Archive for November, 2011

GOOD blog, BAD blog, HAPPY blog, SAD blog.

SINCE WHEN IS BLOGGING COMPASSIONATE?

A recent online debate I had with a friend over Veterans-Day inspired some questioning of societal norms. Blogging, for instance, has been one of those.

Quite...

The debate over Veterans-Day, involved me, an ex-Marine, and a fanatical liberal, became heated fast. On one side, the military was an evil, corrupt mechanism whose sole purpose was sheer destruction. On the other, it was  necessary, proud, and slightly romantic in America; taboo to bash.

Interesting that it seems taboo. Although, I stand on the military’s side (and because I am a dick), I am wont to rebel against those standards.

My first victim: blogging etiquette. Of course, one should always be polite… But please. I have read those “Freshly Pressed.”

Out of every five “Freshly Pressed” I read, one is funny, or informative (usually just funny though). I’m fine with that. It’s the comments they get. There are dozens of them and they are 90 percent useless blurbs.

There are good blogs out there. I know this, because they’re easy to find. These blogs are highly entertaining, informative – or at the least interesting. Who’s really interested in these anyway? Their titles: “Winter Hiking in Africa,” “Dinasaurus Rex,” “Mapleberyy Christmas,” etc.

A couple of them I read today, were brilliant. But brilliance equals zero comments. With this in mind we must dumb down our thoughts. Maybe I’m jealous of them. Maybe I just don’t truly understand the nature of the blogosphere. But what’s there to get? It’s an interweb within the internet; anything goes, it’s do-it-yourself,  and you can reach the entire world with a mouse click.

WAT

Thought this was hilarious looking.

I’m lost in this world like a guppie in the ocean. I find myself asking “who will read my blog?” when people are content with “Vintage Barbie Collection”. The worst part is, to confess these thoughts to those “Freshly Pressed” authors (the Worthless Blog Community in general), is to be shunned from their almighty status. Even if your comment is on some lonely far off blog, your comment still stands the test of moderation. This isn’t to say my blog is anything exceptional, and I’m not trying to sound righteous, because others may find mine just as worthless. I’m just straightening out the facts here, and at the same time vomiting some grief.

There is a lot of people out there – even more bloggers. Why are the most popular issues so pathetic? Several posts back, I discuss the Libyans. Their revolution was born on the backs of bloggers. In a time of political unrest, American bloggers are content with fluff stories. It’s upsetting.

We can be polite if we must, but let’s not feel so inclined to be nice. If you can’t stand the heat get out of the kitchen. ‘S all I’m sayin’.

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The Monster of Media

IN THE LAST TWO DECADES, THE MEDIA AND IT’S ASSOCIATED TECHNOLOGY HAS GROWN RAPIDLY:

Books, magazines, television, movies, news, the internet, and video-gaming have all become part of our everyday lives in this day and age. Due to the holiday surge of popular video-games released this month, I have been somewhat of a hermit. The most popular of these games are crafted with an undeniable sense of artwork.

More often video games are subject to film adaptations, book adaptations, prequels, sequels, comic books, other forms of continuation, and countless types of fan art. Brandon Sanderson, author of the Mistborn series writes in the December issue of Gameinformer about expanding the stories of video-games through multimedia outlets. “Hybrid media, like we’re talking about here, should be less about making us experience the same story over and over, and more about expanding the story,” writes Sanderson. “More importantly, we already have a storytelling form (video-games) that is good at blending genres. It was built to blend genres,” he writes.

Gaming is no longer a simple time killing hobby. The days of breezing through Mario World, or playing a few rounds of Mortal Kombat II are through. Gaming is now opening doors in the media that inspire players to be creative, think and ask questions.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, released in 2009, allowed the player to gun down innocent Russian civilians in the “No Russian” mission. The basis for this was key to the story line: as an undercover CIA agent, you are tasked to infiltrate a Russian terrorist group and aid them in an attack on a Russian airport. Although games such as Grand Theft Auto allow the killing of innocents, Modern Warfare 2’s “No Russian” was serious, politically motivated, realistic, and disturbing (yet I played it over and over again).

A scene from "No Russian."

