“Radical Feminism” is a Platform Now?

I wanted to feel good today.  For real, I did.  I had plans to get to have fun with my Dom tonight (that’s right, I am in a Dom/sub relationship, and it’s awesome), and overall, it hasn’t been a bad day.  But wouldn’t you know it, I came across something that really annoys me.  Damn you, Internet!  You have taken the wind out of my sails!  See, one YouTube vlogger who I have followed for some time is Zinnia Jones.  I have agreed with her a good 70% of the time in what she says, and I like hearing her opinion on issues of gender, gender identity, gay culture and religious bigotry.  She is a neat vlogger to listen to .  But then I saw a video that her partner made not too long ago, and it has annoyed me.  I didn’t want to, but here goes.  Here is a link, and here goes.  Oh, and I should note that I am not going to be attacking the speaker of this video.  I want to talk about the ideas put forth, and why I think they are horribly wrong.

Radical Feminism is a platform for gender equality which includes, among other things, a belief that most gender is performed.  As a radical feminist, I believe that gender roles are artificially created.  That most a morphism is affected, rather than mandated by nature, and that the divide has been pushed beyond all reason for the express benefit of men.  This is what we call “the patriarchy.”

Huh.  Well, first let me say that this is not a good way to start a conversation about gender equality.  Because the biggest problem is that it puts the viewers into two categories – the oppressors and the oppressed.  Now, I could go out and ask people, and I bet you a shiny nickel that most women would not identify themselves with being oppressed.  And most men would not describe themselves as oppressors.  Not in most situations, anyway.  I’m not saying that there is unilateral gender equality.  There are definite problems on both sides.  But when you start a video with a comment that is intentionally drawing battle lines, then you open yourself up to the criticism of people like me, who say that we are just trying to live our lives and don’t want to hurt anyone.  That we want all genders to have equal rights and equal treatment.  But immediately, you put people like me on the defensive, because you have just said, flat-out, that men are oppressors, and women are the oppressed.  Not a good way to start a dialogue.

One unfortunate aspect of this socialization is that society, through various messages, including but not limited to, role modeling from peers and media teaches young men that they are entitled to the hearts and minds of women.

What?  Where is this being taught?  For real, I was never told that we are entitled the “hearts and minds of women.”  My whole life, I was taught that you should be nice to other people, but nobody is required to like you.  In fact, most people won’t.  This is because, underneath it all, people suck.  That’s one of the true equal parts of gender.  Men and women, we all just suck.  I was never taught that I was entitled to anything.  I was taught that I had to work for it.  So has every single person that I can possibly think of.  This genuinely makes no sense.

Including, but again, not limited to domestic and sexual servitude.  Women, no more fond of subjugation and servitude than men, become, unfortunately, prone to self-loathing and more unfortunately, prone to rebellion.

Are you talking about America?  I mean, really, are you?  Because, if that is the case…what?!  Not one time has I ever heard any woman be told that her role is to be the domestic and sexual slave of men.  Now, there are some backwards-ass countries where women are getting some really fucked-up messages from people, like most Muslim countries, but in the Western World, this doesn’t jive.

And how is being prone to rebellion a bad thing?  One of my big button-issues is how people, both men and women, are taught that rebelling against what you don’t agree with is bad, and following the mandate is good.  Rebellion is what inspires change.  Rebellion is what made this country.  The people didn’t like the governing body that lorded over them, so they rebelled against it and got themselves a new one.  Now, I will be one of the first to say that women get the raw end of the deal when it comes to things like body image.  The media tells them that being skinny is good, and being fat is wrong.  That unless your thighs don’t touch, there is something wrong with you.  But to say that being prone to rebellion is a bad thing seems totally antithetical to empowering women.

If the contention of radical feminism is that neither behavior, nor presentation, nor physical appearance should make or break the difference between men and women, why draw the line at the word “man” or “woman?”  The very words will become nonsensical and impossible to define.  Sure, there will still be some natural hormonal division, but when people can safely, permanently and completely alter these differences at will, why deny it?  When women and men are socialized equally, what will anyone have lost?  What will anyone have gained but the right to define themselves?  The right for which radical feminists so arduously fight?

There’s a lot to talk about here.  Bear with me.  Okay, first, are you saying that the difference between men and women is limited to their hormones?  Last I checked, men have an additional chromosome.  Yeah, it’s called the Y chromosome.  It makes us men.  We also have these genitals that are different and far more vulnerable to pain than yours.  The growth of the terms “man” and “woman” didn’t evolve because of some effort to subjugate women.  They grew out of a biological difference between the males and females of this species.  If the contention you’re making is that we immediately are defining you by your gender, then I would have to call bullshit.

Next, I am with you that emphasizing the differences between the genders interests isn’t the best idea, and we could stand to talk about it far less.  However, that said, if your contention is that women have the same desires as men, the same interests, then you are patently wrong.  I have yet to meet two people who have the exact same interests as one-another, let-alone an entire gender.  What we should be doing is letting people culminate their own interests.  Not forcing anything on them.  And it’s done with men, too.  Boys are still sold Army toys, because it still is popular in America for young men to be soldiers.  However, there is no reason to think that a perfect blending of genders is the same as gender equality, because everybody has their own interests.

The problem with your video, Heather, is that you seem to have the notion that you are fighting for what all women want.  And that’s not true.  I had a friend who is an artist.  She has a vision completely her own in what she likes, what she wants to do, and how she executes it.  This view isn’t shared by you.  Something tells me that you don’t go nuts over great works of art, love ice-skating and want to kick a lot of ass at Tae Kwon Do.  And she isn’t the only one.  I have another friend who is a sub, like me, and she is into D&D, kinky sex and role-playing (not in the sexual way.  She used to be part of a LARP group) various stories she likes, or changing these stories to make them her own.  Not all interests are universal.  You don’t speak for all women, Heather.  In fact, I would be surprised if you spoke for many.

And let’s not forget, Heather, that you and your ilk do not speak for all transgender or transsexual people.  I have heard from a fair amount of these people who say that they are not attacked every single day by men, and are actually kind of offended when people like you seem to think that you speak for them.

The patriarchy has the same persistent negative impact on trans-women as it does on cis-women (I hope I got what she said right…?).  Society tells them that they are more acceptable when they present in a feminine manner and worth less as a person when they fail to please the eye.

Okay, here’s the problem with that – society does that EXACT same thing to men.  Guys are judged by their appearance ruthlessly.  So are women, I admit, but yeah, men get the criticism just as harshly.  If a man doesn’t have a monster cock, he is looked down upon.  If a man isn’t the buff display of manhood, women seem to think that they are lazy, stupid or worthless.  It goes both ways, Heather, and your lack of seeing that kind of irks me a bit.

The rigid physical standards applied to women cause trans-women inordinate amounts of stress.  The sex-classing of women and requisite caste system of the class, more commonly known as varying degrees of “fuck-ability”, or even more commonly known as the scale from 1-10, has inhumanely relegated trans-women with a certain remaining organ to the undesireables.  They’re expected to be content with either fetishization or pity-fucking, along with siz-women of the overweight and differently-abled variety.

Once-again, bear with me.  We have a lot to talk about.  See, I have heard this kind of stuff from lots of these feminists, and it honestly strikes me as insulting.  What Heather seems to be implying is that it is society that somehow controls what people are attracted to.  Society tells you something is unattractive, so you naturally think that way.  The implicit statements in that are more than a little insulting.  See, if you buy that logic, then basically, gays and lesbians are choosing to be gay, because society somehow informed their thinking.  For real, if you think that the human mind is so easily persuaded by what culture tells them is hot, then you have to admit that you are saying that those who are gay and lesbian are, on some level, choosing their sexuality.

But the reality is that attraction isn’t that simple!  You can’t choose what you’re attracted to.  Your brain is hard-wired to like certain things, and not other things.  Heather kind of touched on this, without knowing it.  She said that trans-women are fetishized, without realizing that there wouldn’t be a fetish if there weren’t people who are attracted to those kinds of people.  The same way that Dom/sub relationships are a fetish.  I am attracted to my Dom, partly because I like women (but not men, as Doms.  I prefer men as subs) who take control and know what they want.  We call it a fetish, but the truth is that it is attraction.  And you can’t choose that.  Your demand that society should say that these things are beautiful is all well and good, but that won’t automatically make people think that trans-women or plus-size women are beautiful.  Oh, and by the way, my Dom is a little on the heavy side.  So yeah, I don’t have a problem with that, either.

Is a childhood of boy-designated socialization sometimes evident in arguments with trans-women?  Absolutely!  For starters, they don’t question themselves, apologize for themselves, or wait for their turn to speak quite as often as cis-women are taught to do from birth.  Likewise, a childhood of girl-designated socialization is sometimes evident when trans-men make arguments.  It will be nice when girl-designated socialization and boy-designated socialization include a childhood where respect and assertiveness are taught equally, but though there has been progress, we’re not there yet.

