Gaming, the Writer, and the Great Mirror

Mary plays a dragonborn. Manny, our new player, gave her a little Charizard toy. Said toy is now her marker on the board. Here's Mary's dragonborn encased in a block of ice because she failed tow saving throws. Any questions?

May 1, 2012

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been thinking a lot about tabletop gaming. It’s no surprise, seeing as how “Elves with Shotguns” is just about ready to hit RPGNow. However, I’ve also been thinking about my experience in RPGs. In a way, I can chronicle my journey through gaming the same way I chronicle my journey through writing.

My first character was a runethane named Seth. He was curious about everything (much like me since I was new to the game), and used words to cast his magic. Writing and runes were his power source. This echoes my own mentality that writing was an important, if not vital, aspect of everyday life. However, Seth was also a very squishy mage. Two or three hits and Seth went down faster than Lindsay Lohan trying to get into a nightclub.

Seth was a reflection of how I saw myself. I was fairly new, and while I was proud of my early accomplishments, I knew I could do better.


Ancient rune magic. by ~KypcaHT on deviantART

My next character had no name. He was simply called the Envoy, a warrior with a purpose. He was a soldier through and through, flexible enough to fling razor-tipped darts before unsheathing a sword and going to town on the enemy or either beat a prisoner into submission or scare the information out of him. He even got the kill-shot on an elemental after having been poisoned for much of the fight. All in all, a good sophomore try, but he was tough and boisterous and lacked the subtlety of Seth.

Likewise, my early forays into writing left me with a bruised ego, so I overcompensated in some ways. I wanted the writing to be tougher, grittier, but it only lost the little elements that I enjoyed inserting into my work.

Next came Jareth, a half-elf rogue who could do a lot of things… he just wasn’t that great at any of them. One running gag with my group was that it was better to have me try and lock something than to try and open it. Because I rolled so low, it was just assumed that instead of unlocking treasure chests, I had somehow just put an extra lock on it. Yeah. That bad.

Jareth represents the evolution from enthusiastic to hard-headed and then to jack-of-all-trades, master of none. I had to find the right balance…

Next came Pommel, my warforged fighter. Resolute to not fall into the trap of the meat shield again, I built him to fit the world: this was an evil campaign. He was strong and tough but had some smarts. He wasn’t reckless… except for that level of barbarian that let him rage. Pommel was controlled chaos. He was simple but effective in what he did, and he could be versatile if the need arose.

After realizing I couldn’t do everything as a writer, I did something similar. I started specializing, but I never forgot to pick bits and pieces from here and there to supplement my work. Every writer needs to read poetry, news, and memoirs even if he or she only writes novels. Likewise, a fighter could always benefit from a level of wizard and barbarian.


warforged by ~monkesso on deviantART

Finally, we get to my latest character: Wren the warlock. Wren was very much a hard-hitter. He was a striker. He did the most with the least. He also had that bit of versatility I’d come to embrace in Pommel. He could cast ritual magic aside from blasting things at long range. He was also personable and could handle himself in social situations if need be, but there was nothing that said he wouldn’t pick a pocket if it got him.

Wren embodies my most current attitude towards writing. I write short articles like this, but I also have learned to say the most with the least in everything from Charcoal Streets to the upcoming gaming book. I read news, journals, poetry, and anything else that seems interesting if only to be exposed to new writing styles and keep mine from getting stale. Of course, I don’t doubt my writing and gaming will change. It’s just interesting to me how each stage can get represented by a character form that time period.

And now, back to making prints and proofreading the final chapters.

See you soon. Oh, and feel free to share your own gaming stories below. How do your characters represent you? Or are they reflections of what you wish you could be?

While you ponder that, please enjoy two and a half minutes of sheer nergasmic joy.

Steve Jobs and the Legacy of Marketing

Don't get teary-eyed until you read this... Then you'll hate me.

October 6, 2011

Steve Jobs passed away yesterday. A lot of my friends have already expressed their gratitude for Apple products, and while I know that Jobs did indeed change the market and helped usher the computer revolution, I’m still a PC man.

This is not a slam on Jobs, people. I’ve used Apple products before. I had to while I was working with He Who Shall Not Be Named. I even own an iPod I like a lot. I can appreciate the simplicity of selling a product that anyone could use right out of the box, and I think Apple does a lot of things very well. However, I have one huge gripe with Apple products.

