Lucien’s Unpopular Opinion: Sexual Assault of Teenage Boys By Women is STILL Sexual Assault!

Why is this an unpopular opinion?  I honestly couldn’t tell you.  For whatever reason, society at large seems to believe that when a story comes out about a teenage boy being exploited, sexually harassed, or outright the victim of statutory rape, that they are not the victim, and instead should be happy about it.  EVERY SINGLE article that comes out when a woman (specifically a hot women) lusts after or acts on that lust with a teenage boy, the comments section is a litany of people (mostly men) saying that the kid wanted it.  Wishing that they were getting sex when they were the kid’s age.  It never fails to piss me off.

Just recently, a woman at the front of a Netflix kid’s series called Twelve Forever had a series of Tumblr posts and Tweets where she openly admitted to lusting after, stalking, and outright trying to pursue teenage boys come out.  Thankfully, Netflix took immediate action when this woman was outed as a fucking pedophile and fired her ass.  Good.  I hope that her sick lusting need for underage boys follows her the rest of her life and effectively destroys her career.  If there is one group of people who I have ZERO sympathy for, it’s pedophiles.  Fuck them.  Especially the ones who go to Tumblr bragging about it, like that sick bitch did.  She’s a sexual predator, and if you read the archived Tumblr posts, it’s pretty disgusting.

What’s interesting about this is that the reaction to all this is pretty quiet.  Not hard to see why.  She’s a woman who dyes her hair a color not found in nature, and created a show that as I am to understand has been reasonably popular on Netflix with the future of its production in question.  But there are those who have come to her defense.  Saw one where a dude laid out a case where all he wanted as a young man was to have sex with a woman, and how teenage boys try to get with girls who are older than them all the time, so what’s the big deal?

The big deal is that this woman is a sexual predator.  By her own admission, she has stalked boys she likes, and goes out of her way to try and get their attention.  In one of the Tumblr posts, she outright wished that the mother was not with the kid, because then she would have tried to take it much farther.  The kid in question was allegedly 14 years old!  That’s what she said, so we can’t be sure of the authenticity of that number.  Still, taking this at face value, that means he’s underage, you sick fuck!  She’s a skinny, reasonably attractive woman.  No grown men whose cock you can jump on?  It has to be some teenage boy that you met at a carnival?  Fucking sick cunt.

I try and rationalize where this mentality comes from.  Probably from men who were lonely as teenage boys, and had some girl or some person in authority that they were secretly lusting after, but couldn’t get what they wanted.  Now, all these years later, they hear about some kid who got with some hot chick who is an adult and they think back to that and feel that little sting of resentment.  So when the news talks about them as what they are – sexual predators – they feel like it’s wrong because that’s what they wanted as a kid.  Their sad, lonely teenage years coming back all these years later.

Meanwhile, there are plenty of stories about how boys are exploited by authority figures, like that woman who convinced teenage boys to let her blow them.  So many male white knights talking about how they wish it was them.  And the reality that some of those boys were scarred for life, all while being told to suck it up because boys can’t get raped.  That they wanted it.  Because all the teenage boy’s mind is on is sex, right?  Regardless of from who or why?

This attitude sickens me.  I genuinely try to understand where it comes from, but it just eludes me.  Maybe years of everyone saying that all men want is sex and only think with their penises.  Maybe men who wish they were the ones who got fucked.  Who knows.  What I do know is that people who think this way piss me off.  It’s people who have never been in this situation.  Who have no frame of reference to begin to understand what that’s like.  And because empathy is this thing society talks about but doesn’t actually feel, here we are.

And to Julie Vickerman, happy trails, you sexual predator cunt.  I don’t feel bad for the fact that your career is over.

Until next time, a quote,

“Without a doubt, fear is a currency.” – James Spader

Peace out,

Maverick

Conservative Butthurt Babies About Cyberpunk 2077’s Character Creator

Back in 2012, social justice in gaming reared its ugly head.  They found a new community to infest with their ideology, and the culture war over gaming has been raging ever since.  Back then groups of people who you’d never think would be on the same side of anything came together for one cause – to get people who are documented as not being part of any significant percentage of gaming from destroying a hobby that is near and dear to our hearts.  Those were some interesting days.  But now, seven years later, and things have come full circle.  The pendulum has swung right back around, and instead of social justice being the loudest voice with their stupid bullshit (though they are still around), the ones I hear from most these days is whiny, bitchy conservatives who are REALLY butthurt.

Over what, you may ask?  Well, how about Cyberpunk 2077‘s character creator.  For those who didn’t know, the newest trailer for the game dropped, and it looks freakin’ glorious.  Every time I see more of this game, the more hyped I get.  The action looks great.  The world looks fun.  The driving mechanics look simplistic, but it gets the job done.  Each part of this world has personality.  One of the things they showed off was the character creator system.  It seems that from the really long gameplay demo from last year, CDPR had some ideas on how to expand things.  Part of that included taking away the strictly male or female character types.  Instead, you start with a male-type build or a female-type build and can go from there.  They wanted it to be deep.  In a world all about transhumanism and surpassing physical limitations through cybernetics, this makes perfect sense.

As one might expect, this didn’t sit well with everyone.  Indeed, conservative audiences decided to get their butthurt going REAL quick.  They took to the Internet, mainly Twitter, and bitched and moaned at the Cyberpunk 2077 Twitter account about how they are so upset.  Many of them claim that they either are or already have cancelled their preorders.  Virtue a-fluttering as they say about how this is so disappointing and just them appeasing the “leftists”.  Reading that stuff is like watching a small child throwing a temper tantrum because they didn’t get the toy they wanted exactly as they wanted it.

I am so DONE with this culture war that is going on between the butthurt left and the equally, if not moreso butthurt right.  Both sides of this conflict are equally insufferable.  I’m a liberal.  Make no apologies for it.  I’m not one of these “leftists” that conservatives like to label people who are on the left side of politics.  I believe in open expression in the free marketplace of ideas.  Whatever your point of view, everyone should have a platform.  But both sides in this never-ending culture war just frustrate me.  In 2014, where things escalated, I was on a live-stream with some people and they said that all the sides who came together would never grow apart.  It would be a shared unity forever.  If only they could see things now.  The old battle lines are coming back, because social justice isn’t nearly the dragon it used to be.

What’s so funny about all this is that just recently, CDPR was labelled as “alt-right” by the games media circle-jerk.  Now they are being labelled as a company who just kowtows to the left.  Maybe now the left and the right can get behind hating this company together.  Come together and brothers and sisters in arms for hating a company who is making some of the most reliably fantastic gaming experiences, to date.

That got me to thinking – yeah, let’s hate on people who make quality content because of one stupid issue that a person has.  Maybe they can go back to Activision!  I’m sure they will fill the void for their anti-leftist content.  I’m not kidding.  Companies will see a market here.  Hell, Activision’s next entry in the CoD franchise is looking to be super edgy with its single player, putting a level from a previous game that was super controversial to shame with a game that goes super far into edgy darkness.  Big AAA gaming companies are getting nervous, with their lootboxes and “surprise mechanics” (Fuck EA and that terminology) being looked at with scrutiny that goes so far that 2K now has a game that has open gambling in it.  Governments of the world are looking to get involved.  The ESA has been lobbying the fuck out of pretending there’s nothing wrong, but the sharks are circling.  If the cash cow dies, AAA gaming is in trouble.

So maybe they can get on the pandering wagon.  Works for Hollywood, so why wouldn’t gaming do it?  Don’t like this game where you don’t have a strict gender option for a character, even though you can make a character who is straight male, you just don’t pick the gender right off the bat?  Well don’t you worry!  Activision’s got you!  Or EA’s got you!  How about Ubisoft?  Marketing by pandering to a specific demographic who is tribalistic and easy to please, so long as you just give them whatever they want.  Never mind that the games will be sub-par, riddled with microtransactions, half-baked, and probably part of some live-services boondoggle.  At least you get your character creator to what you want, right?

I can’t imagine being so pathetic that I would throw an entire game in to the trash all because of something as stupid as not getting gender-specific character creation.  A game that looks to have a deep story-line, combat reminiscent of Borderlands, and fun characters, but I’m just gonna hate on it because of one stupid thing that doesn’t really bother me anyway.  You still have to choose what kind of pronouns will be associated with this character.  So you can make your male power fantasy character.  Or, if you want a female build with a male voice and a beard, you can have that too.  In this future, you can be whatever kind of person you want.  That sounds like fun to me.  I guess the tribalistic right doesn’t agree.

