What I’m Thankful For This Year, 2019

It’s a day late, but on this day when America gets to display its greatest greed, I thought that I would do my yearly tradition of saying the things that I’m thankful for.  This year has gone by unimaginably quickly.  If you would have told me the things that I would go through this year at the beginning, I’d have said you were crazy.  But sure enough, here I am, watching one of my favorite films on blu-ray – Blade Runner.  I forgot how amazing the cinematography was.  As I watch the film, my mind drifts to some of my experiences, and the parts of my life that have gotten me here.  With all that said, here are the things that I am thankful for this year.

First, it’s having a job that can pay for my continuing growth in education.  I’m looking to leave the frigid icebox that I find myself trapped in.  After my last go-around in college, I no longer qualify for student loans.  As such, I have to pay for this stuff out of pocket.  College tuition has sky-rocketed in the last few years.  I can only afford one class per semester.  But with this job I have, as unpleasant and difficult as it is, I can afford to attend.  If everything works out, if I put in maximal effort and get it all done, then I can leave Alaska in less than two years and have a career waiting for me.  And maybe, something more.

Next up is my chums and my amazing coworkers.  I’m actively looking to get out of my job and find something more appropriate for my personality.  I’ve told my coworkers multiple times that when I tell them that I want to leave, I don’t want any of them taking it personally.  And I mean it.  My job is thankless and unimaginably difficult, but the people I work with are awesome.  I’m currently sharing cubicle space with some of the most fun people I’ve been working around in a long time.  There’s been ups and downs regarding who I sit around.  At the start, I had this awesome gal who taught me so much about doing the job once I got out of training, and an old chum from my days in customer service who I was able to enjoy good conversation with.  Then they left, and things got less fun again.  But my current crew is really great and I will miss each and every one of them when I finally go, either when I find a new job, or when I leave the state in one year and nine months time.

Speaking of friends, there is one friend who has separate themselves from the rest.  Just like every year.  Ever since the two of us met, this person has brought so much into my life.  I’ve had some amazing experiences through her.  This summer, I got to attend a navy ceremony where her uniform was updated, and participate in putting the new insignia on her cover.  Being a part of something so formal, it was amazing.  Stuck with me the entire afternoon.  For some, that’s just a part of their day, but because of my head injury, I cannot serve in the military.  That was as close as I can get.  Wouldn’t trade it for anything.  But that wasn’t all.  I got an invitation to the Navy Ball.  An event that will stick with me for the rest of my life.  At least, from where I am now.  A very formal event, but I got to meet some serious movers and shakers from all branches of the service.

There are few friends who have stuck with me through my idiosyncrasies, and we have gone through a lot.  Yet, we support one-another, and both of us have helped the other grow.  It’s a friendship that has gone beyond what most people have in a lifetime, and I am positive that it has only just begun.  Not being able to see her in person when I leave this state is going to be unbelievably hard.

Finally, as always, there is my parents.  My relationship with my extended family runs the gamut of friendly to combative.  But as is the case every year, my parents have been there for me and helped me all through my life.  There have been some rough years, but then we got to the point that we are at now, where it is less parent and kid, and more people I know and am chummy with.  Weirds all my coworkers out that I refer to my mother by her first name.  Never has a day gone by where I take for granted how special they both are.  As age is getting more and more a pressing issue, there has been discussion of a situation where we have to make hard decisions.  I am the medical proxy in that situation, so it will be up to me.  Not a fun thing to think about, but like any good son, I prepare for the worst, and enjoy the good moments as I find them, for as long as I can.

My 20’s are now behind me, and I am headed into a new part of my life.  There is a potential of reigniting an old flame and seeing where this relationship can go.  I’m not the same man I was then.  I’ve learned and grown.  Reading some of my old posts was cringe-y as fuck, but you learn from where you start out, and where you’re headed.  I’m thankful for all the relationships I foster, and experiences I can have.  Went on a mini vacation to another part of the state I haven’t been to in forever.  It was a long trip, which turned out to be more fun than the destination.  But this was more a test of what I can bring myself to do.  Finding the courage to make the most of my life.  Now at 31 years old, it’s too short not to.

