The Europa Mystery: Part 4

Of the very few things I perceived when I was in cryogenic hibernation, one of them was a dream.
I was running.  Running for all I was worth.  Lucas wasn’t far behind.  There were explosions and shouting all around us.  I was wearing the same kind of suit that I was wearing in the dream I had of being underwater.  The world around me was perceived through a visor that I saw through, and it was showing a very scary place.  The hallways were dark, with a kind of amber glow filling them.  Fire was around us, with people in the same kinds of suits that the two of them were wearing (albeit grimier and with different visors) desperately trying to put them out.  What had happened here?  There were so many thoughts going through my mind as I tried to make sense of why I was running down the corridor, holding tight to Lucas’ hand as we went.  We had made a promise.  Somehow, I remembered that.  That we would stick together, no matter what.
We turned a corner just as a bulkhead seemed to erupt in front of them.  The air was sucked out of the room, and us along with it.  We were in space.  Dark, cold, empty space.  I looked down and saw the grimy-looking vessel in battle with another, more sleek and professional-looking vessel.  There were other ships as well, on both sides.  This fight was brutal!  It was clear that the grimy-looking ships were brave, but outmatched.  I had a feeling that they were pirate ships, and the other vessels were with the IDF.  Lucas grabbed my shoulder, pointing to something in the distance.  It was a shuttle!  Something about it looked familiar.  It was floating in space, apparently abandoned.  I knew that that was where they had to go.  But how had we ended up here?  Too many questions, not enough answers.  Then, the dream started to fade.  The world was going to black.

The first thing I saw when I woke up was the light.  There was very little of it.  It reminded me of having a nightlight in my room back on Mars.  That’s what the lighting was like.  There was steam coming off my body, which was scary at first, before the chill kicked in and I was freezing.  I wasn’t the only one.  Others were waking up.  More lights were coming on.  It wasn’t blinding, but it was disorienting.  The top of the pod I was in had lifted and the air was absolutely bone-chilling.  My teeth started to chatter as I sat up.  Mari was next to me, also sitting up.  We looked at each other and both knew what the other was thinking – how can we get out of these suits?  The suits we had wore into the pods were now coated in condensation.  It was like having an ice-pack stuck to you.  Mari motioned for me to follow her and we headed for the changing rooms.  We grabbed our former clothes from their lockers.  I also quickly grabbed the necklace Angie gave me.  Holding it again, it made my heart flutter and feel good.  Mari noticed how I was holding it and putting it on fast, but didn’t make a big deal out of it.
There were towels outside of the changing rooms, with attendants asking the various members how they felt.  The responses they got were generally the same – grogginess, some nausea and being cold as hell.  We got to the changing rooms first, eager to be in something warmer.  We had changing rooms right next to one-another.
“So, Ellie, how did you sleep?”
I shrugged as she finished removing the suit and started drying herself off.  “Okay.  Had a weird dream.”
“Oh?  What was it about?”  There was something about this woman’s tone of voice and how she spoke to mr that felt so motherly.
“I don’t know.  It was like, Lucas and I were on some kind of spacecraft.  We were running, and everything was all fire and screaming and running.  It looked like a battle.  A hole suddenly blows open in front of us and the place decompresses.  We are sucked out into space, and I see that it’s a fight between two different kinds of ships.”
There was a long pause.  “Huh, that is a weird dream.”
“Yeah.  I can’t really figure it out.  So, what about you?  How did you sleep?”
“Very well.  Very well indeed.  Though it has been a while since I’ve done that.”
“You’ve gone into cryo before?”
“Oh yes!” the woman said, sounding pleased with herself.  “Granted, in those days, we didn’t have fancy suits to monitor our vitals.  We would just strip down to our skivvies and get in.  You can do that, you know.  Those suits are just so they can say that everybody was safe.  But there is no real danger.  People get all worked up over those movies where the crew is sucked into the void of space and dies without ever knowing anything.  Fear-mongering is what that is.”
I was intrigued.  “So you’re saying that all that explosive decompression stuff isn’t true?”
“Something those videos don’t tell you is that for the crew of a ship to be vented into space suddenly, you have to have a serious hull rupture.  I’m talking about the kind where you’re probably already dead from the explosion.  Not to mention – there is a fail-safe programmed into the machines that if an emergency is declared, all crew is woken.  I tell you what, you think this wake-up call was hard?  Try waking up to an alarm, knowing that you have to run, get your gear and suit up fast.  We learned not to care about gender too much when you’re in the service.  In an emergency, we have to strip down and suit up in a couple minutes.  That means everybody being in front of their lockers’, butt-ass naked and not caring what anyone else thinks.  That is real fear.”
A chill ran up my spine as Mari told me this, and we finished getting dressed.  A small part of me wondered if I would ever have to live through that.

Once we got dressed, the attendants told us to head to the cargo bay, where the CO of the ship would address the crew.  I caught sight of Lucas and went running over.  Mari was shouting after me, but I didn’t care.  He was with some people from his department, but caught sight of me and ran as well.  He gave us a hug when I got there. I ruffled his hair.
“You look like shit, dude.  Just putting that out there.”
He gave her a rude hand gesture.  “You don’t look like a princess yourself.  So, how did you sleep?”
“Okay.  You?”
We kept talking as they found a seat.  As usual, Mari was close by, true to her post.  The commanding officer walked up to the podium.
“Good morning, everybody.  As I’m sure you guessed, we’re at our target destination.  Now, this ship is going to be docking at a facility on the surface.  We will be disembarking there.  This vessel is the one that we have arrived on, and it will be the one that we leave on as well.  As per your contract, you are here for six months, starting at the point where you are on your first shift.  We will not be leaving before the end of that time period, unless there is an emergency.  In the event of a station-wide emergency, your directive is to return to this ship and await instructions.”
There were murmurs around the room.  Some people sounded psyched.  Other sounded nervous.  Lucas and I, it was a bit of both.  It was then that a display cued up behind the podium.  It showed a massive facility.  Two, in fact.  The first was a rather flat and sprawled looking on that seemed to exist so that it could connect to another, more massive one.
“I present to you, Europa Station Atlantis.  I’m assuming that most of you have seen this or something like this before.  The station is very large, but don’t go getting yourself worried.  Each of you is going to be fitted with a cybernetic optical implant and a couple of neural nodes.  They will allowed you to access the station’s database and get real-time information or directions.  The implants will also be used in your assigned tasks, but you’ll learn more about that later.  For now, I am assuming that most, if not all of you have Bands.  Those will be updated with the Station’s layout, so you will use those for now.  We will be docking in 10 minutes.  Have your duffel bags and be ready to head toward the elevators.”

Before we docked, I got to actually look out the window.  It was every bit as amazing as I had hoped it would be.  Jupiter looked gorgeous!  I could see the cloud formations moving.  The Great Red Spot, one of the hallmarks of the planet, was visible from where I was.  It was a swirling mess of a color similar to that of blood!  I was in awe.  Lucas came up beside me, taking some pictures with his Band.
“This is the coolest thing ever!” he whispered.
“For real!  It was all worth it just for this.”
The two also looked down at the facility they were landing at.  The ice of Europa was off-color, like sand.  It was strange.  The lights of the expansive landing zone greeted them.  Shuttles were already here, as was another large ship like their own.  The shuttles were for emergency evacuation.  I knew that.  It was so alien, these lights on this icy moon, in front of a massive world.  So strange.
The ship docked and we started getting out.  The moment we left the ship I was in awe!  This place was amazing!  The inside of the Station was like a resort.  A massive, scientific resort.  Or rather, the starport of such a resort.

