About the Occupation

A lot of news coverage has been given recently to the "Occupy Wall Street" bunch. Let me say, I am a poor wanderer, I'm not part of the elite. However, I find the "Occupy Wall Street" movement to be, at best, pointless. Now, I understand that we all want something to happen in this bitter fight against having to reap what we've sown, but what is this supposed to accomplish. Inform people about things like "1% of the population controls a majority of the wealth. We are the 99%."

Do they seriously think people didn't fucking know this?

Now, I've met a lot of stupid people wandering about, but not a one of them didn't understand that there were rich people on the planet that controlled basically everything. This is how it has been for ages. Hell, that is how it is in other countries, not just the United States. Are we really just now getting upset about something that has been well known for ages. Even worse, do we really want to claim that by standing in the streets we can change the way our economy has been destined to end up since its creation? We live in a capitalist country. Don't expect for the wealth to be shared.

That's not to say I'm not all for a good Rebellion

Who knows, it might justify me carrying around the pistol on my trips

However, a rebellion requires real dedication and the willingness to sacrifice everything for nothing more than to make a point. You have to be willing to lay down your life for what you believe in. I don't think a single person on wall street right now has that kind of dedication to this cause. Hell, sometimes even that isn't enough, because you have to have a plan and a real reason behind your sacrifice. 

One last thing, and this one might get me chased out of town: I know when they make statements like "We are the 99%," the protesters are trying to invoke a sense of power in numbers. After all, if there are tons of us, a few rich people with resources and connections couldn't keep us down and in line. They couldn't possibly stand up to us. It's not like 6 million people have ever been controlled by just a few hundered thousand. 

Nope, nothing like that has ever happened
I've seen it all before.

Mark my words, this rebellion will be squashed. 

I've been asked to write a poem a week. I'm not particularly good at it, but I feel that some of them are worth publishing here. After all, the standards aren't exactly high here on blogger.

So here we go

The Burn
I look skyward
As black clouds coat the moon
I'm taken
To rainy days
Spent locked in the attic

Playing with retired toasters
and creased photos
fumbling through relics
Reveling in the safety their age brings

To days also spent in my matron's kitchen
Staring into a bowl
 Of chicken noodle soup
Listening as she makes plans for my life,
Or maybe hers

My safety net gone
I drop the matchbox
The gasoline 

It wasn't really intended to be so damn depressing. It just kind of happened. If anyone reads it, tell me what you think!

One last thing. Here is what has me laughing today:
 It really is a much bigger deal for people than I anticipated.

No One's Listening, So Say Something!

The wonder of having a blog is an odd thing. I often times find myself thinking of things to say, but not saying them for thinking no one would care or even bother to read it. This idea of "JUST SAY SOMETHING!" is one that escapes me most times. I feel I can't just say anything, I have to think it over and come up with something worth saying.

Which is silly.

As no one(or at least barely no one), reads this damn thing.

The only thought I've had in my head for a while is this one, and I feel like sharing it because I'm sure there are many out there who feel the same way:

Don't ask me what I'm doing. I'm not sure anymore.

To those that might read this, sorry for the moderately depressing post, didn't mean to ruin anyone's hour.

I keep my promises, Irene

So yesterday(or just very early this morning) I claimed I was going to say why Hurricane Irene was funny to me. In fact, there is a bit of comedy to be found in it for everyone, even if that comedy highlights one of the biggest problems and proof that our society has a short memory and are ineffectual at solving long term problems.  Before you immediately assume I'm a horrible person, at least here out why I think this way.

The big hurricane that's coming through is just the latest in a long list of disasters we've faced in recent years. Hell, this year Missouri was ravaged by tornadoes and places like Joplin, MO have yet to recover. While they were getting minimal funding from FEMA to help rebuild, that funding has recently been cut off. Why? Because FEMA is now operating on an "Immediate Needs" basis. Because the tornadoes occurred a few months ago, FEMA is going to stop supporting towns struck by them, simply because it was an old incident. Instead, they are going to focus on the impending doom that is Hurricane Irene.

