stevenmansour's blog

On female video game protagonists | Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

"Being a bitch doesn't make you a strong character."

Via the always impeccable Yahtzee on Escapist Magazine:

There are plenty of examples of this kind of bad female characterization. Lara Croft, the classic feminist hate figure, and her murderous kleptomania. Whatshername from Dead Space, yelling at you to fix everything while she sits behind a monitor eating cakes. [...]

Females in this vein don't come across as "independent" or "strong." They act like neurotic feminists who feel that their every action and expression has to illustrate the fact that they're just as capable as the men, and don't like being looked upon amorously (hence why they all dress so conservatively, I suppose). They're as shallow as any traditional kidnapped princess because they only have one character trait, and still define themselves by the men that surround them.

You want to make a strong female character, you do the same thing you do to make a strong anything character. Give them a life, a backstory, hopes, dreams, desires. Give them the capacity to feel the whole gamut of emotions. Yes, let them be tough, but let them laugh, and cry, and find things to enjoy in life. And why not give them a wazza pair of jugs, too. That's always fun.

Come and take a ride with me... | Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

A short video of me taking the motorcycle around the barrio on a cold, windy, cloudy day - probably one of the last rides of the season. It's mid-October and I'm still riding, though, so I suppose that I should give thanks to the weather Gods.

The Kodak Zi8 is mounted to the GT250's handlebars with a clever combination of a mini-tripod, tie wraps and prayer. I need to build something better to resist vibration, and find a better mounting point that at least shows part of the front of the bike.

The video is sped up 2x for brevity's sake.

Go directly to the Vimeo page to watch it in 720p HD fullscreen.

Music: Bran Van 3000 - Supermodel

Please vote to support Rio Favelas! | Tuesday, October 13th, 2009

(disclosure: I am on the board of Catalytic Communities).

Please take two minutes and vote for "Rio Olympics: Ensuring a Powerful Legacy for Rio's Favelas" on Ideablob. We're in the running for first place with our plan to ensure that community leaders in Rio have a say and a voice in the run-up to the 2016 Olympics.

Idea Description

The 2016 Olympics will be held in Rio de Janeiro and the construction of new facilities, transportation corridors, and hotels will begin as early as December 2009. It is estimated the Olympics will yield three times the revenue that is spent in its preparation. But how much of this will benefit the infamously dangerous favelas (squatter communities) in the city, now numbering 1020 separate neighborhoods?

Current efforts to ensure a social and environmental legacy from the Olympics are being headed by large well-funded NGOs. This is great, but we want to ensure that community leaders' voices are heard, too. We want to get them connected online and off, networking & sharing stories.

What will you do if you win $10,000 for this idea?

If we win the $10k, in 2010 Catalytic Communities (CatComm) will train 200 community organizers across Rio's favelas to use online networking tools including Twitter, Facebook and WiserEarth, to ensure their voices are heard by authorities and the global community in the years leading up to 2016.

An online community will be formed in each of these online spaces where the general public can "hear" what leaders from the favelas have to say, support them, and follow their work. Links will be made with the press and the mayor's office.

We will then develop an online training program and continue face-to-face capacity-building in 2011 and beyond.

Again, this only takes about 2 minutes:

  • Click on this link to head to the idea page.
  • Register an account on IdeaBlob.
  • Check your email from the confirmation link.
  • Vote for CatComm!

Thank you in advance for your support - I'll let you know how it goes!

Kodak Zi8 1080p HD Cam Test | Friday, October 9th, 2009

I just picked up a sweet, sweet HD video camera - I think this is the first "mini" camera I've ever used that produces such amazing output. I've tried the lame Sanyo Xactis and Flip Ultras of yesteryear, and came away unimpressed. The color rendition, resolution and motion are way better on a big screen. This is a lame and pointless video test, because

  • It's edited and re-compressed to display in a tiny flash box on my website (although you can download a higer-res version at the bottom of the post);
  • I recorded in "only" 720p (it can do 1080p);
  • I recorded at "only" 30 frames per second (it can do 60);
  • I somehow managed to turn off the shake reduction before shooting and I don't have the steadiest hand;
  • I couldn't find anything interesting to shoot.

[video] However, I hereby commit to posting videos from now on.

Hey Quick Plug... | Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

... said in a Pete Shweaty voice, of course.

I'm selling both my car and my (in)famous camera - they're both on craigslist and Kijiji and priced to sell fast, but preference is given to friends / family / the sexiest woman alive / anyone who reads my blog.

No, I'm not going carless or giving up photography. Quite the contrary; I'm getting a new car and a new camera. Another Pentax, of course. ;)

awesome nissan altima for strong men with big muscles

the camera that dreams are made of

Contact moi if you're interested in either one.