Lucas and I were kids in a candy shop. So much stuff! There was a kind of cafe for starship crews and officers. Confirming my suspicion that this Station was meant to be a kind of way-station for future starships. They were expanding to Jupiter. This was it. Much like the Orbital Station on Mars, there were shops for many things. Of course, this place was infinitely cleaner than that. We were motioned toward a series of elevators. Each one went to a different part of the Station below. Lucas was headed on a different one than me.
We hugged again.
“Don’t worry,” he said with a smile, “I’ll come see you first off-hours I get!”
“Damn right you will!”
We laughed and hugged again. I knew he wouldn’t be far.

Until next time, a quote,

“I laugh in the face of danger!” -Simba, The Lion King

Peace out,


The Tiny Light

So long it seems
So long ago
We met and forgot
Forgot one-another

We found each other
Once again, years later
So tiny, so unique
I knew at once, and I cared

A new friendship
So different from all the others
Unlike nothing I’ve ever felt before
I felt so alive, with her

Time passed
The friendship grew
The bond became stronger
Yet also strange

We’re so different
So unlikely
Those few things in common
They helped nurture a bond like no other

It grew on, getting stronger all the time
Something more developed inside
Unsure at first
Didn’t want to admit it

More time passed
Feelings got stronger still
Feelings of light
Feelings of love

I had fallen in love
I didn’t know how to say it
Wasn’t the time
You were involved

Another chance came
We tried
Didn’t hit
Love lost, love missed

You found another
A new way of life
A new way of being
One we couldn’t follow

Then chance arrived
A chance we had prayed for
You were open to us
You wanted to try

We got a place together
We got a life to live
At first, it was amazing
But there were old ghosts

Ghosts of a love before
A love that was not us
A love that didn’t go away
We didn’t know what to do

We were still new
It had been so long since
Since the time we were in love
Could we do this again

Finally, the day comes
We are ready and eager
We change our Facebook status
The dawn was filled with hope again

And just like that, it fades
You want out
You are unsure

You don’t live here anymore
I cry, as I haven’t done in a very long time
You never know what you’ve lost
Until it’s gone

I want to say these words
Want to say them to you
I love you
I miss you

I wish you loved me too

Peace out,


2014: The Year of Religious Film

I just did a review of the latest in this year’s interesting string of films that are all about religion.  All of these films seem to have a defining feature – they are almost all about how religion is so persecuted.  Neat fact, that was the title of the last film I reviewed – Persecuted.  A film that is so blatant with its message that it even got Gretchen Carlson to come on and do a fake news story about how oppressed Christians are.  I am getting a sense that the Christian-right of this country is feeling a little lost lately.  How do I know this?  Well, let’s just look at the highlight films in this year of Christian propaganda.

The first is “God’s Not Dead.”  A film about how a good Christian boy goes to college and finds out that it’s a liberal bastion of atheism and that any professor who teaches there is an atheist.  Yeah, that sounds accurate, right?  It is a film that told the audience who is into it EXACTLY what they wanted to hear.  And in case that was too subtle for you, there are side-characters all going through their own story arcs with issues that the film believes it also has to jackhammer into your brain.  Oh?  What’s that?  All that still too subtle for you?  Well, you’re an idiot, but let’s not get hung up on the negatives.  The film ends with a bunch of news articles showing how the Christians in this country are so oppressed.  I know, right?  That level of subtlety is just masterful.

Next up is probably one of the funniest movies I’ve seen in a while – “Heaven’s For Real.”  Based on a book by the same name, written by a pastor whose son went through pretty much what the main character of the film did, it tells the story of a boy who nearly dies and sees heaven.  He comes back and tells his daddy all about it, thus incentivising him to bring his relationship to God even closer.  It was apparently falling on hard times.  Again, just so subtle!  I have a friend whose psycho religious mother took her to see it for Mother’s Day.  She talked about how her mother became so enamored with the film, to the point of tears.  Both of us found that funny because it shows how the people who these films were designed for, they love them!  Not in the “well, it is their belief” sort of way.  This is to the point where they are making it into an obsession.  This is everything to them.

And finally, there is “Persecuted.”  This film is even less subtle than the other two.  If the faux-Clinton and the EVIL mission to unite all the faiths as a means of making world peace is too subtle for you, then Gretchen Carlson conducting a fake interview where she asks why the good preacher man is fighting his fight and how the true, Tea Party Christians are being oppressed might give you your fix.  This was a movie that exists for the singular purpose of telling Tea Party Christians that they are right and that they are being brought to heel under the boot of liberal atheist douchebags like me.  Oh, and it’s also really racist, having the good preacher man be seduced and exploited by a sultry black girl.  Yeah…that’s weird.  Just putting that out there.

So why are all these religious films coming out?  Why is defending religion becoming so popular?  Why is the conservative-Christian movement so desperate to feel like they are being oppressed somehow?  Well, I think it all comes down to the fact that the non-religious and atheists (like me) are becoming so many and so outspoken.  Where once the non-religious and atheist crowd was simply a funny little addendum to the quirks of life, we are now part of the many.  We are a crowd that has grown to the point where we can’t be ignored anymore.  Wave after wave of people is saying that they are either unaffiliated with no religion or not the Christian one.

Religion’s response to this was as messy as it was miscalculated.  They decided that they would go back to basics with the threats of hellfire and damnation.  But it didn’t work.  The people who weren’t religious kept being non-religious.  In fact, that just sent more people into our arms.  People were tired of being told how evil they are and how unworthy they are.  They wanted a live and let live approach.  If they lived that, why should they believe something else?  Instead of becoming more tolerant and open-minded, large chunks of religion in this country doubled-down on their bigotry and flaws, believing that the believers would be on their side.  However, it isn’t working, and the faithless keep coming.

I have not gotten on religion nearly as much as I originally did lately.  But this latest string of films and the growing outspoken religious crowd has lit a fire under my ass to preach my gospel of how religion is bullshit with renewed vigor.  Is that a good thing?  Maybe not.  We shall see.

In the meantime, the Tea Party right has made some hilarious films that are all worth watching, for the humor factor.  For real, you won’t regret it.  Enjoy.

Until next time, a quote,

If you believe that death takes you to an eternal paradise, why are you wearing a seatbelt?” -Doug Stanhope

Peace out,


Top 10 Openly Gay Characters of Childhood Fiction (that we never noticed were gay)

You ever notice as a kid that there were some characters who were a little off?  You noticed little things about them that made you think that they were different.  Then, as you get older you look back and you realize – I get it!  Not all of these character decisions were intentional.  I doubt that we will ever know which ones are and which ones aren’t.  Some of these characters are old, some are new.  This is all interpretation, and you may see my interpretation as wrong.  Feel free to argue with me, if you are of a mind to.  I would welcome the debate.  These are the top 10 characters who, with all the character I saw in them, said one thing to me – they are SO gay!

Prince John10. Prince John
Robin Hood
Before you say that the fact that this guy is an effeminate character does not make him gay – I know!  I am not going after him just because he is a flaming queen.  I am going after him because he is a flaming queen and he’s SO married to his sidekick, Hiss.  Listen to the dialogue between those two and they such a married couple!  It’s almost funny how they sound like a middle-aged and constantly arguing husband and wife, with Prince John as the beaten-down husband and Hiss as the nagging wife who is constantly belittling him for his actions.  Their fights seem like they are married, their dialogue sounds like something two married couples have and aside from the fact that they almost never seem to have any resolution, they get on like a middle-aged couple.  So yeah, these two are married, plain and simple.

Pinky and the Brain9. Brain and Pinky
Pinky and the Brain
Remember all the reasons I listed for why Prince John and Hiss are a married couple?  Well, double that for these two.  Just like them, Brain and Pinky have the dynamic of an older married couple.  There is one crucial difference – there is affection between them.  There are times when Brain actually hurts Pinky’s feelings and goes out of his way to make up for it.  Granted, he also treats him like nothing more than a pain in his ass sometimes, but he still does try and do right by his mate.  It’s not cool enough for it to be friendship.  They have little report in that area.  But it does feel real in respect to what married couples do.  Also, there is emotional intimacy between them.  Pinky feels for Brain constantly and consistently wishes to make him happy, even to his own detriment.  It’s the level of compassion from his would-be husband that makes Pinky wish to be a kinder partner to him.

