Sunday, June 30, 2013

Iron Price Into Cash!

Iron Price Into Cash! 

I'm sure you're all aware of the current economic instability in the American dollar! Why would you waste your time on that? And I'm sure you've seen all the commercials of turning your gold into cash... But why would you want to pay the Gold Price? I mean, what are you, some fucking pussy?!

Wait, you probably don't know what I'm talking about. In Gorge R.R. Martin's Ice and Fire series, which you've probably watched on HBO, the Iron Island folks live on a currency that is the Iron Price. Which when you think about it, it's a neat little idea.

The Iron Price is the basic concept paying homage to the drowned God. In which paying the iron price means seizing something from those who you defeated rather than paying or exchanging goods/services for it. Thus, it is a primary aspect of the old ways. The opposite is the Gold Price, in which you're paying for possessions, which is considered shameful for a man to pay.

It's a neat first draft type of idea by R.R. Martin, that really doesn't seem like it was fleshed out very well to make it realistic. It's probably the most ridiculous and unsustainable custom in Westeros when you think about it. It would make sense if an Iron Price item simply had more prestige or worth, but for all the Iron Born to be shitting on one another over who paid what iron price is just plain silly.

It does make you think about all the questions it does present. Like, say you murder someone and take the gold off their corpse and then buy something nice with their corpse taken gold. Was that item bought with the iron price or the gold price? Perhaps you should just air on the side of caution and just kill the person selling the thing you want to buy, that way you get to keep the gold as well.

Sure, it presents a problem when, say you're buying a boat from a relation or something and you're not in the mood to make your aunt a widow - especially not for a boat, of all things. Or maybe the Iron Price just pertains to valuables and luxuries. I'm sure you can probably buy boats in the Iron Island without getting shit talked about what you did... cause, you know, it's the Iron Islands.

In which case that it is just for fancy shit you're wearing to show off, like, if you're going to dress in fine clothes and jewels, it had better be because those are kill trophies and what not. Which makes the Greyjoy words seem a bit over the top, but "We do not filigree" doesn't seem to have the same ring to it. Though with that said, We  Do Not Sew would be far more amusing.  We do not sew! 

We Only Use Sewing Machines Fuck That Hand Stitching Shit.
(We kill people for the sewing machines)

Now that's a house motto I can get behind.

And after a bit of looking back at the books, for all of you wondering about the Iron Price, it appears to apply to just about everything, at least according to Victarion's chapter in A Dance with Dragons. As he feels ashamed because he had to pay the Gold Price for food and water before leaving Volantis.

I imagine that the way the Iron Price works in the long run is that only those who are devout in the Old Ways really care about it. Otherwise the Iron Islands would just be full of dead bodies. There has to be a way to get around killing someone every time they want some bread or something. I would assume that coercing or threatening people and/or simply ordering them is allowed as well.

But hey, don't think I'm bashing on G.R.R.M.'s murder based economy or anything, okay. I'm just some, you know, pampered currency haver.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

How Not To Be a Completely Rude Bride

How Not To Be a Completely Rude Bride

I came across this story from the fine folks up North in Canada land about a disgruntled bride who received a wedding gift they really didn't enjoy all that much/ And since in our culture it seems that being a Bridezilla is a common and accepted practice, they decided to let the fella know about it. Take a gander at this little story and I'll interject my own thoughts through out the piece.
On a recent Friday I was invited (plus guest) to the wedding of a girl (I was her boss at a family, corporate style restaurant, I have since left the restaurant). The ceremony was at 2PM with reception to follow at 5:30.
The ceremony was short and sweet, the brides said their "I dos" at a lake side garden in Stoney Creek.
As a gift, my Girlfriend and I gave them a wicker box with a hinged lid, filled with food items, most of them PC Black Label, including: tri-color pasta, salsas, Balsamic vinegar and Olive, Gourmet croutons, Panko Breading, Pesto, some baking ingredients, Biscuits from Godiva and a few 'Fun' items like Marshmallow Fluff, Sour Patch Kids and Butterscotch sauce.
On the card we wrote "Life is delicious....Enjoy" 
 To be honest, that's not all that bad of a gift. It sounds like they weren't all that close to begin with besides having the working relationship some years back and his choice to go celebrate their union was at least met with some thoughtful gifts there. So what happens next?

