the geographic domain” is. I’m off to try and fix that.

Building a Mission Statement: Part One: Meandering Article About Goals

Alright, I’ve tried to write this properly about three times now. It’s time to stop caring.

I wanted a place to collect all my writings. No, I didn’t have any, but I always come up with ideas for them, so I figure one day I will finally have some. That’s totally fallacious, but whatever, neither of us actually cares.

I also wanted a place to get into arguments people about interesting subjects. Some might say, “Travis, that’s what comment sections are for!” That’s a good point, Some!  I’m just filthy garbage who doesn’t hang around websites waiting for someone to post a cool thing so I can spend two hours writing an article no one would read. I’m so sucky, I make my own websites so I can spend two hours writing things no will read. Then I don’t write the articles, and I lose my password, and I start them over again.

Whoa, paragraph three! This is going much better! But let’s talk about webfeel instead. I don’t think that’s a word, but I’m going to say it means “the experience of using a website”. Why not just say, “user experience”? Because I didn’t think of it until now.

I want my user experience/webfeel to be like using the world’s worst/best anthology. It should have a lot of stuff about a metric ton of topics, and that stuff should constantly be swelling until the figurative ton becomes literal and crushes us all to death. Want to know what I think about some terrible game from 2002 for some reason? It’ll have it. Want to know how my writing about that terrible game changed over the several reasons I insisted on talking about it? It’ll have those too! I might even put together a list of useful videos and articles on the subject, so you can witness and feel the awfulness.

HEAR MY CREED: OPINE. REVISE. ANNOTATE. COMPLAIN THAT YOU CAN’T HEAR WRITTEN WORDS.

Who is this for? To be honest, mostly me. I can’t specify an audience beyond that, because I don’t know if I would read this myself, and to be honest I’m not sure I’ll read this again. (Actually, that’s a lie. I have like three more articles to write based on translating this into something like civilized speech.)

The Status of Various Projects

I’m a bit bored writing about goals and visions, so let’s stop and talk about past projects. Empty Home Chronicle, Project: Fred, the Digimon reviews, all that stuff is still on in some form, but not necessarily in the way I expected, and Reconstruction seems like a good time to introduce this. Let’s go item by item.

Digimon Reviews: These are still on, but I’m dropping the framework I talked about in the most recent article. The sections just weren’t working out, sadly, and trying to make them work just threw the review off-balance. I still plan to track elements like the treatment of women, or the development of the setting, but for now I’m just going to focus on explaining my reactions. The only thing being dropped is the “Digimon by the Data” thing, which wasn’t called that in the announcement, but that’s because I was having a hard time getting the clock on the Netflix interface to count reliably.

Empty Home Chronicle: The very day I announced this, I regretted it. Arranged marriages are a really complicated subject, both emotionally and politically, and I’m just not ready to write that. That said, I did enjoy theorizing about the framework and marriage, so I’d like to do a series of articles unpacking some of the decisions involved.

Project: Fred: I don’t entirely know how to describe the status of this. I’ve been thinking a lot about it, and it’s easily a more long-term project than I thought it was. The setting creation element will be discontinued until I’m more experienced, but I really enjoyed thinking about the region I live in. What this mostly means is that I’m looking for a smaller setting project, but open to writing about the history of the land I live on. So… Yeah?

All Those Projects Mentioned On Various Header Pages Which Aren’t Long For The World: Their days are numbered. Well, kind of.  Those are all things I’d like to do, but I haven’t started them yet, so soon all mention of them will be gone. Hopefully they’ll come back some day, but soon all that will be left of  them is this reference.

The New Tagging System

I haven’t looked into the options WordPress gives me for sorting content, so until I do I’m just going to use an embarrassing amount of tags to organize things.

There will be tags for the date of a post’s authorship, along with ones for the month-year phrase and the year itself. This might prove redundant, since a lot of blogging sites make it easy to do that without clogging up the tags, and when I find out how to enable that I will do so.

I’m also instituting tags for both the subject of an article as well as the class of topic the subject is part of, so “Election” would be a subject contained by “Politics”.

A separate set of tags will be used to allow sorting by the genre of writing, along with a sub-set to note what series any given article are part of.

So my hypothetical review of the first episode of Digimon Adventure, if posted today, would have tags of “June 8 2016”, “June 2016”, “2016”, “Digimon Adventure”, “Digimon”, “Anime”, “Episode Reviews”, “Anime Reviews”, and “Fox Kids Digimon Rewatch”. At least.

Yeah, this probably won’t last. I just want a place to start while I figure things out.