Until next time, a quote,

“One sure-fire way to get noticed is to pander to a fandom.  Or as I like to call it, a pandom.” – JelloApocalypse, Welcome to Tumblr

Peace out,

Maverick

Top 10 MCU Characters

Now that the Avengers saga has ended, my attention into the MCU has ended too.  After 22 films, this franchise did something no other film series could have dreamed of, and all others who have tried have failed.  DC has been the absolute worst.  It looks like they’re walking away from that now.  Good on them.  I think the rest of Hollywood has walked off from it too, as they all have tried and failed.  Marvel did the impossible, and will never be able to do it again.  So now that it’s done, let’s talk about my favorite characters in the running saga.  Lots to talk about here.

10. Nebula
I actually didn’t think much of the first Guardians movie when it came out, aside from one of my favorite characters, who you will see much higher up on this list.  But Nebula started growing on me with the second movie.  She went from a generic villainess to someone with a complicated backstory who didn’t know what she wanted.  By the time Infinity War rolled out, she’s disillusioned with Thanos and is trying to get revenge, only to find that in the end, it only got her more alone, as her sister had died.  Once we see her in Endgame, she’s come full circle, trying to be a good person, and make up for misdeeds.  What’s more, she’s bonding with people outside of the circle we knew of.  It helps that she’s kinda hot, in that blue chick sorta way.

9. Black Panther (Only in Civil War)
I didn’t like the Black Panther film.  At all.  It was preachy, and stupid.  This character started out with so much promise, it’s a shame that it all went down the tubes.  However, when you first meet him in Civil War, he was a fun character.  Out for blood after the murder of his father, you like this guy from the first meeting.  He is distrusting of outsiders, and in a situation that is ugly.  With the death of his father, he goes from a man seeking vengeance to seeing what that mission leads to, ultimately choosing to show mercy and look to taking up the mantle of hero.  Helps that he was pretty badass in the film too.

8. Drax
This dude is just too much fun.  Like I said earlier, I didn’t like the first Guardians movie all that much.  By the second, all the characters in there really came into their own.  And this guy is just too much.  It’s so ironic that Dwayne Johnson gets so much recognition as an actor when every movie he is in is shit.  Meanwhile, here’s a guy who goes from wrestler to actor and does it flawlessly.  This character is so adorable.  His deadpan way of talking about things that are absurd is just the best.  When they find the body of Thor in Infinity War and he is talking about how handsome he is just tickles me pink.  Dave Bautista is the only man I can see making a role like this work.  It’s part of why I want to see Guadians 3, if only to see how that saga ends.

7. War Machine
I’m so glad they changed the actor on this to Don Cheadle.  This guy had so much great comedic timing.  Plus, the chemistry between him and Robert Downy Jr. was so much better than the first guy.  Col. Rhodes, Stark’s best friend, makes for a great superhero.  More of a sidekick to Iron Man, but that’s not a bad thing.  He’s a soldier, after all.  He likes to know where he fits into things.  I’m one of those people who actually liked Iron Man 2, and his debut in that was pretty fantastic.  I do admit that Civil War would have been more powerful if he had died in it, but you know what, seeing how his arc also comes full circle in Endgame was worth it.  Cool suit of armor, badass, and played by a fun actor.  What’s not to love?

6. Doctor Strange
I mean, it’s Benedict Cumberbatch.  You kinda knew that he was going to end up on this list.  God this dude just exudes cool.  Like, so much.  Having his ego up against Stark’s made for some of the best content in Infinity War.  And I did like the movie where he gets his namesake.  It was a formula that was done to death, but it was all in the execution.  The crazy fractal world of magic was rad.  Seeing his personal journey from an arrogant surgeon to the Sorcerer Supreme was believable.  I hear that the next film with him is going to be a straight-up horror movie, with a lot of Lovecraftian themes.  We’ll see if that is any good.  I’ll admit that a superhero horror movie has a lot of potential.  Especially with this character.

5. Thanos
One of the things that Marvel was (rightly) criticized for is having lame villains.  So when the previews were coming out for Infinity War, the big question was – what is Thanos going to be like?  What is this villain that they have been building up for so long going to be like?  What we got blew everyone away.  This dude was unbelievable!  Josh Brolin brought him to life in a way that no one else could.  His beliefs about the universe, and the forces that drove him were just spectacular.  A drive and dedication for a cause that has some real-world questions.  As morally awful as it is, overpopulation is a problem.  What should be done?  That’s hard to say.  Plus, he dies like an absolute boss.  When Stark gets the stones and does the snap, destroying everything, he dies with a lot of dignity.  Just sitting down and accepting it.  Such a boss.  Glad that the film series goes out on one of the definitive high points.

4. Nick Fury
It’s Samuel L. Jackson.  You had to know that he was going to be on this list.  Now, aside from the stupid shit in Captain Marvel that ruined some pretty epic lines in Winter Soldier, this dude has been excellent.  He’s a soldier, and a man of secrets.  He wants to do the right thing by the world, but often has a bad habit of being his own worst enemy.  Still, we see him change over the course of the narrative.  If it wasn’t for the dumb shit in the equally dumb movie Captain Marvel, his badassery in the franchise would be uncontested.

3. Rocket
This little bastard is the one thing about the original Guadians movie that stood out.  I love this character so much.  A lot of it is behind the guy doing the voice.  Rocket is just the best.  He’s a violent bastard who loves killing.  He’s a complete antihero, stuck doing heroic things with his friends, but doing little things to undercut it wherever he can.  His history is more than a little soft spot, and that’s one of those things that hasn’t really been explore, but still.  The scene in Infinity War, where he watches Groot die, again, was just heart-breaking.  Then we see in Endgame where he covers Groot when the ship is firing on them, not wanting to let his young charge get hurt again.  That familial relationship is just the best.  Sassy, badass, loves guns, and has a heart of gold under a streak of bad bits.  There’s nothing I don’t like about this character.

2. Spider-Man
I cannot tell you how much I love that they FINALLY got this character right.  For those of you who didn’t know, I HATED the Tobey Macguire version.  With the heat of a thousand suns.  The Andrew Garfield version had potential, but then wasted it.  Tom Holland, on the other hand, is just perfect.  When we first meet him in Civil War, he’s this adorable awkward teenager, just trying to do the right thing.  It begins the absolutely touching father-son relationship between him and Stark.  Homecoming was a good continuation of that.  It has the two cementing this.  However, the death in Infinity War was so heart-breaking.  The look in his and Stark’s eyes as he is vanishing away, and then in Endgame where he has to say goodbye to this man who is a mentor to him.  Great stuff.  This character is loads of fun, and only gets better.  Haven’t seen Far From Home, hear good things.  Will Netflix it, someday.

And my favorite MCU character is…

1. Iron Man
I mean, who else?  Robert Downy Jr. brought this character to life a way that ONLY he could.  No other actor could have made this character work in the way he did.  His perfect mix of sarcastic ego and genuine drive to do the right thing makes for a fantastic juxtaposition.  From the first time we meet him, you see his personal goal of finding redemption for his weapons being used against people he cares for.  This goal is what carries him all the way to the final choice he makes, to end Thanos and friends with a single snap of his fingers, with the Infinity Stones.  How his character went out in Endgame was inspiring.  I will say that the ending bit with him and the speech being delivered through a hologram was cheesy.  It would have had more weight if it was just a message he recorded and it showed the funeral and maybe having people move forward around him.  He’s gone from the franchise, and that’s the biggest reason I’m checking out.  Nobody else can take the reigns of this character like Downy Jr.  Nobody.

Until next time, a quote,

“No, it’s you who doesn’t understand!  Thanos has been on my mind for the last six years, since he sent an army to New York, and now he’s back!  And I don’t know what to do.” – Tony Stark, Avengers: Infinity War

Peace out,

Maverick

Let’s Answer: 100 Ways to Make Life Easier for Trans People

I did the one where it talked about how to make life easier for black people and for women.  These lists are awful and I always feel drained at the end of them, but here’s another list and it caught my attention.  Let’s talk about 100 ways that I can make life easier for trans people.  Here’s a link to the article.

1. Respect people’s pronouns. This is really not very complicated! If someone tells you how they identify, you have no say on the matter. Use the pronouns they use.

Sure, why not.  So long as it isn’t some stupid pronoun like xir/xirself or ze/zeself, I got you.  If you’re gonna pull that shit, then my pronouns are master/master.  So you have to say to your friends – master said my pronouns are dumb.

2. Still on pronouns: if you don’t know somebody’s pronouns and want to get it right, either use gender neutral pronouns (i.e. they/them/their) or quietly and discreetly speak to the person and ask. Be aware of your surroundings and those around you before doing so – do not out this person or put them in an unsafe situation.

Nah.  I don’t think so.  I’m gonna use the pronouns I think fit the gender as I see it unless told otherwise by the person.  I don’t get into this gender-neutral world that people want to live in.

3. Trans folk can use gender neutral pronouns, so please do not assume that we must adhere to a binary.

You can use whatever terms you want.  I don’t care.  Free country.  And can we PLEASE stop using the world “folk.”  It’s fucking people.  I swear, when I hear them use the term “folk” unironically, I think of the Pepperidge Farm commercials.

