Sunday, December 30, 2012

A Look at Glamorama

So the other day I finished reading a book called Glamoram by Brent Easton Ellis better known as "the guy who wrote American Psycho". I loved it as I love everything I've read by him but as an English magjor type person who writes essays for fun I find the book to be more than a little embarassing.  There are all sorts of things to play with but for the life of me I have no idea what to say about some of them.  For the rest of this post you are either going to have to of read the book or understand that I am just gonna sound like a crazy person for awhile.  So it will be like every other post.

Anyway it is an interesting book.  The biggest thing I am having trouble doing anything with is all the cold imagry.  So like....45% of the imagrey in the entire book I am clueless with awesome.  Part of the problem with this is that while I realized it was important almost immediatly I didn't bother to record any of its instances.  It also varies in severity and since it happens so often the best way to critically approach it would be to see where it is absent then back break from there to uncover some sort of coherent meaning behind it.  This is mostly because it is so prevelant, I also suspect that it means more than one thing depending on when it appears and how bad it is.  Victor seems to be the only person who notices the cold which is interesting because one of the standard rules for magical realism is that no one really notices that they are in a magically realistic setting.  Everyone else ignores the cold and goes along with it but Victor always sees and comments on it.  Since Victor ocillates from cripplingly clueless of hyper observant this presents an interesting picture.  Yeah this is definitely the right track.  There are lots of stuff that Victor just sort of interacts with like the film crews or even the smell of shit that prevades the last 3rd of the book but the cold is something that Victor almost always remarks upon and interacts with in some way.  I still don't know what to do with the cold itself.  Like I said I think I need to see where it is the most absent from the novel and then I will be able to get a decent picture of it.  The fact that is is SO present makes it a little bit difficult to get a proper handle on.

Interestingly I think the cold is mostly absent on the boat from New York to London.  I also know that there is one of the clubs with the ice scupltures where the cold actually belongs.  I am pretty sure that before that point the cold wasn't quite so intense.  However, the cold shows up all over the place so yeah this is a dead en but it is also frusterating because here is something that is so obviously meaningful and yet I can't cobble together a basic meaning out of it.  Every time I start to there is something else that comes along and contridicts it or something.  Unlike the shit smell that shows up when Victor ends up in Paris which is pretty transparent in terms of meaningfulness especially since it only really happened around Bobby or when Victor was doing something involving Bobby.

Other than the cold thing which really bugs me the book is rich in critical moments that I find wonderfully engaging and easy to work with, like the film crews.  I got the film crews hell I loved the idea of the film crews and Felix the cinematographer.  Felix is an interesting guy because at first he seems like he is on Victor's side especially when he's on the boat but then all of a sudden Victor's film crew looses interest in him as the French film crew starts playing a larger and larger role.  Not only that but Victor's crew doesn't know about the French crew even though the French crew knows about Victor's crew.  Then there is the case of the two Victor's at the end.  I love that.  My working thesis is that it is the crews that make Victor real they are what define him.  When Victor's original crew is murdered by Bobby and the French film crew I think this pretty much split Victor in two.  The original Victor is left trapped somewhere in France while the French film crew Victor goes back to New York gets his shit together and generally stops being such an embarrassing human being.  Be he doesn't turn into a better person.  He is still a philanderer and he's still incredibly empty on the inside.

Whereas the original Victor's first honest to god human moment is when he chases of the French film crew who was foricing a sad girl's scene to go on for to long.  He developed actual human emotions...mostly through trauma.  He was horrified when Felix died and he even felt guilty when his final French fellow was killed unlike the French film Victor which is very much an emotionally hollow form of redemption.  At first I thought the French film Victor was just one of Bobby's body doubles or just a case of mistaken identitey but then we were given a first person look on the inside of the French film Victor and he it became clear to me that he is so much more than that...hence the working thesis.

There are other things to play with to.  I mean the very idea of using fashion models to form a terrorist organization has SO MUCH POTENTIAL all over it there are all sorts of things I can do with it.  However, that's enough for now.  Fantastic book by the way go read it.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Gun Control vs Gun Culture part2

Look there's something that directly relates to what I was talking about.  I am not going to go to much into.  I think that even while the information is already public that publishing the names and addresses went a bit to far the reactions of the certain posters in particular, "Jeffersonian, a commenter at Sauce for the Goose, wrote “Nice house. Wooded lot, too. Lots of places to hide.” Syuck in NY. . . . For Now added “Lol. That was the 1st thing I thought of when viewing those pics of her palace!”"  Yeah reactions like that make me think that gun control is silly and that everyone should have one.  In fact those two people should have extra guns because they are clearly responciple adults. 

So now that I am no longer coming from left field I wish to address the issue of why deal with the stereotype instead of breaking the stereotype down and revealing the facts or something like that.  We have it drilled into our heads from an early age stereotyping is bad and that we shouldn't judge a book by its cover and blah blah blah but just how helpful is that?

It isn't very.  I am not saying that we should stereotype but rather once we do so we shouldn't take it as the gospel truth and fail to assimelate any new information about the individual.  It is like judging someone by your first impression of them for the rest of their lives instead of allowing for the fact that your first impression might of been hasty and you didn't have all the facts. 

Stereotypes exsist for a reason.  They are an approximation of an aggrate of data that is assimlated from a variety of sources ranging from various media, to interpersonal interaction.  For those of you with a theory fetish a stereotype is an excellent example of a rhizome.  If you don't get that right away don't worry about it.  1000 Plateaus gives me fits.  It is also, no matter how much we may not like it, the first way we encounter any sort of information about a sub culture:

"Oh so you play wow?"
"Oh so you play D&D"
"Go sit in the rain and listen to Morrisie"
"Frats are about paying for friends"
"Jocks are all dumb"
Everything most people think about gay people.
Black people like rap.

The list goes on.  The problem is that when all we know is the stereotype then all that's all we can base our assumptions on.  When we go back to guns and gun control we have an overwhelimgly negative view of both guns and there isn't a whole lot going on to change that view.  In fact it is almost like the NRA is doing everything in its power to make things worse.  Hell the NRA has the worst public relations I've ever seen.  What the hell is wrong with them?  We change the stereotype we change the conversation and it isn't as hard as everyone makes it out to be.  It is hard but if both sides makes an effort then it can work.  However, the gun owners have to go first.  They are the ones with the guns after all.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Gun Control vs Gun Culture

So I've decided to spend my lunch writing.  I decided this awhile ago but now that I am here I am having trouble deciding on a topic.  I have the time for some of the more expansive things I'd like to write about so I am going to try one and see if it sticks.

Gun Control vs. Gun Culture

This is one of those things that are inexorably intertwined but they are still two separate things.  On top of this there is no real discussion as to the differences between gun control and gun culture and what exactly that means.  I'm gonna say right now that this prolly won't be definitive but hey at least it is a start. 

So where to start?  Well lets see what I got in the toy box.  We got class, historical revisionism, cultural misunderstandings, fear, powerful lobby groups, mass shootings, and looks like that's enough toys for now.  Lots of these toys connect to each other so lets play.

CLASS!  Class is one of those elephants in the room that no one seems particularly willing to talk about and yet it is there.  When we look at the steriotype of the gun owner we get a couple.  We have the rich white big game hunter.  We have the southern redneck.  We also have the inner city gang members.  Not bad but only one of them is well off aren't they?  Yes yes I know other people own guns but I said lets look at the steriotypes and that is what we are doing try to stay focused.  Guns in a lot of ways serve as a class divider.  It is the difference between people who feel they have to protect themselves and people who believe they have other people to do the protecting for them.  It is the difference between people who can afford the moderatly expensive hunting hobby and the people who can't.  Gun culture exists in all classes and yet we see gun ownership come most often in the hands of slightly crazed rednecks and gang members.  The wealthy game hunter is a distant third.  Hell the former serviceman is a distant 4th.  We talk about guns like how they don't kill people it is the people who do the shooting but in a lot of ways what we are really saying is "those people" are doing the shooting.  Offensive?  Don't care.  Take a look at the average age of a gang member now look at the number of inner city shooting deaths.  I mean we've had school age children shooting each others for years.  It is only when they decide to go mass murder and kill people who feel that they should have other people to protect them does panic start happening.  Class it is everywhere.

Historical Revisionism is one of those things that never ceases to amaze me.  This could also equally be called "wannabe constitutional scholarship".  Both sides throw around their ideas of the constitution and that's good.  That's great in fact do that!  The problem is that they do it with little to no historical relevance.  People don't understand how we got into this situation, where we came from, and there is a generalized lack of critical thinking going on which results in stale cyclical conversations that ultimatly lead no where.  The moment we bring history or the constitution into the mix is the moment the conversation dies because we just jump into this series of memes that we all memorized without really thinking about what they mean.  I've written before that gun culture needs an image change.  I'm gonna do it again in minute.  I think it is time to take the idea of the militia back and turn it into something healthy and not something for the lunatic fringe.  When people quote the second amendment it is always a revised version because no one wants to think about the militia part.  I do but hey that's me.

