Are “Gamers” Dead? No. (A Response to Backlash of #GamerGate)

I suppose I could end this post there, and that would be it.  But I want to expand on this, because some recent conversations and watched some videos following the end of the whole GamerGate fiasco and it got me to thinking.

I don’t know what happened along the way.  Perhaps I forgot about what happened to disillusion me to corporate news and the bias in the media.  I forgot that the news is bias as fuck and the world of reporting facts just doesn’t exist.  The Huffington Post doesn’t make money by writing factual stuff.  They make money with click-bait horseshit.  For real, it’s all too dumb to be a political agenda.  These sites just want to make money.  So they pander a certain line in order to do so.  I hardly read The Huffington Post anymore, because I just got tired of all the crap that I see on there.  I read The Guardian and watch BBC and PBS for my news.  When I saw the story about Zoe Quinn and all that BS, I got annoyed because I always kind of figured that a medium that supports a hobby of mine would be above that kind of petty crap.  But I forgot that all media is like this.  How did I forget?  Who knows.

Now, however, I realize something – who the fuck cares what Kotaku or any of those sites have to say?  I never really followed them all that closely anyway.  I would watch Angry Joe, The Investigamer, Angry Video Game Nerd and several others on YouTube in order to hear about new games, along with Gametrailers, and I would watch trailers and evaluate them for myself, outside of the whole sphere of what people on news websites that don’t do real research anyway have to say.  I would actually think for myself and talk to the people who I know who are gamers (which has gotten a lot smaller these days.  For real, I remember a time when I would see a new trailer and gush with my people.  Now, it’s just me and my split personality.  Sigh…) and we would do our own thinking.  What does anybody care what people at Kotaku think?  So a woman decided to sleep with a person who reviewed her game.  This is media, after all.  And as I’ve said, it’s all corrupt.

But there is something that I thought was worth commenting on.  A final part of the backlash that really ended the discussion once gamers like me realized that the other side of this debate has nothing of any worth to say.  What was this little tidbit?  They said that the term “Gamer” is dead and that the gamer culture is also dead.  And you know what – that’s bullshit!  It couldn’t be further from the truth.  Gamer culture is doing great!  Most people didn’t even hear about all this stuff with Zoe Quinn, because they didn’t care.  They were too busy being pissed at EA for fucking up yet-another Sims game in the latest version.  They were too busy being underwhelmed by the overhyped Destiny.  Or, if they are me, they are too busy with class and stuff that matters to get involved in any of this BS.  Gamers are too busy playing games.

What’s more, all the people like Anita Sarkeesian and her ilk aren’t even talking about anything worth talking about anyway.  You know why?  Because they are painting the gaming community as a bunch of neckbeards who sit in basements and hate women, when the reality couldn’t be further from that.  Gamers are normal people!  For real, the average age of a gamer is 25-35.  The people who love this medium the most are those who grew up with it and have watched it grow into what it is today.  It is a lot of guys, but a lot of women who are unique and fun people are getting into it as well.  The latest people to join the party and millennials, and you know what – they are less sexist than ever beore.  All this stuff about how oppressed women are in this country is bullshit and the fact that people like Anita Sarkeesian and her followers can only complain about video games, with that being the high point of their argument about sexism and misogyny, shows that they have no real ground to stand on.

Gamers are not just neckbeards in basements.  They’re professionals.  They’re stoners.  They’re liberals.  They’re conservatives.  They’re straight and gay.  They’re casual and hardcore.  They’re men AND women.  They’re young and old.  They’re all walks of life.  Everybody plays video games.  Anita Sarkeesian has NO basis for her accusations for all the misogyny in gaming because the fact is – she’s wrong!  If all this misogyny were so ubiquitous, then why is it that people are now more accepting and open-minded than ever before?

Gaming is now a force to be reckoned with.  I remember an article where they talked about how Halo 4 premiered with sales that were in the same range as Hollywood movies.  Companies like the now defunct Studio Ghibli (may they rest in peace *sad face*) teamed up with a gaming company to make an AMAZING RPG called Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch.  This medium is everywhere.  It is now being recognized more and more as an art medium, with games like Limbo, Shadow of the Colossus and Journey telling beautiful and heart-wrenching tales with visual elements that help the story grow.  You get characters like Joel and Ellie and the beautiful and tear-jerking relationship that develops between them in The Last of Us.

So gamers aren’t dead.  Gaming culture is alive and well.  In fact, it’s bigger now than it’s ever been, and that doesn’t look to change.  But hey, Kotaku, if you want to believe that gaming is dead, then please, go and write about something else.  Maybe you’ll find your niche somewhere else.  See how that works out for you.

