A Disrespected Genre

Okay, so, I have something that I want to talk about because I think that the bad rap that it gets is rather hypocritical.  I am, of course, talking about the Japanese animation, or just anime genre.  It is an industry that gets a rather bad rap among the American crowd in a lot of circles.  Those who are into it, like myself, are viewed as immature, dumb, or childish.  People say that they are just cartoons.  The statements like that are glorious hypocrisy.

I find it interesting that the same people who call it just a cartoon are often people who find a lot to admire in Pixar films like WALL-E and Ratatouille.  I have heard a lot of intellectual types giving great praise to several animated American films, while the anime genre is severly disrespected in many circles.  Let me ask you something- what exactly does a story have to have to be good?  What form must it take to be respected? 

I have this question with a lot of genres that I am interested in.  I view several videos games as having some really great stories.  The backstory of Bioshock is a work or art, and you are slowly told it through a series of audio logs.  You find out the story of a city that started out as a grand underwater utopia, and fell apart.  Finding out how it all happened, and the conspiracies of those responsible is intriguing to both the eye and the mind. 

It never ceases to amaze me how close-minded people are.  Just because a story takes a different form, it is not worthy of people’s respect.  Like we’ve never seen any animated characters with intellectual depth before.  Oh wait, we have!  It’s all over the respected American cinema and television.  But when it comes from another country, then it’s a problem. 

Look, I’m sorry, but people who don’t like anime for the reason that it’s a cartoon are just small-minded in my eyes.  It isn’t all made for kids.  In fact, my favorite series, Cowboy Bebop is a show that is not something I would let any kid I know watch.  It is a show about a group of bounty hunters, who more often than not end up killing the targets that they are chasing after.  It also has a backstory of violence and death which the main character, Spike Spiegel, is trying to run from.  The series is filled with characters who are trying to escape the past they have, but end up reveling in it, and often have it come back to them in horribly violent ways.

Then there is the series, Neon Genesis Evangelion.  This show is regarded as one of the greatest anime series’ of all time.  It tells the story of a young man, Shinji Ikari, who hates life, and hates living.  He has been charged with saving what remains of the human race, after a cataclysmic disaster called Second Impact wiped out half of the entire human race, and ravaged our entire planet.  Shinji is hopelessly alone, battling his own insecurities and his own hatred of living in order to save the few people that he cares about.  It is a story of love, loss, depression, and humanities final stand as a species.  Is that story bad just because it is animated?

Then there is the story of a new show that I have just discovered- Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion.  It tells the story of a young man named Lelouch vi Britannia.  He is the son of an emperor that he hates, who he blames for killing his mother.  Lelouch begins a campaign to destroy his father’s empire, and to take revenge.  He ends up becoming a much colder person, sacrificing his own conscience for the greater objective.  A character who is willing to do whatever it takes, and the cost of his own sense of integrity, is always part of a good story.  But of course, it isn’t respect, because it is animated.

Then there is the series- Fullmetal Alchemist.  It tells the story of two brothers who are working to reclaim all that they lost.  They end up becoming involved in a conspiracy which is too big for them, but they can’t afford to stop because they have nothing left to lose, and everything to gain.  It is a tragic tale of brotherly love, loss, and the will to keep going even after you have lost everything.  The entire series (the first one, anyway) is a tragedy that leaves both brothers losing by the end. 

There are a lot of great stories in the anime genre, but there are people who choose to dislike or disregard it for the sole purpose that it is animated.  Look, if you want to expand your horizons, you can’t afford to discredit an entire genre based on the sole fact that it doesn’t use real people.  The stories are no less compelling because it doesn’t have real people.  The tragedies are just as powerful.

I am one of those people who doesn’t discredit a story just because of the form that it takes.  But I don’t have a double-standard.  I am just as critical of the anime genre as I am of any of the other ones.  I am a very critical viewer, and if the story isn’t interesting, I tend not to stay interested for very long.  Granted, I am not particularly fond of the Western and Romance genre of anything, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t view them from time to time.

I get that people are naturally inclined to something things rather than others, but sometimes, to experience life in a full way, you have to be willing to step outside of your comfort zone.  This is actually a metaphor to how all things in life are.  Just because something doesn’t sound interesting doesn’t mean that it isn’t.  I hate country music, but I have a lot of respect for Johnny Cash.  Sometimes, to get all that life has to offer, you have to be willing to live a little. 

The anime genre is pretty freakin’ cool, and has a lot of great stories.  I implore you not to just judge it because it is animated.  If the success of studios like Pixar has proven anything, it is that animated characters can have intellectual depth.  It is possible, and it happens all the time.  And I hate to break it to you, but the Japanese have this really bad habit of pushing the envelope on what kinds of stories and ideas are acceptable.  You ever notice that some kinds of themes and ideas are just not talked about much in American film and television.  The Japanese are more fearless with their stories, the ideals that are raised in their stories, and they have a lot of questioning about the merits of religion rather often, or a different take on it, which American studios avoid like the plague.  Just a thought.

Until next time, a quote,

“I’m not going there to die, Faye.  I’m going to see if I’m still alive.”  -Spike Spiegel, Cowboy Bebop 

Peace out,

Maverick

Living in the Night

When you don’t sleep at night, you start to see the world through a different shade.  You start to see the world through a film, and you start to find youself not particularly caring about the activities of those who live in the day.  There are those who claim to live in the night, but they only live in the night for as long as the night allows them to continue their party, to continue to be active.  They don’t live in the real night.  The night for them involves loud music, loud noises, fluid exchanges, and flashing lights.  That’s not the real night. 