That would be Apple product users.


Apple Power by *theprodiqy on deviantART

Guys, Steve Jobs was a businessman and a nerd. He made and sold computers. Owning said computers does not make you part of the Apple community, some Borg-like collective of innovation. Using a Mac does not make you a genius. A Mac is not akin to the monolith in 2001. It is not a mysterious source of power that will grant you God-like abilities. Sure, an iPhone is handy, and there are many things it lets you do.

But it’s a phone.

I understand that a Mac is quite powerful and a handy tool if you want to work in film or graphic design. But it’s not THE tool. Back when I worked with HWSNBN, he had the latest, top-of-the-line Apple products. He could make gorgeous graphic designs and covers. He had the latest version of Photoshop and iMovie.

I could do the same kind of design on a four-year-old computer with a cheap Photoshop knock-off that was eight versions out of date. It took a few seconds for the filters and effects to render, but it was the same thing. I wish I could show the images, but Texas deer ranchers are VERY protective of people using images of their deer.


rainbow apple iphone wallpaper by ~MelissaReneePohl on deviantART

Look, Jobs was a very influential man. He was a very smart man who knew how to sell a product by making it more than a product and instead a part of the consumer’s identity.

So, with all the respect I DO hold for him, Rest in Peace, Steve Jobs.

And to the rest of you, stop trying to push your Apple products on me like you were cheap drug dealers. I’ve dealt with cheap drug dealers. Your pitches are no better.


Steve Jobs Potrait by gadgets by ~viruskuman on deviantART

5 Things Lucas SHOULD Change in Star Wars

Not shown? Restraint and humility.

September 6, 2011

George Lucas is unstoppable. Despite the fan outcries, he will continue to make changes to the Star Wars saga, possibly until his dying breath when he finally just superimposes his face on everyone. He’s already making little changes, like Ewoks blinking, to the big changes, like Vader repeating the oft-mocked “NOOOOO!” from Revenge of the Sith and changing puppet Yoda with digi-Yoda.

But if Lucas is hell-bent on continually tweaking his greatest work, and the love of millions of people world-wide, let’s make the changes mean something.

1) The Great Gungan Genocide

No fictional creature has inspired more hatred in my heart than Jar Jar Binks. He and his entire species of Muppet rejects took a movie that was already at the bottom of the barrel and slammed it nose-first into the bedrock.

Let’s remove every Gungan in the films. They add nothing. Jar Jar is supposed to be comic relief and comes across as a barely-restrained minstrel show. The entire Gungan race could be removed from The Phantom Menace and replaced with generic Naboo troops and we would gain some traction instead of having Jar Jar slip on the preverbal banana peel every five minutes he’s on-screen.

And don’t tell me Lucas can’t do it. He can create armies of droids and the planet Coruscant in its full glory. He can get rid of the annoying frog-people.


A Geico and a Gungan by ~Roswell619 on deviantART

2) Less is More… Sometimes

Nothing says good writing like “show, don’t tell.” In The Empire Strikes Back, Yoda doesn’t say he’s some great warrior. He doesn’t boast. He lifts a flipping X-Wing with his MIND!

We don’t need monologues to tell us Naboo is in trouble. We don’t need people to tell us how they feel. That makes me angry! If Lucas had allowed, like in previous works, for a little improvisation on the part of the actors, a lot of the wooden dialogue and performances could have been avoided. These aren’t bad actors. Natalie Portman won an Oscar for playing a schizophrenic ballerina. Ewan McGregor has BAFTA Scotland acting awards and a list of nominations that would be the envy of any actor. Liam Neeson is… well, he’s freakin’ Liam Neeson!

The audience is NOT dumb. We can SEE the action. We can READ faces. If brevity is the soul of wit, the prequels have not a soul but an ethereal vacuum that eats spirits.

3) Harrison Ford Justice

This one is not a change so much as a reversion.

Han shot first. Han is established to be a two-timing scoundrel who really is in it for the money. Han grows to become a general in the Rebel Alliance and ends up with the girl, eventually starting a family that includes three Jedi (not counting his wife, and let’s ignore that one kid, well, had a little of his grandfather in him.)

All of that gets undone if Han doesn’t shoot first.

