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.

The Lucien Experiment

With yet-another school shooting under our belt, and all the conservative retards saying that we need to arm the teachers, I have devised an experiment that I am no-joke wanting to do.  See, it’s not like we ACTUALLY care if innocent people die anymore.  We have become so desensitized to carnage in this country that so long as it isn’t us, we don’t care.  All you people who are going to come into the Comments and disagree, shut the fuck up.  What did you try and do to change things?  You running for office on a platform of trying to advocate gun control?  Or if you are a conservative retard, are you running for office on a platform of arming teachers?  If you aren’t doing anything and eventually tune out as everyone does, then shut the fuck up.

A friend of mine who is an educator and I got to talking about this.  She said “what am I supposed to do?  While the students are panicking and terrified, I’m supposed to go into a lockbox, get out a handgun against someone who has an automatic rifle, and then take precise aim at them without hitting any students?”  Very good point.  She said a friend of hers had someone breaking into her house, and she got her gun, but said her hands were shaking so hard that she knew she wouldn’t have been able to aim accurately.  I can’t imagine what that situation would be like.  Hence why I keep knives on my person.  That way, either I get shot and die, or I stab my attacker or would-be assailant and don’t get anyone else killed.

But since America has decided that we aren’t EVER going to do anything to solve the problem, and I get to have all these Dirty Harry wannabes on my social media telling me how if they were there they’d have shot this guy, or that the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun, I devised a little experiment.  I want to put this theory that all these faux Rambo mother-fuckers can’t actually handle an actual situation like that.  And I want to put their lives, their captors lives, the lives of cops, and the lives of innocent people on the line to prove my point.  I hear you saying “innocent people?!  How can you be that heartless, Lucien?!”  Well, it’s patently clear that nobody really cares about the deaths of innocent people.  All these mass shootings and the public is so quick to forget.  They move on to the next retarded-ass thing.  You know, until we get another mass shooting and they wring their hands about how awful it is, only to do NOTHING to change anything.

In any case, here is my experiment.  Let’s get a building, like a shopping center or a school or a hospital.  Let’s get all the Dirty Harry wannabes in there with actual guns and live ammunition.  Let’s also have a ton of innocent people in there.  The Dirty Harry types will know something will happen, but will not know what, where, or how many people it involves.  The innocent people won’t have a fucking clue.  That’s part of the experiment.  They’re the control factor.  Any scientist will tell you that you need a control factor.  Now, from several entrances will come several violent individuals also armed with actual guns that have live ammunition, with the goal of shooting up the place.  They will proceed to start shooting it up.  The Dirty Harry wannabes have to put their bravado to use and kill them.  Next, the innocent people will be able to call the police, who will show up.  It will be there job to try and aid the innocent people and disable the attackers.

I know what you’re thinking – Lucien, what on Earth are you testing with that insane idea?  It’s quite simple.  I want to find out if these Dirty Harry mother-fuckers can put their money where their mouth is and actually deal with this situation by being the good guy with the gun taking out the bad guy with the gun.  I want to see if they can measure up in a situation where we have innocent people in a panic and multiple shooters and how many of them will stand tall to that, without killing any of the aforementioned innocent people.  I also want to test how many of them will be unsure who the attackers are and confuse them with their fellow “patriots” just lookin’ to stop the bad guy!  Then I want to test how this whole situation would affect the cops looking to help.  You know, the people actually trained.  Oh, and maybe we could make this more interesting by having the building have a security guard or two.  You know, to see if they can handle it.

All of this experiment is really to prove a point that I and anyone who has any experience with violent situations or having a gun being fired around them already knows.  But I want to get real people really killed to prove this point.  Maybe, if we can show the actual body count and who the psychological trauma that would ensue from it, people can learn to shut the fuck up about what a Billy Badass they are.  It’s a thought.

Until next time, a quote,

“How do you figure out how two chemicals interact?  Easy – put them together in a beaker and apply heat.” – Dr Gregory House, House M.D.

Peace out,

Maverick

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School Shooting, Blame Video Games, Again…

I just love how this country is so eager to do anything it can to not talk about the issues after tragedies.  It’s amazing.  See, anyone who knows politics knows that the NRA is an insanely powerful lobby that brings a TON of money to politics.  So I know that no matter how many people get killed, or how many families get destroyed over those deaths, there will never be anything that will happen in the realm of sensible gun control.  I’ve said before that I am not a fan of taking guns away.  That would create yet-another black market, and I’m looking to get rid of the ones we have.  But there is no good reason why we can’t have it be that people have to be licensed to own a gun.  You gotta have to license to drive a car, so there is no good reason why you can’t have one to own a gun.  It’s only smart.

But all of that is just shit that I know won’t happen.  So we had yet-another school shooting, this time in Parkland, Florida.  17 casualties.  And just like every time this happens, the dim-witted American public and the ideologues who want you to not pay attention to the real problems facing this country are looking for things to blame.  As always, the first thing that people go to is video games.  Naturally.  It’s as old as their conception.  The endless thing to blame for what goes wrong in this world.  When all the rest of the developed world doesn’t have NEARLY the gun violence that we do, yet has just as much of a video game culture.

For the ideologues, this is no surprise.  We are STILL hearing about the Russian “meddling” in the last election.  Except the ONLY thing that they actually, allegedly (it has still not been proven) did was tell the public about Hillary Clinton rigging the primary against Bernie Sanders (which has been vindicated by the reveal by Donna Brazile, so for anyone who wants to argue, shut the fuck up).  Those amoral bastards, am I right?  Distraction from the real issues is so prevalent in modern politics because those in power know that the American public is full of some of the biggest retards you will ever meet.  You look at pretty much the entirety of the far-left and The Donald subreddit and you’ll see stupidity in motion.