The real night is a feeling.  It is being immersed in darkness.  When one is able to feel the darkness running through them, and not feel afraid, that is the night.  People’s natural inclination is to fear the darkness.  People do everything that they can to escape it.  They try to cut through it with lights.  They do everything that they possibly can to keep themselves from falling into it, but in the end, it is always going to be there.  The darkness cannot truly be evaded and defeated.  The reason that that is the case is because the darkness is half of everything.

Tell people that darkness is half of everything, and all of the sudden, you get people all weirded out.  People are kind of weak about things, in my opinion.  So many people are scared stiff to go wandering in the darkness.  But there are some totally wonderful things about the darkness.  In the darkness, you can see some wonderful details.  The forest looks so much better in the summer when there is moonlight filtering through the trees, splashing the ground with silver.  Nature is so much more peaceful in the dark, because it is trying to sleep.

Darkness is also nice for thinking in.  I cannot count the number of times that I have lost myself in memories, staring at my glitter-filled lava-lamp, with it being the only light in the room.  I remember sitting in total darkness, letting my mind drift into the memories that have long gone by, or maybe not, who knows?  But the best parts about the night are the ones that you don’t spend alone.

I remember Griffin and I hanging out at night.  The two of us would talk all night about the world that we want, how we would make life better for everybody.  There was somebody in my heart that I was able to do the same thing with, but that was a long time ago.  I like nothing more than to chat with people at night, because I feel so much more thoughtful then.  I can talk for hours with certain people.  There was one person who I had been hoping more than anything to have the opportunity to chat with at night, but I doubt I’ll ever get the chance.  She and I…I don’t know. 

The night is also a time when you realize how precious life actually is, because the night leads to the day.  People often take for granted what a new day means.  It means so much, actually.  It means a new beginning.  It means new potential and new possibilities.  Why people are so afraid of it is completely beyond me.  Are the five senses really all that matters anymore?  So what if your vision is impaired.  Don’t let this break you down.  Instead, let it bring you to life.

I have always loved the night because it is the place that I can vanish.  Tall a man as I am, in the darkness, even I can disappear.  Living in a city, I like to wander the streets at night, and vanish into shadows, watching the world pass by.  It sounds creepy, I know, but I’m not like that.  Why would I want to be a creeper.  The world is so much more fascinating without all the creepiness.  Rather, I simply like to watch it pass by, as an observer.  A friend of mine once said that I am an observer, that I watch the world from outside, and she is right.

What people don’t get about the darkness is that it is neither good nor evil.  It is just like anything else in this world- as good or as evil as the user.  I use the power of darkness for good.  I use it to help my better world that I imagine start to come to life.  I use it to share ideas, and to hear the ideas of others, and to spread comradery.  I use it for so many things.

That said, it has left a mark on me.  For, as much as it is not an evil force, it does change you, after a while.  I like how Ansem put it in Kingdom Hearts, “All worlds begin in darkness, and all so end.  The heart is no different.”  While he had a very different meaning, I choose to believe that what he was talking about how we all fear the darkness, but inevitably, we must return to it.  I speak of course about death, but it is the inevitable fading away that we all do, and it is a place that is not light, but darkness.

None of us know what comes next after we die, but being afraid of it never really helps.  Fearing the darkness doesn’t help either, because it is a natural part of the world.  One must learn to accept it, to let it be a part of you.  Don’t let the corruption of the spirit that goes along with it consume you, but rather, learn from the music that has been made about it.  The night is a time of love, of passion, of beauty.  The most beautiful piece of piano music every made Clair de Lune is about the night, and the moonlight.  It is a song showing that the night can be for us all, if we choose not to be afraid, and to feel the beauty within it.

A strange rant, I know, but I have just been thinking about it a lot, because someday, if it were possible, I would love to become darkness, to exist forever as such a thing, and then, to fade off, into that great beyond.  I love the darkness, and it loves me.  But sometimes, I wonder if I love it too much.  Too deep for tonight.  Maybe I’ll pick this up again someday

Until next time, a quote, 

“I know the night, darling, I live in it!  It does things to you!”  -Sky Masterson, Guys and Dolls 

Peace out,

Maverick

The Final Rule of Death

People all seem to have this fear of their lives coming to an end.  It was said to me once that not being afraid to die means that you don’t care about life.  I don’t think that’s true.  In fact, I think that that is quite the opposite.  I think that not being afraid of an inevitable end is a sign that you want to enjoy life more.

It isn’t exactly a myster to people that I am endlessly afflicted by medical mishaps.  They are all working against me, some in more ways than one.  They are all very serious, and are all working against me.  Because I am slated to have these problems working against me my whole life, I have learned not to fear death as much as other people, because the certainty of it is much more relevant in my life.  But there is one thing that all people fear- being alone.

Unless you are mentally disturbed, it is human nature to seek out people who we can bond with.  It is human nature to want to make that connection- one that surpasses our natural urges to keep people at a distance.  I think that most people naturally don’t want to get hurt.  To make a real connection, one has to be ready to get hurt, one has to be ready to accept that.  If you insist that you need walls to keep people out, especially with people you claim to trust, you inevitably start to wonder why you need the walls, why you need to keep people out.

One cannot walk away from his own story.  And the truth is that nobody wants to be alone.  But that is just how it goes sometimes.  I fully realize that I may end up being alone for the rest of my life.  I will do all I can to avoid this fate, but that may just be how it goes.  You see, in the end, all you can do is to live life how you want to live it.

I have seen so many people, time and time again, sell out their sense of integrity to the lowest bidder, just so that they can have some brief experiences that they call happiness.  People are all so desperately seeking love and belonging that they are willing to become anybody.  I refuse to do that.  I refuse to change my existence for a fleeting pleasure.  There are days when I question this dedication, when I question the fact that I am working so hard to maintain who I am, but then I see people who just let themselves get walked on in order to keep a lie that they tell themselves, and I realize that I am making the right choice.  I keep my sense of integrity, of honesty to myself, and in the end, that is all I need.