Everyone remembers the stink caused by Grand Theft Auto 3. A game centered around committing crime was sending the wrong idea for children. Not to mention it involved prostitution, and later in the series, drunk driving. But in all fairness, film contains worse things. The release of the Tom Clancy-esque Call of Duty games has solidified the fact that not all games are suited for children. In fact, most children won’t understand the themes of these games to begin with.

Which brings me to my next point: Rainbow 6. Ubiosoft’s Tom Clancy inspired Rainbow 6 games were once a dominating force in tactical, SWAT styled first person shooters (FPS). The original one was the first computer game I ever owned. In the December issue of Gameinformer, Matt Bertz and Jeff Cork released a sneak peek at Ubisofts newest development: Rainbow 6 Patriots. The article’s cover page is a blood-red, blindfolded Statue of Liberty. The headline: “AMERICANS ARE ANGRY”, this is gonna be good…Pretty much amazing.

As the world changes, media changes. In the article, Ubisoft acknowledges that players familiar with FPS’s are tiresome with fighting off Nazis, Russians, and foreign terrorists. So they chose a storyline that hits close to home. The first few paragraphs I read sounded like an opinion piece from a newspaper,  rather than an article on a video-game. They cite the failing economy, the growing despair of Americans on both sides of the political spectrum, and the rise in paramilitary groups and militias around the country. In the game you experience a violent political and social revolution where you are in the position to kill fellow countrymen. This sort of game raises serious ethical questions about what is allowed in Media, and how we experience it, as well as what direction America is heading in.

Last years release of Medal of Honor 2 caused a similar fuss, especially in military communities. In that game, players were allowed to play as Taliban forces and fight American troops. AAFES (Post Exchange) wouldn’t even allow copies to be sold in their stores. Another game, Homefront, also saw the killing of Americans (during a fictional North Korean invasion).

In my own opinion, these multimedia regulations are slop. Books, film, games, etc. are all just the main ingredients for a multimedia soup where the internet is the broth that brings them together. To restrict one without the other due to content would be unfair. I congratulate Ubisoft for being so bold. It may inspire interest in politics amongst young people – hopefully not violence. It allows those without imagination to view the world in a different light.

What are morals?

Brandon Sanderson seems to think that video-gaming is the future of entertainment. But it is hard for me to imagine everyone, young and old, glued to their favorite game console. Gaming simply isn’t for everyone. I do think that the craft of video-gaming is advancing in ways that were never thought practical. The story, whether it is fictional, or non-fictional is becoming interactive, not just in video-games, but in movies and ebooks. Could you imagine being able to interact with a news article? That’s a little farfetched I know, but it could be the future of how we entertain and inform ourselves.

As far as ethics go, I was born into the age of the internet; My human anatomy teacher was Rotten.com, and my sex ed teacher was Nakedchicks.com. The encyclopedia is Google. I played Ghost Recon so much, that I decided to join the Army. To say the least, me and many others from my generation have successfully desensitized ourselves from the media. Anything goes.

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True Rebellion; Occupy Gamestop

Revolutions and civil disobedience are conventional forms of rebellion, but the best form of political dissent is plain old apathy.

Welcome to America, have a molotov.

Why, you ask? Because being passionate, actively involved, and hopeful, causes solutions to our political affairs. I’m not a simple rebel. No, I’m much more complex. I’m a rebel within a rebel. I’m destroying the idea that in order to be politically active, you must take advantage of your rights. It’s no easy fight though… especially when you consider the past few weeks.

Being apathetic, requires a lot of down time. A little too much down time, if you ask me. In fact, with the release of Battlefield 3, Modern Warfare 3, Skyrim, and Monday’s release of Assassins Creed: Revelations, I’ve had a hard time keeping up. Video game season has hit everyone in full force this year.

Just a couple weeks ago, I bought the new Batman: Arkham City game, thinking it would be fun, and long enough to hold me over through the college quarter. But I had another thing coming. Modern Warfare 3’s release had me playing it till 8 o’ clock in the morning for about three days straight. And Skyrim’s release has had me glued to the T.V. since it came out at midnight last night.

Just an excuse to look at pictures of superheros.

