Alien Covenant: Review

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Last Thursday I decided to forego sleep and see a late showing of Alien Covenant. I’ve been dying to see this ever since it was announced, which was bolstered by Ridley Scott’s promise to have listened to the fans and delivered where Prometheus did not. My spoiler free review of this movie is as follows: As far as a standalone movie, it’s decent and watchable. It’s an entertaining film, but it doesn’t really stand out in any significant way. As far as Alien canon goes, for those who adore the franchise as I do, it’s a disappointment that they used too many tropes and ridiculous decisions to shit all over the established canon and diminished the franchise as a whole.

NOW FOR THE SPOILERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

OK, from a standalone movie (not caring about canon), this movie is at best entertaining yet unremarkable. It starts out with a scene between Weyland and David (the android from Prometheus). Problem is, since the scenes with a young Weyland were cut from Prometheus, there’s no real way for most people to know who the fuck that is. The scene is foreshadowing for the reveal towards the end, but it drags and is a very boring start to the movie. Also, it’s apparent from this conversation that David is “off”, so it’s odd that Weyland chose to keep him around, even after his model was upgraded. It’s also odd that David was unaware of this upgrade. Were they somehow able to create and produce self-healing androids in the short amount of time between the two missions? Just seems odd, but we’ll take that one on faith.

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Sorry Hudson, but it is…and it gets worse….

Next you’re sort of introduced to the crew. Some good shit happens here. The scene where the original captain dies in his cryo pod is cool (pun totally intended). After that, they work to fix up the ship and you get some interaction. Problem is, most of it feels kinda disconnected, weak, and forced. The banter between the characters doesn’t really point towards any sort of cohesion as a group. Also, the whole fact that they were a bunch of couples really didn’t have any use or place in the plot whatsoever, aside from Daniels giving exposition about the cabin her and her husband were gonna build. Fassbender did a great job acting, as usual (sans his ‘southern’ accent), but I really didn’t give a shit about any other character. There was very little actual connection. People died, and no fucks were given. In contrast, I was bummed when many of the characters in Aliens died (especially Hudson and Vasquez), and when some of the characters in Alien 3 died (especially Dillon). This is because the script was there, the scenes were there, and the acting was on point. I think Covenant had a good cast, they just didn’t have as much to work with. Then they marketed it as if Daniels would be similar to Ripley, and she wasn’t. She was stronger willed, but she lacked the conviction and confidence that made Ripley who she was.

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He’s in the film in his cryo pod for about 20 seconds, then dies. Such a waste.

Crew aside, the decisions in this film are also stupid. They decide to veer off course to investigate a planet they know nothing about, while also putting thousands of lives in jeopardy in the process. They go to the surface and don’t take any samples or readings before going out without helmets on, knowing that any alien world could be host to unknown diseases they’d have no immunity to, and could bring back to the colony ship. They split up at just about every chance they get, on an unknown world and with an android that is an unknown quantity.

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My reaction to most of the crew’s decisions…

Finally, we get to the destruction of the Alien canon. This, for me, is the part that breaks my heart. So first (timeline-wise), David and Shaw go to the Engineer home world, dock over a huge courtyard, and bomb the shit out of them. Originally, they went there for answers, but nope, bomb time. Also, for an advanced race such as them, their “city” looked like ancient Rome, and there weren’t many of them at all. Maybe a few thousand. Not what one would expect from such an advanced civilized race. Also, they were allowed to dock without any apparent communication. No “unidentified craft, please respond”. Nope, just come on in with your doomsday ship, and we’ll all line up under you like a bunch of fuckin’ idiots. Now, for some reason, before the Covenant arrives, David kills Shaw and dissects her. This appears to go against what is seen in the online video of them that was released just prior to this movie. She put him back together, they seemed to care about what happened to each other and had some sort of friendship. However, out of nowhere, boom, she’s dead. I don’t think he experimented on her with a chest burster due to the fact that there are no other aliens on the planet when the Covenant arrives.