Death is the end-result of all of our lives.  It is the final conclusion that none of us can escape.  There are days when I wish that I could go the route of Jack Skellington, and just find a cave to hide in, and to slowly fade away into nothingness.  I look around, at all the shallow people.  Everytime I meet somebody who is of true worth, they are taken, or will not remain.  I see all the people who only care about the moment, not wanting to deeply reflect, or to look ahead, because reflecting is not self-gratifying, and looking ahead is often unpleasant. 

But in the end, we are all alone.  The sad fact of that matter is that you die alone.  You go to whever people go after they die alone.  Being alone is just how life is.  We get above this by finding those who we can connect with, and by treasuring those connections.  We make connections by reaching out into the world around us, and working to meet in the middle with other minds.  For some of us, that is easier said than done.

I had a friend recently who got very angry at me, and said that people need the walls that they put up.  I think she’s dead wrong.  She said that people put up walls for a reason.  Yeah, that reason is to keep people out.  The reason is to keep people from reaching you.  The reason that people have walls is so that they can keep people away from the part of themselves that they want to keep in the dark.  That’s no way to live, trust me.  It is a way to slowly die.  It is a way to rot away into darkness and to fade out of existence into that great nowhere.  I have had walls up for years, keeping people away, and only now do I realize that maybe, that is a mistake.  And she is mistaken as well, but she is too stubborn to realize it.

Look, life is such a short thing.  For some of us, it is much shorter than for others.  For some of us, it will be medical hell, before we finally go into that great goodnight, and are able to sleep for all eternity.  For some of us, it feels like it never really gets any better.  But we keep at it, because there is that hope, foolish and pathetically naive as it may be, that we will be able to find that center, the place in our lives that keeps us whole.  We all hope for this, yet none of us will ever find it.

I probably don’t have another medical disaster in me.  Should it ever come to that, I will probably take the easy way out.  I’m not even close to that yet, and I still have a lot of time before that day comes.  With my medical conditions, I know for a fact that it is coming, unless medical science suddenly figures out how to cure everything tomorrow, but when it does, I want to know that my life has mattered.  I want to reach out to people.  To preach my gospel of doubt and skepticism, to talk about my liberal politics, and to talk about the various philosophical parts of life that I have thought about, and that all of us experience.  If I can do that much, then my time on this world will not have been in vain.

Until next time, a quote,

“Maybe you feel more deeply for me than I expected, or maybe hoped, but I also can see that you want friendship so badly that it’s easier for you to set any such feelings aside for the sake of an intimate relationship/friendship.”  -Ann Valentine Jelineau

Peace out,

Maverick

Vile Catholic Girl: Pwnage

Okay, so, there are going to be those among my readership who know the person that I am going to talk about in this blog.  She is somebody who represents everything that is wrong with our society.  She is one of the few people in this world who I genuinely loathe.  I have problems with a lot of people a lot of the time, but honestly, I have never really loathed anybody, not really.  But this girl, she is something else.  She is one of the foulest people that you will ever come into contact with.  She is a disease that spreads through the mind and spirit.  The kind of person who spreads visceral hatred through our world, and is a catalyst for more hatred.  Her name is…Natalia.

When I first met the girl, I didn’t think much of her.  But very quickly, I realized that this girl is a symbol.  She is a symbol of a greater problem with humanity that I don’t honestly believe is ever going to be solved.  She is a horribly bigoted homophobe who genuinely hates gay people.  The very idea of homosexual behavior disgusts her.  I got to see this first-hand today when we were watching and critiquing The Jackel for my Media Literacy class.  There was a scene where Bruce Willis’ character is hitting on and eventually making out with a guy.  When this took place, she had an outburst of annoyance and disgust.  After seeing her, so did I.

I am genuinely disgusted by her.  People like her show me something that is an ultimate truth in civilization today- that people want to be controlled.  Natalia is a hardcore catholic.  She was once quoted saying to a fellow student who is gay that he is no longer a man.  She openly hates people who are pro-choice.  She will rag on a person for hours on end about their decision to be pro-choice, or the fact that they are gay, or the fact that they are atheists.  This is who she is.  But what guides all of her hatred, and her spreading of hatred is her religion.

Religion is about control.  It’s as simple as that.  A long time ago, the Catholic church realized that they could control mass amounts of people.  For a very long time, it is absolutely true that they ruled the world.  Every single day I see them trying to get their bony crypt-keeper claws back on the levers of power in this world.  What is sad about all of it is that people like Natalia want to be controlled.  This girl is an idiot.  She is as air-headed as they come.  She can’t understand the most basic of things, and refuses to listen to other positions if they do not match up to what she believes is the correct decision.  This is not how good people operate.  This is not how intelligent people operate.  This is not how a person with any real worth to the human race operates.

I was ragged on in a comment once, because somebody who reads my blog rather regularly believed that I was calling all religious people stupid.  I’m not.  But what gets me is- why do reasonably intelligent people want to believe in God?  His New Testament is a wonderful work of art which is all about forgiveness and love.  But then you turn the other side and you see a vengeful hateful god who strikes down any who question him.  I refuse to believe than an intelligent person will just look at that and accept it.  The New Testament does not absolve God of his sins in the Old Testament!  It never will!  No amount of good deeds done can possibly make up for the genocidal rampages that God himself went on.

People sing to the hills about how it is the Devil who is the evil force.  According to the Bible, the only people the Devil ever killed was Job’s family, and with God’s permission, ironically enough.  It is a farce, a lie, a foolish gambit to believe in something that is comfortable.  And people like Natalia are the end result of hardcore faith.