First of all, it’s a crappy effect. Han looks like Stretch Armstrong. Second of all, for decades, he was the guy who showed he was willing to kill to escape any situation. Greedo may not have shot him there and then. Han just assumed.

Let’s give Han his balls back, please.


Han Shot First by ~Ticiano on deviantART

4) Daddy was a Dick

The final scene showing Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Yoda as Force ghosts was a defining moment for Darth Vader. He had fully cast aside the teachings of the Sith. He killed his master and saved the son he had, just minutes before, been ready to kill. Anakin Skywalker achieved a measure of redemption and became what he should have become: a servant of the Force.

Now, we have Hayden Christensen douching it up.

Why?

Sure, people can justify it by saying that Christensen’s appearance is what Vader looked like before falling to the Dark side, that his physical appearance was nothing more than the ravages of time and battle.

Crap.

This is the best example of Lucas taking away actors, effects, and, in general, the work of other men and women who made his films what they are. Yes, Lucas owns the rights to the franchise, but it’s outright rude to get rid of the hard work others put into creating his vision.

5) Jabba’s Had Some Work Done

Industrial Light and Magic has some of the most talented visual effects artists on the planet. They have enough hardware and software that I’m convinced they could re-create the Matrix. They helped pioneer the field of digital effects…

So why can’t they make Jabba the Hutt look like Jabba the Hutt?

I mean, look at him in the DVD edition. Even in the screenshots of the new edition, Jabba looks like some generic Hutt, like the animators had a vague idea of what he was supposed to look like. I’ll buy that he gained weight between the films until he was the puss-sack from Return of the Jedi… but come on!

Overall, I have many words on the obsession with re-editing and adding, and changing, and altering tiny things, but that’s for another article. Right now, I’m trying to fight my inner nerd, who really wants to see these films, and my inner writer, that wants to throttle Lucas.

However, there is ONE change that might make the saga cool, or at least so utterly ridiculous I’d watch it. Behold!

Breaking the Nerd Hierarchy

Weekend warriors...

August 16, 2011

Welcome back, folks! I hope you like the new site design. If you haven’t read it yet, the first Weekly Muse short story, “Treats,” is up and I’m working on the second one for next week. Vote here or on Facebook, but you can only input more than one option on the main site.

And now, let’s talk about the nerd hierarchy.


Larp – group picture by ~kickfoot on deviantART

I have friends who are LARPers. I myself enjoyed a little Kanar back in college. I experimented a bit with some friends. We just messed around with it at Sigma Nu. It was fun, and I can already hear you snickering at the double entendre. Overall, though, LARP always held this aura. It was like the lowest rung on the nerd ladder. It was barely one step above furries. It’s one thing to play D&D with your buddies, but it was something else to dress up and run around a field with foam weapons. It was the kind of thing little kids played.

But something really struck me. As I talked with these guys and gals, all different ages, all out there, willingly, in the 112 degree heat of South Texas, I realized something.

Okay, they’re fraking nerds. No getting around that. We all loved Lovecraft, made Star Wars references, and could quote Monty Python.

But it’s damn hard.


LARP 04 by ~k-w-a-k on deviantART

Forget trying to figure out the attack bonus of a Star Destroyer when its crew isn’t skilled. Never mind trying to figure out the intricacies of 3.5 d20 spell mechanics or whether Pass Through Metal applies to constructs or just walls.

YOU try sword fighting out in the sun without any shade, high humidity, and temperatures best suited for making a five-course meal.

LARPers, I now fully realize, are like the sports fans that wear the jerseys and drive to another state to watch the big game. It’s a level of commitment other hobbies just don’t ask for, and, much like my beloved Cortex or Dungeons and Dragons, it’s all made up. I guess the real stumbling block for me was all the effort it takes to create the scenario.

Don’t get me wrong. I won’t be trading my dice bag for foam shortswords any time soon (although I did get a couple of kills). Personally, it takes WAY too much effort to have the same amount of fun. And all they’re doing is the same stuff the rest of us forked over $40 a book or a monthly subscription for. All I’m saying is…


Deva LARP armour set by ~Mishutka on deviantART

Can’t we all just get along? Nerds, unite! From the chainmail-wearing LARPers, to the Funyun-covered D&D player, to the guy at the Star Wars premier dressed like a Sith… let’s all embrace our collective love for roleplaying. United, we are stronger. Let’s look past the petty squabbles about which Doctor Who is better. We need to put aside the debates of Trek versus Wars or at what point Anne Rice jumped the shark. We can unite into a global force that knows no bounds!