Now the Covenant shows up, and we have people stepping on the spores that impregnate people with these neomorphs. This whole process, in my opinion, was great. I liked how it went into them, gestated, and burst through their spines. Very cool shit. The only not-so-cool thing was the trope of the dude getting sick, feeling sick, and saying “nah, I’m fine, nothing’s wrong”. They’re on an unknown world where diseases can easily affect them, why wouldn’t he bother saying something. The scenes could have had just as much impact, and it wouldn’t feel cheap. Then we move along to the shit with David. Apart from him killing Shaw and taking her apart, we find out that HE is the one that created the Xenomorph (It’s not exactly the same, but extremely close to the classic ones). He lures the captain down to his egg chamber, the idiot captain puts his face in the egg, and BOOM! Facehugger to the grill. Then, an insanely short time later, he wakes up and almost immediately gets his chest cracked open by his new baby Xeno. Now, there were many atrocities during this whole bit. First, facehuggers stay attached for a long time, not a few minutes. Second, when the remove themselves, it’s at least a few hours before the chestburster comes out. Third, the chestburster is more of a snake-like creature and not just a miniature NECA figure of a warrior alien. Finally, to top it all off, it starts mimicking David is some silly ass scene that was just so ridiculous that I almost laughed in the theater.

So there it is. David created them. No idea how, with no queen and no hosts aside from Shaw, whose body didn’t appear to have hosted anything. The entire space jockey/engineer story is washed away and ignored so we can see the android create the Xenos, thus David fulfills his foreshadowing scene in the beginning saying that creators get killed by their creations. How very Mary Shelly. This just irks the shit outta me, and goes against much of the other established canon, even from Prometheus. For example, Xenos and a queen are seen in the ship in prometheus, so how did he create them when they existed before?

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Damnit Ridley, you’re following the wrong example!!!!

Now we get to the Xenos themselves. They did look pretty cool, for the most part. The CGI wasn’t all that great, but the design was good. Sadly, they were kind of stupid, and not all that scary. During the fights with them, I didn’t really feel like the crew were in mortal peril. There was just so very little tension in the scenes. I wasn’t on the edge of my seat, and honestly I felt more excitement during the neomorph battles in the wheat. They seemed smarter, which goes against the whole perfect organism thing. Another thing that really helped with the previous films, sound and music. The others used both to set the mood so incredibly well, and this movie just falls short of that. There weren’t really any memorable moments in the score or sound effects that I recalled even when walking out of the theater.

Now, the ending. First, how’d they kill the Xeno? Yup, you guessed it, right out the airlock. Also, that scene was just a bit silly, with her dodging at the last second as if it couldn’t see the huge ass fucking bulldozer approaching from behind her. Then, she is seen joking around with Tennessee, the dude whose demeanor is NOTHING like someone who just lost the love of his life, and most of his fellow crew. Finally, Walter. He puts her in her pod, and she then realizes that it’s really David. First, David can’t heal and Walter can, so she should’ve known earlier when she was stapling his face. Second, the hole in his chin mysteriously disappeared. And finally, C, his hair is a different color and cut. Did he hit up the salon on the way? I don’t think the engineers had much use of hair care products. It was such a ridiculous and stupid trope to throw in there, and so incredibly obvious, that it was downright insulting at this point.

Some will say that this is all butthurt because this wasn’t the Alien movie we all wanted. I call bullshit on that. This was more like the TV show Lost. It seems like there were all sorts of different directions he wanted to go in, so he went in all of them, and couldn’t decide which would be the official story. Then he expects us to be OK with him choosing the dumbest and most cliché direction of all, and ignore all the plot holes and the shitty change of tone that now affects the entirety of the franchise. Changes to canon like this are like the butterfly effect, they bloom outward and change the rest of canon, for good OR, in this case, bad.

 

 

Fighter practice update 5/16

I’m gonna start using this to log info from my practices, as a way of keeping my progress and letting me know who I met and when. Last night I attended my 5th overall practice. I also attended practice last Thursday, where there were 7 people in armor, which was cool cuz we learned a little about melee. I’ll take this piece by piece.

Last Thursday’s practice had me doing some 1 on 1 with the woman who I sparred with the week before. I started out by fixing my shoulder cop, which had come off a few days before. My shield also needs new edging, but I haven’t gotten to that yet. Anyways, 1 on 1 was good. I felt more in control of my defense and didn’t let as much in. She advised me that I should use my height advantage more, but I’m still hazy on how to actually do that. Next we did some small melee training. This was 3 of us noobs and the woman I’d been sparring with against the 3 more seasoned fighters. We went 1 for 3, which I take as pretty good. It was TOTALLY different than a straight up fight. Much more craziness and disorder, hard to stay together and control the pace. We ended off with some 2 on 2, me and another noob vs the woman and a noob. We won the first round by getting them both. Second round, my partner got tagged early, so it was 2 on one. I got lucky and tagged the newer fighter so it was just a 1 on 1, which she said we could stop without finishing since we’re trying for melee stuff. The end of the night, I found Brad, a gent a little taller than me, but much faster and far more skilled. He used a two handed ax. I did ok, and was able to avoid getting creamed until his gauntlet took a hit and the joint froze. We couldn’t un-stick it so we called it a night.

