About Lucien

I am a writer. I am a dreamer. Humanity may be its own worst enemy, but I believe in something better. Maybe I am naive. Maybe I am delusional. Maybe Carlin was right, and we are just playing out the string. But I believe that something greater is still within our grasp. And it is for that that I am working to make this world a better place, even if all I will ever be able to do is spit in the wind.

God Does NOT Show That Murder is Wrong (A response to Dennis Prager)

I haven’t talked about religion in ages.  The arguments against religion have been ripped apart to the point that it isn’t even fun now.  It’s just mediocre and played-out.  However, recently the founder of the Prager University (which, neat fact, has no school attached to it) decided to make a video that has made a bunch of waves in the online community for how stupid it is.  In hit, he argues that the reason that we know that murder is wrong is because of God.  A statement so asinine and easy to destroy, let’s show you his video, and then respond to it.

His first question – do you believe that good and evil exist?  As a concept, sure.  But as a true thing that is harder.  See, it’s totally open to interpretation.  Is the person who stole bread to feed themselves evil?  They did commit a crime – theft.  But does that make them evil?  There are behaviors that I believe are more right and more wrong, but my line is in one place and other people’s lines are in another.  There is no concrete standard to what is good and evil.  At least not in secular society.  But Prager has a different perspective.  He believes that the answer to that question divides America up into sides based on how you answer.  See, in his mind, there an answer to that question, and he is about explain what it is.

His second question – is murder wrong?  Well, that depends.  Am I killing someone to save the life of someone I love?  I would argue that that is permissible.  Am I killing someone for sport?  I believe that is wrong.  Context matters.  That’s why people who have a black and white view of morality are always amusing.  Nothing in life is that simple.

Third question – how do I know?  As I said, since the answer the right and wrong nature of murder varies from person to person (I bet the BTK Killer has some thoughts about the nature of murder), what informs my worldview is how I have been raised and the perspectives I have come to after looking at all the evidence.  For example – I look at different scenarios and I make judgements on whether or not an action is justified in that situation.  I think the person who punched a guy because he is a “Nazi” (A term so flagrantly used that it has lost all meaning) is in the wrong because he was doing nothing violent or threatening toward that person.  He was no threat to them, yet he was attacked.  That is wrong.  What informed my opinion of that are my values and my respect for freedom of speech.

Prager postulates that, without God, there are no “moral facts.”  This statement is laughable in every way.  For starters, to what standard are you holding that to?  The Ten Commandments?  Sure, they say that murder is wrong, but you also bring up rape.  NOWHERE in the Bible does it say that rape is wrong.  In fact, the worst that happens is that the man has to marry his victim and pay the father 15 silver shekels.  That’s the value that not only does God’s voices on Earth put the crime of rape, but also the opinion of the woman who was the victim of rape.  Makes God look like a real piece of work, doesn’t it?

God has, on numerous occasions long after the Ten Commandments are written, broken his own rules.  He destroyed the cities of Soddom and Gamorrah, killing all men, women, children, toddlers, and babies.  What did those last three groups do wrong, exactly?  He commanded his armies to kill all the men of a village, tear open the bellies of pregnant women, dash the skulls of babies against rocks, and take the virgin daughters as sex slaves for themselves.  God even sent a bear to kill a bunch of children.  What was their crime?  They made fun of the baldness of the man.  For that paltry reason, the divine being who is supposed to be a moral authority condones murder?  That seems like a really bad standard that all of society is supposed to be beholden to?

But I can already hear the apologists – “God is a higher being, so we can’t judge him based on the standards he’s given us!”  So, do as he says and not as he does?  That seems like a really shitty standard for the supreme being of the universe.  What kind of leader asks that the people under his dominion live up to a standard that he himself does not?  It’s basically like a murderer who kills people out of spite (and if you look at the bear story that is EXACTLY what it was) telling you that killing is wrong.  Why is God exempt from society’s criticism?  The apologist argument basically tries to make God immune from the cruel reality – that his holy book are full of rape and murder, often which God commanded, and he is for some nebulous reason innocent in that.  Prager makes the argument that it is through God that we know that murder is wrong.  I disrespectfully disagree, because if that’s the case then I should be able to go out and rape a girl and pay the father 15 shekels and be okay.