But we still don’t want the furries. Sorry, guys, but that shit’s weird.


furries by ~strangemage on deviantART

Gay Bomb OR Why Republicans Love Genocide

Just keep believing the narrative... just keep believing the narrative... just keep believing the narrative...

January 5, 2011

Are you gay? Bisexual? Thinking of changing teams after a drunken New Year’s night? Guess what? Republicans think you’re a bigger threat to this country than nuclear weapons in the hands of terrorists.

And no, that’s not hyperbole.

And if you don’t know what hyperbole means, here’s the link.

Last month, our government had to work to pass the START Treaty, a nice little piece of legislation from the Reagan era. You know President Reagan, right? He’s the patron saint of the GOP. They invoke him like a level one wizard uses magic missile. The treaty states that both Russia and America will lower their nuclear stockpiles and we will get to go to Russia and make sure their nuclear programs are working properly. This way, Jihad Bob doesn’t get his hands on a nuke and before we know it, Baltimore’s a dust cloud.


Physics Remain by *mrgraphicsguy on deviantART

And guess what? Republicans would rather have a major American city turned into a sea of glow-in-the-dark glass than have dudes who want to marry dudes serve our country.

They held up ratification of the START Treaty, a treaty that would prevent nuclear war, because they didn’t want to pass the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. That’s right. They held one branch of government hostage and held a nuclear gun to the world’s head because the thought of gays in the military repulsed them.

Oh, they paraded out the usual excuses. John “War Hero” McCain went off on people who claimed that discrimination hurt the military. Over at Fox, they’ve done a real bang-up job of likening the repeal of DADT to some sort of Apocalyptic herald. And yes, I capitalized “Apocalyptic” because I think they really think this means we’re going to have oceans of blood soon.

Don’t believe me?

So there you go. I already hold nothing but contempt for the Republican Party. They are a bunch of knuckle-dragging backbirths. No sympathy from me. They were willing to put the nuclear safety of this country, perhaps the world, on the line just so gays could not openly serve in the military. They also did this to try and keep the Democrats from scoring political points like this was some giant game of Battleship.

I have no love for the Dems, but I have utter hate for Republicans.

They put out a ton of heavily questionable reasons to ban gays from the military, but since they’ve all been exposed to be phony posturing, we’re left with one conclusion.


At the End of All Things by ~L-nay on deviantART

Republicans hate gays more than death itself. They would rather we get a few kilotons shoved up our butt than have gays serve our country and risk their lives. They would rather risk decades of deformity and nuclear fallout than risk openly gay men and women bolster our flagging recruitment numbers. They would rather that the population and infrastructure of an American city be destroyed in a ball of plutonium-fueled fire than have gays defend the Constitution Republicans themselves hold so dear.

The GOP has done some atrocious things in the past for the sake of political points, all hoping to just not let the Democrats do anything. This though, and the obligatory backlash to repeal the repeal, show the true face of the Grand Old Party.

Homophobes and bigots. If you’re a Republican, you have no business talking about compassion, common sense, and inclusion. And if you’re gay, bisexual, or transgendered, remember this. The Republicans believe you are more dangerous than nuclear weapons.

Nothing but unhinged contempt is required here.


No Homophobia by ~Lexee90 on deviantART

And now, to clean the taste of Republican exposure out of your brain, here are the links!

  • Would you like your next sexual innuendo to be REALLY cool? Here’s a chart! Likewise, if you want to last longer with your significant other and you have a penchant for the scientific and philosophical, here’s a guide.
  • It looks like the cartels in Mexico are calling a month-long truce. I’m pretty sure this is a trap of some sort, but let’s see how it plays out.
  • Look, I’ve made no secret of my hatred for bad writing that gets put up like it’s some new standard to achieve… and I’ve worked hard at what I do… which makes it that much more infuriating when Snooki of all people gets a book deal just because she was on a show where she and a bunch of other D-bags made a whole state look bad. And it looks like she’s giving the great American writers a run for their money. And it saddens me that the sarcasm in the last sentence doesn’t translate well through text.
  • And speaking of the genetic landfill that is Jersey Shore, the Situation also has a book out. This has to be the greatest review ever.
  • And finally, here’s a video that made even ME smile. The happiest penguin ever. Take care, don’t forget to share the link, and I’ll see you Friday.

