2015 Year in Review

Back when I was in college, I used to do Academic Year in Review posts.  But those days are done, and I never did get around to doing a post on Christmas, so I thought I would do a post that is 100% personal and me just putting stuff out there.  I probably shouldn’t do these posts.  But I’ve never named names.  I’ve never named places.  If you want to look into it, best of luck.  So I guess there is still some anonymity.  And you all aren’t that bad to talk to, believe it or not.  I like having you all around.  The truth is, I was amazed when I hit 500 subs on WordPress.  Now I am closer to 700 than 600, and I still find it amazing.  The fact that over 600 people want to read what I write, some of them dating back 5 years, is so humbling.  I realize that this really isn’t impressive.  Hell, blogging is such a dead market.  People like watching vlogs instead of reading.  But I keep at this, because this is the medium that I know and understand.  Maybe this won’t work, but I keep trying.  Because I want to leave something behind, when my time is up.  I’m not gonna be some great innovator, or some great leader.  I’m probably going to be some nobody who has a few hundred people reading what I have to say.  But I keep doing it.  Man, that was a total digression.  Let’s talk about this year.

It’s been a REALLY hard year, for me.  My attempt to charge out into adulthood has crashed and burned, repeatedly.  I keep fucking up, and I never seem to get anywhere.  Where I started is where I’m at now, and it fucking kills me inside.  I keep going, hoping beyond what my rational mind tells me is worth hoping for that it will improve.  But I know that it won’t get me far.

The first major thing was leaving my parent’s home.  Being done with college, it was time to get out and see what was to be found for me.  The truth was, I had also made a promise to someone that I would have my own place by a certain amount of time.  That goal gave me focus, in a way that I hadn’t had before.  But it turned out to be for nothing.  Why?  Because that person didn’t keep up their end of the bargain.  Like so many people in my life, getting turned on is almost a sport.  So I had this new place, but I got it without first having a job lined up.  Mistake #1.  I was applying everywhere I possibly could, but it wasn’t getting me anywhere.  Things just kept getting worse and worse.

However, there was a breakthrough.  My cousin asked if he could stay with me for a while.  He was making plans to leave the state to pursue his education.  His plan sounded nice.  If we’re being honest, I thought that I would join him down in the States after a couple years, if things were going alright.  A couple years of job experience under my belt, it sounded good.  At first, the two of us living together was pretty nice.  Sure, there were some awkward moment, mostly tied into how small a place this is.  To be honest, if I had gotten a two-bedroom apartment, he would still be living here.  So much of the problem came from how small and cramped this apartment was.  I needed my space, and just didn’t have it.  But for the moments when it was cool between us, it was really cool.  Him and I could shoot the shit about anything.  We almost non-stop gave each other shit, but it was all in good fun.  I loved having that sort of connection with someone.  He was helping with the rent and utilities, which saved my ass, and kept me from having to ask my folks for help a lot sooner.  We’ll get back to that.

But as I said, it was cramped, and that started to grate on me pretty quick.  I love my cousin.  As I said, if it was a two-bedroom place, he’d still be here and that would be totally alright.  Yet my nerves were getting frayed, and his plans to leave were disrupted by something stupid that he did.  Eventually, I decided that I wanted my place back to myself, and told him that he would have to be out by the end of the month.  In hindsight, if it weren’t for some other troubles in my life, that would have worked out great.  Because I found a job.

The job was as a medical records technician at a local neurology office.  I owned that job!  I’m still proud of how fucking good I was at doing it.  If only I was still doing it now.  But we’ll get to that too.  The place had a really chill office team.  The boss was micro-managing in the extreme, but I could deal with that.  I won’t get too far into what went down there.  Let’s just say that a lot of things started to go wrong in my life, and eventually I decided that I wanted out of that office, and to move on to somewhere else.  Mistake #2.

At this point, my ex came back into my life.  Her and I tried to be on good terms after we broke up.  Like so many points, I am the bigger person, and my reward is getting shit on by life.  During the summer, she brought up that the two of us should give our relationship another chance.  I felt great.  Cloud fucking 9, bitches.  But the dreams of potential didn’t last.  At the end of the summer, I get a Dear John text from her, telling me that she doesn’t want to be with me again, because of my depression.  Seeming to forget how great we were doing when the two of us were living together.  Oh yeah, didn’t mention – this apartment I’m in now isn’t the first time that I’ve lived away from home.  Seems like everything I do goes to shit.  See, she didn’t just send me a Dear John text.  She also went on to excise herself from my entire life.  Unfriended me on Facebook, and saw fit to untag herself from all the pics we took together.  Like the one when we moved in together.  I deleted all those pictures.  Some of those were the only copy I had.  Those pictures now don’t exist.  She wanted to disappear from my life, well I guess the little bitch got what she wanted.  The memories we had together are only in my mind. Don’t know about her.  Given how hard she worked to get rid of us, it’s clear that it wasn’t hard decision for her.  I fucking hate that little bitch.  I don’t hate anyone, except her.  There is no one else.  There are people who I have real issues with, but I don’t outright hate.  She is the only one that I feel that way about.  I genuinely wish I could hurt her in the way that she hurt me, taking my heart and ripping it out and throwing it on the floor and taking a shit on it, after having crushed it under her boot heel.  She is a terrible person, and I want nothing to do with her.

That stress didn’t go well at work.  Now the search was on to find a new job.  At first, I thought things were going well.  Interview after interview, I was certain that something would work out, rather quickly.  But it didn’t.  So many interviews, and nobody wanted me to work with them.  Why not?  What was so bad about me?  I was a hard worker.  I am a fast learner.  I’m damn good at what I do.  Did what others believed impossible about my job at the office I worked at – I got caught up.  That’s a fucking accomplishment!  Things were falling apart, but it kept getting worse.