Cultural Misunderstands & Fear!  These two go hand in hand.  Okay so show a non curious non gun owner a gun and there is this weird freak out moment.  You'll get people who hold their hands up and go "I am just not comfortable around guns".  You'll get people who are all politely appalled about the idea of firearms and they beleive that...oh I dunno that someone else should have to do that dirty work (class!) or something like that I dunno.  This stems from ignorace.  It also stems from the fact that gun culture revels in the fear it generates.  The NRA's cold dead hand's speech is a perfect one.  We have Heston saying we will have to pry his gun out of his cold dead hands Waco Texas style because he won't give it up on his own.  Oh no and you gotta wonder is he just going to hold onto his gun or is he going to be using it while we are taking it from him?  Oh yeah.  It isn't offten we hear it outright.  It is always something like "I am going to take my second ammendment rights and come after you" or "We will rise up against the government" occupy wall street was also an uprising again the government but I think we are talking about different things.  Gun culture uses the fact that they have guns and everyone else is affraid of guns as leverage.  Then they cry foul when people talk about how worried they are about the fact that there is a whole sub culture of armed people who like to passively aggressively threaten everyone.

The fear cuts both ways though.  Holy shit gun culture are some paranoid fucks.  Like ermahgawd Obama got a second term and he's gonna take all of our guns away.  Then he'll take away Christianity and beer.  All through the election I kept hearing this out of conservative circles and it was based on...well nothing.   Obama hasn't made any real move to ban or talk about gun control and this is all after the shooting in Colorado.  Only now that we've had a second shooting is he stepping up to the conversation and geeze can you blame him?  Gun right's advocates live in a constant state of armed paranoia about the day when they will no longer be able to shoot their guns to the point where it is almost like they are hoping it will happen just so that they can have an excuse to use them.  Remeber I am not talking about individual gun owners but rather the culture they associate with.

Imma gonna skip the lobby groups and go straight to the mass shootings.  The only time gun control seriously comes up now and days is when someone shoots up a school.  What a lot of non gun owners don't understand is that when you are using a gun it is really easy to indiscriminatly kill a lot of people.  It is however very difficult to kill one specific person.  The story about two people standing 15 feet away firing full clips at each other and missing?  It happens.  That's the bitchy things about guns.  I fire a gun into a crowd I am going to get some impressive results but someone firing from the crowd at the user well that's more complex.  As a result we see a spree killing, we are faced with the horrible killing potential of these weapons and we think well gee gosh golly we should prolly not let everyone have one of these.  Gun culture ramps up its fear engines they talk about the need for protections (from them!), and that only bad people will have guns, and what about the women, and the nazis.  While on the other side we have a group of people whoes only real expereice with guns is the amount of devistation they cause. 

I wish there was more outreach on the behalf of gun culture.  I wish they would take a chill pill and ramp down the paranoia.  I wish we could change the image we have a gun users from rednecks and black people to something else.  Something postive perhaps?  However, this isn't going to happen until we start look at the situation we find ourselves in and we take an honest to god look at the facts and decide where we stand.  I myself am pro gun but I am anti gun culture.  The passive agressive threats, the paranoia, and taking advantage of the fear surrounding guns it all needs to stop.  Gun carry with them an awesome respocipiliby.  They allow you to take control of your fate.  You don't have to be a bystander anymore.  It is the ability to make a difference to protect those who need it.  Guns should never be about self defense.  They should always be about looking out for each other.  Or we can keep going the way we have been and let them all get banned.  At this point I am more with the mass banning myself because if you aren't willing to live up to that responcibility then what's the point you know? 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Freedom of Speach and God Hates Fags

I've written about the god hates fags people before.  Whenever I call them that people usually correct me to say, "Oh you me such and such church" and I nod my head and repeate, "The god hates fags people".  On the one hand I love them because they provide a shining argument as to why Christianity is a wuss ass religion.  On the other hand I hate them for all the reasons everyone in their right mind should hate them.  I don't hate many things.  Things make me angry like the derpy hooves controversy, french surrealists, and people who try to make me feel bad about liking tits but I don't hate very much.  I do hate the god hates fags people.

I call them that for a reason.  When they come up in conversation I don't want anyone to loose sight of the fact of just how ugly and horrible these people are.  But I didn't come here to write about everything everyone agrees on.  I've come here to explore the freedom of speech issue.

Freedom of speech is one of those things.  It has been awhile since we've had a good reason to roll up our sleeves and have a good old fasioned freedom of speech rumble.  First Amendment advocates have the same degree of suspicion and paranoia that pro gun people do.  They should exchange letters and be friends, hell their amendments are right next to each other!  I mean why not.

On the surface this is the nazis of Stokie...Illinoise?  I can't remember and I don't have time to look it up.  Anyway here it is the biggest ugliest "godly fag hating" group of people ever. 

So should they be labled as a hate group?  Yes absolutely.  If I were a constotutional scholar I might be able to wrangle out a for real leagalistic reason as to why they should be.  However, I'm not.  I don't even have enough time to watch all the Dr. Who I want.  The thing is though is that they don't just spew hate but they do everything in their power to dehumanize that which they dispise hence their MO for protesting funerals.  The dehumanization of the subjext is the most dangerous aspect of hatred as that opens up the doorway to violence.  Do we wait for another savage beating of a gay man or woman before we take action against the "god hates fags" people.  Or do we see their actions for the 100th time say enough is enough already and call them like they are?

This didn't have as much to do with speech as I would like but I am also out of time.

The Perks of Being a Background Pony

This post will more than likely have nothing to do with the my little pony show.  I just thought that was a really clever title and so there it goes.  Then again most of my titles have nothing to do with the post's contense so I don't feel bad. 

So the last time I posted I here I wrote a bit about being pulled in a lot of directions and not having time for some of the stuff I want to do.  So instead of just sitting around bitching on my blog and not doing anything useful I did something.  I started a war wall.  A war wall is the thing I should of done if I wanted my NaNoWriMo novel to turn out well.  I didn't so it is awful.  Still taking the bad example I made myself a good idea.  I took some wrapping paper, taped it to the wall, like I do, then I wrote down the 7 things I want to do more of, and set a goal so that every day I would try to write down something from the list onto the wall that I did.  That was nearly two weeks ago and so far it has been a pretty rousing success. 

Time management.  That is one of those things I am decent at but not spectacular.  There are after all LOTS of things I wanna do.  I mean I play minecraft, I am seeing GTA4 for the first time, Dr. Who, I hang out with people and play games, I LOVE watching movies, TOUHOU, and a billion other things.  Recently Dwarf Fortress has been calling out to me and I want to do that some more.  That's on top of all the 2 billion things I want to read.  So yeah even if I didn't have a job and I didn't waste a single second of my day on anything I still wouldn't have time to do everything I want.  However, I'd much rather live this way than be bored.  I quite frankly don't understand boredom but hey people are a unique and special mystery to me.

Going back to the war wall thus far I'm liking the results.  I wrote up a location for SLA, a couple of blog posts, started streaching more, lots of reading, but I did only manage to work on my game once.  That's a little disappointing.  However it is a 100% more than I've worked on it in quite some time so hey that's definitely something it also was a very productive session.  I might do some more on it tonight, if not then definitely tomorrow along with some seriouse painting sessions.  I need to run out to Michael's and get more of the paint I like though so that's on the list of things to do.  So far it is going well.  Things like this always go well at first so we'll see how this will look a couple of months from now.  I've tried different versions of this before and each time to no avail more or less.  I always stall out somewhere after the first month.

Ironically the same thing happened with the hero game.  I more or less got it to a point where I could start doing rough alpha tests of the rules to see how I liked it and to make sure that things were working the way I wanted them to.  That required some chores and I actually did quite a few of them before it all stalled out and nothing came of it.  How frusterating.  I knew it would happen and I did a bunch to stop it but it still happened :(.  I've been pretty annoyed with myself for quite awhile now but like I said eariler I decided to stop bitching on the blog and get back to it.  The crazy thing is that I like doing it.  Like I really like it.  It is something I enjoy doing very much but I end up just doing something else.  The biggest different between this version of the wall and my previous efforts is that this is all stuff I want to do versus things I think I should do or whatnot.  Thus far it has helped me transistion between one activity and the next much smoother which is something I always had trouble with so that's nice.

If nothing else then I have a bunch of neat stuff for me to use later on.  So cheers for that then!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Pretty Little things on their way to hell

    Yesterday I was watching a lecture on the eastern intelectual tradition and at lecture 16 it finally got around to Japanese.  This series has SO MUCH STUFF IN IT.  The lecture talked about three thinkers but the two that stuck with me was the woman who wrote the story of Genji and the woman who wrote The Pillow Book.  These books propose two opposing ideas of aethetics to each other.  Genji is more of a long term love of the world, it is taking it all in and understanding and accepting that all things must come to an end, so it definitely has some buddist influences.  The Pillow Book is more fascinated with minutiae it is full of lists, small thoughts, essentially the little things in life.  The idea behind the pillow book is that it is something you jot down thoughts in just before going to bed or just after waking up whereas the story of Genji is a grand swooping narrative that takes place over 70 years and has like over 50 major characters or something ridiculous like that. 