I am not making many more of these hardcore impassioned speeches about my hatred for religion.  I have come to realize that logic and sense do nothing to those who have faith.  This is because they deliberately turn a blind eye to insanity because the reality of the world is too much for them to bear.  They refuse to see how much life sucks, and how horrible things on this world actually are.  They don’t want to look into that mirror and see how ugly this world has become.

Ancient cultures like the Native Americans, while they had their wars, had a peace with nature, and a relationship with the world that they lived in.  Had the white man never come to this part of the world, imagine what they could have become.  They had sense, reason, and although they had their own gods, they didn’t fight endlessly about them.  Their battles were more territorial, or for resources.  Look at all the wonderful things that the white man has fought about.

Natalia is a parasite.  I don’t honestly care what happens to her.  I won’t deny that the idea of her getting hit by a bus does give me a little bit of warm feeling, because her bigotry spreads to those around her like a virus, but honestly, I just don’t have enough life in me to devote my time to thinking about this worm.  I instead think about all of those who follow her.  All of those who have the signs talking about how God hates “fags” and how God did such a wonderful thing by creating AIDS, they are all among her ilk, and are all diseases which creep upon this world.

In short, ladies and gentlemen, it is time for our species to grow up!  There is a lot happening right now, in the real world, in real time, and could really fuck our entire species, right now!  Right now, we are at a critical time in the human race’s life on Earth.  If what has happened in Japan has proven anything, it is that Mother Nature is a tough bitch, and I think she’s getting a little tired of how humanity is treating her.  The power of the human race to kill one-another has never been as high as it is now.  We have finally achieved the power to obliterate all of humanity with ease.  This world, is diseased, and it needs to grow up.

Natalia is not the disease, she’s a symptom.  The disease is willful ignorance, bigotry, and the mask that those who practice it hide behind- faith.  Homophobia is a faith-based initiative.  Only those who are of faith say that a gay man, or a lesbian woman is going to burn in hell.  It is time for the human race to grow up, and to realize that if we don’t start working together now and abandoning the neurological disorder that makes us have a reason to hate, then all our progress as a species will be for naught, as nobody will be around to tell the story, after the mushroom clouds clear.

Until next time, a quote,

“That’s it, grow up, or die.”  -Bill Maher, Religulous 

Peace out,

Maverick

Dinner at Aronno’s

Well, I had a rather interesting experience that I never got to have before.  It was something that I am very grateful to have been able to be a part of.  It was a new experience.  I’ve never done anything like it, and I am glad that I could attend this event.

It was held at the home of John and Heather Aronno.  They are two people who I met through sheer chance.  Heather was a student in one of my journalism courses that I took last semester.  She was somebody that I knew I would like right off the bat.  I can tell instantly about people, it’s a gift.  I meet somebody, and I just know if I will like them or not.  With Heather, I knew that I would like her right off the bat.  And the truth is that I do.  I also like her husband.  They are both people who are into the thing that I am into most- politics.  They are both really cool people.  I have also made a promise to myself to help them in whatever way I can, since I believe that they are going to go far, and I want to help them in any way I can.

So, Heather and John invited me to this gig personally, which was pretty swell.  They had a pretty decent turnout, for only scheduling this four days ago.  The gig was a meet-and-greet with Senator Mark Begich (D-Ak).  He the other senator from my state alongside Lisa Murkowski (I[R?]-Ak).  I have seen him on tv many times, and he always seems to be a little bit out of his element.  He is a very liberal man, who is actually rather disillusioned to the system, which I kind of like.  He has no illusions of it being perfect, and he never claimed to feel that way.  There was some pretty good discussion on the fact that he realizes how fucked-up the system actually is, which I appreciated.

The rendevous (I said dinner, but it wasn’t that.  The title was just a cleve spin on a title of a movie.  Can you guess which one?) started with people just arriving.  I was there first, but that’s because my old man raised me to get to everything hardcore-early.  I don’t mind, although sometimes it does get me into some odd places (pity I can’t tell all of you the story about me and the ice-rink, but that is between my friend Emily and I) sometimes.  In any case, I was the first to arrive.  Before the senator showed up (Heather would actually have won the pool on that.  We had a bet on when the senator would arrive.  Technically, she would have won, if there had been real money involved), myself and the guests were talking politics.

Something that people learn about me pretty quickly is that I LOVE politics.  For real, I live and breathe it.  Watching national and local politics unfold is my bread and butter.  It’s the gravy on my turkey, the frosting on my cake.  It is just tops, which is why, when Heather invited me to this event, I was overjoyed.  I have never met a US Senator.  I met a former governor and presidential candidate, who spoke at my graduation (and was the mayor of my hometown, and now I wish she would just vanish from the American zeitgeist), but never a senator, and this close to be able to talk to.

The setting of the event was at the Aronno’s tastefully decorated home.  It is a very nice place, and pretty cozy too.  They have nice furniture, and it was almost set up to be able to do something like this.  The whole atmosphere of this event was one of peace and tranquility.  While it was talking about politics and getting to pick a senator’s brain, it was just a cozy atmosphere that seemed made to be able to chill out in.  The senator was definitely chilled when this discussion was happening.

That’s one thing that I have to give Begich unequivocal props for, he was really chill.  He just had this attitude that he wasn’t really on the spot, even though he really was.  He was warm, friendly, savvy, because he knew that he was among his crowd (Democrats and liberals).  While there were some pretty tough questions, he was still pretty cool about things because he knew that we weren’t looking to start something, just to talk straight about the way things are.  And we did do that.

The predominate theme in Begich’s initial statement, and in the Q & A afterwards was that the system is a hopeless mess.  He gave so many examples.  I had to give Begich some props for being straight about things.  There were a few issues that he tiptoed around, and he did was all senators do, which is go on tangents (I don’t blame him there.  It seems to be the political prerogative), but overall, he was pretty straight-foward about the issues, and his own opinions about things.