Blaming video games is the easiest way for the ideologues to deflect people’s attention away from the real issues.  After all, to the uninitiated, video games look very scary.  See, Susan Dumbass sees her kid playing a game that has people killing other people and she just assumes that little Billy’s brain is being rewired to do violence.  Why does she think this?  Because it looks scary to her and her favorite talking head on Fox News said that it’s bad and we need to be scared.  Meanwhile, she’ll take her kid to watch films that have a ton of killing and it’s no problem.  She isn’t smart enough to realize that there is NO evidence of video games causing violence.  None.  There has never been.

People seem to think that all video games are just violent shooters.  That’s bullshit.  There are amazing artistic masterpieces like a game I just got – the remastered version of Shadow of the Colossus.  No shooting there.  Just an amazing spectacle about fighting massive creatures in order to bring the girl you love back to life.  Or you have the post-apocalyptic game Horizon: Zero Dawn.  There is shooting there, but it’s with a bow and arrow.  And most of what you are fighting is huge robots.  Or the episodic game with the art style and sensibilities of an Indie film, Life is Strange.  That’s a game about time powers and a girl solving a mystery.  Or my favorite Indie game, Journey, about a character traveling in a beautiful dessert.  Yeah, lots of violence there!

It’s so easy for the ideologues to market the CoDs or the Hitman games.  It’s easy to look at the blood and guts in DOOM and think that it’s scary.  But these people go so far out of their way not to see the artistic side, or the side of games that doesn’t hurt anyone.  They don’t want to talk about how the biggest shooter right now is Overwatch, a game that has no blood, no guts, and a cutesy art style that doesn’t make the combat out to be bad at all.  If they did that, then maybe they’d have to acknowledge that games are not all just “murder simulators.”  But don’t tell whatever that ignorant-ass Governor from Kentucky that.  He says we need to admit that video games are bad.  Um, no.  I’ll do no such thing.  I have intellectual integrity, unlike you people.

If you want to know the really horrible truth about shootings and this country, let me sum up how all of this really goes in a single picture.

That’s what breaks my fucking heart.  And you know what, that’s what Congress wants.  They want you to be kept complacent, stupid, and ignorant.  So that way, the two parties, who are the exact same party underneath their superficial “differences,” can make bank off lobbying money and swindling the American people.  But please, tell me again how an entertainment medium that has a very interesting correlation with the decline in violent crime is responsible for everything.  All fucking ears.

Until next time, a quote,

“What’s the point of talking if nobody listens?” – Huey Freeman, The Boondocks

Peace out,

Maverick

SIONR: Incredibles 2 and the Death of Pixar

I’ve repeatedly said that Disney is pure evil and they destroy everything that I love.  They turned one of my favorite films into a fucking Kinect game.  That’s how bad they are.  They take good ideas or properties and turn them into shit.  Most recently with Star WarsThe Last Jedi was a dumpster fire, and if what I am hearing about the latest film in the franchise, it went through three directors, had multiple rewrites, and the guy who plays the titular character not only looks NOTHING like him (he’s a fucking pretty boy.  Nothing even remotely roguish at all), but can’t act his way out of a paper bag.  They had to hire an acting coach for him after shooting the bulk of his scenes.  So yeah, that will be a dumpster fire too.  I mean, they barely show this guy in the trailer for his own film.  If that isn’t a sign that this movie is dead on arrival, I don’t know what is.

Now we come to The Incredibles 2.  I really liked the first one.  It’s not my favorite Pixar film, but it’s up there.  A film about a family of superheroes, mixing some fantastic action, great scoring (the score for that film is phenomenal), and both superhero and human elements to make a great story.  It balanced out every character to give them an arc and show them grow.  It’s great stuff.  Then the trailer for the sequel dropped.

This film looks terrible.  So, we go from a story about a family of superheroes, to the mom being off doing stuff, while the dad is being a stay-at-home dad with superbaby.  Wow.  That’s so boring that writing it I felt myself lose energy.  Who thought this was a good idea?  I mean, all the creative potential that a sequel of this film could be.  Like, it’s been many years since the first one.  Why not age the characters up a little?  Have them dealing with the reemergence of superheroes in society and them being kind of swept up in things?  Or maybe have them still having to be in the shadows and yet still doing good, now accepting their desire to be heroes, yet still being trapped behind a screen of anonymity.  All the cool ideas are there, but what is the final product?  Stay at home dad and superbaby!  Oh boy!

It hurts me inside to think of how Pixar has died.  It really has.  While the death of 2D animation breaks my fucking heart (it is an art form that has died and will likely never come back in the way it once was with the old Disney magic), I did grow up with this company.  I remember seeing Toy Story and thinking it was crazy cool.  My favorite of their films, Ratatouille, is a charming story.  The Incredibles combines so many good elements.  This studio once was believed to be setting the new standard in kids movies story-telling.

Then Brave happened.  With that movie I felt something.  There was a shift in the films that they were putting out, and the content immediately starting getting progressively worse.  You’d have films that stand out in the crowd, but the bulk were either really mediocre or outright bad.  Plus, a lot of their staff was now under Disney directly making some of the biggest bargain-bin garbage ever put to film.  Films that were made only to help the influx of capital for the fiscal quarters they were made.

When I heard that they were doing a sequel to The Incredibles, my heart leapt.  Finally, a return to form!  Get some of the classy style that was modeled first in 2D drawings and then put to digital models.  Great voice acting, great score.  All the potential was there!  Then the trailer drops and I realize that I’m seeing yet-another bargain-bin movie that everyone will forget about just as fast as they did Monster’s University or Cars 2 (or the original Cars for that matter).  This kills me inside.