Conservative Translations

And so the battle continues!

January 3, 2011

With the new year come new challenges. As I prepare to tackle art, censorship, religion, and politics, I feel it’s important to first get on the same wavelength and conservatives, censors, and people who may not have the appreciation for creativity that I and many of my readers share. To remedy this, I’d like to offer a quick Conservative-to-Artist translation guide.

You’re persecuting me!
Translation: You’re providing an argument that destroys my worldview and makes me wonder about other possibilities, but since I’m too stubborn or indoctrinated into my mindset, I’ll go with the most primal answer I can think of: anger.

This isn’t art.
Translation: I don’t like it and it makes a statement I disagree with, however, since defining art has proven one of the most cumbersome endeavors in the history of man, I’ll resort to a cookie cutter answer that I hope will undermine this project’s validity.

Won’t someone think of the children!
Translation: I am far too immature to be exposed to adult themes and situations and since I am far too big of a pansy to teach my own children how to interact with the real world, I will use them to shield you from the knowledge of my own naiveté.


Ignorance by ~SamKiddo24 on deviantART

It’s immoral to tax the rich more than the middle class.
Translation: Even though I’m not rich myself, I hope to one day be so rich that I can wipe my ass with hundred dollar bills, so on the off-chance that does happen, I’d like to not be taxed more.

Alternate translation if the speaker is, in fact, rich: I don’t want you to tax me more because I don’t care that taxing the top income earners in the country is the key to a strong middle class, a factor that would get me more money in the long-run.

Oh you’re a writer? Yeah, I always wanted to write a book myself.
Translation: I have NO idea how to put a coherent paragraph together and assume that basic spelling is the same as years of study, practice, and professional experience.

Schools have failed!
Translation: I am a parent and never taught my kid to do the best he or she could do, so instead of accepting my failure as a parent, I will blame the overall system.


Multicultural Madonna by ~artizek on deviantART

This is an attack on religion!
Translation: This event does not fit into my narrow vision of morality, but since it certainly jives with other types of morality that are themselves accepted by society, I will try to lump all belief systems under one banner in an attempt to rally imaginary support.

What would Jesus do?
Translation if offered as advice: I don’t want to give any advice and would prefer not expose my lack of knowledge and/or spine.
Translation if asked to self: I can’t analyze moral dilemmas on my own.

How can we trust experts?
Translation: I hate learning, books, and think that thinking through a problem is too hard and I have more faith in gut reactions, regardless of how biased or racist such reactions may be.

This is not what the Founders intended.
Translation: I watch Glenn Beck.


Fox News Addict4 by *sketchoo on deviantART

Well, I hope that helps. Now, let’s get this year started with some linkage!

  • Want to debate someone? Use this handy flowchart to keep track of things.
  • If you didn’t get what you wanted this year, it’s not because Santa doesn’t like you. They arrested him on DUI. Just hope one of the reindeer didn’t get sucked into a plane engine.
  • Patton Oswald wrote a remarkably insightful article on the status of nerd culture and what we as nerds can do to save it before our kind become mainstream.
  • And finally, have you had sex in the last 30 minutes? Then, sing, player!

Return of the Revenge of the Son of the Sequel

I will drop neutron bombs on Hollywood if this goes through...

December 3, 2010

Perhaps now more than ever, Hollywood is entranced with the idea of reusing old ideas and trying to make them hip and gritty. This is nothing new. They tried it years ago with Super Mario Brothers and to a spectacular failure. Sequels are old hat. Remakes are nothing new. Re-imaginings are a newer concept.

But there’s a reason some work and some don’t and now Hollywood is after my beloved Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

We know of no cast and no story details other than it is a re-imagining of the original concept and will not feature any of the television show cast, mythology, and Joss Whedon will not have any part in it.

Before I get to the obligatory nerd rage over this, let’s go over a few other remakes and re-imaginings and why they worked.


Lil Formers – Star Trek by *MattMoylan on deviantART

Star Trek

This one got the ol’ nerd rage going. How could anyone, ANYONE, think he or she could recreate the campy cheesiness of the original series? How could you out-Shatner Shatner? Whatever its faults, Star Trek had decades of history on the pop radar. Even people who’ve never seen it knew about Klingons, knew the phrase “Beam me up, Scotty,” and could pick out a Star Trek parody a mile away.