Last night I started out talking to a guy named Will, and sparring an older gent who was just getting back into the game. Throughout the night, I fought him, a woman who went by the name Purple, Tor, and Tycho at the very end. Tor and Tycho are both lefties, and I’m MUCH worse fighting them. Tycho and Purple were only there to get authorized, so they probably won’t have repeat performances anytime soon. Against the two righties I think I did ok. Not great, but a solid OK. I was able to stay alive for a fair amount of time, usually, and got a few shots through here and there. Against the lefties, not so much. I’m leaving myself far too open on my right side, and leaving my elbow to far out. Thankfully both gents were kind enough to not abuse the openings too much, and just threw out a few “reminders” that my blocking still sucks. My biggest issue, though, seems to be my shot mechanics/technique. I just haven’t had the time to spend working at the pell to practice them, and my lack of upper body strength is certainly a factor as well. I’m very slow, and don’t usually hit hard enough to kill. Will showed me how to do proper wrap shots, though the motion feels awkward and weak. Still, overall I wouldn’t consider it a “bad” practice. I think, at this point, any practice where I don’t get really injured is a good one. I just have so much to learn, and I need so much work. I’m hoping by going twice a week that I’ll start to actually see some improvement before war in a few months. If nothing else, just for endurance and strength. My arms get VERY tired after awhile, and I get out of breath pretty quickly.

The only thing that kinda worries me is the thought that when I hit the peak of my ability, that I’ll still be so bad that I won’t enjoy myself any longer. I’m having fun now, and I really enjoy the sparring and learning. But I know myself from the other arts I’ve done, and my lack of a drive, that killer instinct, always held me back in those. Maybe I’ll be able to get over that. Only time will tell.

Getting into the swing of things

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“A story of thicking and wraps to the ass…”

Well, it finally happened. I finally got enough armor together to start learning to fight in the SCA. There are a few practices that happen near me, so I reached out to pretty much everyone to see what my options were. First, the Thursday night practices. I went to those a few times a few years back, but only worked on pell work. The one time I tried on armor there, it didn’t really fit me and I couldn’t do shit. Second, is a Sunday morning practice. I tried going to that a few weeks back, but issues with my helm, and the fact that it was freezing cold, caused me to abort. Since then my weekends have been jammed and I haven’t been able to go back. Finally, there’s a Monday practice which an old friend of mine was able to get me into. Keep in mind that each practice is with different people, and not the same group.

So, two weeks ago I attended what is, for all intents and purposes, my first real practice. I went to the Thursday one and geared up. There were only two others in armor there, but we worked on some basics. Stance, blocks, footwork, etc. All in all it was good, and everyone was really cool about everything. The following Monday I went to the other practice and worked with my friend and another guy. I missed Thursday and Sunday that week, but went again to Monday practice last night and had another good practice (by my standards).

All in all, from the feedback I’ve gotten, I’m apparently going relatively well for a beginner. Not great, but not awful, and I’m learning. That said, my body getting used to this is rough. After the first few practices, my muscles were so sore I had trouble getting around. After last night, my muscles are sore again, but nowhere near as bad. The only parts that hurt are the unarmored areas that got hit cuz my defense is sorely lacking (SORE! PUNS!).

I must say, though, when I first attended practices years ago, my experience wasn’t as good. There were people there who gave off a vibe that put me off, and I’ve learned by now to trust my instincts. I could have continued going, even without a kit (armor), but I chose to back away instead. These past 3 practices, however, have been very different. The people there are mad cool, patient, and helpful, and really seemed to express an interest in getting me up to speed. In return, I’m doing my best to push myself and not be myself too much, in an effort to prevent me from saying/doing anything to rub others the wrong way.

