How I Would have done the Mass Effect 3 Ending

Well, since I made a post years after the Star Wars prequels came out about how I would have done those, I thought to myself – why not do one for the Mass Effect 3 ending?  I have been putting a ton of thought into this, and I think what I have would work.

My redo would be nothing short of massive.  I would be redoing this from the ground-up.  It would start at everything that happened after the Victory Fleet goes to Earth.  A lot like Mass Effect 2, the things that you did would massively affect the ending to the entire series.  The war assets you gained would play an unbelievably huge roll.  Yes, the showing of the battle against the Reaper fleet would take a million years.  Worth it, for this.  All the neat space-combat assets you got, like the Volus dreadnought and the Vorcha fighter squad would be shown, doing their thing.  You could also show the assets you get as part of the DLC missions.  It would be an add-on or patch for that.  Whatever.  Depending on if you got both the Quarians and Geth forces to have your back, it would also have some neat tie-ins with the space combat, as you would see Geth forces protecting Quarian ships, doing SO much damage to the Reapers.  I also like the idea of seeing Aria’s fleet doing some damage to the Reapers, with that bat-shit crazy Asari captain.

Also, like in Mass Effect 2, what war assets you have will affect who lives and who dies in the final act.  Along with your galactic readiness.  Once you get to Earth, there would be some neat ways that you could strategically use your various assets, like the Geth Prime platoon, or the Krogans on Kakliosaurs.  You can ever strategically place the Leviathan artifacts, to gain control of Reaper forces.  Depending on how many you have to work with, I like the idea of there being a secret way that you could use them to take control of a Reaper, and get them attack their own.  Admit it, that would be AWESOME to see!  But yeah, if you scrounged the galaxy for assets, then you won’t be disappointed.  Also, since you have old allies as assets, you can use them as well.  Maybe even get some of them as additions to your squad.  Getting to fight with your old crew again.  Awesome, right?  Instead of the fight being about taking out a Reaper destroyer, I would make it a ground war.  You would have to use your assets to get specific tasks done on Earth.  For some tasks, you would need forces who could take punishment and fight hard.  For others, you would need stealthy but powerful units who could quickly go into a position and do damage.  Your readiness level would come into play with how many assets you have to work with.  If you are above 90%, you come into this battle with most of your ground assets intact.  At 50%, your options are tight.  At 100%, you have all the tools you need.  Then it comes down to using them right.

But there would be another important aspect of this.  Depending on how many assets you have an how well you use them, it will affect what shape you are in when you reach the Citadel.  If you are maxed-out and use them wisely, then you will be in good health with your armor intact.  If not, then you will be blasted to shit and have only one weapon.  With no medigel to help.  This is important because once you reach the Citadel, you run into an old friend – The Illusive Man.  I would red-con the entire segment with Anderson.  He is either dead or back on the ground, fighting it out.  I would keep the bit with the Normandy getting your crew out.  If they survived, that is.  You get in there, alone, and then you find out one of two things.

Depending on whether or not you left TIM the Collector Base at the end of Mass Effect 2, it plays out differently.  If you did, then he became Indoctrinated, and is now Harbinger’s puppet.  If not, then you find out that he spent time studying Indoctrination.  When he saw the power it had, he couldn’t resist putting it to use.  Akin to the story of Prometheus and giving fire to humanity, if you know your Greek mythology.  When he sees the capabilities that it gives him, he figures out that there must be a way to control not just soldiers, but the Reapers at large.   After the mission on Thessia, you find out that he learned much from the Catalyst.  He found out what the Crucible’s true purpose is.  Instead of it being a device that tons of Cycles built, it would be a weapon that the Protheans designed.  They had an idea.  The Reapers are machines.  They developed a special kind of signal.  This signal was going to be bounced off the Mass Relays, using their power to broadcast it.  This signal has one of two possibilities.  Either it would shut them down, or take control.  That’s right, no more Hologram Kid.  He doesn’t exist.  The Leviathan DLC already filled in the missing parts of the plot.  We’re keeping this simple.

So, in homage to the original Mass Effect, you have a war of words with TIM.  Depending on what you do, he either kills himself, or you end up having to kill him.  But, like the original, if he is under Harbinger’s control, Harbinger mutates him, and you have one final battle.  This is where your health comes into play.  If your armor and whatnot is intact, this battle will be challenging, but you’ll be okay.  Especially because it is just the two of you.  If your armor is blasted and you have one gun, with only reflexes and your powers, then this battle will be nothing short of pure nerves.  All your choices have meant something.  If he isn’t under Harbinger’s control, then TIM mutates due to the Reaper upgrades he put in himself.  Harbinger takes them over after he dies, and it’s the same deal.  But the bonus here is the he isn’t NEARLY as powerful as when Harbinger upgraded the hell out of him.  It’s still tough if your armor is blasted, but not as tough.

Then, after you kill The Illusive Man, and you will have options to how brutal you want this kill to be, you are left with two choices.  Though Harbinger doesn’t get so lucky.  Like ME1, when you kill TIM, he loses it and the Normandy and the fleet put that asshole down for good.  The Crucible docks with the Citadel.  Oh, and that’s another thing – you also get to see your upgrades in action with this as well.  Depending on how well you put it together, then the Crucible will only have a couple scratches.  If not, it will look ugly.  But the armor comes off, and it’s full-steam ahead.  The device comes online and you find out that you have a choice.  Neither of these options kill you, unless you are totally blasted.  If you aren’t, then your shields take it and you survive.  If not, you die.  But, you can either have the machine take control of the Reapers, or destroy them.  And depending on what you do, the endings play out much different.  If you destroy them, you see old-fashioned human ingenuity and elbow-grease putting things back together again.  Along with the various other races.  If you choose to take control, then you see Reapers helping out.  But you have a chance with either option to survive this, instead of a ridiculously contrived death.  You aren’t physically obliterated.  The thing that potentially could kill you is the energy flowing out, since you are right at the center of it.