Not to mention, Prager says that all we have are opinions about morality without God.  Well, since the last time God did anything where he was seen in a way of clear documentation, it was before the days of video cameras, who do we have to give the statements about his morality now?  We have people.  People like the Pope.  People like Ray Cumfart.  People like, of all people, Brett Keane.  Hell, people like Gail Chord Schuler, who says that she and God are fighting back against Jesuits who rape Brent Spiner.  These are the people who are telling the world exactly how God feels.  Can hear the apologists – but we have the Bible!  Yeah, but the Bible is full of contradictory verses.  In fact, it’s so easy to find verses that forbid or condone everything that pretty much everything is wrong somewhere in the Bible.

Liberal Christians try to pass it off as Jesus and the New Testament make it all better.  I have my issues with that way of thinking.  After all, it’s bullshit.  Jesus outright said he did not come to abolish the Old Testament law, but came to fulfill it.  Apologists try and argue that it is still written, but here’s the other thing – there are translation errors.  Since the original language that wrote most of the Bible is dead languages (and that’s not even accounting for the parts that were straight up plagiarized, like the Jesus story).  The versions we have now have been proven to be full of translation issues.  So we have to rely on people and their OPINIONS to tell us what God wants now!  Prager’s entire point is fucking stupid!

He then says that all us atheists will admit that without God, there is no objective morality, and no “atheist philosopher” has said otherwise.  Sam Harris actually has, but I guess Prager has a limited atheist perspective that he gets.  No surprise, he’s a far-right conservative.  I’m surprised he’s talked to ANY atheists.  For my part, I don’t believe there is truly objective morality.  Since morals are behaviors that a society or doctrine deems are right or wrong, they are just a system of control from the top down.  Here’s a video by my favorite YouTuber where he lays out the closest that we’ll ever come to objective morality – empathy.  When we can empathize with other people, we are able to make behavioral decisions as close as it can get to right and wrong.

I think that pretty much sums up all of his arguments.  I’ve destroyed him without even getting one and a half minutes in.  Not too shabby.

Until next time, a quote,

“Marge, everything is a sin.  I mean, have you ever sat down and read this thing?  Technically, we’re not allowed to go to the bathroom.” – Reverend Lovejoy, The Simpsons

Peace out,

Maverick

Bad PR 110: Yooka-Laylee, JonTron, and Repeated History

The phrase history always repeats itself is nowhere more true than on the Internet.  Only difference is that the person who wrote that originally believed it repeats itself after 10’s of years, if not hundreds.  They don’t realize that on the Internet, it can repeat itself in just a few.  Sometimes one.  Sometimes not even.  It’s amazing.  Well, as always, this comes in the world of video games, where we get another wonderful instance of politics and video games colliding into a massive garbage fire.  One that looks to do irreparable harm to this video game’s reputation at exactly the worst time.  I am, of course, talking about the spiritual successor to Banjo Kazooie, entitled Yooka-Laylee and the company behind it.

For those who don’t know, the YouTuber JonTron just did a stream with someone where he talked about political views on immigration and other issues.  After an off-color comment by JonTron, the Internet lost its fucking mind.  As always, the utterly-broken sites like Kotaku and Polygon were quick to point out how JonTron has been utterly destroyed.  Except, you know, for his still rising sub count on YouTube.  There’s that.  And since the cowards at NeoGaf can’t help but want to fuck with people’s livelihoods and passion projects, they decided to hit up the company behind the Kickstarter success story who had just featured JonTron as a voice actor.  This was something that was a huge collaboration and got a lot of good press all around.  The company was told, and then released a statement that they were cutting JonTron from the game in a patch.  JonTron, while disappointed, released a statement saying that he understood and still wished them the best.  Stupid, doesn’t look great for the company, but that’s it, right?