4. Try to start removing binary language from your everyday conversations. If we all make conscious efforts to steer away from gendering everything, this will have a knock-on effect that stops our learnt obsession of having to divide everything into binaries.

Um, no.  I’m gonna speak how I see fit.  If you don’t like it, don’t talk to me.

5. Trans women are women. This is not up for debate – so don’t try to.

I’m fine with a trans person identifying themselves however they wish.  Not my concern nor my problem.

6. Trans men exist! We are often overlooked or forgotten, so try to remind yourself that we are out here and can find the male cis world hard to navigate.

There is this assertion this person has, that people like me just hate trans people on the face of it, so we refuse to acknowledge their existence.  I’m anti-SJW, after all.  Again, I’m fine with trans people identifying themselves with whatever gender they want.  Even idiots like Milo Stewart.

7. Call out transphobia WHEREVER you are! Even if a trans person is not present, be our defence. Hateful language perpetuates the dangerous cycle of violence.

Yeah, no.  If someone’s talking to me and they say some hateful shit, I might be like “dude, what the fuck?”  But if I just hear something someone is saying, I’m going to leave them alone.  Much as I would hope other people leave me alone when I talk to other people.

8. Understand and be vocal that transphobia is never “funny,” “in jest,” or “banter.”

If I’ve learned anything from the Cyberpunk 2077 nonsense, it’s that what constitutes transphobia is always evolving with you people.  So tell you what – I’ll make the jokes I wanna make.  If you don’t like them, you can not talk to me.  In fact, let’s start that right now.

9. Don’t refer to us as a whole. Do not make sweeping generalisations about every trans person. We are all individual people with different opinions.

Can someone tell the writer of this article that?  This entire fucking post is about how to treat an entire community of people as if they are all the same.  Irony, it’s a learned art.

10. Reject the idea that transitioning looks like one thing. People wish to transition in various ways. If someone doesn’t want to or can’t medically transition, this does not mean they are “less trans.” There is no such thing as “less trans” or “more trans.” This is a personal journey that doesn’t need to tick any boxes in order for the transition to be validated – by anyone!

I couldn’t possibly care less about how people transition.  For real.

11. NEVER ask anything about our genitalia or body. “So… do you still have everything down there” as a puzzled hand flutters near our privates is not ever going to be OK. That is final.

This depends on the situation.  If we’re getting hot and heavy and I know that you’re trans, I have every right to ask.  If we are in a sexual situation, as part of consent, I have a right to know what I’m getting myself into.

12. Oh, let’s not forget that we do not all know each other. The queer community is bigger than you think.

Again, articles like this treat the LGBT community like a Borg collective.  I happen to know it’s bigger than one would think.

13. Try to refrain from using language that is heavily influenced or derived from queer culture if this is not your community. Words and phrases are a way of communication in code for a large majority of the queer community (like “reading”). Language creates a dialogue within the queer community that is meant to protect and ensure safety.

I’m sorry…what?  The term “reading” is part of the gay community?  The fuck?  Yeah, fuck you.  I will use whatever terminology I want, and if you don’t like it, you can suck it up like a big boy/girl.

14. Do not enter queer or trans safe spaces without a queer person asking you to be there or without making sure that allies are welcome.

No worries there, whoever, because I have no desire to go to a queer/trans safe space.  At least not without someone asking me to be there.  People who designate an area a “safe space” are probably not the kind of people I’m going to like getting to know.

15. When you are in queer spaces, repeat: “This is not my space, I will not fill it” and actually do what you say.

See previous answer.

16. Be aware of your hands. Do not touch people without consent in all spaces – and especially queer spaces – and especially avoid touching trans people who often are triggered by physical contact involving parts of their body.

You know what, this I agree with.  Don’t touch me, ever.  I don’t like to be touched, and I guess you don’t, so tell you what – you don’t do to me, I won’t do to you.

17. If you are called out for being offensive, do not argue. This is not a debate. Apologise. Take a moment to reflect. If necessary, leave or give the space over to those you have offended or upset.

If someone calls me out, I absolutely will argue, because they are making a spectacle of something.  Someone wants to talk to me in private, that’s something else.  But you call me out in public, I’m gonna argue with you all day.  You started that fight, not me.

18. Never try to argue with a trans person that something isn’t transphobic.

No.

19. Remind us that being trans isn’t a burden or a bad thing!

It absolutely isn’t a bad thing, but given that most of the population isn’t trans, and society doesn’t have the same view on it that it does on the gay community, it has a burden.  Technically, being gay is a burden too because the average person is straight.  Being gay is a minority situation.  We all have our crosses to bear.  Sorry if you don’t like that, but reality doesn’t conform to what you want the world to be.

20. Recognise the strength and power of your voice.

Okay.

21. Now use it.

Using it now, to reply to you.

22. If a trans person is being verbally assaulted, made to feel unsafe or uncomfortable, or being attacked in any way and needs your help – open your mouth.

If someone asks for my help, I’ll do so, but I’m sorry – I’m not gonna put myself in a difficult situation without someone asking.  That’s a huge imposition.

23. This being said, do not become the ally that speaks over or for a trans person in this situation. Ask if we want you to step in because there’s nothing more frustrating than cis person silencing you. It happens enough, jeez!

See, this kinda makes my point about why I do nothing unless asked.  Because these people don’t appreciate it when people go out of their way.  And wait, didn’t you JUST SAY that people should step in in a situation where someone is being verbally or physically attacked?  Gotta say, your yin-yanging on ideas is a real doozy.

24. Talk to us about more than gender! Movies, what we had for dinner, our next holiday – anything that isn’t constant emotional labour.

Tell you what – you don’t talk to me about your gender, I won’t talk to you about it.  I have no more desire to talk about that than apparently you do.

25. Take us off your mood boards. Book us, pay us, and celebrate us.

…What?

26. Do not fetishise trans folk. We are not your sexual experimentations, tokens, or reason to rebel against your parents. We are not here for you.

I’ll be sexually attracted to whatever I’m sexually attracted to.  You have no more right to tell me how to conduct myself in what I want than I do you.

27. Criticise the media. Write to the newspapers, institutions, and publications that are spreading hate towards the trans community. Create polls and petitions. National news portrays us as monsters and threats to society. We can’t stop them from doing that on our own.

Making fun of conservative news is a good pasttime of mine.  Not on your behalf, but because they say so much stupid shit that’s comedy gold.

28. Learn what Mx means.

No.

29. Talk to the generation above you – your parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles. You can’t always change traditional mindsets, but you can give them a new perspective.

I come from a conservative-ass extended family.  My own parents are cool, but the rest run the gamut.  And I know for a FACT that if I broach any of these subjects with them, it will just start a fight.  I’m trying to avoid these people as much as I can already.  Don’t need to add that to the problems.

30. Support the generation below; speak to young kids. Make them aware that gender is a spectrum and they don’t have to commit to one gender for their whole life. Educate them on their freedom and choices.

Yeah, no.  Here’s what I’ll do for the gender below – if they are super young, I ain’t gonna say shit.  When they are old enough for gender dysphoria to manifest, then I’ll talk to them about how that works, and say that they can look into if they want to see about transitioning when they are old enough to make an informed decision, or not.  I’m not gonna give kids bad information like you lot.

31. Don’t buy gendered things for kids around you. This just pushes the ideas that boys must like blue and girls must like pink and only one of them can play football in their spare time. I don’t even particularly like either colours!

Good for you.  As for me, assuming I buy something for a child (highly unlikely), I’ll get them whatever I think they’ll like.  Fuck your stupid-ass opinion.

32. Stop pretending only trans people experience name changes or surgery. Me changing my name and a friend getting married and changing her surname meant we had to go through some similar legal process. Help trans folk with these legal procedures, whether that’s telling us which bank is easy to change your name with or going through the deed poll process with us. It means it doesn’t feel like these are “trans issues” – they’re just really confusing forms that nobody quite understands!

This sounds like a huge imposition on my time and I don’t actually care enough about your issues to do anything, so no.

33. Share your platforms. I am tired of cis people talking about trans health. Ask us to talk, educate, share our stories, and pay us. This way you don’t get the credit for the lives we live.

Oh fuck off.  I’m not talking about your issues.  And I’m not paying you for anything.  What should people pay you for, existing?  Are you an Instagram influencer now?  Wanna do some Internet panhandling?  I’m sure a decent chunk of the people who are seriously trying to discuss stuff like this are doctors and people who understand these issues from a scientific standpoint.

34. Support trans artists. Rock up to our exhibitions. Buy our books. Listen to our podcasts. Use your social platforms to share the incredible things we do despite the adversity we face.

I’m sure they don’t have this opinion of Blaire White.