So now starts the work, and I need quite a bit of it. According to one guy last night, my defense is good for a noob, which I take as a big win. My offense is sorely lacking, but I knew that’d be an issue. I was always more of a defensive fighter, even in martial arts. I see other fighters being aggressive, and one of my biggest concerns is that I’ll never be able to get to that level of aggression. I just never had that killer instinct. Still, I’m approaching this from a place of pure honesty with myself. If I have fun and enjoy doing this, which I currently do, then I’ll keep at it. If I start not liking it, I’ll just pass my gear onto someone who needs it. I’m also going to try and not let others discourage me. I know there will be people who will talk shit, make comments, throw out some put-downs, etc. I’m gonna do my best to brush those aside and not let it ruin my enjoyment. So far it’s been good, and I hope it stays that way. I’ve got a pretty long road ahead, but I’m actually setting myself a realistic goal, and a not-quite-so-realistic one. I’d like to make it to the quarter finals in a tourney, which I think may be possible with a few years of hard work. The other would be to win one, which I think would require a perfect storm of good luck to achieve. Either way, I hope to one day learn enough to be able to teach others and pass it along. You know what they say, those who can’t, teach. I’m ok with that, so long as there’s fun to be had!

Star Wars: Rogue One – Review

As much as I’ve been absent, I feel that some things are worth returning for. Upon seeing the latest film in the Star Wars franchise, I knew I had to throw my thoughts out there. I must warn you now, THIS REVIEW WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS. If you don’t want anything spoiled, stop reading when I say to. That being said, I’ll give my base thoughts first, and my nitpicking second.

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OK, I’ll start with the basics. This movie is a direct, and chronologically very close, prequel to A New Hope. The plot revolves around how the rebels obtained the death star plans that played such a key role in Episode IV. The script, I thought, was pretty excellent. There was a lot of great dialogue, the scenes flowed well, and the overall plot was pretty solid and interesting. The acting was awesome too, though I’d have liked a little more development for some characters, but I don’t feel any performances or characters were lacking. I just feel like I’d have liked to see more from some of them. The special effects, specifically the CGI, was some truly top notch shit. I loved that much of the tech in the film was very much like that seen in Episode IV. They didn’t fancy it up and make it look too advanced, it all felt right at home.

Overall, I absolutely loved this movie. It was exciting, thrilling, beautiful, and moving. I’m not gonna lie, I got choked up a few times. This really gave the early rebellion some great depth and showed it in a far more realistic light than the other films did. I can’t wait to watch this over and over again.

SPOILER ALERT!!!! STOP READING IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE MOVIE!!!-

Are they gone? Sweet! Now, let’s dig in. First and foremost, I’m gonna nitpick some minor things that bugged me after seeing it.

The first was the cameo from threepio and artoo. In ANH (A New Hope), threepio said his last master was captain Antilles, who is in red squadron and part of the space battle at the end of the film. If he was their master at that time, why was artoo not in his x-wing during the battle? When pilots fly for a time with an astromech droid, they work better and better with them. Why would he give that up for another unit?

Second, at the end of the film we see that the plans were manually handed off to those on Leia’s ship, and they blast their way outta there. Vader is present, and seemed aware that they were handing off the plans. Two parts of this bug me. Why didn’t he use the force to take the plans? He saw what was happening, and was handily dispatching the guys fighting him (in what was likely my favorite scene in the whole fucking film!!!), so why let it go? Also, seeing that the plans were handed off, why would he suggest that the transmissions were beamed to the blockade runner in ANH? He’d know from the analysis of the capital ship captured at the end of Rogue One that the transmission was beamed to THAT ship, and not re-transmitted. It doesn’t track. I do like that they showed it was handed off manually, which would explain why the imperials said that no transmissions were made when they captured the blockade runner in ANH. I always assumed they had somehow scrubbed the logs, but this seems more plausible. Granted, it’s never revealed in ANH how Vader knows the transmissions were beamed to that ship, so I guess they wanted to somehow tie it in, but I think it’s a bit of a plot hole.

Lastly, the new stuff. The U-Wing was featured pretty prominently in this film, but isn’t seen in any others. Also, the black stormtroopers are seen in this film, and not in any others. Seems odd that both of these fell off the map during the subsequent films. I know they have to add in new shit to sell toys, but come on, at least make it more canon. Also, the imperial shuttle was more like Kylo Ren’s ship than the standard Lamda class shuttle used in the other films. It doesn’t fit chronologically.

OK, nitpicking aside, HOLY FUCK THAT VADER FIGHT SCENE!!! I mean, seriously, that was some badass shit, and the only time Vader actually fights anyone aside from a lightsaber duel in any of the films. It really showed how truly powerful and badass he was. Loved it!