My finances were a fucking mess.  Meds, other things.  I was losing control of my situation fast, and had to do something that I will hate myself for for a long time – asking the parents for money.  All the times I got lectured about how, when they were my age, they wouldn’t have dreamed of asking their parents for money.  They might not believe it, but I took that sort of thing to heart.  I don’t like the fact that I have to ask them for help.  But at this point, I’m kind of out of options.  One thing after another, and no end in sight.

Then came what I thought was a light at the end of the tunnel – a job opportunity that I believed was the perfect fit.  It would FINALLY put the skills that I got my education in to use!  It was a PR company!  First thought – fuck yes!  The job that I was applying for wasn’t glamorous.  It was an office assistant position, but it was still in the field I got my education in!  This was it!  After so much misery, I was going to potentially get out of a rut, with this.  But there’s something to be learned from the old saying – if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

I should have taken better notice of the red flags.  The first big one – they didn’t want to interview me at the office.  They wanted to do it at a Kaladi Brothers.  I didn’t like that.  It rubbed me the wrong way.  I had been working at a doctor’s office.  You meet at the office, and get to know the place you’ll be working, right?  This felt wrong, to me.  The woman who I met with seemed nice enough, in that interview.  Oh how wrong I was.  Then there were meetings that followed after this, all of which were at that fucking coffee shop.  I really didn’t like this.  Like, where is the office that these people supposedly have?  But when she told me about the position that she wanted me to work, I was captivated.  She wanted me to work for a position better than the one I had applied for.  It felt so nice.  Someone actually appreciated my education and dedication!  They wanted to put me in a position where they felt my skills would go to work.  In hindsight, this woman worked my ego, and I let her.  Fucking stupid me, I know.  It was such a dumb decision.  I put in my two weeks and left the doctor’s office.  Mistake #3.

From there, it was a giant fucking mess.  This new job was supposed to be the golden ticket out of the situation I was in.  If only that was how it went down.  The next big red flag was when I found out that training would be done  via conference call.  Yeah…I didn’t like this.  At all.  It was such a joke.  Me and about six other people were there, and the training was just PR schtick.  What’s more, this wasn’t the job that I thought it was.  I thought that I was being trained for a job working as a PR person, giving PR advice to companies that we would find.  I would meet with clients and make sure that clients were happy.  This seemed like the simplest thing.  But it was all a lie.  A well-crafted, totally bullshit lie.  A few days into training, I was getting annoyed.  What’s more, the woman who was supposed to be training us wasn’t doing a good job.  So, I met with a coworker and I decided to bring these issues up to the person who set me up with the company.  I found them through an employment agency.  Got nothing but love for them.  They did right by me.  Can’t blame them for the actions of the employer.  Even now, I still got nothing but love for them.

When I decided to walk away, I got a call from someone else in the company.  I thought it was one person, but it seems that I was wrong.  At least, the boss lady said as much.  But I trust her statement about as far as I can throw her.  So there’s that.  Anyway, she called me up and asked me to come back on with the company.  I was already annoyed, but she made a good case to me, so I decided that I would give them another chance.  There came a lot of red tape with this mess, but I still remembered how much money I was supposed to be making at this job.  Stupid me, blinded by money.  From there, it just got worse and worse.  See, this job was sounding less what I was trained for, and more like I was just a salesman.  What was I selling?  PR.  But not our PR.  No, this company was a middle-man between other companies.  So this wasn’t a PR job.  I was a salesman.  I had been lied to, and I believed it.  Because I was greedy.

The hammer fell for me one day, when I was asked to go out and secure a deal with a new company.  I had to get them to fill out the paperwork, which I now realize was because the boss lady was too lazy to go do it herself.  It was such a fucking joke.  See, we weren’t even selling these people PR!  We were selling them a fucking debit machine!  Everything about this job had been a lie.  I had just gone out and helped them secure a deal to get a debit machine.  I was enraged.  Nothing about what I had been told was true.  Things between me and this company were already heated, but this was going to hit a boiling point.  But I was convinced to stay on, but at a different position.  One where I wouldn’t have to be a salesman, or so I thought. I should have walked.  I should have taken my smart pills and walked.  But my financial desperation, the stress levels.  I was beyond the point of fearful returns.  My back was most-succinctly against the wall.

Now, I believed that I would be getting my first paycheck from this company on a Tuesday.  After all the headache, I was eager for getting some money from this.  I felt that I was owed more for how much this company had fucked me, but any money is money, right?  But I didn’t know if my paperwork with payroll had been processed.  So I sent an email to the person who managed payroll for this company.  These people (the company, not the payroll people) were so shady.  They outsourced almost everything about what they did.  This company was so fucking shady.  I sent more than one message, because I hadn’t heard back.  Eventually, the boss lady decided to get back with me, having made some HUGE inferences.  This is what led to the downfall of my time with this company. Let me tell you all about that last morning with these people, and how it went.

I get an email in the morning.  I look it over on my phone, and it has the boss-lady telling me that she believed that I had gone behind her back to talk to payroll, and that I didn’t trust her and the company or whatever stupid bullshit thing. She then told me that she was very upset with my lack of dedication to the company, putting forth that my professionalism was lacking. Oh, and because I hadn’t sold enough things for her company, I wasn’t getting any money at all.  So all that stuff about my position not being tied to sales, that was a lie too.  That was the straw that broke the camels back.  In what was the most incredibly-vicious yet well-written email that I have ever done, I laid out that I was done with her, her company, and I wanted nothing more to do with any of them.  I thought that they were terrible people, and they had basically wasted my time and that I wasn’t getting any money for it.  What followed will go down in unprofessional history.