35. Don’t expect trans folk to always congratulate you for being an ally. Sometimes you’re just being a good person. I don’t get a gold star for just being a good person.

I don’t think you are a good person.  I think you’re a judgmental asshole who I have no desire to know.

36. Donate to organizations and charities that are set up to aid and help trans folk. There are so many organisations struggling with funding. Without lots of these resources we can’t access things like mental health services and free meet-ups.

I donate to charities I think will do the most good.  You do the same, and power to ya.

37. Do not tell us what RuPaul, Trump, or the Daily Mail said about us. Chances are we already know.

Good for you.

38. Post about the #blacktranslivesmatter campaign – highlight that trans people of colour are targets of violence.

I have ZERO respect for any of these identity politics hashtag movements.  Kindly fuck off with that nonsense.

39. If you are dating a trans person, try to understand their triggers. For example, me and my partner call my menstrual cycle “Lucifer.” So if I text her to say “Lucifer is here,” she knows to bring chocolate and pillows. You can also try covering tampon or pad boxes and wrapping with cute cartoons or their favourite colour.

My Groj, do you people want to be coddled.  I won’t be an asshole if I know something is a sensitive subject for you, but I’m not gonna go out of my way to pamper your ass.  Christ, what world do you think you live in?  This is why people say that Gen Zed/Millennials can’t handle life.

40. Do not tell us we “are playing the victim,” WE ARE THE FUCKING VICTIM.

Yeah…you kinda made the point about how you play the victim.

41. Do not attend panels that address gender and/or trans identity if everyone on the panel is cis.

There will never be a point, in my life, where I will be attending a panel about gender/trans issues.  Ever.

42. Give trans creatives platforms to share work that aren’t all about being trans.

Why do I have to give this to you?  All the social media you could ask for exists.  And we know that right now it has a very hard-left bias.  So why do you need me to give you a platform?  You couldn’t ask for more by yourself.

43. Do your research. For all ignorant questions, divert to Google. Google is your friend. I am not, especially if you’re asking me how doctors make a penis from my leg.

Remember that point about you saying you don’t get a gold star for being a good person and my response about thinking you’re just an asshole?  Let’s revisit that for a moment.

44. If trans folk do have to explain something to you that may be uncomfortable, triggering, or upsetting for us, buy us a bunch of flowers, take us for dinner, drop something into our PayPal. No labor should be free.

Oh fuck right off with this shit.  Yeah, let me pamper you for asking a fucking question.  Fucking Internet panhandling at its finest.  Let me guess, you have a Patreon.

45. Transphobia is a huge issue in the queer community. Do not let other people who identify as queer get away with things, because they can be by far the worst.

I’m not gonna tell anyone how to think, and I would expect the same courtesy in return.

46. Record transphobic incidents. (Caveat: This is only if your immediate assistance is not needed and you have checked you can use this footage by the person involved.) Share this with everyone you can. It may lead to prosecution or people in positions loosing their job. Nobody should still be allowed to be a CEO and use offensive slurs.

Fuck you.  I’m not gonna try and destroy someone’s livelihood because of what they do in their off hours.  If they are unprofessional on the job, that’s one thing.  But I’m not gonna go after a person that said something impolitic when they aren’t at work.  Fuck people who think like you too.  All that stuff about you being a good person, let’s log that in the trash.

47. Don’t question someone’s religious beliefs because they are trans and you think they go against what it says in a holy book. This isn’t your business, OK?

No.  It’s a valid question.  How can you possibly believe in a deity who outright says that how you are is an abomination unto them?  Really asking here.  This interests me.

48. Trans issues are not for profit. That’s it.

Are you fucking kidding me?!  You just told people if they ask you a question to pamper you or give you a Paypal donation!  There cannot be this level of cognitive dissonance!

49. “Queer” is not a theme. Do not have a “queer” house party and let boys who still use the word “faggot” wear your heels and dresses because it’s fun.

I don’t do house parties, so I think we’re good on this one.

50. Drag queens are not always trans, but they can be – so respect that!

Sure.

51. Do not make someone feel bad after dragging you for something you have done that is deemed transphobic. Your guilt is not my guilt to feel.

If someone I know made a big deal out of stupid bullshit, yeah, I got no issue making them feel bad for making this my problem.

52. Don’t ask what gender dysphoria feels like because it’s a stupid question and there’s no way you can try to understand it.

For someone who wants everyone to understand their “struggle,” you certainly do go out of your way to tell them not to ask about what it’s like.

53. Ask your friends or trans folk you know if they’d like company when going to hospital appointments. Hospitals are scary at the best of times and sometimes you don’t always get the treatment, doctors, or results you want. Be there to give a hug, at least.

I mean…I guess.  Having spent over a month in a hospital because of a head injury and a subsequent coma, I don’t fear them all that much.  But sure, if someone I know has to go to the hospital and they are nervous, I’ll be there for them.  No problem.

54. Do anything you can to stop trans exclusionary radical feminists (TERFs) from leaving stickers, leaflets etc. Tear down everything you see associated with them.

I was wondering if TERFs would ever come into this conversation.  I don’t think I will.  It’s kinda nice to see the community fighting amongst itself.  Identity politics does this a lot, and it’s entertaining.

55. Do not engage in question-based conversations with TERFs. You have nothing to learn from them.

Hey, I got an idea – how about you don’t tell me who to talk to and I won’t tell you who to talk to.

56. Correct others when they misgender people.

No.

57. Gender and sexuality are not the same thing. Remember that at all times.

This is all part of a long, convoluted conversation that people like the person who made this list have helped perpetuate, so I’m just gonna walk this off as – sure.

58. Do not ask a trans person’s partner what being in a relationship with a trans person “makes” them. It makes them in love, now fuck off.

Again, I won’t tell you how to talk to your people, you don’t tell me how to talk to mine.

59. Trans Lives Matter should be more than a hashtag. Push it further than social media.

No.

60. Tell your trans friends and partners how great they look. Highlight the changes after hormones, surgery, or even just a good skin day.

This reminds me of that thing about the “TRANS-lator 3000” comic where, if you tell a trans person how well they are passing, it’s an insult.  You people can’t even make up your own minds on this shit.

61. You are not a true ally if you allow your partner to use transphobic language. Educate your friends and family.

Not an ally.  Just a casual observer.

62. Love your children regardless of what gender they identify as. Most self-hate for many trans folk comes from not being accepted at home.

Never having children.  As of this year, removing myself from the game, medically.  I mean to be part of the solution to overpopulation, not the problem.

63. Offer shelter, money, food etc. The basics of survival are hard for trans folk. If you have enough to spare, try to offer.

No!  They can work for it like anyone else.  I give to homeless shelters and organizations to help the homeless, so if that is their issue, I’m helping them and other people the best I can.  You make being trans sound like this huge Lawrence of Arabia kind of endeavor.

64. This is not a “phase.” Do not tell me it is one.

I ain’t telling you shit.  You seem really unpleasant to me.  As for Milo Stewart, I think that it is a phase.  Someday the little dork will grow up.  That’s a good thing.

65. If your trans friend is leaving a social situation and feels uneasy about travel, offer to walk them to a train station and wait with them, drive them home, or get them a taxi. Travelling home alone by yourself can be a scary scenario.

Why does the person writing this always want me to make huge impositions for people?  If it’s my friend, sure.  If it’s not, no.

66. Do not think you are saving us. We don’t need saving. You are helping us to have what everyone else has without having to ask for it.

The irony of this statement in respect to the rest of this list is just staggering.

67. Be active about your allyship. Just saying you are an ally but not doing enough to actually make a change isn’t enough.

Not an ally.

68. Avoid gendered slang terms like “dude,” “man,” or “missy.” For trans people, these too feel like misgendering.

I’ll speak however I like, thank you.  Dude is a non-gendered term in my mind.

69. Expand your knowledge of gender. For example, the Yoruba language is genderless. There is also a third gender in many spiritual philosophies.

No. I don’t care about Yoruba.  Fuck them.

70. Decolonise the way you think of gender. Remind yourself that these social constructs are postcolonial issues that the western world have pushed onto people.

*rolls eyes*

71. Be hyper aware of the systems that work against trans folk in issues like policing, housing, and health care.

Fuck off.

72. Offer to help go to health meetings and assessments. These spaces and the people within them can be very triggering and cause distress.

NO!  Unless someone I care about asks me to attend something and tells me why, the answer is fucking no!

73. Correct yourself if you accidentally misgender someone. It doesn’t matter if it was an accident – it still hurts.

Sure, if it’s a friend.

74. Make no excuses for others. No trans person wants to hear one of your friends say something offensive, only for you to say, “I’ve known them for ages, they don’t mean it like that.”