It’s part of American pop culture, so why did the 2009 re-imagining work so well?

If you ever get the chance to see the original, the pilots for Star trek, “The Cage” and “Where No man Has Gone Before,” you’ll notice something absent from later incarnations of the story. People die. People and human emotion drive the stories. There is ZERO technobabble.

The new Star Trek got back to the roots of the original series. Cowboys in space, unapologetic, brash, and full of humanity. Yes, even Spock. J. J. Abrahams brought us back to a time when men were men, women wore miniskirts, and no one routed SHIT through the deflector. The greatest Star Trek episodes of all time, whatever the series, deal with people first and use the technology to advance the story, not the other way around. The moment characters become secondary to science, you have hard SF, and Star Trek has enough holes in its plots to preclude any possibility the science will get it right. Hell, they can’t even get basic continuity right. Do you really expect them to respect relativity, core engineering principles, and quantum mechanics?


Batman – Colored – by ~pochrzas on deviantART

Batman

Can we erase Batman and Robin from our collective memories? The movie is barely tolerable with Rifftrax and did more damage to Batman than the Adam West series. Yes, I loved the old live-action series, but let’s face it. Given the tone of the old comics, the darkness and noir roots of the original, it’s a bit like trying to adapt Sam Spade into a Broadway musical staring The Situation.

Chris Nolan actually did something similar to J. J. Abrahams. He made the characters human again and gave us real darkness, not some emo-crap. It wasn’t about the cool toys as much as it was about the people. Batman Begins was dark, and The Dark Knight brought it to an epic crescendo with a real-world, creepy-as-hell interpretation of the Joker.

Because these characters were people, we cared for them. The Joker became a menacing, mesmerizing villain not simply because of his nihilistic genius, but because we saw Bruce Wayne grow up and slowly become Batman. We watched Harvey Dent knowing he would become one of Batman’s greatest foes.

And we cared. We really cared.


BSG Propaganda wall by ~damndirtyape on deviantART

Battlestar Galactica

When I first heard Ronald Moore was going to remake Battlestar Galactica, I had one question.

“Wait, the guy from Star Trek is going to redo the show with the walking toasters?”

I like being proven wrong.

While the original Battlestar Galactica has a camp value of its own, it was an attempt to cash in on the Star Wars craze of the late 70s. Let’s face it, though, there’s plenty of appeal for cheese, and BSG built up a loyal fanbase. Even if it was never as popular as other franchises, people knew about it and it remained relevant.

Moore, however, again did the smart thing and made people the focus of the new show. The BSG Writer’s Bible even made it a commandment. No aliens, no gee-whiz tech, nothing like that.

Thou shalt be real…


Buffy Season 8 Wallpaper by ~Bacafreak on deviantART

What Does it Mean?!

Notice the pattern. Most of these remakes were based on properties that had faltered or became the subject of ridicule. As much as I hate to admit it, Nolan’s Batman, Star Trek, and BSG all benefited from being based on ideas and series that, quite frankly were considered jokes. When the bar is that low, it’s easy to impress, but even ignoring that, the final products built new mythologies and drew new audiences in.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer (2011)

The original movie, as Joss Whedon has said many times, was a distortion of his original script and vision and the show staring Sarah Michelle Gellar. It was more than just a cute blond fighting demons. It had story. It managed to use rounded characters, ongoing story-arcs, and used horror, science fiction, and fantasy as metaphors. Despite some shortcomings, it was as close to a perfect show.

So what exactly are we going to add?

No Angel or Spike.

No Scoobies.

It’s not set in high-school or college.

Joss Whedon’s signature dialogue will not be making an appearance.

The tongue-in-cheek references to horror and fantasy, critical to the success of the show, will likely be gone or turned into self-referential humor.

We are left, ladies and gentlemen, with an athletic girl fighting monsters with medieval weaponry in a modern setting.

So…. Pretty much any half-assed anime.

Pretty much the only reason to make a sequel or remake something is because the original fell short somewhere. This is worse than remaking foreign movies. Most people in the United States have probably never seen the original foreign versions. This will be a show based on a show based on a movie. And the show was closer to the original script of the movie, so if they’re basing this on the movie, it’s the twice-removed bastard child of Buffy.