But, after you make your choice, you see the ending play out.  It has bits and pieces showing what happens to your friends that you made.  You see Zaeed finally finding a way that he can live out his retirement – helping the colonies get back on their feet.  You see Kasumi at the place where the Crucible was constructed, stealing some tech they used as she leaves.  She make a joke that Shepard was right, they didn’t check her pockets.  Jack is with her students, getting them drunk (quite illegally, but it’s Jack).  If he survived, Jacob is also there with his girlfriend and several of the scientists who helped build the Crucible, celebrating a job well-done.  Tali is back with her people, helping rebuild Rannoch.  Depending on if you saved them or not, the Geth are helping the Quarians rebuild their home.  Garrus is doing as he said, living the good life from royalties on the vids.  Vega goes back home, with an N7 commendation and a new command waiting for him.  Ashley is back with the Alliance, moving on to her own command.  Or Kaiden, if you saved him on the Virmire mission, and he survived the Retaking of Earth.  Samara is with her daughter, seeing the future with new eyes.

A point that I thought would be interesting is if whether or not you choose to control or destroy the Reapers drastically affects the ending with Javik.  If you choose to save them, then he says that you are a sell-out to all the ideals you stood for and that you have not only disrespected him, but also what he, his people and all the people in this Cycle have fought and died for.  He then leaves, to go and rest with his ancestors, as he said he would do.  But if you destroy them, then he says that you have honored his people’s memory, and you even have the ability to get him to stay with your crew in a dialogue with him.  If you choose to let him go, then he will go to where his ancestors rest and say that he can go into that long night at peace.  His people have been avenged.

You see the Krogan rebuilding their home, if you cured the Genophage.  If you didn’t, then you see their culture dying out.  Asshole.  Wrek and Eve are rallying the clans.  Unless you killed Wrex.  Then it’s Wreav and his warriors being stopped by Eve and the clans who are with her.  If Wrex is alive, and you cured the Genophage, you see him rebuilding Tuchanka.  The Krogan hope is restored.  And of course, Grunt is more than happy to help keep things safe in their new worlds by ruthlessly executing pirates and slavers.

There are also lots of little bits showing what happens to some of your friends, like Bailey retiring, some of your ex-Cerberus friends drinking together and merriment.  Aria on Omega, helping to rebuild.  Major Kirrahe is with the STG, lecturing them about holding the line.  Depending on if you saved the Rachni Queen, you can see the Rachni helping rebuild several worlds, then retreating back, for silence again.  Anderson and Sanders are back together, if they both survived.  They have a flat in London and are happy to end their years together.  Anderson even shows Shepard around.

That brings me to Shepard.  If you got the Citadel DLC, then you see Shepard go back home, and since my last playthrough had me with Liara, romantically, you see the two of them greeting the morning together.  Though if you didn’t have the Citadel DLC, he/she greets the morning on-board the Normandy, the place that they call home.  If Shepard died, then you see a giant memorial statue in his/her honor, with various messages from the friends who survived, and a loved one as well.  It would end with Shepard back on the Normandy, not in the saving-the-galaxy business anymore, but eager to see what there is to see.

So, what do you think?

Until next time, a quote,

“What, ‘job?’  You mean that you all are getting paid for this?”  -Garrus Vakarian, Mass Effect 3

Peace out,

Maverick

In Memory of Zoe

The last post that I did like this, I wrote that I had a feeling that I would be doing many more of these before my time on this world was up.  There are days when I hate being right.  Zoe was a good friend to me.  She wasn’t the kind of friend who comes over and brings you a cold drink when you need it.  She wasn’t the kind of friend who you could nerd out with your newest games with.  She was just a friend who put her head on your lap and looked up at you, just glad to see that you were there.  Zoe, Shield Maiden of the Homestead, was my dog.

Zoe with her puppies.  The little white one is Riley.

Zoe with her puppies. The little white one is Riley.

Confused about the name?  Well, Zoe is a pure-bred lab.  Pure-bred dogs have to have titles.  Since neither of the parentals were good at thinking one up, they put the task to me.  Same with her puppy, Riley.  I had just watched the Lord of the Rings movies, so I thought of a name that was regal and whatnot.  She was a gift to the family after I had surgery.  Cervical fusion.  C1-C3.  The most unpleasant operation of my life, following an accident that has defined my outlook on life, forevermore.  She was such an excitable puppy.  She had a bit of a problem of peeing on the floor whenever people came home.  She just got so happy.  We trained that problem out of her by adulthood.  She wanted to be everybody’s friend.  Much to the chagrin of my cat and confidant – Lizzy.  Lizzy brutalized that puppy, to the point that even as an adult, who could bite her in half, she was afraid of her.  A trait that carried over to her puppy, Riley, when he tried to be her friend.

If there was a more friendly dog, I can’t think of one.  She was everybody’s friend the moment that she met them.  Hitler and Stalin could come in and she would try and be their best friends too.  I loved that quality.  Since the parents live out in the country, long walks around the woods were a favorite activity of hers.  Sometimes, she had a bit of trouble coming back when called.  The adventures were just too fun.