To make a contemporary comparison it is like comparing the world views of Cloud Atlas and Amilie…yeah okay so maybe a French film and a movie that isn’t even on dvd yet aren’t the best choices but hey if you’ve seen both of these movies then it works out for you.  Magnolia would be a good stand in for Cloud Atlas as for a stand in to Amilie… yeah I dunno American Beauty would work pretty well.  Actually American Beauty works in both ways but I can do this all day and get no where so lets move on. 

Aesthetics is one of my favorite things and it is something that I am deeply connected to in both how I live my life and my various outlooks on life and yet for some reason my appreciation of the tiny things in life seems to have taken not so much of a back seat but rather it is in my subconscious rather than conscious.  I still love tiny things in life like certain tactile sensations, food of all sorts, tiny conversations I have with people, and in general all sorts of little things.  I’ll make a list in a little bit.  I think the question I have is do I appreciate them less by not acknowledging them in any sort of formal way ie a blog post like this or my own pillow book?  Do I end up missing out on certain things?

Lets take for example one of my favorite things.  We have these shaffers that have curled metal feet on them.  Terrible idea really they slide all over the place, not the point though.  What I love to do is to run my index finger along the inside of the curled feet.  I love how cold the metal is, and it isn’t perfectly smooth like stainless steel but its treated so that it has this nice subtle texture to it.  I could run my finger along it for far longer than most people would consider normal but whatever it feels nice.  I like to stop and appreciate beautiful sunsets and I love the way a handful of d12’s feel. Yes d12’s to you they are the bastard dice to me they are amazing.  Oh I also love frosted dice those things are the best. 

However, I don’t usually run around extolling the virtues of all these little things because I am usually busy engaging in them.  I mean why write about how amazing that first taste of strawberry ice cream is when you can go do it.  I mean I can do this right now.  Appreciation is the question.

I think that is one of the biggest challenges to having an ascthetic that is rooted in minutae rather than the grand swooping narrative of life.  There is always something that can be marvelous.  I can always indulge myself and I do so frequently.  I eat my double stuffed oreo cookies because I love them, I eat inappropriate things like bananas where ever and whenever I want, I love my music.  However, I think when my love isn’t tempered by reflection I find that I end up not necessarily missing some things but, shit I don’t know.  Ultimatley I think the reflection ends up being one of the little things that I just enjoy doing.  I don’t enjoy them any more or less because I stop to think and reflect upon them.  The small things are after all ultimately fleeting.  You can’t keep a sunset forever no matter how hard you want to and every smile is unique because the context is just as important as the facial expression itself.  Little things are little, they get lost, shuffled around, and it takes a little bit of practice to find them.  They may not be always there in the same spot but I’ve found that once I start looking it is everywhere I go.
    So how does this translate into the grand swooping narrative of life?  Well it doesn’t.  They are at polar opposites of each other though that doesn’t mean they are necessarily at odds.  They are just different.  If there is any better example of “your kink is not my kink” it is right here.  When people ask me what Cloud Atlas is about I usually end up shouting is its about “Love and infinity” because yeah that’s a pretty damn good three word summary.  Life’s swooping narrative sounds exciting it is the realm of love after all.  Not the cute little crush love but the massive life long 40 year married and we still like each other love.  It is the place where the daily ebb and flow of everyday life intermingle into this one majestic tapestry that is our lives and it is up to us to make it as amazing as possible because the world is a shitty place and it won’t do fuck all to help us.  Okay so maybe that last part may seem like a bummer but it is true.  It is up to us to make things grand.  It is taking life and making the most of it as possible for as long as possible.  It is standing in proud defiance in full view of death, destruction, and petty human drama and remaining as resilient as possible.  It is love not necessarily between a group of people but for everything no matter how ridiculous it is.  It is acknowledging the near impossibility of this message and not giving a god damn because that is the only way to make headway. 

I think a lot of people have lost their sense of aethetics both on the micro and macro level.  I think it is what tends to make us small minded and mean.  That isn’t the only thing but it certainly helps.  I think the biggest, best trick is to maintain a balance between the two.  To both see the narrative and the small pretty things.  It is strange.  It is also something we don’t really talk about any more.  Not in any serious level.  It didn’t use to be this way discussions of the sublime and how to appeciate art used to be common place and held an honorary part in literarly theoretical discussion.  I think it is a fascinating topic though but I will admit that there is nothing more individual than the way a person processes what they like which is why most conversations on the topic fail to bear any fruit. 

Anyway my lunch is over and I’m pretty much done here so TA!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Random Chunk of Comics Blog

Hello there.  It has been a while since I’ve updated this here blog but I am hoping to change all that.  Every year after NaNoWriMo I pledge to write more and blah blah blah and I never seem to manage to do so.  All of that momentum gets converted into excuses and then I end up just not doing it.  Instead I get wrapped up in 20 billion different things I want to do and I end up dabbling in about a dozen different things but sticking to none of them.  For example currently:

I want to work on my game again I am coming back to it with freshness and vigor
I want to finish painting my tomorrow’s war stuff
Play more Mage Wars/Netrunner/Malifaux
Play/Beat a JRPG current I want to do FF4 again but there are other contenders, Chrono Trigger is looking awefully nice
I did want to finish The Honerable School Boy but I just did that previous to writing this.  Now I want to start a new book
Dr. Who.
Figure out how to work a Yoga routine into my schedual

…you know now that it is in a list like that it doesn’t seem so overwhelming does it?  I mean some of those things are pretty easy to accomplish others aren’t so bad.  Some of them definitely fall in on the leisure time side of things, and a few of them can be done on portable media.  So it looks like  I need to set up a war wall.  This is something I did for my first couple of NaNoWriMo books and it is something I very much needed to do for my last book to keep my on track…but I didn’t.  I will do that when I am done here.  The idea is to type at least 1500 words.  Right now I am going to let my mind wander and see what comes out of it.  I just started there and poof I came up with all sorts of solutions and I feel better about the stuff I both need to and want to do.  Break lists into sub lists and take things both on and down until I win great victory.  Life doesn’t have to be a mess.

So I’ve been doing a lot of reading recently.  I just reread all 9 volumes of Preacher finished the last 200 pages of Honorable Schoolboy, all the new 52 Green Lantern stuff, and the new 52 Superman trade.  I’ll admit I wasn’t taken by the Superman trade the first time I read it.  I wanted more All-Star ultra mythic superman and not Superman year one.  Upon rereading though I got over my case of the grumpies and I grew to love it dearly.  Holy crap that’s a good book.  I think the mythic stuff is coming.  It’s interesting, right now in both of the big two we are seeing a changing of the guard.  On the Marvel side Jason Aaron and Hickman are taking over.  On the Dc side it is Lemire and Synder.  All of them, cept for Hickman got their start with Vertigo.  Just sayin.  Anyway it is nice. 

    I kinda wish they still had Grant Morrison working on three or four books at the same time but right now it is just Superman and Batman Inc and that’s coming to an end.  Soon Morrion’s multi year Batman Arc will come to a close and what a massively amazing good time it was.  It is kinda astounding that they would let one writer have so much freedom with such an iconic character.  Over the course of Morrison’s Batman run we got, Batman’s son Damian, a reason behind the Joker’s madness, Batman being pushed past the boundaries of sanity, Batman being lost in time, Nightwing becoming Batman, and Bruce Wayne setting up a “bat franchise”.  The whole thing is massive, fun and you can see its reverberations in the other bat family books.  I think they will be around for years to come.  Just like his run on the X-men.  A lot of people criticise marvel because immediately after Morrison left the X-books they started undoring what he did, Magneto came back, the Stepford Cuckoos were given a stupid origin, and yet some of the stuff he did stuck.  Jene Grey is to the best of my knowledge still dead.  Cyclopse and the White Queen have stayed together forever, and the whole dynamic is just a little bit different.  I still don’t have the time, patients, or  desire to get into the x-books even if Jason Aaron and Bendis are writing them.  There is to much background mythology stuff that I just can’t bother with.  That being said I do mean to give the Avengers vs. X-men a read.

Speaking of which its funny.  Ten years later comic fans are still wringing their hands like children over the Marvel civil war.  I personally think it was a brilliant event.  It brought me back into reading Marvel comics and as soon as the Dark Reign was over with I lost interest.  For just a few minutes the Marvel universe had this fascinating, sweeping, narrative that has such an important and interesting message.  Of course no one could be bothered to see it for what it was.  They were to busy wanking their favorite character to see the bigger picture, bunch of crap.  Anyway the whole thing ended with Siege and once again the Marvel universe became books about people hitting each other and interpersonal drama. 

Now we have the Avengers vs. X-men arc and hey it seems like it is pretty much the civil war all over again doesn’t it?  But since it’s the dark phoenix returning and not super hero registration and the moral ambiguity surrounding that whole issue I guess it is easier for people to get their heads around or something.  I dunno it all seems like a bunch of crap to me.  I’ll give it a read sometime soon so then my moral judgement will have some weight behind it.

A lot of people seem to be shitting all over DC and it’s new 52 but I really bloody like it.  Instead of having one big fuck off universe they broke all the books up into little familys.  There is the bat family and all those books are interconnected.  There is the Aninmal Man/Swamp Thing books and they are basically, at this point, one book.  The superman family and the green lantern family both stand on their own and the green lantern books in particular are a hell of a lot of fun.  Before the new 52 they were getting to be a little bit to ridiculously grim.  At any rate I like this approach.  The writing across the line is pretty uneven but hey Marvel has its stinkers too and what I like of the new 52 I really REALLY like. 

