In Memory of Justin

What do you do, when you wake up day and find out that someone who was far too young passed on?  When it was someone that you had known and even been talking to a week or two before they had passed?  When it’s so sudden that it doesn’t feel real?  That’s what I’ve been wrestling with for the last couple weeks.  It’s a hard thing to think about.  I’ve had a dear companion die very recently, and on the 19th, I found out that a friend of mine who I am horrifically ashamed to admit I hadn’t kept as close to as I should have also died.  It’s an ugly world.  Where lights can get snuffed out in an instant.  It’s a reality I have been aware of for far too long.

Normally with these I have done things going through the lives of the people I am remembering.  Thing is, I didn’t know Justin in his early years.  The two of us met in high school, through another friend who I haven’t been keeping up with the way I should.  So, I figured I would just reminisce on the memories I did share with Justin, and the thoughts about the impact that he left on me, along with what I believe has and will stick with me.

Been trying for days to think of how I first met Justin.  Wanna know the crazy thing?  It was my sophomore year in high school.  You know how long ago that was?  That was in 2004.  That was 14 years ago.  Holy fuck!  That feels like two lifetimes ago.  I feel like I’ve been in my 20’s for forever.  No joke, it feel like I have been doing this for fucking eternity.  High school is this vague conception from some other eternity long passed.  It was such a blink in the vast ocean of time after my head injury.  Before then is all pretty vague.  I don’t remember things the way normal people do.  I don’t remember the past like some movie that I can put on.  To me it’s like conceptual thoughts.  There are sensory experiences, bits and pieces that play like a movie, and other things that are a shadowy extrapolation.  It’s hard to understand, I know, but that’s the best I can describe it.

One thing about Justin is that just like our mutual friend, but nowhere close to myself, he was a pretty big guy.  A pretty tall guy.  You know, for all you normal sized midget people.  To me he was average.  Right where I’m at.  Because I’m not really tall.  I’m normal.  The rest of you all are short.  It’s a conspiracy and everyone is in on it to have me thinking I’m tall.  But he was a pretty tall guy for all you normal people.  So is our mutual friend, Bryce.  Him and I go back much further, but that’s a story for another day.

I do remember that I met Justin through Bryce because of his father.  His father was the teacher who led the ELP group at my school.  He also became one of my favorite teachers years later, when I had him for Drama.  Guy was the best example of a fun teacher.  He had fun lectures, did fun projects, and had everyone get involved.  Including something that I hear had disappeared from the school and for which I gained a TON of notoriety for – lip synchs.  Those productions were some of the most fun I ever had during my boredom at high school.

Because Justin’s father was the head of ELP, and Bryce was in that program, I spent many a lunch period chilling with him in the room that his father was cornered up in.  That was where I met Justin.  Tall, braggadocious, and he had a lazy eye.  To my credit, as much of asshole as I was in high school, I never made light of that.  I’m proud of myself for that fact.

So let me run through some memories that stick out in my mind from our time together.  There was this tiny little kid named Jake.  I know his last name, but I’ll keep that to myself, but it sticks out for how odd it was.  Thing about Jake, he was a tiny kid with some physical disorders that contributed to his absolutely tiny size.  It also led to some health problems for him down the road which are also quite tragic.  But Justin had a rather fun idea – why not put Jake in a backpack and carry him around?  So he did.  That’s exactly what he did.  Put that tiny young man into a large backpack and carried him around.  If we had had camera phones, I’d be attaching that video here, mark my words.  Yeah, this was before the days where everyone had a phone to record video.  The horror!  All of these memories get to be in my heart.

Then there was the time that Justin had a video camera and decided to record me.  Now, in high school I was something of an edgy asshole.  As such, I tended to let my mouth wander away with me.  On this day, he recorded me saying that if I was going to cripple America in a substantial way, it would be by blowing up Congress during the State of the Union address.  Strategically it is a valuable time to strike.  It would cripple this country in a very profound way.  It was made known to me by his father at the time Justin was recording and egging on my response that one could consider that video a terrorist recording.  That did admittedly give me pause.  I wasn’t the insane idiot that I am today who fears no consequences.  At least I wasn’t as aware of it then.  I found out something about that later.

Over the last couple years, I’ve been fighting depression in a very big way.  It’s been getting harder and harder.  The winter is always the worst.  I live in an icebox where it’s dark all the fucking time during the winter.  I feel so trapped when that happens.  I’m stuck and I have nowhere to go.  My social network has fallen apart in recent years, and my attempts to salvage whatever I can have resulted in abject failure.  This hits me especially hard considering that one night, I was very dour on my social media, and Justin reached out to me.  He was genuinely shocked at how unhappy I had become.  He told me that he had always looked up to me in high school.  That my anti-authority and debonair attitude had struck him as something worth looking up to me.  I didn’t have anything nice to say back.  I said that I’m an asshole with a bad attitude and that nobody should look up to me.  Given where we are now, I genuinely wish I hadn’t said that to him.  Thank Groj that that wasn’t the last conversation we had.

Another memory popped into my mind.  I was part of a play that was being put on.  I forgot what it was, but my role was to be the backup lighting and sound guy for Justin if he couldn’t be there for whatever reason.  So I ended up attending the performances for this show.  There were a couple.  The one that sticks out is where Justin and I was being dutiful, but there was an older acquaintance of the two of us named Donnie who came and sat with us in the back.  Now, Donnie must have been high, because he was absolutely out of control and would not shut the fuck up.  It came down to my compatriot and I thinking up a very depressing solution to the problem.  The fact that it took this to make who was now a grown man keep quiet is just depressing.  We gave him some paper and a pencil to draw on.  What he came up with was equal parts amusing and utterly immature.  The two of us recalled later with some amusement how we got a grown man to be quiet by treating him like he was five.  The irony isn’t lost on me.