Ingrid Third8. Ingrid Third
Much like someone much higher on the list, this character and her orientation became clear to me once I actually thought about it.  First, Ingrid is consistently the outcast in her school.  They make it out to be the fact that she wears all black and seems to do her own thing.  However, there are a lot of little subtle clues that that isn’t what it is about.  First, whereas you see Filmore and many other characters who have romantic attachments to various other characters, Ingrid never seems to do that.  In fact, she is very detached from other students, romantically.  One could argue that she has a thing for Filmore, but I don’t think so.  The first sign of attraction is in the episode where she goes undercover in the club the Red Robins.  The leader of the organization becomes a mentor to her, and you do see the two of them emotionally bond.  There are points where it almost feels romantic.  It’s written all over Ingrid’s face that she has feelings for someone that she knows she has to betray.  So yeah, I doubt that it was intentional on the part of the people who made the show, but there it is.

Princess Bubblegum and Marceline7. Princess Bubblegum and Marceline
Adventure Time
Now, this is a somewhat controversial choice, given all the argument that has been made about it.  For my own part, I watched the episodes that people believe hinted at these two characters having a deeper connection than just friends, and I gotta say – there is a definite argument to be made.  Much like the rest of the show, it isn’t shoved in your face what you should believe.  This series is known for letting viewers come to their own conclusion about what all the madness means, and the relationship between these two was no exception.  If you disagree, I understand.  For a show that seems to be about madness and a lack of logic, this make just as much sense as the rest.  Still, I agree with those who say that there was something between these two.

Season 2 - Bubble buddy 007 (15)6. Squidward
Spongebob Square Pants
This was a hard choice.  I could have just as easily gone with Spongebob and Patrick.  Cthulhu knows that they certainly do look and act like a couple.  However, the one who I believe was openly gay was Squidward.  There is probably no more miserable character in children’s television, with the exception of Eeyore.  Squidward hates pretty much everybody and doesn’t have any desire to get outside of his little world.  This implies that something has crawled up his ass pretty far.  I think it is him having to live in something of a closet.  He wants to be as open as his neighbor and his life-partner, but can’t.  He isn’t brave enough to face who he really is.  It doesn’t help that he is also stuck in a job he hates and has a neighbor who is an insane lunatic from the asylum.  So yeah, lot of stuff going on up in that head.  Gotta wonder how he keeps it together.

Sulu5. Sulu
Star Trek
Now, before I talk about this, let me say that this is NOT because the actor George Takei is gay.  Not at all!  This has nothing to do with real-life connection.  What it does have to do with is the fact that this guy is such a flaming queen in the series.  I mean, for real, WHO can watch the scene where he is fencing without a shirt on and not think – wow is that guy gay!  Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with it.  But still, totally blatant.  Not to mention – in a series that was all about talking about culturally harsh issues, like when Kirk kisses a black woman on national television (which was a HUGE thing back in the day).  Maybe they were quietly talking about gayness as well.  Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised, but that’s just me.

Luna Lovegood4. Luna Lovegood
Harry Potter
Much like Ingrid Third, this is a character who I came to realize what was her business when I really thought about it.  And it is rather complicated.  Much like the girl herself, nothing is simple.  Part of the reason that I like her character so much.  But think about this – Luna is perpetually bullied by almost the entirety of the student body.  Her stuff is consistently stolen and she is ostracized by the student body at large.  The books say that this is because she is kind of odd, but does it make sense to you that she would get as much abuse as she does simply because she’s different?  Doesn’t make much sense to me.  Then some of the blanks started filling in.  First – she shows absolutely no interest in guys.  She gets excited when Harry asks her to Slughorn’s party, but that is simply because a friend has never asked her to do anything.  Ever.  She has almost no friends, except those she made in Dumbledore’s Army.  She also forms a close bond with Neville (who I also suspect of being gay, which could make sense why they are friends – both of them get each other).  What’s more, Hogwart’s education is terrible.  They are being taught a 15th century form of education.  Who’s to say that they don’t have that mentality as well?  I mean, how many kids are openly gay there anyway?  It makes sense when you think about it critically.  Say that I’m over-analyzing, but I think I’m on to something here.  Of course, I am only talking about the novel versions of this character.  The films totally effed her up!

Shang3. Shang
When I posed this idea to people, I got a surprising amount of negative feedback.  Maybe it’s because it’s a Disney film and people don’t want the primary love interest to not work out.  But come on, people!  First, Shang was starting to form a romantic attachment to Ping.  He had no idea that it was Mulan posing as him.  Sure, as far as guys go, he’s an effeminate guy, but Shang still saw her as a man.  And he was becoming romantically drawn to him.  It really isn’t a stretch to believe that part of the reason that he became when he found out that she is a woman is because he now was incredibly confused.  If he already knew he was gay, then he is left to wonder what his orientation really is.  If he didn’t, then he is still equally confused, but with a self-loathing side that might now be blaming himself for wanting a man.  Either way, this isn’t me pulling at strings.  It’s all right there.

Dumbledore2. Albus Dumbledore
Harry Potter (series)
This one seems like a given, right?  On the one hand, JK Rowling said that he was gay, so we could just take her word for it.  But let’s look a little deeper than that.  In-text, it is pretty clear that he is totally gay.  For starters, he has never had a wife, and shows no interest in getting one.  And if you think about what I said in respect to Luna, if my theory is correct and the LGBT community hasn’t gained large-scale acceptance within the wizarding community, he may have faced just as much persecution because of it.  Were it not for his contributions to the community and his status among them, he might not have gotten anywhere near as far as he did.  Plus, when you see him bond with Harry, especially when he’s older, and Dumbledore can see some of himself in Harry.  Did you ever notice how he never, and I do mean never, asks Harry about his love life?  The two talk about relationships between random characters, but often Dumbledore seems like an outsider to it, like the loves that other characters have are a mystery to him.  Always in mysteries, Dumbledore kept even his romances close.

And the top character(s) who we all never noticed was gay is…

Bert and Ernie1. Bert and Ernie
Sesame Street
These two are the oldest gay couple on television.  That is a fact!  I don’t suppose I have to go into what makes them a gay couple.  I mean, you’ve seen Prince John and Hiss, Brain and Pinky.  Just like them, these two are like two married couple who is well into middle age.  Ernie is much more youthful than Bert.  You can almost see the two of them having a much wilder history that at some point Bert grew out of, yet Ernie retained.  Despite the overwhelming differences between them, their love stays strong mostly due to the level of dedication that both of them put into the relationship.  While Ernie is the more outgoing of the two, Bert still has his romantic moments where he tries to be kind to his husband.  Say what you will, but it’s hard to deny the fact that these two are a gay couple, and have been for a LONG time.

So, any other openly gay characters you grew up with who you didn’t notice until you got older?  Let me know in the comments section.

Until next time, a quote,

“Things we lose have a way of coming back to us in the end, if not always in the way we expect.”  -Luna Lovegood, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Peace out,


Lucien’s Review: Persecuted

PERSECUTED - In theaters July 18th.  (PRNewsFoto/One Media LLC)Before my friend sent me this movie, I hadn’t even heard of it.  This film.  The fucking movie.  Oh my god.  What a treat.  What an absolute treat.  This is the best bad movie that I have ever seen!  For real, this movie is just awesome!  It’s literally the most blatant propaganda for right-wing Christianity that I have enjoyed watching.  In case you don’t believe that, they even got Gretchen Carlson to come from Fox News and to pander the films thrown-in-your-face message to the viewers who obviously are being told EXACTLY what they want to hear.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.  Part of me is so excited to be telling you all about this movie.  I just can’t hold it in!  Let’s get down to business.