 This is Craig Fugate, one of the guys in FEMA that decided that they could only operate by "Immediate Needs" 
To the left of Fugate is some black guy

Some of the more altruistic readers might be asking, "Why can't they just help everyone?" The answer to that is simple and the source of my humor in this incident. The government cut funding from FEMA for this fiscal year, well knowing that there were disasters headed our way.  That's right, they cut the FEMA budget, the one that helps people in disastrous situations that the USA seems to be prone to. Sure, right now there are some republicans rallying for more funding, but with a democrat controlled senate, no telling if that will go through (party lines seem to be thicker than the blood of the innocent - only dramatic line I intend to say all day).

What's funny about all of this is how easily our government forgot about their biggest faux pas in recent memory(that isn't the economy): Hurricane Katrina. The biggest issue with Katrina is that FEMA was underfunded and unprepared to deal with such a large disaster. Hell, they are still trying to put all the pieces of Louisiana back together (well, no they aren't. That need isn't immediate.). So what do we do? Instead of giving increased funding to FEMA to prepare for such a disaster to occur again, we just say, "Nah, that shit only happens like once every hundred years. So we're good to use some of that money on the White House dance party." It boggles the mind and summons one hell of a dark laugh out of me to think that this is how we choose to prepare for disasters like Katrina.

Disclaimer: I am not a republican, nor a democrat. I don't really fit into a party and I tend to vote based on personal research into each candidate. Because that is clearly the only thing that matters why you talk about your party affiliation.

The Return

So it has been a while since I last posted. I spent my entire summer working at a camp for scouts, which was pretty great. I came back to a new apartment in a new town, a new university and didn't yet have internet, so I couldn't post. Now, however, I have my internet back! It's time to start up these blogs again!

I'll be posting tomorrow(or given the time of this post, later today) with some comments about hurricane Irene and why I find it funny. And it's not just because I always heard that dexys midnight runners song as "Come on Irene."

...Okay, it mostly is, but still show up tomorrow.

See you soon, friends.

Sickness tricks

So, I said I would tell you the other thing that kept me company while ill, and here it is.

Today's subject is
Dark Cloud

Whenever I'm low on cash, but feel like a game, i'll go over to a local store and pick up some really cheap old PS2 games. This was one such game. It was left to collect dust on my game cabinet for quite some time in the shadow of newer games, but my illness was the best excuse I could find to dig this out of my back catalog. The story of this game is probably the most laughable thing ever and can easily be forgotten, but it's basically about an evil dude who summoned an evil genie who started destroying the world. A magical fairy saved everyone but put them into these little balls that you have to go collect to help rebuild the world, then you are expected to fight the genie. You were selected by the fairy to save the world. I call my character fairy boy every time I play. Immature? Yes. Fun? You fucking bet. 

Anyway, this game is about as classic a dungeon crawler that you're going to get. When you enter your first dungeon you get bombarded by a wave of information. You have weapons, all of which have a breaking point. If your weapon breaks, it is gone forever. The only weapon that doesn't break is your starting weapon, which is always pretty worthless. Your weapons are also able to be upgraded after continued use, and after leveling to a sufficient point they can be broken down and added to other weapons. You also have a thirst gauge while in the dungeon. If your thirst gauge runs out, your health starts to deteriorate. 

Along your travels you develop a team of allies that you can switch to while in the dungeons, but they are all moderately useless and only occasionally shoehorned into the game. 

All in all, I found myself slowly becoming an accountant going over my inventory and weapon building trying to figure out how to max out my stats to increase the speed of my swings as well as their power. It was a great experience, and you can easily lose hours on it. I was informed that I should play Dark Cloud 2 now, as I am told it was much better in the story department.

Can anyone confirm this?