So many amazing video games are being released all at once, that even the most intense (and often overweight) players are having a hard time keeping up. I like to corelate today’s issues with those of the past because nothing has changed. The long lines outside of Gamestop in the dead of night in the freezing cold, waiting to be  called inside; standing outside a canning factory in Chicago during winter in the 20’s, begging for work.

And those lines can get violent too (the Gamestop ones). The Great Depression may have been a fiercely competitive time for workers, but the midnight release of Skyrim was a violent free-for-all in the store parking lots. Hoardes of people dressed like Harry Potter, or Vikings, bitterly arguing in the cold, about which Lord of the Rings book was better. Sometimes it came to blows (or noodle-armed slaps). It was mostly passive, but I couldn’t help but worry about what would happen if the registers went down. Or what if someone just got a little too anxious? Would it resort to violence? Would my pre-ordered copy of the game still make it into my hands tonight? Thankfully it did.

All the while I was there though, I couldn’t help but judge them. In their capes, and plastic knight’s helmets. A girl had gone so far as to dress like a lizard (and somehow made it look sexy – is that weird?). No matter how far apart I stood from them, or how many cigarettes I smoked, or how col I actually looked, I couldn’t escape the fact that I was still there, with all of them. One of the masses. The 99% essentially. I wasn’t mad, but I was definitely ashamed. I turned my hood up, and stared at the ground, and hoped to God, no one I knew would see me. But of course, people I know did see me… at 1 o’ clock a.m. …. at a Walmart parking lot….. next to Gamestop…. (sigh)….

It's awesome and you know it!

Not that it mattered who saw me. The friends I saw were their for the same reason as me: Skyrim. It’s actually strange that I would be ashamed of such a quest… (Yes. Quest. Gotta problem?) I mean, I’ve grown up in the video game generation along with my friends. I live in a semi-secluded rural community. What else am I going to do? Play baseball?

In some cases I would like to play baseball. Skyrim cost me $65. The same with any of the other brand new games that have recently popped up. The hundreds of people waiting at the store to buy those games are all going to pay that same price, and maybe then some extra for a gaming manual or controller. 300 people buying a $65 dollar game is an easy $18 thousand for that particular store we were at. This isn’t including the other stores that are also offering a midnight release.

Activision sold 6.5 million copies of Modern Warfare 3 in the first 24 hours and made more than $400 million in sales in the U.S. and Brittain alone. Sales for Skyrim aren’t available, but I imagine their just trailing behind Modern Warfare 3, and probably beating Battlefield 3. Supposedly the American economy is failing.

I hate to say it, but this stuff fascinates me. I’m a huge gamer nerd and this November has been a gamer’s wet dream come true. Every now and then, it’s good to put down the newspaper, and instead of fussing about the world, you can forget about it. REBEL for America! REBEL for Skyrim!

 

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NY Times Speaks a Dead Language

DOES ANYONE HAVE A F****** CLUE WHAT LANGUAGE THE MAJOR NEWS OUTLETS ARE SPEAKING?

I consider myself a pretty smart DUDE, therefore I find it appropriate to stay updated with the news. Granted, there’s a lot of it… so you must pick and choose which subjects you stay on top of. Don’t ask me why I would choose politics, or business. I still don’t understand either of them.

God knows I try to understand politics, and more recently, I’ve been trying to grasp the concept of the failing U.S. economy. Shouldn’t everyone? It’s asinine to worry over something you don’t fully understand. A few years ago, recession was a bad word. More recently, the one word everyone is afraid of is collapse. What does that mean? Does that mean another Depression (notice the caps lock)? I’m unsure.

What I do know is that the EU plays a bigger role in the financial crisis than I thought.I turn on the radio in my truck, and it’s NPR. Someone is frantically spelling out doom for Greece and the U.S. economy. What does Greece have to do with the U.S. economy? No clue. This calls for a news paper. And here I am, hoping to make sense of it all; I am too naive. I open a NY Times article. I can now fully appreciate the statement “ignorance is bliss.”

It has had little intrinsic connection to the American stock market in the past, as Mr. Bernstein is quick to acknowledge. But it has been a perversely contrarian signal of late. As the European rescue plan for Greece appeared at times to unravel last week, Greek 10-year notes hit new lows, falling to less than 30 percent of their nominal value — a 70 percent discount. As the price dropped, the American stock market often rose.