Until next time, a quote,

“But I warn you, you will be missed.  For all of 30 seconds.”  -Shirley Schmidt, Boston Legal

Peace out,

Maverick

Lucien’s Review: Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Captain America The Winter SoldierFor those wondering why it has taken so long for this review, it’s simple – I didn’t see it during the summer and just got it on Netflix, and I thought that it was worth reviewing.  Expecting a more interesting answer than that?  Sorry, can’t help you there.  There’s another summer blockbuster that I will also be reviewing with that being the reason that I never saw it when it came out.  I’ll give you a hint – it’s the one with the X-Men.  But I did finally get around to seeing this movie, and I must say, I was pleasantly surprised.  This is a very good movie.  Considering that this is a Captain America film, that is the most surprising thing of all.  I make no secret of what a joke I think Captain America is, but this movie was quite a fun ride.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.

The plot of this film picks up where Avengers leaves off, with Captain Steve Rogers still a fish out of water, trying to find his place in the world.  He’s still working for S.H.I.E.L.D., but doesn’t feel the calling the way he used to.  He quickly realizes that the world he lives in may not be made for him, but corruption within the clandestine organization leads him to be back in the fight.  Especially when a ghostly enemy, called the Winter Soldier, enters the fray.  Now, Rogers must team up with Natasha Romanov and a new friend named Sam Wilson, AKA Falcon, to figure it all out.

The first thing to know about this film is that it is a LOT darker than I thought that a film about this character could be.  Steve Rogers confronting the fact that the entire life that he knew was gone was actually pretty hard.  It wasn’t just literal, either.  It was thematic.  So much of the values that he had been taught to believe in had changed and he was stuck with the realization that he might not have a place in this world.  This film doesn’t shy away from its darkness and it is made better for that.

But that’s just the heavy stuff.  The other stuff is great.  The action scenes are awesome.  As a villain, the Winter Soldier is a boss, and he knows it.  The fight choreography with the fights between him and the Captain are just great, with both of them being evenly matched and able to dish it out with the best of them.  I could watch this movie just for those fights and be thoroughly entertained.

Every character in the film is fun to watch.  The introduction of a character as silly as Falcon could have been a total disaster, but he made a nice addition, with them giving him some background as a soldier who served in the Middle East and became disillusioned with war, trying to find a way to live a normal life.  The titular Winter Soldier is a VERY cool bad guy, with his identity being shrouded in mystery until just the right moment.  It adds another level of bittersweet to the film when Rogers has to face the reality that he may end up having to kill his oldest friend and last remaining link to his former life.  They even manage to give Romanov some more identity.  There is also a character from the first movie who comes back in a really cool way.

Of course, as expected, the big action scenes are awesome.  I’m not telling anybody anything new there.  The third act of the film was freakin’ awesome!  It had it all and it never let up.

All-in-all, this was a far better movie than I anticipated.  I thought that I was going to have to suffer through a by-the-numbers superhero film, and this film surprised me.  Is it a great film?  It came closer than a thought, but no.  Still, it’s awesome to watch and I hope you all enjoyed it too.

Final Verdict
8 out of 10

Peace out,

Maverick

SIONR: The Last of Us Movie Will Suck (Part Deux)

In case any of my audience didn’t know, they are making a film version of The Last of Us.  I have already talked about how the movie is going to suck, because there is no way that they could capture all the humanity of the game and the scale of time that the player was able to experience.  Plus, there is NOBODY who can fill the role of Joel and Ellie in real life who will do the characters justice.  For real, nobody.  It just can’t be done.  To try and do that is madness.  But now new information has come out about the proposed film that has made me convinced even more that it is going to suck.  There are some hardcore spoilers ahead, just so you know.  So if you haven’t played the game, well, I guess you’ve been warned.

In a recent article, Sony said that the film version of The Last of Us is not going to be like the game in terms of story.  This statement interests me because – the story of the game is both morally and ethically ambiguous.

Here’s the thing about modern America – they hate moral ambiguity in films.  They don’t like to have to think too hard.  Look at the success of filmmakers like Michael Bay.  He beats people over the head with the obvious message that he is trying to get out.  Then there is James Cameron’s latest work, “Avatar.”  That film has a message so blatant that it might as well hold up a big sign telling people what to think.  There is no subtlety in popular film.  I mean, does anybody else remember that scene in “Twilight” where Bella lays out how she feels about Edward?  I feel so bad for Kristen Stewart.  That scene must have been as hard to shoot with a straight face as it was to watch.  So when I think about a film version of The Last of Us, and I think about the fact that they are not going to follow the game too close, that leaves me a little bit worried.