Now, while I say that she was given to me, the truth is that she wasn’t my dog.  Very quickly, it was the father-unit, Dave, who she bonded with.  Make no mistake, she was HIS animal.  Went absolutely everywhere with him.  Working in the garage, she was there.  Working outside, she was there.  In the plow truck clearing the road in the middle of winter, she was there.  She went absolutely everywhere with him.  He would complain, but the truth is, I think he liked having a little helper go everywhere with him.  One of my fondest memories from the old house is how I knew who everybody was by how they walk.  Since the basement was my favorite place to hang out, I could hear everybody walking around upstairs.  Sally (the mother-unit) had a slow and monotonous walk.  Not in a hurry to get anywhere.  The Sister had an angry walk.  For real, even her walk sounded pissed off.  I refuse to believe that she has arches on her feet.  But with the old man, everywhere he went, there was the clickety-click of doggie feet behind him.  For a while, it was Zoe, but then there was Riley.

See?  Such a momma's boy.

See? Such a momma’s boy.

Riley is her puppy.  He has been such a momma’s boy.  He doesn’t appear all sad, but then, dogs process death different than people.  I envy that about them sometimes.  Everywhere that Zoe went, he wasn’t far behind.  If she got attention, he had to have some.  There was a constant competition to see who got the old man’s lap while he would watch the news or TV at night.  But the neatest thing to me was when, even though he was so much bigger than her, when Zoe got pissed at him, she could run him down and throw him over, showing that he may be bigger, but she was top dog.  Given how large he got, that was so neat to see.

I got a call a couple months ago that it was confirmed that Zoe had cancer.  In her lymph nodes.  Not a good way to go.  She was having a hard time breathing.  When I got home from college for the summer, I got to hear how labored it was myself.  That was hard.  Her death was nowhere near easy.  She still seemed happy, but she’s a dog.  Dogs always seem happy, if people are being nice to them.  And we were.  By the end, her sense of smell was gone, her eyesight was getting really bad and her breathing was like the bellows.  We knew that it was time to put her to sleep.

I couldn’t be there when it was done.  I had to be at work.  We all have to earn money, right?  Been thinking about it all day.  I get home, hearing that it was done.  Part of me is glad that I wasn’t there to see it.  Too cruel a thing, for me.

When I was a kid, I used to think that animals all had a kind of sacred place that they go when they die.  Some kind of place that only they can find.  Since the parents used to say that none of the cats that they owned died at home, I figured that when they got old, they went off to find that sacred place.  The final resting place of their kind.  I don’t believe in God or anything, but part of me still wishes that I believed that.  And that maybe, someday, I will go to that place, and find my friend again.  If there is an afterlife, I have a feeling that there is a ton of nature to explore.

That’s all I have to say, really.  I lose one more friend.  A friend who I’ll never get back.  Lately, I feel so alone here.  Alone, forevermore.

Normally, I close these things out with a quote from the person who passed, but this was a friend, and I don’t have a quote by them.  So, I will use a quote about the species.  Goodbye, my friend.  I hope that you are in a better place, even if I don’t believe that.

Until next time, a quote,

“Happiness is a warm puppy.”  -Charles M. Schultz

Peace out,

Maverick

Lucien’s Review: Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch

Ni no KuniRemember in my Bioshock Infinite review how I said that if you thought that that review was late, then you were going to be blown away by my next one?  Well, this game came out in January.  So yeah, this review has been a long time coming.  I knew that if I tried to play this game when I was at college, my GPA would die a quick death.  But now I have gotten to play, and this is my review of a game that combined the brilliance of the animators at Studio Ghibli with the old-school dedication of Level 5 Studios.

When people were first told that Studio Ghibli was throwing its hat into the video game arena, expectations were beyond sky-high.  They were in orbit at Lagrange Point.  Everyone knew that this game would either own in every way or it would fall flat on its ass.  And I will say up-front that this game owns in every way.

I won’t say too much about the plot, because either you have already played this game or I don’t want to spoil too much.  Following a personal tragedy in his life, a young boy named Oliver finds out that if he follows a fairy named Drippy to another world, he can potentially undo what has been done.  Now, Oliver is no hero, but like most Studio Ghibli stories, he is about to find that part of himself that he never knew that he had.  Much in the same vein as Spirited Away, while the story is something that both adults and kids can enjoy, it is very much made for kids.  But while the story is made for kids, the gameplay is a send-up to the childhood of every kid who grew up in the 90’s.

I will say up-front that there is something of a learning curve to being able to play this game well.  It is demanding, but once you learn the various bits and bobs of how things work in combat and outside, it gets simpler.  The curve isn’t too steep, but enough to keep things interesting.  Gameplay is a combination of motion and strategy.  One theme that is very prevalent is how the gameplay in this game is similar to how old Pokemon games were played.  For real, you get these creatures called Familiars.  They function EXACTLY the same way as Pokemon do.  They grow, get more powerful and can learn new attacks.  But since a Familiar can only hold so many at a time, they have to get rid of them from time to time.  Plus, over time, Familiars even have evolutions that are so much like how Pokemon do.  This style of gameplay is so reminiscent and made the inner nostalgia in me just fall in love.

The art design is just awesome.  The world, despite the ridiculousness of the names of various places, is deep and rich.  Despite using cell-shading, they have a surprising level of depth and detail.  And the cutscenes are done with Studio Ghibli’s animation.  Those are breath-taking, as they always are.  For some of the cutscenes were magic is on display, they spared no expense making it look beautiful.  Level 5 knew that they couldn’t half-ass when they are being put next to that.  And they didn’t.  Plus, this world feels so odd, yet familiar.  The creatures are varied and absurd.  Some of them are interesting little puns, even to other anime.  Others are cute and you do feel a little bad for having your adorable little Familiar hacking them up.  But as I said, this was made for kids, so the violence is not gruesome.  It is all kind of cutesy.