On some levels, I agree with this.  On others, who are these women who are taught from birth to be quiet, wait for their turn to speak and not assert themselves?  When I was growing up, my girly-mates were just one of the guys.  We didn’t see them as any different.  We talked about Pokemon, Digimon, and the cool books we were reading like it was nobody’s business.

There are problems between the genders, both against women and men.  And there should be a continuing dialogue.  But when Zinnia did a response to this, she focused simply on the trolls, and not on the people who had real comments to say.

Gender equality is something that I am definitely for.  I can’t think of anyone I know who isn’t.  But, I am definitely not going to be one of the people who thinks that radical feminism will get us there.

Until next time, a quote,

“Contrariwise, if it was so, it might be; and if it were so, it would be; but as it isn’t, it ain’t. That’s logic.”  -Tweedledee, Alice in Wonderland

Peace out,

Maverick

RE: Rhode Island Gay Marriage Protest

Oh man, I was looking for something to get my feathers ruffled, and now I have found it.  Turns out, Rhode Island is looking to pass legislation legalizing gay marriage.  Before you go off, that doesn’t ruffle my feathers.  I am for unilateral legalization of gay marriage.  I don’t honestly get why people think that the role of government is to tell people who they can and cannot marry.  I don’t even believe in marriage.  I think it’s a stupid and pointless, by people who want to believe that a line on a piece of paper means something.  It doesn’t.  But if that’s what you want to do, like drugs, I am totally for you doing it.  Whatever floats your boat.  And of course, when there is the issue of legalizing gay marriage, immediately you see the homophobic Christian bigots come running.

Now, for as much as I rail about how stupid Christianity is, I am not saying for a second that all Christians are like this.  Not at all.  I grew up in a church of some damn good people.  The only reason I left is because I just didn’t buy the story about their imaginary friend.  It seemed totally ridiculous to me.  But if you see how large a crowd the concept of giving people who want nothing more than to live their own lives and be married to the person they love draws, you realize that there are a lot of dicks in the Christian religion.  Now, I am going to be responding to this video, but not the way I normally do.  I am going to respond to some of the statements made in it.  Not all.  Because there is no narration to this video (linked here).  This video is a clip from a news story.  I want to respond to it because I want to respond to the Christian fucktards who feel the need to make themselves heard.  With that said, here goes.

Jesus can change you!

Yeah…that makes perfect sense.  Just pray to Jesus, and you’ll love pussy.  But wait, aren’t these the same people who say that Jesus can take away one’s desire for sex before marriage?  We tell teenagers that enough, don’t we?  So, if you pray to Jesus, he’ll also make you not want the pussy.  Huh, that’s…kind of weird.  Is Jesus a Eunuch?

Marriage is Holy!

Oh really?  Hm…well, you see, the problem with that is that the Bible doesn’t agree with you.  Not one bit.  For example –

Abraham, a devout follower of God, had 2 concubines.
King Solomon had over 300 concubines
In Genesis, Chapter 16, it talks about how a husband acquires a wife’s property, including her slaves, who he can fuck with abandon.
In Genesis, Chapter 38, Verses 6-10, it talks about how when a husband dies, the wife must marry his brother and submit sexually to him.
In Deuteronomy, 22:28-29, it talks about how a rape victim must marry her rapist, and submit sexually to him as well.
In Number 31:1-18, along with Deuteronomy 21:11-14, it talks about how the Christian men of conquering nations could take the virgin daughters of the nations they conquered as their sex slaves, and kill all the women who aren’t virgins
In Exodus 21:4, it talks about how a slave owner can assign a male slave a female slave, and the female slave must submit sexually to him.

Yeah, marriage is really fucking holy to this God character of theirs, isn’t it?

I suggest a consideration of natural order.

Oh, this should be good.

Living things preserve their existence and procreate based on a fusion of heterosexual union.

Um…bullshit.  For real, some animals don’t even have a union at all.  Take coral, for example.  They procreate by sending sperm and eggs out into the sea, without any copulation of any kind.  It’s blind stupid luck when an egg gets fertilized.  Coral polyps don’t have any defined gender, they just have a method of procreation.  Many shellfish reproduce in the same way.  Not to mention, there is homosexuality in animals that aren’t human.  Like the firefly.  When attracting mates, a firefly puts on a display with its bio-luminescent tail.  However, there are times when one male firefly will attract another male by accident.  And guess what, these animals get it on.  Offspring isn’t produced, but it is sex all the same.  If you are going to argue that homosexuality is against the natural order, then you first have to define the natural order.  And your definition is…what’s the word?  Oh, right, bullshit.

If we deviate from the natural order, we manipulate the purpose of created things, and stifle life.

Okay, what the fuck does that even mean?  For real, if we allow gay marriage, all the sudden everything is going to become gay?  Not to mention, there are no “created things” in the natural world.  For real, life was not created.  Life grew and evolved slowly over time, in a process that we call “Natural Selection.”  You can argue for the universe being created, but life was not.  There is vast amounts of scientific evidence that supports the growth of life from single-celled organisms to what it is today.  Life was not just suddenly blinked into existence, like I Dreamed of Jeannie.  But back to the more meaty bullshit, this is totally ridiculous.  It’s not like if we allow gay marriage, all the sudden everyone is going to want to be gay and no more people will be made.  It’s not like every guy is only being straight because being gay is socially taboo.  I highly doubt that every guy will up and dump his girlfriend the moment that gay marriage is legalized like “screw you, bitch, they legalized gay marriage!  Now I’m going to go have a crazy orgy with 20 guys!”  That just isn’t going to happen!

I would think that our elected representatives have far more pressing matters than seeking to overturn a definition of marriage that has stood since the dawn of humankind.

Ugh…this is patently stupid!  For real, it doesn’t get any stupider!  Do you honestly think that marriage as we understand it has been the case for all time?  Not even talking about all the biblical times when men have married more than one woman, like King David, a very devout Christian, there wasn’t even a concept of marriage for a large portion of human history.  Many primitive cultures had it, but not as we understand it.  It used to be totally cool to marry more than one person.  In ancient Greece, the Greeks had marriage, but would also have totally open sexual relationships with whoever they wanted, just because they wanted sex, and it was totally cool.  This idea that marriage is some all-powerful and unchanging thing is totally dumb.

So, marriage is between a man and a woman.  A civil union, a homosexual union, is between a couple of the same sex.  So, we should leave a thing as what it is.

I love that logic.  Really, I do.  I love how we can paint bigotry in this country as equality.  It’s a tacit admission of – yeah, it’s pretty much the same thing, but I have a problem when we call it the same thing.  The woman who said this is a bigot.  She’s just one of these really smarmy bigots who likes to think that she can rationalize her bigotry, if she words it just right.  These Christians just kill me.  They will jump through all kinds of hoops, just to avoid calling a spade a spade.

But here’s the thing – why do they care?  For real, what does it matter?  I mean, if you don’t want gay marriage, then don’t be gay and get married.  But why do you care if they do?  The way I see it, this whole thing with gay marriage is just Christians being butt-hurt because these people who they don’t like get to be a part of the same club as them.  And that’s pathetic.  Really pathetic.  The people in this video are nothing but bigots, and if you confront them with that, they’ll deny it up and down.

Until next time, a quote,

“I have as much authority as the Pope, I just don’t have as many people who believe it.”  – George Carlin

Peace out,

Maverick

The Wolves: Part 7 – The Attack

See, I told you that I would be posting more of these.  While my classwork is rather minimal, I am going to take advantage of that as much as I can.  So, I hope you enjoy, and as always, if you missed anything, you can catch up at “The Wolves” link at the bottom.  Here goes –

We ate to our filling.  It felt so unbelievably good.  We hadn’t had a meal like this in a long time, and to be honest, we needed it.  Being malnourished is something that one has to always be aware of.  We’d go hunting out in the forest, but the animals in the Wasteland are mutated beyond all reason.  Not to mention radioactive.  We Wolves are blessed with extraordinary powers of strength, age and healing, but we are not strong enough to withstand the toxins of this world.  Not for long, anyway.  We are almost dependent on the humans and their methods of purifying food to survive.  Believe me when I say that we’re not proud of it.  But we do what we have to to survive.  That’s the world we live in.  Humans are trying to do the same thing.