There are a couple of scenes in the game that really get me thinking about this.  The first is the creepy interactions between Ellie and the leader of the bandit group, David.  David has her locked up in a cell and some of what happens between them is REALLY unnerving.  The part where he grabs her hand and the look on her face when he does this is powerful subtle.  It’s like a sex scene without anyone getting naked.  She immediately sees what this man is for herself, and she doesn’t want anything to do with it.  Then there is the final confrontation between the two in the restaurant, where David is beating her and choking her.  She gets his machete and then starts hacking the man to pieces.

The other point of moral ambiguity is when Joel decides to take Ellie from the hospital after he finds out that the cure for the plague that she has in her mind could only be extracted by killing her.  He decides to sell humanity up the river and doom the entire world to protect this one life that has given him a reason to live again.  He slaughters his former allies and even kills the woman who paired him and Ellie up in cold blood.  He lies to Ellie about what happened, so she doesn’t go back, once she comes to.

Lastly, there is the very end, when the two arrive back at Tommy’s compound.  Ellie was skeptical of Joel’s lie, but never said anything until they get back.  She tells him the circumstances of her infection, which tells a lot about her beliefs and shows that Marlene was right – Ellie would have wanted to die or the salvation of the human race.  She makes Joel swear that what he told her was true, which he does without a moment’s hesitation.  She knows that he’s lying, but decides to accept this lie, because Joel is now the most important person in her life.  The father she never had.  In him, she had also found a reason to keep going.

Will a film version of the game be comfortable with this level of moral ambiguity?  Part of the reason that we accept Joel’s cold-blooded murder of Marlene is because we came to understand the darkness inside of him that was born from years of living like a monster.  We came to care about the paternal relationship between him and Ellie.  Especially when he is saying the same things to Ellie that he said to his own daughter when he is carrying her out of there.  It’s a MAJOR tear-jerker moment when you are listening to his fear and his desperation, when he is trying to escape.  Could a film have that kind of dilemma without alienating the simpleton audience that permeates our culture these days?  Could the same people who liked “Avatar” like a film like this, which demands that they digest the same things that the characters in the game did?  I don’t know.

I genuinely believe that this movie is going to suck.  For real, there is no convincing me that it won’t.  If I’m wrong, then I’ll eat my words.  But there is no reason to think that it will be good.  Sony’s rush to get this game turned into a movie baffles me, but whatever.  I guess we’ll see how bad the damage is soon enough.

Until next time, a quote,

“Oh no, sir. With respect, can I stop you? No, with a poem or any work of art we can never say ‘in other words’. If it is a work of art there are no other words.”  -Timms, The History Boys

Peace out,

Maverick

The Europa Mystery: Part 5

The elevator started going down and I was immediately enraptured.  It could see outside and I saw lights below.  They were distorted and I knew – we were underwater!  Under the waters of Europa, at last!  This was the coolest day of my entire life.  I clung tightly to Angie’s necklace, wishing I could somehow send to her my feelings about this moment.  She would be one of the first people I wrote that night, once I got a Net link.  Then, something caught my eye – a submersible!  I could see it moving around the elevator, as if trying to shock us.  It worked.  A ton of people freaked out, thinking it was about to hit us.  But it didn’t.  This thing was able to move with the same deftness as a fish.  It was amazing to watch.  It looked so sleek, but appeared big enough to hold several people.  Something to do on-site experiments with?
The closer we got to Atlantis, the better I could see it, and holy shit was this place big!  None of the schematics or video did it justice!  There were bubbles coming from vents, with a vast spectrum of lights mingling with them.  It was like a rising river of stars.  It was circular, with a tower in the center that the elevator was connected to.  I could tell that there was another part that descended far down below.  As we got closer, I noticed something – no windows.  Part of that made sense.  I mean, what was there to look at anyway?  Not to mention, in an underwater facility, windows sounded like one hell of a structural weakness.  Too many things could go wrong.  I had a feeling that this place would feel very compressed without windows.  Would make for a stressful environment.  I wonder how they got around that?  I would find out soon enough.