With that said, the boss fights are nothing to laugh at.  Strategy plays an unbelievably major role in each of them and with some of the later ones, you will be pushed to your limit trying to figure out what to do.  But you can turn the game to Easy setting, if you are interested in just seeing how the story plays out.  I don’t shame you that.  It’s quite an adventure.  Some boss fights are absurdly strange, making you really put your thinking cap to good use.  Also, since it is a variation of turn-based combat where both you and your enemy are moving and striking at the same time, you have to think on your feet.  It’s a good challenge, if that is what you are looking for.

The acting in this game can take a bit of getting used to.  The original setting before the fantastic world is based in the 50’s, and they do their best to make it feel authentic.  Some of the phrases and puns used seem a little odd, but it still is nice.  Some of the acting is a little wooden, but only with characters who have no major role in the story.  For all the major characters and villains, they got grade-A material.  It is a great mix.  And the characters, though often absurd, are loads of fun.

But the thing that steals the show, to me, is the music.  Since this is partially a Studio Ghibli production, it wouldn’t be something of theirs without Joe Hisaishi doing the score.  With the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra at his back, the music for this game is awesome.  It feels epic when it needs to, quiet and peaceful when it doesn’t.  A lot of care was made to make this game feel appropriate to its genre, along with a typical Studio Ghibli production.  Some of the tracks are so nice that I could listen to them over and over again.  It was amazing work.

I really can’t say much more than that without going into creepy and obsessive nerdlove moments.  This is an awesome game.  I haven’t had an RPG this refreshing in a LONG time.  It was something that I needed, and it is something that you all will enjoy as well.  If you haven’t experienced it already, you desperately need to now.

Final Verdict:
9 out of 10

Peace out,

Maverick

Self-Indulgent and Overstated Nerdrage: Xbox One

Where do I begin?  The reveal of Microsoft’s latest system could not have possibly gone down worse.  For real, I have been trying to think of ways that this could have been worse.  Not much is coming to me.  For a company that has already been making poor choices with the Xbox 360, this was a disaster.

Let’s start with the very small criticisms.  Don’t worry, I intend to take a giant shit all over the bigger ones soon enough.  The first criticism is that this next system isn’t backwards-compatible.  That is so dumb that it hurts.  If memory serves, Sony has made this same mistake with the PS4.  Why?  With the PS3, I kind of got why the system wasn’t backwards-compatible.  The games were formatted differently.  So that would have been a problem.  But with this latest system, it makes no sense.  They are both playing high-definition games that truly only differ in terms of the quality of graphics.

Next, the graphics for the PS4 are amazing.  On the level of a high-specs PC.  With this latest system from Microsoft, the Xbox One…oh, and that’s another thing – the name.  This is the most uninspired name that I have ever heard!  It bores me just thinking about it.  But the graphics on this system are not impressive at all.  They are a bit of a step beyond what we see now, but that’s it.

Another totally stupid thing is that this system is marketed as an entertainment center.  It showed off how, with this device, it can play TV, on your TV, where you are supposed to have TV.  Oh yeah, that makes sense.  And now it has Internet Explorer!  Wow.  That’s impressive.  Oh, wait, it’s not.  Because what we all have Internet Explorer for now is to download Chrome or Firefox.  Because Internet Explorer is their retarded cousin.  This system has a ton of features.  That’s cool.  Oh, wait, it’s not.

What about the games?  Well, we didn’t get to see much of them.  In fact, there was almost NO gameplay footage!  They showed off the new Call of Duty and NFL games.  That was exciting.  Well, not exactly.  Since there was almost no gameplay, we were just watching the tailored visuals that showed us nothing.  Almost NO emphasis was put on the games.  But that’s not the worst thing.

The very worst things about this system is that Microsoft’s war on used games has come full circle, and the public will be paying the price.  See, while they don’t demand that you have a constant internet connection, you will have to have some semblance of one for this console.  The reason is that the system hooks directly in to Xbox Live.  The reason that it does this is because they will be forcing players to register their games on Xbox Live before they can be played.  Just like a PC, there will be a code for the games.  What’s more, the system will then know if the game has been downloaded more than once.

And if the game has been used more than once, of the player bought a used game, then guess what – you have to pay a fee!  That’s right, if you have already bought the game once, then you have to pay a fucking fee again.  This is beyond bullshit.  This is money-grubbing.  This is a cash-grab, and it disgusts me how this is actually allowed to stand.  It’s like Microsoft is crying, “used games give us less money!  So we’re going to get it!”  It should come as no surprise that Microsoft is already doing PR damage control.  For good reason.

The other annoying-as-fuck thing about this system is that the games are on the disc and then you download them on to your system.  That’s how this whole anti-used game thing works.  It has all the properties of a PC.  So, here’s a question – if this system is going to function exactly like a PC, why wouldn’t I just use my PC?  The decisions surrounding this system are so dumb, because they are now trying to appeal to a wider audience.

Sony must be cheering right now.  This is the best thing that could have possibly happened to them.  When they debuted the PS4, they came out guns-blazing.  They made their debut all about the games.  It was the exact opposite of what they did back during the debut of the PS3.  Care to guess what they did then?  Well, they talked about the features, all the neat gizmos and they barely even touched the games.  Sound familiar?

This debut of their latest system was a disaster.  And it can only get worse from here.  Sony already has the upper-hand.  Nintendo is fighting for its survival at this point.  Unless the Wii U starts to own in a pretty serious way, it isn’t looking good for them.  Microsoft, however, has decided to not only spit in the faces of gamers, but also business in general.  You just KNOW that Gamestop has to be pretty pissed right now.  Used games are their bread and butter.  If players aren’t compelled to buy them, then why sell them?  Gamefly also has to be feeling jilted right now.  A lot of corporate interests are going to be pissed, and this is what Microsoft is touting as the next best thing.  Fucking genius.