Among the topics that were discussed was the situation of the budget.  It makes sense, given how much coverage that that issue is getting of late, that that would be the key topic of discussion.  Begich did make a comment that I have to agree with when he said that the issue is a hell of a lot bigger than doing budget cuts alone.  There are a million and a half little loopholes that are oozing money, and nobody seems to be paying too especially much attention.  It is also a fact that the system is so unbelievably complicated that it is not even funny.

I asked Begich about the one thing that I wanted to know about- one of the single-biggest budget problems in this country.  I hate to say that I was one of the people whose questions he tiptoed around.  Granted, I give him credit that he showed how the system is screwed up in regards to how things are handled, but I wanted to really hear about two points.  I asked him about the military budget.  Let’s face facts- our country’s military budget is so unbelievably inflated.  It is beyond hyper-inflated.  But when I asked about it, I didn’t hear a word about the two areas that are the biggest wastes of money in this country- Iraq and Afghanistan.  Just once, I wish that people would be honest and say that we are funneling money into two crooked governments.  We have Hamid Karzai in Afghanistan, who is pretty much openly crooked, and the government in Iraq, which isn’t really any better.

I was kind of bummed that I was tiptoed around, but whatever.  He did point out some glaring inefficiencies in our military budget that are costing hundreds of million of dollars to this country.  With America going into Libya now, this problem is not getting smaller, it’s getting bigger.  I am surprised that nobody asked Begich about Libya, and his thoughts on it, but I digress.

It was an amazing opportunity, and I am glad that Heather invited me.  John and Heather are two cool people, and everybody that I meet at things like this is allowing me to get a better perspective for how things in the world are, and making me able to help people better.  When you know how the system works, it becomes easier to help change it.  This meeting also showed me that Sally’s way of doing things, by not getting involved because of the broken nature of the party system.  I whole-heartedly agree that the system is broken, but it gets fixed by people like Heather, John, and I getting involved, and all those who stand with us.  But that’s just my take on things.

Until next time, a quote,

“There are over 9 million words in the tax code!”  -Senator Mark Begich (D-Ak)

Peace out,

Maverick

Marriage and Kids: Pwnage

I was recently confronted by several situations of the course of the last few days.  Each of them has been a learning experience for me, for no other reason than I didn’t realize that people actually thought this way.  I didn’t realize that there were feeling people in this world who were so small-minded and so judgmental based on an idea that, in my opinion, is rather subjective.

Let me begin by saying that I will never accept that life should be dedicated to finding a partner to marry and/or having kids.  There is no real purpose to life, that’s part of the beauty of it.  You find your own meaning for things, and you find your own joys and reasons to do what makes you happy.  Now, I get that people often want to have kids.  I meet person after person who thinks that their kids, or their grandkids are just the best thing ever.  I, unfortunately, am not one of them.  Let me explain why.

I live a very quiet life.  I really do.  There are express few times when I enjoy loudness in my life.  I don’t like to party all that much because it is often very loud.  I don’t really fit in with my own age group, at all in that regard.  People like me just don’t have the luxury.  When the music gets loud, and I can’t hear myself think, that is when I start getting annoyed at being somewhere.  And kids don’t make for a very quiet concept.  In fact, people often scream about how loudness with kids is often a good thing.

Seriously, go on YouTube someday and watch all the videos that people make of their kids, babies, whatever, being as loud as possible.  I hear story after story from Sally’s friends about how their kids do something loud and dumb, and how that is the funniest thing that they have ever seen.  I had to suffer that quiet extensively last night.  Sally has a friend (who I think is rather simple, after she told me that she has a disdain for Fantasia because it’s “really weird.”  Apparently, only normal is good) who thinks that her grandaughter is just the best thing that has ever happened to the world.

That’s the other thing- Betty (Sally’s mother) got all mad at me because I am straight with people about the fact that I don’t like kids.  Apparently, it is the biggest of all insults not to like somebody’s children.  I don’t say insulting things about people’s kids, I just say that I have no love for children.  Will somebody please explain to me how that is an insult?  I feel that it is better to be straight with people about how you feel about something, rather than coming off as a bigger hypocrit later by lying about it.  But apparently, that is not the case.

Riddle me something, will you?  Why exactly do people need to have assurance from people that they have the most wonderful child of all time?  Why do people need to hear that their kids are the most beautiful and cute and funny kid that has ever existed?  Seriously, this woman had a million and a half photos of her grandaughter, and talked about her like the world revolved around her.  I have heard this sentiment before, all too many times. 

Would it not be better for somebody to be straight with you that, while they have no problem with you wanting kids and enjoying your love for said kids, they do not particularly care for them?  Wouldn’t it seem like hypocrisy for somebody to just lie to you, and for you to later find out that they did not really believe the sentiments of beauty and admiration for your child?  That’s how I think about things. 

There is a woman here at the dorms who works at the grill.  She said that if you don’t have kids, what is the point of life?  I take that hardcore-personal.  I take it personal because she was basically (and fully knowing of what my position is) saying that my way is wrong because I don’t want what she wants (could make a cross-section into religion, which is exactly the same way, but let’s not).  She said that she watched one of those dumbass shows on TLC about a family with eight kids, and how she wants the exact same thing.  Yet another idiot who has been inspired by television. 

But society says that it is something that we need to do.  It is the same way with marriage- another thing that I am not into.  Look, I get that marriage is something that also most people look forward to.  Girls have their dream wedding in their heads where they are ancient European royalty and doves fly out of the church when they go.  It is a beautifu idea, but it is something that is unnecessary.