Double Post Monday(Don't expect this to happen ever again)!: Scary Stories - A Dramatic Reading

Two posts in one day! This one is me getting rid of my backlog of stuff to talk about. I should admit, I am a fan of scary stories and tales that cause goosebumps to go up your spine. I actively seek out these stories and often find just the right thing to get my fix. One day, I landed on a gold mine in the form of one woman's youtube channel. The subject of this post is

The Little Fears
I blame this book for my obsession with scary stories

The Little Fears is a youtube channel that takes scary stories from around the web that were traditionally in a written format and gives theme a dramatic reading. I personally find the reader's voice to be smooth and relaxing, which often betrays the actual meaning of what she is saying. It creates a sort of cognitive dissonance that is perfect for unsettling someone, rather than jumping out and scaring them. It is this kind of gradual horror, and occasionally psychological horror, that I feel our entertainment mediums are really missing the mark on these days. We need more slow creeping horror and less jumping at the screen horror. In that facet, The Little Fears provides wonderfully. There is only one video that she has ever released that could even be viewed as a 'screamer.' Even then, it doesn't appear to have been intended that way. One fair warning though, she updates so rarely, that one of her readings will only show up once in a blue moon. However, it is almost always worth the wait.

Go give her some views, she deserves it.

Illness and how to handle it. A.k.a. Why I didn't post this weekend

Something about me I probably haven 't mentioned before, I get sick easily. I'm not sure why, but my immune system is utter shit. I spent the weekend running between my bed and the bathroom. It wasn't that bullshit kind of sickness where you just wake up and 'feel kinda bad.' No. There is a distinct difference between those days and what I had. On those days, you sit up in bed, open your mouth, say you don't feel well, and lay back down. What I had was more, sit up in bed, open your mouth, paint the nearest wall with a grayish-green goup, and lay back down.

Not pictured: The freshly painted wall

I'll spare you the rest of the details and move on to talking about what I did over the weekend to make me forget about my sickness. The first thing I did was used this as an excuse to read a book a friend bought me a long time ago. This book was called House of Leaves. House of Leaves is designed to be a story within a story. The first story is of a guy who is running his life into the ground and is just trying to seek every pleasure he can. This man finds the notes of a guy who was trying to create a documentary about a peculiar house. As the man explores and tries to complete the documentary, his life of debauchery slowly crumbles around him. The story within the story is about a famous photographer and his family as they get a new house on Ash Tree Lane. The house seems fine, but small things about it are off. The earliest mention of this is that the house is just slightly larger on the inside than it is on the outside.

This image comes form a randomly selected page. It does get that screwy late in the book.

This book is a great little mindfuck that will leave you reading through its appendix looking for more. I definitely recommend it to anyone who would love a good psychological horror story, with the stipulation that that person be over the age of 18 or have permission from their parents. It's a great story, but it is definitely adult only at certain points.

The other thing I used to pass time I'll talk about tomorrow.

University in the United States

When I attended High School here in the good old USA, there was not a single student in my graduating class that wasn't planning to go to a University after they graduated. From our first year of High School, all the way to our senior year, we were told that if we wanted to live well, we had to go to college. We were told that all people deserved and needed to go to college, and that college was made for everyone. I truly believed this at the time, as I was a gullible 17 year old. However, now that I've been in the University system, I can whole-heartedly say

University is NOT for Everyone

Look like an exclusive kind of place? That's cause it is.

My rage at this issue is from a friend. Recently I tried to explain to him that not everyone needs to go to college to be perfectly successful and happy. My friend was completely convinced that I was crazy and that if someone wanted a good job, they needed a diploma to prove that they earned it.