Disney is like the film version of EA.  They take IPs and studios with good ideas and then run them into the ground.  Does it not blow your mind the way it does mine that there are over twice as many mediocre/bad films in the Star Wars franchise as there are good ones?  Over six!  That’s insane!  Marvel has been kept from joining these ranks simply because Kevin Feige is at the helm.  Once he leaves, they’re next.  It took a man with vision and a passion for the source material to keep this genre from becoming bargain-bin shit too, and there are people who make the argument that the brand is getting old.  I think I have avoided this thought process simply because I only watch the films in there that I think look good. Pixar is gonna be their version of Visceral Games, one of these days.  It hurts me inside.

Until next time, a quote,

“Turians think they know a thing about a scorched-earth response.  Fuck ’em!” – Jack, Mass Effect 2

Peace out,

Maverick

Critical Examination: Ending Choice-Based Games

I do not know what it is with games that feature choice as a gameplay mechanic and finishing them.  Can someone explain this to me?  What is it about ending them in a satisfying way?  I am probably gonna answer my own question here, but any insight that my audience has would be appreciated.  It’s just that I do not understand why some games that feature choice as a central theme go so well, and others just plain suck.  It’s a mystery.  Let’s do some critical analysis of some of my favorite games with choice as a central theme, and analyze what went right and what went wrong.

The Wolf Among Us

For whatever reason, Telltale Games just knows their shit.  At least where their early works are concerned.  Now they are just derivative bullshit, but once upon a time they set the standard for how to do episodic games right.  This was an awesome concept and a fun game.  Based on the Fables comic series, telling a murder mystery involving a rundown slum where fairytale characters are living their lives is just fantastic.  You play as a grungy cop who isn’t a bad guy, he just has a very violent history.

The element of choice is central to this game, and how it plays with the concept to affect how everything ends with the setting, the villain, and the resolution was so well done.  Maybe it was because the story wasn’t especially complicated.  Or maybe it was because the story was the center of everything and the characters built around it.  I think that might have been it.  By keeping their focus on the story instead of the characters, they could keep the time spent having to develop characters and their relationships simple.  The mystery was engaging, so you do have to think about it.

A game where the plot is the central focus may be the best thing for this kind of medium.  This game, along with its predecessor, The Walking Dead, got it right.  Granted, that game was about a small plot involving a small bunch of characters.  It was able to strike the delicate balance between flushed out characters and flushed out plot.

Mass Effect

It bugs me so much how close this game came to being a story-telling masterpiece.  Had it succeeded, this franchise would have been the hallmark in a style of gameplay that would never and could NEVER be topped.  The way that the three games in the franchise (fuck Andromeda.  We never speak of that travesty again) built a steady narrative on a personal and galactic scale was just amazing.  All throughout, you could see real effects on what you did, both with the worlds around you, and with your party that you are brought to know and care about on a very deep level.

What I love is that the game had this nice thing where you can do really nice stuff but in a way where you are being the biggest asshole, which can sometimes lend to some absolute comedy gold.  Like in the second game, where you can yell down a bunch of admirals and basically tell them to fuck off, and still get Tali to not be exiled.  It’s awesome.  And if it weren’t for the fact that Morinth won’t come to my party, I’d have totally let her come instead of Samara.  I’m talking about the Citadel DLC, for those who are wondering.

Then we get to the end of the last game.  Everything after when the Victory Fleet goes to Earth.  And that’s where the game just DIES.  I do mean everything.  Nothing about when the Victory Fleet goes to Earth is fun.  Not one thing.  I built up a massive fleet!  I want to see what I got!  I want to see the Geth and Quarians.  I want to see the Turians and Asari.  I want to see the remains of the Batarian fleet coming out and being eager to start a fight.  I want to see Aria’s mercenaries.  I want to see krogans riding kakliosaurs riding into battle.  I want to go to battle with all the assets I had built up over so much time, and have every decision affect who lives and dies on a galactic scale!  What’s the point telling me about how I let Jack’s students become biotic artillery if I can’t see them in action!  I want to watch them fuck up the Reapers day!

The trailer for the game showed your fleet fighting it out on Earth, and that being central to the plot.  Yes!  That!  Let’s see how bananas this can get!  Let all of the decisions I made, from letting the Council live or die at the very beginning of the franchise, to which central characters I lost along the way factor in to the final battle.  To do that would be a monumental undertaking unlike anything seen before.  But it can be done.

A lot of gamers blame Bioware for how this all ended.  It’s not their fault.  It’s EA’s fault.  They were pushing hard for Bioware to get the game out the door before the new console generation dropped.  If EA wasn’t such a shit-storm of a company, maybe we could have gotten the ending that we deserved.  Where there aren’t just three color-coded paths to the end, but a plethora of challenged that you can pass or fail.  This franchise was poised to be the hallmark moment in a genre, instead it smashed its face on the floor sliding into the finish.  That sucked.

Until Dawn

This game had a fantastically simple premise – keep seven people alive until dawn.  Every choice you make factors into who lives and who dies.  Failure means losing one more person.  The first time I ran through the game, I had one person die.  But I never lost another.  This game was phenomenal.  How a studio who had never done anything like this before was able to get this done baffles me.

Unlike Mass Effect, this game was a very small story, but devoted equal parts to character development and relationship development vs plot development.  Because this was a very small game, and the punishment of your choice was pretty clear – people die.  You succeed in the game by living.  The ending will ultimately play out the same regardless of how many people live or die, but you are able to feel the consequence as the credits roll and the characters who survived are being grilled.  It’s good stuff.