I got a text from the boss-lady, where she initiated what was, in no uncertain terms, a flame war.  She, a professional individual in her capacity as a professional, started a flame war with me.  Yeah, that is as unreal as it sounds.  She decided to be as rude to me as possible, making clear that I hadn’t actually quit from that company (which I made very clear in my email that I had done so), but I was fired.  Whatever.  But after she saw fit to “fire” me, it kept going!  Now in a non-professional capacity, she decided to send little barbs at me.  I was having none of that.  I live on the Internet.  I troll people on Twitter and hang out on message boards.  If you’re going to go up against me like this, then you better bring your A-game.  She said something to the effect of, “well, at least I have a job and money, loser.”  To which I told her something that was entirely true – “Actually, funny story, I had an interview with the hospital down the street from me last week for another job.  So there’s that.”  Needless to say, having been put in her place, she then decided to shut me down by threatening to file harassment charges against me if I kept talking to her.  But she kept sending me texts.  That was how this job ended.  In the most unprofessional discourse of my entire life.

My year has sucked.  Now I am right back where I started – broke as fuck, living in an apartment, and having crashed and burned.  I’ve been sick as fuck this week, so I haven’t been able to mass-apply as hard as I need to, but I do have an interview on Monday.  Wish me luck.  I hate my life.  My personal life is dead and buried.  It has a plot at the cemetery on 6th Avenue.  But I can’t stop now.  I just can’t.  I’m not moving back out there.  I’m not going back to that little room in that house.  Sure, my cat was there, but that wasn’t life!  I am going to make this work.  But I am still asking my folks for help.  I’ll be able to move past this, and make my life work.  I have to believe that.  If I don’t….well, sudden stop and a quick drop ain’t an option for me, at the moment.  I got other things I have to do first.

Happy New Year, everyone.  Here’s hoping your year gets better.  Mine too.

Until next time, a quote,

“May the New Year bring you courage to break your resolutions early! My own plan is to swear off every kind of virtue, so that I triumph even when I fall!”  – Aleister Crowley

Peace out,

Maverick

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Lucien’s First Take: GUN Self-Defense For Women

For those of you who have been living under a rock somewhere, there is a filmmaker named Derek Savage.  He made a movie called Cool Cat Saves the Kids, which was absolutely panned by everyone.  Here is a link to my favorite review of it.  Now, Savage wasn’t able to take criticism very well.  See, YMS was nice to him.  Or at least nice enough to the point that it didn’t get Savage really mad.  But other reviewers, such as I Hate Everything ripped the movie to shreds and were vicious and mean-spirited in the extreme.  Unable to handle people not saying nice things about his movie, Savage issued some DMCA take-down notices against the reviews he didn’t like, hurting not only the channels of others, but taking potential revenue away.  Real swell guy, Derek Savage.

When IHE made the issue very public, Savage doubled-down and made a video defending what he did.  Long story-short, after a long and drawn-out battle where Savage pretended to be a lawyer for another company (no joke, that really happened.  The whole story is on IHE’s YouTube channel.  Just gotta find the video), Savage decided to cut his losses and let the videos go back up.  I bring this up for a reason – because Savage made a film called GUN Self-Defense for Women (and apparently men too.  Really, it’s on the box art for this film) where he is going to teach women self-defense with guns.  Again who, you ask?  Well, Savage released a clip from the film.  Let’s see who these EVIL people are.

The Internet’s term for Derek Savage is Daddy Derek, from his role in the Cool Cat film.  With that in mind, Daddy Derek, you’re just swell.  I just love how that mom in this says, “let’s go play.”  I can’t be the only person who finds that SO unintentionally dirty.  There are some unanswered questions that need to be examined.  Like, what is she playing with these kids?  I think we all need to know.  Especially anyone in a position of authority.  Like, I don’t know, the cops?  They might be a touch bit interested.  Just putting that out there.

Next we have our villain – a fat person!  If any of you watched Cool Cat Saves the Kids, then you saw that the main “bully” in that film was a fat kid.  Now, we have a would-be mugger who is also fat.  What is with this guy and fat people?  Did a fat person hurt you, Derek?  Since you seem like the kind of person who Googles himself a lot, I have a feeling you’ll find this post.  So Daddy Derek, I’m gonna put out a couple of theories and you let me know which is accurate.  Because I think I’ve figured out why you don’t like fat people.

Theory # 1: When Derek was a younger man, he fell madly in love with a very portly woman.  She was very, very heavy, but that’s okay.  Derek loved her for who she is.  What a guy.  The relationship was going really well.  Derek was happy with her.  But then, one day, she leaves him.  And not just leaves him, she rips out his heart and crushes it.  By the time she was done, Derek felt like he would never love again.  Now he has a problem with all fat people, because of this one person.

Theory # 2: When Derek was a kid, he was fat.  A regular little Mickey Blumberg from Recess.  Only, where Mickey was really tall, so people didn’t mess with him, Derek was not.  He was very short.  Short, fat, and probably ridiculed to no end.  The endless teasing about his weight ended up culminating in him developing an eating disorder, and him being obsessed with getting in shape.  When he finally got there, he ended up hating who he was, and the fact that he was fat.  So now he has turned all this unresolved angst into characters in his movies.

So, Daddy Derek, which is it?  Let me know in the Comments.  Next up, why does the fat guy assume that because she has kids, she has money?  I mean, wouldn’t the assumption be that if she has kids, she doesn’t have money?  That she spends her money on the kids?  This is really dumb.  Not to mention – what mugger is stupid enough to do this in front of her kids?  And show his face?  Does fatty here not understand that she’s likely going to call the cops on him?  By the way, I noticed that she didn’t do that.  Like, maybe the cops would like to know that there’s a fat guy who has a very recognizable face and his in a blue shirt and blue pants trying to mug women in front of their children.  Seems that Daddy Derek didn’t learn his lesson from how bad his lesson were in Cool Cat’s movie.