Wrong!  A lot of backers of the game decided to take to Steam and the game’s main page forums and demand they get their money back.  Okay.  Maybe just sit tight and let this blow over?  Be quiet and wait it out?  Not a bad strategy.  Except, that’s not the strategy that the team behind the publishing of Yooka-Laylee (Team 17) did.  Instead, they decided to shit-talk the people who were mad at the company.  They decided to lock down forums and then get people banned.  They went on a huge tirade attacking the same people who backed the game and were unhappy.  What a brilliant move.  A brilliant, horribly stupid move.

A YouTuber who I very much happen to like made a very level-headed video about this, but it seems he was either unaware or just didn’t want to get into the ugly side of the politics of this whole affair.  He argued that the backlash from the SJW-controlled game’s media is worse than the backlash from those who may be disappointed in this whole event.  Part of his argument is that this is a game that mostly appeals to children, and when you have a corrupt gaming press spinning this game company as supporters of an “alt-right neo Nazi” (No joke, it’s everywhere online), they will run from it.  I would argue that while he makes a point worth considering, there is some history that he doesn’t seem to take into account.  See, we’ve seen this story before, haven’t we?

Let’s talk about Dina from Mighty No. 9.  Yeah, the Way Back Machine of the Internet.  Here is a video that goes into more detail about the whole affair, but I’ll give the Cliff Note’s version.  During the development of Mighty No. 9, the company behind promoting the game hired a woman named Dina, who decided that when people were going to complain about the political input that she was having and wanted their money back, she would shit-talk them and block them.  It began a tragic tale of the downfall of Dina and how ugly things got for the company Deep Silver.  Granted, the game itself fucked with the rest of it, but still.  Dina decided that instead of doing her job and just promoting the game, she was going to get political.  She had to make sure that everyone knew that if you don’t support the political stuff in the game, you are a terrible person.  It left a terrible legacy on the game that still is the first thing that comes up when you look for it on Google.

If the company behind Yooka-Laylee doesn’t clamp down on Team 17, who is promoting this game, the same thing will happen here too.  Only difference is that it is happening at the worst possible moment – right as the game is about to launch.  If the biggest news coming out about this game is the garbage fire that this shitty PR company is doing, then this is the wrong foot forward.  Dragnix argued that parents were going to be the ones who mainly look into this game, and that may be true.  But here’s the other thing – when you are a new company that is just starting out, having your brand loyalty fucked up by politicization gone wrong is not what you need.  Playtonic needs to kick Team 17 to the curb, along with their blue-hair advocates who have this weird idea that hair dyed a color not found in nature is diversity.

The PR lesson is this – if you are a company that is looking to outsource the promotion of your product to another company, then you REALLY need to watch your ass in what that company is saying about your product and the people that you want to buy your product.  After all, it isn’t Team 17 that people are mad at, it’s Playtonic.  None of the news is talking about this shit PR company who promotes this game.  And if there is a run on brand loyalty before their first product is even out, what is going to draw people back?  Dragnix argues that if a game is good enough, people will come.  I respectfully disagree.  That only matters if you are a company with brand recognition for great success.  I can find out that Naughty Dog takes what Anita Sarkeesian says seriously and still buy their games because I know that they have a brand that demands quality.  Playtonic doesn’t have that loyalty.  And now that their first major project is coming out, this couldn’t have happened at a worst time.  But hey, they are “inclusive.”  Let’s hope that works out for them.