Each choice you make in the game is as consequential as the in-game context that you are doing whatever you are doing in.  You choose to save Ashley when you have the choice of who to save and who to let die, it immediately sets your relationship up with Chris.  I liked those two, by the way.  They are a very cute couple.  When I got the best ending and the two kiss, it felt earned.  So many choice-based games tend to drop the ball with romantic elements.  Mass Effect 2 comes to mind.  That game had a bad habit of having characters in your crew who fall in love with you seemingly out of the blue.  It’s bizarre.  And since you get virtually none of them back in your crew in the following game, it doesn’t matter.

One nice touch in Until Dawn was the fact that the items you chose to examine and analyze comes back into play.  That was a really smart touch that went a long way for me in helping make the game believable.  It is similar to how things worked in another game that we will see later on in this list.

Now we get to one that I have a lot of things to say about.

Life is Strange

This game had the makings of something truly amazing.  An episodic game that had the potential to be the kind of Twin Peaks/ Indie film of the video game medium.  That aspect made me respect it.  For the first four episodes, it truly did feel like it was leading up to something spectacular.  Your choices don’t have massive consequences, but you can see the progression of all your actions as you go along.  Then it comes down to the end.  Ugh…

I’ve harped on this ending before, so I’m not going to go over all of it now.  Suffice it to say, if you thought the ending of Mass Effect 3 neglected your choices, you ain’t seen nothing.  That game gave you three color-coded options to make all of your choices count for nothing.  This game gave you two.  That’s right, two choices, and no matter what you did prior, it all ends exactly the same.  I just don’t get how this happened.  Here is my belief, and it comes into play in the last game on this post too – they wrote themselves into a corner.  Either that, or they didn’t have the budget or resources to make the last episode bigger.  See, to truly make your choices matter, and to pay off things like the tornado being a representation of countless timelines that Max created paying off, they would have had to devote so much more resources into the final episode.

Part of me gets that it’s hard to end a choice-based game.  To have meaningful payoff for the countless choices that every player would have made, it must be an astronomical undertaking.  But here’s the thing – if you are going to make a game like this, I think it’s on you to do it right.  The player is owed that.  People say that us gamers are entitled babies, and sure, sometimes we can be.  But this company decided to take the effort onto themselves to do this.  We didn’t tell them to.  They didn’t have to.  It could have just been a game like Gone Home, where you have to roll play through another story.  I just know that somebody will come into the comments and say that it is just like that game.  It’s not.  They chose to make this game one where the player is told that their actions will have consequences.  Being able to track those consequences and do it well is a massive undertaking.  Any game company who wants to play at that owes the player a satisfactory resolution.

Life is Strange: Before the Storm

Boy did this game really have so much fantastic moments where it rose above being derivative, only to crash and burn at the end.  The last episode of this game has two thirds that are just great.  It opens with Rachel acknowledging the closeness that her and Chloe share if you built them up as a couple by holding her hand and asking her to stay when her father is going to tell her the truth.  You have a moment where Chloe faces down her demons about losing what matters to her when Rachel is stabbed and she has to rush her to the hospital and show that she understand just how serious this was.  Then, everything that follows that scene is where it all goes to shit.

The last third of this game takes how the previous game gave you two choices that nix all of your choices before, and switches it over to one.  The final two choices you can make are ultimately meaningless.  No matter which you chose, nothing changes.  I said in my review of the last episode that I think it came down to them wanting to keep to the canon of the game that chronologically follows, and that is still true, but they also had to write a resolution to a story with more characters than it realistically needed.  Or it could have just chosen not to have payoff.  As an example, everything that happened at Rachel’s house could have been nixed.  No, should have.  It served no purpose.  We already knew that Rachel’s dad was doing some underhanded stuff to keep her biological mother way.  Now we need to have a subplot come out of nowhere about him being straight-up evil and wanting her dead?  And even to be helping a criminal get off scott-free in the process?  That’s retarded.

Nixing that plot would also have nixed the even worse final confrontation with Eliot.  Instead of having his plot end there, it could have ended with him meeting up with Chloe at the hospital.  They have been playing with him having feelings for her and you either being kind to them or not as the player.  It could have paid off with you making the final choice of what you want between them.  No big, right?  They could easily have kept this in canon with the game that follows this by having it just be another relationship that Chloe could eventually shrug off as her and Rachel got deeper into the drug game.

Finally, the last confrontation at the mill was stupid and didn’t need to be.  This game should have ended with Chloe finding Rachel’s mom and trying to convince her to come meet her daughter.  It’s simple, it can factor in your choices in how close you have gotten with Rachel by having your relationship play into the argument between them.  How the last episode got so poorly handled baffles me.  I thought I knew the reason why it crashed and burned at the end, but the truth is I don’t.  I really don’t.

Conclusion

Choice-based games are hard.  That’s the thing to take away.  I don’t think a developer should take on something like this unless they are ready to really go the distance with it and not half-ass.  We’ve see it done well, and done poorly, and in some cases coming so close to greatness that it bugs me to see it fail.

What do you think?  What games do you think did it well and which ones did not?  Let me know in the Comments

Until next time, a quote,

“Choice.  It all comes down to choice.” – Neo, Matrix Reloaded

Peace out,

Maverick

Bad PR 113: Jocelyn Morffi, Saints Peter and Paul Catholic School, and Anti-Gay Bigotry

For all the SJW bitching about inane bullshit that has no bearing on anything, there are ACTUAL cases of anti-gay bigotry that go completely unpunished.  But for once, as angry as this makes me, it’s nice to see the community coming to defense of the wronged person.  Every time I hear the likes of Anita Sarkeesian bitching about something in movies that has nothing to do with anything, we get stories about Jocelyn Morffi, the latest in a long history of people whose livelihoods are destroyed because of something that as FUCK ALL to do with her job.  Gotta love all that religious “tolerance.”  I hate that term, and I still use it here.  I believe acceptance of the LGBT community comes when we don’t have to “tolerate” them, but instead are just as apathetic about them as we are about anyone else.  But in this context, the term is fitting.