After dinner, we decided to get some sleep.  Emily was going to go back to her post, but then, something surprising happened.  Neal stood up, taking human form, and said that he would take the first watch.  I looked over at him and smiled.  He just nodded, then nodded to Emily, walking over to the window and sitting in it.  Emily stood up and tossed him a bottle of soda.  This was home-brewed root beer.  How they got the materials to make it is beyond me, but nobody cared.  The stuff tasted amazing.  Emily looked over at him and smiled.
“To help keep you sharp.”
He smiled back.  “Thanks, boss.”  I felt pretty good, watching that.  So did Emily.
We started to our respective rooms.  Ironically, the Hunters stayed in the same room as Neal.  Those three really are a family like nothing else.  While Erin was traveling with Jubal, and does have a great deal of affinity for him, she still sides with her compatriots.  Maddie stays as a Wolf, walking with Lizzy to their room.  The pup is very full, and very tired.  She stumbles a bit, which is cute.  They get to their room, and the little pup plops down right beside Maddie, who snuggles up around her, since she doesn’t want to move.  The pup doesn’t admit it, but she is glad she did.  Jubal and Emily go to another room.  Despite not being mates, those two are pretty tight.  I can tell that he wants to talk to her about his findings of the day, and how thorough he was.  Jubal is good at what he does, and what’s more, he knows it.  He likes to show off.  But he knows that Emily is none to fond of people showing off.  He has a bit of a pouty face, and she notices this.  Rolling her eyes, she asks him about how his day was.  She’ll shut him up when she gets tired of it, but might as well indulge it a bit.
I get to my room.  My mate is lying on our make-shift bed, as a human.  I become human as well, laying beside her.  My hands gently explore her soft skin, snuggling up behind her.  It is such a peaceful night.  If only they all could be that way.  She took my hands, guiding them around her.  Sleep was quick to come to me.  We had eaten well.  Now, it was time to digest.  There was peace in this abandoned apartment.

Several hours had passed by.  Neal looked over at his sleeping compatriots.  He would pass of the watch to one of them.  He took one last swig of the soda, loving the rich flavor.  He almost wanted to hug Emily.  This was good stuff, and it seemed almost like a reward for a good day.  What more could one ask for?  It was then that he noticed something about the outside – it was quiet.  Now, quiet wasn’t unusual for the city, but this much was.  He looked out the window, and noticed that the street lights were off as well.  His ears perked.  Something wasn’t right.  There were sounds in the prevailing darkness.  Lots of them.  Sounds of movement.  The sounds of guns being loaded!  His eyes went wide, but he didn’t make a spectacle.  They might be watching, and he didn’t want them to know that he knew.  His eyes scanned the darkness, looking for one thing – red eyes.  In the dark, they would stick out.  How had they been found out?!
He looked up and down the street, keeping his movements slow.  There were no eyes.  None.  What the hell is going on?!  Then, he noticed something else – blue eyes!  It wasn’t The Family’s soldiers who were out here.  It was something else.  Quietly, he slipped out of the window.  He walked over to where Erin and Savannah lay.  He gently shook them awake.
“What the hell?  What’s going on?” Savannah asked, wiping sleep from her eyes.  Erin echoed much the same.
“We’re not alone.  Somebody’s coming!  People with guns!” he whispered, motioning for them to keep calm.  “Go wake the others!”  They both nodded, moving quickly out of the room.  Erin went to Jubal and Emily.  She shook them both awake.  They looked up at her, and saw the urgent look on her face.
“What’s going on?!” Emily whispered.
“Neal said that somebody’s coming!  People with guns!”
The two Betas instantly were on their feet.  They nodded, and Jubal looked over at Emily.
“Go wake Maddie and Lizzy.  Make sure that Lizzy is in human  form.  I’m sure that Savannah is already getting Lucien and Mandy.  I’ll go to where Neal is and see what’s up.”
Emily nodded, motioning for Erin to go with her.  The two’s problems were quickly forgotten, in the wake of what was coming.  They made their way to where Maddie and Lizzy were sleeping.  Emily gently shook Maddie, who opened one of her eyes and looked up at her.  She saw the look on her face, then quickly looked up.
“What’s going on?!” she asked, though as a Wolf, talking to a human, it looked weird.
Savannah look down at Lizzy, then back at her.  “Somebody’s coming, and they are packing heat!”
The caretaker was almost instantly in human form, shaking the pup to wake.  “Come on, Lizzy, we need to wake up!”
The pup looked up at her, rather annoyed.  “Why are you shaking me?!  I was sleeping!”
“I know, honey, but we’re in danger.  Some people are coming, and they have guns.”
Lizzy immediately stood up, shifting her paws nervously.  “Why?!  What did we do?!”
Maddie crouched down, rubbing the pup’s head.  “I don’t know, sweetie.  But I need you to become human for me.  We don’t know if they know we’re Wolves, so we don’t want to take that chance.”
The pup nodded, and became her human self, this time with blonde hair.  She ran to her caretaker, putting her arms around her.
“Don’t worry, Lizzy, it’ll be alright.”  She looked at the other two, who nodded.  Emily motioned for her to follow them.

I felt somebody shaking me.  My eyes opened to see Savannah crouched over me, looking very disturbed.  I looked over to my mate, who was also waking.  I sat up, looking at Savannah.
“What’s going on?!”
She motioned out of the room.  “Neal said that people are coming.  They have guns!”
Mandy was now wide-awake, looking over at me.  She saw how nervous Savannah was, and gave her a gentle hug.  “Don’t worry.  We’ll be alright.”
The Hunter smiled at her, nodding.  “Okay.  The others should all be awake by now.”
“Let’s go see Neal and the others.”
We got up, heading quickly to the living room.  The others were there, not where they could be seen by the window.  Lizzy was snuggled up to Maddie, looking worried.  They all looked a little worried.  I walked over to where Neal and Jubal were sitting by the window, carefully looking out.
“Talk to me, Jubal.  What are we dealing with?”
He looked up at me, motioning left and right down the street.  “This isn’t The Family’s soldiers.  They aren’t here for us.”
This confused me a bit.  “So what are they here for?”
Jubal pointed to other windows, where other people had noticed, and they were nervous as well.  “My guess, the squatters in this district.  Or at least, a very specific group of them.  Somebody here has attracted their attention.  Somebody the local police can’t afford to leave alone.”
I noticed the blue eyes were going all over the place.  “And they don’t know where he is.  Not exactly, anyway.”
“Yup.  They are going to be locking this part of the city down, and fast, too.  We need to get out of here.”
I thought for a moment.  “The fastest way would be as Wolves, but with this many of The Family’s soldiers close by, that would be suicide.”
Jubal nodded.  “Definitely.  We have to get out of here, but quietly.”  He smiled a bit.  “You all call me obsessive, and look what happens.  My knowledge comes in handy.”  He pulled out a detailed set of maps.
“Stop kissing your own ass and tell us how to get out here!” Neal growled quietly.  The rest of us giggled a bit.
Sighing, he pointed to a fire escape, at the opposite end of the building.  “They are coming along the main road.  The idea was for stealth, and for the most part, they have it.  We are the only ones who truly know where they are coming from and what their numbers truly are.  They are going to lock this neighborhood down, but it will take time for them to get their forces into position.  They’ll want to move in all at once.  We take the back fire escape, facing the outer wall.”  He pointed down the street a ways.  “There is an escape there, but…”  His eyes got a little dark.
“What?”  Maddie asked, but we all knew what he was about to say.
“Well, we will be in the sewers.  If there was another way, I’d be all for it, but it’s clear by their numbers that they came prepared, and so trying to fight our way out would be suicide.  This exit is close, and if we don’t want to end up with a metric ton of bullets in us, it’s the best we have.”
Everybody got unnerved, but we knew he was right.  It was a risk we would have to take.  Neal took one last look out the window.
“The police forces are almost down to the end of the street.  They are trying to bring in armored vehicles.  It’s eerily quiet out there.”
I nodded, motioning the others.  “Alright, we move when-”
My words were cut off by an explosion.  Everyone took cover.  It wasn’t aimed at us.  Jubal, Neal, Erin and I went over to the window, looking out.  There were men with rocket launchers, who had fired on the armored vehicles.  It was chaos.  The troops started firing back.  More and more people appeared at the windows, opening fire on those on the ground.  Bullets were going everywhere, and I motioned for everyone to keep down.  Lizzy buried her head in Maddie, clearly scared to death.  Her caretaker tried to look strong, but it was not going well.  It was a battle.  The squatters that the police were after were clearly organized, and had been stockpiling weapons.  The lights of battle made the world light up.  The police took out flares, throwing them up and down the street.  There were screams, from those who weren’t involved in any of this, but were now caught up in it.  A bullets went through the window, hitting a wall at the back of the room.  Lizzy screamed.  It was time to get out of here.  We motioned for everyone to keep low and follow us.  Neal took point.  Jubal and Savannah weren’t far behind.  Lizzy, Maddie and Mandy were in the center.  I was second to last and Erin took up the rear.