So there’s that then.  There are so many comics I want to buy right now that its pretty mindboggling.  In particular I need the last two volumes of  Scalped, the last volume of Sweet Tooth and the next Delux hard back edition of 100 Bullets.  On the one hand I am furious that I have to replace 100 bullets.  On the other hand I am getting nice deluxe hard back copies which is nice.  Some of the bindings on my 100 bullets trades weren’t the best and it is one of those things I will never get tired of rereading.  In fact I haven’t even cracked open my first two volumes because I know once I start reading them I will go ape shit unless I can read the whole thing.  If they do the same thing for Preacher I might sell my old trades to finance the purchase of the deluxe books.  That would be snazzy.  Preacher is one of those things that deserves a deluxe treatment.

I still think Preacher is Ennis’s best work.  His run on the Punisher is great.  The stuff he’s written for Crossed is the best stuff written for Crossed by a mile and some of the best survival horror I’ve seen this side of Walking Dead.  But somewhere during The Boys he just kinda lost it.  Ennis loves to subvert tropes I get that.  He did it with glee in Preacher and he did it with grace in the Punisher but somewhere during The Boys he just got lost in what he was doing.  I own the first 4 volumes and I read the rest.  It is good.  It does that thing where he goes and explains everyone’s origin story.  I fucking love that it is one of my favorite things about Preacher and yet The Boys just doesn’t have the same heart and soul and without the heart and soul the over the top fuckedupery just doesn’t hold any salt with me.  Preacher?  That’s a different story.  Every time I reread Preacher I feel like I am a better person.  I don’t always agree with everything I read but I like it.  I like the idea of living with honor and conviction.  I like the idea of being good because there is just to much bad in the world.  I like the idea of owning up to your failures and learning.  We see Jesse Custer grow and change over the course of those books in such a way that we don’t usually get to see in fiction.  Preacher is long, and every issue is jam packed with text.  We see Jesse try, fail, try harder, get shafted, he literally goes and tries to figure things out for nearly half a year before getting back on course.  He feels like person.  Not just any person but a good one.  His flaws are not his limitations.  They are something for him to overcome so that he can be a better person.  It is just that simple.  I love those books and I can’t imagine reading them in any way other than a whole unit. 

Alright well I have a war wall to set up and on a whim I bought GTA 4 and I am really enjoying it so I might do that some more.  Bye kids! 

Friday, November 23, 2012

NANO is rumbling to a close

HEYO!  So here we are again!  Woo.  My National Novel Writing Month novel is rumbling to a close and I am more than a little bit relieved but also more than a little bit sad because I utterly screwed this novel up.  Poor little novel.  This is a squeal to the first novel I wrote which is essentially about choosing death and dispair.  It kind of put a close for me on a lot of the ways I felt and while it didn't come easily it did get written.  This novel I am writing now is about choosing life, but also tyranny of life.  The problem is that I didn't convey this very well.  There are a few reasons for this.  The cast is unusually large for me and disparate.  I have the ending pretty well planned but not the start or the middle which has caused some pretty signifigant problems.  Most importantly I didn't do a very good job developing my themes.  The biggest problem is that I just plain old don't write enough.  If I want to be better I need to practice more it is as simple as that.  Writing here doesn't count I mean honest to goodness fiction.  So I am not sure what I want to do with all this information.

I do want this book to work.  However, I am going to have to rip it all apart and rewrite most of it down to a fundamental level.  I'm okay with that.  I might end up doing it next year for nano or I might hunker down during the summer sometime and do it then.  That would be pretty cool.  Either way in the condition it is now the book needs some serious repair work and the first step to making any of that viable is by writing more fiction plain and simple.  So that will start happening.  Some nice light fiction chumklets here and there some longer stories stuff like that.  I also want to do some more rpg writing and other things.  Luckily I broke down the stigma of doing writing in my house so that's pretty good and I've hit a stride so that banging out 2500 words a night isn't so bad.  I take a break every 1000 words or so and it works out pretty nicely.  All in all this has been a good experience.  I've learned a lot about my writing process, the type and amount of prep work I need to do in order to be sucessful, I got better at dealing with distractions, and managing my time.  What I didn't do is produce a novel that I liked and I am pretty much okay with that.  NaNoWriMo is pretty much about everything else for me.  The novel itself is secondary.

So that's that.  In a couple of days I'll hit word count.  I can pretty much wrap up the plot at any time I want to but that's the thing.  There is still a lot to be done.  I definitely need to develop an ecconmy of space when it comes to my fiction writing but like I said more practice. 

Ultimately, I am not so sure why I stopped fiction writing.  I used to do it all the time.  I had those little note books I carried around with me and I filled three of them up.  Then somewhere along the line it all just stopped.  Being to busy in school at one point is very much a factor.  Then not being in school at all is another just as big factor.  The biggest thing though is that for the most part we do as we please.  The rest it just excuses.  Time to find out what I am using as an excuse to stop me from writing and fix it.  No biggie.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Getting READY for National Novel Writing Month

YAY!  National Novel Writing Month is one of those things I look forwards to with a mixture of dread and anticipation.  For the last 4 years it has been a part of my life one way or another and it has produced two 50,000 fiction chunks that are better known as novels out of me.  The first year I didn't find out about it until the 10th or so and I just couldn't catch up.  What can I say, I write slooooowly.  The other year I failed I lost everything in a power surge that took out my backup and the original copy.  Freak accident what can you do?  So this will be my 4th official year and hopefully I will produce a 3rd novel.  The current plan is to write a sequle/continuation of the first one.  The first one ends with the suicide of the main character.  So it goes.  However life goes on for everyone else so that's what the novel is about life going on.  Also one of my favorite plot points is having your past come up and haunt you.  I won't be doing that this time.  Instead it will be a whole host of new problems for the remaining characters to deal with.  I can't really decide how it will end but I know that I'll figure it out on the fly like I always do.  WOOP!

I love national novel writing month.  I think it is an amazing concept.  To write something for the sheer joy and exhileration of writing and no other reason.  To throw aside concerns of quality and just write something at all costs is amazing to me and so I participate with vigor.  The thing is that I am particularly bad at it.  As I said earlier I write slowly.  I also don't really have anywhere to write.  My house is not a good place for me to get things done.  I've longed to change this about my house but I am not sure how to make it happen.  I've tried a number of things but none of them seem to work the way I want them to and that doesn't upset me per say but it does.  The baby laptop was a lunge in the right direction but now I need to figure out a way to write at home.  As much as I hate to say it I think I need external motivation.  Like someone to say, "Knock off the stuff and do this other thing you need to".

I mean during NaNoWriMo it keeps me motivated and I dunno I am just able to do it.  Also I tend to make a really big deal about it here and on facebook because never underestimate the power of embarrassment.  I know I can do it.  I have done it and I'll continue to do so.  It is just that I can't seem to translate this accomplishment into other ones.  I'll get it though because I am not giving up either.  So there.

This year for reasons I am not sure of I am going to try to clean up and organize my house.  Last night I made some pretty epic strides in doing this and I think that will continue tonight.  Disorganization is the heart of relaxation.  Organization is the heart of productivity.  Somehow I need to find the balance between the two in my living space.  It should work...and if not well then at least it will be cleaner. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Quarriors vs Puzzle Strike

YAY!  So everyone who knows me knows I love me some Dominion.  God I love Dominion that game is just so much fun.  Deck building games in general are just a good fun time and we have all sorts of pretenders to the throne.  That's fine.  Recently I've played both Quarriors and Puzzle Strike which are both games that have a lot in common with deck building but they aren't.  This mostly has to do with the fact that you are using things other than cards pogs in the case of puzzle strike and dice in the case of quarriors.  Also in both of these games you aren't building a buying engine to end the game.  Instead in PS you are trying to oust your other players and in Quarriors you are trying to make it so that you have enough monsters to survive till your turn which is the only way to generate points.  Both are very different games, however, both are lighter than Dominion and I like both of them.

The question is when compared to each other how do they stack up.

1) Teachability.  Quarriors is easier to teach and fairly easy to learn.  I've gotten multiple people up and running in about 5 minutes.  The game is easy as hell to pick up and there is a lot of public information for the new people to pour over and analyze.  All the cards I've encountered use very clear language that is easy to understand with only a basic understand of the game.  Like there was never a monster card where I just went "what the fuck does that mean".  Culling is the game's most complex mechaninc and once you see why it is important it is something that rarely gets forgotten. 

Puzzle Strike is more difficult to teach.  Crashing, counter crashing, and double crashing are all more than a little counterintuitive and tricky to explain.  The disks don't have a lot of room for explanation and so sometimes they can be slightly confusing.  Like using combo-master for someone's first game is a tool thing to do.  The game is also just plain old more complex.  You need to balance how many gems are in your gem pile, with how many gems are in other people's gem piles so that you don't accidently let someone else win the game when you deal the killing blow.  More complex isn't bad.  But it does make teaching the game a bit of a chore.