I was hoping that Microsoft wouldn’t do this.  I wanted to believe in their new system.  I was just starting to actually like the Halo series, now that they took a more personal look at the main character.  With Bungie having a new IP coming out that doesn’t look half-bad, there was a lot to like about a new system.  Alas, they have squandered all of what could have been great potential, right out of the gate.  This was so stupid that it’s kind of brilliant.  As I said, Sony must be cheering right now.  As they should be.  With their dedication to Indie gaming, along with trying to make good games, Microsoft is going to be losing money, in a big way.

Until next time, a quote,

“Who is more foolish – the fool or the fool who follows him?”  Obi Wan Kenobi, Star Wars: A New Hope

Peace out,

Maverick

Life on Autopilot

Still Life of Fruit and Wine on a Table by Severin RoesenHaven’t done one of these posts in a while.  Posts about my own existential view on the world.  There is something about not being wanted, sexually.  Something about being a titan who isn’t all that much in the looks department leaves me getting almost no interest in fooling around.  Who knew?  But there is an upside to it all.  It offers one a chance to see things with a good deal more clarity than most people will ever have.  It’s not their fault that they don’t have clarity.  It’s just biology.

It’s quite simple, really – the human mind is programmed to want sex.  Because we want sex, when we have the chance to have it, we don’t want to lose that.  I know how strong that pull is.  However, House was right when he said that there are two things that people get stupid for – money and sex.  So, when one doesn’t have any interest or options in that department, it opens up an entirely new dichotomy of thought because one doesn’t have to worry about what it all means.

I have figured out why women tend to go for jerks over nice guys.  Don’t worry, ladies, this isn’t going to be me attacking you.  In fact, the reasons that you go for jerks isn’t mean-spirited at all.  I’ve always been of the belief that women are practical.  They like things to work in an efficient way.  They like things to be very direct and straight-forward.  I’ve always admired that.  They generally tend to take the most direct path to get what they want.  The most direct is not always something that required brute force, metaphorically speaking.  The direct path is the path that gets them the most gain for the least amount of effort.  Don’t think I’m calling you lazy.  I’m calling you smart.  Women generally tend to act with their logical processes.  Men, on the other hand, tend to just run in and care about the problems later.

Here’s the difference between nice guys and jerks – jerks get things done.  There is this really enlightening book called “Assholeology.”  It is a comedy book, but if you read it, the real-world applications are actually kind of profound.  Jerks is another word for assholes.  This book has some pretty smart reasons why assholes get ahead.  Jerks have very clear goals.  Jerks have a plan to get those goals.  Jerks don’t care what the consequences are.  Jerks will pursue that goal, regardless.  That is something that I naturally can see why women gravitate toward.  Guys who have a clear direction and are determined is going to be a group that they will get along with, by nature.  It’s the way of the world.

For those ladies who think that I am still attacking you, don’t.  Your reasons aren’t bad ones.  If anything, they’re logical.  They make sense to me.  That doesn’t make it any easier, because I am a nice guy, but I am starting to understand.  With understanding comes peace of mind.  I now understand my role in the world.

Nice guys are the guides to those that they care about.  They are those who give of themselves, knowing that they will never get what they give back.  They are the ones who try with all their might to make others happy, with the understanding that they cannot have that in kind.  The world is just too mean-spirited of a place for that.  This role is thankless, in every sense of the word.  Nice guys are the ones on the bottom who are perpetually kept their by the people who run the world – jerks.

Jerks are powerful.  Jerks don’t let the little issues like whether something is right or wrong stop them from doing whatever the fuck they want.  It is an admirable trait, in many respects.  Part of me wishes that I could be like that.  Life would get a LOT easier.  But it’s not who I am.

So, I continue one.  I keep going down that road, waiting to see what tomorrow has.  Like Urdnot Bakara, I am sustained by hope.  Hope that tomorrow will be better.  And if tomorrow is not better, there is always the next day.  It will be like this until we are ash that has spread across the winds and been forgotten by the world.  Never to be in the minds of the people we worked so hard to save, forevermore.

Being in love taught me something.  When Camille was still alive, her and I were a strange couple.  We both hated the world so much.  Our mutual hatred of it was a common talking point between the two of us.  We fed each other’s depression.  Maybe that is why her death has damaged me as much as it has.  We both were feeding the very worst qualities of the other, and now we are both irrevocably tainted by this.  Well, just me, now.  She has passed on from this world.  If there is something after all of this, I mean to find her again.  I mean to say sorry.  Sorry that things got so bad between us, toward the end.  Sure, she lied to me, betrayed my trust.  But why be angry, in the end?  Not worth it.

Country Road, by Greg MartinI live life on autopilot.  No particular direction.  No particular destination.  I see my life as a highway across a natural landscape.  Though the landscape changes from time to time as I walk down it, this road continues onward.  I have no idea where this road will take me, but I keep going.  Sometimes the landscape is beautiful, and I sit and enjoy it for as long as I can.  Other times, it is lifeless and I feel very alone.  But the road continues, and we continue on it, as that point inevitably comes where we no longer continue.  Where our ability to go on living ceases.  I do not lament that.  My morality is not something that frightens me.  It is the score that all of us get to settle up with after a while.

So, when I go, I tell people – do not mourn for me.  Life is too short for that.  Instead, when that day does come that my end approaches, take a moment and remember what I did.  Then, let me slide from your memory as the thoughts of living take over.  I am one of those people who is somehow very easy for people to forget, even though I am a titan.  I take that for what I will.