Uh, no.  I’m going to step in on account of a friend if I know that the friend wasn’t trying to be offensive.  Sometimes things come out wrong, and your precious opinion doesn’t override that.  Egotistical bitch/bastard.

75. Don’t forget that racism is rife in the queer community and trans people of colour are often the most vulnerable. Protect us.

I’m glad that somebody brought this up.  “People of color” tend to be the least accepting of the LGBT community.  But I’m sure you mean that just white people are evil.

76. Do not call yourself an ally if you do not believe in complete intersectionality. You be xenophobic and be an ally for trans folk. It doesn’t work like that, I’m afraid!

Not an ally.

77. Sex work is a service. Again, this is not up for debate. Do not try to stop trans folk from advocating for and implementing their own safety measures. Do not hide your prejudice against sex workers with fake worry.

I got no beef with people who do sex work, so your point here is mute.

78. Do not ask to try on or feel a strap-on, breast plate, or packer. These belong to us.

I needed a good laugh.

79. Believe trans folk when they say they have been targeted. Recognise the hatred that is thrown at us from so many angles.

Depends on who’s telling me.

80. Read Charlie Craggs’ To My Trans Sisters, Juno Dawson’s The Gender Games, C Riley Snorton’s Black on Both Sides, and Travis Alabanza’s Before I Step Outside (You Love Me).

No!

81. Relearn there is no universal trans experience. Not all of us go through the same things – we are all shaped by our varying lives.

Wait, did you just admit that you know you’re out of ideas and are now retreading old ground?  Ugh…

82. Share our work. Often our talents are overlooked based on our gender identity.

If your work is any good, sure.

83. Step down. Take up less space. If you are asked to do or take about something that you think your trans friend, partner, or coworker is more qualified for. Give our names.

No.  I wanna get ahead in this world.  I’m tired of being poor and scraping along.  If I have a chance to do something that gets me farther along, I’m gonna take it.

84 Love us and see us as human beings. After all, that’s what we are!

I will love other people and see them as human beings.  Not you, person who wrote this.  I am convinced that you are an unrepentant dick.

85. Watch Pose, Paris is Burning, Tomboy, Tangerine.

No!

86. Learn the correct terminology. Instead of saying “when you were a girl/a boy” say “your assigned gender at birth.”

No.

87. “Transgenders” is not a thing. We do not fall under one group. Never say that.

Yet-another retread of something we’ve already talked about.

88. Fight for our rights. Block and report pages or people spreading hate, too.

Not gonna try and stifle other people’s freedom of expression because it makes you mad.  Sorry-not-sorry.

89. Help to introduce gender neutral bathrooms. They should be way more common. Ask for them at work, cafes, bars, and venues.

Got no problem with you doing that.  Not gonna help.  As I said, not an ally.

90. If somebody who is trans asks you to go to the bathroom with them, go. This can be a very unsafe space for us.

Yeah…I’m gonna have some follow-up questions if someone asks me to go into a bathroom with them.

91. Pride is not for you to get drunk and smear glitter on your face. Respect that this is not your space.

Fuck off.  If you don’t want people to have fun at a public event, then have a fucking funeral, you pedantic prick.

92. Trans-only groups are there for a reason. These are also not your spaces.

Fair enough.

93. Your curiosity does not come before our comfort. Don’t expect answers and labor.

If you don’t wanna answer people’s questions, then don’t get mad when people don’t have an understanding of your issues.  They came to you wanting to learn, you told them no.  That’s on you.

94. Saying “I do not see gender” is hella problematic. We don’t need another way to be erased.

Fuck off.

95. Don’t assume anything about gender dysphoria. Not everyone experiences it and not everyone experiences it in the same way. People navigate it with different coping mechanisms.

Remember that point I made about people asking questions and you not answering them?  Kinda comes back here.

96. Do not deny your privilege. If you tell me that being a cis heterosexual white man doesn’t mean you haven’t “had it rough,” I will tell you that you are wrong.

Fuck off with your Original Sin bullshit.

97. I also am not playing Top Trumps with you. Don’t try to top my experience.

Top Trumps?  Is this a British thing?

98. Not everything needs labels. As my grandmother would say: “Baby, some things just be as they be.”

You all are the kings/queens of labeling things.

99. Intimacy can be even more complicated for some trans folk. Respect boundaries and ways people feel comfortable with nudity, tactility, and sex. This may been being patient or unlearning what we deem as ‘sex’.

What?  Unlearning what “we deem as ‘sex'”?  What the fuck does that mean?  Oh, right, I shouldn’t expect answers from you because you’re an asshole.  Never mind.

100. Find your own ways to disrupt the cis world. There are so many ways to do this.

Fuck off!

I hate these things so much.  Why I torture myself by doing them, I’ll never know.

Until next time, a quote,

“I don’t want to live on this planet anymore.” – Professor Farnsworth

Peace out,

Maverick

Lucien’s Review: Avengers: Endgame

The end of an era.  The final film in a saga that spans twenty-two movies.  Everything led up to this.  And I gotta say – it ends on a high note.  It’s hard to push the envelope after the last film.  Infinity War set the bar so high that this film could never surpass it.  That being said, the film does live up to it.  The highest compliment one can give a movie like this is that it lives up to the expectations that we all had.  Bringing the end to a film saga the likes of which we have never seen before, and for my money will never see again.  I said a while back that when this film came out and I saw it, that was it for me and Marvel.  Meant it.  The only thing I want to see now is Guardians 3.  After that, I have no desire to see what’s next from Marvel.  It’s sink or swim for this franchise now that the Avengers saga is done.  And if the end of this movie is any indication, it can only go somewhere stupid.  Let’s talk about it.

You all know the plot.  After Thanos snapped his fingers, he destroyed half of all life in universe.  Now it’s up to what’s left of the Avengers to find a way to make things right.  What follows is a pretty fantastic bookend to all the build-up we had.

My favorite parts of this movie were early on.  It opened with a truly fantastic scene with Hawkeye’s family disappearing.  It sets the stage for his personal drama really well.  Seeing what happens to every character when they are at their lowest point is just exceptional.  The reunion between Stark and Rogers was everything I hoped it would be, and more.  Don’t get me wrong, the rest of the movie was pretty fantastic, but that stuff early on was gripping.  It’s great to see all these heroes who we’ve seen be powerful as fuck up until now pushed to their breaking point.

It’s hard to talk about this movie, honestly.  See, you already know that the acting is pretty phenomenal across the board.  Visuals are incredible.  Soundtrack is really great.  So I decided that I’m going to preface my next point that I really liked this movie.  It closes things out on this storyline in a way that no other film could.  And with that said, I’m going to talk about some stuff that bugged me.  Because there’s an angle where I have lots to talk about.

First, I’m genuinely glad they kept Captain Marvel out of this film for most of it.  Because the comparisons between her and Superman are apt.  She’s OP as fuck.  Like, to the point that it’s genuinely boring when she enters the fray because you know that she’s going to win.  Watching Thanos kick her ass was actually kinda fun.  I bring this up because there was one scene in this movie that made me visibly cringe – the chick squad charge.  That was awful!  I swear, they might as well have had “GIRL POWER!” on the screen the whole time.  It was just as subtle.  I don’t blame the directors for this.  I get it – Disney wants to promote diversity.  But that didn’t stop it from being one of the cringiest things I’ve see on screen in a VERY long time.

Also, Bree Larson can’t act.  Her face has zero emotion.  She’s almost as bad as Daisy Ridley or Hunger Games chick in being a stoic, bland, unemoting female character.  I’ve figured something out.  See, a lot of people in Hollywood think that the strong male hero was a bland, boring character who just kicks ass.  When that wasn’t the case.  Sure, we’ve had a lot of stoic male characters in 80’s action movies, but here’s the thing – they had personality.  Watch old Ah-nold movies.  He was a stoic badass, but he had personality to make up for that, and cheesy one-liners.  Bree Larson had…um…something?  I’m drawing a blank.  Describe Captain Marvel’s personality in this film in a way that doesn’t require you describe what she looks like, what she does, or her role in the film.  The Red Letter Media Test.  You can’t do it.  This character is the most boring thing ever.  And given how I’ve seen Bree Larson act about all this off-screen, it’s clear that this woman needs to get her head out of her ass.  She’s clearly enjoying the smell of her own farts way too much.

Lastly – why was Falcon made into the new Captain America?  Yeah, I know – diversity.  I get it.  This is not rocket science.  Disney is all about this shit now, so of course their next Captain America has to be a diversity thing.  Here’s the problem – Falcon isn’t a super-soldier.  He’s some guy.  Just some random guy with no superpowers of any kind.  I think back to that fantastic scene in Winter Soldier, where Bucky and Cap are fighting, and he takes his shield.  The scene was a FANTASTIC set-up for him becoming the next Captain America.  And that makes sense, because he went through the super soldier project with Hydra.  I guess we can chalk that up to another fantastic scene from Winter Soldier ruined by Disney down the road.  Like the line about Nick Fury and his eye with that fucking cat in Captain Marvel.