Until next time, a quote,

“Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.” – Jeff Bezos

Peace out,

Maverick

Lucien’s Review: Logan

It’s nice to see that Twentieth Century Fox has the balls and creative integrity to do what Disney’s Marvel isn’t capable of doing – taking risks.  And hot shit are those risks paying off!  This is not only the Wolverine film that all of us have been hoping for since the very beginning of seeing this character, but also the superhero film that so many of us have been waiting for.  And as I said, it was Twentieth Century Fox who brought it to us.  The studio didn’t seem to believe this film nor the one whose sequel was teased in the beginning would even find a fanbase, but find it they did.  Perhaps the fat cat suits in Hollywood can actually realize that making a superhero film that isn’t for kids can be profitable.  Perhaps we can get to see some of our favorite dark superheroes brought to light.  Netflix is doing a pretty good job working with this.  Their Punisher is pretty badass.  This is a fantastic movie.  Let’s talk about it.

Anyone in my audience who actually wants to see this film already has.  I realize that since my reviews are always late, I am going to start trying to find an angle to talk about which everyone else hasn’t.  So no plot recap.  It’s an adaptation of the Old Man Logan storyline, where we get to meet an equally-badass character – X-23.  A tragic tale of the death of two of the greatest mutants to ever live, along with the introduction that hopefully isn’t wasted.

The glue that holds this movie together is the performances.  Hugh Jackman definitely steals the show as an aging Logan.  His powers are starting to fail him, and his age has finally caught up with him.  A lost soldier, he’s not looking for a spot to live.  He’s looking for a place to die.  But over the course of the film he comes to realize that he has one last chance to truly feel what it’s like to be alive.  A lot of comparisons have been made between this film and the incredible game The Last of Us, and I can kind of see that.  Jackman makes a pretty good Joel of the film, equally as gruff and equally tired of being alive.  And just like Joel, he meets a companion who makes him want to live again.  Only difference is how it all ends, and the level of dark implications for both characters.  Logan gets his redemption in the end.  Joel does not, but that is part of why the narrative works.

Next up with have Patrick Stewart.  Part of me likes the dark implications with this character.  There is some backstory to what happened to him that you never fully understand.  He’s done something horrible, and just like Logan, his powers are failing him.  Two of the last mutants on Earth, both of them are equally lost.  As his mind is slowly faltering, he goes from a mutant who doesn’t care about anything, to getting to enjoy one last adventure with the only friend he has left.  Stewart plays the old man with nowhere left to go very well.  You believe the chemistry between him and Logan.  He simultaneously hates and depends on his angry companion, and the juxtaposition does not escape his notice.

Of course, the character everyone is talking about is X-23.  This girl brought the character to life incredibly well.  This could so easily have been botched, as so many child actors just suck, but this girl brought her a-game to the table and it shows.  Just like Joel and Ellie in the game that everyone says this story is ripping off, the bond that grows between these two is believable.  They do take moments to address the reality that both of them are becoming killers and there is no going back.

Something else I want to talk about is the language in this movie.  As I said, I am loving the fact that we have comic movies with the balls to go this far, but part of me can’t help but early on was just so forced.  Some of the times that they would be laying down the word fuck liberally just felt so middle school.  I like hearing Professor X swear, but don’t make me think that it was put in there just because.  Fuck is a great word, but use it when you mean it.

Another thing is the carnage.  Everyone who reviewed this movie said that it was grotesque and violent, hard-R, I was told.  It’s violent, but don’t be fooled.  This isn’t Robocop levels of grotesque.  It has blood and gore, but still plays it safe.  That being said, while they may not always embrace how vicious it can be, the kills still felt visceral.  When you have Logan tearing people apart, you actually feel like that would hurt.  This film knew that it could take risks but only to a point.  I mean, if it really stuck to how disgusting Logan’s murder sprees would be, people would call it gore porn.  The creators of the film wisely chose to make emphasis on the killing to make it feel personal.  And when you watch X-23 on top of a gut tearing him open, you can tell that that would be scary as fuck to witness.

