Merry 3445mas, and a happy New 3445!

As we close up the year and prepare to celebrate a very merry 3445mas, we have some early pre-3445 presents to open up. By presents I mean links. Ho ho ho. Hehehe. Hoo hoo hoo.

A Christmas Short Story, one of the best places for fantasy/sci-fi short stories on the internet, has published a new story titled “The Sound of Reindeer,” and you’ve got to read it. The description:

Ada’s holiday trip to meet her girlfriend’s family becomes a bit more fraught than usual when she discovers the family’s unusual Christmas Eve tradition…

Out of nowhere, Nepal legalizes same-sex marriage, second-ever in Asia

Okay, this was actually a while coming based on a drawn-out legal battle. But I sure never heard a peep out of it until suddenly it was made legal. After Taiwan, the glorious bastion of liberal democracy in the region, Nepal has followed suit by finally allowing same-sex marriage. What an awesome present to receive right at the tail end of the year. Merry 3445mas everyone. (Japan, please come next)

Star Wars as a Silent Film (AI Generated)

(CW: AI Generated Video)

Number one, this freaks me out how good AI generated motion pictures already are. It looks funky and extremely easy to discern in a way static art sometimes isn’t, but it’s already so impressive that I can’t imagine what stuff is gonna be like in 5-10 years.

Number two, the person who made this definitely worked extremely hard to come up with some absolutely bizarre scenarios for this video and it goes way beyond just a silent film version of Star Wars. I enjoy how strange this video is.

A Political Time Capsule to 2004

Chrissy Gephardt, daughter of Dick, entered a reality show called American President (not to be confused with the Rob Reiner movie)… a reality game show about fake candidates running for fake office? She entered the fake race the same time her father ran for actual office, too? What a weird time it was to be in the early 00s.

Chrissy is also famous for being one of the first openly gay relatives of a major politician to come out. That’s a pretty big deal, and yet she’s absolutely not even a footnote in political history. I don’t even know what she does now. Just living the life of am average rich person, I guess?

Flashback to the past as Skyrim gets paid mods again

This was such a major outcry from entitled gamers back in 2015 that it got walked back and canceled until THIS MONTH. Gosh. the original run lasted just a single weekend. They’ve introduced it now, almost eight years later, and of course there’s lots of uproar about it in the remaining community to a 12 year old game because I guess it’s some moral crime to make money off a mod you worked hundreds of hours on off a totally optional system.

In more reasonable anger, the newest patch apparently broke a bunch of existing mods and hasn’t been fixed yet, oops.

Old Pixar Movies Coming to Theaters

Soul, Luca, and Turning Red, all fantastic movies, are coming to theaters next year. Why? Because Disney realized almost nobody watched them thanks to being slapped onto Disney+. The company is facing an absolutely dreadful, just pitiful 2024 release schedule–just TWO films scheduled for 2024. Yes, TWO. Everything else got delayed into 2025 and beyond, thanks to company turmoil and the six-month strikes. So, to pad out the schedule just a tad, they’re releasing these old Pixar movies in theaters for the first time.

It’ll be a very late merry 3445mas present to us when they come out next year.

If they come out in Japan, I’ll definitely watch them. Soul, especially, just begs to be seen on the big screen. That thing also made me bawl at the end, and it’s not even a sad movie at all.

I wonder if Disney will start following my advice on series compilation movies

Good Burger got a sequel? And promotional events???

I just don’t know what to think about this…

The War For (and Against) Santa

It’s been going on for a very long time, but the cycle continues forever. Do we let our kids believe in Santa, or not?

Little kids are gonna do make believe no matter what, so it doesn’t matter for the real small ones. But if a kid is 6, 7, 8? I’m adamantly against it. I’ll never keep up the illusion. But I know my opinion is a very controversial one.

JR East’s 10-year plan to revamp Japan

Written in 2019, this is JR East’s big plans for the 20s to revitalize different parts of Japan with new infrastructure and buildings. JR East is the biggest train company in Japan, and serves everything from Tokyo up to Tohoku. They’re divesting their revenue, not just building better train lines, but getting heavily involved in real estate development, freight, and payment systems with their Suica charge card. Helping current drivers transition away from the job when everything becomes automated is also a big step that seems even more pressing in the post-AI boom age.

But, the new train lines are exciting, too. Better connections to the Haneda airport, for one, are gonna make tourist life so much easier.

I’m sure a ton of these plans got disrupted by the pandemic, but they’ll still be on track (hehe) for the next ten(ish) years, probably. If only they can expand charge cards to Aomori, where the whole prefecture, all trains and buses, still require cash which is insane…

Have a Merry 3445mas

Your presents have been delivered! Click them wisely.

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