The distant pop you just heard was a cluster of neurotransmitters in your brain exploding. I am actually mad that I can’t understand this, or provide anyone with information regarding the crisis facing Greece (or Italy). It has come to the point where reading a biased and misleading article is more appealing (and informative) than anything else.

This brief sentence from an NPR article made the most sense to me:

(The Greeks) see the (poltical) wrangling as a shameful circus while they get poorer and poorer.

 Sounds oddly familiar…

All other news articles may as well be in Sanskrit. Any helpful hints? Books? Articles? Can you just tell me what’s going on? I really hate to say it, but I’m completely baffled by major news sources. I hate to sound like a typical conservative-doucher-conspiracist, but this is obviously a ploy used by the “got-derm” liberal media to confuse simple folk like maself and invoke irrational fear. The less I understand about the news, the more I’m afraid of it; the more news I understand the more afraid I am of everything else.

It’s a lose-lose situation.

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AN OFFICIAL THANK YOU

Slowly, drifting into vertigo and delirium, wasting away on Word Press I am in search of a new blog category: Blogging.

I only want to write about blogging, because to me, it is important today. And because I find it a little more valuable than Facebook. Scratch that, I find it much more valuable.

Not all the information on these blogging websites is valuable. Not all the information is true for that matter. Not all the information is even information! Half of it is just garbled opinions with misspellings and news links.

But that is what I love about it.

What we call real news is depressing. I apologize to those professional journalists who work so hard to bring us segmented depression. I am deeply sorry that your message must be so morbid and that you work so damn hard for ignorant people across the world to become enlightened. But I am more sorry, because I value the word of the common ignoramus more than I value yours.

Is journalism a failing profession? Never. At least not investigative journalism. But as far as local opinion and first hand accounts go, yes; that sort of journalism is dying an agonizing death. It is the obligation of all rank and file armed with a laptop or other electronic device to emit news from their fingertips as it happens before them.

It is more than just news too. For a while, I have been wanting to post something on social climates (and now I guess I have) in America, and even around the world. But it is not difficult to understand social climates anywhere when you browse through the millions of available blogs. You get a taste of personality, a piece of advice, insight on a culture, or otherwise personal information you would not know.

For that, this is my official thanks to all bloggers out there. Your cause is a  righteous one. God speed you fucking maniacs.

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The Worst News EVER

THIS IS IT.

This is the worst news that has ever been told. If you are holding a cup of coffee, I suggest you swallow it down now. If you are using power-drill or holding a newborn child, you may want to put it aside for now. This will probably disturb you.

You or your loved ones, may possibly be…. A LIBERAL.

I know! It is hard to believe, but after taking this shocking test on Gotoquiz.com I have discovered that yours truly, is in fact, a liberal. It doesn’t matter how many assault rifles I want to own or how I want to use them on illegal immigrants. According to the polls, I am one bad fetus-aborting-pollution-hating-gay-marriage-supporting mother of a liberal. Even on this poll, again, I am overwhelmingly liberal.

If you are not a liberal, then what about your spouse? Your children? Are they?

My good friend Pat

Who am I really kidding, though? Everyone knows who they affiliate with. Most of my friends have piercings and I enjoy a fresh slice of sushi now and again. I’m not afraid of these things, though. No, because in my own nihilism, I am not a liberal – and you don’t have to be one of those sissies either.

The main reason I post this, is because beneath a mess of mixed identities and ego, I’m just a regular person. And like a regular person, I got on the bus, read the news, and learned that according to Mississippi lawmakers, life begins at conception. Yes. When mommy and daddy bumped uglies. That’s your effective date of life. To hell with Birth Days, in Mississippi, you celebrate Conception Days. So in Mississippi, I may actually be a year older than I am. Cool! But not really.

Initiative 26, which is more than likely going to pass, will ban abortion entirely, even in cases involving rape, incest, and health. It will also ban some forms of birth control (Why?).

The flaming liberal emerges.

I understand that abortion is bad, and those who take advantage of them are irresponsible. One might say they are complete idiots. But the fetus really doesn’t have much in the way of a cerebral cortex at this point in it’s “life” and therefore doesn’t necessarily worry about these things – or anything for that matter. I dare say, such a fetus wouldn’t have much more value than any other bodily tissue, say a spleen.