Jocelyn was a teacher at the Saints Peter and Paul Catholic School.  A private institution which it seems has a moral clause in their contract about not being gay.  Because being gay is so immoral.  I guess it didn’t stop them from hiring her, which sure is weird if this clause is so fucking important to them.  I mean, it’s not like they decided to ignore their own “morality” clause when they gave a woman who CLEARLY qualified this job.  However, they decided that they were going to clamp down on this when she decided to post pictures of her wedding with her wife on her social media accounts.  An activity that would NEVER be scrutinized by anyone is straight people did it.

After posting pictures of her wedding, the school fired her.  They called it a “difficult by necessary decision” in an open letter.  Um, what?  This is especially weird to me since this woman apparently was openly gay.  So, she wasn’t closeted and hired without the school knowing what she’s like.  Okay.  Then what made this particular incident the thing that pushed the needle over the edge?  It wasn’t her posting online telling all the kids that being gay is cool (even though I would still argue that there’s nothing wrong with that either.  Plenty of gay kids who are scared of how they feel could use some encouragement to accept who they are from figures in their community they trust).  She just posted pics of her wedding.  A totally reasonable thing to do.  It’s done by people all the fucking time.

What’s nice about this is that the community came to her defense.  Many parents said that she was openly gay, but never forced it on the kids, and is an amazing teacher, so they don’t get what the problem is here.  Good fucking question.  In a private meeting with school officials, it seems that a group of parents hasn’t gotten a clear answer on why this woman was fired.  Boy, it sure does look like this school decided that they don’t have a moral clause about being gay being bad (which religious schools can get away with because they are associated with religion, though we’ll get back to what bullshit that is in respect to this kind of institution very quickly) when they hired this woman, but suddenly have it now that they want to give her the boot, doesn’t it?  Hm, that’s odd.  Makes me wonder if there’s something that could actually be taken to court, doesn’t it?

A school official was saying that there is a moral turpitude clause in her contract, which she violated.  Okay, but that doesn’t hold up if she was openly gay when she was hired.  Was the clause that she can be openly gay, but not post anything online?  Does it make that clear?  What was the point that she crossed the line on this if the parents of all of these kids knew that she is gay before this?  Was this just an opportune moment to shit-can her?  Feels like it.

All of this is beside the point, though.  What blows my fucking mind is that Catholic schools can have some big hang-up on morality when it comes to sexuality with how many pedophiles are currently in their ranks.  That feels more than a touch bit hypocritical.  Don’t you think?  Could Father Child Toucher get a job there?  After all, the church goes out of their way not to disclose all the pedophiles in their ranks so they can be brought to justice, so is that part of your bullshit moral turpitude clause too?  Or would the school do as the church does and find a way to defend them or quietly sleep the whole thing under the rug.  As we found out, the church has a fund dedicated solely to paying off the families of children who are sexually abused by priests so they won’t talk.  Does the school rise to that same “moral” standard?  Valid question, if you ask me.

This poor woman.  A friend of mine who has been Catholic for so long mostly because of her mother who she was incredibly close to while she was still alive has had her faith shaken.  It blows my mind how religious bigotry is so easy to justify, so long as you put it in a fucking contract.  But the fact that this woman never hid her sexual orientation and the school still hiring her and deciding now to fire her does indicate that she’s got some legal ammo to go after them.  This seems insanely hypocritical.

The PR lesson is this – if you are going to be a bigoted institution, then either keep to your bigoted positions and tell qualified people to piss off because they like the same gender, or don’t.  Because I genuinely do think she has a legal leg to stand on when it comes to fucking up this school’s day, and I hope she does.  Fuck Saints Peter and Paul Catholic School.  If my suspicion is right, then I hope they end up shelling out big to this poor woman who lost a job she loved because of something that shouldn’t have mattered in the fucking first place.

Until next time, a quote,

“Some people are really fucking stupid.” – George Carlin

Peace out,

Maverick

Lucien’s First Take: Venom – Official Teaser Trailer

This sucked!  This is the worst trailer I have ever seen, in the history of trailers that are meant to get people’s hype up.  What the fuck was this?!  I have never seen a trailer so bereft of essential material to what they are trying to market in the history of movie trailers.  This trailer could be for anything and I don’t think that anyone would see the difference.  This could be for any retarded action movie and people would not be able to tell the difference.  I hate this trailer, and it is making my expectations for a film that I am GENUINELY hoping is awesome fall to the fucking floor.  Can Sony PLEASE sign over the rights to everything in the Spider-Man film to Disney already?!  They can’t fuck it up worse than they have.  I could go on and on about it, but let’s show the trailer so you can see what I mean.

Do you see what I’m talking about?!  What did we learn in this trailer?  That Tom Hardy’s accent is odd?  I know that Hardy is an amazing actor.  I’ve loved him in everything I have seen him in.  Even in movies that I think are horribly flawed, like the last Star Trek film that he starred in as a young Picard, his role was still fantastic.  So what is up with his accent?  You know what, never mind.  Hugh Laurie’s accent wasn’t great either but I still loved House.

Where is the titular character?!  I get that this is an origin story, but only showing a brief little tidbit of a symbiote is not going to get me excited for this film.  They are talking about fucking Carnage being here.  They are saying it is going to be a violent R-rated film.  Why are they not leading with that?!  Let’s see some of the violence!  I get that it’s smart to keep the full reveal of the character for the film itself.  Too many films play their hand too early.  I do want to be surprised.  But you can still do that and have a trailer that doesn’t cheat everyone of at least a glimpse of what they are supposed to get excited about.

