Archive for category So-sy-uh-tee

Batman; A Lesson in Ethics

After a long day of quadratic equations, there is nothing more satisfying than planting an elbow in the spine of a psychotic junky clown. No, I’m not talking about harming any ICP fans. I’m talking about Batman versus the hordes of Joker’s deranged army.

Batman may just be a man with too much money and a haunting memory of his parents’ death, but he can also teach us something. Like how to loop a batarang around a corner of a room at an unsuspecting thug rendering them unconscious. Or that maybe, We The People, ought to take after Mr. Batman, and not compromise so damn quickly.

Batman HATES Insane Clown Posse

I say this because my mom, who is nearly 50, is disturbed by the fact that I still make time each week to squeeze in a few (or a few dozen) hours of gaming in between college and sleeping in until noon. In a way I am also disturbed. Every time I get that look from her that says “grow up” I find myself so willing to agree. But this is the same lifestyle that I’ve had since I was about 9. I can’t break that bond. I’m sorry Mom. I will probably never give you grandchildren either.

But this is the difference between me and Batman. If his parents weren’t murdered, I’m sure his Mom would have told him to stop climbing all over skyscrapers and roughhousing with the neighborhood criminals. You know what Batman would have said? “No.” Because Batman knows what is right. Batman has muthafuckin integrity. Furthermore, Batman doesn’t kill people. He just beats them to a pulp.

But what is Batman all about? Why did I just play Batman: Arkham City for seven hours straight?

I’ll tell you: You’re Bruce Wayne, a billionaire with a passion for Halloween and an obsession with bats. You live in a scary city that’s been transformed into a prison and is full of sketchy looking characters, mutants, and psychopaths. And… well…. Your Bruce Wayne a.k.a. Batman… your kind of a ninja… it’s sort of your job to beat the piss out of these people…

My point is, it’s a great game and I feel no shame playing it for so long. Maybe I’m just going crazy, but I feel like this game has a moral: Stick to your guns if you know what’s right. Now, I wasn’t enlightened on top of a Tibetan mountain, but I do have a sense of yin and yang, right and wrong, good and bad, liberal and conservative, etc. Often times though, when another view is asserted, I shy away, or I say something to the effect of “you have a point.” This is all wrong.

When Mister Freeze was looking for a cure for Batman (who was poisoned by the diabolical Joker), he had a change of heart. He decided Batman wasn’t worth it and told Batman off. Instead of dropping his shoulders and going back to the Bat cave, Batman grabbed Mister Freeze by the icicle and wiped his little blue face all over his cryogenics lab.

Batman does not flinch. Nor does he kill. I think this is a good lesson for America. (Yes, I’m going there.) When some whiny politically motivated douche gets in your face, ask yourself, “What would Batman Do?” You don’t have to throw a fist, but don’t back down.

And Mom, seriously, lighten up. At least this isn’t Grand Theft Auto 5. I still don’t know when that’s coming out. When it does, Batman will go out the window. Figurateively (because Batman does do a lot of literal window going-out-of).

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Dear Santa, You Suck

Christmas is here. And it has never sucked so hard.

My hatred for Christmas is coming on quite strong this year. There are just a few more days before the day itself arrives. In the meantime, painful visits with family occur, along with spending way too much money on gifts for people you don’t like.

I can’t pinpoint when Christmas was ruined for me, or how it was, but I think it has something to do with the myth of Santa being dispelled, and the mounting number of dollars I was spending each year on my parents, my sisters, my friends, and any small children my parent’s pressured me into “gifting.”

But at that age, I suppose Christmas was awesome. Christmas kicked ass. Breakfast was chocolates that came out of a stocking, and you got to play with a stockpile of brand new toys all day long – Not to mention the excitement of a fat man in a red suit jumping down your chimney.

You know what magic is and what it can do, but as a child, Santa Clause is the only person in the world you know of, that can use it. You have witnessed the magical act of Christmas morning suddenly appearing before you. It is more than just presents under the tree. Their appearance is magical, and the aura of the living room, with it’s Christmas lights left on from the night before, is beautiful.  It’s no wonder why kids get so excited; at that age, magic is real.