There are lots of little pieces of abstract memories that pop in and out of my head.  Sitting in that tiny corner room chatting about whatever nerdom or geekery that we were into at that time.  I can’t think of specifics.  Hanging out with the girl who would eventually come to be my ex.  There are so many memories from back then that pop into my mind, but they don’t have shape or form.  I can’t hear the words I said and the picture is like the broken up worlds of the pictures in Life is Strange. I wish I could think of more.  Been wracking my brain for days.  Over a week now.  So surreal.

As I said early on, I had talked with Justin not long before he died.  A few weeks ago, I posted this article about how a woman chopped a guy’s dick off for not looking her in the eye during sex.  But she had such a lazy eye that I joked “which eye was he supposed to make eye contact with?”  Was dying of laughter.  Still funny thinking about it now.  Fate being what it is, Justin saw my post, and decided to comment on it.  At first he played all butthurt because of how he also had a lazy eye.  But I could see right through it.  He found it as funny as I did.  Led to some pretty good conversation.

A couple weeks later, I open my Facebook to see that my friend had died.  On the 16th.  Apparently it had been in his sleep.  The cause of death has not been determined as of yet.  I found out about it on the 19th.  I don’t think it feels real yet.  Like it’s one of his absolutely terrible jokes.  Justin was not good at humor.  So many dead baby jokes.  I laugh now, but that’s just because of hindsight and the some warm nostalgia.  Edgy teenagers trying to be edgy.  Still feels like I could get a message from Bryce like “gotcha!  Dumbass!  You should have seen the look on your face.”

Been postponing this post for a couple reasons.  First it was to get my information straight in my head.  Try and remember what I could.  But also because I didn’t want to rush this out the door and put even more hurt on his family.  His father was one of my favorite teachers, and I feel for him so much.  There was some other family that I never really got to know on a very personal level.  A sister and mother, both of whom I was told are pretty cool people.  My heart goes out to his father so much.  I cannot begin to imagine how awful it is to lose a child.  Was told that in June, on when would be his birthday there is going to be a memorial service, of a sort.  I told them I will be there, and I meant it.  Going there will be the hardest thing I have ever done.  Not a family member passing, but a friend.  Someone whose connection is something that is unique to him, myself, and the friends we had in common.  But I wouldn’t miss that for anything.

I guess that’s all I have to say.  Will be sending this to his family, and I encourage anyone who remembered his and feels comfortable sharing their own memories to post in the Comments.  If you haven’t commented before, I have to approve all newcomers, so if it doesn’t appear right away don’t sweat it.  But I always do, so don’t worry.

Now comes to hardest part.  How do I close it.  What is the quote that I want to say to close this out.  Don’t have many of them.  We didn’t keep up much in person, and the memories from back then are muddled.  Was looking through what I have in text that has stuck with me all this time.  Will post the one I like best.

Until next time, a quote,

A human life is something hard to play “god” with
Not that there is one.” – Justin Joehnk

Peace out,

Maverick

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Top 10 Hero Vehicles

You know something you don’t see much of anymore?  Hero vehicles.  There are plenty of cool cars and stuff in movies, but distinctive vehicles that a certain character or series can be known by.  It becomes part of their personality, helping to define who they are and what kind of character they are.  Now, for this list, I had to define some rules.  First, it can be from any genre.  You’re going to see a lot of anime here, but that’s just because they have cooler vehicles than other genres.  Blame the fact that Hollywood is out of creative ideas.  With that in mind, no mobile suits or pieces of technology designed as weapons.  It has to be a method of transportation first, potential for combat second.  Let’s get down to this.

10. Trans Am 20,000 WR
Redline
If you haven’t seen this movie, go see this movie!  Stop reading this post right now and go watch it!  That’s not a request!  That is an order, sailor!  With that in mind, JP’s car is so damn cool.  In a film that has some vehicles that run the gamut from absurdly-fast tanks to weird fembot mechs, JP decided to get a vehicle that has one gimmick and one alone – speed!  He weapons, just speed.  He wanted a car that can blaze past anything and everything.  And that’s what he got.  A vehicle that goes so fast that they he nearly dies when he pushes it past its potential.  He does that a lot.  Such an awesome car for such an awesome movie.

9. XGP 15A-11
Outlaw Star
Naturally, the vehicle for the hero of the series can be one that they don’t drive alone.  This vehicle is the central hub of Starwind Enterprises and their ill-fated mission to seek fame and fortune.  Not only does it do badass mech combat, but has a hilarious AI that is such a smarmy douche, and some of the funniest bits are them having to do simple shit like land the damn thing.  When those grappler arms come out, you know shit just got real.  Plus, the whole series is named for it.  That says something.

8. Light Cycle
TRON
A film that is a cult classic, this vehicle helped define what so much of the 80’s looked like, historically speaking.  Neon colors, and the light wave.  These things are just so cool.  I thought about putting the ones from the horrible sequel, but while those do looks pretty damn cool, they wouldn’t exist if not for the original.  These things are complicated.  The thing about them is that you have to defeat your opponents by using the light wave and strategy.  I really dig that.  Speed, strategy, and 80’s cheese.  What more could I ask for?