Those are just nit-picks though.  Overall, this was a great film.  A perfect way to bookend the franchise, and that’s it for me.  The next thing I do will be to make a Top 10 of my favorite MCU characters, and then check out.  Disney has taken this franchise as far as it can possibly go.  The only place now is somewhere stupid.  Jay on Half in the Bag made a great point about this franchise in their video about Comicon 2019.  Marvel should have taken a break for a while.  But Disney couldn’t do that. Then they’d miss out on that sweet Marvel movie cheddar.  And if Disney doesn’t get their money, the whole company will collapse.  Or the studio execs there might not be able to get another yacht.  The poor dears.  As for me, nope.  This franchise cannot go higher than this point.  We’ve reached the high-water mark for the MCU.  It’s all gonna be downhill from here.

Final Verdict
9 out of 10

Peace out,

Maverick

A Mental Enigma (Act II, Scene I)

The ride back to the house was so much more enjoyable than the ride there.  At least for Quinn.  With her winning tucked firmly into her jacket, and her companion’s arm around her waist, she felt powerful.  Her concerns from earlier had been confirmed.  The sky had already lightened significantly by the time they got out of The Parlor.
They reached the Safehouse, and parked the bike.  Quinn put the money in the lockbox.
“Holy cow.  How much are you at now?”
“$195,000.”
“Wow.  What do you need all that money for?”
Another crossroads of honesty.  But she had come this far by being open.  Why not go further?  So many people to lie to.  It genuinely felt good to have one less.
“Two reasons.  Firstly, to be able to get out of Oceanview once I graduate.  Second, to pay Father back for letting me stay here, free of charge.”
Kaye looked so touched, upon hearing that.  “That’s so sweet!  I bet your parents would be proud.”
“No such animal,” Quinn replied without thinking about it.  Then she turned white.  What had she done?!  That was a huge thing to divulge and she did so without thinking!
Her roommate looked shocked.  “What do you mean, ‘no such animal’?”
“I…it’s nothing.  Just ignore it.”  She turned to start heading out.
She grabbed her arm.  “Talk to me, Quinn!  Why can’t you trust me?!”
Visibly shaking, her mind was moving so fast that the thoughts just tumbled over themselves and got lost in translation.  Nothing coherent came through.
“Because I’m afraid to talk about it.”
“Why?!”
“Because if I talk about it, it’s real.  And then I have to talk about other stuff.  Once that gets started, I don’t know where it stops.  I’m scared, Kaye.”  No lie anywhere in that.  The concept of coming totally clean was absolutely terrifying.
Putting her arms around her waist, Kaye hugged her.  “You don’t have to tell me everything.  Just the stuff you’re comfortable with.  I promise, I won’t ask for more than that.”
Looking up at her.  “You mean it?”
“Yes.  Just tell me what you are okay with telling me.”
Quinn looked outside.  The sun would be rising soon.  At this point, it would be better to just wait out the dawn and then returning when the gate opened.  She’d done it before.
“Okay.”  Leaning against the wall, she slid down to the floor.
Kaye came over and sat down next to her, putting her hand on her arm.
“So far as I know, there are no parents.  I mean, I don’t think I was born in a test tube or something, but they looked far and wide for my parents after Father found me.  Never found any.  Now he’s my legal guardian.”
“You mean Father McCormick?”
“Yeah.  The closest thing I have to a parent.”
“How did you meet?”
The fear bit at her.  “I’ll tell you, some other time.  Not right now.”
Kaye nodded.  “Okay.  Whenever you’re ready.”
“Thanks.  It’s hard to talk about this stuff.”
She leaned her head next to Quinn’s.  “I bet.  Can’t imagine what it’s like.  Being an orphan.”
“It’s so hard sometimes.  Never have anywhere to go on holiday break.  No one sending me letters asking how I am.  Then they all look down on me because they think I’m poor.  But you know what, I’d rather they look down on me than pity me.  The idea of being seen as some charity case by those girls pisses me right the fuck off.  All those fucking…”  She stopped as she saw Kaye wince at the language.  “Sorry.”
“It’s okay.  Just not used to having someone around who swears.  That’s all.  Growing up, my parents would have washed my mouth out with soap if I had talked like that.”
“They actually went the distance with that?  Not some vague threat?”
“Oh no!  My dad is Navy.  We grew up with VERY strict discipline.  You act out, you get punished.  No exceptions.”
“Sounds awful.”
“It’s not so bad,” Kaye replied, shrugging.  “I know he cares about me siblings and I.”
“How many siblings you got?”
“Two.  A brother and a sister.”
Finally it occurred to Quinn how you she was having a granola conversation with someone, getting to know them.  Who was she?  Despite herself, she couldn’t help but notice how warm her companion was.  After a night of poker, up against one of the most skilled opponents she had had in a long time, she was exhausted.  Very quickly, she felt consciousness leaving her.

“Pay attention, Quinn!” the woman shouted.  Towering above her, with her brown hair tied back in a perfect military bun, she struck and imposing figure.  The little girl in front of her cowered.
“This is important information!  Now, who can tell me how the Treaty of Versailles contributed to the beginning of the Second World War?”  She turned to face Quinn.  “Perhaps you can be so kind to answer, Quinndolyn, as you were so eager to pay attention!”
Getting some of her air of defiance, she stood up.  “It destroyed the German economy through the War Guilt Clause.  They lost all of their colonies, along with a manufacturing territory and Saarland to France.  Poland was given sea access that split Germany in two.  The Treaty also took away Germany’s ability to arm their soldiers.  This caused a far-right party to grow, along with armed militias that undermined the weak government.”
“What other event assisted the rise of the Nazi regime?”
“The Burning of the Reichstag.  It became a rallying cry against the Allies.”
Clearly she was annoyed at the fact that her student had actually had the right answer.
“I guess you do actually listen, instead of staring at the wall.”
There were no windows in this place.  It was deemed that distraction would be detrimental to the students.  No artwork of any kind was hung in the hallways.  Nothing that could take away from the classroom.  The art prodigies had their own section.  They had windows.  To take in the beauty that they would then capture in their artwork.  None of which she ever saw.
No, Quinn was part of the group who studied strategy, mathematics, history, and things of that nature.  For what reason?  She didn’t understand anything about this place.  Just that they were on an island and there was no escape.  Not for lack of trying.
Sitting back down, the teacher continued with her lesson.  There was a small noise as something hit her desk.  Looking down, she saw something folded up like a paper football.  Unfolding it, there was a message – nice answer!  It came from a boy with black hair.  He always looked like he was too cool for this place, even in their white shirt and pants that was the uniform.  What was his name?  She tried to remember, but nothing came to her.  There was something else that came to her.  He wasn’t just a friend.  He was also a comrade.  There was a plan.  What was it?  Why couldn’t she remember?  Just then, a whack on her head.
“Pay attention, Quinn!”  The world started slipping away.

Her eyes opened with a start.  Sunlight was pouring in through the tattered curtains.  The two girls was leaning against each other.  Kaye was so warm.  Another dream.  It scared her.  What was that place?  Who was the boy?  There had been a couple now.  They were so vivid, like a memory she didn’t want back, forcing its way into her subconscious.  Who was she?  Then it occurred to her about the time.  It was definitely time they got back to the Academy.
“Kaye, wake up.”
Making this little noise, her eyes opened.  “What time is it?”
Looking at her watch.  “It’s noon.”
“Oh crap!  Is that bad?!  How will we get back in now?!”
Quinn chuckled.  “It’s okay.  I’ve done it before.  Truth is, you being here makes this easier.”
Kaye cocked her head to the side.  “Why?”
“Because now I have a cover story – you’re trying to get me in shape.  It’s believable.”
Her friend smiled.  “You had this figured out before you went to sleep, didn’t you?”
“Yeah.  I always have a plan.”
“Always?”
Giving her a wicked look.  “Always.  Would be a bad gambler if I didn’t.”
She gave her a shove.  “You’re bad.”
“I’ll take bad.”
The two giggled, getting up.
“So, we just walk in through the front gate?”
Quinn nodded.  “Yup.  Walk right in, with me looking sufficiently miserable.  Given that we’re gonna have to walk uphill on the road, I doubt it will be acting.”  She motioned for them to get moving.
“Hey Quinn,” her friend called out behind her.
“’Sup?”
“Thanks again, for last night.  That was awesome.  It was great to watch you work.”
Another warm feeling inside.  “You’re welcome.  Let’s go.”