2) Components-  Pogs are fun but dice win.  Quarriors makes really good use of its dice.  Each dice has three corresponding monster cards which all do different things, sometimes radically different things.  As a result even if you are using the same dice it doens't nessiarily represent the same monster.  This gives you a huge variety in game play without having 80 billion components to deal with.

Puzzle Strike follows the more standard dominion alike model.

3) Breaking out and Game Length- Puzzle strike is a lot more difficult to break out and put up.  There are more base disks that need to be there in every game and just the way PS is stored in the box makes it more annoying to take out and put up.

Quarriors has three piles of dice that are present in every game, the cards are reasonably color coded to the dice and even though I had no idea what I was doing I had the game broken out and set up pretty effortlessly.  I could never remember what went in the starting bag but that's a me thing.

Quarriors also plays faster.  Roll dice to get resources and summon monsters, monsters attack, buy, and done.  There aren't action chains or a lot of complex interactions in the tradtional deck building sense.  Everyone's turn more or less takes the same amount of time no matter what.  The biggest choice you make is what die to buy and occasionally what to summon.  In general though once things get rolling (HA!) the momentum keeps up.  There is also a lot of suspence, will they knock out the monsters I set up or will they not get the critical face they need.  Other people's turns are more than just times where you hibernate.

Puzzle Strike has things like action chains, chips with complicated effects, attack resolutions and all sorts of other things.  However, unless you are the one being attacked or unless you are in a potential possition to block the attack other people's turns are just things that happen while you are waiting to go again.  The game takes longer to play but it also more complex and in many ways it is more satisfying.

To end all of this because I am out of time, Puzzle Strike is a real game.  It has stradegy not just with what you buy but also in how you play.  In a lot of ways I would argue that it is more complex than Dominion.  Quarriors on the other hand is much more simple than Dominion.  Quarriors is, for all intents and purposes, a party game.  It is quick, simple, tactile, and lots of fun.  It isn't necessarily something that I'd play all night unlike Puzzle Strike or Dominion.  Still it is an absolute perfect lunchtime/filler/ I dunno what to do type game.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

CSIence Fiction, Double Feature

CSIence Fiction, Double Feature

Okay so I don't watch CSI.  I don't watch a lot of tv.  I don't have cable and I destest comercials which means I need to download CSI to watch it.  I can think of literally dozens of better uses for my bandwidth.  So of my friends who are more plugged into the internet than I am brought to me the atension of the quote, "I'll write up a GUI in visual basic to tracka killers IP adress".  Yep that graphical user interface is gonna come in real handy.  Of course anyone who has worked in IT has learned that they can just say fancy shit to their non IT bosses and they will think you are a fucking genius.  Whatever.  I am done talking about CSI.

I am not done talking about Star Trek the Next Generation though.  See here is how sad things have gotten.  When most people talk about TNG they are talking about their distorted memories of the show rather than what the show is really about.  TNG is one of my favorite shows of all time because it is just so different, it is something that could only really work in the 90's, it is something special.  The show itself took 3.5 seasons to really get its swing down and by the 4th season it had a pretty established pattern of what would happen in the episodes but those first three seasons is where the magic is most powerful.  It is where that show is both at its best and worse.

At many times over the course of the show, when a problem develops, someone will confidently say I need to use X and Y to reconfigure Z.  Reconfigure is a word they use all the damn time.  Lets take this sci-fi device that does this one thing and we'll make it do this other thing with SCI-FI magic!  Though that is what litterally happened that isn't what we were supposed to believe.  Piccard relentlessly cross trained all of his personnel, every episode starts with some members of the crew engaged in some sort of intelectual hobby.  We are led to believe that these are smart capable people so when they spout off their sci-fi stuff they know what they are doing.

One of the criticisms that a lot of people levy at TNG is that every one seems to know exactly what they are doing and how everything works.  Yes they do.  It is called being a member of Star Fleet you don't just end up flying around the galaxy doing shit, especially on the enterprise which is the Federation's flag ship.  This show put forth a bold new vision of humanity that was no longer driven foward by greed but rather the pursuit of knowledge and interests, a dream that the writers of DS9 and Voyager were unable to carry out because they didn't believe in it.  Which is sad. You look at the hope in TNG then you look at what they turned Star Fleet into over the course of DS9 and it is almost unrecognizable and more than a little sad.

I say all of this because TNG had smart capable characters using sci-fi vocabulary to solve problems.  The CSI moment I started this post with used real world words in a nonsensical way to do the same thing.  Anyone with some basic computer knowlage would know what she said is utter bullshit.  It feels like we've taken a giant step backwards and we are now enthralled by what we use every day.  In a way it reminds me of the very end of 100 Year of Solidtude where the gypsies return to the town and they start showing off the same tricks with magnets and ice that they did at the start of the book.

By now everyone should know better than "I'll make a GUI in visual basic to track their IP" but instead it is all Star Trek...still.  I am upset by this.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

15 Minuts till Launch

So I have 15 minutes left in my lunch break and I decided to write a bit.  I won't get anything done but still sometimes it is nice.  As I write this the Reaper Miniature kickstarter is rumbling towards its conclusion.  It will have raised over 3 million monies.  People will have collectively donated three million monies for an extrodinarily large pile of little metal toys.  These toys aren't linked to any game in particular and for the most part they will be placed on shelves and looked at appovingly.  Resisting the urge to hop in has been overwhelming.  These miniatures (imma gonna stop calling them toys now) are amazing looking and the sheer variety you'll get for your $100 means that if you ever need a mini to represent some fantasy thing you'll have one.  However, ultimately it is a pile of stuff and it is up to you to make them useful.

That's not quite what I want to say though.  What I do want to say is that once again we have evidence of geek hobbies pricing themselves out of business.  Why are people in such a frenzy over this?  Mostly because it is a fantastic deal and it is likely the only one we as gamers are going to get.  Partly we've done this to ourselves.  We've become obsessed with full color rule books, glossy pages, and for lack of a better word "bling".  That is all well and good but it is slowly killing the hobby.  It is strangling out people one by one.  It is making it so that we can't afford to branch out, exparament, and try new things.  Game companies are becoming overly reliant on .pdfs but .pdfs don't need full color back grounds because it just makes nativagtion slower. 

So we turn back to the Reaper Kickstarter people putting down money for a pile of miscellany because it is our best shot at getting a good deal on something.  It is a little sad but it is also nice that we have this opportunity.   I don't think geekery is going to die and I do think the flash brings in more players.  In fact I know it does.  It is just that sometimes I think the price is getting to be to high.

Friday, August 17, 2012

T-t-t-otal Recall Remake

You know what I love about the Total Recall remake?  The wealth of jokes you can make about it.  From the "Original Pictures" production company to the "What is this, it feels like I've seen this movie before.  It is almost like I can recall it, except it was on Mars?  What is happening?".  I like that second one the best I thought of it just now.  There is lots I want to say on this subject so I am going to break it into smaller posts.  I am also planning on starting a movie blog just for movies so...if you are reading this there click a link or something.  I dunno how it works.

ANYWAY I want to say this here and now.  I liked the remake.  Did I love it?  No.  If I had to choose between watching the remake and the original which would I one over the other?  Depends on my mood.  Will it sit proundly on my dvd shelf next to Total Recall?  Nah this isn't worth owning but I might netflix it or something.

Okay that said, lets talk about what worked and that is primarily Kate Beckinsale's preformance.  HOLY GOD was she amazing in that movie.  A good action movie needs a good villain and she is one of the best.  She is unquestionably more bad ass than Quaid and he knows it which is why he spends the whole movie flat out running from her.  After the initial fight he doesn't even bother he just books it when he see's her coming and for good reason.  I mean this girl puts the god damned Terminator to shame.  When she showed up Quaid would crap his pants and we'd crap right along with him cause she is scary.  When he gets way and you get those classic shots of her glaring after him with a look of utter frustration and rage you know deep down that he is a dead man and it is more of a matter of when not if.  Her preformance is the best thing about that movie and it is so good that I can forgive the plot and most of the second act just to watch her thunder across the screen with cold ruthless precision kicking the shit out of everything in her way.  She gave a preformance that deserved a much better movie.

So lets talk about what didn't work.  Yep if you guessed the last third of the movie you are right!  The movie had me on board right up until midway through the scene in the polluted quarentine zone thing.  This is the moment when the movie could of really gotten its shit together and become something worth a damn.  This was the moment when all the things could of clicked together and we could of gotten this nice large "massive things are at stake" sort of deal.  Instead this is where the movie falls apart.  This moment is the pivitol scene in both movies which is funny.  However in the original the movie proceeds on its original trajectory, good campy fun.  In the remake this is where the entire movie falls apart.  This is the moment where it cumbles into a mediocre mess.  This is the reason why the film will never ever be more than average and it won't be fondly remembered even though Kate Beckinsale was godlike.  This is where everything goes wrong.