All things considered, this was a ballsy, very intense superhero film.  The most I have seen since The Dark Knight.  It took risks that no film of its genre would dare doing, and I am so desperately hoping it won’t be the last.  Disney’s Marvel will never have the guts.  Not unless they pawn it off on some lesser Disney studio so if it sucks they can give the blame there.  That’s what they did with Princess Mononoke.  See, Disney owned the rights to Studio Ghibli films, but Miyazaki outright refused to make any cuts to the violence in his magnum opus.  The film was a huge hit in Japan and Disney wanted a piece of that pie.  So rather than fight with Miyazaki when he sent a katana to the head of Disney at the time with a note attached saying “no cuts,” they pawned it off to a studio that they owned but was far away enough from Disney to be able to distribute it without them looking bad.  A clever tactic.  And it worked.  I am hoping that some film creators come to them after Infinity War, when the MCU will be toning down and sputtering away, and wants to look at some of the more violent superheros in the library and give them a fair shake.  Take a note form how big a success this movie and Deadpool have been, Disney.  You can do this.  The reward will come in ten-fold.  Not to mention, both of the movies that have taken this approach have made the most of having a smaller budget.  The limited resources not only meant that they had to be more clever in making them, but also that they could much more easily recoup their budget.  Deadpool and Logan have been massive financial successes.  Hint-hint!

This was a phenomenal movie.  It’s sad to see Logan go, but the X-Men brand has gotten kind of stale anyway.  But please, for the love of Groj, do NOT let the next film with X-23 be some watered-down version of this character!  She’s a violent killing machine.  Respect that.

Final Verdict
9 out of 10

Peace out,

Maverick

The Cringe-Worthy ‘Ghost in the Shell’ PSA

What do you get when you combine an unfunny Asian lesbian and a “PSA” about Ghost in the Shell?  You get a video where I felt the cringe bars going up.  I’ve heard before about how casting Scarlet Johansson as the main character in the Ghost in the Shell live-action film is “white-washing.”  I don’t see it that way.  I see the film as yet-another lackluster live-action adaptation of an anime that will join the pantheon of lack-luster adaptations.  But that’s neither here nor there.  An unfunny Asian lesbian decided to try her hand at a public service announcement about it.  Let’s take a look at this.

We start off the video having some little Asian girl looking into a comic book shop.  She goes inside and we see a ton of other little girls in there.  Yeah, this is about as realistic as the “acting” in Cool Cat Saves the Kids.  We have a term for some of the caseworkers at my job – unicorns.  Magical creatures that you hear about but never see.  That’s what the sight of a bunch of little girls at a comic book shop is.  It’s a magical creature that you hear about but never see.  Not to mention the fact that they clearly aren’t actually looking at the comic books.  They are just jiggling them around.

Then we get to see how all these characters in these comics are…WHITE PEOPLE!  Oh!  The horror!  White people in comics!  How awful!  Our little Asian girl desperately looks around for the comic book that has an Asian person in it.  Because, you know, kids only like characters who they can racially identify with.  That isn’t at all a stereotype that has been invented by idiots who don’t know the first thing about real children.  After all, this PSA has an ax to grind.  Never mind the idea that an Asian girl could relate to a white character.  Nope, if it’s someone of a different skin color, then that little girl can’t possibly relate to them.  Man, this video is racist.

It just keeps going.  This endless montage of this little Asian girl who has no interest in any of these comics purely by virtue of the characters not having the same skin color as them.  This character and this video by extension are so fucking racist.  I mean, are we really supposed to just ignore the message of this video – Asian children can’t relate to white people.  That’s what that entire montage was about.  Finally, we see her reach the Ghost in the Shell manga.  The kid opens it up to some random page and is so completely happy by seeing someone who shares the same skin color as her.  Racism.  Apparently it’s in right now.  The kid buys the manga and all is right with the little girl’s world.

Fast-forward to years later and we see some hipster Asian girl wandering the streets looking at random shit.  She comes to a poster for the new movie, and we see it cut back to the little girl we saw that beginning.  I guess the hipster is the older version of that girl.  It cuts between her and the little girl version, and she looks totally heart-broken.  Again, the implication being that because the character is now white, she is instantly bad.