 The day following the wedding I received this text from the Bride I worked with:
"Heyyy I just wanna say thanks for the gift but unfortunately I can't eat any of it lol I'm gluten intolerant. Do u maybe have a receipt"
To which I replied:
"Ahh shit! Really!? We had a great time. Thank you again for allowing us to be a part of the celebration."
That was a random text and really, rather rude. You may get a bad gift at a wedding, but guess what, you have someone to now bitch to about it, your spouse. This couple should have simply kept it to themselves. At this point the dude's reaction was pretty easy going and it does dodge it a little, which he should be doing. You didn't like the gift, fine. Thanks for the invite and having us.

The next morning (Father's Day) while having Brunch with my daughter, girlfriend and girlfriend's daughter (Which was amazing, at Spencer's on The Water in Burlington) I received this text:
"Hey (writer) it's (Bride 1's) wife Laura. I want to thank you for coming to the wedding Friday. I'm not sure if it's the first wedding you have been to, but for your next wedding... People give envelopes. I lost out on $200 covering you and your dates plate... And got fluffy whip and sour patch kids in return. Just a heads up for the future :) "
At this point I am PISSED OFF to say the least.
I would be as well. That was pretty damn rude of them to say. I'm going to give a lot of bonus points to the basket maker. You see, weddings are fucking tiring. You, as the guest, get to enjoy endless amounts of booze and the food is filling. But for the bride and groom they have to be on their feet taking pictures, doing dances and taking more pictures and being victim to the damn DJ and greeting everyone. Guess what, they don't eat a lot that day. So I think a gift basket with a bunch of snacks and what not to have while you're in the hotel room later - that's actually a pretty thoughtful gift, wouldn't you say?

In fact, the only fault I find with putting marshmallow fluff in the basket is that he didn't say he included a jar of creamy jif and a fresh loaf of wonderbread. Fluffernutters are amazing and giving only one third of that puzzle to a couple is a completely asshole thing to do. But then again, let's see how he responded to that;
 After mulling over it for a few hours I decided to send them both an email via Facebook (I would have sent it to their personal e-mail address, but I don't have either. That is how close we all are) This is the message I sent:
"Hi , I want to tell you how incredibly insulted I am in both of the messages you have sent me over the last two days. (Bride 1), I am sorry that you have intolerance to Gluten, I am sure that makes life difficult at times. However, to ask for a receipt is unfathomable. In fact it was incredibly disrespectful. It was the rudest gesture I have encountered, or even heard of. That is until you, Laura, messaged me today.
Laura, the message you sent to me today was by far the most inconsiderate, immature, greedy, and asinine thing I have ever had the displeasure of seeing.
This is not even close to being the first wedding I have attended, and actually I have done a lot of research on wedding etiquette, a step in the process the two of you clearly skipped over (clearly displayed by Laura chewing gum, like a cow does hay, while walking down the aisle). Here is some help for you..just a heads up for the future.
The Bride's Etiquette Guide: Etiquette Made Easy, Second Edition. Here is the link.
Too bad you didn't read this, or any other etiquette guide prior to your "big day". In respect to this particular topic, I would turn your attention to pages 147-149. I am sure you will not bother to follow this link, so I will fill you in. Not only is it wrong to have an expectation of any sort of gift, it is the ultimate insult to your family and friends to mention a gift of monetary value at all, let alone be so boorish to message someone with your disappointment in said gift. Also, you should never host a party that you cannot afford, or expect your guests to pay for it. On that note, I seriously doubt that you had an expense of $100/plate. If you did, you were taken for a ride.
In retrospect, this is the exact style of behavior I should have expected from the two of you, when you used the gift card donated to your doe and doe for a personal date night, then had the gall to ask your server for the "friends and family discount".
I'm sure that one, or the two of you will mature, and grow into adults who will take a different, more respectful, LOVE based approach when you invite guests to your next wedding."
 I have to give it to the guy, this is fairly spot on. On at least the stance that weddings aren't a method to cash in and nor are they some political fundraiser that you have to pitch in a certain amount per plate. You are, after all, an invited guest to see their wedding. But hey, let's see where Laura takes this thing;