The plot of the film is that a guy who looks and acts so much like Bill Clinton that I’m surprised that they didn’t just put a Clinton wig on him is introducing new legislation that would effectively combine all the world’s religions into one.  How that works is never really explained.  They seem to be counting on just how small the attention span and intelligence of their audience is when they thought up this plot.  However, the hero of the film, unfortunately played by the guy who played Dexter’s adopted father in Dexter, is a preacher man who refuses to join part in this plan.  He says that there isn’t any other way than the true way to believe in Gawd, so he is not going to be a part of it.  Since he won’t bow to pressure, faux-Clinton decides to send a black girl to drug him and take scandalous pictures with him (which, if you think about it is kind of racist and creepy, but remember the audience for this movie).  The good preacher wakes up and the girl is dead and he has been framed for her murder.  He must unravel the conspiracy and clear his name, or else.  How original.

This is normally the part where I choose whether to praise the stuff I thought was done well or castigate the stuff that I thought was bad.  However, since this entire movie was absolutely terrible in all technical respects, I can’t even go there.  Instead, I am going to talk about just how awful and how much fun this movie is.

Everything that is awesome with this movie reflects on the acting.  There isn’t anyone even approaching A-list or even B-list.  This is D-list actors and it shows.  My favorite role was faux-Clinton, played by the man who played Senator Kelly in X-Men.  He’s just so Lex Luthor brand of evil that you can’t help but love him.  It’s like, he is so convinced that he is the good guy.  He’s likeable and charming.  Naturally, the conservative audience that this film was meant for will hate what a do-gooder liberal he is.  After all, he is trying to make the world come together in peace.  The nerve!

That brings us to the main character.  I never knew that James Remar was a Fundie Christian type.  Or maybe he is just an actor who will take any job he can get.  Either way, it’s funny.  A lot like the main character in another Christian-propaganda film I reviewed, “God’s Not Dead,” this guy is such a good innocent who is being used by the EVIL people who wish to distort God’s truth into something kind and loving.  The nerve!  And of course, this good man is going to stand up to those unholy bastards and make sure that the world knows that Gawd is the way that the Fox News pundits say he is.

Which reminds me – Gretchen fucking Carlson?!  Really?!  Like the message of this movie isn’t blatant enough?!  You had to go and get a stand-in for you-all’s values system to come and do a melodramatic interview to push the message more.  It just wasn’t enough that this film is about as subtle as a freight-train.  No, no, you had to make sure that we understood about how persecuted traditional Christian values are from the liberals.  Yup, we got the message.  I mean, it was kind of hard to miss.

This film was a real treat.  This seems to be a year that has religious film after religious film that seem to be pushing the same message – that Gawd and his people are in such danger and need defending.  Kind of lit a fire under my ass the way it hasn’t been seen in a while.  I kind of got off going after religion, but now it has seen fit to come to me, and bring the worst propaganda it could find.  Which brings me to the Final Verdict.  On the one hand, this is a TERRIBLE film that should never be applauded.  On the other, it’s just so fucking terrible that it has to be admired.  I have to give it two Verdicts.  Watch it and decide for yourself.

Final Verdict on film quality
1 out of 10

Final Verdict on enjoyment
9 out of 10

Peace out,


The Europa Mystery: Part 3

I’ve never been a fan of offworld shuttles.  The g-forces are always sucking me back into my seat.  With inertial dampeners, it’s gotten a lot better.  I can’t imagine what it would be like to be one of the old-school astronauts who used to be put in a machine to make them go in a circle until they threw up.  Seriously, what sick bastard does that to a person?
In any case, we get out of the atmosphere and I look down.  Mars looks so different from the old pictures I saw when I was younger.  Veins of water now flow on the planet.  The discovery of vast caverns that were filled with the equivalent of oceans of water changed everything.  Once those were set free, the landscape changed.  Terraforming had now been made possible because actual soil could be cultivated.  Those underground oceans made Mars habitable.  It looked so much like Earth now, except a lot more red than blue.  There was irony there.
Lucas couldn’t shut up about all he wanted to do.  Like me, he had been briefed on what his duties would be.  He would be assisting the science teams on their various projects.  It would be more errand work than anything, but he would be getting hands-on experience on how the work he wants to inevitably do is done in the field.  That’s something that one can’t underestimate.  I was looking at my own assignment.  Operating drones.  I could even learn how to operate a submersible!  The potential for that was beyond cool.  I didn’t know what to think.
We get far enough above to see where we were heading – Orbital Station Artemis.  It was one of two Orbital Stations above Mars.  They were as the name describes – massive stations that orbit the planet and have space-faring vessels dock on them.  Ships that were too big to go planetside would dock at these and wait for whatever reason.  I could see several cargo ships and a few cruise ships as well.  Ships that would take you to Mars via a two-week journey where you could wine and dine and be as merry as you wanted to be.  I had been on one when the family went to Earth.  It was overrated.
Then I saw the ship we would be heading too.  It was big.  Really big.  It looked long and rectangular, like the cargo ships, but this one was different.  This one had guns on it!  A few barrels could be see sticking out of the hull towards the front and rear.  Were they expecting trouble?  Granted, this ship was headed through the Asteroid Belt.  Any ship that went out that way usually was prepared for trouble.
Pirates were a growing occurrence.  Where once the average pirate was on the Net, trying to steal ways to attack other people or companies on the Net, a new breed decided to take the utmost advantage of the growing trend of mining and wrangling asteroids to take back to Earth to mine.  With the new elements discovered by the mining process, being a pirate was a very lucrative business.  A typical mining colony within the Asteroid Belt had a couple of warships protecting it, as did all major Orbital Stations and colonies that did business with mining operations.  From what I understood, the growth of space-born military was becoming a rather heated issue back on Earth, with the Colonies wanting independence from the Confederacy of Allied Nations that represented the planet’s interests.

We docked at the Orbital Station.  I had forgotten how massive the place was!  Inside was like a giant marketplace.  There were mining companies, private security firms, weapon and starship manufacturers.  The dim lighting made the entire inside of the ship look like an old Asian market.  Given the number of languages represented here, that wasn’t a huge stretch, either.  We were the cleanest of the bunch here, aside from the suits and the men and women in uniform.  It was kind of off-putting.  Our group had a security detail, but still.  Lucas kept huddled up to me.
It was then that I noticed an older woman who also was keeping close to the two of us.  She would routinely check back and make sure we were keeping up.  She had hair that was starting to gray, but appeared to take good care of herself.  The primp and proper academic look had a more hard edge to it.  It was rather intimidating, yet comforting at the same time.
We walked through the facility and it was such a fascinating world.  In addition to selling weapons, tools and ships, there were more radical sales as well.  I caught sight of a facility that was selling cybernetic augmentation.  Another was selling programs for various cranial augmentations.  Something Mars saw very little of was the insane cybernetics crazy that had swept the Colonies and was now making its way down to Earth.  It wasn’t unusual to see someone with glowing eyes walking the corridors.  There was a man smoking a cigarette (ah, the wonder if filters to keep this place from blowing up), holding it with an artificial hand.  It was a crazy new world.  If you could dream it, there was an augmentation for it.
There was a corridor that we avoided where I saw some less engaging things.  Women who stood like dolls, with glowing patches on their necks.  Augmented slaves.  It was a dirty trade that was kept on the down-low.  Given how many space pirates there were roaming the stars, it was a reality that there was dirty dealings.  So long as fights didn’t break out, they could conduct their business here as they saw fit.  It kept the peace.  And part of that was doing work that others deemed horrifying.  Lucas saw it too, and the both of us decided to just keep moving.  The woman who was keeping close to us looked back at me.  There was something in her eyes.  A cold look of anger and pain.  She didn’t like pirates.  That much was clear.  Just who is this broad, anyway?