The new droid, K-2SO, was great! He had some great lines in the film, and Alan’s delivery was spot on! The wee beast cried like anything when he died.

Now, onto what was a hot topic for the last film, the nods and tie-ins to other films. In this film, I thought the cameos were great! They weren’t overdone or cheesy, they all had relevance. Even the stormtroopers talking about the new T-15’s was a nice touch, as other troopers were heard talking about the new T-16’s in ANH when Obi-Wan was disabling the tractor beam. This film didn’t really follow the same formula as the others, at least not in the way Episode VII did, which I thought was awesome.

The plot was, in my opinion, well done. Granted, we all knew the fate of pretty much all involved, but that didn’t lessen the impact of character deaths for me. I gave enough of a shit about them to still be sad when they bit it, especially Donnie Yen’s character and his companion. I think it was great that the flaw in the death star was intentional, and put there to give the rebellion a fighting chance. The acting really brought that to life as well, and all the acting was spot on. I did feel one bit was off, when Jin was watching the hologram of her dad telling her about the flaw. She just starts crying and losing it while he’s talking, but his words aren’t really all that laced with emotional impact. It just seemed a little incongruous at the time.

Probably the best part of the script, for me, is how it paints the rebellion’s early years. It shows them as they would have been: militant. They performed raids, assassinated people, and were much more shady than the altruistic club depicted in the original trilogy. I’m glad it was shown to be an imperfect and sometimes divided group, struggling to find common ground with each other and agree on a direction to follow. It really shined in that.

Now, the CGI I spoke about before. Tarkin looked pretty fucking amazing! Granted, he did look CGI to me, especially with his mouth movement and his skin texture, but it was REALLY close. Had I not known he was CGI, I may not have noticed. Same with Leia. Seeing her back at the end got me emotional to begin with, but when they showed her face and it looked just like ANH Leia, and she spoke, I got all choked up. I couldn’t even talk to anyone for a few minutes after because I was emotional over it. Granted, I get like that often enough, but this was freaking Star Wars!

I’ve loved this franchise since I was little, even when most people had pretty much forgotten about it, I was still watching the movies weekly. Granted I hated the prequels, but to me that was more fanfic than true SW. So much was wrong with it, like the advanced tech, the Woo Ping gymnastic sword battles, the atrocious acting and script, etc., that I had difficulty getting through it even with Rifftrax. Episode VII brought it back to life, and I thought it was up there with Jedi in terms of greatness. I’d say, in my opinion, this film surpasses it. I wouldn’t say it rivals ANH, though, as that had deeper banter and characters, and a more sweeping story. Still, this movie is not to be missed if you have any love for Star Wars. It was fantastic, and a truly great ride. Don’t take my nitpicking as any sign of disappointment, either. I could nitpick the fuck out of the original trilogy, and they’re some of my favorite movies of all time. Apparently people agree with me, too, since it made $71 Million in the opening weekend. I’m very happy to have been a part of it! So encourage others to see it, and go see it again. And, as always, may the force be with you!

Post election ramblings

I’ve previously kept quiet on here about politics, mainly because not much has kinked my knickers quite as much as our recent election here in the US. Now before I get started, I’d like to preface this by saying that I didn’t support ANY candidate during the election. My vote was purely a preventative measure towards a slightly lesser evil, though it didn’t make a difference. Below I’ll be reposting two posts I put on social media. One was done last week following the election, and the other was posted today.

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These crack me up….

The first:

I’m gonna sum things up the best I can.
He got elected.
If you’re just about anything but a white dude, it pretty much sucks balls.
No, there isn’t gonna be a miracle on December 19th where they elect her instead. We’re stuck with it.
Violence and riots solve nothing.
Protect yourselves, and stand up for those marginalized by this hateful rhetoric and biased actions.
Don’t stand idly by while others are oppressed by this new administration. Fight against it. We should be free and equal. If you see someone is getting treated worse than you are because of their color, religion, gender, identity, etc, don’t turn your head silently away and be thankful it’s not you. FIGHT for them. SUPPORT them. Help them be seen and treated as equal. Be a real person, not just some animal that gives in to their ID more often than not, thinking their personal world is all that matters. Be a part of this world, as an empathetic human being and a member of a community. If you go around preaching about communities not being what they were, then do something about it.