7. Fahrenheit
Final Fantasy X
What’s cooler than being part of a civilization that is full of atheists, and are absolute masters of technology?  Retrieving an ancient airship from the bottom of the ocean and putting it to work.  When Yevon soldiers attack the Al Bhed home, Cid brings this monster up from the depths and blasts it to high heaven, as this airship is equipped with a vast plethora of missiles.  From there, it becomes the center of your operation as you use it to get all around Spira.  It’s a pretty chill place to work, and eventually you use its upgraded cannons to take on the ultimate enemy of all Spira – Sin.  What’s not to like?

6. 1965 Aston Martin DB5
Skyfall
I miss the days where James Bond movies were partly defined by their cars.  Not since the early Pierce Brosnan films have we seen that.  Each film had a very cool car.  But one vehicle has a special place in the history of Bond films, and that is the Aston Martin.  This vehicle has been the center-piece for five different films, and getting to see it in Daniel Craig’s masterpiece Bond film was pretty damn awesome.  This is a car with class, history, and style.  I do love that.

5. Vespa SS 180
FLCL
What do you get when you combine an evil space alien who smashes her guitar on people’s faces with a vehicle that has no right to be this cool?  You get her absurd Vespa that defies the laws of reality.  Much like everything to do with Haruka.  This vehicle is her chief mode of transportation, and she has no problem smashing into whoever she has decided to latch onto with it.  This series hold a special place in my childhood, and so does this vehicle.

4. ex-US Navy PT Boat
Black Lagoon
I thought about going with Benny’s car, but the more I thought about it, the thing that really felt like the hero vehicle in this series was Dutch’s boat.  The former Vietnam vet has this as his primary means of getting around the South Pacific for his dirty business.  It’s where we get to see him at his absolute most awesome.  Some of the best dialogue moments come down to Dutch on this boat talking to people.  Since he added a couple torpedo launchers to it, he has a bonafide ass-kicking machine that he decides to be the ultimate boss in and use a sunken ship as a launch pad to fly it into the air, then launch the two torpedoes at a helicopter.  Groj how I love this show.

3. Ecto-1
Ghostbusters
In the realm of classic cars, you don’t get much more iconic than the Ghostbuster’s chief mode of transportation, the Ecto-1.  Taking a 1959 Cadillac and turning it into an absurd, totally impractical vehicle that probably is illegal because I would think that having lights and a siren on a vehicle that isn’t emergency services is illegal.  But that doesn’t matter, this car is just so cool that you go with it.  In a way, this was my put on this list for all the huge classic cars that you know of from movies, so you’re welcome.

2. Swordfish II
Cowboy Bebop
I thought about putting the Bebop itself on the list, but then I realized – that’s not what everyone thinks of when they think of this series.  They think of Spike’s signature craft, the Swordfish.  A former racer that Spike was able to get his hands on, this beat-up old monster is part of the history of a tragic character, and he views it as something that he just can’t get rid of.  He describes it as something that has traveled with him, yet also then bad-mouths it.  They are like an old relationship.  And then you see that beam weapon go off, and you realize that this thing is badass with a capital B.

And my favorite hero vehicle of all time is…

1. Batmobile
Batman: The Animated Series
Don’t any of you talk about that bullshit Batmobile in Arkham Knight!  That wasn’t a car.  That was a tank.  I hate that game so much because of the inclusion of the Battank.  That’s what I call it.  But when I think about hero vehicles, the first thing that came to my mind is one of the most iconic vehicles in all of modern culture – the Batmobile.  Then it came down to which version I think of when I think of that vehicle.  Well that wasn’t a difficult pick – the one from the flawless Animated Series.  This thing is classic.  It’s classy.  It’s got that perfect Art Deco aesthetic the series has going for it.  It’s got every gadget in the world, all while still being a badass car to boot.  This thing is awesome, from a series that was awesome.

What are some of your favorite hero vehicles?  Let me know in the comments.

Until next time, a quote,

“We’re taking the Batmobile?  We’re taking the Batmobile!” – John Doe, Batman: The Enemy Within

Peace out,

Maverick

Lucien’s Review: God of War (2018)

Holy shit.  I just went through an experience.  It was a pretty damn awesome experience.  Sony is showing that it does single-person games like nobody else.  Both my favorite and second-favorite games of last year (Persona 5 and Horizon: Zero Dawn, respectively) were Playstation exclusive.  In the age when you have companies like EA saying that single player isn’t what people want anymore, Sony is showing them just how wrong they are.  It’s pretty great stuff.  And thus we get a game that isn’t a reboot, but an actual sequel to one of the greatest franchises of all time.  But this is a game all its own, and while it isn’t perfect, it is so fucking awesome.  Let’s talk about it.

The first things to know about this game is that it is NOT for the uninvested in this franchise.  If you aren’t aware of what happened in the previous entries of the game, you are going to be SO lost.  Everything from where Kratos gets his unbelievable strength to why he is so dead-set on not telling his son the truth about what he is and where he comes from will fly right over your head if you don’t know what happened.  And the game doesn’t exactly help that.  There is no true exposition dump, but given how the game is set up with one of the most marketed mechanics, maybe that’s for the best.

Next, a lot of people have said that this game is riffing pretty hard on The Last of Us, and I would be lying if I said that I can’t see the influence.  But there are some pretty clear places where it differs from the other game.  Lastly, this game controls VERY differently than any God of War game up to this point, so if that’s a deal-breaker for you, then you’d best give this a pass.  The older entries were all about fast-pacing and combo build-up.  This game is about strategic combat and good use of power-ups.  There are even moments where you have some Dark Souls peek in.  But it also fits with how this game is designed.