Finally, we got to the docking bay where the ship that would be taking us to Europa was.  Once the airlock opened I breathed a little easier.  This ship was immaculate!  White interiors that had the cleanliness of a science lab, yet the orderliness of the crew like a military vessel.  I got the feeling that the biggest backer of the project was the IDF.  Since this ship had guns on it, they clearly had some plans for military application.  I wasn’t surprised.  If the goal was to expand to the outer planets, then they would need to have outposts that could defend themselves.  This was a mission that required a lot of money.  Take help where you can get it.
Since we were already in space, we didn’t have to strap in or anything when we took off.  The crew was asked to gather inside of the hangar.  My Band had schematics uploaded.  All I had to do was point my wrist at the floor and a beam would come out and display a path on the floor for a certain distance.  It was quite nice.  Lucas and I grabbed seats as close to the front as we could.  The rest of the group was friendly enough.  Like the two of us, they were all excited to get there.  They were being paid a small fortune, after all.  The woman from earlier grabbed a seat near to us.  I took this opportunity to grill her.
“So, is there a reason that you are constantly sitting near me?  ‘Cause I’m gonna be honest here – it’s getting a little weird.”
She sighed and smiled a bit.  “I’ve been tasked with watching out for you.  We’re in the same department, after all.”
That got my attention.  “What department is that?”
“Vehicle Operations, of course.”
That name, I liked it.  “Cool.  Well then, nice to meet you, I guess.”  We shook hands just as a man came to the front of the room.  I heard a soft hum as loudspeakers came on.  The room had quite a few people in it.  No surprised.  This ship was big and I didn’t expect that it would be only a few people on the mission.
The man came into the light and I saw that it was the guy who had come to my house!
“Greetings all, my name is Lieutenant Commander Jordan Lewell.  I am the commanding officer of this vessel.  As you already know, our destination is going to be the facility on Europa.  Now, the bulk of you are going to go into cold sleep for the duration of the trip.  What will almost be a month to us will be just a few minutes to you.  We have divided you each into various departments.  Your Bands have been updated with where your department’s cold sleep pods are.  Once you have stowed your bags, several technicians will assist you in getting into the pods.  If you have claustrophobia issues, make sure to let them know.  To the crew of the ship, we are going to be activating the LR boosters.  Stand by your stations for launch.  Dismissed!”
Everybody got up.  Lucas and I were headed in opposite directions.
He looked at me, a little nervous, but also smiling.  “Well, guess I’ll see you there.”
I put my hand on his shoulder.  “You know it!  Don’t get too miserable without me.”
“Fuck you!”  The two of us shared a laugh before shouldering our bags and heading to where we were to sleep out this trip.

I followed my in to the department, who I found out was named Maribelle, or just Mari, for short.  We got to a room that was filled with large pods that appeared to be rather padded.  It looked cozy enough.  There were several people in white uniforms.  These people weren’t military.  I could tell that much.  They had the look of lab technicians.
“Welcome, everybody!  Now, we have special outfits for each of you.  Don’t worry, they are already sized to fit.  You’ll find them in your locker, where you’ll leave your bags.  We have dressing rooms for each gender, so get changed and then meet us back here.”  Nice enough people.
I opened my locker and did indeed find a suit inside that looked like it was already fitted for me.  It was white, with several sensors attached to it.  I could tell that it was wireless tech, most likely used to monitor vitals.  After getting dressed, I walked out and to a pod that my Band told me was mine.  Mari was standing there, watching me arrive.  As I did, she leaned in close.
“You’ll wanna take off that necklace of yours.  If you don’t, it’ll freeze to your skin and really fuck you up once you thaw.”
My hands immediately reached for it, clutching it tight.  It was underneath my suit.  How had she known?
“Don’t worry, it ain’t like it’s going anywhere.  Just put it in your locker.”
The idea of taking the necklace off, it felt bad to me.  But I didn’t want to risk injuring myself.  It took a lot of effort on my part to close the door to my locker when I had the necklace off.  Once I did, I knew that I was committed.  A tech was instructing us on how to safely use one of these machines, on the off-chance that we would have to go into emergency cryo-stasis.  Come to find out – you can use these things without the suits, they were just there for our safety.  So long as no metal was touching your skin, you were perfectly safe.
Once the lecture was over, the lot of us got inside.  Our suits lit up and we saw the pods closing.  I was a bit claustrophobic, but part of me could already feel my body getting weaker as the door shut.  It was like a sudden intoxication fell over me and I didn’t want to stay awake.  They told us about this.  It was a gas that would put us under.  I knew that when I woke up, I’d be at Europa.  Part of me still wished that I had Angie’s necklace with me.  I felt naked without it.  My eyes closed, and I felt the effect in action.

Until next time, a quote,

“That, if I then had wak’d after long sleep,
Will make me sleep again: and then, in dreaming,
The clouds methought would open and show riches
Ready to drop upon me; that, when I wak’d
I cried to dream again.”  -Caliban, The Tempest

Peace out,


PZ Meyers, Jaclyn Glenn and the lack of Free Thought

For those who are unaware, I have been an outspoken opponent of a movement called Atheism +, which decided that atheism should no longer be about simply not believing in a deity, but also must be about social issues, angry and passionate “click-tivism” and having those within the atheist community fight amongst themselves.  And anyone who says differently is a misogynist.  Or, if they are a woman, ignorant and stupid and they should behave the way we believe they should because we’re feminists.  For proof of this concept, look no further than PZ Meyers and his response to some comedic criticism from the YouTube vlogger Jaclyn Glenn.

If you aren’t a regular viewer of hers, for starters – you should be.  For another, there was a recent video she did where she made a point about the infighting in the atheism movement due to the nature of Atheism +.  Here’s the video, so you can see for yourself whether or not she was being untrue –

Funny, right?  And I think that it hits the nail on the head pretty well for how unbelievably drama-based and close-minded the people who are part of that movement are.  However, PZ Meyers and his merry little band of professional victims over at FreeThought Blogs didn’t find it funny in the slightest.  Here is a link to his post, so you can check and make sure that I’m not taking anything out of context.  I already anticipate that their little crack-squad of victimhood commandos will come on here and go after me for being totally unfair and awful, the same way that they did when I went after Melody Hensley for her utter nonsense of having PTSD from Twitter trolls.

The sum of Meyers argument seems to be that because she took a comedic stance when talking about these people, she is totally wrong because that just isn’t true.  For real, that’s it.  Because she didn’t do an academic dissertation and talk about their little band of ninnies like a professor of law, her arguments are invalid.  Yes, PZ, she used a wig and hipster glasses for comedic effect.  And not even a huge one.  Have you seen Rebecca Watson’s spectacles?  Or Melody Hensley, for that matter?  This statement that she is wrong simply because she didn’t talk about you in a way that was hardcore professional and dry is pathetic.  What”s more, it shows how you have no rebuttal.

For real, that’s it?  No, “she’s wrong because we are the ones who are right.  It is right to take a position that women who don’t agree with us and don’t identify as feminists are faulty and need correcting (because you are SO all-knowing, right?).  It is right that we should get hung up on every single little issue like whether or not people have shirts with messages on them at conferences.  It is right that we should create division amongst ourselves when we could be actually making real change if we would put aside our differences and come together.”  None of that?  Your only major contention of your short blog post is that she is wrong because she did her video in a comedic way?

He ends his post by “rubbing a little salt in the wound,” like his blog was a perfect refutation and he pwned the shit out of her in the best way.  Oh yeah, PZ, you got her!  By the way, didn’t see a lot of comments that argued against your position.  In fact, I didn’t see any.  Aren’t you advocating for free thought?  Isn’t that the schtick that you are trying to run with?  I’m sorry, but I’m just not seeing it.  Though I’m not surprised.  You all habitually label anyone who doesn’t agree with you as ignorant or trolls.  Case-and-point, your entire post responding to Jaclyn.

I won’t go much further, because there isn’t a whole lot more to say.  This is usual for Atheism+.  They are huge about not addressing criticism or just labeling it as trolling or misogyny (for real, as much as they use that term, I’m starting to think that they don’t know what it means).