Once upon a time, girls got married because women had no real way of creating a life for themselves, back in the days of Jane Austen.  Say that it was a religious institution all you like, but modern evidence seems to show that when women became more able to find their own work and support themselves, divorce rates have gone up.  I won’t say that that is the definite reason, because it is most assuredly more complicated, but that is a reason, for sure.  It is something that is argued to this day.

I kind of like Spencer Tracey’s quote from his speech in Inherit the Wind when he is talking about how change comes at a cost.  He says “progress has never been a bargain, you have to pay for it!”  He is absolutely right, too.  Women have more capacity to take care of themselves, so they don’t need marriage as much.  This is a good thing, a great thing, and something that isn’t getting the respect it deserves from several communities.

I have met a few people around her who are of the same mind about marriage- that it is something that makes life worth living.  Let me ask you people who have these preconceived ideas of what makes life worth living- what if you should fail?  What if you never find love at all?  It is entirely possible that I will spend the rest of my life alone.  What if you should suffer the same fate?  Was your life a waste?  What of women who are unable to bear children, or men who are sterile?  Are they just wastes of skin?  Who are you to judge them?  Who are you to judge any kind of way of living life?

In short, ladies and gentlemen, it is ego that makes this process work.  People want to feel superior.  I don’t know why, but we do.  We get a new car, get a raise at a job, get published, whenever we do anything, we want to feel that we have accomplished something that others do not, or at least, none that we know.  Ego is not a fun creation, but it keeps us going.  One of the reasons that we want to better ourselves as a species is so that we can feed the ego.  It isn’t a perfect system, but our species is still immature.  That’s my take on it, at least.

Until next time, a quote,

“Sometimes I think there is a man who sits behind a counter and says, ‘alright, you can have a telephone, but you lose the charm of distance.  You can vote, but you lose the ability to hide behind your powderpuff, or your petticoat.  You can master the sky, but the birds lose their wonder, and the clouds smell of gasoline.'”  -Henry Drummond, Inherit the Wind 

Peace out,

Maverick

Update: Top 10 Anime Characters

Okay, so I had a new character who entered my zeitgeist tie for first in my list of favorite anime characters.

1. Lelouch vi Britannia
Series: Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion
Lelouch is probably my favorite anti-hero who exists in any show or movie. He is a young man who is at the center of an effort to work against the Britannian Empire. While he is working toward a noble goal, he actually has some much darker desires behind his goal- to get revenge on his father for killing his mother and maiming his sister. He is a character who does not have a problem with doing some absolutely horrible things, or in some cases, making the most of terrible situations in order to work toward a larger goal.
For instance- he makes use of a government massacre that he indirectly caused, playing it off as the enemy just being bigoted and rallying the people behind him as the Britannian military begins a large-scale massacre.
Lelouch is a brilliant tactician, not afraid to die, and doesn’t seem to care what happens in the long run, as long as his ultimate goal is accomplished. His is savvy, smart, and interesting, and really freakin’ cool to watch.

Life’s Games of Chess

There is a simple rule about chess- whoever controls the center of the board controls the game.  This is one of many absolute truths in chess.  It is one of my favorite games, and one that I am doing very well at right now against those I go up against at the dorms.  It is a game that is not just about strategy and skill, but there is the concept of risk involved.  It is something that you can’t just think through.  You have to feel your way through it as well.  Life is much the same way.  Every little strategy, you have to feel it inside of you, knowing that it will work.  You may lose a pawn or two, but in the long run, you win the game.

Life is much the same way, in my opinion.  The problem in my life is that I have been doing rather poorly in one of my life’s chess games.  We all have them, by the way.  If you think about the different areas of life as a game of chess, it actually feels pretty understandable.  So many facets in life are just like chess.

For instance- you make a decision about what house to buy, you are taking risks.  There are a million and a half moves that can happen after that.  You may have mortgages.  You may have a family to feed.  You may have a car to own.  You may have so many things.  We all take a lot of time before making any of life’s decisions.  If you are a truly dedicated chess player, it is much the same way.

There are also a lot of moments in life where you have to outthink a situation.  Let me clarify.  In chess, you aren’t just playing the odds, you are playing the person.  You have to think seven moves ahead, to know where your opponent will go.  There are a lot of parts of life that are much the same.  When you are looking for a promotion at work, you are playing the other person who is against you.  As much as you say you don’t, you are.  You want that promotion, so you can have all that goes along with it.  Sometimes, you are playing a situation as an opponent.  You have to figure what your reaction will do in order to base your decisions.

And sometimes, you have to cruelly play the odds, and make some heavy decisions, when the game is turning against you.  There isn’t a person among you who hasn’t had this happen at least once.  When you are faced with a medical problem which could be a disaster, when you have to pull the plug on somebody, when you have to make that decision on what will happen with your family, you are playing the odds, and hoping for a bit of luck to come your way.

What makes the decisions easier is when you know in your gut that you are making the right one.  No matter how much your brain is screaming that you are being a fool, you know that you have made the right move.  People don’t give enough credit to gut-instinct.  Sometimes, it makes all the difference.  Of course, don’t think for a moment that it is always right.  But that perfect decision, that perfect move, it isn’t a thought process, it is a feeling.  I have won so many chess games by feeling that perfect move greet my brain, and I know that I have found my perfect strategy.  It is something that all of us understand.

Lately, I have been thinking about some of my life’s games of chess.  I have been a terrible player in my medical world’s game of chess.  I have always been reacting to the moves of my medical world, never able to take any real initiative.  Like most people, I can only wait and see what will happen next.  We can say that we can think our way out of those situations, that we can take perfect care of ourselves and that will make all the difference, but the sad fact is that that is a farce.  With medical stuff, sometimes life just happens to you, and all you can do is just try and keep yourself from falling apart.