The plot of this game is where you have Old Man Kratos (yeah, it feels like an Old Man Logan kinda story) in Norse mythology land.  After the events of the previous game (which they never really say what happened.  Like, how did Kratos get there?  How did he survive stabbing himself with the Blade of Olympus?  Who is Atreus’ mother?), he has fled Greece and the utter destruction he left in his wake and started a family in this new land.  Having met a woman, fallen in love, and had a child, some unknown event happened and the mother died.  The plot of this game is pretty simple.  Kratos and his son Atreus are taking the mother’s ashes to the highest peak in all of the Nine Realms.  But as with anything associated with Kratos, what stars as something simple becomes something very complicated.

What do I love about this game?  There are a lot of things.  For starters, while I wasn’t expecting the slower pace in combat, I got into step and began to see things more strategically.  You start with the Leviathan Axe, shield, and your bare fists.  But over time, you gain a new weapon.  One that should be familiar to everyone who played the previous entries.  The moment when it revealed that you get your old standard back, I was giddy as a school girl.  The nostalgia factor was palpable.

Which brings me to the next thing I love.  This game knows what franchise it’s in.  There are moments, a lot of moments where Atreus is talking about the crazy things that his father is doing and making it sound like this is such a crazy thing, and you’re thinking “oh kiddo, I’ve faced worse.  A lot worse.”  This game does a good job putting you in the seat of being Old Man Kratos, partly because of how this story is told.

They did change the voice actor for Kratos, and it isn’t the worst pick.  This guy is actually what I think of when I imagine Kratos as an old man.  The deeper voice is pretty alright.  Which made it annoying when there is a scene in Hel and you have this other guy doing the voice of a younger Kratos who appears in flashback.  Why?  It totally would have worked to have this dude be the person who voiced Kratos as an old man.  Why not have the older version for a scene referencing what happened in Greece before?  Kind of an homage.  They had the same voiceover for Zeus, so I just don’t get it.

Next up, I love the characters.  Everyone you meet in this game has so much personality.  What’s more, it’s pretty great to see Atreus being all youthful and nice with people, while his father is still the ultimate prick.  Part of why the voice change works is because this guy is still such an asshole!  He got the Kratos character down to a fault!  It’s pretty great stuff.  Which brings me to Atreus.  I like this kid.  For the most part.  For the first two thirds of the game, this character is a nice contrast to the cold, dark, violent mannerisms of his father.  His kindness and optimism, and the way he talks about how his mother was a lot like that, makes me really come to care for him.  It makes a scene later when he is horribly sick and potentially dying that much more impactful.  That being said, in the last third of this game, they give this kid a HUGE character shift after the truth about his existence gets known that just bugs me.  He does eventually come around, but for a while there the little bastard was downright insufferable.  Props to the voice acting for Atreus.  The kid they got for this was on point.

But don’t go thinking that Kratos is just a stick in the mud the whole time.  This guy has some real character development.  It is pretty awesome seeing how his character grows over the course of the narrative from a stern asshole, to a loving father who genuinely does care for his son and wants to do right by him.  I feel his compassion there as he talks with Atreus and more and more becomes a loving and outgoing father.  At least as much as his Spartan nature allows him to be.

I’ve spent a lot of this talking about the story stuff, but for those who read my site, you know that the story is the thing I care for most.  If that sucks, it doesn’t matter how the rest of the game is.  Let’s talk about some of the other stuff.

This game is GORGEOUS!  I have a basic bitch PS4, and it looks absolutely stunning.  The visuals are a cut above.  It’s not Uncharted 4 levels of detail, but it is still downright fantastic.  I love this game’s visual design so much.  Some of the Nine Realms aren’t especially interesting, but when this game shines, it really blows me away.

One thing that I am surprised they didn’t get very well was the sound design.  The soundtrack for this game is really…forgettable.  It doesn’t stick with me the way any of the other games have.  I can still hum some of the tunes from God of War III pretty clearly, but not this game.  In fact, there is a very large amount of quiet time where you are just listening to the environment.  It’s kinda nice.  But then the music that does kick in, it lacks a certain amount of punch.

All in all, this game is damn-near a masterpiece.  It’s one of the most engaging narratives I’ve played in a VERY long time.  A lot like Uncharted 4, it feels like a logical extent of the story, and while there are a few things holding it back, it’s pretty damn great all the same.  And this is the FIRST of the PS4 exclusive games this year.  Sony is really coming out swinging this year, and I cannot wait to see what happens next.

Final Verdict
9 out of 10

Peace out,

Maverick

The Incoming Threat

*A friend of mine challenged me to write something out based on a single picture. Challenge accepted*