The elevator docked at the bottom of the shaft.  After a decompression sequence for a few seconds, a virtual interface came on and welcomed us to Atlantis.  I stepped out and it was amazing!  While there were no actual windows, there appeared to be.  What’s more, they were showing images of a sunny day, in a field without the slightest tint of red.  Earth?  Amazing.
This place was everything I was hoping it would be and more.  So many people, all with different color uniforms for the various departments.  I could hear conversation buzzing about the work to come, the excitement from everybody who could see a bright future.  I couldn’t wait myself.  Part of me desperately wanted to go down to where my Band told me my station was and get down to business, but according to the integrated clock, I was not on for another 12 hours.  Best to get some rest.  I did feel a little tired.  Funny, considering that I had been in a freezer for over a month.  Still, part of me was utterly exhausted.  Mari and I got to our room and I got to link into the Net.  It was already up and running!  I sent a message to the folks, telling them that I had arrived.  Sent one to Angie as well, telling her how much I was missing her and wishing she was with me, because this place is so cool.  Then it was to the mess hall, to meet up with Lucas.
Walking around the joint, I couldn’t believe just how integrated everything was.  My Band was updated, and I would be getting my neural implant as soon as tomorrow.  Becoming augmented like the people on Earth.  I was so stoked.  Kind of wanted to go to work now, but I got why they were waiting to have us get down to it.  After all, we would have to get our implants and learn how to sync with the new tech.  It’s like being taught a new skill as a kid, or so I’m told, like tying one’s shoes.  It becomes simple, but it seems crazy-difficult.  So many new things, it was all a little overwhelming.
This mess hall was so crazy.  I felt a wind on my face, and could see a simulated open-air environment around me, like this was some kind of park that I was eating at.  Could hear birds chirping and the background noise and everything.  It was so weird!  This place felt so alien, yet so familiar too.  It was weird.  Dinner tonight was a very balanced diet, with the main dish being chicken Parmesan.  It’s so strange, how this place felt so realistic, yet was all just an illusion.  New technology that amazed me, yet also got me to thinking – is this because they’d rather be at home?  I mean, if you are going to make this place look like somewhere on Earth, then doesn’t that mean you’d rather be there?  Maybe I was being pessimistic.  After all, what else was there to look at?  It all just felt like wasted potential.  Like it could be so much more.  I mean, let me have a crack at it and I would get the walls looking like some underwater playground on some foreign world.  That would eff with people’s expectations.  In fact, I wondered if I could do that.
I turned on my Band, looking for where the interface was.  All rooms had one.  Had to, really.  Otherwise, nobody would be able to sync into the base’s operations.  I got connected into the network and started to slip in to the maintenance systems.  Hacking is a delicate art.  Rather than force my way into a system, which would set off all kinds of bells and whistles, my programs were made to quietly go around a system’s defenses.  This place was not as strong as I anticipated.  That caught me off-guard.  But still, I was in.  After mulling through the various systems, I found what I was looking for.  Another firewall to pass, and it wasn’t hard.  Of course, if I didn’t want to set off any alarms, I had to be careful what I injected into the projection.  After thinking it over for a few minutes, I finally had it.  Several people in the mess hall looked up as they saw a pink elephant doing ballet through the trees.  Lucas also noticed, suddenly looking over at me.  I gave him a wink.  We shared a quiet laugh.

The next morning, I was down to it.  The first stop was the Medical Bay.  If I thought that the Mess Hall was cool, this place was state-of-the-art!  For real, they had holographic interfaces, these trippy pods where a person can have almost any kind of surgery done, in the event of an emergency and no physician.  The room was all-white, with the staff in these trippy white outfits.  Needless to say, I felt safe with them.  But, of course, my muscle was there to watch my back.  It was kind of funny to watch her reaction.  She got her neural implant at the same time.
When the connections to the implant came online, it was a whole other world!  I’m telling you, I was in awe!  Immediately, everything became sharper and clearer.  Scanning protocols came online and I could get a reading on just about anything.  Even the people.  Their bios would pop up if I wanted them too.  There were SO many ways to use this technology, and I couldn’t wait to fiddle with it.  Indeed, that was something I made a point to myself to do a lot of.  It was like being in a virtual reality game.  This was so cool.  I looked at myself in the mirror and saw my own information being displayed.  I could scan anything I wanted to.  I analyzed my entire body, to see what I could find.  I was wearing Angie’s necklace, and did an analysis on it.  It seemed so ordinary, what came back.  It told me what the metal was made of, that there were a couple of jewels imbedded in the spherical part.  It told me that the necklace was not especially strong, not made for violent impacts.  Such a basic analysis, yet it meant the world to me.  Each word was committed to memory, and I would never forget them.
Next up was my work station.  Again, this place was as state-of-the-art as one could ask for.  The drone bay was a place of hectic action!  Each person got their own station.  My interface pointed me to mine.  A lot of these controls were familiar to me.  I was in charge of a short-range drone, with the job of taking samples and analyzing them.  Yeah, it sounds about as exciting as it was, but you have to understand – we were on the cusp of something!  The water samples that I got on my first day were teeming with the chemical processes that we had come to anticipate.  This water was primordial soup.  There were chemical bonds that indicated the growth of life.  It may not be be actual celled organisms yet, but there was so much potential!  Everybody was excited.  The work may have seemed monotonous, to some, but we each wanted to be the person who made the big discovery.  This place hadn’t been working for long, so it could happen at any time.  Any one employee could be that one.  Of course, most of the drone workers were with the repair teams.  I could hear constant buzzing of comm traffic between teams out in the deep and those assisting with drones.  Constant maintenance was a must with this place.  Every time something was reported as a potential issue, they took it seriously.  Granted, nothing major had been malfunctioning yet, but better safe than stupid.
At the end of my shift, I went to the Mess Hall and met up with Lucas.  Turns out, his day had been more eventful.  He got to be front-and-center with the scientists who were studying the samples we got them.  I could hear at an adjacent table argument about what some of the samples could mean.  I felt so lucky.  It was such an honor, to be among these great minds and be a part of it.  I may pilot a drone, but so what?  I was here.