But in other games of chess that I am playing in life, I am owning so completely.  My latest submission to the newspaper for my opinion page couldn’t have been any better.  Granted, it has been edited by a guy who is the captain of the debate team, so he had a million and a half ideas for me to nit-pick, but both of us realize that the article is a little long already.  In the end, the decision rests with me alone.  I don’t exactly know what will be changed, but I know that this article will be nearly perfect.  This is one of my life’s games of chess that I own completely.

There is a game of chess that I wonder how I am doing- how I am as a friend.  I don’t know where the friendship that I have that matters most to me stands.  I know that the girl wants to talk to me again, and she offered for me to see her again at the college, and I think that we have regressed a little, but I think of this as being another chance, another chance to build her faith in us back up.  Granted, with that comes the original problem that got us where we were in the first place, but I’ll deal with that when it comes up.  This is a game of chess that I am starting to see that the board can still be mine, and my king is not in check just yet. 

When you realize that you have some moves, and that you can turn the game around in your favor, you start to realize that when you are given the moments in your life to make something better, that this is exactly why you play these games in the first place- to have fun, and to test your meddle against another.  I don’t win them all, but I see hope in the distance.  I don’t know what will come in the future, but this game is still mine. 

How are your games of chess going?

Until next time, a quote,

“If a king doesn’t move, his subjects won’t follow him.”  -Lelouch vi Britannia, Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion 

Peace out,

Maverick

What’s REALLY Wrong With American Politics

Okay, so I had a conversation today with a buddy of mine, Ceezar.  He is one of the coolest people that I know.  Like my oldest friend, Sara, he and I are about as far apart on the religious scale as it gets.  He is a devout Evangelical Christian, I am a devout Anti-Religious Atheist.  But when we talk politics, him and I are seeing eye-to-eye.  It was talking to him today that made me realize what is really wrong with this country.  What is really wrong is that we have people who are totally and completely apathetic to it all, and that is a worse problem than any other problem could hope to be.

Sally is one of those people.  She told me once that the reason she doesn’t get involved is because she doesn’t like the party system.  That’s it.  That’s the whole reason right there.  The whole reason that she doesn’t try to make a difference is because she doesn’t like the party system.  Do any of you know what the logical fallacy here is?  The logical fallacy is that while the party system does have its problems, the people have the ability to choose who goes in, and who gets elected.

But she is only one of many people who is of that same mindset.  They don’t bother thinking about the big issues- like the fact that they can unite against a person, and actually affect policy, or that they can control who gets put into office, so that a person with a value system that they agree with is promoted, or the fact that they can even get rid of somebody in power, if they all so choose.  Look at what is happening in Wisconsin with the recall elections that they are demanding.  She doesn’t realize that she actually does have power over the parties themselves.

Now, I know in my last blog that I referenced that Americans are slaves to the corporate machine, and I believe that, with the Federal government, anyway.  On the state level, the common man can actually make a difference.  But not alone.  What I am seeing in the upcoming Anchorage elections (seriously, for all you Anchorage liberals, get the word out that we need to get voting this year!) shows me that so many people just can’t afford to turn a blind eye to the way things are in the world.

Now look, the thing about getting into politics is that once you start to understand how the system works, like me, you start to see its inherant flaws.  You start to see that underneath the surface, it is a turbulent world of problems, corruption, money, and the occasional guy or gal who wants to do the right thing.  When you get into that, and you are not some bigoted conservative asshole, you do get a sense of there being too many problems. 

For my own story, I tend to take on more battles than I will be realistically able to solve, although I do believe that a person should try and do the most good that they possibly can.  There is a reason why I have allied myself with John and Heather Aronno.  They are two people who I have seen are part of a larger network of people who are all working to make a difference.  I can’t explain it, but part of me knows that those two are going to make a difference, and I want to give what time I have, in any way I can, to aid in their efforts. 

I am a loyal person.  It is in my nature.  When I devote myself to a cause, or something like that, I don’t give up easily.  In fact, it is nigh-impossible for me to lose faith in the cause.  It is the same way with people.  When somebody has earned my trust (a feat that is in no way easy to achieve), it is nearly impossible to be broken.  Of course, once it is, I don’t think that it can ever truly be earned back.  I am one of the rare breed of people who want nothing from the world at large.  I don’t really want to have the world.  I don’t want anything like that.  I want to help people, if I can.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I am a person who looks out for my own goals first.  Everybody is like that, I’m afraid.  If we didn’t get some form of satisfaction out of it, nobody would do anything.  Despite how selfless you may think your efforts are, you are not able to get away from that.  None of us are.  All you can do is work with it.  You do what you can.

I admire the character Lelouch vi Britannia from Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion.  He is a character who is a lot like me.  He does whatever he must do, at the detriment of his own soul.  He does whatever he has to do, no matter what the cost.  For me, my dedication is the same way.  No matter what a friend of mine or somebody I trust would do, I would do everything that I could to help them.  Doing the right thing sometimes involves doing the wrong thing.

Politics is much the same way.  There are times when a person with a popular idea is dead wrong.  Bush thought that going to war with Iraq (both of them, and both times) was something that we had to do.  They thought that it was something that we had to do for the sake of our country.  But that isn’t the case.  Sometimes, to do the right thing, you have to take the side that everybody thinks is wrong. 

I said it in a previous blog- real courage is when you follow what you know in your heart is right, even when your brain is telling you otherwise.  You wannt know what is really wrong with American politcs?  The problem is that not enough people care anymore.  Voter turnout in this country is terrible, and that is something that needs to change, if we don’t want our state, and our country, to be run into the ground.  I think maybe it isn’t fear that is lacking, it is the belief that people would actually do anything, were it to come to a point where things got that crazy.  For that reason, I absolutely love what is happening in Wisconsin.

People of the world unite, and maybe, just maybe, we can rise above the natural human instincts of greed and self-preservation, and aspire to something better.