Until next time, a quote,

“Wheel of life.  Popular Salarian concept.  Similar to human Hinduism in focus on reincarnation.  Appealing to see life as endless.  Fix mistakes in next life.  Learn, adapt, improve.  Refuse to believe life ends here.  Too wasteful.  Have more to offer.  Mistakes to fix.  Cannot end here.”  -Mordin Solus, Mass Effect 2

Peace out,

Maverick

RE: The Thaw

Well, a bunch of Christian kids has decided to make a video about how Christianity is under attack in America, and how they need to stand up to it.  The name of the video is “The Thaw.”  Ugh…

I am going to do this post like I have done others.  We will do a hit for hit with their words, where they say something and I respond.  Let’s get started.

Christianity is being completely frozen out of America.

Since 70% of Americans identify themselves as Christian and you can’t get to office in this country without sucking religion’s dick, I’m going to call BS on that one.  But let’s hear more.  Oh, by the way, there are a lot of people who talk in this video, so when I make a point about different people talking, take it in stride.

Why can’t I pray in school?!

Who’s stopping you?

Why do I have to check my religion at the door?

So many speakers, so many questions.  None of them smart or right.

Why can’t I write about God in my school papers?

Again, who’s stopping you?  You all talk about this stuff but have NO sources to back your claims up.

Why do I have to tolerate people cursing my God, but am not allowed to talk about my God and my faith.

Okay, fuck it.  Let’s just get this all out in the open.  Everything that these kids said was bullshit.  You are allowed to pray in schools.  Nobody is stopping you.  Here is what is not allowed to happen – you are not allowed to have teacher-led mandatory prayer.  Public schools cannot openly support a religion.  The fundies have been throwing this lie around for as long as I have been alive.  If a student wants to pray or talk about God or whatever, they are allowed to do that.  My school had a couple of bible-study groups who met after school.  I knew a girl who wrote a paper on why God is so awesome and we are so bad.  It got a bad grade, but that wasn’t because it was about God.  I read her paper.  Her grammar was awful!  For real, I guess that God didn’t give this girl good editing tips.  Oh, and she didn’t use any quotes from any other materials.  Any good essay should be backed up by sources.  Last I checked, the Bible is a source.  It has been used well, in several religious papers.  And before you call foul because I am an atheist, I was an English major before becoming a journalism major.  I’ve read a lot of essays.

But yeah, nothing that these kids say is true.  You are allowed to pray.  You don’t have to leave your religion at the door.  You can talk about your God all you want.  But at a public school, funded by public money, the faculty cannot endorse a religion or require religion to be mandatory.  Can we please stop pandering this bullshit to the Christards who want to think that they are some kind of oppressed minority?

Why are they taking God out of my history books?

Uh, I don’t know.  Maybe it’s because of the fact that God is not real, and we want ACTUAL history being taught to students.  For real, America already doctors the shit out of history for their curriculum.  Like how they make Christopher Columbus seem like a great guy, when the truth is that he has more in common with Hitler than any of us.  So yeah, that’s just dumb.

Why do they teach every other theory in science except creation?

Gee, maybe it’s because the Theory of Evolution is actual science with a metric ton of data to support it, while the belief that a magical sky-wizard created the universe has absolutely NO evidence to support it at all!  If you want to learn about pseudo-science, some schools offer religious courses.  But don’t demand that your bullshit be taught as something that has actual basis in reality.  There was no creation.  The “Theory of Creation” is nothing but a crackpot theory that doesn’t even count as pseudo-science.  It isn’t science at all.  I mean, think about it – he spends seven days creating this one planet and all the things on it, but an entire universe, with a googleplex of stars and planets, organized into trillions upon trillions of galaxies, that was just an afterthought.  Does that sound like science to you?  Of course not.  And that is why it isn’t being taught in public schools.

Why am I called names because I believe in marriage the way God designed it?

I don’t know.  Maybe it’s because you’re a bigot.  And the kid who says this looks like he is at that point where puberty is a new thing.  And when he discovers internet porn, and is jerking off to two chicks having sex, I will feel so good pointing out that he is also a hypocrite too.  But for the Christian, that means nothing.  They will impose their values onto others because Gawd tells them to.  Yeah, I could have swore that Jesus said something about loving your neighbors and your enemies and not trying to ruin their lives.  Consistency, what’s that?!

Some even call us hateful.  Hypocrites.  Unloving.  Close-minded.  Bigots.

I have yet to hear a term that doesn’t apply to you, so yeah, that’s accurate.

Why can’t Tim Tebow praise God after making a touchdown without causing a national uproar?

What the fuck are you talking about?  Last I checked, most people thought that that guy was just the most awesome thing since sliced bread.  In what universe is he this hated guy who prays to the guy that an overwhelming majority of people worship?

The football coach at Ridgeland High School, in Georgia, was investigated by the school board.  Did he abuse a student?  Is he a terrorist?  He allowed local churches to feed his football team.  *group gasp*

Wow, what ego-stroking bullshit.  So, I looked this story up.  This story is such a non-issue that it is kind of amazing.  There was no “investigation.”  A group complained and it ended there.  A complaint was issued, it was dealt with and there was no big investigation.  Not to mention, are you saying that there are people who are with the idea that the government is cracking down on religion?  For as much as politicians suck religion’s big fat cock, that REALLY doesn’t hold water.

At public school, I’m called ‘lesbian,’ or ‘gay’ for not kissing or for wanting to save myself for marriage.

Wait…what?  What school do you go to where this is the case?  Back in my days at a public high school, girls who didn’t “save themselves for marriage” were slut-shamed and harassed by the other girls who believe that Gawd just loved them.  Never mind that they weren’t slutty at all.  They were just honest about who they are.  And the biggest sluts in high school had the Bible at the top of their beloved-books list.  Not to mention “save myself for marriage”?  What the fuck is this, the 17th century?