No links today. Classes are winding down, but the work is increasing. it’s like we’re nearing the academic singularity.

Divine by Zero: Olivia Wilde Wants You and Beck Can Get You Laid

October 28, 2010

First of all, the most important thing…

I hope my little sis had a great birthday yesterday and she enjoyed the food and drinks. Love ya!

And now on to business.

Halloween is almost here! I asked my students if they would mind coming to class in costume on Friday, and everyone was fine with it. If they show up in costume, they get a few extra points on the quiz. Should be a fun, and I’m going in costume, too.

Anyway, it’s been an interesting week. Political activists have gotten a beat-down, Fox claims Beck can get you a little somethin’ somethin’, and you have personal message from the future. Let’s check out the links today.

  • I want you to wrap your head around this. Fox aired a commercial for Beck’s show claiming that part of your Happy Hour routine should be to record the show and, when you pick up a hottie, take her back to your place, get pizza, and watch Beck. Paranoia tinged with racism is apparently a pantie-peeler. Okay, let’s break this down. A conservative fake news network is telling you to go drink, pick up a woman for premarital sex, and that a former alcoholic will help you get in her pants.
  • Love movies? Check out some famous movie characters as zombies. My favorite has to be Robert Paulson. His name is Robert Paulson… His name is Robert Paulson…
  • A lot of people are carving pumpkins. Ever tried to do it with a gun?
  • NSFW! If you’re a geek and loves boobs and naked lady-parts, check out the geekiest burlesque shows ever! Some of them are actually downright disturbing.
  • Want to scare the neighbor’s kids? Pass out some of this candy and give them nightmares for a month.
  • Olivia Wilde has a message for you… from the future! It’s worth viewing, so share it!
  • And finally, check out every death in every Saw movie not counting Saw 3D. Personally, I loved the first one, but I was more interested in the plot and Jigsaw’s character than the traps. The series kind of went the route of Final Destination. Oh well. I still want to see more Jigsaw! Warning: If you have a weak stomach or don’t like gore, you probably shouldn’t watch this.

Beck and the French Fry Revolution

The revolution started with a single, salty act of oppression...

September 20, 2010

I always keep telling myself Glenn Beck is crazy. He has to be. The amount of cognitive dissonance and wild leaps of logic he claims are science would qualify anyone for a padded cell within a week. He’s slowly building a cult, an actual cult with political and spiritual power, and he can find a conspiracy in everything.

That includes the fight against fat.

That’s right, folks, Glenn “Master of His Own Domain” Beck has now linked the fight against childhood obesity to the growing sociocommunazi movement. And spearheading this insidious plot is none other than Michelle Obama.

If you don’t watch the rest of the video, at least watch the first 20 seconds. Beck says something so mind-bogglingly stupid that I had to rewind the video just to make sure I’d heard it right. He’s said a lot of award-winning dumb things, but this may be the dumbest. Behold!

In case you just skipped the video, Beck claims he will link Michelle Obama’s campaign against childhood obesity to the eventual government take-over of our lives. It will end in what Beck calls “fryots.”

French fry riots. Get it? Get it?!

By asking the National Restaurant Association to make healthier choices the default options, the First Lady seeks to make it easier to enjoy healthy foods instead of going straight for the grease. I want to point something out. It’s a REQUEST. It’s not a law. But that’s not enough for Beck. Trying to teach kids to make a healthy choice is sinister. And let me emphasize “KIDS.” I know, I know. I’m getting really close to invoking the innocent children.

The First Lady is talking about teaching kids about making the right choices. It’s still a choice, but she wants to introduce them to healthy foods at a younger age. As an educator, I’ve seen kids who have never even tried vegetables. Not even tried them. At all. Now, if they try and hate them, fine. They tried them.

Let’s keep going with Beck’s crazy train here, because it gets worse.

Beck goes on to explain that Michelle Obama and the progressives think the average American is Homer Simpson. We can’t make our own choices, says Beck, so they’ll make them for us. I don’t know about you, but unless someone had told me at a young age that burgers and pizza were not the healthiest of things, I wouldn’t have believed them if they told me in my later years. They taste so good! Surely the body must crave them for a reason!