We opened the door to the apartment to see lots of movement.  These bandits, or whoever they are, were in every building.  They saw us, but took little notice.  Just figured that we were people who weren’t eager to get caught up in their battle.  The sound of artillery echoed through the room.  A window by the door blew out with the force of an impact.  Maddie covered Lizzy’s head, holding her close.  Jubal pointed down a hallway.  As we turned a corner, an impact force nearly knocked us all off our feet.  The building was hit.  The sound of pained screams echoed.  A door opened and a man stumbled out.  The smell of blood was in the air.  We looked down to see him holding his own intestines.  Even though we were Wolves, and eating animals is our life, it was still grotesque.
We ran down, past the body.  The smell was oddly invigorating.  I felt kind of sick about that.  Despite how much I hate the humans, and what they have done to my people, I can’t deny that they are still living creatures, and I don’t want to take delight in the death of anything.  More screams, more sounds of gunfire, more explosions.  What was happening?!  Who are these people?!  Why does somebody want them dead?!  Too many questions, and I didn’t know what to think.  We turned another corner.  We were at the far end of the building.  The pack ran past a door, right as it opened.  A large man was standing there, a rifle in his hands.  He saw us, and almost seemed to light up.
“Hey, we got civvies here!”
A voice from inside answered.  “Grab’em!  We might need hostages later, if things go to shit!”
The man pointed his gun at us.  “Now, don’t do anything stupid.  Just come with me, and nobody gets hurt.”  He reached out and grabbed Lizzy.  The girl screamed.  In a split-second, Maddie was a Wolf again.  Her jaws went around the man’s throat.  His eyes were filled with terror and she ripped it out.  Blood splattered everywhere.  His terror-filled eyes stared at Maddie as he quickly died.  She changed back into a human again, taking Lizzy in her arms.  The pup cried as she held her.  We urged them to keep moving.  The person inside will come looking soon enough.  We were now running down the halls.  Another explosion came from the building.  This one did send us all backwards.  An entire section of the wall in front of us was destroyed.  Gore mixed with mortar as we ran past the wreckage, hugging what little hallways remained.  As I looked out, I saw a battle that was hopelessly one-sided.  The police had better training, weapons and knowledge of the terrain.  The sound of smaller airships coming was in the distance.  This battle was over before it started.
We got to the window at the far side.  The fire escape was there, just as Jubal said.  Neal grabbed a heavy piece of the wall, using it to smash the window open.  We all went running through.  It was a lot quieter once we were out of the building.  This fire escape went down the back of the building, and the space behind it was so small that it was be fool-hardy to bring their forces here.  They would be fish in a barrel.  We went running down, and once we were free of the battle, Jubal pointed down the alley.
“This way!”  We ran past buildings, and I saw the police moving further and further in.  Their airships were in position, and opened fire.  The buildings were being blasted open, like some kind of dangerous can, then cleaned out.  And now, we were being forced into the sewers because these bandits couldn’t realize how outmatched they are.  We got to a gigantic pipe, running behind what was once this cities newly-constructed outer walls.  Age and time, along with probably these bandits, had weakened it, and it was wide open.  It was the perfect exit.  We were nervous, but an explosion that echoed through the alleyway had us all inside.  Sink of swim, we were in the scramble now.

Fin

Until next time, a quote,

“See, their morals, their code, it’s a bad joke.  Dropped at the first sign of trouble.  They’re only as good as the world allows them to be.  I’ll show ya – when the chips are down, these civilized people, they’ll eat each other.”  -The Joker, The Dark Knight

Peace out,

Maverick

My Time in College

I don’t know how I was ever as naive as I was.  Honestly, I don’t get it.  As far back as I can remember, which isn’t as far as you’d think, because a head injury, I was never an especially upbeat and positive guy.  I always kind of knew that life sucked, but I never figured myself for being as naive as I was.

My time in high school was so pathetically sad that it bordered on it might as well not have existed.  I seriously hated it.  My classmates were almost all incomprehensibly stupid.  The level of ignorance that I saw in my classmates left me wishing that I had just gotten my GED and gone to college.  I took the HSQE the first time in my sophomore year.  I passed, 100 points over the expected cutoff in all areas.  It was a piece of cake.  From right there, I should have known to just go.  But I didn’t.  Boredom incarnate, I hated every minute of it.  Well, except for the underground candy market that I cornered when they banned candy and soda from being sold at the high school.  I made SO much money off that.  Lived pretty well, too.

Once I got out of high school, some incredibly ignorant part of me thought that I would leave there and an entire world would open up for me.  I would go out, and there would be opportunities, people and a new world of like minds who I could connect with and we would find a place in the world.  I didn’t think that opportunity would just find me.  But I figured that this would open doors, in a pretty substantial way.  Again, this came from ignorance.  I knew that life and the world sucked, but not as much as it truly does.

I get to college, and for the first year, it was pretty alright.  I was at the community college in my hometown.  I was taking classes that I wanted to take, and I had what I thought was a direction.  It felt good.  I was getting to learn the knowledge that I wanted to learn.  Sure, there were a couple stumbles, but at the same time, I was still heading in that direction.  I still felt like my plan to find a place in the world would work.  That was five years ago.

Now, it is my sixth year of college.  The end is in sight.  I see that final stretch.  I’m not there yet, but so close that I can taste it.  And…I couldn’t possibly care less.  I am in it now just so that I can be done, and finally free of this insufferable nightmare.  I have changed so much in my time being in college.  My naive idealism about saving the world is long-gone.  Now, I am just trying to find amusement in humanity’s self-destruction, as we slowly circle the drain.  It is kind of funny.

I feel like I have lost so much.  I no longer care about love.  Romance is nothing but a dangerous distraction, as Sherlock Holmes said.  I know SO many people who just think that love is the greatest.  They’ll learn.  Just give it time.  They’ll figure out that love is just a distraction that we wrap ourselves up in, to protect us from how ugly this world is.  It’s the rose-colored film that we put over our eyes, to protect us from reality.  People that I know bury themselves in it the same way that an alcoholic does with booze, or the drug addict does with the drug of their choice.  But in the end, like most forms of happiness, it’s based on lies.

See, that is the one thing that I truly have lost here, and I know now that I will never be able to get it back – the ability to lie to myself.  I can’t tell myself that everything will be alright.  I can’t say to myself that everything is going to be alright, because the truth is that I don’t buy that.  I have changed so much in six years.

The biggest thing that does frighten me sometimes is how I am starting to lose my connection to the human condition.  I seriously don’t give a shit about people most of the time.  There are those who I care about.  Those who I have grown with, and who have grown with me.  Our dynamics have changed, our relationships have changed, but these people have stuck by me, and me with them.  And I am grateful for them all.  Of course, I have also lost people.  Some of whom meant so much to me.  I cry for some, forget about others.  Such is the way of things.  But at the same time, I am caring less and less, about life itself.  I am still a good friend.  I am still there for the people who matter to me.  But at the same time, I go through life like a corpse that has been reanimated.

Do I regret going to college?  Well, the answer to that is yes, and no.  I am grateful for what doors that it will open for me, though they won’t be as plentiful as I had hoped.  But at the same time, I have had some people who meant so much to me when I was here, only for things to end in such a brutal way.

But at the end of the day, the only thing that really matters is that I am still moving forward.  I was naive when I came here.  I am naive no more.  My eyes are opened to the world, and what a cold and cruel place it is.  But I am still moving, still trying, still making the effort to be a good friend and a good person.  I may not give two shits about most any of these people that I meet, but I still work to be a good guy, because it is the right thing to do.

I don’t know what lies ahead of me.  I thought that college would be a wonderful experience.  Now I know that I will walk out of here dumber than when I came in.  But, whatever it is, I suppose…I suppose that I will just keep walking down that road.  Come what may.

Until next time, a quote,

“Life is pain!  I wake up every morning, I’m in pain.  I go to work in pain.  You know how many times I just wanted to give up?!  How many times I’ve thought about ending it?!”  -Gregory House, House M.D.

Peace out,

Maverick

Liberals vs. Science?

It is no big mystery what the conservatives and Republican Party are doing in their war against science.  The comments of people like Todd Akin, about his concept of “legitimate rape” show a complete and utter disregard for science and fact.  Then there is Paul Brown, who says that the Theory of Evolution, embryology and the Big Bang Theory are all lies, straight from Satan.  Both of these people are members of the House Science Committee, helping this country decide what the future of its scientific programs will be.  These people are scientifically illiterate.  Republicans have been making war on stem cell research, birth control and even admitting that there is such a thing as global warming.  We are all well-aware of how much the political-right of this country, in its most extreme, hates science, and scientific knowledge.  Not hard to see why.

However, there is something that America is not so familiar with – the political-left and its war on science.  I know, it doesn’t seem right.  After all, the left is the first to talk about the issue of global warming, and its potential effects on the environment.  They are the first to talk about alternative energy.  The progressive and liberal communities seem to be the first to jump on the bandwagon of improving science in this country.  However, such is not the case.

Think about this – the liberal community at large has almost come out universally against nuclear power, citing the waste disposal issues, and using the incident at the Fukushima plant as their go-to source to why nuclear power is wrong.  They seem to forget the Japanese government’s report where they came out very openly and admitted their own mistakes in how the plant was run.  It was almost refreshing to me to see a document that open about the failures of government.  Mistakes were made, and things could have been better.  However, at the same time, discarding the idea of nuclear power, just because of what could go wrong is fool-hardy.  Nuclear power gets continually more efficient, and with development, who knows what is possible.  Looking at more productive uses of fossil fuels is discarded simply because of global warming.  Of course, looking into alternative energy should be a priority, but to disregard being able to use fossil fuels better, since we are still dependent on them as a species, is ridiculous.