That night, I sent another message to my parents.  I got their reply not long afterwards, with them being totally stoked.  Dad kept saying how he was sure that I was going to be the one who found the first life forms.  I didn’t have the heart to tell him that if anybody found life, it was more likely to be Lucas.  After all, all we did was collect samples.  It was their job to analyze it.
After talking to the parents, I linked in with Angie.  I sent her the data I compiled about the necklace she gave me, telling her how much this means to me.  She didn’t quite follow, but said it was sweet.  I wished she was here.  Mari could tell that I was having some issues, but could tell that it was best if she left it alone.  That woman has a gift at knowing when to butt in, and when not to.  Her work station was right next to mine.  I was such a little girl around her, constantly telling her about the minutia of my day like it was the most exciting thing in the history of space travel.  I swear, this woman will make a great mom someday, in how she would just listen and pretend that she got why I was so stoked.

Days passed in the station.  I was trained on how to operate the longer range drones, to go out further.  One day, I was given given a pass to go to the vehicle bay and actually learn how to operate a submersible!  Can you believe it?!  Yeah, felt like pretty hot shit at that point.  Of course, I wasn’t about to say that in front of the instructor.  This guy did NOT play.  He was a hard-nosed man who took safety and all that very seriously.  I get that.  It’s important to not play with equipment that you have to depend on for your life.  But the little kid inside of me was having too much fun!
After about a month, there had been lots of mapping of the nearby sea bed and ice formations.  There was as much study of the ice above as the rocks below.  The mapping system was almost complete.  Granted, it wasn’t easy.  The sea bed of Europa was a mess of deep trenches and sandy dunes.  There were more signs of life, but it was still eluding us.  The scientists took this as a challenge.  They knew that something was down here with us, but it was too shy to come out and play.  They were not dissuaded.  If lie was going to be found, it would be found by them.
The real break in all this came about a week later.  You won’t believe by who.  Lucas was down at my work station, guiding me through an exploratory mission into a cave we had found.  They wanted somebody on-site during the exploration.  Lucas wasn’t the only one.  There was a scientist that he was paired with.  A young woman, who Lucas clearly had a crush on.  Thankfully, she didn’t mess with him the way some women would.  She kept it professional, but didn’t treat him like a whipping boy.  It was courteous and pleasant.
We came into a passage and I shined the light on the rock formations.  Something was odd about them.
“Bring the camera in closer, would you?” Lucas asked.  Both him and the scientist leaned in closer.  They weren’t the only ones.  Everybody who wasn’t busy was now moving over.  If the break was about to come, they wanted to be there.  I panned closer.  It was something!  But what?!
“Run through the imaging spectrums, would you?” the other scientist asked.  The room got quiet.  I cued up the system, going through the various imaging systems.  Suddenly, we had it!  Infrared!  There was heat!  Not just heat, but a network of heat!  You could hear a pin drop.  I had a hunch, switching to x-ray filter.  That’s when I saw it.  It was coral!  The entire cave wall was covered in the stuff!  I panned back, switching back to infrared.  The coral growth filled the entire space.  There was more!  I took water samples. A kind of algae was in here!  The cave had heat coming from the back.  This was likely some kind of volcanic vent.  The coral was feeding on the algae!
“Ladies and gentlemen, we have life!” I announced.  The room went absolutely nuts.  For real, you have NEVER seen a group of people get so stoked.  Lucas hugged me tight, knowing that this was our discovery.  Mari smiled at me and the female scientist hugged the two of us.  I felt like a million fucking bucks.  We had done it!  We had found life outside of our planet!  Alien fucking life!  This was the best day of my life.