My friend found me upset because he honestly believed that people who have no aspirations beyond a roof, a family and a job should still have to go to college to get all of those things. I asked about the unbelievable amounts of debt that person would be in, and was told it is all inconsequential. I persisted, saying that upwards of $60,000 in debt that I've seen many seniors come out of Universities with was not inconsequential  and represented nearly a years pay or more for many people leaving college. This was once again dismissed, this time saying that it was 'worth it.' I asked how it was worth it. I didn't really get a response beyond, they get to have an education. I explained that anyone leaving High School does have some amount of education, and that there are some that don't feel they need to have more of it. My friend was getting snarky and simply said, "They do if they want to be successful." I decided to explain to him how wrong he was. I told him the story of a man I know by the name of D.K.(For anonymities sake, I wont post his real name). 
No. Not that DK

This is a man who instantly began working in food service after High School. He worked as a low level employee for about three years and eventually became the manager of a chain restaurant. After learning how to run a restaurant, he set out to make his own. He started a restaurant and became very successful, making six digits each year. He then started another restaurant, which had a similar effect on his income. Eventually, he sold both of his restaurants for a few hundred million dollars. He is now 36 and lives happily a mansion with his wife. He was successful, happy, rich, and never went to college. My friend believed I was telling him a lie, as no one who chooses work over college becomes rich. I eventually had to introduce my friend to D.K. in order for him to believe me. 

What this entire experience taught me was that students in America believe so ardently that they have to go to college to be successful, that they've forgotten that experience is just as(if not more) important than knowledge. 

Break Time #1

I realize that I've made two posts and both have been very serious. I think it's time for a break, some time where I can write about, and you can read about, something a bit less serious.

Quite possibly the best game I've played in ages

You start Portal 2 as Chell, a woman who has been put into cryogenic sleep after destroying a large robot, GLaDOS, who ran the Aperture Science facility. GLaDOS can be accurately described as a crazy ass bitch who wanted to have you preform science tests with her for the rest of your life. While you escaped her clutches, Aperture is slowly falling apart without GLaDOS. You wake up from your cryogenic sleep an unknown amount of time later by the small robot name Wheatly. With Wheatly's help, you begin your escape from Aperture, but along the way you accidentally revive your old enemy GLaDOS and the testing begins once again.

The story is macabre while still being very funny at times. From the realization that you are completely under the control of an insane robot who is out for revenge, to that same robot making monotone fat jokes about you, the game goes from horror to comedy very quickly. While this would be the death of some creative works, it is actually what makes Portal fantastic. You'll find yourself venturing through a dark world with a smile on your face as you face puzzle after clever puzzle. 

The story doesn't end with Chell, though. Portal 2 separates itself from its predecessor by including a completely separate cooperative campaign. In the Co-Op campaign, you take control of one of two bipedal robots, Atlus or P-body, as you preform testing for the maniacal robot overlord GLaDOS. 

Atlas(Left) is my favorite of the two robots. Look at that Gritty Mofo. He is ready to get down and dirty...For Science.

She leads you through the testing stations all the while praising your existence as robots, while also taking stabs at your performance of each task. An interesting feature of the Co-Op is the gesture and indicator systems by which you can non-verbally tell you partner where to place portals or just show a sign of affection or anger. These gestures are also related to the story of the Co-Op, as GLaDOS begins to take notice of your growing human behavior.

I can say that the Co-Op is one of the best parts of this game and should be considered the major selling point. It is one of the most interesting types of multiplayer I've seen in quite some time and really brings a refreshing breeze to the constant Call of Duty-esk online gameplay the gaming community has been seeing over the past few years.

I will say that there is one major drawback. Portal 2 suffers, to a lesser degree, from the same problem Portal 1 suffered. They single player stories of both games are short and leave the player wanting more. The good news is that Valve, the company who makes the game, announced that they plan to release plenty of downloadable content for the game that will all be free. With that in mind, I can't help but think Portal 2 is most definitely worth the $40 it now costs here in the United States. 

Being turned into a potato battery: Also a major Drawback

Portal 2 is out now for the PC, PS3, and Xbox 360. I personally recommend getting it for the PS3, as doing so gets you a free copy of the PC version anyway. However, if you only have an Xbox, don't let that deter you from picking up this great game.