The liberal community has never been too fond of hydro-electric power, stating that it does damage to river ecosystems.  They come out against wind power because the wind turbines kill birds.  In fact, if you look at the liberal community and its attitude about science, it is that everything having to with nature is good, and anything that isn’t nature is bad.  It sounds good on paper, but the reality is that if you look at the environmental views of the liberal community at large, it seems to almost mirror a religion in its own right.

A big talking point from a lot of liberals I have been tight with is that genetically modified food is bad.  I still remember that whole “Franken-food” debacle, when there was the introduction of engineered plants and animals designed to grow faster and feed more people.  There is a huge liberal movement that is in favor of completely getting rid of all genetically modified food, and instead having all “organic” food, though recent cases like those against Nature Valley even leave the idea of what is truly organic up in the air.

Part of me wonders if my fellow liberals have forgotten that mankind has been genetically engineering its own food and animals since we have begun developing as a species.  Example – the banana.  The fruit that Ray Comfort got so famous(ly lambasted) for saying it was “the atheist’s nightmare.”  He cited how it was so perfectly suited to be handled by people.  Nobody in his office it seems ever took the time to tell him that the reason it was so perfectly made for people was because it was made by people, to some extent.  We engineered the fruit’s growth, making it better for human beings to work with.  For over 10,000 years of humanity’s existence on this planet, we have been engineering food to grow faster, better and more.  There are over 7 billion people on this planet.  And the reality is that there is starvation on this planet.  Ironically, more people are dying of obesity than starvation now, but the fact remains that it still exists.  If we went completely to organic food, we would, in effect, be condemning over 3 billion people to death, and we would still be ignoring history.  The only difference between what we do now, and what we did then is that once upon a time, we engineered food and animals through breeding and selection.  Now, we do it with genetic engineering.  But it is still the same.

I do what I can to avoid being a part of any group.  If I had to say what my political views are, I would say that socially, I have more in common with libertarians than I do with liberals or conservatives.  It isn’t the government’s job to tell you who to marry, or what you can and can’t own or put in your body.  Economically, I am for the free market, except where the government is concerned.  I am for the welfare state, because I have seen it work.  It works wonders in Britain, who has the best health care system of any industrialized nation.  I believe that the role of government is to provide for people what they cannot easily provide for themselves.  So, I guess that I am of the left, in most regards.

That said, there is one thing that I hold to be above all others – science.  Science is the single greatest thing that this country and this species has going for it.  All of you who will argue about how perfect nature is, think about this – before modern medicine, diseases like the flu or pneumonia were death sentences to vast numbers of the population.  Polio was disabling and brutalizing children across the world.  Smallpox was a virus that we were able to exterminate, save where it is kept in secure laboratories, to be studied and used by those who keep us safe.  Science has given us the internet.  Science has given us the car.  Science is the key to humanity’s future, and to deny it is a crime.  That is my belief.

Thanks to science, this is the best time for our species to live.  We can communicate to people across the planet instantaneously.  The moment I click “Publish” on this post, it will immediately go out to all of you, to see and read if it meets your interests.  Science has gotten us to the moon.  Science could potentially get us to Mars, and beyond.  Though I didn’t hear many Democrats clamoring to continue to fund NASA.  No, NASA’s budget was slashed to ribbons.

Science is the greatest tool that humanity has.  It is the key to our evolution as a species.  And to deny it, it is guaranteeing that we are going to fail as a species.  We, as a species need to embrace science completely.  Otherwise, well, I think I’ll let somebody else say it…

Until next time, a quote,

“And even if you’re not a scientist, or a technologist, you will value that activity.  And that, in the 21st century, are the foundations of tomorrow’s economy.  And without it, we might as well just slide back into the cave.  Cause that’s where we’re headed, right now, broke.”  -Neil deGrasse Tyson, How much would you pay for the universe? (Neil deGrasse Tyson) 

Peace out,

Maverick

The Wolves: Part Six – The Black Cat

Sorry about the delay on this, but I have had some other stuff going on.  Not to mention, I should have said this earlier, but this is a series, we will add to it as often as we can, but we aren’t going to be posting one of these with every post.  That is why I tell you all to click “The Wolves” link at the bottom if you missed anything to catch up.  With that said, I hope you enjoy, and I hope to do more of these as the year progresses, at a quicker pace –

We got back to the building we were using that night.  We had gotten what we needed – meat, rice and some broccoli.  Lizzy was none too thrilled about that.  She changed back into her Wolf form and pouted on Maddie’s lap, letting her caretaker rub her head.  She was starting to get big, which was a good thing.  Though she still thought that she could fit on Maddie’s lap, and watching her clumsily try was more than a little adorable.
We had a small cooker that Neal carried with him.  Since he was by far the biggest of us, he was also the one who was used to carry the junk.  He didn’t mind.  I offered to have the job rotate, so he wouldn’t feel overloaded when we are traveling across the Wasteland, but he declined, saying that he liked the exercise, and it was good to keep in shape.  True enough, as a human, he was a tank.  We unloaded the cooker, and Jubal came out with some fresh water.  As suspected, he had been all over town the night before, scouting around.  Since this city wasn’t inside of any of the proxy war zones, it wasn’t in lockdown.  So nobody noticed a man wandering around at night.  In a town this grungy, it was probably normal.  Jubal had found a place where one could get water that was clean enough for our purposes.  We had to cook the rice we got.  The meat, that was raw, and we were all totally stoked.  It smelled delicious.  We unpacked our purchases and Jubal, Erin and Mandy worked to get dinner ready.  Emily once-again took post watching for trouble.

As she sat there, she noticed a dark shadow walked along the balcony, over to her.  She narrowed her focus at it, her hand reaching toward the knife she kept in her pocket.  But she quickly noticed that the shadow was small.  It was an animal.  She relaxed a bit, smiling.  Emily had always liked animals.  The world had become such a desolate place, it was hard to find life that wasn’t human or Wolf.  Except for the rats in the sewers, but they weren’t any fun, and didn’t taste very good, either.  Not to mention that they were usually brimming with Rads.  The sewers were becoming increasingly dangerous places.  With all the toxins and radiation pumped out of cities, animals that made their residence there were becoming mutated beyond reason.  The Wolves avoided entering a city through there at all costs.  You never know what kind of monsters you were going to run into.
The shadowed animal came closer, bounding from one balcony to another, seeming totally at ease with walking along the edge of a building.  It came into the light of the apartment, and Emily could see that it was a black cat.  No collar, and fur that clearly one could tell had been on the streets for a while.  This was a stray.  She held out her hand, wanting to pet it.  It was still very cute.  The cat was a little apprehensive about approaching her.  It could smell that she was a Wolf.  But it was hard to resist getting scratched behind the ears.  It walked over to Emily’s hand, and sat down.
“You’re very cute.  What’s a kitty like you doing in a place like this?”  She smiled a bit, pushing her hair out of her face.  The cat looked up at her.
“Not much.  What are you doing here, Wolf?”
She looked down in shock.  “You’re talking to me?!”
The cat appeared to smile up at her.  “You’re part-Wolf and part-dog who can change into a human and hides out among those who slaughtered you, and I’m the weirdest thing here?”
The question disarmed her, and she shrugged a bit.  “Okay, fair enough.  To answer your question, I don’t know.  I guess that I am just following the pack.”
The cat laid down, nestling its head in her hand.  “Do you like this pack that you’re with?”
Her face got more sullen.  “I guess.  But it’s better to be with them than to be alone.”
“What do you mean, alone?”
Emily thought for a second.  “Before I was with the pack, I was just another stray dog.  Or I may as well have been.  I had no family, no friends.  Wandering from place to place, barely fed enough to walk.  I was too scared to leave the city I was in, but it was so large that it felt like it was an entire country.  I would go from one area to another, stealing food where I could, and begging for scraps.  The idea of returning to that…I don’t even want to think about it.”
The cat looked up at her.  “So, you do like it here.”
Again, she shrugged.  “I like Lucien.  He’s…strong.  He isn’t like the others.  Lots of the others hate me, or don’t respect me enough to think of me as their Beta.  But he does.  He treats me like I’m a Wolf, not just some dog.”  She looked back at the sound of conversation, then back out the window.  “But…I don’t really need them.  I just don’t want to be alone.  If I think that there is somewhere that I could settle down, or make a life for myself, I’ll ditch them.  They won’t miss me.”
The cat almost seemed to cock an eyebrow.  “Oh really?  You’re the Beta of this pack, and you would just abandon them?  Not very Wolf-like, if you ask me.”
“Well, I’m not a Wolf,” she spat back, without missing a beat.
“You keep telling yourself that.  But you’re in a pack, with them, and have a position where you are supposed to look after them.  You can’t just abandon them, can you?  Do you really think that you could just abandon responsibility without looking back?”
Emily looked down at the cat, wanting to get upset, but she stopped and thought about it.  She saw Lucien and Mandy, sitting and talking to each other.  She saw Lizzy, gently licking at Maddie’s hand, wanting to be fed.  Impatient little pup, but she was getting better.  She saw the Hunters, who were none too fond of her, but still were her underlings.  She watched them, then looked down at the cat.
“I don’t know.  Maybe…maybe we’ll see how things go, and then, if things work out, we’ll see.”
The cat then stood up, stretching.  It hopped onto the windowsill, looking back at her.  “Well, good to know.  I’m glad that I got to meet you, Wolf.”  It seemed to be smiling at her.
Emily smiled back, nodding.  “You too.”
“You should know that what you are looking for isn’t here.  The Wolves that were here are long gone.”
This got her attention.  “We know.  Do you know which way they went?”
“They headed north.  They said something about a Valley.”
Emily nodded, looking back at the cat.  “Thank you.  By the way, my name’s Emily.”
“I’m the Harlequin.”  It smiled at her, almost clearly this time.  “We’ll meet again, Emily.  Count on it.”  With that, it disappeared into the darkness.