Maybe that’s a bold statement, but so is saying a child should be given up for adoption at a young age, then be aborted as an uncognitive fetus. And I hate to bring out the extremes, but isn’t it a little ridiculous to deny a 13 year old girl who is a rape and/or incest victim the option of abortion? That almost is actually The Worst News Ever.

Let’s put aside the moral and religious ideas. No one said you had to believe in God to be an American. In fact, I’m pretty sure that is far from being a pre-requisite.

No abortions in Mississippi? Get your coat hangers ready. Your either about to have a lot of miserable children or unhealthy women. Fine. I don’t plan on having unprotected sex in that state anyway. Hopefully they don’t ban rubbers their. Oh, what? Florida, Michigan, Montana, Wisconsin, and Ohio are hoping to push for similar proposition? I guess that makes six states that I will never visit.

 I find it strange that after all these years of striving for justice, equality, and freedom, issues such as these are so blindly sought after. For instance, Idiot Lawyer quoted in the New York Times: “… it’s an opportunity for people to say that we’re made in the image of God.” That supports nothing, but your religion which you are forcing upon others. The idea that a fetus is a person with human rights is more convincing. With that, can a fetus have citizenship? Could the fetus sign some documents for the INS?

All this hair-splitting is really irritating.

 As sarcastic as I may sound, it is a serious issue that needs resolve. States can do what they wish with the clinics, but life must be determined at a federal level

… Rest assured conservative viewers, I do support smoking and I still love the Second amendment.

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Change Mongering

SO I HAVE BEEN GETTING BACK INTO THE HABIT OF WRITING.

I haven’t been blogging as often as I should, I know. Mainly because the news is becoming a serious drag. I would like to make sense of it all, but people are going to take it their own way anyway. Journaling thoughts and events has been taking precedence.

I watched the news the other night, Gaddafi handcuffed and beaten, being strung up to the hood of a small rebel pick-up truck. The Revolution is over. Or at least, the glory of the revolution is, anyway. Who’s next?

It’s weird to see those things on TV. I always liked to imagine what it would be like to live in the colonial era. When monarchs were beheaded in front of the public. With the internet, and the handy portability of a video recorder on just about ANY cell phone, these public executions are available to the entire world. AWESOME.

I don’t approve of his death, but I definitely don’t disapprove of it either. He shares one thing in common with the people he fought: bleeding out on the street.

I must hand it to the Libyans. They are a psychotic bunch. Inventive too. Their tactics (in politics and military) are brutal too. I thought about that today, as I walked past West Lake, Seattle, today. I noticed most the Occupy protesters were gone by this point. Just a few ragged looking people shouting something belligerent. Disturbing the peace.

Nobody left West Lake with their innards dragging behind them though. And I guess that is the measure of a succesful protest in America. The less entrails, the better. Not for the Arabs though, and I envy them for that much.

Libya’s the only thing in the news that really catches my attention now. Everything else is just shocker news. Mothers selling their daughters virginity on the internet. People on Welfare refusing to take drug tests (really?). Boring, and slightly disgusting.

What next for Libya?

Is Libya the new Afghanistan? (I don’t mean Afghanistan in the sense that it is a war instead of a country.) Will it become a Somalia? A lawless territory disputed amongst warlords and corporate interests? Or will the name Libya usher in a new political process. One of people first, and one of progress, and action.

Or maybe those kinds of thoughts can be considered un-American and I’d be better off just rooting for the home-team. The hope that humanity can prevail without politics is something I share in common with the many anarchists attending the OWS protests. But there is no way anyone can be taken seriously as an anarchist. Which is why that idea is doomed to failure (just the way the anarchists want it to).

I hate to sound cliché, but times they are a changin’. Current events reveal a world that scream for it. Me and one of my good friends have had this conversation before: is the world really changing? There is a straight answer for that one: Yes. But hasn’t it always been changing?: Yes. Will the things that are happening now make any difference to how we live?

I’m rambling, I know, but what difference does todays change make on yesterdays? Or am I too young to understand? There’s too many questions, and I hate to share them without the answers.

With that, I’ll leave this alone. Adieu.

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