Until next time, a quote,

“You won’t do the right thing if it is against the rules?  You unspeakable coward!”  -Lelouch vi Britannia, Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion 

Peace out,

Maverick

The New American Aristocracy

I recently have been thinking, about how things are in this country right now.  Ladies and gentlemen, this is the only chance we all will get within my lifetime.  Now may be the only chance that people will get.  But people don’t realize that.  They don’t understand what is at stake here.  They are either too ignorant or too stupid to comprehend what is coming, and what they have to lose.  The fact is that they are kept this way by a society that wants them to be that way.  We are all slaves to this society, because we do not know how we would survive without it.  Truly, we are all weak.

The slaveholders in this nation are a lot different than they used to be.  They are now dressed in much different suits.  They have much nicer modes of transportation than the ones of old did.  Before the days of the civil war, slavery was a much simpler concept.  Now, it is a much more grand concept.  It is a much more complicated concept.  Nobody wants to think too much about it, because if they do, the world become a much uglier place. 

The fact is that the truth about the way things are is often very ugly, and not all that fun of a thing to talk about.  The fact is that the truth is actually a lot uglier than anybody could possibly comprehend.  Here is the truth- there is a new aristocracy in America, a new Monarchy.

This monarchy is not in the hands of one man.  One could call it an oligarchy, because it is in the hands of an elite few, but I prefer to think about it as monarchy, because it acts just like one.  Those who have this power, the wealthy elite, they all are people who keep their world going in the way they want it go.  It is just as egotistical and self-righteous as the nobles of old were.  Those who are the wealthy few do everything that they can to keep the commoners in their place.  Truly, it is just as sick as the aristocratic empire of the days of old, and just as corrupt.

You know what I would really like to see?  I would like to see the people rise up and kill bankers.  I know I have condemned violent rhetoric, but I am not being rhetorical here.  I am being literal.  I want people to rise up and to take back the wealth that has been taken from them.  If blood is what it takes, then that is how it must be.  But I am starting to wonder if blood is all that will do it.  We have seen what is going on in the Midwest, in Wisconsin, and what good has it done?  Gov. Walker has said outright that his mission is to destroy the unions, and he will not be stopped.  To date, all their protests have done is force the governor to make his vaunted legislation pass illegally, which will be destroyed when it gets challenged in the Supreme Court.  We all knew this would happen?

But what next?  These protests can’t go on forever.  Eventually, people will have to go back to work, go back to earning money, because they have to survive.  These peaceful protests cannot go on forever.  The people who are fighting so hard will inevitably have to go back to work, because money is everything in this world.  Money is the most powerful force on this Earth.  It truly is more powerful than any god has ever hoped to be. 

The new aristocracy consists of the wealthy elite who control America’s corporations, banks, and financial institutions.  They buy and sell political leaders in this country.  They are the financial and in some cases, intellectual slaveholders of this nation.  The “democracy” that we all believe in so much has been warped in this country int a three-card monte game, which is rigged on both sides.  If only the Founding Fathers could see us now.  What would they think?  They fought to dethrone aristocracy, to put the power of government in the hands of the people.  But what has become of that vision?

We have Republican governors who are fighting tooth and nail to get rid of unions.  Unions are the best thing that the public sector has going for it.  There was a time when people who worked as cops, firefighters, government workers, and the like earned less than those who worked in the private sector.  In a lot of ways, they still do.  Even with unions, there are still those who are getting near-nothing in pay for the services that they render.  Those who do demand fair-pay as seen at “thugs” and “traitors.”  We have conservative mouth-pieces singing about how they are the ones who want to pad their wallets.

The irony of it all is almost kind of sad.  We have those same people who were screaming not too long ago how taxing the rich an additional 3% was socialism, and that the rich were national heroes.  What heroic things have they done?  Was it when the sold faulty morgages and created this housing bubble that nearly destroyed our country’s economy?  Was it when they demanded hundreds of billions of dollars and then didn’t pay us back?  Was it when they did crooked thing after crooked thing, and our incompetant government didn’t send a single one of them to prison?

Michael Moore can go on Rachel Maddow’s show all he likes and sing about how the rich are destined to be brought down to size, but the fact is that they are the new monarchs in our country.  They are the rulers who command us all.  Personally, I don’t see any other way except for the stakes to be raised.  The people of this country have to demonstrate that we are willing to take the next step, if it comes to that. 

The wealthy elite of this country need to be afraid of the common man.  That is, in my opinion, the only way for us to break free of our bondage to these monsters.  They need to believe, beyond any scope of doubt, that we will take it to the next level, to make human lives the cost for them continuing their misdeeds.  It may come to the point where blood may have to be spilled.

You see, peaceful resistance only works if those in power are willing to give up some of their power.  If those people are completely unreasonable, as the wealthy aristocracy of our country appears to be, then violence may be the only solution.  Originally, Ghandi wanted violent revolution against the British.  The problem was that he didn’t have the guns.  Peaceful resistance was his second choice.  Violence has the potential to be a force for justice, and in the is case, there is a need for some justice!

This nation is broken, and nobody wants to admit it!  It is coming apart, and nobody realizes that is happening!  Nobody will realize until it is too late.  We have the intelligent who are saying that the system is broken. We have economist after economist who is saying that trying to get the economy back to where it was, following the same course, is fool-hardy.  But the government doesn’t listen, because the way things are, business as usual, is making the rich richer, and the poor poorer.  This country not only doesn’t learn anything from history, we repeat it.  Every single time.

But the rich aren’t afraid.  In my opinion, they never will be.

Until next time, a quote,

“You’re weak, and you’re methods are outdated!”  -LeLouch vi Britannia, Code Geass: LeLouch of the Rebellion 

Peace out,

Maverick