I remember when I was told the truth about Santa Clause. The look on my Mom’s face, and the tone in my Dad’s voice told me everything I didn’t want to know. Magic was not real. I would never become an astronaut or slay a dragon; Santa Clause did not exist and magic was stuff for little kids. My childhood grew a cancer then, and over the years, it slowly died.

Christmas was still a good thing even after I KNEW. Santa was a load of shit, and I gave my parents knowing winks during the ceremonial unwrapping of presents. It wasn’t until I actually had to pay for other people’s presents that I started to realize the brutality of the holiday season. The simple letter to Mom or Dad wouldn’t suffice. Nor would the “FREE COUPON FOR A BACK RUB.” I had to buy things now. With real money. And my parent’s weren’t going to give me that money.Snatch and grab Santa! Snatch and grab!

At first the presents I bought were cheap: necklaces, stuffed animals, a hat, etc. But after a while, they became more and more expensive, and I became more and more broke.

There is no joy in Christmas shopping. Most guys will tell you that they try and accomplish all of it within a 24 hour time frame. My general idea of a mall trip is similar to a tactical military insertion: Snatch and Grab. Any loose ends can be tied up along the way, ie a pair of ear rings for your girlfriend and the damn batteries for whichever useless electronic you bought at Radio Shack.

This is not how things get done though. At least not for me. I may own a Kindle, I may enjoy my vanilla soy lattes and even wear a sporty looking Columbia all weather jacket, but I am by no means a modern mall-going man. The mall does something to my brain that causes massive panic. It is an overstimulation of all my senses. To put it lightly, the moment I enter a mall, I feel like vomiting rainbows.

My idea of a Snatch and Grab is destroyed by the overpowering mind fuck of the mall. It has an extraordinary smell to it. This isn’t just during Christmas, but all times of the year. The thick smells of fried things drenched in sugar, body odor, cologne wafting out of Aeropostale, rubber and plastic MADE IN CHINA, chemical fragrances of janitorial cleaning supplies. It all swirls into the nostrils in one smell known as shopping smell.

To the ears and eyes, the mall is no less overwhelming, though it is less pleasant. It’s constant loop of Christmas music is a terrible thing to have to listen to again and again, but when it is combined with a plethora of screaming children, angry parents, annoying teenagers, and a disgruntled Santa Clause, the sound is unbearable. One thing I cannot stand is all the noise, noise, noise, nosie! Just like a little speck of Las Vegas landed on your hometown from outer space; it is just a giant neon sparkle, blinding in every direction and labeled with the very worst of consumerism.

 So, with sweat rolling down my forehead and an expression of utter terror on m face, I leave the mall with less than my very soul I walked in with. The mission a complete failure. My dignity and faith in humanity stripped.

This is adulthood, I suppose. The days when your physical prowess defined adulthood are long gone. Hell, the days when toil and labor defined adulthood are gone. Adulthood has become a commercial thing now.

I long for the day, when I can safely exile myself from my family (with diplomatic immunity), and pretend like Christmas no longer exists. Or at the very least, keep my money in my bank account and enjoy the holiday in other ways. Being secular doesn’t leave much room for me to be a good Christian, but I appreciate it still, and it is possible to celebrate love, good will, and happiness without losing your mind or all of your money.

Until then, Bah Humbug.

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Get Your Philosophy from a Bumper Sticker

I have grown more acquainted with today’s hipster.

Mind you, I live in a college town, so their long scarves and olive drab side bags are everywhere. I don’t care for them too much, but I do enjoy reading some of their bumper stickers.Today, I saw one that I hereby officially endorse as my personal mantra, and blogging slogan:

“Don’t Believe Everything You Think.”

No words can be truer. We are often deceitful of ourselves and where are heart lies, if only to fit in. A friend of mine (also under the hipster influence) told me yesterday a very good line as well: “Perception is reality.” I say this in light of the intense negativity, propaganda, and utter bullshit that has infiltrated all lives of the 21st century. Step outside yourself and ask yourself what you see and what you want.

Well said hipsters, well said.

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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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