You know, as much as I want to mock this guy, part of me does think that his heart is in the right place.  No joke, I can’t fault this guy for the movies he makes.  He wanted to help bullying, so he made a movie about bullies. He wants to protect women, so he makes a movie about gun safety.  The problem is that clearly, Daddy Derek is an idiot.  He gives terrible lessons, doesn’t grasp anything about people.  This guy is so delightfully stupid.  You wanna have a problem with how dumb he is, but as I said, he still wants to do the right thing.  There’s a strange juxtaposition between his stupidity and his good morals that is so much fun to watch.  I look forward to seeing this movie, when it comes out.  Might do a review.  Hey Derek, send me a review copy of this movie, and I’ll review it.  I’ll even try and be nice.

Initial Verdict
3 out of 10

Peace out,

Maverick

Musical Insanity: Virtue Makes You Beautiful

Look, whatever your views on sex, so long as what you do is consensual and doesn’t hurt anyone (outside of what is consensual, for all you people into the rough stuff in my audience), it’s your business.  That is the mindset that I have subscribed to for all my teenage and adult life.  As soon as I discovered girls, I knew the path I wanted to take.  The fact that I am an unattractive giant didn’t help what I wanted, but whatever.  I’m not one of these guys who blames the females for it.  I know the hand I was dealt.  In any case, that’s not the point.  The point is that if you want to practice abstinence, that’s your choice.  You’re free to do that.  I don’t agree, but whatever.  I’m just some prick on the Internet.

You know what you shouldn’t do if you are all for abstinence?  Promote it via song.  That’s something that you should not do.  Why?  Because it’s going to sound TERRIBLE!  That’s a fact.  There is no song about abstinence that sounds good.  Especially when it’s a twist on a song by the vapid-boredom that is One Direction.  Yeah, they can go one direction – up my ass.  Wonder if I’ll get any teeny tweeny girls coming on here and being like, “you’re just jealous.”  No argument.  Of course I’m jealous that a bunch of talentless losers who clearly have their balls kept in mason jars are worth that amount of money.  No doubt.  But that’s not the point.  A pro-abstinence group decided to make a music video promoting this idea that abstinence is virtue, and only virtuous girls are beautiful.  Because fuck those sluts in the low-cut shirts and short skirts.  It really makes me wonder – why do Fundamentalist Christianity and third-wave feminism not get along?  They have so much in common, like fear of their bodies and their sexuality.

Listening to this was painful.  Did you notice how many times they didn’t harmonize?  It’s a music video, where they are just dubbing over a lip-sync anyway, and it still didn’t harmonize.  That’s just…sad.  But that’s really not what you notice, I suppose.  The thing that really sticks out is just how badly this message is delivered.  I bet that the team of fundies who sat in a room and wrote this out felt like they did such a great parody of it.  Though, they probably don’t think that it’s a parody.  They probably think that this is the “correct” way that the song should have been written.

It’s painful to watch, too!  These poor kids who have been brainwashed into this ideology.  Who won’t be taught about safe sex.  Hey ladies, it isn’t just to prevent unwanted pregnancies.  It can also prevent STDs.  While they aren’t quite the boogeyman that they used to be (thanks to expansion of the use of condoms in the straight and gay community), it is still a very real thing.  Safe sex education exists for a reason, and that reason is important.  But I guess not as important as making sure that girls are “respectable.”  Which, by the way, is so insulting to say to a girl.  “Yeah, you’re respectable!  So long as you don’t have premarital sex.”  Um…fuck you. Just putting that out there.

Ladies, if you want to hold off on sex until marriage, that’s your business.  But make sure that it isn’t just because your parents say that the penis is evil (third-wave feminism in a nutshell) or that having sex before marriage makes you lose your ability to be respected.  When I was going to school, we were taught in middle school that every girl who has sex, for the guys who have sex with her, you’re having sex with the guys who already were with her.  Sexist, insulting, stupid dogma, that treats women like they are wrong for doing what comes naturally to them.  Do it for the right reasons.  Just putting that out there.

Until next time, a quote,

“You guys aren’t making Christianity better!  You’re just making rock worse!”  – Hank Hill, King of the Hill

Peace out,

Maverick

Lucien’s Review: A Walk Among the Tombstones

A Walk Among the TombstonesEver wonder what happens when an idea that isn’t original gets a REALLY good shine job and looks pretty damn good?  You get movies like this.  It’s an adaptation of a book by the same name.  A crime thriller that doesn’t have the most unique premise, but makes the most of what it does have due to good source material and phenomenal casting, mostly from the main character.  Is it the greatest crime thriller ever made?  No.  But it is a pretty damn good movie, and that alone is enough to make me think that it is really worth your time.  But I’m being very vague, aren’t I?  Let’s talk about it.

The film stars Liam Neeson as Matt Scudder, a former cop who works as an unofficial PI.  When a man with a questionable occupation comes to him for help, he gets roped into a dark mystery about murder and sexual sadism.  Like I said, not the most unique concept, but like with all concept that aren’t especially original, it’s all in the execution.

What I will say first is that this is a very toned-down movie.  Now, part of that is due to the fact that it stars Liam Neeson.  Critics have made fun of his monotone voice more than once, and while I can’t disagree with that assessment, I will say that it works much better when you have a movie where he is playing a character who is low-key.  It’s kind of like Keanu Reeves.  His style of acting is bad in all kinds of movies, but then you see him in movies like John Wick and Constantine, and you realize that he is actually really good, in the right setting.  The thing that really sets this movie apart from the rest of the movies in this category is the acting.  There are a lot of very good performances, and from characters you don’t see it coming from.

