Anime Randomness

August 19, 2014 § Leave a comment

1889871903_1401840012What if I told you a story about a young boy who found a fruit that gave him special powers, but that same fruit also stole his ability to swim? What if I told you that this fruit also was unique—it was inert after the first bite and it was one of a kind for whatever power it gave. Another special fruit might bestow another special power, but no fruit would give the same power he had gotten.

No two are alike.

This might sound a little bit weird, but to some it might also seem familiar. It’s the plot to the anime One Piece. I’m not really the biggest anime fan, but I’ve got a special kind of hatred for this show. It just seems to be everything wrong with modern anime—the randomness, the off key comedy, and the lack of actual explanation for what’s going on.

Some might argue that I just don’t understand it, but I used to be able to appreciate the stuff I was seeing in anime. I wasn’t ever a fan of anime just because it was anime. But shows like Evangelion, Cowboy Bebop, and Full-Metal Alchemist held a special appeal to me and I felt were shining examples of what the cartoon medium could be.

It feels like the new stuff has a bad kind of randomness to it. Not the good, Ren & Stimpy  kind of random, but the bullshit Family Guy kind.

You can call me out of touch, but it feels like the shift has been away from logic in a bad way.

The Bare Minimum

August 17, 2014 § Leave a comment

I’ve been hearing more and more about the wealth gap in this country and how it affects the poorer, majority of Americans. I hate to dwell on it and really go off on this long rant about what’s happening, but basically there are people out there who think they deserve to make more than they do right now.Federal-Minimum-Wage-1

And these people are absolutely right. The price of everything has gone up, but the cost of making it seems to have either gone down or stayed the same while the pay for those doing the making…has stayed the same. Just look at gasoline—do you think that modern refineries work harder to produce a product?

The price of gas in just the years I have been driving has gone up 400%, yet the minimum wage still hovers around seven dollars for a vast part of the country. Value meals at fast food places, the cost of living in general—it’s all gone up. Inflation is kind of expected, but the minimum wage should keep the pace with it. Issue is that it hasn’t.

My problem in this post is less with the wage itself and more with the people arguing against others getting a higher wage. There seems to be this overwhelming sentiment that others shouldn’t get a wage that’s higher because “I work my ass off and I’m not getting paid more”.

Then your problem should be with the employer, not with the others trying to do better for themselves. As Americans it seems we’re cultured and trained to think that sick days, vacation, pensions and unions are for the weak or the lazy and that if you’re a true, red blooded patriot that you’ll work your job and if you don’t like how you’re treated you’ll find somewhere else to work. I’m not sure how we started to think we were the greatest place on Earth or how we collectively got so stupid as to be duped into a way of thinking that makes us expendable basically sets us up to be shit on.

I’m reminded of a line from one of my favorite shows “Louie”:

“The only time you should look at your neighbors bowl is to make sure they have enough.”


August 16, 2014 § Leave a comment

One of the strange things about scheduling something to post is that you never quite know what is going to erupt on those days you’ve designated a post to. Take the shooting of Michael Brown in a small Missouri city. I know that I am days and days late in commenting about this, but the thing that I have to say is rather short and to the point. Every time someone young and black gets shot there’s this scramble to question their history, what they were wearing, how they were talking and acting. It’s assumed, at least on some level, that they deserved it. Not in the way that anyone would have done the same thing, but more like the kind of thing where someone just says, “What do you expect?”

Does this sentiment sound familiar?

It should. It’s the same one that someone has when they tell rape victims that they should have known better than to get drunk at a party or to dress the way that they did. Questions about clothes and behavior are the same things the media and community and the prosecution ask when they’re taking time to further victimize the actual victim.

Society needs to seriously evaluate how it looks at black personhood and why they’re considered sub-human (because I believe that is the root of the issue) and society needs to look at women and why they are seen almost as property. The concerns of both groups need to be treated as if they matter and not just as if they’re people bitching needlessly. Until that happens, we can pretend we’re as civilized as we want to, but we really haven’t gotten that far.

Some Serious Dungeons and Dragons

August 15, 2014 § Leave a comment

portraitp1A friend of mine said the other day that he was tired of the whacky adventures of some little group. He wanted something serious from his Dungeons and Dragons game if he was going to play. We’re nearly thirty now and we’re not embarrassed by the game (I’m relatively new to it). It has some stigma attached to it, but so does everything out there. It doesn’t mean you have to stop doing what you want. What we play these days isn’t *technically* D&D. Of course, if you want to get technical about it most pepper comes from tree bark—not pepper corns and there’s little to no nickel in a nickel. To the average person who doesn’t know what they’re looking at the game would look suspiciously like D&D and we don’t really always call it by it’s actual name, Pathfinder.