This video’s idea of equality is that only people who share the same skin color can understand each other.  Our shared humanity?  Nope.  Our ability to empathize and understand one-another by shared life experience?  Fuck that!  In this woman’s eyes, the only thing that matters is the color of your skin.  Racism.  It’s the in thing to be.  Because after all, if it’s white people, it’s evil.  And, of course, if it was the reverse of this people would be throwing a shit-fit.  Casual racism is fine, so long as it isn’t white people.  I fucking hate this shit.  This PSA’s ham-fisted message doesn’t land.  Nothing about this works.  And the video ends with an actual statement that movies aren’t real, but have some kind of nebulous effect on real people.  Give me a fucking break.  Where is the evidence for that?  Please, show me some fucking evidence.  Until then, shut the fuck up.

Until next time, a quote,

“Why argue things you can’t prove?” – William Ruckelshaus

Peace out,

Maverick

Lucien’s Review: Horizon Zero Dawn

As a best foot forward goes, Sony has done a bang-up job.  Sorry this review took so long, but I wanted to get as far into this game as I possibly could before I talked about it.  This is a game that is fun as fuck, and challenging.  It’s a game that eschews all conventions about action shooters in favor of an open world that is beautiful, a world that is a little dry but still fun, and characters who are at the very least fun to talk to.  And the main character voiced by the same actress who did my favorite character from my favorite game of 2015.  Let’s talk about it.

The plot goes that it has been 1,000 years since a cataclysm of unknown origins wiped humanity out.  Now what remains of civilization is bands of tribal societies.  And surrounding all of this is a robotic horde who also has unknown origins.  Our story follows a girl whose origins are also shrouded in mystery.  Hated by the tribe and unsure of where she belongs, her quest begins with a simple mission – find out who her mother is.  It’s a really grim narrative, but one that keeps you enraptured from beginning to end.

First things first – this game is beautiful.  Absolutely gorgeous.  The surprisingly-small open world is incredible to look at.  Making everything pretty compact was a smart decision on the devs part.  So many open world games have a bad habit of there being nothing to do.  In this game, that couldn’t be further from the truth.  There is a ton of stuff to do.  And all of it hinges on how you like to play.

This game has two facets – stealth and action.  Stealth is my preferred method.  I love stealth games.  The next game I am stoked for is just that.  The game gives you tall grass to hide in and ways to sneak around.  In addition to killing robots you have human enemies to fight.  And when you up the difficulty, they are some attentive fuckers.  Once you have the bounty missions, things get a lot more fun.  Then there is action.  This is the harder one.  Weapons in this game are primitive.  You have to be smart when shooting your targets.  You can craft your own ammunition, which you will be doing a lot.  Even the most typical gun-like weapons will suck up your resources.  Add to that the fact that the robots are tough customers and playing loud is a dangerous gambit.

Loot-mining is the biggest thing you will be doing in this game.  Every robot you kill drops a ton of loot.  You craft your own ammo, which I guarantee you will be a LOT of.  Every potion you drink, trap you lay, or specialized arrow you make will be done with stuff you find on every single enemy, in the environment, and what you buy.  In addition, you can buy better weapons and outfits.  However, sometimes you don’t need the best outfit, as all you need is to add mods to your weapons and outfits to make them better.  If there is one thing that this game cannot be accused of, it’s limiting how you play.  Especially because of all the robots.

Speaking of, this game was marketed primarily on having giant robots.  It’s both this game’s best aspect, and sometimes not all of its best.  When it’s at its best is when you are using the tools you have, including the ability to hack the robots, to fight machines who are massive and powerful.  When its at its worst is when you have enemies who have a bad habit of being just like each other, just a little bigger.  There are five robots shaped like pack animals that you can ride.  There are three shaped like giant cats, and two shaped like dinosaurs.  A little variety would have gone a very long way.  As would some more boss fights.  Having specialized machines who you only face once.  This was a fun part of the game, but the tedium of how regular certain enemies got can’t be ignored.  When you are able to use robots against each other and play stealthy, these things are awesome.  When you are forced into a stand-up fight against machines who can easily kick the shit out of you, it kind of sucks.