I saw Emily sitting there, watching out the window with some intent.  I had heard her talking.  This piqued my curiosity.
“Who were you talking to?” I asked, sitting down on the other side of the window.
She looked over, surprised, but then settled.  “A cat.  He told me that the Wolves we are looking for are gone, and they headed north, out of the city.”
This got my attention, and I nodded, thoughtfully.  “I see, well then, we can’t linger here.”
She nodded back at that.  “Yeah, and I don’t much care to, either.  I don’t like this city.  It feels…cold.  And not just the weather.  There’s something about this city that feels like it is devoid of life.  I mean, the Underground was cool, but honestly, the rest feels robbed of life.”
“I know what you mean,” I replied, staring out at the domed ceiling.  “We should leave in the next day or so.”  I stood up, motioning for her to come with.  “Come on, it’s time to eat.”
She looked back, shaking her head.  “It’s okay.  Somebody needs to stand guard.”
I motioned for her to come.  “You’re a member of this pack, Emily.  Come eat with us.  I’m not going to let you feel like the Omega just because you’re not completely Wolf.”  I held out my hand.  She took it, smiling at me.
“Okay, Lucien.”  We headed off toward the living space, where the rice was being dished out.  We all took our Wolf forms, eager to eat some warm food again.

Fin

Until next time, a quote,

“Let me tell you this: if you meet a loner, no matter what they tell you, it’s not because they enjoy solitude. It’s because they have tried to blend into the world before, and people continue to disappoint them.”  -Jodi Picoult

Peace out,

Maverick

Lucien’s Review: DmC: Devil May Cry

DmC Devil May CryAlright, I’ll start with my overall opinion – this game is awesome!  For those who know me as a story-seeker, this may come as a surprise how much I like this game.  But what they don’t know is that I have that little inner perfectionist in me who likes the living shit out of stuff like this.  The original Devil May Cry games were score-attack masters who stressed mastering their combat system, and were brutally punishing to button-mashers.  This reboot of the series does right by the brand, while still feeling like a unique creation too.

To start with, the new design and character of Dante suits him.  Instead of being the wise-cracking goof from the original games, he is a typical bad-boy who just so happens to have a lot of good beneath him, that comes through at the end.  He is just as ridiculous and silly, but this was intentional.  The story is much the same as well.  While the narrative makes a lot more sense than the original series, it doesn’t take itself seriously at all, and neither should you.  If you like some old-fashioned action cheese, there will be a lot for you to like in this game.  And it is a well-constructed narrative that, even though it never takes itself seriously, does take time to grow the characters, and keep you rooting for the heroes.  All in all, it is silly, but totally fun.  Not to mention funny.  This game is good at making fun of itself and keeping things fresh.  Ninja Theory knew what kind of game this was supposed to be, and they did it well.

Another thing worth mentioning are the environments.  When I was playing this game, the look and feel of Limbo took me back to another favorite game of mine – Alice: Madness Returns.  In fact, I would be surprised if a LOT of the imagery and style wasn’t borrowed from that.  But it is a look that suits the game.  Limbo is a neat place.  Now, some of the textures aren’t as up to date as one would expect a modern game to be.  I suspect that the same engine that was used to make Resident Evil 6 was used to make this game.  But it is by NO means a bad looking game.  It looks awesome.

Despite how linear the environments are, they do incentivise exploration, so you can find all the neat collectables, which helps add to your final score.  That is one point that new players will have to deal with – the intricate level design is going to hurt your speed for the first few times.  Once you get unlocks from later in the game, and you are able to get the collectibles from earlier levels, that will help you.

But, the thing that matters most in any Devil May Cry game is the combat.  And this game owns!  I am so glad that this game got pushed back.  They got everything right with combat in this game.  The combat focuses on the duality of Dante as part angel and part demon.  In addition to his sword and guns, Dante can also seamlessly use an angelic weapon and a demonic weapon.  The transition between weapons is completely seamless, and it flows so incredibly well.  A skilled player can keep a combo chain going throughout an entire fight, and it looks amazing.  So much of the fun that I have had from this game came from the absolutely awesome look of how combat goes in this game.  Now, each weapon comes with its own learning curve, and its own style.  The angelic weapons are all about style and finesse, while the demonic weapons are about brute force.  But when you learn to mix and match how you use them, it looks awesome!  Combat is the best part of any Devil May Cry game, and Ninja Theory totally ran with that.  Combat is almost perfect in this game.

With that said, there is one major hiccup – the bosses.  Now, don’t get me wrong, they look cool, and they are imaginative.  But the problem is that the boss battles are less about the same seamless style that the rest of the combat in the game is so adept at, and more about finding a weakness, and then exploiting it.  Rinse, lather, repeat.  That’s not to say that the boss fights aren’t fun, they are, but there isn’t too especially much strategy involved.  That is a real bummer.

All in all, this is a very good game.  Is it great?  No, but that’s okay.  This is a game that doesn’t shoot for the stars.  It panders to a very specific market, but it does this incredibly well.  Ninja Theory did right by the brand they were given, but still made it their own creation.  I am eager to see where they go with this franchise.  Pick it up, if you are a perfectionist who likes to beat the shit out of demons, and has an affinity for action cheese.

Final Verdict:

8 out of 10

Peace out,

Maverick

Leaving Religion, Not Looking Back

I saw a story on NPR, and I thought about it.  See, more and more people in this country are coming out as being affiliated with no religion.  According to the statistics, 1 in 5 Americans are non-religious.  I like that.  I saw this story (link here), and I got to thinking about my own religion growing up, and how it affected my life.  I think I have always been a skeptic.  Some part of myself just had to question everything I was told.  I always wanted to learn more about the world.  In a lot of ways, I still do.  I try to learn as much as I can about the world, and there is always something interesting to learn.

I come from a very religious family.  Very religious.  Now, the nuclear family is, but they don’t show it as much.  So in my house, while we did go to church, it wasn’t a big deal.  I remember being bored to tears at church, because the stories weren’t all that interesting, the characters were kind of dull, the plot had so many holes and it honestly just made no sense to me.  So yeah, it was boring.  What’s worse – the youth groups involved.  I remember not one time enjoying anything they did.  Almost all the kids there got on my nerves.  They were almost exclusively a bunch of goodie-goodies who were trying to be little angels.  Especially the female types.  The few I did get along with, we were the notorious outcasts and trouble-makers.  The pastor, Duane, was patient with us, but we did strike a nerve occasionally.  The other guy, an dick cheese named Andy, didn’t like us and the feeling was mutual.  This dude was a jerk, and everybody knew it.

Now, that was my own nuclear family.  Outside of that, religion was the name of the game for the rest of them.  The rest of the family was incredibly religious.  A paralyzed uncle of mine is so hardcore religious that he will talk smack about how Hell-bound you are to your face.  He and I haven’t like each other for a long time.  I am quite sure that he thinks that I am going to Hell in a hand-basket.  He keeps trying to save me.  It’s annoying as fuck.  On the other side, I have an aunt who is major-league religious.  Two of her four children grew up to become preachers.  One a very level-headed and easy-going girl, and the other a hardcore, what I would call Fundie zealot who gets on my nerves.  These two families were so big on religion that I honestly didn’t get it.  Church was kind of a come and go thing in my family.  The parents have a deep faith, but they don’t push it on the rest of us.  Knowing these relatives, I can see why.  For the same reason, while here on the internet I spew my rhetoric about this, I don’t get crazy about it in the real world.  Whatever happens, happens.  That’s my philosophy.