Detectives Williams and Xiong got to the Academy.  They parked Williams’ car at guest parking.  He figured that perhaps it was best to take an approach that wasn’t completely direct, but close enough.  Father McCormick had found the girl, and was her legal guardian.  Perhaps he could shed some light on who she is.  They knew that if they went at him with the angle of her being connected to the woman who was murdered, he would lock down.
“So, what’s the play?” Meng asked.
“We’re following up on some things, still trying to find parents for the girl.  Keep it light.”
“Got it.”
This campus was pretty fantastic.  Fall was in full, with the colors on the trees changing.  Reds, yellows, oranges, as far as the eye could see.  Buildings made of stone and red brick.  The fence had the look of an old Victorian manor.  This was quite the setup.  A church at the center of it all, with stained glass windows and a beautiful wooden door.
Heading into the administrative building, the two walked right up to a rather charming young woman who was sitting at the desk.
“Hello there!” she said, rather perky.  “Welcome to the Oceanview Academy of St. Galentine.  How can we help you?”
“Hello.  My name is Detective Michael Williams, this is my partner, Detective Meng Xiong.  We were wondering if we could speak with Father McCormick.”
The girl got a worried look.  “Oh dear.  Did something happen?”
“Oh no.  Nothing like that.  We’re looking into an old case involving a student, and we wanted to see if he could give us any additional information.”
She got much more relaxed, nodding.  “Okay.  I don’t see that he has anything scheduled, so let me see if he’s in his office.”
“Thank you.”
The two took a seat.

The young lady walked back to Father McCormick’s office.
“Father?” she asked, knocking.
“Yes?”
“I have a couple Detectives here.  They were wanting to talk with you about an old case?”
Immediately he felt nervous.  So little happened in this town, and even less of it involved his students.  Had the day finally come where they came back to ask about Quinn?
“Alright.  Show them in.”
“Yes, Father.”
In a locked drawer of his desk, he still had the dog-tags and gun that he found on her.  Nobody knew about it.  Not even Quinn.  He didn’t want her to have to know about this.  Every time he asked if she remembered anything, she said no.  It was an awkward conversation point, so he didn’t press it.  After two years, that girl was as close to family as he would likely ever have.  Given how she acted around him, he liked to think the feeling was mutual.  They’d never had a really in-depth conversation about it, but that’s what he liked to think.
Another knock.
“Come in!”
In walked his secretary, along with the Detectives.  One was an older man, with a look of having walked the hard path in life.  The second was a younger man, Asian, who looked similarly having been through a battleground.
He walked over.  “Hi there.  My name is Father McCormick.  And you are?”
The first man held out his hand.  “I’m Detective Williams.”
Second man held out his hand as well.  “I’m Detective Xiong.”
Motioned for them to take a seat by his desk.  “Please, have a seat.  Can my secretary bring you anything?”
“No, I’m fine.”
“Nothing for me either, thank you.”
Taking a seat, he felt his pulse quicken.  “So, how can I help you today?”
Williams sat back, looking at ease.  Best to exude that this is casual.
“We’re doing a little following up on an old case of ours.  Nothing serious.  It’s to do with one of your students – Quinn Pierce.  Seeing how she’s doing.  We’ve looked everywhere we could think to find her parents, but nothing’s turned up.  We know your policy in terms of students interacting with law enforcement, and we definitely don’t want to ruffle anyone’s feathers.  So we figured we’d talk to you, as you’re her guardian.”
Father McCormick nodded.  “Of course.  Anything I can do to help.”
“We appreciate that.”
Xiong pulled out a writing pad and pencil.
“So, when we spoke with Ms. Pierce back when she first was found on the shore, she claimed amnesia.  Any changes with that?”
He shook his head.  “No, none.  I ask her fairly regularly, but she claims nothing has come back.”
Williams nodded.  “I understand.  How is she doing?  Any problems?”
The Father let out a sigh.  “Well, it’s tough, being in high school.  Some of the girls are not especially nice.  Her scores are at the top of her class.  Every subject.  Save PE, of course.  She’s a little too frail for her own good.”
Interesting.  Frail, smart.  “Lots of friends?”
He shook his head.  “No.  For a while, it looked like she wouldn’t have any, but she’s gotten quite close with her new roommate and a classmate of hers.  Makes me happy.  Worried a bit.  It’s not good for a girl to be in school and be alone.”
Feeling confident that they had breached the topic with enough questions out of “concern,” Williams decided to poke a little harder.
“I totally understand.  There is something I had been wanting to ask about, Father – when you found Quinn outside the school, was she found with anything?”
“Like what?”
“Anything we could use to identify her.  A wallet, pictures, objects of any kind?  We’ve been coming up empty, mostly because we have nothing that could give us a clue where to look.  It’s like going line fishing in the open ocean at this point.  We’re looking for some way to narrow the field of view.”
Now Father McCormick was in an awkward spot.  He did his best not to show it, but if the police really were trying to help, would it be for the best?  The mark on her shoulder, the dog tags.  Was that something they needed to know?  What about the gun?  But then, if Quinn had done something horrible, would she be prosecuted?  And if whatever organization was associated with that brand came looking for her and tried to take her away, could he stop them?  No one who does that to a child is someone you can trust.  What could he tell them?
“Nothing that I can think of, officer.  Just her in the clothes we found her in.”
Williams looked hard at the man, then changed gears.  “Alright then.”  He reached into his jacket and pulled out a card.  “If you have any further information, please feel free to call.”
He nodded.  “Of course, Detective.”
“Thank you for your time.”
They shook hands, and the two Detectives left.  Father McCormick sat back down at the chair of his desk, looking at the card.  His mind was awash.  So many ugly questions in the back of his mind.  What was the right thing to do?  If he told them about the gun, she could get arrested.  He genuinely believed she didn’t remember who she was or where she came from.  Whatever horrible thing had gotten her to his school, it wasn’t something she wanted to remember.  Why should she go into a prison cell because of something she has no memory of?  A gray cloud was gathering over the Academy, and Father McCormick couldn’t shake the feeling that this was just the beginning.

Williams was walking with determination.
“So, what do you think?” Xiong asked.
“I think that man was lying through his teeth,” he replied.
“But we have no proof.  So we can’t get a warrant to search the place.”
“Exactly.”
“So what’s the next step?”
Getting to his car, he unlocked it and stepped inside.  “The next step has two parts.  First, we need to get that girl into our office and talk with her.  There’s more to this story, and she’s the key.  But we can’t do that without something to get her there.”
His partner frowned.  “Think we could scare her into talking to us?”
“Maybe, but the problem with that is that if it doesn’t work, she’s gonna go to the Father and we will hit a brick wall.  It may be worth our time to see if we can get her there willingly.  Exactly how we do that is something I have to think about.”
Meng nodded.  “What’s the second part?”
“The second part is finding out what the symbol pertains to.  The trident doesn’t look like your average trident symbol you see.  It has that ugly modern design.  Sharp angles and pointed.  Plus, the pointy end starts closer to the middle.  That’s unique.  If we can find out who that symbol is associated with, we may be able to get in touch with them.  From there, we can learn a great deal.”  Thinking back on the initial investigation, their attempts to figure out what the symbol was in reference to didn’t lead much of anywhere.  But it was a half-hearted effort.  Williams was sure that unless they found a weapon or someone tied to the killing, it wouldn’t matter.  Now he knew someone tied to it, so this symbol took on a whole new meaning.  A girl with no memory, who washed up on the shore, while the woman was found in a boat.  These things were connected.  The trick was to find out how.
It all lay in the fact that the person with that same mark was a kid.  That couldn’t be a coincidence.  So looking into schools or organizations that dealt with children would be a good start.  Meng could find out how to get the girl into a room to talk.  He would focus on this mysterious organization.

Getting back onto campus didn’t wind her as much as she expected.  Tired, but not super tired.  Maybe a little sleep goes a long way.  Perhaps that was her problem overall.  The two headed back toward their dorm.  Catch up on some more sleep, take a shower tonight when everyone else had gone to bed.  Victory was sweet.  Made sweeter because of the company she had.  Impressing her mentor had been fulfilling, but having a friend cheering her on was even moreso.
They were about to enter their Hall when Sister Sarah caught sight of them.
“Quinn!  Kaye!  What has you two all dressed up like that?”
Quinn gave her roommate a faux dark look.  “This evil harpy dragged me out to exercise.  Something about me dying if I don’t get in better shape.”
The two chuckled.
“Well, she is right.  Good on you, Kaye.”
“Thanks, Sister.”
“They’re still serving lunch in the cafeteria, if you’re hungry.”
“Thanks, but I’m hitting the sack,” Quinn replied.
Kaye wrapped an arm around her.  “We’ll get this one in shape yet.”
Sarah shook her head.  “Silly girls.  You have a good day now.”
They continued their journey to their room.  Once inside, Quinn immediately started stripping down.  Once she got her sweatshirt and tanktop off, she stopped, hearing the intake of breath.
Turning, she frowned.  “What?”
Her roommate looked so sad.  “That mark.  It never stops freaking me out.  It looks so painful.  Does it ever hurt?”
She shook her head.  “No.  It looks worse than it is.”
“How did you get it?  If you don’t mind me asking.”
The tense nervous feeling was back.  “I’ll tell you, someday.  Someday soon, I promise.”
Putting her hand on her shoulder, Kaye smiled at her.  “Okay.”
That contact, it felt so good.  A sense of elation came into Quinn.  Part of her never wanted it to end.  If only it never had to.  Being touched by this girl.  What was this feeling?  Then it ended, and she was back in her right mind again.  Sleep was necessary.  If only that part never had to end.  But then, there were the dreams.  They scared her.  They were happening more frequently.  What was going on?