Laura: Again... Out of 210 people at a wedding... The only I gift I got from all was yours... And fluffy whip and sour patch kids. Your Facebook message had nothing to do with the gift. Weddings are to make money for your future.. Not to pay for peoples meals. Do more research. People haven't gave gifts since like 50 years ago! You ate steak, chicken, booze, and a beautiful venue. To be exact the plates were $97 a person... But thanks again for the $30 gift basket my wife can't even eat. If anything you should be embarrassed for being so cheap and embarrassing yourself walking in with a gift basket probably re gifted cheap ass. Again.. Out of 210 people, you were the talk and laugh of the whole wedding!!!! Worst gift ever story Is being passed along to everyone!! How about you tell people what you gave as a 2 person gift to a wedding and see what normal functioning people say about it!! Do a survey with people u know... And tell me what 100% of them tell you!! Wake up dude
Now we're getting into the whole bridzille to the next level. This is all sorts of Mothra action all up in here with the bride fueding back and forth and bitching about what can and can't be used from the wedding gifts. And the whole $97 per plate thing comes up again. Perhaps they should have just had a smaller wedding? Not to mention making a guest feel alienated as well as... well, the butt of a joke. Bitch sounds awful in this. 
Writer: it's obvious you have the etiquette of a twig, I couldn't care less of what you think about the gift you received, "normal" people would welcome anything given, you wanna have a party, you pay for it, DON'T expect me to, I don't care what you or anybody thinks, you should just be happy your sham of a marriage is legal dude!
(Admittedly, throwing the legality of same sex marriage at them was wrong, I strongly believe in same sex couples rights to marry. I was mad, and lost my train of thought for a brief moment )
While some people may point to him being homophbic, I will say that it sounds like he's commenting more on the fact that their marriage and wedding seemed to have the context and priority that they were going to make a lot of money off of it. 

It may be a bit rude to point out that someone's marriage is a sham, but then again, the whole level that this thing escalated at was pretty crazy.  Just look at how it then went on...
 Laura: Lol. Your an idiot. Go research more on life. You should have been cut from the list.. I knew we were gunna get a bag of peanuts.. I was right
Writer: Never argue with an idiot. They will bring you down to their level and beat you with experience. - George Carlon.
You just proved this to be true.
Laura: Thanks for the fluffy whip :). Have a good day

I'm a little taken back by the simple logic that this couple feels that a gift should be compensation for the meal you just had or the open bar that they paid for. Guess what, if you need me to spot you on this voluntary party you decided to throw, then it's not really a celebration of your love, but more of a loan and you probably should have looked into having a cheaper wedding.

This notion that if you're invited to a wedding, that you have to yield a return on your investment is simply unheard of. You are asking for someone to give up their day, evening or whatever to come and see the show of you and someone else get married. You don't invite people simply because you want a gift from them. That really isn't a great gesture that all you see these potential folks who will share in your special day as nothing more than ways to get back the money that you spent putting on this little show.

It also comes out that this couple didn't have a registry. So guess what, if you don't tell folks what you want, then you lose all rights to bitch and complain when they give you whatever the hell kind of gift that they pull out for you.

It wasn't a rude gift. It was a GIFT. A non-obligatory, given-in-good-spirit gift. If you can't graciously accept what people give you, then you have no business accepting gifts at all. What does this say about the wedding in general when it's no longer about sharing a life with a partner, but that the whole point of the wedding was to cash in on the many gifts people were going to give them.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Oh Florida, You So Cray Cray

Oh Florida, You So Cray Cray

This one goes out to my friend who decided to answer the calls of her Jewish ancestors and make her way to America's Wang and Jewish retirement center - Florida. But hey, she should watch out since coming to a Florida road side near you sometime soon are these;

I mean, it's not like you can become a sex offender by doing the basics like peeing in public or anything. it's also not enough that in most of Florida, you can't legally live within a certain distance of schools or anything else causing you to be forced to live under a bridge or something.

Pursuant to F.S 775.21
The People Standing Near This Sign
are known Fascists
and they live in this area

DJ Hodor Dropping Phat Hodors!

DJ Hodor Dropping Phat Hodors!

On Game of Thrones, the character of Hodor may not be able to communicate with anything more than grunts of his own name... Hodor. But that's not the only means that Hodor can lay a message across. Or more to the point lay and drop some massive beats on you.

For you see, Kristian Nairn, the actor who plays Hodor is surprisenly enough a fairly well known Irish DJ and when not dragging around Rickon to the icey dangers of North of the wall, he's spinning on the Westeroes 808's at Dublin's Kremlin.

He's actually pretty good. Take a listen to his mix from Sound Cloud;

And if that hour's worth of music wasn't enough, here's this little Youtube clip as well.

Now what other surprises does Hodor have? I mean, if only he can mix a mean cocktail...

Thursday, June 27, 2013

What You Need To Know Before Proposing

What You Need To Know Before Proposing

Since it is June and it's about that time that all of your friends are getting married and it sure as hell makes your significant other start questioning when you'll pop the question, we should go over some of the very basics when it comes to proposing the question on if someone will put up with your shit for as long as you both shall live... or until you decide to fuck it and file for divorce.