Aside from Neeson, who definitely owns this film, there is a little sidekick named TJ, played by Brian Bradley.  Now, a kid character in a movie you’d think would be REALLY annoying.  And here he had the potential to be.  But this kid had a lot of personality, and he wasn’t some giddy little upstart.  Sure, he is a kid, and he does make trouble, but he is also smart, and has real issues that you get.  Both him and Neeson’ character find something in their respective issues.  By the end, their bond feels real enough for it to be heart-warming.  But never to the point that it feels manipulative.  It’s like two guys who figure each other out, even if it doesn’t work out perfectly.

The other nice thing about this movie is that instead of making it a who-dun-it, as you think they will early on, it become a cat-and-mouse game with some really sick scum-fucks who do terrible things.  The way they show the players connected in this world does make them eerie and unsettling.  But there are still twists about them, even up until the end.  You don’t know who is working who, and it will keep you on your toes.

Which brings us to the cinematography.  I won’t say that it’s anything special.  It gets the job done, though.  There are some shots that don’t seem to make a whole lot of sense and seem very out of place.  Like the one at the very end of the movie.  Still, it works.  The same can be said of the score.  It’s low-key and relatively sparse.

Not a lot more to say, really.  I think that this is a very well-done and well-acted crime thriller.  I don’t know if you are into that sort of thing, but if you are, then I think you should check this out.  If not, well, you can read this review and take from it what you will.

Final Verdict
7 out of 10

Peace out,

Maverick

Lucien’s Review: The Wolf Among Us

The Wolf Among Us_20151226084551I genuinely don’t get why people have such an issue with Telltale and their style of games.  I really don’t.  Maybe it’s because the games are episodic, and people have to wait for new episodes.  I partly get that.  The biggest thing that frustrated me with Life is Strange was waiting for new episodes.  But that aside, this game was so worth it!  Granted, I got this game all at once, so I didn’t have to wait for new episodes, but still.  So good!  No joke, part of me really hopes that these rumors about there being a sequel are for real.  Because I am going to be all over that!  I want to see what new mystery can be done in one of the most visually and narratively interesting games I have ever played.

For those who didn’t know, this game is based on the Fables comic book series, which tells the story of a mass Exodus from the world of fairytales, with the creatures and characters of that world now existing in our reality.  However, they have to work hard to keep hidden, with many of them using glamours to keep their identity secret.  Those who live on the outside mostly live in a run-down neighborhood in New York City called Fabletown. It’s a very harsh place, racked with poverty and lack of opportunity.  The person in charge of keeping order in this part of the world is Bigby Wolf.  A fable with a very bad reputation, who does what he can to keep the peace.  But when a murdered fable lands at his doorstep, he has to contend with corruption, schemes, and the local populace to solve the mystery.

What I want to talk about first is the art style of this game.  The noir tone is all over this game, and I am absolutely in love with it.  This game is a much grungier form of the old detective stories, but that same atmosphere is everywhere in this production.  The world of Fabletown is believably-unpleasant.  It was clear that this game had minimal resources for production, but the extreme sense of style still makes it work.  It makes all the strange characters come to life so much better than I think any other style could.  The strangeness can put some off, but from where I’m sitting, it works so very well.

Which brings me to the thing that makes this game work – the characters.  I have said before that character-driven plots are my favorite kind, and this game had so many memorable characters.  My favorite is, naturally, Bigby.  This guy is so much fun.  He’s very much the archetypal noir cop, but thankfully I love that sort of thing.  Whenever you see him light a smoke and give someone a look of, “I don’t have time for this shit,” it felt so right.  Then there is Bigby’s convict in hiding, Collin.  The two’s banter is so fun, and even though their friendship may not make a whole lot of sense (given their history), it is still enjoyable.  Especially in later episodes.  If there is a character that I had to say I didn’t like, it’s Snow White.  She is WAY too goody-good for me.  Not to mention, her relationship to Bigby gets very muddy by the end.  I thought that the two were developing something, but it kind of sputters and dies by the last episode.  Odd.  Though, to be honest, I am hoping that Bigby finds himself a gal who is more open to his way of doing things, because that is so much more fun!

A lot of people have gotten on the QTE combat segments of this game, but you know what, for all the times that it was annoying, then there are times when it’s awesome!  Like how you become more and more of a badass as the game goes on, because he is progressively losing control of the ability to remain human.  When you see just how insane his wolf side can get, it is the greatest thing ever.  Even if that part of the game is frustrating, it is totally worth it when you get to see the full majesty of what Bigby really is, that he works so hard to keep in check.  But the ensemble is excellent, and you can’t help but like even the biggest dicks in the game.  There’s something to be said for that.

The choice aspect of this game is pretty good too.  I won’t claim that it can shift everything.  This wasn’t on the level of Until Dawn, but there are some neat little bits of plot that change, depending on how vicious you conduct yourself.  There are some major choices, and some of those are so unpleasant that you do question what you did.  By the end, a lot of the character that Bigby becomes is defined by the actions you take, and the amount of death and chaos you leave in your wake.

I will say that something that may be an issue for people with this game is the fact that the narrative does often get lose in the struggles of the people in this city.  They never stop reiterating how ugly things are for those who live in Fabletown.  Even the ending to the murder mystery segways with that message.  Sometimes it can feel preachy, but thanks to the fact that the characters are all so likable and relatable, you get why they feel the way they do.  You understand what poverty has done to this community, and led to the rise of very bad people.  This isn’t SJW perspective of a social issue.  Don’t worry about that.  They do take it seriously, and even the villain can make a good point about it, even if that person is a complete piece of shit.  If this sort of thing ruins a game for you, then you won’t like what you see here.  But if you stick it out, I think you’ll find a lot to like.