The golden glow of the late afternoon was drifting into the window when there was a knock on the door.  Quinn sat up, rubbing her eyes.  Her roommate was out like a light.  Dragging herself to the door, she saw Father McCormick standing there.
“Father!” she whispered.
“Hey, kiddo.  Can we talk?”
Seeing the look on his face, she nodded.  “Sure.”
Quick as she could, she put her shoes and something wearable in a public space on.  The two headed to Father McCormick’s office.  Couldn’t help but notice Sister Margaret staring daggers at her as they passed.
Getting to his office, he closed the door behind them.
“Something happened today, Quinn, and I thought you should know.”  There was a long pause.  “I had a visit from the police today.  It was about you.”
Suddenly drained of energy, she fell into a chair and slumped.  “Did they say what they wanted?”
“The Detective said that they wanted more information to help find your parents.  But it didn’t feel like that to me.  It felt like he was fishing.”
Her mind was racing.  “Fishing for what?!”
“I don’t know.  They asked if you had anything on you when I found you.  It seemed like that was really important to them.”
Quinn looked right at him.  “Did you?”
The head of the school avoided her gaze for a minute.  What was the right thing to do?  He had gone to her.  So was it for the best to tell her?  It had to be.  Reaching into his pocket, he pulled out the key to his locked drawer.  Opening it, he took out the dog tags and the gun, putting them on his desk.
Walking over, Quinn was shaking.  Her hand reached out and took the tags.
Quinn Pierce
ID No. 56714
Program: Kingmaker
What was this?  She had an ID number?  What were these programs?  Part of her couldn’t shake a familiar feeling, seeing this.  It was required that they wear it all times.  Failure to do so would result in reprimand.  Usually getting hit on the knuckles.  Some things were coming back to her.
Then there was the gun.
“This was on me when you found me?” she asked.
Father McCormick looked awkward.  “No.  You were holding it.”
Her heart stopped.  Why did she have a gun?  For what purpose?
“Father, you said that you found me because you heard a gunshot.  Was it me?  Did I shoot somebody?”  Despite herself, tears were welling up.  She didn’t want to believe that she could have done something like that.  But then there was that dark side of her.  The one that wanted to hurt people who had wronged her.  What could she have been capable of?
He walked over and put his arms around her.  “I don’t know, sweetie.  But I don’t believe you could do anything to hurt anyone.  Not unless you had no other choice.”
The words washed over her.  She wanted to believe it.  But that darkness, it was there.  It wanted her to hurt those who hurt her.  To make those who humiliated, embarrassed, or upset her pay for their actions.  How far would an urge like that take her?
“I wish I could remember,” she said.  “I’ve been having dreams.  I see a school, but not like this.  It’s a scary place.  They hurt us there.  If we acted out in any way, they hurt us.  It’s a bad place.  I don’t want to remember.”  Looking up at Father McCormick.  “I don’t know what to do.”
He hugged her tighter.  “You do whatever you think is right, kiddo.  God brought you to me, and I swore I would look after you.  So I will.  Whatever you decide to do, I have your back.”
“Thanks, Father.”  The name was more than a title to her.  In her mind, he was the closest she would ever have to a real parent.  Until she could find the people who hurt her, and get an answer out of them.
They separated, and she looked back down at the gun.
“I have to know.  If for no other reason, than to look after myself.  The police are sniffing around.  How long until someone else does?”
The Father nodded.  “I understand.  What do you need from me?”
Nothing, she thought.  In no way did she want him any more involved than he already was.
“Look after the dog tags and the gun.  Tell no one.”
“You got it.  They did ask how you’re doing, to break the ice.  Things okay with the roommate?”
The warm feeling came back.  “Yeah.  Great, actually.  She’s really nice.  I like her.”
He smiled.  “I’m glad.  I worried about you, for a while.
Quinn gave him a wry look.  “I get the feeling you were the reason she became my roommate.”
“Guilty as charged,” he replied with a smirk.
“Asshole.”
The two chuckled.
“Language, young lady.”

Until next time, a quote,

“Art thou afeard?
Be not afeard
The isle is full of noises,
sounds and sweet airs,
That give delight and hurt not.” – Caliban, The Tempest

Peace out,

Maverick

Lucien’s Retro Review: Mobile Suit Gundam: 8th MS Team

Time to talk about something that only oldtaku like myself are nostalgic for.  Since FUNimation got the rights to the Gundam franchise, they’ve been re-releasing all the classics on Blu-ray.  It’s great.  One of the ones I was most excited for was this one.  There was a number of OVA series made after the success of Mobile Suit Gundam.  They range in quality, but the one that truly sticks out to me in terms of how good it was made is 8th MS Team.  It tells a gritty story about a unit of troops under a rookie commander, Shiro Amada.  This OVA has everything.  Gorgeous animation, a neat little story, good character writing, and the dub is excellent.  Back when Bandai was in their heyday.  Let’s talk about it.

The story goes that the One Year War has been raging for many months, and the Federation has sent some of their mass-production Gundam mobile suits to the front in Africa.  An untested commander, Ens. Shiro Amada is sent to be the 8th MS Team leader.  A job that he is excited for, but quickly realizes how deep he’s in it.  Meanwhile, there is a young woman he met in his first battle, and takes a liking to.  But the two stand apart as she fights for Zeon.  Can love win out over duty?  The answer may surprise you.

What makes this series work is the characters.  Like another original series OVA that we will be covering down the road, this series is centered firmly on its characters and their relationships as the series progresses.  We have Ens. Shiro Amada, a naive man who just wants to help.  There’s MCPO Karen, who is bitchy, but grows to have genuine respect for Shiro.  PO3 Eledore is just the best.  The guy is such an asshole, and an admitted coward, but he steps up when it’s necessary, and nobody has ears like him.  Then you have CPO Terry, who is something of a grandpa of the group.  Everyone has their fun qualities.

That brings us to the voicework.  As some of you know, I don’t watch anime subbed.  I have no problem watching foreign films with subtitles, but anime is the exception.  I watch this dubbed only, and this series is pretty fantastic.  All-around, the voice cast is exceptional.  Every role has so much personality.  It’s funny that some of the OVAs from way back when ran the gamut of dub quality.  This series comes from a time when anime was taking so much more risks than it does today.  Yeah, I’m a hardcore oldtaku.  Modern anime is full of so much trash.  Glitsy, glossy trash.

Oh, that reminds me – the animation in this series is glorious!  Every frame is just perfect.  So much detail is put into this series.  I’ve seen full-length films that aren’t this rich in quality.  There are so many little attentions to detail that go a long way with me.  Like when the cockpit of a mobile suit opens in space, oxygen comes out.  What’s more, this series was made during a time when cells were still hand-painted.  As such, this gives them an excellent use of light and shadow that modern anime just doesn’t have.  Digital painting is such a step backwards in so many ways.  Yeah, I know that it’s easier.  Groj, I’m making myself look like such a hipster right now.  It’s not my fault that the glory days of anime are behind it.  I didn’t kill the medium.  Same way I didn’t kill Disney when they abandoned 2D animation.

Another thing this series has is a gorgeous soundtrack.  There genuinely isn’t a single flaw that I’ve been able to find with this OVA.  Man, between this and Macross Plus, there was a golden age of OVA anime being some of the best stuff that was ever made that we will never see again.  A point in time when publishers would throw money at whatever and hope to Groj that it actually came back to them.  Sure, some of the most insane and terrible anime of all time was also produced around this time as well, but no one could say that it wasn’t unique.

If there was one thing I could say is a negative about this series, it’s that it’s so short.  But you know what, I’d rather a series be short and made flawlessly than overstay its welcome or its animation budget.  Part of the problem with Neon Genesis: Evangelion was that it overused its budget and towards the end absolutely ran out.

Overall, this is a glorious 12-episode OVA.  If you have any love of this franchise, and haven’t seen it, you’re doing yourself a disservice by not checking it out.  It’s gorgeous, well-written, well-acted, and has a bittersweet ending that will stick with you.

Final Verdict
9 out of 10

Peace out,

Maverick