The room was well-lit, was the first thing he noticed at the doors opened.  Stepping inside, he saw two screens at the front of the room, each with displays being loaded up.  There was a table that formed into a triangular shape, with chairs evenly dispersed among them.  In front of each chair was a name tag.  He saw his – RDML Conrad Mackenzie.  Taking a seat, he took in the rest of the room.  Behind the triangular table were many other chairs.  For those accompanying the people at the meeting?  Every person above the rank of Captain had an attendant or two with them.  Normally he was no exception, but he was informed before this meeting that no parties without Top Secret clearance were allowed in this discussion.  Before coming in he had to pass through a couple checks with armed personnel.  This was important.  Maybe it was just how the room was set up for general meetings.
There was a blonde woman on her tablet across the table from him.  A Navy tablet, synced to the database here.  He had one as well, but it was not a custom to be on those before a meeting.  In his experience, the most useful connections one made were waiting for these things and talking with his compatriots.  This officer, with the name tag ADM Sarah Joliffe, didn’t look like she wanted to be disturbed.  Best not to upset the vibe of a superior officer.
All of this had been so odd.  To be pulled from his command at Lagrange 2 and called back to Earth, this felt very strange.  There was an ominous kind of tone being set.  No surprise.  Things in the Colonies were getting worse and worse each passing day.  Every Colony with a UNSN posting was feeling the heat.  A couple of brushfire fights broke out in a Colony that had a Navy ship docked there.  Keeping the peace was getting harder and harder.  So why had he been called down here?
Several more people entered.  All of them had Admiral decoration on their uniforms.  I immediately stood.  Looking at all the nametags, something struck me.  Next to me sat a man who I was familiar with – Adm Masayoshi Kamina.  His face was every bit the stern, but I knew him to be a pretty amiable man.
“Sir!  It’s good to see you again.”
He nodded.  “You as well.  But please, no need to be so formal with me.”
A snort.  “All due, I think I’m the lowest ranked person at this table.”
Looking around, he nodded again.  “Perhaps.  But since you’re the commanding officer at our chief L2 base, it’s foolish not to ask you to come.”
Leaning in close.  “Does this mean you know why they’ve called this meeting?  Seems a little weird to call me in from space when they could Comm this.”
Also leaning in.  “Word is that something big is happening.  They’re talking about Fleet movement.  Maybe the 1st and 3rd.”
It hit him like a load of bricks.  That was unthinkable.  Moving the whole fleet meant combat deployment.  It would be war, for sure.
“Bullshit!  There’s no way we’d do something so openly aggressive.”
He shrugged.  “That’s just what I’m hearing.  We’ll see what happens next.”
The way that was said, so up in the air, it left him feeling the ton get even more ominous.  His hand started shaking.

After a few more minutes talking with his compatriots, the room suddenly got darker.  The lights were being dimmed.  The door opened and in walked in a woman with a lower rank.  She stood at the seat right beside the head of the table.  It was where the two sides of the triangle met, it was flat and had a space for someone to sit.
“This meeting is classified.  Ladies, and gentlemen, the FADM.”
Everyone immediately got to their fleet.  Before they even came into view in the lacking light, everyone could tell who it was.  One of his eyes was glowing red.  It was a fake.  His strong, dark features came into view.  Crisp uniform, commanding the respect of all who saw it.
“As you were,” he said, taking a seat at the front of the room.  Sitting down, the tension had jumped yet-again.  The FADM was here!  It didn’t get anymore serious.  Which had the Rear Admiral wondering again why he was at this table.  This was the meeting you have for the most senior officers in the UNSN.
Taking a seat, the Fleet Admiral hit a sensor on the console at his seat.  There was an image that came up.  It appeared to be orbit around Mars.
“This morning, at 0400 Greenwich Mean Time, one of our satellites got these images.”  He hit the sensor and it ran through a cycle.  First they saw Mars, but there were shadows around it.  Dozens upon dozens of shadows.  Maybe hundreds.  It was hard to tell.  They were around the Colony orbiting the planet.  The first stop for those looking to make planetfall.  Another image showed the objects in motion.  It was coordinated.  Then another came up showing them breaking off into various groups.  Fleets?  These had to be starships.  The last image showed the same orbit, with everything gone.
“IS believes these to be starships, and has calculated that they were leaving Mars orbit with the trajectory of Earth.”
There was mumbling around the room.  Everyone was thinking the same thing.
“At this time, we do not have an exact calculation of the number of ships.  It’s believed to be over 200.”
Hitting the sensor again, it brought up a list of names.
“Over the past year, we’ve had a series of shuttles and cargo ships leaving Earth for Mars.  Officially, they are part of an engineering team heading to the Asteroid Belt for deep space mining.  But some of the names on the manifest caught IS’s attention.  Among them are people who have been former UNSN Colonial forces from the now disbanded Colonial Navy.  There are crew members, former officers, and pilots.  After the destruction of the Agro Colony, the numbers spiked.  However, after the most recent shipment, they stopped.  There hasn’t been a single one since.”
The image changed again to the Colonial Embassy in the ANNA.  It was completely abandoned.
“This morning, it was also discovered that the Colonies have closed their Embassy in Washington, along with the EU, AUN, and Asian Confederation.  Their staff have returned to space.  All files were destroyed, all consoles wiped.”
You could hear a pin drop with how quiet it is.
“All projections lead us to the conclusion that the rumors of secret bases in the Asteroid Belt for construction of warships was true.  And now these ships are on the move.  It appears that they all did a massive boost, and then had their engines go dark.  The ships appear to be made of black steel to blend in with the darkness of space.  With no running lights to keep track of, and no way to use LADAR until they get close enough to be a threat, it is believed that their plan is to make their approach to Earth as stealthy as possible.  IS ran a projection based on what we were able to get, and said that it is going to be two to three months before they reach Earth’s orbit.  And that is why I have called all of you here.”
The lights came up again.  They could see the Fleet Admiral’s face plain as day, and it was a look of dead seriousness.
“I have called everyone here because I am going to be formally requesting that the UN give us leave to mobilize.  I have the ANNA and EU’s approval, now we just need the AUN and Asian block’s permission.  You all are in command of either the Fleets, or the central Colonial bases at Lagrange Point.  You are going to be the front line of what’s coming.  And I want you all to know what’s going to happen in the following days.  The Colonials have decided to make their move.  I don’t think it should be a shock to anyone that this was coming.  It’s been whispered about for months.”
An Italian Admiral raised her hand.  “Sir, if all of this is classified, then why are we being told about it?  This seems like something we could be open about.”
Conrad thought for a moment.  A good point.  But if they had gotten permission for mobilization and it wasn’t in the news, that meant…
“Because we aren’t going public with this knowledge.  The Fleet is mobilizing under the pretext that increased aggression with the Colonies has motivated us to move to seize control of several key sectors.  Not even a lie.  I am having the 1st and 3rd Fleet mobilize to L2 and L5, while the 2nd Fleet is going to divide its forces between the Natural Resource satellite bases and Luna.  Our statement is that this is to help keep the peace of the Colonies, as brushfire conflicts have broken out at all of those areas.  The public can think whatever they want about the actual reason.  The knowledge about the Colonial forces moving in cannot be made public.”
To keep the peace?
“War is coming.  It’s only a matter of time.  But the longer we can keep the peace, the more time we have to ready our defenses.”
The blonde Admiral looked up.  “Sir, do we have any intel on the enemy’s capabilities?  Is this gonna be another Pirate Colony?  Or do these people know what they’re doing?”
A long pause.
“We don’t know.  We have virtually no intel on the enemy, their forces, or their capabilities.  It will go down in history as the best-kept secret in all of human history.  The amount of resources, personnel, and secrecy required is genuinely impressive.  This must have taken years of work, and there wasn’t a single verifiable hole in their plan.  It scares the hell out of me, trust and believe.”
Nobody knew what to say.
“Everyone, head back to your commands and prepare to mobilize your forces.  I expect a declaration of war any week now.  But while they may have kept this from us, they will NOT catch us with our pants down.”  The man stood up, everyone standing up with him.
“That will be all.  Remember, this meeting is classified.”
As he left the room, everyone was very quiet.  It wasn’t a hustle and bustle of conversation that you’d expect after a meeting.  It was just people heading out.  The ominous tone had gone to a whole other level.  War.  Not a world war, but a war on an interplanetary scale.  The thing everyone had been fearing.  It was finally here.  In that moment, nobody knew what to say.