Until next time, a quote,

“Understand that friends come and go, save for the precious few which you should hold on to.” – Baz Luhrmann

Peace out,

Maverick

Lucien’s Review: Death Stranding

After years of waiting and being teased along, with Kojima never revealing more than he wanted to about it, his first project after breaking away from Konami has finally been released, and man does this game leave me with a whole bunch of mixed feeling.  When I saw the polarizing nature of critics who first reviewed it, I knew that there was something special about this game.  After all, it isn’t the first time Kojima has done this.  When Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty came out, critics were unbelievably harsh to it.  It’s a testament to his dedication that Kojima decided to own the backlash instead of running from it.  Right out of the gate he said that this isn’t a game that everyone is going to like, and I can see why.  This game has some genuine moments of brilliance that are fun as fuck, in a narrative that can get pretty heavy.  The problem is that it also has some really ugly bits that hold it back from greatness.  Let’s talk about it.

The story goes that some time after a huge event called the death stranding, the world of the dead was able to get mixed in to the world of the living.  The results of this have been catastrophic, as humanity is teetering on the edge of oblivion.  The story follows a man named Sam, played by Norman Reedus.  He makes deliveries in this wasteland, as he has a hardcore phobia about being touched.  An organization called Bridges shanghais him into helping them with their mission of reconnecting the country, but he has his own reasons for going along with it.  What follows is a bittersweet story of loneliness and connection.

Here’s my statement about this game, if you don’t want to read all the rest of this.  When this game is fun, it is really freakin’ fun!  There are some spectacular boss fights and some hardcore terrifying set-pieces in an in-between world that Sam gets whisked away to, where he sees one of the true architects of the reason the world is going to shit.  The problem is that when this game is not fun, it REALLY is not!  There are some horrifically-repetitive missions that have you wanting to tear your hair out.  For those of you who want to stick with me, I will get into specifics.

The central plot of this game seemed like a complete red herring to me, and kudos to my instincts, because I knew that there was more to it than just getting Amelie away from the Demens.  One of this game’s strong-points is that there the central cast all has their own agendas, and this fact often finds all of them in a really horrible situation that there seems to be no escape from.  When you finally get into the plot, and really start breaking things open, this game is so damn fun that it’s hard to describe.  Throw in a genuinely hate-able villain like Higgs, brilliantly voiced by Troy Baker, along with Mads Mikkelsen, whose villain character is not as simple as one person, and you have a conflict that is pretty fantastic to dig your teeth into.

Then there are the boss-fights.  Right from the first, I knew that I was going to be in love with this game and how they did these battles.  Every boss is creative, along with how you take them on.  It keeps you on the edge of your seat because Sam isn’t a super-soldier.  Being stupid can cost you pretty quickly.

You also have some beautiful venues to explore, which makes some of the more zen places where you are on the move that much more engaging.  I remember when people were talking about how this game was going to be a walking simulator, and you know what, the areas where that is the case don’t bother me.  Not at all.  Something about traveling through a beautiful and barren landscape with the game’s soundtrack coming on is really peaceful to me.  Though, this ties into one of my biggest gripes with the game.

As I said, when this game is not fun, it is REALLY not fun.  Here’s the issue.  This game has you playing as a delivery person.  Which means your primary mode of getting from A to B is because you have stuff to deliver for the various parties you want to bribe onto your side.  More often than not, this isn’t so bad.  The issue is that your journey to reconnect the world is so often hindered by the endless BTs that drift around and consistently make your life harder when you are trying to do your thing, and make something that is already not a short task due to how big the game’s world is take that much longer.  It’s draining.  One mission in-particular where I had complicated task after complicated task for this asshole who was being a giant dick-mule to me had me wanting to go beat him to death.

It’s a fact that this game’s narrative can get bogged down by the central elements.  The red herring nature of the central conflict is also something that drags its ass getting you to it.  Finding out the truth about Amelie and what Sam’s connection to it all is genuinely engaging, but it doesn’t help that Sam is a bit of a wet blanket through a huge part of it.  Reminded me of Keifer Sutherland in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain.  You just thought to yourself – when are they going to give this guy a personality?  Like I said, you do get there, but the journey takes far longer than it should have.  Kojima easily could have cut a couple hours out and made the pacing so much better.  Because I do love when you finally get to the plot because it is pretty hardcore.