And that’s what I can say about the game overall – there is a lot to like.  The style, the characters, the investigation.  People keep saying that this style of game is dead and should remain that way.  But from where I’m sitting, this game was so fun to play that I am very pleased with what I got, and I hope that there is more to come.

Final Verdict
8 out of 10

Peace out,

Maverick

Stupid Feminism Meets Christmas

Are you all ready to enjoy the next two days, when this holiday that so many people look forward to all year lose their collective shit and have a massive blowout?  Well, shitlords, you shouldn’t!  Because a Tumblr blog called “Intersectional Feminism” is going to tell you why it is not okay to be all peppy about Christmas.  Of course they are.  Because if there’s one thing that the feminists on Tumblr don’t like – it’s when people are happy and having a good time.  They fucking hate that shit.  After all, happy people aren’t checking their privilege!  Can’t have that.  So in a post on their page (linked here), they will lay out all the reasons that wanting people to get into Christmas are wrong.  Trigger Warning: the stupidity on display may cause uncontrollable laughter or confusion at such a scale that your head will hurt.  Don’t tell me that I don’t do anything for the pussified audience crowd.

Not everyone celebrates Christmas. Many people of different cultures and religions have different winter celebrations, or don’t celebrate anything at all. Not only is important to respect other people and their cultures, but telling people to partake in Christian holidays is extremely problematic as historically and currently in North America many people are forced to assimilate to Christian culture or convert to Christianity.

Where do I begin?  First – who cares if not everyone celebrates Christmas?  If someone says something nice, are you going to get all in their face like, “I don’t celebrate Christmas!  So fuck you!”  That’s a stereotype that Christians have about atheists like me, even though I have no beef at all with Christmas, aside from the fact that so much of my life tends to go wrong come December.  But I still listen to the music, get in on the lights and whatnot, have a gay old time.  Next, how are people “forced” to assimilate to Christian culture?  Citation, please.  Wait, this is third-wave feminism.  If they were able to prove things, what a wonderful world it would be.

Christmas is a holiday included in Christian privilege. Not only is it more highly publicized than any other winter holiday, but it is also seen as “better” by society. People who are non-white and non-Christian experience more hate crimes than people who are. Thus, Christmas can cause distress in many non-white, non-Christian as it reminds them that their race, culture, and religion are not accepted by society and they are likely to be verbally and physically assaulted for not being apart of white, Christian society.

Christian privilege?  Really?  That’s a thing, now?  Wow.  And yeah, it is seen as better by society, but for completely secular reasons.  It’s a pretty time of year (to some people.  Not me.  I hate winter).  There are the pretty lights.  There are the trees.  There are the presents.  There are people giving a shit about other people.  People see this holiday as better because it is seen as more fun.  Don’t like it?  Well, tough tomatoes.  And what non-white, non-Christian group is offended by Christmas?  Please, give me an example.  And yeah, us white people are all out screaming at non-white people this time of year.  That’s totally not a complete load of shit.  Nope.  Is this person trolling?  Part of me wants to think so, but you hear this ind of stupid shit ALL the time from garden-variety SJWs.

Christmas can be physically demanding on people. Many people who are physically disabled are unable to do things such as get a tree, put up decorations or lights, go out to stored and buy presents, wrap gifts, or make meals. Telling people they have to “get into the Christmas spirit” by doing any of the former can cause them a lot of distress as they are unable to do so because of their disability.

Wow.  These people must think that those with disabilities are the biggest fucking pussies of all time.  Hey, here’s a neat fact – I couldn’t get a tree or lights or decorations this year.  Not because I’m disabled, but because I’m fucking poor as shit!  I’d like to have decorated my place, but I couldn’t.  But when I see decorations, am I instantly offended?  Hell no.  Assuming that those who are physically disabled don’t like this holiday season is so utterly insulting.  My uncle is paralyzed from the waist down, and he loves this time of year.  So fuck you and feeling the need to speak for people.

Christmas can be mentally demanding on some people. Not only can the chaos and rush of Christmas cause anxiety and depression, but Christmas can be triggering for many people. Some people may have had bad things happen around the holidays, or someone may have used the holidays as an excuse to abuse them. For these people, Christmas may remind them of this abuse and thus cause panic attacks, hallucinations, insomnia, vomiting, and any other stress or post-traumatic stress related symptoms.

I hate the entire concept of “triggering,” because it’s bullshit.  the whole deal is a giant load of shit.  Why?  Because if you are so pathetically weak that just seeing this holiday gives you PTSD, Vietnam-style flashbacks, then you are not fit to survive in society.  I’m sorry, but I draw the line at – don’t celebrate Christmas because it can make people sad!  I suffer from severe, unfathomably-bad depression due to brain damage.  Do I hate everything about this holiday?  Fuck no!  I love this holiday.  Or at least, I used to.  Years of unfathomably-bad luck has done a number on my love of it, but I am still trying.  Next, I just love how they pull this baffling example straight out of their ass.  Someone who had a violent crime committed against them during the holiday season is going to be “triggered” and have the aforementioned flashbacks?  Wow.  Who?  Who is this person?  Give me an example?  Oh how I wish this person was just some brilliant troll.

Many people feel forced by society to “get into the Christmas spirit” by spending the holidays with their family. If their family is abusive, this can cause them a lot of distress.

Back to the abuse thing.  Yes, because this extreme example that is so astronomically small of someone who was abused during Christmas being “triggered” is a reason not to want people to get into the spirit of things.  Not to mention, if someone was a victim of a violent crime committed by a family member, then why are they spending the holidays with that person?  Just putting that out there.

Some people do not have families. This may cause them to feel depressed during the holidays and thus choose not to celebrate them.

This is so stupid that I don’t even feel the need to comment on it.