Until next time, a quote,

“War is fear cloaked in courage.” – William Westmoreland

Peace out,

Maverick

Bully Hunters, Zombie Unicorn, and Feminist Televangelism

Remember way back, when Anita Sarkeesian did her bit Kickstarter campaign for her Tropes vs Women in Video Games series?  1001 people made videos ripping her to pieces.  Over the years that followed, everyone realized that it was a con, done by Sarkeesian.  She didn’t get her own gameplay footage.  The quality of her videos didn’t substantially improve.  She didn’t keep to her own timescale and didn’t fulfill a single Kickstarter reward for any of her backers.  It was all one big scam.  As was the campaign for her Women Defying History series, which made substantially more money.  This was even worse since it was brought to light that she already had everything to make those videos.  So where did the over $250,000 go?  To her non-profit, that has also been exposed as a giant scam.  They do nothing but make YouTube videos.  They’re worthless.

A few days ago, there was a new organization that got launched – Bully Hunters.  Their objective is to be white knights for women who are being harassed in online gaming.  They will go into Counterstrike matches and kill the bullies!  Um…fight the power?  They had a big stream that they did both as a fundraising tool and a way to promote their message.  And it was immediately apparent that this was a giant fucking scam.  From the ground up, it’s a scam.  It’s so obvious that the people who are there as “bullies” are acting.  It is Ubisoft trailer levels of bad acting like real people.  The whole thing reminded me of that line from that TERRIBLE Law and Order: SVU episode

But that isn’t where the story ends.  See, one of the big voices behind this, a woman with the Twitter handle Zombi Unicorn really did a number on this movement.  See, it started with her using some horrifically erroneous statistics about the number of women who get pushed out of gaming because of harassment.  She said there was a study showing that it was 3 million.  A Twitter user called Platinum demanded the source for this, but Zombi Unicorn had nothing for her.  Thankfully, Platinum was a studious academic and chose to do some digging and found that the source, while not official since she was never officially told which source they had, was a study from 2012 that had just over 800 respondents to an online survey that they extrapolated to every single PC and console owner.  In other words, a study with terrible testing method and terrible sample size was taken as gospel.  Brilliant.  Not to mention that their erroneous statistic is featured in the same space as an ad for a product, along with their service, who says that the proceeds are going to organizations against harassment, but we all knew where it was actually going – to their wallets.

However, that still wasn’t where it ended.  Zombi Unicorn was busted making some pretty inflammatory statements during streams, calling people “faggots.”  Now, I have no problem with that word, but when you have SJWs using the LGBT community as a shield (despite not giving a shit about what they actually think, like how Anita seems to really hate on sexy women as a men-only thing.  It’s almost like she doesn’t want to think that lesbians and bisexual women actually exist) whenever they take criticism, it seems weird to have someone they respect use the word so flagrantly.  Naturally, the second the Internet was calling her on this stuff, she pulled the “I’m being harassed!” card.  Typical.

Naturally the gaming media rushed to her defense as well.  She’s talked about the tons of articles written about her by Kotaku, Polygon, and others that I am sure will be the female equivalent of getting her knob slobbered all over.  As they did for Anita.  As they have done for every “feminist” who decides to see how easily SJWs and their money are parted.

More investigation showed that an organization called FCB Chicago was tied up in this as well.  They are the company who acted as architects for this entire campaign right from the beginning, and the maker of Steel Series brand headsets is looking into possible legal action for the damage that this clusterfuck did to their brand.  It’s pretty great stuff.