Overall, this is not a perfect game by any stretch.  I get why lots of people don’t like it.  But for me, I think that it’s pretty engaging stuff.  Were it not hindered down by some genuine problems, I think this game would have been among the all-time greats that I’ve played.  Definitely glad I got it, and for those who can look past the pacing issues and some of the more tedious missions, I think you will find a lot to like here.  I guess I’ll leave it at that.

Final Verdict
7 out of 10

Peace out,

Maverick

Lucien’s Retro Review: Re-Animator

I meant to have this out in time for Halloween, but life and my god-awful job sucking the life out of me got in the way.  When I think of the great B movies, there are none that hold a candle to this one.  I love this film so much.  It’s everything that a great B movie should be.  It’s got all the wonderful charm that this kind of movie should have, all of which sits at the hands of its main star – Jeffery Combs.  What’s more, it’s a direct adaptation of a work by H.P. Lovecraft, my favorite horror writer.  Stephen King wishes he could be as cool as Lovecraft was, telling stories about unearthly monsters and villains whose forms are abstract and who drive those who seek them insane.  This isn’t anywhere near a great adaptation of his work, but damn if it isn’t an entertaining one.  Let’s talk about it.

If you have any love of cult horror films, you know the plot.  A young medical student gets a roommate named Herbert West.  His new roommate has a dark secret – a formula that can reanimate dead tissue.  Before long, West pulls him into his twisted obsession, until it destroys everything he loves.

This film is about as cult as it gets for B-movie horror.  It was referenced in the horrifically-overrated film American Beauty, and has been the subject of so much satire.  Granted, in the world of modern horror, zombies are nothing like this, but this movie also helped inspire another of my favorite cult horror films – Return of the Living Dead: Rave to the Grave.  We all know about the scene where the reanimated Dr. Hill is about to go down on Barbara Crampton’s character.  What I love most is that you can tell that this actress knew what she was doing, and the film knew exactly where to cut the scene off before it became gratuitous.

The thing that makes this film work, however, is Jeffery Combs.  I love this actor.  He’s so criminally-underrated, all for movies that are B-grade.  I can’t think of anything he’s been in that isn’t a B-movie.  Granted, there was the partner film to this, From Beyond, that ALMOST rises above being a B-movie to become something more, but it still gives in to the camp of the genre.  Everything I can think of this guy from is some of the best in the genre, and it’s clear he knows that.  This is an actor who found a niche and did his best to make the most of it.

The character of Herbert West chews the scenery of every scene he’s in.  It’s a genuine delight to watch how much Combs gets into the mindset of the character.  The scene where he’s cutting Dr. Hill’s head off and snarls “Plagiarist!” is just the best.  Out of context, it makes no sense, but in the context of the film it’s too much.  Or there’s my favorite, “I was wheeling bodies around, as you well know!  And what would the note have said, Dan?  ‘Cat dead, details later’?”  Every time I hear that line, I die.  He delivers it so dead-pan that you can’t help love the guy.  If they hadn’t have come out within a year of each other, I would wonder if Combs was inspired by Egon from Ghostbusters.

But let’s not look past Barbara Crampton and how fearless that actress is.  Apparently the woman who initially was supposed to play the teacher’s daughter backed out at the last minute and Crampton basically took the “hold my beer” approach.  Few women who are legitimate actresses would go to this extreme for a film, but kudos to her, she did it.

The effects in the film are just the best.  Sure, some of it is goofy in the extreme.  The effects to try and make Dr. Hill and his headlessness be hidden are the worst.  The scene in the morgue where he’s being confronted by West and the body holding him is now three times his size is goofy.  But this is a B-movie.  You get the limitations and that’s part of the charm.  Whether or not this is like the original Evil Dead, where they wanted to make a serious film but were held back by the limitations of their effects or if the director understood how goofy this is can be debated all day.  But in the end, it’s just great.  The scene with the undead cat makes me laugh so hard.  It’s so obvious that it’s just a puppet, but thanks to Combs’ fantastic performance in that scene, you believe that they brought that puppet back to life.