The Christmas holidays deal a lot with foods. From Christmas dinner to Christmas cookies, to gifts involving food people are constantly being bombarded by food. For people with eating disorders, this can cause a lot of distress and even cause people in recovery to relapse. Avoiding Christmas activities may help them to maintain stability in their life.

I find this weird because…are we talking about anorexic people?  Bulemic people?  Fat people?  What group are we associating with in this insane, completely-ridiculous example?  I’m very curious.  So, because there is food at Christmas, people with some vague eating problem are offended…?  Wow…

And you wonder why people like me can’t take modern feminism seriously.  Gee, what a fucking mystery.

Get into the Christmas spirit, everyone.  Some snowflake might get hurt if you do.  Worth it.

Until next time, a quote,

“Christmas isn’t a season. It’s a feeling.”  -Edna Ferber

Peace out,

Maverick

A Day at the Workshop

(Thought I’d do a one-off piece of writing. Tell me which universe I’m riffing on in the Comments)

Way I saw it, it was just another day at the office.  Or it would have been, if my ship hadn’t have gone to shit.  It was on the last job.  The bounty was good, but the prey was smart.  Guess that’s why the price was so high.  They knew that I was coming, and they hid in an asteroid field.  I knew that it was a trap, but that didn’t stop them from having laid it.  Thought I could outwit them with some clever use of cameras.  Little robotic ones, so I could track the enemy’s movement.  Should have known that this enemy was smart.  An EMP blew out most of my cameras, and then it was cat-and-mouse through the asteroids until they caught me off-guard.  Felt like a rank amateur in that moment.  Still, it was a good hunt.  And I’ll get another shot at her.
So here I was, having to take a cargo transport down to Earth.  Yeah, rank amateur.  But I was still in one piece.  Guess that was worth something, right?  Rode the ship down to the surface, had my craft docked, and loaded onto a truck.  This was all money that I hated to spend.  But there was nothing to be done about it.  Only one mechanic in the entire system that I trusted to repair my ship.  The one I bought it from.  Sullivan Graham.  Best old racer in all the system.  The man knew more about starships than most of us would learn in three lifetimes.  He spent as much time tinkering on his ship as he did pilot it.  I remember watching his races when I was a kid.  Me and the old man were in love with them.  Back when the space age was at its peak.  Been a long time since those days.  Which is what led me here.

Pulling up to the entrance, I could already see the vast ocean of ship parts.  There were hulks from old ships that he would strip for parts.  This guy could find parts that were 20 years out of style.  Then there were the ships that he was working on.  It wasn’t a large crew here.  Last I heard, it was him, his assistant, and a young apprentice.  Just three people, fixing starships.  Crazy, right?  Well, they didn’t fix the huge stuff.  Largest they would go is the old big-rig I used to pilot, back when I was a younger man.
The desert air was hot as hell.  Dry as sand.  Felt kind of nice..  A steady breeze was blowing.  Hell, it always blows here.  Always.  There has never not been a point where it blows.  Part of why I like this place.  Hadn’t been here since I bought my ship.  Hadn’t told him why I was buying the ship off him.  Got rid of ten years of savings in order to purchase it.  I didn’t need it anymore.  Didn’t need the place I had left behind, either.  It was all just a memory, of another life.
I parked the trailer with my ship on it in the lot.  I knew that Sully would notice it, sooner or later.  There was the sound of yelling from inside one of the hangars.  A smile came to my face.  That old codger never changed.  He was giving shit to his people, because they had screwed something up.  As I started to make my way over, there was a voice from behind me.
“Hey, that’s the Nightingale!  I’d recognize that ship anywhere!”
I turned to see a girl, with short red hair.  Late teens, by my estimation.  She had a jumpsuit on, with splotches of grease and other fluids on it.
“You must be Sully’s newest protege,” I remarked with a coy smile.  “He never keeps the same one for more than a year or two.”
Her face went pouty.  “Hey, I’ve been here for almost two years!  Ain’t my fault the cranky old coon can’t get rid of me.”
“Who are you calling a cranky old coon?”  Standing there was Sullivan, with the same dour expression that he always had.  Even when he was in a good mood, he looked cranky.  Lines on his face from years of getting old.  Though, I get the feeling that he got some of those lines when he was my age.  If not younger.  Was getting a few lines myself.
She immediately go awkward.  “Nobody, boss-man.”
“Good!  Got get my kit.  We have a ship to diagnose.”
“Right away…”  The girl sulked off.
My smile grew.  “She can handle your BS for almost two years.  Now that’s impressive!”
A grunt.  “Kid’s got gumption, I’ll give her that.  So, what on Earth brings you back here?  Thought you’d be living big somewhere.  You had enough money for the Nightingale, after all.  Why would you need to bring the ship back?  If my old girl had been racing again, I’d know about it.  So what brings you here?”
“Got some coffee?”
He frowned at me.  “Yeah.”
“Well, let’s get some and I’ll tell you all about it.”

This place’s coffee was like turpentine.  Strong as fuck, too.  But it was something to drink, so I took that for what it was.
“So, a bounty hunter, eh?  Never would have pegged that for you.”
Looking out the window, I nodded.  “Well, it wasn’t exactly something I looked for.  I just kind of found it, you know?”
“What do you mean?”
“After the incident with my rig, I didn’t have much else to do.  My operator’s license was dead.  If I couldn’t fly, then what was I supposed to do?  So, I got a friend to forge me a new license, under an old alias I had back during my smuggling days.  Never looked back.”
That sentence hung in the air as I took another drink.  The sound of Sully’s people talking about my ship coming up from the hangar.
“What about your girl?  Didn’t she…”
“B wasn’t around to stop me.  She left long before then.”
Another long pause.  A baseball game was playing on the radio.  Heard the assistant cheering, because his team was up to bat and had just hit a drive out to center-field.  A good play.
“I see.  Heard from her since?”
Shook my head.  “No.  Not for a long time.”  My mind harkened back to days long gone by.  Better days…