The other thing about this game is that the missions can get a little repetitive.  My favorites are the ones where you use this fantastic plot-device called the Focus to basically turn into Batman and examine crime scenes and know what everything is.  I would call it an easy out for the game to have the main character be a super genius, but you know what, it’s still fun.  And to the game’s credit, when you are able to put the device to good use, it does feel like being a detective.  Now if only they could have had more effort put into the crime-solving as opposed to the robot-killing.

Make no mistake, there are no shortage of missions.  Whether it being going into the vaults where the machines are coming from, learning bits and pieces about the forces at work in the world which is keeping the mechanical monsters coming, or examining a crime scene to learn what happened, or going into a bandit camp to kill the worst bandit of them all.  There is a TON of stuff to do in this game.  For completionists like me, it’s a dream come true.  But for the casual player, you may find yourself getting bored.

Which brings me to the acting in this game.  Bless the girl who voiced the main character’s heart.  She clearly put her all into this.  However, for as hard as she tries, the rest of the acting in this game ranges from wooden to overacting.  I can’t be nice about this.  The cruel reality is that not one of these character aside from Aloy sounds even remotely realistic.  A couple do pretty well, but I could almost see the rest of the cast reading from a script.  That is a very unfortunate deal.  The roles who do stand out truly do.  No joke, a couple performances actually made me get invested.  But for the rest this was a paycheck.  Still, main character was great.  This woman clearly has a talent for this, and I hope she is in more games to come.

All in all, Sony definitely brought their a-game to the table.  While everyone is all about Nintendo’s latest under-powered console, I still have a ton of stuff to do in this game, and that doesn’t look to be changing anytime soon.

Final Verdict
8 out of 10

Peace out,

Maverick

The Merits of Years of Cooking

I haven’t posted very much lately.  There isn’t much that I have wanted to talk about.  Politics has sucked the life out of everyone.  Social justice just isn’t that interesting anymore.  What more can be said?  Hell, now it is turning on itself.  I like to do reviews.  So close to the release of Horizon: Zero Dawn.  Though, I get the feeling that that review will come out a long time later, because I am going to play as much of that game as I can before I put out my review.  I want you all to know if it’s good or not.  All the reviews i am seeing thus far are giving me lots of hope.  However, something recently came to my attention today.  Something that worked the cockles of my little black heart.

My cousin believes that men and women can’t be friends.  He’s stupid like that.  The proof came from nowhere else than having a girly-mate over to my old place for one last good meal there before I leave it to its folly.  In my new apartment, and it is fantastic.  This girly-mate of mine is married, quite happily.  We worked together at my job at the college library.  There is absolutely no sexual tension between us.  We make each other laugh, and have fun just talking and enjoying one-another’s company.  Since it was the send-off to my shitty old place and the shitty “kitchen” that I had, I wanted to go big.  Decided to make something really special.

On Facebook, I follow a TON of the pages that have the little cooking videos from an overhead angle.  I love that shit.  Since I love to cook, it appeals to me.  And now I FINALLY have a kitchen to do it!  You all have no idea how happy this makes me.  Already got a ton of ideas.  And since I am now interviewing for a job that is a step up from where I am now, my hope is to get ahead.  Needless to say, things are pretty alright.  My new place doesn’t have a microwave.  That is a problem.  One I will solve on Craigslist, eventually.  Along with a mixer and other things.  And a slow cooker.  Definitely that.

Back to my story, I had this friend over, and I made something really unique – Tuscan chicken in angel hair pasta.  Here is a pic I took of it.

tuscan-chickenIt was a giant pain the ass.  It took a lot of patience and being willing to test myself.  I didn’t measure things out specifically.  I winged a lot of it, and you know what – it was worth it.  The final product was one of the finest things I have ever made.  It was a fantastic night.  The two of us were stuffed to the point that we couldn’t even have the fantastic dessert I had planned.  No complaints.  Was awesome.  However, I am going somewhere with this.