Not much more to say, really.  This is a classic B-movie.  My favorite in the genre.  Maybe next year I will review From Beyond.  Hopefully you all love this film and the character of Herbert West the way I do.

Final Verdict
8 out of 10

Peace out,

Maverick

SIONR: The Reason Final Fantasy versus XIII Never Got Made

While everyone is mad at Blizzard (and rightly so) for basically being a giant bitch for the Chinese government, along with the NBA, I thought it might be worth bringing up how something that had the potential to be amazing got totally screwed because yet-another AAA game developer wanted to appease the Chinese, and in the process ruined what could have been the greatest Final Fantasy game ever.

I remember when the first trailer for Final Fantasy versus XIII came out.  It took my breath away.  The world looked so much like the modern world, and you have a very broody hero facing down an entire army.  They open fire on him, when you see glass-like swords deflecting them.  That was awesome!  For a LONG time, there was nothing.  Then in 2011 they released another trailer!  This one looked even better.  Again, so much like the modern world as you see the Prince and his father driving in a car, with the father ragging on him for being so glum.  In the distance we see airships floating there!  Then we see things get real with gameplay.  It looked sick!  You have this city where things are going to shit, with you having to escape with your friends.

The plot of this game had the makings of something unlike anything we’d seen before.  A young prince, cursed with a deep bond with death.  A young woman, with a connection to a goddess of life.  Both star-crossed, but on opposite sides of a conflict.  You have to fight your way out of the capital, with the goal being to find a way to take back your home.  Some appearances that this may be a story taking some cues from Hamlet, and the makings of a masterpiece were all right there.  Even when the game changed names and became Final Fantasy XV, it looked like there was still potential.

Then the game released, and we realized that it was mediocre beyond all reason.  Clearly rushed out the door just so they could have it be done.  There had been an amazing idea there.  So what happened?!  For years, this question dogged me, until recently I figured out that someone had answered it.  It was discovered that the reason for the end product of all the years of work on this title being for nothing is because of China.  Why am I not surprised?

See, there’s a thing about China – they have a TON of rules in order for a game to be marketed there.  It’s the reason that Disney will never, EVER have openly gay characters in their movies.  The rule on top of all the little nit-picky ones is – no ghosts, no gays.  Either one and your work is dead on arrival.  The reason this ties into Final Fantasy versus XIII is because the Prince and his family have a connection to a god of death.  Noctis can see the light of expiring souls.  But that won’t fly in China.  And Square Enix wanted in on that sweet China cheddar.  The way that so many other companies have been.

Which is why we got a final product that was rushed to market and felt half-baked.  Which is a real fucking shame, if you ask me.  Because I can only imagine what the original product would have been if it had actually been allowed to go to completion.  Star-crossed lovers, forced to do battle because of their affiliation.  A war over a power source to keep and empire alive.  A prince working to retake his home after it’s captured.  What that could have turned into is anyone’s guess.  But no.  I’m really starting to think that Square Enix has lost the spark of what made it great.  Seems like the only stuff they’re putting out is remakes of classics, because they don’t have any original ideas.  And since the remake of Final Fantasy VII is still gonna be released episodically (no joke, they said that’s still a thing), it leaves you to wonder if the spark will ever come back.

AAA gaming is really disheartening to me lately.  Sony is the only one who is taking risks with huge ideas that may or may not always play out.  Well, them and CD Projekt Red.  I miss companies with big ideas and a foolhardy sense of passion to just throw whatever against the wall and see what sticks.

Cool game concepts going to die, microtransactions everywhere, games becoming gambling.  It’s depressing to see the industry.  But a guy can hope.  Every now and again there are real diamonds released.  Sometimes…

Until next time, a quote,

“Always, and never.” – Dwight, Sin City

Peace out,

Maverick

Bernie or Bust 2020

Since I’ve started writing about politics again, I figured I’d keep this going.  Not a whole lot to talk about.  At least for right now.  As the primaries progress, this could get a lot more interesting.  Thus far, I think I’ve gotten a pretty good lay of the landscape and where things are going.  But yeah, just like 2016, it’s Bernie or Bust for me.  Last go-around, the DNC had to pull out every single stop they could, and Bernie still was a stone’s-throw away from dethroning the person the entire Democratic establishment thought was heir apparent to the Presidency.  This election cycle is looking much more interesting.