Oh, one last thing, this is America. Our country was never about “assimilate or get the fuck out”. Our constitution isn’t about that either. When people don’t like something, they protest it, whether it’s by marching, sit ins, or yes even flag burning. Believe it or not, this is what our country is about. Fighting for change, to always move forward, to make things better, and to right the wrongs of our predecessors is the American way. Keep that in mind when delving into the “get off my lawn and outta my country” attitude.

Now before you start jumping into the comments screaming that he’s not a racist or whatever, consider this. It’s true that you don’t choose who endorses you, however if your rhetoric inspires negativity in others, and enables them to express that negativity in relief that their actions and words are justified, then that speaks volumes. My words were not simply of fear, my words were about standing up for others should you see them being treated badly or persecuted. It’s not just the president elect that I referred to, it’s his administration. Pence has said and done some pretty bad things relating to those with “alternative lifestyles”, and the transition team and cabinet are filling rapidly with those of similar thoughts on the subject. For the record, I’m not a HRC supporter whatsoever. However, if you see her rallies and supporters, you don’t see people throwing around racial slurs and vulgar hate speech the way they did at Trump rallies. Playing devil’s advocate, let’s say he’s not racist or a bigot or sexist. That doesn’t make his rhetoric OK. Also, if he’s not any of those things, and is against it, then it says quite a bit about his character that he encouraged these people further instead of telling them it’s not OK. By doing that, he proved that he cares more about votes than about what’s right. He had TONS of opportunity to build bridges during his campaign, to reach out with understanding and love, to bring a divided nation together. Did he? No. He drove the wedge of division further in with his baseless accusations and hateful words, and now there are people out there being targeted not only by potential legislation against them, but by others in their communities who have targets for their hate and anger, and have been enabled to feel justified in expressing it by the president elect and those he surrounds himself with.

And now, the second:

So last night, something dawned on me, and I think it may have relevance right now. I was talking with Cat about how people are upset that those they love voted for DT in the election, and by doing so they said with their vote that his rhetoric and behavior are acceptable. They are excusing these things because they feel that he might do good things, and that the good outweighs his bad. I was following this line of thought, playing devil’s advocate, and I think this comparison will explain quite a bit.

Anyone ever heard of House M.D.? House was a complete asshole, total narcissist and completely volatile and destructive person. However, he was the best at what he did, and his actions saved lives even though he was a total dick about it. Perhaps people see DT like that, someone who is overall a pretty terrible human being, but will do the good that needs to be done in order to help our country prosper. When seen in that very specific light, I can understand it.

The problem is, that’s a spotlight, and we need all the lights on. House rarely dealt with patients, because he was such an asshole, and regardless of how good he was, he’d never have been allowed to speak to patients the way he did in the show and get away with it. It’s fantasy. Also, he didn’t inspire the worst traits in those who supported him. DT can’t say the same.

The issue is that there’s really no proof that he’d be able to make good on any of his promises, especially to the working class. Trickle down economics have been proven to not work time and time again for a reason that people don’t seem to understand. It’s the same reason that I believe he’d take payoffs regardless of his supposed personal wealth. Rich people have a very high tendency of being greedy, and all they really care about is making more money. Sure, some to a lesser extent, but he’s always shown himself to be the greedy sort, and he’s known among those in his circles as being a con man and scam artist. He’ll do what serves him best, not those on our level, and certainly not those under us. He’s screwed tons of small businesses and individuals, and doesn’t give a shit about it whatsoever. This man will not help us, he will only help himself, and his failures as a businessman prove that his supposed “skills” are not worth the rhetorical wrapper surrounding them, especially since merely touching the wrapper in order to get to what’s inside causes us to become poisoned and sick.

Consider this: He’s a builder. If you’re building a structure, what’s more important, a stronger penthouse or a stronger foundation? His vision, and those of many other rich elites, is to build our economy on mud, and try to drive the columns through to bolster the narrow platform on top. He’s advocating a wine glass, where the bottom base is wide but thin, then a stem of narrow glass holding up the very top, where all the wine resides. That’s not gonna work for us. We need to build ourselves to where our base is firm and strong, and our middle is more of the same, something more reminiscent of an obelisk. We need to be strong, and this man and his policies will not do that. They will bolster the top while taking more away from the bottom. We need someone who will build us strong and repair our lower levels, not someone who will perpetuate our current economic game of Jenga, cuz that’s just one step closer to making us topple over.