The thing I have learned after years of making food is that nothing makes a social gathering come together more than homemade food with good conversation and laughter from people.  Just getting to talk about the process of making and sharing in the meal that I made with another person was some of the most fun I have had in years.  With a proper kitchen, I truly want to see if I can make something fantastic with as many people as I can.

Over the years, I have watched my cooking talents go from strength to strength.  Sure, there have been mistakes along the way.  Some truly amazing fuck-ups that blow my freaking mind.  But in the midst of all of those have come experiments in taste that blow my mind.  The first time I made bagels from scratch.  Laborious, time-consuming, but getting to bit into the final product made that all worth it.  Every holiday I make a new kind of cheesecake.  Last year it was pumpkin cheesecake.  Okay, but not great.  I am planning on doing stromboli, one of these months.  As I sit in my new place, and eat a fresh naval orange, I am inspired to see what I can come up with next.  Experimenting with fruit salad, the kind of salad I actually like.  Making pan-fried potatoes for a guest, something that I am so fucking good at.  Just ask my old man.  He likes my kind of pan-fried better than my mother’s, and that’s saying something.

Good food is a gift.  One that I want to share with as many people as I can before my death wish comes for me.  And for all you guys out there, if you’re single, there is no excuse.  Learn to fucking cook!  Women will swoon if you can make their taste buds ring.  Then you might be able to get their pussy to follow suit.  I got a cousin to prove wrong, and all the time in the world to do it.  What are you all’s thoughts?  Let me know down in the Comments.

Until next time, a quote,

“Much like traveling, meals eaten alone are dull and without flavor.” – The Count, Gankutsuou: The Count of Monte Cristo

Peace out,

Maverick

In Memory, In Ink

I have a friend named Quinn.  Ever since she was ten years old, she lost the ability to speak.  She got incredibly sick.  It was a disease that caused massive inflammation all over her body.  She nearly died.  A fever of 104, death nearly came for her but she came back from it.  Now she no longer has the ability to speak.  It’s been a very hard life for her.  You don’t really think about the value that the ability to speak has until you lose it.  So much of her life was hurt, and she has been trying to come back from it for as long as she could.

Through all of that, there was her incredibly supportive mother.  Even when she found out that her daughter was gay, and her father kicked her out of the house, her mother did everything she could to help her.  To the point that they ended up getting a nasty divorce because the mother hated the father for how he treated their daughter, which in turn translated into how well he treated her sister because she was the child he had always wanted.  Meanwhile, Quinn had her mother.  When she was really little, as I understand it, Quinn was a very talkative little kid.  Her mother called her “Chatty Monkey.”  It was with this in mind that when she died, Quinn had an idea for a tat.  But since she has no artistic talent, it just stayed as an idea, until now.  With the help of my dear friend Kathryn, it has finally come to fruition.  As it will when it is immortalized on Quinn’s skin forever.  One of three tats, all of which have great significance for her.

16901932_10155070158909111_1716337255_nThe monkey is to stand for the nickname that her mother had for her all her life.  The gun is because her mother was a crack-shot, most specifically with a revolver.  The smoke is because, the unfortunate truth is that her mother was a chimney.  You can extrapolate how she died based on that.  Woman went through a pack a day.  I try not to judge how people live, but as her coughing got worse, even Quinn felt terrible.  The woman left our state to go be in a warmer climate, and it did help.  But it only went so far.

A wonderful woman has passed away.  She left a legacy of a connection between mother and daughter that is unmatched, from a girl who life has been horribly unkind to.  How people keep their memories close.  Quinn is putting this memory on her hip.  So when you see this image, keep in mind the connection it symbolizes.  Let me know the connections that you have with people who have left your life and how you keep that alive in the Comments.

Until next time, a quote,

“Death is not the greatest loss in life.  The greatest loss in life is what dies inside us while we live.” – Norman Cousins

Peace out,

Maverick