Showing posts with label animated. Show all posts
Showing posts with label animated. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The GifGif Project at MIT



I have a weird fascination with animated gifs, something I may have spread to my classmates in grad school since two of them made animated gif Tumblrs for a spell. I presented on the topic of animated gif Tumblrs last year at a conference, on a session centered around the TV show Mystery Science Theater 3000. So I am excited about the GifGif project at MIT that is attempting to "map the emotional language of gifs" and create a way for people to explore and search for gifs based on emotions rather than tags (or perhaps even a certain show, film or video).

The emotions are pretty simple so far. The site is run on a voting system where visitors vote on which of the two gifs best expresses a particular emotion. When the site was first promoted a month or so ago, I voted on over a thousand gif pairs...because it was a slow day at work. It's an addictive and easy way to pass the time.


Monday, March 31, 2014

Wherein I discover that geeky subscription boxes may be a waste of money...

Feeling down about my job recently, I started looking into subscription boxes while at work. I miss getting non-bill, non-junk mail. After a few days of reading reviews and finding a coupon code, I decided to try Loot Crate, which is geared towards geeks. I am into the idea of receiving vinyl toys/figures and non-black t-shirts (I bought a few Fright Rags t-shirts last year, and now 75% of my t-shirt collection is black)  Finding another coupon code a week later, I also signed up for Phone Case of the Month. Both have turned out to be rather disappointing.

February 2014 Loot Crate. The brightness on the right side is the rare moment of sun this winter, flooding through the window.
My first Loot Crate at the end of February (theme: "Warriors") was not a total bust. I collect vinyl art toys, and there was a Sideshow Dunny blind box in February's Loot Crate. I actually received the mystery Dunny, the first one I have received in the 5 years I have been collecting. That made me happy. Almost everything else was geared to a cute cartoon I have never seen and the t-shirt concerned video games. Granted, it mostly seemed to be the 8-bit games I played as a child, but I did not understand enough of the references to feel excited about it. No items or references to the actual novel-turned-movie-turned-video game The Warriors were included.



Early March's Phone Case of the Month turned out to be the Tolkien quote "Not all who wander are lost" over a picture of a beach scene. It immediately went back in the bubble envelope and was traded on My Subscription Addiction's swap page within a week for a bottle of gun metal grey nail polish. I also paused my subscription. I am not really into Tolkien and I am not into Tolkien quotes that have reached platitude status. Platitudes generally earn a "NOPE" from me. It is too bad really, I need a new phone case.

March 2014's Loot Crate. At least the cover of the Attack on Titan manga looks cool.
I received my March Loot Crate a couple of days after the official shipping date of the 20th (Loot Crate does have ridiculously fast shipping, considering it came from LA to the East-ish Coast in 1.5-2 days). The theme was "Titans", and many people on Loot Crate's Facebook page guessed it would feature items from the anime/manga Attack on Titan and the new video game Titanfall. I have never seen the former and I am not about to spend $500 on a video game system - that is 83% of my rent every month. Nor do I care about buying it for PC. I had the vague hope that there would be something Godzilla or Pacific Rim-related. The box did feature the first volume of the Attack on Titan manga, which I might keep because I like books and graphic novels. And I do need a lanyard for my jump drive(s) at work. But everything else is either going on My Subscription Addiction's swap page again or on Ebay. Since I would rather not pay another $50 or so for a 3-month subscription renewal, I will be canceling my subscription in the next week or so. Unlike some subscription box services, Loot Crate does not offer the option of skipping months if one does not like the theme or whatever may be in the box. I will still receive April's box.

Loot Crate has themes, which is fine. But the past two months of crates have not been random, loosely-associated items like what appears in the boxes of previous months. Those appeared as if there would be at least one or two things in each box someone would like and that is what drew me in. This is just plain marketing and I feel resentful.  I do not know anyone who fans over Bravest Warriors, Attack on Titan, or Titanfall. These do not even blip on my Twitter or Facebook feeds, and my friends are at various levels of geekiness (even if their ages range from late 20s-early 40s). This may or may not be part of the issue - things tend to be quickly adopted into geekdom, or at least marketed as such, and there may be an overload at this point. There are so many fandoms that not every person cares or keeps track of every single show, series or game. It would be impossible to. It's cute when some fans combine Doctor Who, Sherlock, and Supernatural into Superwholock, but that is not always applicable. There are things I love, things I like, things I do not mind, and a large amount of things I do not pay attention to at all really.

Superwholock, because why not?

This experience has left me with a weird sense that I cannot completely articulate. I can never tell if I have normal geeky interests or slightly left of field ones. One of the impressions that I have gotten from these Loot Crate boxes is that you have to have a lot of expendable income to be a geek, and that is not exactly how I live my life. I do not have that much of an interest in video games, and I really have no interest in spending hundreds of dollars on a system and $50-70 on a video game. I have not had cable in almost a decade. I am only now catching up on television shows because I am done with grad school. I am cutting down on not only this brief foray with subscription boxes but streaming services because I am expecting a costly surgical co-pay in the next two months. Overall, I mostly wish that there was a subscription box for vinyl toys, both art/Kidrobot-type ones and pop culture/Funko-type ones (although Kidrobot makes pop culture-related figures too). So I guess I will just continue to buy during Kidrobot website sales or whenever I visit a city with an art toy store.