See, just like Feminist Frequency, all of this was a scam.  Now we know for certain since Bully Hunters IP is gone.  The website is gone, they’ve disappeared.  They pocketed a ton of cash, and now they left.  Since they weren’t doing what Anita did and had to be expected to actually do stuff in video games, it makes sense that they didn’t stick around for long.  A con is easy if you have no obligations that you are expected to fulfill.  These people decided to take their money and run.  They made money selling bullshit, got the games media to cry for them and write articles where they couldn’t burying their heads up these people’s asses any further, and then decided to ditch.

I’ve long held that modern feminism is a religion.  I wrote a post a long time ago about a school in Canada that had confession booths where men could come confess their sins for being white.  While that may have been partially in jest, these people do believe in Original Sin.  That of being born a man, or white, or straight.  The combination of all three makes you Satan incarnate.  Their dogma is absolutely immune from criticism.  As we saw with how they don’t allow any refutation of their arguments.  They put out bullshit facts, erroneous statistics, and when asked to cite their sources, they don’t respond.  At all.  Unless to tell Platinum, as Zombi Unicorn did, to watch the stream.  So they could make that sweet money.  Because of course they did.

It amazes me with how many of these people in the social justice/feminism community claim to not be religious, how many of them still embrace dogma.  That’s what this is.  These people have embraced religious dogma, and they don’t seem to care.  Of course the likes of Zombi Unicorn and her ilk don’t care.  They pocketed the cash and disappeared.  And because their dogma teaches that they are never to question the leaders of their church, nobody will say anything about it.  That’s the nature of dogma.  Just like how Anita-senpai (to them) was never able to be criticized.

Part of me thinks that atheists who reject the religion of Christianity, Islam, or any of the other mainstream ones simply left one religion and found another one.  They left the beliefs, but not the dogmatic way of thinking.  That is a serious problem, and the worst part is that now that the regressive left culture has taken over popular culture as a whole, western society in general just gets a new dogma.  Christianity loses out as the dominate religion, social justice takes its place.  We need to abandon dogmatic thinking.  But I know I am asking too much.

Until next time, a quote,

“Dogma, whatever form it takes, is the ultimate enemy of humanity.” – Saul Alinsky

Peace out,

Maverick

RAB: SJWs and Apu, Conservatives and Nipples

I wanted to talk about both of these things, but I don’t have enough to say about either for a full-fledged post.  But then I realized – I can combine them into one RAB post.  I also wanted to make fun of both the left and the right in this country.  I am finding that the further I go in life, the more I hate both sides equally.  Does that make me a centrist?  Not at all.  I am a liberal.  But I am not some regressive-left idiot.  I am part of the libertarian left.  I have come across two stories in the news about both sides making everyone involved look stupid.  Let’s talk about them.

First, the SJWs online are crying the blues when The Simpsons decided not to take the bait with them losing their shit about Apu.  See, the SJWs say that he’s nothing but a stereotype of Indian people.  A statement that has ZERO evidence in fact.  Yeah, he has an exaggerated accent.  But you know what else he has – character!  Apu is a rich, developed character.  There are several episodes that have him going on adventures, dealing with his personal drama, and showing that he is a man who is doing the best he can to seize his bit of the American dream, while also running a REALLY shitty Quik-E-Mart.

If he was just some stereotype of the people that I have talked to in real life on the other end of a help line saying that their name is John Smith and they live in Cleveland (bullshit!), then maybe I could see where they’re coming from.  But Apu is a great character, who is funny, smart enough to run his own store, and has a family that he busts ass to provide for.  All of which we get to see as the series has gone on.  Oh, but he has an exaggerated accent.  That’s all that matters to the social justice retards.  As we’ve seen with Anita Sarkeesian, context be damned, there is one thing that they can latch onto, so they will hang on until death.

But as I said, The Simpsons didn’t take the bait, and basically told them to fuck off in a very good response.  What shocked me, though, was how the SJWs on the Internet lost it about their response.  They really should have seen this coming.  Anyone remember the episode where Lisa decides to make a stand about girls not being in a youth football team, and then Flanders totally deflates her by saying they have four girls already, and then inviting her to play as well?  I loved it.  What blows my mind is that instead of the Internet asking why the hell this show is still going when it is so clear that they have run out of ideas, we are getting pissy about something that NOBODY cared about 20 years ago.  Not one fucking person.  Gotta love SJWs.

Next up, we got conservatives showing that they are bone-dead terrified of anything even vaguely sexual, and are so horribly sexist to believe that teenage boys need to be sheltered from it, because the second something vaguely sexual enters their vision, they are immediately incapable of looking away or focusing on anything else.  I hate my own species and even I know this is bullshit.  What am I talking about?  You’re gonna love this.

A teenage girl named Lizzie Martinez had a really bad sunburn that was healing, and because her bra strap was really uncomfortable with that sunburn on her shoulders, she decided not to wear one.  Now, realizing that there may be some odd looks on this, she wore a long-sleeve, loose-fitting t-shirt.  But that wasn’t enough.  Why?  Well, because her nipples were perky and the dean (who is a woman.  Keep that in mind) decided that this was going to be too much temptation for the boys at school to deal with.  What happened next?  You’re gonna love this.

First, the dean had her put on a shirt underneath that.  Then she had her jump around!  Are you kidding me?!  Is this a secret fantasy that this person had?  Well, when that was deemed insufficient, they came up with an even better idea.  Even thinking about this makes me laugh because of how stupid it is.  She had her take four band-aids, and put two of them criss-crossed over her nipples.  That’s right, they essentially had her make herself DIY pasties.  I’m fucking dying.