The Osama Issue

Sunday night Osama Bin Laden, a man America had been chasing for around 10 years, was finally found. He was also killed in a firefight, suppose that is pretty important to mention. Of course, if you've been outside your basement over the past few days, you are probably aware of this. So why talk about it? Because I'm not honestly certain how I feel about the whole, "He's Dead," thing.

Coincidentally, anyone want to congradualte him on his second term?

I mean, yes, it is great that we've now bought ourselves a feeling of momentary safety. I say momentary because we here in America are likely to see a backlash from all of this some time soon. That is, if Al Qaeda isn't essentially a bunch of bumbling chimps without their cave jumping leader. My problem, though, is that he had to die. I probably sound like a terrorist now, but hear me out. I, like many Americans, value the sanctity of life. I believe we should do our best to preserve it and its quality. So, when I hear someone has been murdered, I can't help but feel a little sad.

Alright, I'll admit it. I just added this one for fun.

However, This guy was a mass murderer and he wasn't even killing people for one of the cool reasons, like because he saw it in a video game. He murdered people almost solely because they were from the west and weren't Muslims. The guy is a prick by all accounts, and while I'm sad he had to die, I'm not exactly upset to see him go. It's a very odd state of being.

I guess this is one of those times where we have to test our convictions. Do we join the people at ground zero that are essentially dancing on a man's grave, or do we feel a little sad that he had to die and move on?

It's up to you to choose.

The Freedom of Speech

What better way to start off a blog than with a talk about the freedom of speech. Free speech is something everyone in the United States is very privileged to hold. It allows you to voice your opinion on a subject, no matter what that subject may be. It can range from your rather harsh opinions of the guy who works two cubicles down to your love of bagels. The only thing you really can't do is tell lies with the intent to defame someone else or make threats of violence. Well, I suppose you can do all of those things, you are just likely to receive a punishment. Of course, a blog is a great example of that, you can literally say anything you want. While I am new to the game, I am already enjoying my blog. However, in order to keep this tiny piece of joy in an otherwise shitty world there is a price that must be paid. That price is understanding that other people may have things to say that you disagree with or find absolutely detestable. There is one group out there today that is almost universally hated. The Westboro Baptist Church.

aw, look at the little hate mongers

If you've been in a coma for the past year, you may not know about these guys. They are a small church, consisting almost entirely of one family of people, who support the idea that the reason people die in America is because god hates that we allow homosexuals to live here. 

Yeah. That message is a little more hate-filled than that of your average picketing party or group of religious zealots. But, they don't stop there. To add salt to the already sore wound that is their message, they picket outside the funerals of fallen soldiers holding signs like the ones above and shouting hate-based propaganda. A lot of people take offense to their actions and many groups have found ways to drive them off. However, there is one way that sparked a lot of discussion on our rights as Americans. Albert Snyder

Cpl. Albert Snyder attempted to take them to court to sue for damages.

Snyder made the claim that they turned his sons funeral into a circus. Fair enough, that is pretty much what they tried to do. However, they did it from at least 1,000 feet away and on public property. Snyder's case made it's way all the way to the Supreme Court and it was upheld that the Westboro Baptist Church had every right to picket funerals and could not be sued for damages. The hate mongers at the WBC won a national court case saying they could continue to anger basically everyone else in the country because it was covered under the freedom of speech. There were a lot of people out there truly upset by this news. My question to those people is this: What did you really think was going to happen? 

Did you really expect the Supreme Court to set the precedent that any speech that upsets any group of people is unconstitutional? You see, it's situations like these where we have to pay for our freedom of speech. You may not like what the WBC had to say. You may think that it's among the most wretched things you've ever seen. However, you have to recognize that the Westboro Baptist Church has the right to keep on picketing funerals while shouting that "God Hates Fags."