Abstinence doesn’t work.  It has never worked.  The reason is simple – we are human beings.  We have urges.  Deny that long enough and your mind finds ways around it.  That’s the reason that SO many religious girls in high school get pregnant.  And don’t even compare yourselves to the trouble that actual gays and lesbians face from you religious zealots.  My friend Zero got the shit kicked out of her by a bunch of girls who knew that she was a lesbian.  Zero knows how to fight, but the girls got their boyfriends to help.  It was “god’s mission.”  I don’t feel bad for having my own people beat the shit out of their boyfriends’, slash the tires of all their cars and isolate each of them, with the express understanding that if they hurt my friend again, I would be taking parts off.  I was young, immature and angry, but nobody hurts my friends.  So yeah, fuck you.

In public school, people are rude and disrespectful toward Christians.  Bullying is common.

Okay, stop right there!  I call bullshit!  I cannot begin to tell you how many of the bullies at my school counted God among their best friends and called him their “lord and savior.”  Whenever a gay kid got bullied, it was a Christian.  When my lesbian friend got beaten, they thought it was a mission from God.  A girl who got pregnant in high-school, I guarantee you that it was Christians front-and-center slut-shaming her.  There was this kid whose family was Muslim, and he got bullied and harassed in ways you can’t imagine.  I took that kid into my fold after I saw how bad it got.  Nobody, and I do mean nobody, fucks with the friend group of a guy like me.  I am a titan.  I was a titan back in high school.  Nobody messed with my in-crowd.  And I made sure that people knew that this kid was a part of it.

The Christians absolutely love this narrative that goes that they are somehow the victims of oppression, when it is they themselves who are oppressing others.  LGBT rights aren’t being blocked by atheists.  It is being blocked by Christians, Muslims and especially the Mormons.  Some of the most hardcore activism against gay rights has been by the Mormons.  This narrative makes Christians feel good.  America loves to be the victims.  We love to have a narrative we can tell ourselves that makes us feel like we are the victims of some horrible crime.  Sadly, it isn’t true.  But let’s continue.

What we see in our health classes. ‘Sex education.’  4th grade and up.  Is pornography.

Wow, when the posters in a sex-ed classroom are viewed as pornography, then I am starting to think that Christians really are afraid of their own reproductive organs.  I mean, this is just pathetic.  I bet half of Christians don’t even like saying the words “penis” or “vagina.”  Can we make a deal, Christians?  I will work harder not to attack you, if you will please just TRY and be a little more mature.

People make fun of me because I don’t believe in abortion!

What universe are these kids from, exactly?  I mean, really?!  Because, again, in my experience in a public high school, it was the Christians picking on the people who weren’t against abortion.  And god-help you (pun intended) if you were a girl who got outed when you had one.  The wrath of the Christards was almost…biblical.  Again, pun intended.

In public school, people believe Christians are goodie-goods and boring.

Okay, they have finally said something that is true.  Among my in-group, anyway.  Since Christians were never really bullied and were instead the bullies, it was an idea we kept to ourselves.  But still, yeah, they are goodie-goods and boring.  Well, those who aren’t like the people in this video, that is.  And those who think like them.  The people who are spewing this bullshit are bigots and hypocrites who want to play themselves off as victims.  But for the rest, who aren’t in my face, then yeah, I am down with that thought process.

Dirty jokes fill the hallways between classes.  During class.  Before school.  At lunch.  After school.  On the bus.  Off the bus.

Boo-fucking-hoo, you little crybaby.  If you don’t like people telling dirty jokes, here’s a radical thought – don’t listen!

Get the idea?

Oh.  So this is meant to say that we should all moderate our behavior so that you don’t have to feel offended.  Well, I got news for you, Christard kids – you don’t get to make that demand!  You don’t control my behavior!  It’s a free country, and we are allowed to joke about what we want, when we want.  Don’t like it, go somewhere else.  It’s not like we are holding a gun to your head and saying, “listen to this fucking joke, bitch!”  So yeah, another mute point made to show how you are the victims.

Despite modern popular belief, America WAS founded as a Christian nation.

No it wasn’t.  Almost none of our Founding Fathers were Christian.  Thomas Jefferson was a deist.  Thomas Paine was a deist.  John Adams was a Unitarian.  Ben Franklin was a  deist.  And not one place in the Constitution does it say that this country is a Christian nation.  You Christians have been rallying this point to death!  And you are wrong!  When I point out the 1st Amendment, people often come back at me with this line –

It’s freedom OF religion, not freedom FROM religion!

Wow, it’s like you all can’t stop to think.  Two words, so similar in their meaning.  And they didn’t say that we have freedom of religion.  The 1st Amendment says that government “shall pass no law respecting an establishment of religion, nor prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”  That clear enough for you?  If America was founded in support of Christianity, then I figure that Jesus or his baby-daddy would be mentioned somewhere.  But they aren’t!  This point is dumb!  But back to the video.

No one would dare not to stand, place their hand over their heart, and recite the pledge.

The kid who says this puts his hand over his shoulder.  So smart.

America was founded as a force for good.

Tell that to the millions of Native Americans that the Europeans slaughtered.  Or how about we tell it to the millions of civilians in the Middle East who have been victims of George Bush II and his newest crusade into their countries, killed by our soldiers.  Or maybe we could ask the slaves that we brutally took from their homes and absolutely ravaged in this country.  Let’s ask them how much America is a “force for good.”

America was once the force for hope in the world.

And now we are being left behind by the rest of the Western World, because we can’t get our shit together.  This post has gone on a little long already, so let’s skip ahead to the end.

We are an army.  Christ is our commander.  His will is our charge.  We are impacting our friends.  Our family.  Our community.  Our state.  Our country.  We’re in a war for the hearts and souls of our generation.  And we know it.