I am pretty good at suspension of disbelief.  I mean we are watching a science fiction movie, whatever lean back, have some fun and enjoy the movie.  If you are going to sit there and nitpick about magnet cars or what have you then why would you even go to the movies in the first place?   So when they enter into the special sealed subway car I got really excited.  We are in an action movie and the quarentine zone makes for a pretty impressive set piece.  I mean come on leathal air, robot antagonists, the enigmatic leader of the resistance, a lot of major elements are going on in this scene.  Then they made the reveal that there is no robot army kill code and that this whole thing has been a set up to find the resistance leader.  One, whatever, but two we have this fascinating monkey wrench.  The resistance was banking on that kill code and what were they going to do?

When the govenment forces storm the building they came in through the windows and this is where I got really excited.  I love action scenes where the environment is a major factor and I could just imagine the resistance running not for the guns but for the  gas masks first because the toxic environment from outside is gonna come pouring in.  I could just imagine Quaid stalking from opponent to opponent dismantaling robots and taking masks throwing them to the resistance and they make one final desperate stand before being wiped out.

I imagined the scene ending with Cranston standing triumphantly over the dead body of the resistance leader but faced with a difficult choice.  Quaid in a personal sacrifice had taken in to much of the toxic environment and was rapidly dying.  So he is faced with a choice let his most valuable asset die or  reveal the ultimate trump card.  That not only can they cure exposure to the lethal quarentine zone but they can break up the noxious clouds.  The reason they don't is a power play nothing know like in the original movie.

None of this happens of course.  When the movie ends the world is still a toxic wasteland it is just that the "fall" is broken and a bunch of robots got destroyed.  Here is the thing though.  They can build more robots.  They can build lots of them and robots don't  need to fucking breath so it isn't like they could be flown into the Colony a couple of years from now to finish the job.  It isn't like they exposed the government leader for a mad man.  It is like they went "fuck this shit" and just table flipped the last third of the movie which was actually NOT BAD up until then.  In Total Recall Quaid brought air to Mars.  In the remake Quaid didn't do shit really and it is a little disapointing.  Oh well.  

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Difference Between People and Animals.

This is one of those things.  The argument has been around forever and it is one of those problems that never seems to go away.  I hadn't thought about the issue for awhile until I read half an article about it in Harper's.  I would of read the other half but I was done with lunch and I REALLY wanted to play Cataclysm.  Man that game is fun.  Anyway I was thinking about it today and I figgured some things out.

First of all I think that if mankind had adopted more herbavores as pets we would seen more evidence of tool usuage a lot earlier.  I mean my bunny loved the Albertson's Brand Fruit Punch soda that was its favorite thing in the world.  One day I watched as it approched an open can.  I half expected the bunny to just knock it over and drink away.  However, I think it knew it's satisfation would be thwarted by myself.  So instead it wanted to carry it away.  It spent 5 minutes carefully bending the opening tab upwards so it could have a handle that would allow my bunny to carry the can away.  It would of worked too but the bunny misjudged the weight of the can, tripped over it, and then it scampered off trying to hide.  We don't think of bunnies as tool users but there you have it.  My bunny carefully and deliberatly made a handle for itself so it could carry something away that it ordinarily had no way of lifting.  I loved that bunny.

Whatever distinction we tried to come up with between man and animals hasn't worked.  It isn't going to work.  Animals just do lots of the basic things we do.  Part of the problem with this debate is that it is rooted in dualism.  Dualism almost never works when complextity is added to the situation.  Dualism started with the distinction between the mind and the body but you see it everywhere.  I think there is something in man's nature to carefully compare two things to see differences and similarities.  Whatever, while it is a handy illustrative tool it has little to do with actual reality.  Ergo the prime differences between man and animal isn't that we talk and they don't or we use tools and they don't but rather the degree and ability to which we can do these things. 

We can teach a monkey sign language, we suspect that dolphins have a complex form of communication, we've seen pack animals communicate but nothing approaches what I am doing now.  Or even youtube comments as pathetic as they are.  That doesn't mean that animals don't do it it is just that we do it more.

The same goes for tool usages, the way we deal with bordom, our relationship with instincts and all sorts of other things.

Animals also have both emotions and personalities and I believe that these are very close to our own.  I don't think we loose anything from this line of reasoning and it is a lot more productive than standing around with your arms crossed shouting "monkies don't speak" when the can. 

This is such a simple idea and it is sad that I've never seen it before.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Chick Fil-A, Aurora and I dunno maybe politics

Some things have happened and I've decided to weigh in, partly because I have the time and mostly because I want to.  Also because it is fun and I want to wind up before I start my real purpose for being here.  Okay so off we go.

Chick Fil-A.  You know it has gotten to this point and I still haven't seen the original thing that has pissed everyone off.  I know it is out there and I am sure I can google it right now and I'd get all the information I want but whatever.  Ultimately it isn't important.  Thanks to people not caring it doesn't really matter what you said anymore but what everyone thinks you said.  That's its own thing but don't worry philspohers assure us that Post Modernism is full of crap and everything is fine *giggle*. 

So it happened.  Lets address that first.  The head of Chick Fil-A managed to piss of the gay community and people who support it.  The whole thing is massivly embarrassing and more than a little shameful but whatever.  As most of the people say who have no stake in the matter, "Whatever they are entitled to their opinions".  Okay lets stop right there and have a conversation about opinions.  Yes everyone is entitled to their own opinions.   I am having one right now.  I am also a rabid first amendment supporter so it isn't like I am against him  Go forth and speak your mind.  However, just because you express your opinions doesn't mean there shouldn't be consiquences.  Consiquences are one of those things that matter.  Without consiquences we all become those people who comment on youtube videos.  We become people who can say anything and we don't need to weigh our words or temper our thoughts.  It allows us to be shameful.  I fully endorse his right to express his opinion but I also fully endorse the responce that the company has been getting.  I'd join the boycott but I don't eat fast food so it isn't like me not spending my money extra hard is going to make a difference.  I am glad the Jim Henson company dinged them upside the head though.  That made me feel good and I'd buy the muppet movie in support but I don't think that's how that works.

I'd like to take this time to remind people that it is easy to forget how much this shit hurts when you aren't the one being descriminated against.  If you happen to be lucky enough to be straight then it doesn't really affect you.  No one is telling you that you are sub human, a genetic abnormality, that you deserve to die, and that you aren't allowed to marry.  It is sad and it is hurtful and it is important to stand up to people who say hurtful things and remind them that it is not very nice.  I am not saying there should be leagal repocussions or that we should make a law against not being nice, but loosing a toy line and a good old fasioned internet smack down is enough.

In fact this is one of the few things that has gone right recently and in a lot of ways this situation is cause to celebrate.  The ceo said something crappy, people stood up, stuff happened, words have been said, repocussions have been dished out, and this far no one has been sued or physically hurt.  This is the way it is supposed to work and that is something we shouldn't overlook either.  It is nice in a way. 

Lets move on to Aurora.  Guns don't kill people but they help, I think we should only ban costumes if they are shitty, your face.  If Chick Fil-A , seriously the dash button is in a really inconvenient place on the keyboard so they will NEVER be mentioned again, Aurora is everything going wrong.  Our responce to the Aurora shootings is wrong on a basic fundamental level that makes me wanna curl  up with a book and ignore the world.  I am going to do this a little quick because the subject depresses me.

1) This event shows that we have learned absolutely nothing from Columbine, or any other mass shooting.  We are still the same sad scared little people we were at that point.  We ban random things, say stupid things, over react then under react and now Michael Moore has vanished into obscurity so we aren't going to get a neat documentary on it.

2) Ban banning?  Here is my thing on the gun banning, would it help?  How many tons of cocain are smuggled into our country every year?  You think guns can't be smuggled in as well.  While you are contimplaing that remember that the rise of organized crime in our nations really started with prohibition.  Giving criminals more avenues to make money by committing crimes seems like a bad idea.  It will also mean that when someone wants a gun they will be able to get them.  Continuing on there were several spree killings awhile back in china where people would run into daycare centers with a knife. 

2a)  A question. Why should the guns matter?  If I were to give everyone in America a gun tomarrow it shouldn't affect our murder/violent crime rate.  It hsould be a non issue.  We shouldn't want to kill each other.  I am going to say something next and I EXTRA don't mean it in a christian sense of the word.  However, the problem with the way we treat our fellow man is a spiritual one.  Banning guns isn't even the problem.  The problem is why do we shoot at each other more than other people.  Why do we hurt each other more than other people.  Why do we have more serial killers and spree killings.  WHy do we have so much mental illness.  Answer these questions and maybe just maybe the guns won't matter.

However, that won't happen while we subsitute our opinions for clever pictures on the internet and engage in empty rhetorical slogans so we get the world we deserve.