Let’s see some of Carnage’s violence?  He rips and tears people to pieces.  Let’s see some dismembered bodies!  Let’s see some of the twisted death in his wake.  That’s a neat idea!  Have a flash where we get to see him, or how about the titular fucking character?  Maybe have Tom Hardy finding the symbiote?  Why not that?  There are so many better things they could have done, and not one of them was done in this fucking trailer!

What blows my mind is how many positive votes it has.  Did we watch the same trailer?!  I don’t think so, because all I saw was meaningless voiceover that could be for anything, shots that could be for anything, without a single semblance of rhyme or reason.  This was actually worse than the Solo trailer.  By the way, that looks like shit too.  The pretty boy they got for the role looks NOTHING like the character.  That film will suck.  But back to this movie, this trailer was shit and it has set the bar incredibly low for a movie that I want to see and genuinely hope is good.

Fuck…

Initial Verdict
3 out of 10

Peace out,

Maverick

Is Duty a Value, or an Escape?

She was fighting to keep up with her pilot.  It was so insane.  This girl was so driven!  Their partnership was one of practicality.  They had to depend on one-another, after all.  It was up to her to keep the armor running, and everything working just so.  Especially the most important part – the shield.  This armor was designed with something none in its class had ever had – a sector shield.  By being able to focus particle energy on ejector panels, they could move the shielding around to any part of the machine.  This kept the power draw only to what they needed.  Instead of a kinetic barrier on all sections that could be worn down fast with enough fire, they could focus it specifically on where it was needed, which meant keeping the shield active for hours longer than any barrier before it.
Their time in battle could be upped to 200% more than any other armor before them.  But keeping this system running was brutal.  It required someone who could keep track of an endless amount of information about the enemy and attacks coming in at once by a system that was incredibly demanding on her mind.  Funneling the data directly to her.  It was so much, most days.  But that’s why they were a team.  They could process the load together, so her pilot would be able to use the data on where to go and who to target, while she could use the data on where to defend and other systems in the armor.  The first two-person armor.  A design like none other.
This battle was madness.  Over a giant natural resource satellite in orbit around the planet.  If this place fell, they would have no problem taking the rest of the planet.  Local military was no match for Directorate might.  All they’d have to do is move in and crush any local resistance and leave occupational forces to keep watch while the Fleet moved.
Explosions everywhere.  So much carnage and death.  An allied armor ripped open from a massive particle beam.  The pilot would have been vaporized.  Worse ways to go.  The beam was from an assault cruiser coming around some wreckage.  Bad move.  They were moving too far out from their defensive position.  An attempt to make a break?  Couldn’t be that.  The Fleet had them surrounded in all sides.  This battle was about attrition.  Either they would wipe out Protectorate forces, or they would hold out until reinforcements.  So much rode on this.
But that was besides the point.  She focused her attention on the cruiser.
“Move out of the firing range of that thing!”
“No shit, genius!”  Ever the angry one.
“I’m not talking about the guns.  I’m talking about getting away!  Bombers are coming in from point 52 tac 87.”
“Aye-aye!”
Weird to be treated like a superior officer from the one at the controls, but it was true.  She was her superior, not that she’d ever lord that against her.  With all they had gone through together, that would be cruel.  It wasn’t something she wanted anyway.
Coming about, they decided to watch the show.  Several bombers had used the wreckage to mask their approach the same way the cruiser had done.  It worked both ways.  By the time the guns of the ship could come to bear, they had already launched their payload.  Blue lasers jetted out among their bombs, taking out several, but they were too close.  The stars lit up red and yellow as they hit home right on the engines.  Plumes of blue fire went bursting out.  An overload!  Such a beautiful color, for something so awful.  The flame spread further and further, until it was pouring out all over the ship.  The crew was likely being cooked beneath the hull.
“Bad way to go,” the pilot whispered.
She had nothing to say back.  It was so captivating.  Then the core ignited, and the whole thing blew open like a soda can in below zero weather.  The fire burst out, then exhausted the oxygen it had, and extinguished.  The crew never had a chance.
Seeing the fire, it brought back memories.  Had it only been two years??  Maybe a little more?  Felt like an eternity.  In another life.

The sound of the waves crashing against the shore greeted her.  Sunlight was just starting to come through the window.  Was it really that early?  Too early for any decent person to be up, but she really had to pee.  Stumbling down the hall to the bathroom, it was a sad state of affairs for how dead she looked.  Didn’t help that saying she was indecent was putting it mildly.  Too early to care about that too.
After finishing, she stumbled back to her room.  There was a sound from the hallway.
“I am totally scarred.  Could she at least put on a robe or something?!”  Kid brother!  That registered enough for her to feel more than a little ashamed.  Whatever.  She had to see him getting dressed for blitzball.  That scarred her for life too.  So the little creep could take it!
Mornings like these were the best.  Still another hour to get some sleep, she was going to make the most of it.  Once dawn broke, she knew where she was going to be.