Remember how I said that Michelle Obama had made a suggestion? That little fact seems to have flown right past Beck.

A “slippery slope” is a logical fallacy where you believe that Action A will lead to Action B, then C, then D, without any room for error. In other words, the suggestion that restaurants make it harder to order unhealthy food will lead to global government, riots, and totalitarian control. Beck’s argument isn’t a slippery slope so much as it is a KY Jelly Slip-n-Slide.

This suggestion couldn’t, as most sane people think, lead to restaurants making a conscious choice to help children, who really don’t know better, make healthier choices.


Snack Heart Healthy by =roseonthegrey on deviantART

I have a niece who doesn’t like candy. I know this sounds like a tangent, but bear with me. She doesn’t like candy because her mother and father made it a point to not feed it to her when she was younger. She’s only five, but she she’s shied away from foods and drinks that kids her age usually go crazy for and she’s better for it. This pretty much destroys Beck’s point that French fries will always beat out carrots and apples.

That’s right. My 5-year-old niece just disproved Glenn Beck. It’s THAT easy, folks.

Anyway, Beck goes on and on that, if these nudges don’t work, the government will eventually have to arrest people for eating French fries. Since obesity causes higher health costs and the government now runs health care, they need to make sure we stay healthy.

But wait, there’s more!

Now we get to the meat and potatoes of the argument, sort of speak.

Beck thinks that people who want regulation to do crazy things like keep lead out of our toys or sewage out of our drinking water think humanity is stupid. That we can’t take care of ourselves. That we’ll end up killing ourselves because we’re dumb and people are greedy and we won’t care.

Uhm, yeah, people are greedy and capitalism has zero incentive to change that.

Lack of regulation led to the BP disaster. The people who should have been in charge of it were paid off and now we have the floor in the Gulf covered in oil. Regulators should have been watching companies like Goldman Sachs, but those regulations were never passed and the economy in one of the largest superpowers in the world was brought down by numbers on a computer screen.

I’m all for free choice. Really, I am. But I’m for an informed choice. Beck seems to think that by making the choice harder, people won’t be able to resist. Seriously. Watch the last video again. If the choice is harder, he believes people won’t make it. He’s basically said that people are stupid and need to be lead. People, he believes, won’t be able to make the leap from “Oh, I want fries,” to “Hey, I need to ask for them.”


It’s… a sheep. by ~Nimrais on deviantART

And here’s the message he won’t outright say.

“Don’t let people tell you what to do. It’s evil. Listen to ME, because I have your best interest at heart. I’m on your side. They’re not.”

French fries and revolutions… Oh dear. Where to start? This can’t possibly be anything else than the common-sense of teachers, parents, and anyone else with a vested interest in a healthy society, can it? Look, I’m not naïve. Government isn’t the answer to our problems. It’s not inherently good, but it’s not evil, either.

By Beck’s logic, the EPA and every regulatory agency, which actually do have the power to fine and make arrests, are much more evil than the First Lady. Let’s take this logic to its inevitable conclusion…

“Handicapped spaces are really just another ploy by this administration to make us walk, get us healthy, and make sure we don’t get fat. Why? Government health care.”

“Did you hear the news? Toys in China were found to contain lead and are being recalled. Why? This is just another attempt to weaken the immune systems in our children. If they aren’t exposed to lead now, how will they develop a tolerance?”

“Now the government is telling these companies they can’t dump their waste into the rivers? Those bastards! They’re stopping economic growth! Do they expect these companies to just up and spend more money to get rid of trash? That will make prices skyrocket!”

So there you have it. Glenn Beck has managed to link preventative steps to fight childhood obesity to a global socialist conspiracy to collapse America.

It’s like Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. Only stupid.

I’m thinking of using a Beck-O-Meter to measure the amount of stupid coming from that show every week. Thoughts?


Epic Teabaggers by ~joeyvegasICS on deviantART

Link time! I don’t know about you, but I need some random entertainment right now.

  • Any Tolkien fans out there? Christine O’Donnel, AKA Sarah Palin Jr., fancies herself a feminist and Tolkien scholar. Anyone want to refute her “feminist” reading of LOTR before I puke?
  • We have robot snakes. Great. Combine it with that Microsoft AI project, the sentry robots in South Korea, and we have a small robot army to bring on the robot holocaust.