Until next time, a quote,

“The real story of the ocean begins where you left off!”  -Captain Nemo, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

Peace out,

Maverick

Musical Insanity: God Made Girls

I haven’t done a post like this in forever!  Guess there hasn’t been a song worthy enough to join this list.  That’s not to say that there hasn’t been a lot of bad music.  I mean, have you seen what’s on the charts these days?  But nothing that is truly insane enough to keep my attention.  Until now.  I have found a song that is so nuts and drives me so nuts.  It’s a country song, and anybody who knows me knows that I HATE country music.  Almost as much as I hate modern rap, but that’s a whole other thing.  Country music is terrible, and the modern breed is just the worst.  Back in the day, when you had singers doing songs about drinkin’ beers, gettin’ in fights and losing their dog and truck, those were pretty good.  But now we have music about ‘Murica and how great God and the flag are.  This song is in the breed of how great God is.  Know why?  Because, sillies – he made girls.  Why did he do this?  Well, listen to the song and see for yourself.

Wow, it’s finally happened – me and the Tumblr feminists have actually found common ground.  You all have NO idea how little that happens.  This song is probably sending the WORST message to girls that I have ever seen!  I mean, is this kid for real?!  I don’t want to come down too hard on her, because she looks young and probably didn’t mean for it to be this demeaning (she has the look of blonde airhead.  Don’t blame me, it’s clear that that was the intention of the fashion style), but this song really is.

For starters, why do all the things that God made girls to do center around pleasing guys?  For real, girls are supposed to flirt, hold guy’s hands, wear pretty little skirts?  Why does that put the image of porn in my head?  Oh, right, because that is pretty much all women in porn do – look pretty, flirt and wear pretty little skirts.  The difference being that in porn, the skirts aren’t on for long.  I guess, for this girl, the skirt’s on until marriage.

Next, this song also makes men look REALLY stupid.  For real, this song is about stupid girls and stupid guys.  Think about it – the girl helps them get dressed up, gives them a reason to wash their truck, drags their butts to church and teaches them to dance.  What are any of these skills worth?  Oh, right, nothing.  Because us guys are too dumb to do anything on our own, so we need our womens to do these things for us.  What’s more, God approves!

I’ve always known that the Bible is a horrifically sexist document.  God is totally cool with slaves being taken from conquered nations and for those slaves to be used, sexually.  God is totally cool with a man using the female slaves of his wife, sexually.  God is totally cool with a rape victim being forced to marry their rapist.  So yeah, this is kind of proving a contention that I’ve always had – God is a sexist pig who designed women to be used by men in just about every way.  How is that something that people are cool with?  Oh, right, Christians have always been REALLY good at cherry-picking the parts of the Bible they want to listen to and which parts they don’t.  Forgot that for a minute.

Like I said, I don’t want to come down on this kid too hard.  Poor little RaeLynn looks and acts like one of these derpy little music starlets who doesn’t know the first thing about anything.  But this song is actively terrible and anybody who says otherwise is a fucking idiot.

Until next time, a quote,

“Somebody’s gotta run up that tree.  Somebody’s gotta transmit rabies.  Somebody’s gotta run around, so God made squirrels!”   -Jaclyn Glenn

Peace out,

Maverick

Top 10 Sword Fights in Movies and TV

Before we get too far into this, let me say that this does NOT include anime.  Sword fights in that are a genre unto themselves and that is list for a whole other day.  However, movies and, to a far lesser extend, have given us some pretty epic sword fights.  Battles between two combatants where the defining characteristic is whether or not one is better than the other.  For this list, I chose the fights that either had the best choreography, the best witty banter between combatants or the most emotional themes happening at the time.  Does that last one sound like a weird criteria?  Well, we’ll get there when we do.  Also, fair warning, there is at least one entry on this list that has some spoilers attached to it.  Just thought you should know.

Lord of the Rings The Fellowship of the Ring10. Aragorn vs. Lurtz
Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
For a series with as many epic battles as there are in the Lord of the Rings films, there aren’t that many sword duels.  And the one major duel that there is actually is refreshingly realistic.  This battle is short.  Anybody who knows anything about actual fights in the real world knows that people who know what there doing aren’t typically in fights for long.  A skilled fighter can make short work of an opponent.  This duel is no exception.  Aragorn is out of his depth, with Lurtz being stronger and tougher than him.  It is his skill with his entire arsenal and some blind luck that saves Aragorn’s life.  In an emotional part of the film, this was a very nice way to wrap it up, along with us finding out what Aragorn is made of.