Mainstream media has been doing everything they possibly can to say that Biden is the choice candidate for this country.  But the polls are not reflecting this.  While he does poll at the front nationally (for reasons that make no fucking sense to me), individual states have his numbers going off a cliff.  This race looks to be between Bernie and Warren.  All the Yang Gang crowd can hope to their hearts content, but he isn’t going to win.  Neither is Tulsi, but I have thoughts about what she should do after she loses that I think she has picked up on.

Warren isn’t somebody I can support.  She kissed Shillary’s ring, and now she’s trying to ride the line of populist candidate and establishment darling.  It isn’t doing it for me.  Not to mention, she won’t beat Trump.  I can already hear his refutation of her.  It will be nonstop “Pocahontas!”, ad nauseum.  That stupid fight with Trump is going to haunt her political career for years to come.  It was immature, stupid, and gave him all the ammunition he needs to make nobody take her seriously.

Meanwhile, Biden is just awful.  I kinda feel bad for the guy.  It’s pretty clear his mental faculties are failing him pretty quickly, because the poor fuck can’t string together a coherent sentence.  There’s a reason that his campaign is limiting his public exposure as much as they are, because this poor dude just does gaffe after gaffe every time he speaks.  During debates it’s just awful.  Really does make me wonder why he’s polling so well nationally.  Does nobody pay attention to this stuff, or is all just a bunch of people like my workplace chum who are loyal to the party and he’s the party’s darling right now.  Though there are signs that they are trying to sell people on Warren because Biden looks worse and worse and it’s becoming abundantly clear that he won’t beat Trump.

A lot of people are wondering if Shillary is still gonna throw her name in.  Recently her website has been updated and it is using talking points about her political future that is raising a LOT of eyebrows.  Not in a good way, for sure.  Perhaps it’s kinda smart of her to just avoid the limelight for so long, trying the Eleventh Hour upset approach.  But the longer this goes on that she doesn’t, the worse it is for her.  Plus, the legacy of her rigging the primary against Sanders, and the two of them being up against each other again, that might rally people to Bernie more.

Some people are saying that the heart attack was a black mark against him.  The media sure did have a field day with it.  Though it’s clear that they were hoping he had died, given how they have tired to tar and feather him in every way they can.  There was a fantastic new campaign ad where they just played their negative content while you watch Bernie heading to the stage.  It’s a great ad.  His usage of negative media commentary about him as publicity is smart.  The truth is that the heart attack did a LOT to galvanize people who support him.  His numbers have been growing ever since, and the number of donations was a flood.  Granted, if he has more health problems, that will definitely work against him.

But yeah, it’s Bernie or Bust for me in 2020.  There’s no apparent fight, outside of Warren.  Their battle is going to be the one to watch.  I said earlier that I would talk about what Tulsi should.  I think she’s already seen the path ahead.  She’s started cozying up to Bernie, and that’s REALLY smart.  She’s playing the long game.  See, when he clinches it, the smart choice would be to make her his running mate.  That would galvanize lots of support from tons of different people.  What’s more, he could play queenmaker with her and help her for her run for office.  Finally break that glass ceiling Shillary was hoping to break, except with a candidate who isn’t a corporate drone.

This primary is going to be interesting to watch.  Seeing how the DNC is gonna try and fight against the populist candidate is fun to see.  But they should be warned – if they play games and find a way to put their person in after Bernie starts winning states, then I’m gonna say this right off the bat – I won’t vote in the general election.  Maybe I’ll campaign again for Giant Asteroid.  It has a platform I can support – the utter annihilation of the human race.

We’ll see what happens going into 2020.

Until next time, a quote,

“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.” – H.L. Mencken

Peace out,

Maverick

Lucien’s Review: Barber of Seville (Anchorage Opera)

There are nights where I wonder why do a review for an event where the shows are almost over, for a very limited audience of people, few of whom probably will have access to it.  But as I left the performance tonight, feeling thoroughly entertained, I heard two old-timers talking to each other. One remarked that the show was predictable and the plot had no surprises.  When I heard that, I thought to myself – what exactly were you expecting?  You watch opera for the same reason you do Shakespeare – to get wrapped up in the performance and emotion.  To get carried away by performers bringing characters to life on that stage.  And never has what Hamlet said to the actors come more to mind than tonight, with one HELL of a show.