Basically, my point here is that this mediocre businessman, who built his wealth by conning and/or screwing people, who started not with peanuts, but rather with millions, is NOT worth the package he comes in. People are focusing on the potential he has to help our economy, and not on the social poison he’s injecting into our populace which is further bolstered by those in his administration. By doing this, his supporters are sending one simple message which further proves the incredible lack of empathy in our society: Our money is worth more than our society on the whole.

Don’t get me wrong, our economy certainly isn’t great, and wealth inequality is huge, but his policies will make that worse, not better. Just look at history. Trickle down doesn’t work, it’s a delusional fantasy, similar to that of pure free market capitalism and pure socialism. They all look good on paper, but that leaves out the most important factor of all…the human factor. People don’t always act in the best interest of the whole, and many tend to act the opposite of that, scraping together what they can while ignoring the world rotting around them.

Over the summer, I ran in a Tough Mudder event. The place was filled with all sorts of people, from average couch potato schmucks like me, to fitness junky dude-bros, and all those in between. I expected it to be survival of the fittest, but it wasn’t at all. Everyone was driven by the goal of making sure others could succeed while they succeeded. Every obstacle was loaded with people of all types helping others overcome the obstacles. Those who knew how to do it taught others, and those who couldn’t do it were helped out and supported so they could get through. Then, the ones who struggled would pass it on and help more people. That day, it wasn’t about who you were in the real world, or what kind of person you were normally. That day it was all about succeeding as a whole, and the sentiment was inspiring and infectious.

Just ask yourselves this, who has a better chance of success: A group of people working as individuals to attain stability and wealth in a specific geographic area, with no regard to one another, OR, a group of people working together in a specific geographic area to raise themselves up and attain stability and wealth as a community, one that cares for its own and includes us all, one that may see people not pulling their weight or struggling and helps them learn and bear the weight? My point is, working independently here isn’t a mindset that drives a prosperous community. We need leadership. We need role models. We need people like the runners on those obstacles, working as a team, showing people the way, climbing to the top only to reach down and help others lift themselves up, because in an environment like that we will all succeed in more ways than just one.

State of the union

I’ve obviously been MIA lately, mostly due to just not being overly motivated to post stuff. Lots of stuff has happened, yet the status quo is still about the same. We said farewell to our old home, but still haven’t found a new one, so we’re kind of in a state of flux. I’ve watched a bunch of movies I should do reviews on, like Suicide Squad and whatnot, and I’ll get to those soon. I’m also trying to keep myself from posting political shit about the upcoming election, mostly because I could write pages and pages on the subject and none of it would serve any purpose. As of right now, shit goes like this:

  • No new house.
  • Saw movies, will do reviews.
  • Played games, will do reviews on Addicting Pixels for them.

That said, there IS some good to talk about. I’d spoken recently with a few friends about doing a web series on YouTube. I was resistant at first, but think it’d actually be fun now. The only caveat is this: I’ll do it ONLY if the Lish does it with me. She’s intrigued as well, but neither of us know what to base it on. For now, we’re gonna brainstorm some ideas. We’ll likely start out with an idea in mind, and then probably try some other stuff as time clicks on. Once we make progress and get an idea of what we’ll be doing, I’ll let you both know. Deal? Nice! In the meantime, keep being awesome, and I’ll rant at ya soon!

Saying goodbye to our home

As you probably remember from last year, we’re in the process of moving (yes, still…). We’re living in a rental, and we close on the sale of our old house tomorrow. Last night we had our final farewell to our first true home, and it was completely fucking brutal. What makes it worse than just selling our home is the fact that we can NEVER see it again. The new owners will be demolishing the house and building a whole new one on the property. The home we lived in, loved in, laughed in, cried in, started our family in, partied in, etc will be completely erased from existence, only to be seen again in pictures and video from our time spent there.

Many of you already know that I’m an extremely sentimental person. As such, this is incredibly painful for me. You see, this is the third place the Lish and I have lived since we got married. The first was a one bedroom co-op that we lived in for 3 years, and the second was a small house we lived in for about a year before moving into this one. About a year after we got married, I developed a horrible panic/anxiety disorder. I was really bad for a few years, going to therapy once or sometimes twice a week, taking medication, etc. We were really in flux, and there were some truly dark times where shit was REALLY bad. By the time we were moving into this house, we were hitting the tail end of it. I finished working out my shit, and we started to rebuild. We hit our stride here, settled in, and started our family.