As for Jaclyn, good on you!  It’s about time that a woman came up and called them out on their bullshit.  Every time a guy like me does it, we’re just another woman-hating troll..  But when someone who they can’t insult in that way comes up, they instead have to resort to pathetic arguments while allowing comments only from their yes-men and women.  If you ever read this post, well-done.

Until next time, a quote,

“If my answers frighten you then you should cease asking scary questions.”  -Jules, Pulp Fiction

Peace out,


The Failed Apartment

We’re sitting here, waiting for our dinner to finish cooking.  It’s just some fries that we got from the freezer section of the store, but it’s food.  Gotta love being poor, right?  Watching Breaking Bad and waiting for a friend to come over so I can shoot the shit for a while and forget about how unbelievably lonely this apartment is when my roommate is gone.  She’s at her ex’s place, where she will be for the rest of the night.  She’ll be moving back in with him sometime in August, while I am going to be moving back home right smack dab in the middle.  This is the story of the apartment I own and how it all went to pieces.

Chapel of Thanksgiving, DallasI first got this place in April.  Towards the end.  I was living in the dorms at the time and couldn’t have been more excited to leave that place for good.  For real, I’m never going back.  Ever.  I’m done with that.  I only have one semester of college left anyway.  No point going back to that dungeon.  I’m not sure if the parents are going to get a lot more hardcore about me coming back home, but I hope not.  I know that I’ll have to get a new job and everything.  I’m down with that.  I mean to try and get a real job this time around, rather than a job doing retail.  Unless I can get my gig back at the Fred Meyer bakery back.  That was the most fun job I’ve ever had.

The whole thing getting this apartment was fast.  Really, really fast.  We found the place, saw that it was reasonably cheap and had all utilities included in the rent.  But the biggest thing that sold the place to me – this tacky faux-leather couch.  It was already in the place, and damn if it didn’t bring the room together.  The joint was small, but that was cool.

I went looking for this place with my would-be roommate.  Her and I had formed a strong friendship that has recently dwindled some due to current events that are none of your damn business.  She had just gotten out of a relationship that had become very unpleasant, not giving her what she was looking for.  She loved the person she was with.  She still does.  But that didn’t stop it from being an unhealthy relationship.  It just meant that she wasn’t able to be happy in it.  So, since I was looking for an apartment anyway, I thought that her and I could get one together.  She’s my best friend (and one of the few true friends I’ve got left these days), and we’ve stayed in the same place together before.  So, it seemed to be perfect.

Everything happened very quickly.  We looked at the place, got it and moved in in a week.  A couple for me, but still.  Perhaps it all happened a bit too fast.  I don’t know.  I doubt that I ever will.  But I was finally out.  Out of the dorms.  The day I made it official was a good fucking day.  One of the best I’ve had in a while.  I’m never going back.  No point now.  I only have one semester of college left anyway.

At first, the apartment was great.  Since the two of us were cool around each other, none of the awkwardness of rooming with someone of the opposite gender was there.  That was really nice.  To find someone who you can be yourself around is a rare gift that most people take for granted.  Of course, my current job situation wasn’t the best, and I was planning on finding a better one.  After two years, I had gotten all that I was going to get from that job, and now it was time to move on.  But things were good and I was happy.

Flooded TreeA new thing was also happening in my personal life.  I was gradually getting closer with someone and it was going really well.  After so long without love, I was actually feeling really excited to be a boyfriend again.  But, just like all the things in my life, it all fell apart all at once.

See, the roommate couldn’t handle my snoring.  Because she’s an incredibly light sleeper, and I can’t help this little problem, She ended up having to sleep in the other room.  The lack of sleep had her being short with us repeatedly, which was making things more and more unpleasant.  Then, the relationship I had finally built fell apart in an instant.  I had just changed my Facebook status and everything.  But some unresolved emotional issues with the person’s ex and them destroyed things before they began.  I realized too late that I had been a rebound guy.  The fact that I had been unable to see this hurt.  Everything was crashing around me, and then the roommate tells me that she is going to be moving out.  I know that I can’t pay for this place on my own, especially with my current job situation.  Trying to find a new roomie and a new job and a dozen other things, I couldn’t even keep track of it.

With everything that happened, there were decisions to make.  I made mine.  I am returning home.  Moving back in with the parents is not something I am proud of, believe me.  I was finally trying to do this adulthood thing.  To grab life by the horns and be responsible.  Instead, it blew the fuck up right in my face and now I was left alone.  I’m alone at the apartment now.  The roomie is sleeping elsewhere.  I have been enjoying some Mushi-Shi and letting the sad emotions slip out of me.  We also got to have a good conversation with one of our oldest friends.  He came over and we hung out.  It was something that I haven’t gotten to do in a VERY long time, and it was a good night for it.

I am trying not to blame the roommate.  This is a tiny one-bedroom.  My snoring would be an issue no matter what.  And that isn’t the thing that hurts.  The thing that hurts is the personal side, which, as I said before, is none of your damn business.  Maybe you’ve figured it out.  Good for you.  Whatever.  It’s like nothing in life wants to work out for me, no matter how hard I try.  All the things that improved with a roommate are back.  My insomnia returned with a vengeance.  I am listening to the wind outside, wishing I was far away.  Far away at my old bed, with my kitty, listening to the wind and able to sleep.

Me and the roommate’s friendship has survived.  It’s taken a hard hit, to be sure, but it has survived.  I have no doubt that the two of us will be just fine, once all this is done and we have had a chance to let the dust settle.  For now, I think I’ll keep watching Mushi-Shi and wishing I was in that place, where sleep wasn’t such a burden.

Until next time, a quote,

“Maybe I’m too young to know what the world is supposed to be. But it’s not supposed to be this. Can’t be this.” – Huey Freeman, The Boondocks

Peace out,


The Europa Mystery: Part 2

There were too many things rolling around in my head as I went back home that night.  I had just had a major turning point in my personal life when I kissed Angie.  I was going to go on one of the greatest scientific expeditions since the mission to terraform Mars.  If we found life in the waters of Europa, it would be a discovery unheard of anywhere.  We would have finally found extra-terrestrial life!  That is so cool!  And yet, I found myself unable to be happy about this.
After I pulled back from the kiss, Angie started to sob.  She fell apart in my arms, holding me so tight that I felt myself hurting with her.  The girl was begging me not to go, but I couldn’t do that.  Every single emotional bone in my body wanted to just throw this away in a heartbeat.  But I knew that if I did that, then I was wasting what could be the greatest chance I’ll ever get.  This kind of thing happens once every thousand lifetimes to one special person.  I had to make sure that this person was me.  It was killing me inside, but what else could I do.
Needless to say, Angie was several different kinds of pissed.  She stormed off with me crying after her not to go.  We could have gone home.  Could have gone back to my place and talked this out.  Introduced her to my parents and came out.  They were chill about stuff.  If anything, I bet my mom would be over the moon. I wouldn’t be one of those girls who brought home some guy that they couldn’t like, and also wouldn’t be some stupid Earthling who gets knocked up in my teens.  I could avoid all that.  I’m sure that they’d be happy.
I got home crying, but nobody was there to greet me except my cat.  It was a new breed that was specially-adapted to live on Mars.  As with any great voyage, pests became a problem.  Like the sea-faring ships of old, there were rats.  Having a cat onboard a cargo ship was commonplace.  And they got out on Mars and have made the most of it.  This new breed has a deep red fur that blends right in with the red sands of Mars.  It’s like a small tiger, in a way, minus the stripes.  They had patches of black that would make them indistinguishable from the rock formations outside.  It was kind of impressive.
This cat’s name was was Olympe, a shortened version of one of the tallest mountains on Mars.
The kitty walks up to me and rubs against my leg.  She always seems to know exactly what to do.  I pick her up and head to my room.  Once there, she jumps down and hops on to the bed, knowing that that is where I am going to throw myself once I get my book bag off my shoulder.  Sure enough, I plop down on the bed and curl up into a ball.  It was something I did when I was little, when I was sad.  It was like crawling into myself.  Her face was in my mind, her really short hair that stood up in the front, her very soft and delicate smile on the few occasions when it appeared.  The pictures in my head made what I was doing that much harder.  Why did she have to tell me now?  Why couldn’t it have been after I come home and am part of a team of heroes?  It seems like all the shit that goes wrong in my life always happens all at once.  It’s annoying as fuck.