Over the last few several years, I’ve been to some great performances by the Anchorage Opera.  Both locally and from outside, they have gotten some incredibly talented people to put on immeasurably good shows, and to my eyes they only get better.  In a couple years I am leaving this state to further my career somewhere with more opportunity and less oppressive dark and snowy winter.  One of the few things about this rather disgusting city that I shall miss is the Anchorage Opera.

My favorite kind of opera is comedic.  There’s only so much I can watch something that is a giant dirge without feeling like I’ve seen it before.  But in comedy, there is so much more engagement that I get.  Tragedy has its place, but when I am watching a live show, it isn’t the kind of thing I want to sit through.  And we’ve hit what is currently the high-water mark as far as these go.

The Barber of Seville tells the story of a Count who is looking to woo the young ward of a doctor named Rosina.  However, the Doctor is keen to keep the young woman for himself.  But with the help of the greedy but immeasurably clever barber named Figaro, he can have young love prevail.  Yes, as the aforementioned guy said, the story isn’t that complicated, but it’s all in the performance.

When I say that the Anchorage Opera has consistently been improving as I’ve watched it, I mean that every part of it has.  They always opt for very simple set design, and consistently it works to their advantage.  Here they had fantastic use of lighting.  Sometimes it set the mood, sometimes it was the time of day.  And there was even a time where it was part of a gag that the scene was doing.

Now we come to the point that everyone wants to hear about – the performances.  I cannot begin to tell you how much every single role in this show was on point.  There wasn’t a wasted note.  Every single character was brought to life excellently by people who clearly were putting their heart and soul into it.  In prior shows I’ve seen and reviewed, there has been a strange habit of someone stealing the show.  There was no such issue tonight.  I can’t think of anyone who fell flat.  The Doctor and Don Bosillio as the villains, Rosina and the Count as the young lovers seeking their happiness.

If I had to say who was the best out of all of them, I gotta give it to Figaro.  The person who was doing this role was in the zone tonight.  Maybe it’s just because this character is written to be one of the key humor points and ways to keep the plot moving forward, but it takes the right kind of person to bring this character to life the way that Alex DeSocio did.  As I am to understand it, he’s no stranger to this role, and it’s not hard to see why.  Every time he was on stage, he was the center of attention.

But don’t let that make you think the rest of the cast was sub-par.  That would be a disservice to every fantastic performance I got to see tonight.  This was a performance like I won’t forget, and it’s a credit to their stage acting that they can make something in Italian put the audience in stitches.  The comedic timing was fantastic.  There were even a couple points where they took a cue from Zucker Brothers movies and had something funny in the background while something serious (or as serious as things get in this production) is happening in the foreground.

Overall, this was a masterpiece of comedic opera.  I haven’t seen anything like it before, and I wonder if I will again.  I do these reviews because Anchorage Opera is filled with some incredibly dedicated people, and I genuinely do hope that they are able to stick around for many years to come.  Hopefully there will continue to be an audience of people who can appreciate it.

Final Verdict
10 out of 10

Peace out,

Maverick

A Whetstone to Sharpen My Liberalism

I haven’t talked about politics in ages.  Mostly because the discourse is so fucking toxic anymore.  Especially online.  It’s like, if you make fun of Trump (which isn’t hard to do.  His Twitter is comedy gold), then you’re a leftist SJW hater of America.  I’ve completely checked out of the war against SJW culture.  It isn’t what it was when I started talking about it.  Back then, it was the atheist community fighting against a common enemy.  Conservatives and liberals came together against a foe who seemed insurmountable.  Now, it’s almost-exclusively conservatives who are the big names.  The rest of left-leaning people like myself have checked out.  What more is there to say?  Oh look, an SJW said something dumb.  You know, like they’ve been doing for a long-ass time now.