It was long before morning.  I closed the door as quietly as I could.  Slipped off my shoes and coat.  Hung my hat on the rack, and headed toward the bedroom.  She wouldn’t be up this early.  Never was.  So I’d get to have some snuggle-time before she went to work.  After a mission this long, it was good to be back home.  I had plenty of time off.  Pulled a triple.  My pay was a small fortune, so I would get to spend the Solstice with her.  When I told her about it, she was very happy.  At least, part of her sounded that way.  But I could hear this other part.  A part that sounded like we were going to have an exchange of words, when I got back.
Got up to the bedroom and opened the door.  The curtains were drawn.  Sunlight always drifted in through the window, so she would close the curtains.  Had fond memories of her grumpy face as I would open them some mornings, to compel her to get her lazy ass out of bed.  Cute girl.  I slipped off my shirt and pants, gently sliding into bed behind her.  I pulled the covers over, and slipped my arm around her waist.  The girl suddenly took notice.  An adorable little moan as she was coming too.
“You’re home!”  That voice could make stone melt.  So cute!
“That’s right!  Not going anywhere for another three weeks!  We got all the time in the world!”
She turned to face me, giving me a gentle kiss.  “I missed you.”
“I know, babe.  I’m so sorry.  But working this many shifts was worth it.  Got a fortune that’s coming in!  We’re set for months.  Maybe can even make a down payment on a house!”
There was this weird dichotomy in her look, between hope and incredulity.  Don’t suppose any married guys will get where I’m coming from here?
“You sure?”
“I want us to get off Ganymede, B.  For us to move to Mars and start actually living.  The way we always talked about.  No more of this getting by. Security, a good wage for us, and somewhere that we can raise a family.  I don’t want to raise a kid this far out in the middle of nowhere.  I want our kid to grow up somewhere nice, you know?”
Her little smile.  “You thinking about kids, now?”
I grunted.  “Hell no.  But someday, you know?  When we’re all nice and settled and the two of us aren’t worried about how we’ll get by long-term.  At least keeping the option open, right?”
Another soft kiss.  The warmth of her sleepy body, it felt so good.  I could be like this forever.  We melted together, and I could suddenly feel some tension.
“What’s wrong, B?”
She pulled back a bit.  “I read another story in the news, about a cargo truck being attacked on route to TJ.  That’s the third on this month.  Elliot, I don’t like knowing that you’re out there, doing cargo runs.  I hate knowing that there might come a day when you won’t be coming back!”
I wrapped my arms tighter around her.  “Listen, B, I’m okay.  The rig that was attacked was off the main traffic lanes.  I’m not that kind of pilot.  I’m not looking to get extra pay by getting cargo somewhere quicker.  I can take the wage I get.  Trust me, there’s nothing to worry about.”
Looking me right in the eye.  “Promise?”
“I promise.”
“Okay.  Can we cuddle for a while?”
“I got all the time in the world, babe.”
Those days were the happiest ones that I could possibly remember.

But then there were other memories that filtered through the ether.  Like the last day I was at that apartment.

Coming home was difficult.  I would have a lot of explaining to do.  She wasn’t going to like this.  All of the plans we had made, they were all falling apart in front of me.  It had been a stupid accident.  I had lied to her.  I used shortcuts all the time.  But I was careful.  Not to mention since I had a history of smuggling, most of the pirates left me alone.  Sometimes they would take a cut, but I still went home with a full wallet.  But it all went to shit.  I had been caught in the middle of an attack on another rig.  Rather than stay and help, I cut and run.  But then I got attacked by the same pirates, who didn’t realize that I had immunity.  Now my rig was busted up, and I was out of a job.
So here I was, now having to find a new way to make money.  I had one.  A friend of mine made me an offer.  We use my connections to get a new ID and pilot’s license, and I work with her as a bounty hunter.  It was grunge work in the extreme.  This wasn’t the kind of work that we were going to be living large on.  Instead, it was the kind of work where I would have to sell the apartment.  Wouldn’t be able to stay in one place for too long.  You gotta live by chasing the bounty heads.  It was the life.  I knew it.  Had even been involved in a bit of it, when I was in the ISSP.  Felt like a million years ago.
Would she stay?  Would she hate me?  What would she do?  A thousand and one different ways that this could play out running through my head, and none of it felt like something that I wanted.  But this was where I was at.  Nothing to do but to bit down on the bullet and live with the consequences.  Falling on the sword, as it were.
It was dark when I arrived back home.  There was a stillness in the air.  The lights were off at my place.  That was odd.  B should have been home from work by now.  Did she turn in early?  Something was up, and I didn’t like it.
The door was locked.  Why?  If she was home, it should be open.  I opened the door and stepped inside.  The stillness was ominous.
“B?” I called out.  No answer.  Shutting the door, I turned on the light.  Everything was just like it had been when I had left this morning.  Did something happen to her?  I hurried upstairs, calling out to her.  No answer.  When I opened the door to the bedroom, the truth became clear.  The closet door was open, and empty.  The drawers where her clothes had been were empty too.  On the bed was a letter, and on top of it was her engagement ring and wedding band.
After opening the envelope, I read the letter.

That had been almost ten years ago.  I was old enough that gray hair was on the horizon.  Listening to the game on the radio, I let the thoughts go to the side.  That’s when I looked at the wall where Sully had a ton of pictures.  One of them was Bailey, in her jumpsuit, a big smile on her face, next to a younger Sully, who also had a warm smile on his face.  That’s when I remembered – this man probably hates my guts.

Until next time, a quote,

“Whatever happens, happens.”

Peace out,

Maverick