I pass out in that position and have a strange dream.  My body is floating in water.  There is a light above me as I am floating in an ocean.  There are light below me too.  In fact, they’re everywhere.  They drift in all places, around me.  I am in some kind of suit.  There are displays in front of me, but I don’t know what they mean.  The lights are gathering around the lights coming off of my suit.  Am I drawing them to me?  Something inside tells me to hit a sensor on the arm of the suit.  The lights from me die down, and the other lights now move out and around.  They are gathering above.  What’s up there?  A jet on my shoulder moves me upward as I look.  There are more lights than just the ones around me.  Something else is up there.  Something big.  It has lights too, but they are different.  The tiny lights of the creatures around me are soft.  These ones are piercing the dark water.  Beacons!  I start to head up there, feeling that it’s a place of safety.  A voice suddenly calls.
“Ellie!  Ellie, are you okay?!”  The voice sounds familiar.  I wonder who it is as the world gets more and more dark…

It is dark outside when I come to.  I sit up, hearing voices downstairs.  The parents are home.  The smell of food greets me.  Dad was always the superior cook.  For all of my mother’s qualities, the kitchen is not at all a place she should be.  She has screwed up instant food.  No joke.  I get downstairs, rubbing my eyes and sniffing.  Tonight is stir fry.  That makes me a bit happier.
“Hey honey!” Dad greets.  “So, what’s the news on the drawing?!  Did you win?!”
Mom looks up as well, though she appears nervous.  She had never wanted me to enter that, truth be told.  She was worried sick that something bad would happen and that I would end up dead or something.  She was a spacephobe.  Every time we took a shuttle on vacation to Earth, she would be a nervous wreck the entire way.  The elevator to the surface was even worse.
I smile at them, feeling some of the happiness coming back.  “You’re looking at a girl who’s going to Europa!”
Dad came over and hugged me tight.  He was a big huggy bear, but I knew that.  It was a nice feeling.  Mom smiled, but I could tell that she was still nervous.  Whatever.  I had bigger things on my mind.  I sat down at the table and waited for dinner to be served, catching up on some news from my Band.
Mom happened to notice the look on my face, sitting down to the side of me.  “Hey honey.  You’re looking a little down.  Everything alright?”
I looked up at her, trying to smile.  “Yeah, it’s just been a long day.  Lots of people congratulating me, lots of homework.  You know.”  I wasn’t ready to have the conversation I had been wanting to have earlier.  Maybe I would tell them when I got a Net link up at the base on Europa.  Let them have some time to think on it.  Like I said, they’re chill people, but best not to put a person’s chill level to the test.

The days became a lot more routine after the one where I was told that I was going to Jupiter.  Back to homework and studies.  Angie wouldn’t even speak to me anymore.  Part of me felt increasingly terrible about that, as it felt like she was abandoning us before we even had a chance to see where the two of us could go.  But whatever.  Naturally, Lucas was every kind of excited.  As the days on the calender flew by, I was getting excited again.  A man from the mission came to my house, had me sign some stuff and told me all about what I would be doing on the mission.  I had been selected for operator duty for some of the drones we would be using!  If I did well, I might even be trained on using one of the submersibles that would be used for live-sample grabbing, if a sample had to be analyzed in the field.
They pulled out all the stops for this mission.  I was given a bit of a digital tour of the facility, and holy shit!  It was like living in a resort!  The rooms were all very standard.  No surprise there.  Desks that would be integrated into the systems of the underwater station, named “Atlantis.”  There was also a bed and a display for any station-wide alerts.  But the rest of the place looked awesome!  I couldn’t wait to see it in real life.  The flight was in two weeks.

Needless to say, Lucas, the teachers and my Dad were completely stoked when the night before came.  I had packed what they listed.  Most things would be provided for.  I was sitting in my room, petting the cat when there was a knock at the door.
“Come in!”
The door opens and I see Mom standing there.  She’s looking all serious, while trying to put on a happy face.
“So, you all packed and ready?” she asks softly.
“Yup.  Got all things to specifications.”  My smile can’t quit.  In the months that had passed, since Angie stopped talking to me, it got easier to not think about her.  It all felt like a dream to me.
Mom sat on the bed, a bit away from me.  “I wish I knew what to say.  I’m sure that you’ll be safe.”
I somehow doubted that.
“The man showed us all the safety protocols they had.  Looks like they planned for everything.  And I know my girl.  You have a gift at being able to get in and out of stuff.”  She smiled over at me, something nostalgic.  “I remember when you were five, and you were given your first Band.  You started tinkering with it that day, trying to see what it could do.  Every time we gave you something, you would bury yourself in trying to make it better.  I always loved that.  Now you’re headed off to do something amazing, all by yourself.  You’ve grown up so much.”  Her eyes started to get foggy.  “But don’t you go growing up too fast, alright?  I don’t want to lose my little girl.”
I reached out and put my hand on her shoulder.  “Mom, you aren’t losing me.  I’m just gonna be far away.  And it’s only for six months.  By the end of the second Cycle next year, I’ll be right back here, telling you all about it!  And that little girl isn’t going anywhere.  She’ll always be with you, all derpy and clumsy.”  The two of us got a laugh.
We hugged tight, and I knew that it would be okay.  I loved my parents.  Even if they didn’t always get me.

It was late.  My Band let out a beeping noise.  I pressed on the sensor in the center and a display came up.  It was Angie!  She was calling.  I took out the ear-piece and put it in.
“Hey,” I greeted.
“Hey, you at home?”
An odd question.  “Sure.  Why?”
“I’m at the front door.  Didn’t want to knock.  Mind coming out?”
My heart was beating fast.  I got up, threw on some pants and went downstairs.  There was a kind of eerie calm about the house right now.  I opened the door and saw her standing there, shivering a little.  It got cold at night.
“Hey you!” I said softly, closing the door.
“Hey.”  She smiled at me, and it made my insides flutter.
We stood there for a while, before both of us tried to talk at once.  We giggled and I leaned against the door.
“You first.”
She shuffled her feet a bit, finally looking up.  “I’m sorry about what I said, and what I did.  I…I never meant to hurt you, Ellie.”
The words made every part of me quiver.
“And I, I don’t want you to forget about me.  So, I came to give you something, so you wouldn’t.”
That got my attention.  “What is it?!”
She held out a box, looking excited.  “Open it!”
Like I had to be asked twice.  I grabbed the box and opened it up, instantly feeling tears come to my eyes.  It was a necklace.  From it hung a round design with a kind of swirling point coming down from it.  There was something above it.  It was two Venus symbols, locked together.
“So you always know – we’re linked together.”
I put the necklace on.  I’d only ever take it off the sleep.  It was a promise I made with myself.  Afterwards, I pulled her in tight against me, kissing her.  We were like that for some time, until I finally pulled back and smiled at her.
“I love you, Ellie!”
“I love you too, Angie.”
“And I’ll be waiting at the Starport when you get home!  Right there!  Just you wait!”
“I’ll run to you.”
We kissed again.  When we pulled apart, she took my hand.  Letting go of her fingers, it was the hardest thing I had ever done.  After what felt like an eternity, I went back inside.  It was then that I saw my parents standing there.
“So, who was the girl?” Dad asked, giving me a smirk.
My cheeks went red as a beet.