Pirates of the Caribbean Curse of the Black Pearl9. Captain Jack Sparrow vs. Captain Hector Barbossa
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
If you’re going to have a swash-buckling pirate adventure, then you’ve got to have some good sword fighting.  Watching these two captains go head-to-head had everything that one could ask for.  As always, Jack Sparrow seems totally insane and incompetent until he is actually in the thick of it.  Barbossa is also no slouch, with the two being evenly matched, with one exception – Barbossa is invincible due to the curse.  He runs Jack through, showing that, as always, Sparrow came to the party ready to play.  The fight gets more and more intense until, at the last moment, Jack shows that he had a plan all along.  How it all ends is SO intense.

Troy8. Achilles vs. Hector
Troy
I don’t think I’ve ever seen a pwning look so epic as this one.  For real, Achilles kicks Hector’s ass and there was no doubt who the victor would be.  Hector does his best to put up a good fight, but he’s out of his depth, and I think part of him knows that, too.  The entire battle is Achilles playing with him, and the cold disregard that he has for Hector and his desire to do the right thing makes the battle that much more unpleasant.  Achilles is now so powerful a warrior that he doesn’t even care about the fight.  His entire part in the war on Troy is just an act of apathy and boredom.  It’s a surprisingly cold fight scene, which is emphasized perfectly with the music and pacing.

The Princess Bride7. Indigo Montoya vs. the Dread Pirate Roberts
The Princess Bride
This is a fight scene that is all about oneupsmanship and skill.  The fight choreography here is just awesome.  These two combatants appear evenly matched, with each one finding ways to get the upper hand on the other with both blade skill and witty barbs.  Montoya is a man of honor.  He is looking for the man who killed his father, to get revenge.  When he is ordered by the buffoon he is following to kill Roberts, he takes this task seriously, yet never will dishonor himself by fighting dirty.  He wants to win this battle with his skill alone, coming to quickly respect Roberts when he sees that his opponent may be his better.  How the fight ends is in the same honorable fashion, with Roberts also having nothing but respect for Montoya.  A duel of gentlemen.  How often do you see that?

Hook6. Rufio vs. Captain James Hook
Hook
It was a tough choice between this fight and the one between Peter Pan and Hook.  But to me, this one always felt more epic.  Rufio is clearly out of his league.  Hook is a superior swordsman, yet the look on his face when he knows that it is going to be a duel between him and the life-long enemy of the Lost Boys is just priceless.  And for a time, he appears that he might actually able to get the upper hand.  However, much like Achilles, Hook had been playing with Rufio the entire time.  It has a tragic ending, but it gives Pan the boost he needs to fight.  Until the annoying children step in.  Thank god the plot makes it so that their insipid lines don’t have to be suffered for long.  I love Dante Basco, and I think that this was the more engaging duel, short as it was.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon5. Jade Fox vs. Jen Yu
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Man, this is probably the best-choreographed fight ever!  These two women are so evenly matched that it is awesome to watch.  Were it not for the fact that the Green Destiny is indestructible, this fight could have gotten VERY ugly.  As it stands, this is still an amazing fight to watch, the point where pupil abandons the teacher and they throw their friendship away for the sake of a sword that seems to cause death and destruction wherever it goes.  But, as I said before, the best thing in this fight is the choreography.  All the different weapons that are used and the skill of the women using them it amazing to watch and how the fight ends is just classic.  Nothing like ending on a joke.

The Mask of Zorro4. Captain Harrison Love vs. Zorro
The Mask of Zorro
This is one of those fight scenes where the themes come in to play.  The new man behind the mask of Zorro lost his brother to Captain Love.  His desire for revenge has been motivating him for years.  All while he learned what it meant to be Zorro, he had the burning feeling in the back of his mind.  It all comes to a head in this fight, where it looks at first like Captain Love is just going to shoot Zorro and be done with it.  However, he chooses not to, wanting to kill this man with his own hands.  However, his arrogance proves to be his undoing, as he is killed in probably one of the most fitting revenge deaths ever.

Star Wars The Empire Strikes Back3. Luke Skywalker vs. Darth Vader
Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
It was a REALLY hard choice between this fight and the final duel between the two in Return of the Jedi.  However, this film takes it by a nose.  Aside from the fight choreography, which, let’s all admit, was pretty lame, this fight gets almost everything right.  The mood is amazing.  So much of this battle is mood.  It’s a battle of wills more than lightsabers between these two, with Luke being out of his depth and completely unprepared for what this fight would entail.  At first, it looks like Luke may do well in this battle, but then you see that Vader was also playing with him, when he starts throwing stuf at him with the Force.  For real, the scene where he is getting pummeled and his ass kicked at the same time is almost too intense.  And then, after he loses a hand and has nothing left, there is one of the greatest reveals in cinema history.  I’m sure that I don’t have to tell you what that is.