The smell of the waves was so inviting.  From the bow, at the controls, she brought the boat out of the harbor.  Another catering gig.  The catch was likely to be pretty substantial.  This year had seen a real boon to the fish numbers.  Some real monsters coming in.  Calm waves today.  No headwind, just little whitecaps.  Almost made it boring, but best not to complain.  This many patrons today, it meant good money, regardless of what the catch was.
Poor kid down below had to actually deal with these people.  He was a nice guy.  Had some very cool tats of all the places he had been.  Never been off-planet, but had been to everywhere on it.  No longer a colony world, they were part of the Directorate proper now.  Over 2,000,000 people lived here.  From ports to the farming communities, this garden world had developed into a popular tourist attraction for those seeking to escape the bustle of the big cities on their own worlds.  Or those who wanted freedom from the endless regulation of the Directorate.
Now out of the port, she accelerated to a nice pace.  Couldn’t rush too much with these off-world types.  They got jittery.  But you also had those who would bitch at you to go faster.  No pleasing everyone, right?  Best to hedge your best on something gentle.  Would mean the vast amount wouldn’t bitch as much.  She looked down at the company jacket she wore.  Hated it.  Such an ugly color.  Another day.  Straightening her company hat, she opened the window and let the sound of the seabirds and the salty breeze greet her.
Taking a look at the scanner, she saw that reports were coming in of a good haul coming in 70 kilometers to the south.  Nice!  A close one.  Maybe they could catch their limit before midday and she could go home early!

Nice dreams always crash and burn the hardest.  For the first hour, they were catching like crazy, but then it died.  Their patrons were annoyed.  She keyed into the scanner, but nothing was coming in for good hits.  Just a lot of dry runs.  Hitting up a couple contacts she had at the port and ship captains, she got a tip for a good hit 120 kilometers to the east.  Worth a shot, right?  After having the patrons get their lines in, she gunned it.  A little fast, but they were getting antsy.  It sucks when things are going great for a while, only for them to suck.
The next place was also another pretty good haul, for about an hour or so.  Then it all dried up.  But she did get to see something pretty cool.  There was a school of fish moving, with scutter sharks coming in and nabbing them up.  All the thrashing and churning.  Had some patrons wondering if they could try and hook a shark, but their attendant pointed out what a horribly bad idea that was.  Scutter sharks were no joke,  They could easily bite through the lines they had, and even if they hooked one, the chances of getting it in was minuscule.  You’d need a harpoon and some rope for that kind of haul.  One guy actually asked if they had that.  She smiled.  This guy has vision.
Well past midday, she got one last tip for a decent haul further south.  Once the patrons got some lunch in them, it was a better afternoon.  Their last stop was not too bad.  Slow at first, but things picked up.  An hour to evening, she pulled the boat back into port and docked it.  Now her and the attendant had to unload all the coolers filled with fish.  Some of the guys were talking about what they would be cooking.  One dude said he wanted to weigh his fish.  Her role in this ended at tying off the boat and unloading stuff.  After that, the boss gave her her pay and she went home.

Getting back, the family was already talking to her brother about his next game.  Being related to a celebrity sucked.  Barely an acknowledgement of her existence as she came in the door.  Heading over to the fridge, she pulled out some local fruit and took it to her room.  Now to another monotonous night of reading Net articles and watching meaningless vids to kill time.  This was her life.  What her life would likely always be.  But there was a story in the news.  Another brushfire conflict with the Protectorate.  More and more of this was in the news.  Not that she cared.  Or at least, she thought she didn’t.  The reality of the fact that their world was close enough to the Protectorate for the war to come here pretty fast if peace talks failed did strike her.  Did her parents know?  Did anyone?  Who here knew what danger they were in?  But she put it out of her mind.  No one would look for a fight here.  This world offered no strategic value to anyone.  The military forces were a garrison at most.  No big natural resource satellites to acquire, no big factories or shipyards to take over.  All this world had was farmland and fishing boats.  They wouldn’t have even joined the Directorate if it hadn’t been impressed upon them by the representatives who came to visit.  They didn’t want to risk this world going to the Protectorate.  They’d gotten visits.
She shook her head and keyed out of the system.  This wasn’t her problem.  It was never her problem.  Not like she wanted to be part of any of that anyway.  Being the helmsman on a fishing boat paid the bills just fine.  Or at least it would, once she got out of the house.  One step at a time.  For now it was just getting something saved up, and building a resume as a future boat captain.  Once she had her own boat, then she could make her own money.  No more getting wages and commission based off of the haul.  One can dream, right?