Morning came.  At 0700 hours, I had to be at the Starport.  A shuttle was just taking off when our car arrived.  I grabbed my duffel bag and walked over to the entrance.  The Mars Starport was one of the largest in the solar system.  Since there were mining operations in the Asteroid Belt, we got a lot of traffic of workers and supplies that came here.  We also had a lot of civilian traffic, what with Mars being one of the hottest tourist destinations.  After I got in and checked my ticket, I was greeted by the man who had come to visit us.  He was clearly with the Interplanetary Defense Forces (IDF).  His uniform was much more official.
After some nice chit-chat with the parentals, it was off to the gate.
Dad was all warm and fuzzy.  “Now you make sure to write us every day!  I know the delay will stop video chat, but the instant you are there I want to hear everything!”  He hugged me tight.
“Alright, Dad!  Don’t go getting all teary-eyed.”  I stuck out my tongue at him, with him whacking me on the shoulder.
Mom walked up.  “Alright honey.  This is it.”  She put her arms around me.  “I’m sure you’ll do great.  When you get home, we’ll be having a party for our hero daughter!”
I hugged her as well.  “Thanks Mom.”
After the final goodbyes I grabbed my bag and followed the man, named Lieutenant Frank Williams, toward the shuttle that was waiting.  I saw Lucas running over, eager to talk.  He was excited in the extreme.  His Dad was going over to my parents.  His parents had divorced after his mother had had some mental problems.  I never made a thing about it.  He had enough on his plate as it was.  His Dad was a nice guy, though he was in government so he wasn’t around a whole lot.
I looked back one last time and saw the thing that made my day – Angie.  She stood there, waving to me.  I waved back, blowing her a kiss.  The necklace was hanging down over my hoodie.

Until next time, a quote,

“An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered.”  -G. K. Chesterton

Peace out,


Top 10 Swords in Video Games

You’d be hard-pressed to find a gamer who hasn’t had to don the blade at least once in their journey across the worlds of the games they play.  Picking this list is probably the hardest thing to do, because there is such a vast and wide selection to choose from.  Rather than go for the swords with the best stats, we went with ones that were both dripping in cool and had a kind of iconic status.  Of course, this list is subjective as fuck, so if you’ve got a sword that you wish was on the list, hit me with a comment of what the sword is, and a pic of it, if you are of a mind to.  That said, here we go.

Gilded Sword10. Gilded Sword
Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask
Arguably the most overlooked entry in the Legend of Zelda franchise, Majora’s Mask was one of the most interesting games in the franchise.  Where you have an interesting game, naturally, you have to have interesting weapons.  This weapon is formed from the Razor Sword, mixed with Gold Dust and several other ingredients.  It has a glassy coating with a golden weapon underneath.  It is indestructible and can cut through just about anything.  That is awesome!  It was a hard choice between this weapon and the Fierce Diety’s sword, but this one took it narrowly.

Squall's Gunblade9. Squall’s Gunblade
Final Fantasy VIII
The weapon that started one of the coolest trends in blades, the gunblade.  More specifically, Squall’s gunblade.  While you could never actually use the weapon as a gun, there is so much cool to this weapon that it only makes sense just how iconic the weapon is.  Ask any RPG fan and they will know what this weapon is.  When you could hit the reaction button just right and make the gun effect work, this weapon is so awesome.  Plus, it makes Squall (Leon) look like such a boss!  Am I right?

Soul Calibur8. Soul Calibur
Soul Calibur (Series)
It was a tough choice between the weapon of ultimate good and the weapon of ultimate evil – Soul Edge.  In the end, Soul Calibur won because of the fact that it is a weapon of ultimate good.  Forever at war with it’s counterpart, Soul Calibur makes the wielder stonger for wielding it, giving them back health and energy.  It is a living blade that is divine, made to stop the evil that Soul Edge brings into the world.  It changes shape to fit the fighting style of the wielder, so they can continue the endless war between the two blades.  A war of souls and swords, eternally retold.

Frostmourne7. Frostmourne
Warcraft III/World of Warcraft
The dark path of the Liche King gets darker still with this icy weapon.  It was a long and dark road when he pulled it from its pedestal, with a warning inscribed that told him of the terrible price he had to pay for wielding a weapon of this power.  However, he had not come all that way to be stopped now, so he pulled Frostmourne from the pedestal and his reign of terror began.  A reign that only the max-leveled and most determined of warriors could bring to an end.

Blade of Olympus6. Blade of Olympus
God of War II/III
Another hard choice between these and the blades that Kratos wields on his arms.  However, this weapon has some pretty awesome history.  It was originally used to send the Titans to Tarturous, it was used by Zeus to trick Kratos into giving up his powers and then to kill him.  When Kratos gets it, he uses it to kill Athena, the Titans Gaia and Cronos, then the man who forged it – Zeus.  Not only does this weapon have history and some badass power behind it, but it allows you to slay Titans and the king of the gods.  What more do you need?

Brotherhood5. Brotherhood
Final Fantasy X
Another weapon that has a lot of history, this beautiful sword was a gift from Wakka to his brother, Chappu.  However, Chappu shunned it in favor of a machina weapon.  Part of Wakka always believed that that was what got him killed during a Crusader operation.  He gives it to Tidus as a way to seal their friendship.  The weapon has a flowing water image on it, along with having what looks like bubbles and waves above the hilt.  It’s a tragic and beautiful weapon that symbolizes the tragic nature of the world in which the game takes place.

Zanmato4. Zanmato
Final Fantasy X
The katana is one of the most iconic weapons in all of gaming.  Picking which one we wanted to run with was hard.  In the end, we had to go with the weapon of the Aeon Yojimbo.  When you pay him a vast sum, he will summon this weapon from the ether.  It has lights flowing through the sheath and hilt, showing it’s magical nature.  The blade is so sharp that it will instantly slice any enemy that isn’t a boss in half.  Although, if it weren’t for the rules of the game, we have to wonder if the blade wouldn’t slice a boss in half too.

Keyblade3. Keyblade
Kingdom Hearts
How could this blade not be on the list?!  A weapon of immense power that has been known to be used to both save and destroy world, the Keyblade is a weapon with quite a history.  When we first see it, it was meant to belong to Riku, but instead ended up in the hands of Sora because of the darkness that was consuming Riku’s heart.  The neatest thing about this weapon is that what weapon it is depends on what keychain is attached to the weapon.  The Keyblade is arguably the most versatile weapon of all those featured because of how it can change into any of its many forms based on a keychain.  That’s pretty impressive.

Buster Sword2. Buster Sword
Final Fantasy VII
Another tough choice between the weapon of Cloud Strife and the blade of Sephiroth.  In the end, Cloud’s took it due to its iconic nature.  Originally belong to Zack Fair, it was originally used by Cloud to run Sephiroth through when he was at the Nibelheim Mako reactor.  Following the death of Zack from Shinra operatives, the weapon passes on to Cloud, who uses it in his war against Shinra and later the returned Sephiroth.  This is one of the most iconic weapons in gaming, and the way Cloud effortlessly wields it shows just how powerful he is.

And the greatest sword in gaming is…

Master Sword1. The Master Sword
Legend of Zelda (Series)
Yeah, anybody who knows gaming swords probably saw this one coming.  Talk about history!  This weapon has it in spades!  Forged by the Goddess’, it is the only weapon capable of bringing Ganondorf to his knees.  It has been a central part of almost every single Legend of Zelda game.  It was used to finally kill Ganon in Ocarina of Time.  It is driven into the skull of Ganondorf to finally kill him in Wind Waker.  It is what you duel and defeat both Zant and Ganondorf with in Twilight Princess.  This weapon has a long history of helping a very specific group of warriors, all chosen by the Goddess’ and all bearing the same name – Link.

Until next time, a quote,

“The Master Sword is a sacred blade which evil ones may never touch.”  -Rauru, Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

Peace out,