Kill Bill, Vol. 12. The Bride vs. the Crazy 88
Kill Bill, Vol. 1
When Quentin Tarantino set out to make these films, part of his inspiration was samurai movies and anime.  Nowhere is this more apparent than in this fight.  It has all the over-the-top action that would do both of those genres proud.  Not to mention, this scene has the greatest fight choreography is history!  How they managed to get this scene that perfectly done is beyond me.  For real, I’ll never know.  Having come all the way to Japan for her revenge, The Bride is now left having to kill the 88 bodyguards of O-Ren Ishii.  What ensues is a mess of totally fake blood, gratuitous gore and awesome action, the likes of which we may never see a batter version of ever again.  The random music sets the tone of each part of the fight almost flawlessly, with some of it being a throwback to old samurai movies and other parts being funny and ridiculous just because.  Quentin Tarantino at his very best.

And my favorite fight scene from movies and TV is…

Game of Thrones1. Brienne of Tarth vs. Sandor Clegane, AKA. The Hound
Game of Thrones
Now you know why I called it Movies and TV.  I can’t very well call this a movie, can I?  Though Game of Thrones is like a REALLY long film series, given the budget.  In any case, this is the greatest fight scene that I have ever seen.  Much like Captain Love vs. Zorro, theme comes to play a lot into why this fight is so intense.  It starts with Brienne and Podrick running in to Arya Stark.  Since she doesn’t know who they are, she calls in her traveling companion, Sandor Clegane.  Brienne figures out who Arya is, having made a promise to the deceased mother of the Stark family to look after her children.  The Hound points out that there is no place left for the Stark children, and that the entire family is dead.  This leads into a duel that has two broken warriors fighting not only with each other, but with themselves.  The Hound has accepted that he is going to have to look after Arya, having found kinship with her from the fact that neither of them have a place in the world.  Brienne feels dishonored as a knight, having failed to protect two of the people she has been vowed to protect, and now trying to save what little is left of the Stark family to preserve her honor.  This is a brutal fight, also being very realistic, and how it ends is painful and part of the reason that Game of Thrones has just been getting better and better.

So, what was your favorite fight scene in TV or movies?  Let me know in the comments section.

Until next time, a quote,

“Safety?!  Where the fuck’s that?!  Her aunt Illyri’s dead.  Her mother’s dead.  Her father’s dead.  Her brother’s dead.  Winterfell is a pile of rubble.  There is no safety, you dumb bitch.”  -Sandor Clegane, Game of Thrones

Peace out,

Maverick

The Moon Over the Field

As I do not have a camera that can capture the view I have seen the way I see it, I will describe for you tonight’s watching of the stars, so you can see in your mind how beautiful tonight’s view of the night sky was.

There isn’t a cloud in the sky.  Stars shimmer in their respective places, eager to be back in the visible spectrum, having been covered by monsoon clouds for several days.  A gentle breeze blows the leaves about.  Fall is nipping at the heels of what remains of the green here.  Leaves are starting to fall.  For some, this is a tragic scenario.  For me, it is beautiful.  Fall has such brevity here.  There is the three-month summer, the two-week spring and fall, then the LONG winter that never seems to end.  Though a few more years of climate change and we’ll see about that, right?  But for us, fall is a magical time.  The cold kills the bugs, and for those brief months, the beauty is everywhere.  Amber leaves, chilly winds, crisp morns.  Fall is my favorite time of year.

But back to the here and now, we also see a bright light source.  It’s the moon, out and almost completely full.  It shines over the field that I live on.  The grass is laden with heavy dew.  The moon is low over the field, just over the treetops.  The dew on the grass does as the water on the lake I used to live on does – carries the light.  It makes the entire field into a sea of pale glow that is so beautiful to look at and puts such peace in our heart.  It was beauty such as this that we missed in the city.

I always imagine that I could get lost in those stars.  There were times during the winter where the moon would be out as I am driving home down the road we live on.  My car is old enough that I can turn the headlights off.  I would do so and drive down the road with just the pale moon light guiding me.  Most people are either afraid of the dark or don’t like too much of it.  For me, there is nothing so beautiful in this world as a starry night with the pale moon light.  Granted, in the winter, it is also so fucking cold that it makes your skin fall off.  Still, there are worse ways to go.

That’s my introspective thoughts for the night.  Hopefully you all got to enjoy the stars yourselves.  Sleep well, my friends.

Until next time, a quote,

“Each night, when I go to sleep, I die. And the next morning, when I wake up, I am reborn.” -Mahatma Gandhi

Peace out,

Maverick