For me, leaving the church was no big deal.  I never really believed any of what I learned in church, and it bored me anyway, so leaving it behind was easy.  But when I look at the rest of the family, I do often wonder about them.  See, for me, I see these stories, that are clearly fiction, and meant as parable, and wonder how they can possibly believe that all this stuff is true.  They fully and completely believe that every word in the Bible is the truth, and questioning it is wrong.  How?  Why?

The host of NPR was trying to understand why young people are turning away from religion more and more.  Part of me thinks it is because information is so easy to get in this generation.  Religion thrives on ignorance.  You have to keep some ignorance to buy into the completely ridiculous notion that there is an all-powerful being who actually gives a shit about you, but created a world filled with miseries the likes of which we here in America can’t begin to imagine.  How people in Haiti or Cambodia can believe in God is simply beyond me.  Nations that are Hell on Earth, and are not going to change anytime soon, I would think would be the last places where people buy into this notion that somebody in the sky loves them.  But maybe I am just jaded based on my own skepticism.

I have a cousin who is a unique paradox to me.  He wants to embrace the life of a traditional family, traditional family values, even join a church congregation, but he is smart enough to know that the Bible is bullshit, and that God isn’t real.  He wants all the trimmings of the American Dream, but seems to have forgotten that, as George Carlin once said –

It’s called the American Dream because you have to be asleep to believe in it.

But I don’t look down on him for that.  In fact, I find it rather fascinating.  But looking at where he came from – a family that is hardcore religious, yet has been together for all these years without anything in the way of serious hiccup, I actually get that.  His family is what an all-American family is perceived to be.  They had their God, marriage, dog and kids.  It is a happy family unit.

The point of this rambling bit of early morning post is that I don’t believe in God, and if I ever did, I don’t remember.  I do believe that ignorance is becoming a harder commodity for the church to come by, and now they are falling back on old tactics of trying to scare people back into the faith.  The tactic is failing, and ironically driving even more people away from the faith.  But at the same time, if my cousin is any proof, there is something that this community has that I don’t honestly think I will tangibly understand, but it is powerful.

I left religion, and haven’t once looked back.  I look ahead, and while I have no real hope for my future, I do like what I see.  If nothing else, I get a good giggle or two.  And the aforementioned cousin, maybe he will find what he is looking for.  In the end, life is just a giant jumble of insane bullshit that we are all trying to figure out.  There is no right answer, nor wrong.  It’s all…whatever happens.

Until next time, a quote,

“Tell me, Why do you think people believe in god ? Because they want to.  It’s not easy living in an ugly corrupt world.”  -Dr Londez, Cowboy Bebop

Peace out,

Maverick

Top 10 Video Game Fallen Angels

It is an overused saying, but – the bigger they are, the harder they fall.  And none have fallen quite so far as these franchises.  These franchises used to be the ones who broke rules, set trends, and who all the game developers wanted to mimic.  Some franchises have narrowly avoided this list, like Tomb Raider, with the upcoming and very well-anticipated reboot, along with Devil May Cry, which was on its way to this location because the developer of the game clearly lost their vision.  But the games on this list fell so far, so fast, and it truly is a pity, because they could have had a very bright future, if only in the hands of more ambitious developers.  This list is paying homage to the franchises many of us grew up with, and ended up being hurt by, or just completely forgot.

Banjo Kazooie10. Banjo Kazooie
This was a franchise that didn’t even get a chance to truly grow its own identity before it fell apart.  Anybody who grew up with the N64 knows about this game.  Banjo Kazooie was a Very peculiar puzzle platformer, and it was loads of fun.  With strange characters, strange locales that you couldn’t help but want to explore, and a very odd story, its biggest hook was how strange it was, and it was a good gimmick to have.  Then it’s only game in the HD era came along – Banjo Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts.  And this game was awful!  The new look, the new direction that robbed this franchise of so much of what made it unique.  Now, a lot of these kinds of games suffered in the HD generation.  It’s like developers thought that they had to make every game a wondrous visual marvel.  Unfortunately, they never learned that that isn’t the case, and this franchise died before it even had a chance to spread its wings.  The absurd does have a place in the HD generation, and it kills me that so many franchises never realized that.

Star Fox9. Star Fox
I know that I’m going to catch some heat for this, but let’s all be honest – this franchise has gotten more than a little stale.  Star Fox 64 was one of the best flight combat simulator games there is.  It had a lot of different and interesting places, different kinds of vehicle combat, cool missions and a unique system that allowed players to find alternate paths through the game, including one with a true ending.  It was a great game, that gave so many gamers hours of enjoyment going through each path, and finding the clever ways to other paths.  You also got to replay to better your kill count and score.  This game was so much fun.  Then, Star Fox Adventures came out of the Gamecube, and this was an uninteresting and uninspired bore.  They tried to go back to formula with Star Fox Assault, and while it wasn’t as much of a waste as its predecessor, it was far too short, and there were no branching paths or neat discoveries to make.  The franchise saw nothing in the Wii, and hopefully it can bounce back with the Wii U.  If not, this could be the end of Fox’s time in the limelight.

Resident Evil8. Resident Evil
I don’t think that any franchise has fallen as hard or as fast as Resident Evil.  The only reason it isn’t higher on this list is because I don’t hate 5 and 6 as much as some people do.  But I do recognize how it is failing.  Resident Evil 4 brought it back from the brink of being on this list a lot sooner.  That game showed that Resident Evil could hold its ground in the new age, and very well too.  It spawned the over-the-shoulder view system.  This was a trend-setter game for tons of games that would follow.  But then Resident Evil 5 came along, and it threw a wrench in the gears of all the potential the series had been given back.  With almost no horror elements, this was most certainly an action game.  And while it was a stylish action game, it wasn’t Resident Evil, and the fans knew it.  Divisions grew among the fans, and things were looking to get ugly.  Resident Evil 6 has continued the division of the fans.  Now, it should be noted that this is not a bad game.  Neither was 5.  But they are not survival horror games.  They are action games.  Ironically, the closest that 6 came to feeling like a survival horror game was with the Ada Wong story.  This franchise needs help, and unfortunately, doesn’t look to be getting any.  Which is a real shame.

Earthworm Jim7. Earthworm Jim
Anybody who remembers the Sega Genesis knows this franchise.  The stylish design and the odd weapons, bosses, controls and worlds just made this franchise what it was.  It was another of the absurd platformers, and it took advantage of every minute of it.  The backgrounds were hand-drawn, and they looked amazing.  Sadly, this franchise died a VERY quick death in the growth of 3D games, much like the franchise at the top of this list.  The biggest tragedy of all is that Earthworm Jim should be surviving, and very well, too.  In the HD generation, what they could do with the environments and platforming is just awesome, and it kills me that they haven’t brought this franchise back from the grave.  Rayman was able to get an awesome new game that brought its franchise back from the grave, and so should this one.  Hopefully, we see more of this worm and his power suit again.

Splinter Cell6. Splinter Cell
Now, I don’t know how many of you know this, but I LOVE me some stealth games.  For real, the stealth genre is another one that hasn’t gotten its fair share of love in a very long time.  Granted, there are games that excel at it, like Batman: Arkham City or Mark of the Ninja, but this franchise used to mark the high point in stealth gaming.  You had to use the main character’s acrobatic skill to stick to the shadows, stalk patrols and get in close for the kill.  It was loads of fun, and then the most recent sequel has come out.  Conviction was an action game.  And the game that is coming up next is even moreso.  Not to mention that the main character isn’t played by Michael Ironside, which was one of the reasons that we thought that Fischer was so cool.  This is another franchise that has gone the route of Resident Evil and become an action series, which is a real shame, because the stealth aspects in previous games were among the best that have ever been.  Sadly, it is looking more and more like this franchise won’t go back to its very clever roots.

Prince of Persia5. Prince of Persia
This is a franchise that I think lost its way.  Part of that is due to how popular it became.  Sands of Time is one of the best puzzle games that has ever been made.  Warrior Within was a bit of a stumble, but not much.  The Two Thrones was also a bit of a stumble, but still very fun.  However, the reimagined game Prince of Persia, and the god-awful film made from the original game totally botched the image of what this game stood for – deep combat, clever puzzles, and using powers to your advantage.  The worst offense was in the reboot, where it was almost impossible to die.  There was no incentive to think strategically about your actions, because you were pretty sure that you were going to come back.  Not to mention the REALLY bad sequel-bait ending that this game had.  But this franchise has stared down this abyss before, and come out swinging, so who knows what the future has in store for the Prince.