Naturally, Ms. Martinez was more than a little insulted by this.  As she had every right to be.  Her entire treatment through this was fucking humiliating and degrading.  From having to bounce her boobs for the dean, to then having to make pasties for them.  That is disgusting.  Someone rightfully pointed out that if the dean was a man, this sort of thing would be causing such a massive shit-storm.  But the school came back with a totally bullshit defense – that not wearing a bra is a violation of their dress code.  Wow.  And this degrading performance the dean made this girl do?  What was that?  School policy?  Sick fucks.

I just love how terrified of anything even remotely sexual conservative America is.  It always puts a smile on my face.  Do these people believe that teenage boys are one nipple poking through a shirt away from turning into gorillas?  Really makes me wonder why they are so against Islam.  They are so much alike in terms of cultural perspective on women.  Maybe she can show up to school in a burka?  Would that be enough?  Give it a try, Lizzie.  You got my support.  After all, then you can’t possibly be showing anything sexual.  No leading those boys into temptation now!

Not kidding with what I said about conservatives and Islam, by the way.  Both of them treat boys like they are one poking nipple or bit of cleavage away from becoming rapist animals.  It’s so insulting.  And this girl got to suffer that ideology for someone who should rightfully be kicked out of there for sexual harassment.  That’s what would happen to any man in their position.

Until next time, a quote,

“Never argue with stupid people.  They will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.” – Mark Twain

Peace out,

Maverick

Lucien’s Review: Candide (Anchorage Opera)

You know what I like?  Pretending I am a cultured person and not a pretentious idiot who goes to the opera in my hoodie because I am can’t be bothered to give a fuck and change into something nice.  Thanks to an awesome family member who was part of this opera and scored me a ticket because I am also poor as fuck and filled with horrible angst about the fact that I am going to be 30 in November and have no future built and my savings is a cute idea that occasionally gets bigger when I don’t have medical bills, car repair, and living expenses.

Given that I am feeling an astronomical amount of depression because of my kitty being murdered, it was nice to get the ticket and have a reason to leave my shitty apartment.  I didn’t know ahead of time that this opera was a comedy, and it’s all the better for it.  Going in not expecting to laugh and then getting to do so was pretty great stuff.  I have a lot to say, so let’s get to it.

This opera was so close to absolute greatness, held back by a couple of scenes that dragged.  And when I mean dragged, I mean DRAGGED.  They go on way too long, don’t really go anywhere, and by the time it’s done I am left thinking this should have been shortened down or cut altogether.  What’s that?  It’s offensive to the original work?  You may be right.  But I’m a complete asshole who judges things based on my own criteria.  It’s like I’m some sort of critic or something.  Weird.

But what this performance got right, it got so right!  For starters, the set design.  I genuinely loved how this opera worked.  They had this brilliant idea to go for a minimalist approach.  You have the orchestra on stage with the performers.  And they designed the set so they could work around them.  Hell, there was even a great bit where one of the characters fucked with the conductor.  In the narrative, that’s literal.  Dude was a great sport about it.  Genuinely made me laugh out loud.

Plus, the lighting.  Oh man, do I love the lighting.  There was this great trick where they had a huge piece of cloth at the back, with a light behind it so that they could set the mood for whatever scene they were in without complex transitions.  There was no moving parts to this set, so it worked even better.  So many scenes were made a lot better with the lighting changing on cue.  Bravo.  Plus, there was the lighting on my favorite character, but we’re coming to that.

All of the roles in this was pretty good.  It’s clear how much heart was in every piece.  Now, since this opera is kind of a blend of opera and play, there were some scenes where people who clearly have a voice for opera are doing straight acting, and for some that can be a little off-putting.  It admittedly caught me off guard a few times, but after a while, you grow to accept it.  It’s kind of like Life is Strange‘s dialogue.  It’s off-putting at first, but over time you grow to get invested in the characters and so the strangeness is pretty alright.

What you need to know about this opera is that it is not meant to be taken seriously.  Serious things do happen, but the performers and the narrative make each one out to be either a reflection of the absurdity of the characters or the message that is being delivered to you by my favorite character in the entire production.

There are not words to discuss how much I love the narrator.  This guy completely and utterly stole the show in every single scene that he is in.  He had so much charisma and performance that you are left wanting to sit down and listen to story-time with this dude.  He works the scene so well.  What’s more, this guy has several hats in the production as other characters.  In one instance, this dude actually has these hot female attendants come out and help him change into another costume to be one of those character on-stage.  That’s awesome!  This dude oozed cool in every line.  I cannot possibly sing his praises enough.  My bi side may be showing pretty hard, but god damn!  It’s not often that I get annoyed when the other characters are on screen because I’d rather here the whole damn thing told to me by this guy.

But don’t let me make you think the rest of the cast is bad.  Far from it.  There is a TON of heart from every performance.  It’s not their fault that the narrator has such complete control of every scene that he’s in.  The titular character has a great voice, and admittedly it’s his voice that becomes the most odd to hear because of his operatic performance.  I didn’t have an issue with a single person in this production.  It makes my gripes with certain numbers worse because you have people who I do like in moments where the scene can clearly get where it’s going 1000X faster and you are stuck waiting for them to do it.

Overall, this is a great load of fun.  I could watch that narrator tell me any story in the world in that voice and be satisfied, but that aside, it’s fun.  Certain scenes do really drag, but when this performance is on point, it is really on point.  I wish I could have gotten this out in time for you all to see it, but if nothing else, I can help pimp the local opera company in the city I live in.  I’ll take that.

Final Verdict
8 out of 10

Peace out,

Maverick