Save the internet!
This may sound dramatic, but there are some significant things going on that the internet may very well need saving from. Some people may not know this, but there is a "First Amendment" law for the internet-- it's called Network Nuetrality, which prevents internet providers like Comcast, AT&T, etc. from deciding which internet sites work best for you on your computer based on which sites pay them the most. This is important protection. Companies shouldn't have to outbid each other just to determine whose site will open quickly on your computer.
Here is a quote from www.savetheinternet.com.
"Net Neutrality allows everyone to compete on a level playing field and is the reason that the Internet is a force for economic innovation, civic participation and free speech."
Right now Congress is pushing for a law that would abandon Net Nuetrality. If Net Neutrality were overridden, and internet providers were allowed to make companies pay them for the right to load at the same speed as their competitors, imagine what this would do to smaller companies, non profit organizations, charities, people trying to start a business on the web, etc.
We are all affected by this.
(Again quoting from www.savetheinternet.com)
"Small business owners benefit from an Internet that allows them to compete directly — not one where they can't afford the price of entry. Net Neutrality ensures that innovators can start small and dream big about being the next EBay or Google without facing insurmountable hurdles. Without Net Neutrality, startups and entrepreneurs will be muscled out of the marketplace by big corporations that pay for a top spot on the Web.
But Net Neutrality doesn't just matter to business owners. If Congress turns the Internet over to the telephone and cable giants, everyone who uses the Internet will be affected. Connecting to your office could take longer if you don't purchase your carrier's preferred applications. Sending family photos and videos could slow to a crawl. Web pages you always use for online banking, access to health care information, planning a trip, or communicating with friends and family could fall victim to pay-for-speed schemes.
Independent voices and political groups are especially vulnerable. Costs will skyrocket to post and share video and audio clips, silencing bloggers and amplifying the big media companies. Political organizing could be slowed by the handful of dominant Internet providers who ask advocacy groups or candidates to pay a fee to join the "fast lane."
Here are some examples of what has already been allowed:
In 2004, North Carolina ISP Madison River blocked their DSL customers from using any rival Web-based phone service.
In 2005, Canada's telephone giant Telus blocked customers from visiting a Web site sympathetic to the Telecommunications Workers Union during a labor dispute.
Shaw, a big Canadian cable TV company, is charging an extra $10 a month to subscribers in order to "enhance" competing Internet telephone services.
In April, Time Warner's AOL blocked all emails that mentioned www.dearaol.com — an advocacy campaign opposing the company's pay-to-send e-mail scheme.
Vint Cerf, a father of the Internet and Google's "Chief Internet Evangelist," recently wrote this to Congress in support of preserving Network Neutrality:
"My fear is that, as written, this bill would do great damage to the Internet as we know it. Enshrining a rule that broadly permits network operators to discriminate in favor of certain kinds of services and to potentially interfere with others would place broadband operators in control of online activity...Telephone companies cannot tell consumers who they can call; network operators should not dictate what people can do online."
Here are some sites relating to this issue:
This is the Snopes.com (urban legend de-bunking site) talking about this issue. This will definitely be of interest because it gives a bit of the story from the other side of the tracks-- it talks a little about what the internet providers are saying in support of their movements.
Snope.com on Network Neutrality
Save the Internet. This is the big site devoted to this issue. The SavetheInternet.com Coalition is made up of dozens of groups from across the political spectrum that have banded together to save the First Amendment of the Internet: network neutrality. No corporation or political party is funding our efforts.
Save the Internet Coalition
MoveOn.org is a civic action organization offering means to spread the word about this menace,
Lets all do what we can to preserve the freedoms that we are entitled to on the internet.
Local Seattle band Handful of Luvin' has been nominated for "Best New Artist" by Seattle Weekly, who are having their annual music awards in May.
Click here to vote for HOL!
If you know me at all, you've definitely either heard be talking about HOL, or heard me playing HOL. ^_^ Either way, you should know that this band is totally worthy of winning Best New Artist. And by the way, if you haven't heard Handful of Luvin', shame on you! Go listen to them RIGHT NOW!
Handful of Luvin official website!
Also, you might want to check out the benefit show that Handful of Luvin is doing.
So my first experience ever at a comic book convention was the Emerald City 4th Annual Comicon, April 1st and 2nd. I only went the 2nd-- a long week full of stress and overtime meant that I was not too interested in spending both of my weekend days in Seattle. Although next year I would like to go both days. And have about ten thousand in the bank so I can buy everything I want! ^_^
When I walked into the Event Center with Bob I was completely blown away. Immediate sensory overload. At first glance, it was just comics, comics, comics! Most of the booths close to the front were purely vendors selling comics, graphic novels, and prints. Most of the booths closest to the doors were specific comic publishers promoting new series, manned by the artists or the writers, or both. A little further in were all the generic vendors, with boxes and boxes of Marvel, DC, and independant publishers comics. Go a little further and find the miscellaneous merchandise; movie posters, action figures, Magic: The Gathering cards, resin statues, pins, DVDs, manga, and more. A little further, and there were long tables with tons of random artists displaying their sketches, prints, and finished works.
There was a booth manned by an organization I had never heard of before called the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. The CBLDF is a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of First Amendment rights for members of the comics community. They had tons of merchandise there, comics, graphic novels, and prints. Every single thing they were selling was donated by artists or writers, and every single thing was signed! Frank Miller had donated a ton of comics from his own personal collection, all signed, and all with a certificate of authenticity. I bought a limited edition Dawn print created exclusively for the CBLDF by Joseph Michael Linsner called "Inflamatory Pages". Please check out their website; they seem like an organization worth supporting. Comic Book Legal Defense Fund Website
It was so amazing being able to meet all these artists and writers and talk to them about their work. Everyone there was friendly and happy to talk to you. Most notably the fantasy artist Brom, who had beautiful prints and books for sale, and Clayton Crain, who penciled a Top Cow mini series called "No Honor" and most recently the new Ghost Rider series. Bob bought a limited edition Ghost Rider print and had Mr. Crain sign it. ^_^
We also met a fantasy artist named Alain Viesca who was selling his prints. He had some beautiful high fantasy work, but what was most interesting about this artist was his "liquor fairy pinup" series. ^_^ Check out his website to see his work: Alain Viesca's Website Here are a few examples of the liquor fairy series:
My financial undoing came in the form of a vendor selling Michael Turner and other Top Cow comics, including rare variants and alternate covers. ^_^ The whole con was a wonderful experience. It left me inspired. My dream job is comic book penciler-- maybe next year I'll have a portfolio together and I can ask publishers to review it. =)
How amazing would that be?