Romney went to London and totally fucked it all up.  It is sad.  Romney has accused Obama of being a bumbling feckless leader, and he pissed off a country by being a bumbling ineffective clod.  Ultimatly this won't matter in the poles because most Romney supporters have their heads up their asses and don't understand how government works.  Here is the thing though, While a presidential's power is massivly stymied within the bounds of our nation a president's power to deal with the rest of the world is NOT.  While a president can set domestic policy they really need the congress and senate to help make the laws and find the money.  How we deal with the rest of the world is a presidential thing.  Not only did he bungle london but his advisers bungled london as well and this is increadibly bad.  Right now he just looks like an idiot but what's going to happen when it matters?  Is he going to be able to deal properly with China so something bad doesn't happen, how is he going to handle Iran?  If he wins this election he is going to be saddled with Afganistan and is her going to be able to deal with the complex cultual differences they they present when he can't even handle London?  Now that's a thing.  Okay doing other things now.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

And Now The Swan Song

Long ago I realized that I hate titling things so I just made them make as little sense as possible and called it good.  Hello again and I am back for MOAR!  I am starting to come to the conclusion that excercing would be a good like choice to make but I hate running.  I just don't like it.  I never have and I never will.  I remember at the height of our DDR playing at one point a friend of mine and I wondered if we were in shape.  We almost were!  We were some badass sprinters and we had quite a bit of endurance so it is possible it just needs to become a thing I do.  I'll figgur it out somehow.  Maybe bike riding or something like that I dunno.  I loved riding my bike as a kid.

Lets talk about something else.  I am not sure what though I just know I am in the mood to write.  Oh pop politics!  That is what I wanted to talk about because this is a brilliant little topic.  I came up with the idea late one night after anime club when we were talking about stuff in the parking lot.  I forget how it came up but a friend of mine suddenly asked "did the post office ever start making money".  This is a person who is someone who follows the tech news not the political side show abombination thing.  Yet it is something he knew just enough about to think it is a problem and to wonder if it has ever been resolved.  There are lots of things like this, the debt ceiling, the health care bill, and whatever else the GOP feels like making noise about.

The insidious thing about these pop political topics is that is they work on two levels.  One is that there is something fundamentally wrong with our country and two is that nothing ever gets done.  Lets go back to the post office point because it has some fertile territory.  Now there is some interesting topics that we can debate about.  Other countries have privatized their postal services to great effect and we already have Fedex and UPS in place.  It is possible for our post office to make a profit and having some discussion of maybe condensing down the number of offices we have or better yet modernizing them so we need less post offices in the future.  Something like that.  There are lots of level headed and interesting ways this conversation can go and it is something I've had the pleasure of talking about a couple of times.

The way the debate was framed was one congressman held up a chart and asked people, "When was the last time you've been in a McDonalds?  When was the last time you've been in a post office?  Then he pointed at the chart comparing the number of McDonalds vs PostOffices in the US as if this is a compelling argument.  I don't have the numbers and I am not getting them for you but there are MANY more post offices in the US than there are McDonalds.  This was the intelectual high point of the televised debate on the topic.  This was the best they could do.  This was what they considered good arguement.  Some asshole compared a place where you can get good fries and shitty food to a place that processes and distributes the mail with such speed and effecency that you can mail things across the country and have it get there in the same week.  Your right the two are absolutely equivalent and we are all stupid for not seeing that earlier.  You guys can't imagine the unbridled fury I have towards that arugment and everyone fucking went along with it like comparing apples to oranges was the thing to do.  Okay enough about our failures to hold an intelectual debate, in fact I need a clean break from this paragraph.

The main point is that the post office can make money.  It is possible.  There is a million complex reasons why it isn't.  However, all of these reasons are linked to the fact that the post office has congress as a middle mananger.  The post master general can't make many changes without congressional approval and we all know how well that goes.  I realize I am saying this without substantiating it and I am sorry but it is lunch time and I am running low on time.  Google it and trust me you will find what I am talking about it isn't hard.

So the GOP makes massive hay out of an issue that is congress's fault as a whole and yet the squarely place the blame back on the post offiice.  In this patiular case they didn't do very much to make Obama look bad directly but here is the thing you don't have to.  They turned the post office into a big deal.  They turned it into a massive side show and the facts were grotesquely miss represented.  What is the big deal about the post office?  Well it is loosing money and we should have a talk about it.  That is pretty much it.  However, by making the issue seem much worse than it is and by dropping it in favor for the next "disaster" it leaves everyone feeling uneasy.  So what we have are a bunch of semi informed to uninformed people who know there is a problem with the post office and they know it was never really resolved.  The automatic question is what is the president going to do about it.  Of course THAT ISN'T EVEN THE RIGHT QUESTION.  I don't know why people think it is, but it isn't.  It is congresses' responsibility to move on things like this. Yet is seems more and more that the congress and the senate have become more interested in shifting blame around and not dealing with the problems at hand.

Oh well.

In other news I am considering getting into Tomarrow's War.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Yay I'mma Write Something

It isn't like I haven't been writing I just haven't been writing here.  That's the rub.  I considered dropping an update last night but I got started playing Dungeon Fighter Online and I was on fire so I decided to just do that instead.  When you are good at that game it is SO MUCH FUN!  Its player base is shrinking though and it will prolly be dead in a couple of years so I figure I should enjoy it while it is gonna last.  I was talking to a friend yesterday and she was talking to me about the stuff I've been considering for awhile but haven't told anyone about.  She thinks I should try making money off of blogging.  It is possible.  It wouldn't be this blog of course I'd start a new one and I would need a bunch of content on it before it would work out but it seems like a really good idea to me.  It is something I'd been considering but I need a focus.  Comics is something I love but it doesn't really work because I am a trade waiter and there is no way I am gonna start buying individual issues just so I can be current.  I could do gaming but in order to do that I either need some sort of campaign game like thing going or I need to buy lots and lots of games.  Neither of these seem palatable so I am going to give it a pass.  So looks like it is movies.  This will work out for me.  It is easy to stay current with movies and there is so much to say about them.  Best of all it works as a topic. 

In other news my game is truckin along.  I got some nice work done while I had my vacation.  Tonight or tomarrow I am going to rig up some more counters so I can do some play testing on it.  Right now I am hashing out the rules for heroes and stuff like that.  I need to make sure that the frail heroes are frail and that the tough heroes are tough which is easy enough. 

I also want to make it so that it can branch out into multiplayer territory.  I am thinking of maybe using cards to buy interrupt actions on other people's turns.  This is good because it keeps what is going on in a multiplayer game.  Though I gotta say multiplayer games are gonna be a meat grinder type situation.  That's cool though.

I'm at the point with "Paragons" where I think I can start branching out.  There are some other games I want to play but don't exist yet or they exist in a form that annoys me.  One is a mad scientist university worker placement game.  Where the goal is to build inventions for points but each of the invensions once built give neat bonuses.  Then of course there is the chance of things going terribly wrong and an invension running amok breaking/blowing things up.  I think it could be really themeatic and a lot of fun.  I won't lie I bought Caylus because I wanted to see how some of the other euro games work before I start designing my own.

I also want some sort of weird sports game.  Like blood bowl only, well you know cheaper.  Some upgraded mechanics wouldn't hurt either.  I'm thinking a super hero sports league sort of deal where the action takes place over half the planet or something similar like that.  Or a more toned down version involving wizards.  Wiz-War is so much fun and I think it would be even more fun with an all out brawl sports theme to it.  I don't know I'll do some brain storming on the matter soon.  Unfortunately I am going to go back to work and do things with dishes and harass people who don't wanna be harassed.

Friday, July 6, 2012


Not the book/movie about the football team that crashed in the mountains and ate their dead just the general sort of alive.  That is what I am.  Heya. 

So recently I haven't had very much to write about.  That usually happens when I am not reading enough but I have been.  I just haven't really felt the need to write about it.  I mean I read a neat article about how all the agriculture in the great plains is going to vanish.  That's troubling but ultimatly something I don't have an opinion on.  I read a really neat article about how Walmart is using local farmers to help themselves save costs and that was cool.  Again though something I am ultimatley opinionless on.  I've read a smattering of other things here and there and they are neat.  I've read more of DC's new 52 and there is some stuff there but not much.  I love the new Wonder Woman book by the way and everyone should at least give it a shot. But I haven't wanted to go into detail about any of them.  So yeah I dunno.  That's changing though.  It won't change now because I am going to have my lunch end before I can get into it but soon.  I want to write something on Savages.  I find that movie to be both maddening and interesting at the same time.  It is a movie that could of been beyond epic but they failed to give the blonde haired girl any sort of personality and thus the movie rotted at it's core.  I also wanted to talk about the post modern nightmare that is the new aetheist movement. 

Atheists are the sort of people who have more in common with Satanists than either of them want to admit.  For the most part they both look like little children railing against christiaity.  What's worse is that the more serious they become the more comical they end up looking.  Eventually it gets so bad that you can't help but wonder if you are taking part in some sort of brilliantly crafted Swiftian satire and any moment now you are going to get that sly wink to let you know that this is all really a joke and you aren't supposed to believe any of this crap.  It doesn't come though because Atheists are very seriouse people.  Not all of them of course there are some who I can get along with but for the most part it is a very dour belief.  I am not an atheist because I don't need to be.

There is something to that I think.  Today to be random I asked one of the little people scurrying around me is she was finding her life fulfilling.  Granted my question took her off gaurd and right when I asked it she was pouring pureed muck down the garbage disposal but still.  Why in gods name would you ever answer that question other than yes it is?  I mean I find my life fulfilling.  I am filling with laughture and curiosity.  I like highly difficult games that require a lot of though and planning.  I produce both creative works and intelegent thought in people, and I like to think that when I leave people their days are, for the most part, just a little bit brighter than before.  I surround myself with positive people and I work to learn new things.  I like my life and I find it to be highly fulfilling.  I can't imagine being in a situation where I would answer that question in the negative and then do nothing about it.  