This was a house of firsts. We had our children here, raised them for a few years here, and watched as they hit their milestones here. We sat on the back porch while the kids played and just talked about anything and everything. We had amazing parties with our incredible group of friends. We adopted Sully, and said farewell to him. There were BBQs and birthdays, Christmas and Easter. I started my arcade hobby there, and built my side business there. We went there before we even moved in, with close friends and my mother in law, to read the latest Harry Potter book when it first came out. I spent some awesome times with a good friend remodeling our kitchen after I got laid off. It was the only thing that kept me sane during a really rough time. I remember sitting on our sky chair on the porch every weekend morning in the summer while I had my coffee. There were thunderstorms spent on that porch too, watching the rain fall and the lightning with the kids.

But these are all just memories, right? What makes that different that childhood memories, or memories of the apartment? Well, I’ll tell you. The difference is that this was actually the first TRUE home I’ve ever had. It was mine. I felt safe here, I felt like I belonged here, and I truly felt like I was loved and wanted. I made this place my own, and it really was the only real home I feel that I ever had. I’m absolutely devastated that we had to leave this beautiful place. Sure, it wasn’t perfect, and it wouldn’t work in our family’s best interests going forward, but that doesn’t change what it was to me. At this point, I can’t imagine any future house taking its place in my heart. Sure, I’ll have another home, and perhaps in ten years time I’ll be singing a different tune, but for right now I feel homeless in a way. I think a part of me dies with that house, a part that will likely never heal. It’s as if I’m losing a beloved family member, only to relive our time together through these small windows to the past and the memories they conjure. It hurts more than my words could possibly express, and I know quite a few words.

Last night, after the Lish and the kids left, I decided to have one last fire in the amazingly beautiful fireplace and video tape it. As it turned out, this was much more painful than I thought it’d be. I was lonely, I was broken, I was devastated. I was grieving at the bedside of a dear loved one while they slowly succumbed to sickness in front of my eyes. I wanted to stay until the fire burned down to mere embers, but I couldn’t do it. The pain for me was far too much, and I ended up putting out the fire and going back to the rental.

Now I can imagine some people will read this and think I’m just some sappy melodramatic bitch, and perhaps there’s some truth to that. The reality is that this is literally how I felt at the time, and how I feel now. Like I said, I’m deeply sentimental, and I tend to live in the past, so I have a shitty habit of focusing on what I’ve lost and not living in the moment or looking to the future. I dwell on things. I know I shouldn’t, and I try not to, but for me it’s not that easy. I’m trying to move forward, but it’s hard (haiyoooo). I think it would’ve been easier if the new owners didn’t demo the house. I’ve have loved to show them her beauty, how to care for her, and teach them about all over her little idiosyncrasies. Still, I’m sure that in five or ten years time I’ll be able to look back with love and fondness, and not with longing and despair. I guess only time will tell. Still, I say this to her. Goodbye my very dear friend. We shared much together, and you will live on in our hearts and the hearts of our children (who had a VERY difficult and emotional time saying goodbye). You’ll always mean the world to us, because you were there to provide everything we needed to start our family and grow it right and true. We love you now, and always will, and we truly do wish things had worked out differently. Goodbye…

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Uncle Chooch visits for Xmas 2014

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Lazy days spent chilling out together in the living room.

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Death Row, where my hobby took shape. So many hours spent down there working on games and playing!

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Summertime spent in the inflatable pool!!! We’d sit on the porch and relax while they had fun…until someone started shit and we had to get involved…

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Panoramic view from the sky chair. This is how I spent my summer mornings…

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Hanging out on the sky chair, having fun, relaxing, and being silly!

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Autumn, playing on the big rock. I’d build a huge leaf pile and they’d jump off the rock into it. Good times!

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The view from the couch, watching TV and playing games!!!

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The Lish and I after our first Halloween party in the house. This was our Gods and Goddesses party. My robe says “God” on it…

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First day of preschool!

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Here’s where it all started. We took this the year we moved in and used it as our Christmas card for that year. Seems like soooo long ago…

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Fires on Christmas Eve, waiting for Santa, snuggling up and watching holiday movies with the Lish while the wee ones slept and dreamed of beautiful things.

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The last fire this beautiful fireplace will ever know. So many memories of fires on cold nights, so sad it will never know another…

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View from outside during last night’s fire. Farewell my friend, we will always love and miss you…