Fable4. Fable
This series, to me, is a lot like M. Night Shyamalan’s career.  It was built up so far, so fast, that people didn’t stop to think about if the praise we were giving it was earned or not.  Fable was an awesome game.  The idea of morality in a game was new, fun, and it made trying new things and replays so much more interesting.  That’s not to say that this game didn’t have its problems.  The final boss battle was kind of sad.  But, aside from that, it was a very solid game, with a unique style and finesse.  Fable II definitely was a step backwards.  The magic was over-powered.  The navigation system was kind of annoying.  The final boss battle was non-existent, and totally anti-climactic.  But, all that aside, it was also a solid game.  We were underwhelmed, but we still did like the final product.  Then came Fable III.  This game was a disaster.  It was an uncooked dough that had the potential to be something amazing.  So many players were sold on the idea of fighting against a corrupt king, taking over his nation, and leading it.  That does have a lot of potential.  And the game looks amazing.  But that’s where the good things end.  The rest of this game was such a complete mess that it has driven more than one nail into this series’s coffin.  Fable is dying, fast.  Just like Shyamalan’s career.

Silent Hill3. Silent Hill
Much like Resident Evil, this is a franchise that fell very hard, very fast.  The original 3 Silent Hill games were all survival horror masterpieces with a dark and foreboding world, stories that were thematically and narratively dense and characters who were being tortured by their own subconscious’s.  Then the series hit a hiccup with Silent Hill 4, which stressed really awkward combat along with painstakingly brutal inventory management.  There were a string of lackluster spinoff games, and then came Silent Hill 5.  The boring plot, unimaginative environments and awful controls doomed this game.  Downpour was hoping to bring it back, but it only made the problems worse.  This franchise used to be the metric that other survival horror games stood up to.  Now, it’s a sad reminder of the fact that the survival horror genre is on life support.  The only thing that players fear about the next games is that they are going to be worse than the last.

Final Fantasy2. Final Fantasy
Square Enix really needs to get their shit together with this franchise, or it will soon be dead.  Once the undisputed King of RPG games, Final Fantasy was the chief contender all the way up to XII.  Some argue that XII was the first step in the wrong direction, and there is an argument to be made, but that game still had its moments, and it wasn’t nearly the catastrophe that XIII was.  XIII burned fans with completely linear gameplay, a story that never seemed to be going anywhere, and having these incredibly beautiful environments that we couldn’t explore.  After that, there was XIV, which was a massive commercial failure.  XIII-2 was a complete dud, and it has come to light that ANOTHER sequel to XIII is being made, which is so obviously a cash-in.  Meanwhile, the game that all the franchise lovers are waiting for, Versus XIII, has heard hardly anything about it, with Square swearing up and down that it isn’t vaporware or cancelled.  This franchise needs help, and it is going to fall apart if, as I said above, Square Enix doesn’t get their shit together.

But of all the franchises on this list, none has fallen farther or faster than this one –

Sonic the Hedgehog1. Sonic the Hedgehog
I grew up with this character.  I loved these games.  Sonic 3 and Sonic and Knuckles were among my favorite games growing up.  For so long, Sonic lead the charge against the Nintendo powerhouse.  Sonic games were almost as popular as Mario games.  But, like Earthworm Jim, he did NOT transition well into 3D.  Some of the games in this lineup have been so bad that they are amazing.  Sonic the Hedgehog of 2006 takes the cake, with the main character falling in love with a human, and spending a large portion of the game talking to people.  It was not only boring, it was hilariously bad, with a story that was so forced and contrived that it made the rest of us cringe.  That’s not to say that all Sonic games in 3D have been bad.  Sonic Generations was a step in the right direction, combining the best of both worlds (2D and 3D).  But some of the games associated with this character are beyond jokes.  From all the pointless racing games, the Sonic vs. Mario games, and by far the absolute worst – Sonic Free Riders.  This is a character who has fallen so hard from grace, and it amazes me how loyal his fans can still be.  We were all swindled, guys.  Let’s accept it.

Until next time, a quote,

“The higher a video game franchise climbs, the farther it has to fall.”  -GT Countdown

Peace out,

Maverick

Shooting, Tragedy and Placing Blame

This post is a little late to the shot, but I wanted to take some time, get my thoughts together, and try and put as cohesive a thought process as I could.

Now, before we begin, let me say up front that the only person that we should be blaming for the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut and most anywhere is the shooter.  The shooter is responsible for his own decisions.  So was the shooter in Aurora, Colorado.  So were the young men responsible for the shooting at Columbine.  So was the shooter at Virginia Tech, Virginia.  All of these people are responsible for their own choices, and that should never, ever be lost sight of.

But in the absolutely relentless coverage that the media places on these sorts of events, this is often lost.  And there is a lot of things that are never talked about.  After this most recent shooting, there were the usual topics talked about.  The left said that guns are responsible, which anyone with a modicum of intelligence should be able to point out is complete bullshit.  The more interesting arguments about this come from the right wing of this country.

The spokesman for the NRA said that violent video games are responsible for this.  He cites a Flash game called “Kindergarten Killers.” as evidence of the violence in video games leading to shootings like the one in Newtown.  A game that is one of a billion stupid Flash player games that was made by a kid in high school who probably just wanted to shock people.  The spokesman holds this up as proof of how the regular media fails, and his media is better.

The media has been trying, for years, to get somebody to say that video games are the source of violent behavior.  The fact of the matter is that there has never been any proof that such is the case.  In fact, for the last 20 years, violent crimes have been on the decline.

And the man’s argument of “the only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun” is so blatantly stupid that it is almost offensive.  For real, there are not two words of truth to that at ALL.  The reality of the situation is that people with guns have not stopped other people with guns since…ever.

For real, think about this – America was founded based on a war with Britain.  But the reality is that most of what led up to that war was misinformation that the revolution supporters were using to get people on their side.  The British were not some evil monster that was using taxes to crush us.  In fact, they were often providing better deals than the revolutionaries.  Guns came into play when words failed, but guns didn’t end the conflict, either.  Words did.  Words formed the agreement that the British would stand down, and America could have its independence.  Throughout history, words have done so much more than guns could ever hope to do.

The best evidence of all is in looking at the fact that the media is a blatant accomplice in these shootings.  The shooters at Columbine were found to have been looking for help, over and over again.  They were troubled, and all they really wanted was somebody to listen.  They were at the cusp of when America’s media became as over-bearing as it is.  They saw these events, that got relentlessly covered, and they decided that they would get the word out by making themselves heard.  What they did was horrible, and I will never condone that, but these kids wanted help, and nobody listened to them.  It was a brilliant quote by Marilyn Manson when asked what he would have said to them –

I wouldn’t say a single word to them.  I’d listen to what they had to say, and that’s what no one did.

Well said, and it just kills me that not only has the media not learned from this, they are amping up their game.  After this shooting, there were reporters sticking microphones into children’s faces and asking them if they heard shooting.  What the fuck is wrong with you people?  Not only should these “journalists” be ashamed to show their faces in public, they should lose any and all credibility for this.  And the tragedy is that this is what the news does.  The TV news doesn’t have your best interest at heart.  They want to make money.

It was the same after the Aurora shooting.  Instead of keeping this about the victims and the event, they decided to massively cover everything about the shooter.  To tear apart his life and make him an anti-hero.  There is a kind of hero status that those who commit these crimes gain by doing this.  And the rest of us seem to not notice.  Or even fewer care.

Because after the media was able to cover the shooter to death, they decided to cover the bullshit that Congress and the people were spewing about who was to blame.  Oh yes, it must surely be the guns.  Why, I am totally behind it being the fact that we took “God out of the schools.”  And it definitely makes sense that video games were behind this.  Yup, you all figured it out.  Brilliant bunch of fucking morons.  And once-again, we cement this man as another media-created anti-hero, who will be remembered for years to come.  I guarantee you that all of you probably know the name of the shooter, but can’t think of the name of a single victim.  Don’t go to Google.  Just think.  And that, in a nutshell, is why I am fully behind the belief that the media is an accomplice to this sort of insanity.

And while we’re talking about it, the argument that the Christian right makes in this country EVERY SINGLE TIME something like this happens – not enough God.  Do I really have to show how blatantly stupid that argument is?  Do I have to talk about how dumb it is to say that their sky-wizard decided not to help people?  By that logic, then this “all-loving” deity of theirs is not only not “all-loving,” but is selective, judgmental and not above watching genocide.  After all, he watched the genocide of the Jews in Nazi Germany, even though his son (who is also him) was a Jew.  Consistency, what’s that?

While we’re talking about guns being the problem, do the liberals who argue that even understand that the biggest perpetrator of gun violence is linked to the reason that large-scale banning of guns wouldn’t work – the war on drugs.  For real, gang violence is the number 1 source of gun violence in this country.  If we ended the war on drugs, the number of violent crimes associated with guns would be slashed to ribbons in a week.  In a month, we would hardly hear of it.

But amidst all of this, let’s all remember – the person who is guilty here is the shooter.  The shooter in Newtown made his own choices, and is responsible for his own decisions.  Our eagerness to get on a bandwagon and deny this doesn’t make it any less true.

Until next time, a quote,

“There are mountains and mountains of statistics you can use to show that there is no link between shootings and video games.”  -Total Biscuit, Tragedy and Video Games  

Peace out,

Maverick