Yet it happens day after day I see people who are so radically unhappy with their lives and yet they do nothing to help change it.  I don't understand but then again most people can't answer the question, "What is it that you do that is so important that you shouldn't kill yourself". That is a question posed to us by Camus.  I was the only person in the class who didn't need to think before coming up with reasons.

Oh well LUNCH is over and there is probably some work or something to be done.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

What Happend To Lain's Sister

Serial Experiment's Lain is one of those shows I want to force people to watch when they are all like "Lost has so many unanswered questions and I can't handle it".  I swear if they watched Lain those people would fucking shit themselves until they die.  Death by mystery.  Unlike Boogiepop Phantom and Paranoia Agent SE Lain takes a box of cockroaches approach to world building, story telling, and plot.  They just throw it down and watch stuff scatter, coherency be damned.  It is kind of amazing that something like that would even get made and be mainstream enough to be on tv and stuff but hey we are living in wonderful times. 

While there is a lot that is unexplained about Lain there is also a lot that can be if you are willing to take the time and really think things through.  That doesn't mean there is one right answer to what happened Lain isn't nearly coherent enough for a grand unifying theory.  However, one mystery always bothered me, and that is what happened to Lain's sister.

It is pretty obvious from the get go that her family are plants, creations by the god, or something that didn't do a biological function to create Lain.  I think we can all get on board with that.  Her sister however, always seemed like a weird outlier.  For one she stays around till the end of the anime lurking in the dark going "beep beep" over and over again.  Two she seemed to be utterly in the dark about what Lain is.  When she first started screwing around with her Navi she asks her dad, "Is that normal?" and he dad just kinda blows her off.  NO IT ISN'T NORMAL AND YOU ARE AN IDIOT FOR ASKING but hey what can you do.  Then there is her episode. 

Before that there is another episode.  I can't remember the name of it but it is about the computer game that was causing people to see the wired in real life.  It was the episode where a couple of seniors killed themselves and the kid accidentally did something aweful.  The game was called phatasma or something like that.  That is the first case where in the anime where the wired crossed over till real world and effecting people who were not Lain and stuff like that.  It was also the first time Lain got actually involved in the strange things going on in the Wired.  She tried to help the last kid but she said, "I can't go where you are".

At any rate the next episode is the "Fullfill the Prophesy episode" it is also the episode where her sister looses it.  Somewhere either late in the game episode or early in the "Fullfill the Prophesy" episode Lain tells her dad that the real world and the wired aren't as separate as people believe. 

What I beleive is that the game Phantasma wasn't a work the Knights but instead the work of "God".  I think it was his early attempts to affect the real world by turning it into the wired.  The next episode I think he tries to extend his reach further and target's Lain's sister.  Why?  I don't know exactly.  However, I am positive that she comes under some form of attack and ultimatly she is pulled out of the real world and into the wired.  What replaces her sister is some sort of weird shell that starts to break down.  We have a lot of evidence to suggest that Lain is in two places at once a lot of the time and most of the anime seems to be a mergering of her two selves.  When her sister split in two her replacement sister told lain that there was nothing by the doorway when in fact there was some strange wired after image which is the last vestiges of her real sister fading away.

Lain was distracted all episode talking to dolls and eventually her parents.  Or rather images of her parents.  I think she wanted to save her sister but all this happened before she had a proper control over her abilities.  I think this is also why her sister stuck around the whole anime long after her parents left.  Anyway that's what I think and I love you all.  

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Well that was Fun Yesterday

Yesterday I ended up writing up a quick and dirty after action report of puerto rico.  That was FUN!  So much fun that I think I wanna make a thing of it.  I can do more than just track what games I play I can also track how I play and what we do.  I think it will be neat.  To bad my phone's camera is sub par otherwise I could augment it with pictures.  Oh well maybe someday you know?  At any rate it is neat though certain games don't lend themselves well to this sort of thing paticularly Wiz-War and Dominion but I'll figure something out and between the two gaming nights I have we can manage something.  Also it will just be a thing that I will prolly get tired of in a couple of weeks then never do again.  Still it will be fun while it lasts.  I mean I also want to do board game reviews but I don't buy enough to really justify making a thing out of it so that's the end of that then. 

So I have some manditory time off coming up which is pretty exciting.  I plan on making some serious progress on my game which has addmittedly stalled a little bit.  This is partially to do with the fact I am tired.  It also has to do with the fact that I am in sort of a boring chore portion.  I need to make more counters I need to label the counters, and then I need to push them around a bit to see how I want things to work.  As it stands tanks aren't scary enough.  THAT needs to change.  I mean they do good on their own but defense bounuses are pretty easy to come by.  I am going to change that by doing a combination of increased attack power and a special order called marking shot or perhaps bore sighting I can't decide.  I might make the marking shot something engineers can do.  I want Engineers to be awesome and a target worth killing.  They pretty much are already but making tanks super awesome is something really cool.  They need some sort of defensive option if I am going to do that though cause otherwise people will be slaughtering them left and right.  With just troops this is okay when heroes get involved though it might be a little bit more tricky. 

I was planning on going to Pelicon but I just looked at the list of events and I just don't know.  I want to get more into wargaming but around here that means "Flames of War" and that's just a no go for me.  I've fallen in love with hex and chit gaming and that's that pretty much.  Also no more miniature games.  Ugh, they take up space, they need tons of care and feeding, and I just don't want to bother.  Also there is a lot to be said for the level of detail found in hex and chit over a miniature game.  You can do more and I think as a genra it has been largely unexplored due to the ammount of historical gaming, however I've already written extensivly on that subject.

Backtracking a bit I am super excited for the new Super Dungeon Explore stuff and I am even more excited for Leviathans.  Those are going to be some good times.  I am a little worried that I won't get to play Leviathans as much as I like and that it will suffer a similar fate to battletech but I also don't care.  I just had a battletech though actually.  I know that the minatures come it two scales there is main and battleforce.  I also know that the mechs in the 25th annaversary boxed set aren't to the main scale.  I wonder how close they are in size to the battle force minis?  I should look into that because while I just said I wasn't going to get into another miniature game totally want more mechs.  I'll look into that in a minute.  It is sad because I really love battletech and I have the dice for it, we should play it more.  I kinda need to review the rules a bit though.  I'll do that tomorrow night maybe. I'll have to do the battleforce thing when I get home though, I can look at porn all day while I am at work but heaven forbid I try to access  Fuckers. 

Next week is going to be a quiet one as I get productive again.  I need to get back into the swing of working on my game and I need to get a shadowrun game session up and running.  Both are time consuming but a lot of fun.  TA!

Friday, June 15, 2012

So Lets Try This Again!

Yesterday I decided to write a blog post because I haven't in awhile and WHY NOT!  I mean I should be working on my game or Shadowrun but a little free writing is good for the soul.  Anyway I started writing about how complex wargaming is hard, and how I don't like Vassal, and some other stuff and it all came out sounding really frustrated and highly negative.  I was troubled by this and I realized once again that I very much need a vacation and to relax.  Some definite chilling will be happening on my next two days off.  I mean outside of work I am happy and optimistic.  On some level it is a little troubling how compleatly I can compartmentalize what happens here at work versus the rest of my life.  On the other hand, whatever essential survival tool for the win.

Since my vacation is going to be quite a ways away I need to focus on some other things like changing gears and short term problem solving.  That is starting right now and both of those things seem to be working out pretty well.

In other news I am excited to be running shadowrun.  Normally I want to tell a grand story and do all this stuff and throw the system to the wind.  However, this time I really want to take the time and get the system down.  I'll learn the ins and outs and become really good at it.  Right now I have a really decent group of players who understand what I want to be doing and they are okay with that.  They also are playing a nice variety of classes that will really allow me to spread out and try a few bunches of things.  Like vehicle chases which I am pretty excited about.  I want to start planning but it looks like Kelley will be joining us after all so I wanna see what we come up with for him before I do anything to serious.

I also want some new board games but before that, last night we played Puerto Rico and I didn't do horribly!  I normally do at that game.  I am not sure why, but I seem to have a hard time getting a rhythm down.  It is the same problem I have with Jagged Alliance 2 actually.  I just don't really know how to functionally approach the game, and I seem to have such a hard time with money production.  Or I have an AMAZING time with money production and then I end up shipping nothing and loosing the game.  This time though I did okay.  I went Indigo king and one other player tried to but I was able to lock him out each and every time, and since I had the foresite to build a warehouse and the hacienda I was never short workers and should I get screwed shipping my warehouse saved me.  I did good!  Not great but certainly not aweful and it was the first game where I actually felt present during play.  So I am pretty happy.  Right now I just need to balance my cash production a little better and I would of been golden.  I wanted to break into coffee I really did but at no point during the game did I have enough for a roaster.  I also needed at the minimum a market and possibly an office.  Also buying a warehouse before I could produce anything might have been a mistake but I wanted to grab one before they ran out,

My lunch is over but this is 1000% more upbeat so I am glad this is happening to me.  I am doing good now and things are going to happen hooray!  Alright back to work.