Another day, another trip out to sea.  Today was looking to be no more interesting.  Three hours into a good spot, there is a call that comes in.
“Come in Blue Angelray.”
She grabbed the controls.  “I read you, Yellow Jacket.  How are things with you?  Good haul?”
“Fuck that!  There’s a fight going on in space!  Right above the planet!”
The world suddenly dropped away.  “What?!  How?!”
“Got word that a Directorate ship is under attack.”
The thought made her heart stop.  The Protectorate was here?!  Was this the start of a war?  She didn’t want to focus on it.  It was too ugly to even consider.  Keep to what is happening now.  The rest can come later.
Half an hour goes by, and reality comes crashing down.  Or at least several hundred tons of it.  There is a huge blaze of blue in the sky above.  Everyone looks up, and so does she.  A massive blaze of blue light, shimmering everywhere.  First one, then another.  Finally, a trail of smoke that is heading down.  Drifting forward, toward where they are!  The crew is getting nervous.  So are the patrons.  Blue fire and black smoke, plummeting from the sky.  Kind of beautiful, in a twisted way.  It is coming forward, and getting lower and lower.  The navy blue metal is shimmering in the sunlight as it comes down.  At first it was wondering where it was going, now she realized, it was coming down towards them!
“Everybody, lines in!  We’re out of here!”
Nobody had to be told twice.  The patrons were too scared not to listen.  The crew and ran to secure everything, while she brought the engine online.
“Now get your asses inside and strap in!”  The crew ushered them inside and she didn’t wait to hear if they were seated.  There was no time.  She hit the accelerator.  A couple of fishing poles went flying off the back, along with one of the patrons gear.  The smoke was now so close!  They could make out the size and shape of the vessel that was crashing towards them.  A smaller ship.  A cruiser.  A vessel for recon.  So many holes blasted in it.  Billowing smoke and fire was everywhere.
She powered the vessel towards the shore.  It wasn’t close, but that ship was going to hit the water soon.  And when it did, it would create a massive wave that they had no chance of outrunning.  Not in a fishing boat.  That’s when the wind from the crashing ship hit them.  Everyone was thrown around as the boat was pushed over so far that it nearly capsized.  Once she got it sitting right again, she powered the accelerator as fast as it would go.  They’d have a matter of seconds to beat the worst of it.
The shore was a magical place that had never looked more distant in her life.  In the distance, there was an explosion.  The ship had finally impacted.  Daring to look toward the horizon to her backside, to the left, she saw a massive plume of blue fire rising towards the sky.  Fear gripped her.  Heart pounding.  If they didn’t get there in time, get to high ground, everyone in this ship would be dead.
That’s when they smashed into the sandy shore.  Without a second thought, she jumped off of the helm and opened up the compartment inside.
“Ditch your shit and run!  Head for high ground!  Now!”
It was up to them if they listened or not.  Some of them looked hurt.  She wasn’t about to wait and find out.  Like a demon possessed, she took off running.  The crewman from yesterday caught up and outpaced her.  The sound of everyone behind yelling after them.  The dunes down the way got pretty high.
Chancing a look back, the crewman’s eyes got wide.
“The water’s receding!”
“Shut the fuck up!” she snarled.  There was some agreement behind her.  Just keep running, she told herself.  No matter what, keep running.  Even if you have to go until you die, don’t stop running!  All the endurance working on a boat was finally paying off.  Up and down the sandy dunes.  A sound from the distance.  A crunching, twisting sound.  The wave impacting their boat?  It propelled her faster.  Got everyone else behind them moving too.
Minutes passed,  Up and down dunes and she didn’t even know how far she’d come.  Finally, she could go no further.  Crashing to the grassy dune, her legs gave out.  Everything did.  Breathing harder than she ever had before, she just laid there.  Finally, she willed herself up to look back at the ocean.
It was beyond description.  The water was so close, but it had stopped.  It was heading back out to sea.  The boat was smashed to shit on one side.  No way was it going to be salvaged.  But the radio may work to signal where they are.  She knew this part of the shore.  Too far from anywhere to walk, but close enough to get rescue.
The real show-stealer was out at sea.  In the distance, the blue flames were still pluming, then, in an instant, withered away.  She’d heard about reactor explosions, but this was something else.  Those who had kept pace with them stared with her, in awe and horror.  Most of the crew and patrons made it, but they were talking about people they didn’t see.  Bad way to go.  Now to begin the long, slow walk back to the boat, to see if they could get a rescue.

Hours later, the ship that picked them up docked in the harbor.  Her parents came running to meet her.  Even her brother embraced her in a big hug.  Her boss came down as well.  A portly, balding man, but with a kind heart.  He gave her a hug, and talked with everyone who got back.  Nothing but nice things said about her.  How she had done everything she could to save their lives.  That was nice, if not a little untrue.  Her own life had most definitely come first.  Being able to save everyone else was an afterthought.
That’s when she noticed all the emergency ships and shuttles coming in.  Drop vessels came into dock at the spaceport.  From where they were, they saw men and women being dropped off.  They looked terrible.  Coated in grim, burned to a crisp, or ripped to pieces.  It was horrifying to watch.  She didn’t want to think about it.

Triage was set up in the park outside of the government building.  Prefab buildings were immediately set up and wounded people were taken inside.  The wave had hurt a ton of people.  It had demolished a seaport on the other side of the bay.  Their cove thankfully was spared the worst of it.  Dozens of people killed, hundreds injured.  Whole ships and their crews were swallowed whole.  It was blind, stupid luck that they didn’t get caught up in the wave.  But the worst of it was the Directorate military servicemen and women who were brought there.  So many horribly maimed, burned, mutilated, or the blind few who got off lucky with a few scratches.
She walked through it all, having to give a statement and identify the bodies of a couple of people found at the wreckage of her boat.  One was a patron, the other was a crew member who was trying to help her.  It seems she had a broken leg and couldn’t run.  The crew member did everything they could to help, and died with her.  So awful.  Broke her heart to think about.  As she stepped through that place, listening to the screaming and crying, there was a cold, numb feeling inside.
That night, she had a dream.  Of being on that ship, in uniform, seeing the ocean coming up and being trapped.  In it, she died in a hundred ways.  She drowned in a cabin that filled with water.  In another, she was burned to death in blue flame.  Then her body was slowly crushed by the hull.  People all around, begging her to help.  What could she do?!  The only thing open was to wait and die.  Waking up in cold sweat, it occurred to her what she had to do.  There was only one option.

It had been a long argument between her and her family about this.  It was a journey she made alone.  Even her brother seemed unusually angry at her.  He was a sports star.  What did he care?  But she knew the truth – she couldn’t let this happen!  To anyone!  All of those hurting and crying people before.  How many of them wouldn’t be here if she had been there?!  How many mothers and fathers wouldn’t be checking to see if their families were on the casualty list if her skills to helm a ship were put to better use being able to fly a fighter, or a starship?
If they wouldn’t stand with her, then she’d walk this path alone.  They hadn’t seen what she had.  Her skills on that boat saved the lives of almost everyone.  Now she would save the lives of her fellow men and women in service to the Directorate.
Stepping into the Directorate Naval Enlistment Office, an older woman looked up from the desk.
“Can I help you?”
“Yeah.  I’d like to enlist.”

Until next time, a quote,

“A man who neglects his duty as a citizen is not entitled to his rights as a citizen.” – Tiorio

Peace out,

Maverick