However, it seems that a foil for me to talk about politics with came about from probably the most unlikely place – my job.  There’s a coworker who became pretty chummy with me after he got past my awkward first-meeting phase and got to talking with me.  Turns out, we have a lot in common.  He’s an atheist, like me.  He’s a liberal, like me.  We mesh on a lot of levels.  As I have discovered, though, we don’t mesh on a lot of others.  For starters, dude is trying to get me to like sports.  Yeah, I think Sisyphus had an easier task than him in that regard.  This dude is pretty all-American in a lot of ways.

Another thing that we disagree on politics.  See, I’m pretty far left.  I’m a big Bernie Sanders supporter.  I firmly believe that voting for a candidate who is a corporate tool is a disservice to the cause.  Because I’ve been watching the Democratic Party basically go further to the right on a lot of things, as a desperate way to fight the growing left side of politics who is now upsetting the natural order of how things work in Washington.  My compatriot, however, is die-hard – whatever candidate the party offers, he will support. I find this belief structure to be untenable.  How can someone who seems to be so rational not see how broken it all is?  He like some of the dinosaurs in politics like Chuck Schumer, who needs to fucking go.  In his eyes, voting is a duty and a obligation for a working country.  I see voting as two broken parties with corporate tools telling their audience that they are so radically different, when underneath it all, they really aren’t.

So when the subject came up about the 2020 election, I told him I’m Bernie or Bust.  Last election, it was the same deal, and I saw the party rig the primary against Bernie Sanders.  This is no longer a conspiracy theory.  It’s a fact.  Both the WikiLeaks information and the Donna Brazile tell-all showed that Shillary used every tool in the DNC (that she effectively owns) to rig the primary against a candidate who would actually have won against a faux-populist like Donald Trump.  When the primary was rigged against Bernie, I campaigned for Giant Asteroid.  There’s a candidate with a platform I could support.  The absolute destruction of human race.  I’m down with that.  Aren’t you?  My coworker was just appalled by this.  In his eyes, if you don’t support whoever the party chooses, then you’ve failed this democracy.  That the only way to keep democracy working is to participate in it.

When I argued that participating is meaningless when none of the candidates value my point of view and all of them are owned by corporate money, his response – you gotta sometimes get your hands dirty.  He genuinely believes that true progressive reform is impossible, so there’s no good reason to fight for it.  I’m just sitting here thinking – what the fuck?!  Okay, so instead of standing for actual values and really fighting for them, we should just…not do that?  We should just vote for the party and hope that they do the right thing?  What planet does this dude live on?

Speaking of, I also pointed out that we are out of time as a species to start actually doing something about climate change.  The UN’s report, along with subsequent reports, is fucking nightmare stuff.  We are past the point where half-measures aren’t going to save our species.  In addition to overpopulation (which is the central force killing our species), we also are in a nation that is one of the biggest in greenhouse gas emissions.  And there is an orange monkey in office who thinks that climate change is a conspiracy started by China, and as such should be ignored.  If it wasn’t for the fact that Trump is basically condemning the generations that follow mine to death, that shit would be pretty funny.

You’d think all this disagreement would lead to me having a lot of issues with this guy.  And you know what, it hasn’t.  In fact, I’ve enjoyed getting to sharpen my argumentation skills against a decent opponent.  I have no illusions of changing his mind on anything, but I firmly believe that if your points of view are never challenged, then you won’t actually grow.  You have to hear opposite points of view.  Or in this case points of view that are similar to yours but opposite enough that they contrast and make you have to really think about what you believe.  And make you think of how you can logically defend them.

It’s been a long time since I’ve had someone I can enjoy arguing against this much.  There was someone, a long time ago.  We used to have great discussions.  But then his way of thinking and mine so divorced to such a radical degree that we didn’t contrast but clashed.  It was so strange to me how arguments that we had debunked together in great conversations were ones he was using against me.  Not gonna lie, it hurt.  How it all fell apart is unfortunate, but I haven’t looked back all that much.  Perhaps the point just came when we weren’t the person we thought the other was anymore.  But so far my new coworker chum is an interesting guy, and I hope to enjoy a good discourse again.

Until next time, a quote,

“If voting made a difference, they wouldn’t let us do it.” – Mark Twain

Peace out,

Maverick