Since there is no God, no Christ or any of that, you won’t be taking your orders from him.  Instead, you’ll take it from other people.  People who are corrupt, have a stake in holding society back and are living like kings because of it.  Oh, fuck, they are living WAY better than the king’s back in Jesus’ day ever did.  You are weak, weak-minded and stupid.  But thanks to the internet, who is not at ALL a nice animal, your bullshit is being taken apart.  People are too informed to buy into your crap.  And that is all the better.

Until next time, a quote,

“Religion is dangerous because it allows human beings who don’t have all the answers to think that they do. Most people would think it’s wonderful when someone says, ‘I’m willing, Lord! I’ll do whatever you want me to do!’ Except that since there are no gods actually talking to us, that void is filled in by people with their own corruptions and limitations and agendas. And anyone who tells you they know, they just know what happens when you die, I promise you, you don’t. How can I be so sure? Because I don’t know, and you do not possess mental powers that I do not.”  -Bill Maher, Religulous

Peace out,

Maverick

What is Love?

Before you ask, no, I am not going to do the ‘Baby Don’t Hurt Me’ pun.  It’s been done to death.  Even if it is an obscure reference.  I have asked what really controversial topics are, like what is God? (fake) What is Faith? (Ignorance) and I am even working on a post Passing Storm Over the Sierra Nevadas by Albert Bierstadtcalled What is Death? (the end) But probably the most talked-about thing that has ever been in the history of the human race is this – what is love?  From the shitty pop artists of today to the great poets of the past, it seems like love is the just the awesome thing in the history of ever.  All of humanity imbues love with sacrosanct status.  The idea is that all of life is designed for the express purpose of this chemical interaction in the brain.

Speaking of the brain, let’s start there.  The reality is that love isn’t one thing.  We like to think that it is, but it’s not.  There are multiple aspects to it that need to be addressed.  The first is lust.  When you see somebody who you are sexually attracted to, your relationship may start there.  Unless you are a genuinely nice guy.  In which case, you will be friend-zoned and passed over for jerks.  Life’s a bitch.  But the basis of all romantic love is lust.  There is not a single piece of romantic love that hasn’t started there.  And I can see so many of you already commenting that I’m wrong.  You will talk about how that doesn’t matter.  Well, let me call bullshit and pass you off.  If it didn’t start there, then the human race would have died out long ago.  We are programmed to be sexually attracted to certain things.  I hear a lot of women say that intelligence is sexy.  Yeah, I have yet to hear any of those women say that Steven Hawking is hot.

So, it starts out with lust.  But then there is another part of human behavior that is programmed into us – bonding.  Romantic bonds are formed due to another primal behavior for us to find mates and carry on our genetic code.  I am one of those people who says that the primal instincts to have as many mates as possible affects men and women equally.  Women will say that guys only want one thing, but the truth is that they are just as sexually open-minded as men.  They just won’t admit it.  Their loss.  We were programmed to have as many mates as possible.  The idea is that we find the best mates to continue our genetic code.  It is one of the many reasons that I think that monogamy is outdated.  We fight against our primal nature because of 2,000 years of “moral” guidance for western society.  Namely religion.  Hence the quotes around “moral.”

A romantic bond cannot remain as strong as it started forever.  That’s the cold truth.  Again, I can already hear so many of you who are getting ready to refute this.  But the cold truth about this is that since we are designed to seek multiple mates, we will start to want something new.  We are constantly fighting against our nature to have the romantic structure that we do have.  To overcome our natural tendency to want something else, people have to do a simple action – no longer see the person they are with as a romantic partner.  Instead, they become a best friend.  That is how marriages last.  It all comes down to brain chemistry.

For all the grandiosity that we try and bestow on love, the reality is that love is nothing more than brain chemistry.  But why does society want to believe that love is so wonderful?  Well, as I see it, the reason is simple – life sucks.  It really does.  Life is a giant grinding pain in the ass that we all have to suffer through.  Love is an emotion that makes one feel so amazing.  It raises people up.  It makes days brighter.  It makes the entire world seem like a better place, even if only for a little while.  Love is the emotion that gives Water Handsso much to so many.  When you have to go to a shitty job and deal with shitty people, what is better than coming home to a person who cares?  That is the reason that logic goes out the window when people fall in love.  People will do whatever it takes to keep love in their lives.  So many horribly bad choices are made for love.  The reason is because people want to believe that it means something.

I was once a very profound romantic.  That part of me is dead and buried.  I have no part of me that believes that love is worth all the effort that people go through to have it.  I talk to people who are head-over-brain in love, and so many bad decisions are made.  I see train-wrecks that are coming, but do they listen?  No.  Of course not.  Tell somebody that they are on the wrong course and they will naturally rebel against it.

So, what is love?  Is it brain chemistry?  Is it a profound philosophical concept?  Is it the fabric that keeps our world together?  Is it all you need?  Is it everything?  The answer is that it is none of those things.  Love is the thing that keeps people from slipping into despair.  Love is the way that people avoid hurting.  Love is the thing that gives people’s life purpose, because they have nothing else.  Love is a means to an end.  Love is the way that people can deny that life hurts them.  Love is how they will see that things are better.

Love is ignorance.  The same way that religion and faith are.  It feels good, but that’s it.  It feels good.  Beyond that, why do we care so much?  Don’t think that I am insulting you by saying that it is ignorance.  Lies are what keeps the world running.  The lies that we tell others, and the ones we tell ourselves.  I won’t shame that on anyone.  It’s how we survive.  And that’s all I have to say.

Until next time, a quote,

“I imagine John Watson thinks love’s a mystery to me, but the chemistry is incredibly simple and very destructive…I’ve always assumed that love is a dangerous disadvantage. Thank you for the final proof.”  -Sherlock Holmes, Sherlock

Peace out,

Maverick