But I think that what he’s expressing is something that I have had an issue with for a while. There are so many games out there where people want to play the quirky team of adventurers who stumble ass-backwards through quests and life only making it by the skin of their teeth. This is all supposed to be fun, but at the same time not everything has to be a joke. Not every event has to be handled in the least practical way possible. It wears thin.

The full fifth edition rule set for actual D&D launches this month and I’m going to look them over when I can. I’m hoping that there are some new comers out there who I run into who don’t have an issue with something more serious in their games. With the move and all it might become a Skype affair, but that’s okay too. The idea of Skype being involved never bothered me. I just want something a little different from my next game.

San Antonio Bound

August 14, 2014 § Leave a comment

san-antonio-visitor-bureauThis has been something I’ve talked about for a bit now, but I wanted to get closer to the actual day before I put anything online in writing where all could see it. It looks like after seven years of being back in Houston, I’m moving back to San Antonio. There really isn’t that much to say. I’m anxious. Excited. Worried. I think most of all I’m ready for some sort of change in my life. The job last year was a nice, welcome change. But I need something more substantial. Houston’s wearing thin on me. I’ve met good friends here and my family is here, but nothing else seems to be going how it should.

Now if I could just work up the nerve to work on the novel that I basically finished that’s been sitting around in my hard drive.

Mental Misunderstandings

August 13, 2014 § 1 Comment

robinwilliamsWith the recent death of Robin Williams it’s become largely apparent that the public at large doesn’t understand the suicidal mind or depression. They probably really don’t understand mental illness. This is surprising considering how many celebrities and others are lost a year. And even more surprising when you factor in the studies that say as many as twenty percent of Americans suffer from mental illness a year.

When someone can go on television and make the disgusting comments like the one made by Fox News’ Shepard Smith then it would seem that there’s some sort of communication break down about what’s going on in the mind of a person who would take their own life. I think that saying someone is a coward is actually not at all what happens. Comedian Doug Stanhope said that if it were the coward’s way out then everyone would be doing it. We’re not as brave as we would like to portray ourselves and it would seem to me that claiming that someone who took their own life is cowardly is the actual cowardly part of the equation.

Suicide is largely misunderstood. Culturally we’re taught that it’s illegal and morally wrong. If you’re Christian then many sects teach that it is a one way ticket to Hell. And in the West we tend to value our lives even when they’re not all that great. When someone doesn’t do like the rest of us or doesn’t feel like that, we tend to not like it. This worries me because I don’t know if we will ever be ready, as a country, to properly address mental illness. I suffer from depression and many times people’s reactions range from worried I’m going to end up blowing my brains out to thinking that it’s all in my head and that I can just think my way out of it.

You want to fault them for it, but they can’t understand. When your brain sees things through a haze your world isn’t the same world that everyone else sees. That concept is hard to grasp, but until we do things like this will keep being treated insensitively.

On Cumia

August 6, 2014 § Leave a comment

In the middle of a lot, but according to a post that I came across on Jezebel, Anthony Cumia should have totally been fired because he’s a huge racist. Quoting him here for clarity:

“When you watch any of the footage of any of the Apollo programs over the years and you look at the control room of mission control, what do you see? Do you see diversity there? Honestly, let’s be honest. You’re seeing white males smoking cigarettes, drinking coffee at the console and putting people on the moon. How is this a horrible thing? How is this something to look at and say, ‘We need to change this by injecting people that do not pay attention to the laws of this country, do not assimilate to the cultures, do not work and contribute to this nation’?”

Anthony-CumiaThere doesn’t need to be much context given to this quote. It doesn’t really warrant much of one. Just like I talked about back when I wrote the post on the racism in Bioshock, there’s not really an easy line to draw between the excuses that people will use to justify what they think. Like the above quote by Cumia illustrates the racism and sexism of the time. Non-Caucasian men and all women were barred from holding many high level jobs. It’s not surprising that Mission control looked like it did. There was an entire institution of sexism and racism behind it.

Cumia is so far up his own ass that he doesn’t see that and that he defends his racism as a right because whites have earned it. The sad fact is this attitude is common and not all that surprising.

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