Either way, there's some tactful things that you need to remember in order to keep this tradition sacred and not taint it more so than what your typical republican feels gay marriage is destroying with it.

First off, how about getting off your ass. I know it's cliche, but the down on one knee business is sort of the standard. You have to factor in where you'll be when you do so. This means that you probably shouldn't propose at a fast food restaurant. Even if that is where you met. It's not kosher, man. Wait till you get your combo meal and are out the door at least. Ain't nobody need to be held up on their lunch break as you fucking close off all the lines and orders taken with your signs of devotion to one another.

On another note - stop with this concept of putting the ring in a glass of champagne or other food item. It's not clever and you have to remember that it's going to be on their finger for a long time. Do you really want to start the life of the jewelry off by having it baked or soaked in alcohol? The risk of shit going wrong with this scenario are so huge that you really shouldn't risk it. It can only end in tragedy and the last thing you really want is a ring on her finger that had to be savaged out of her shit. 

You may as well avoid all surprised to begin with. Also don't do it during business hours. The classic situation of a gal getting flowers at work to show off is one thing. To get proposed to at work just seems very unprofessional on all fronts. So it's best to avoid that at all possible. It's pretty embarrassing as well. I mean, let's face it, you'll have to potentially invite those people to the wedding after putting them through such an ordeal.

I did find this online as a guide to how to do it;

Part of it makes sense. I mean, I may not think that you would actually need a parent's permission to get married to someone, they aren't a stupid child after all and it is their own life. But it's a nice gesture to go to the parents and talk about it. It adds vintage standards with a new age feel. And I already covered the whole surprise thing.. Which let's face it, is sort of difficult in the whole grand scheme of things. If you go away for the weekend, then guess what, they'll start thinking about the potential of you popping the question.

Especially if you drop hints that they should get their nails did. I mean, fucking seriously? I can see the appeal since you'll probably take a picture of your hand with the ring and well, who wants to be caught with some nasty ass finger nails on that big moment? But again, hard to keep it a surprise if it's being mentioned like you suddenly giving a shit about her nails getting done up.

I also disagree with the camera shit. You don't need to get it all on camera.Try not to get too much documentation on it. Yes, you want to remember it - but it seems that now a days with the ease and accessibility of a lot of high end tech, that you see most proposals get documented with SLR cameras and enough cell phone camera phones to operate a three camera television show. Try to keep it low key, besides, nothing puts pressure on the potential wife than having your soul get crushed by her saying no in front of so much video and audio documented equipment.

Also, for all that is sacred and holy in the whole act of getting married and becoming a business partner with someone, try the fuck not to use Google Glass. I mean, what the fuck.

Oh, most of all, don't do it during a big sporting event. Those jumbo trons are god awful and I feel bad for anyone who has a significant other who can't step away from the game for enough time to actually propose correctly and not under the eyes of thousands of people waiting for your answer. Now that's some serious pressure and if I was a woman and my significant other did that to me, they would have been dropped like no one's business.

Most of all, you got to make it personal. It is a big moment for them, after all. Go crazy but not too crazy. There's some limits to all these things you know.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A Burglary and a Hanging

A Burglary and a Hanging

In this rather strange piece of news that seems like it's out of a fiction novel, a New Zealand Burglar faces some harsh realities of life. 
A terrified burglar has handed himself to police in New Zealand after breaking into a house and stumbling across a body hanging in the dark.
His screams alerted neighbours in the North Island town of Hamilton, who thought it was a domestic dispute.
Police said the hanged man had died hours before the burglary, but might otherwise not have been found for days.
They said they hoped the encounter would prove a life-changing moment for the burglar.
"Hopefully there will be a positive out of it and that he will decide it's not the thing to do. I would be taking that as pretty bad karma," Hamilton Police senior sergeant Freda Grace told the New Zealand Herald.
She described the circumstances of the discovery early on Wednesday morning as being "incredibly sad".
Police say that the would-be burglar will not be charged and the death is not being treated as suspicious.
So the burglar breaks into a house here and freaks out upon discovering hanging body of the occupant who'd killed himself a few hours earlier, calls the police. Man, that's all sorts of like something out of a Vonnegut story. Or at the very least a David Sedaries family fucked up situation.

But great, now you have to worry about someone walking in on you just moments after you try to kill yourself. And all you wanted is some privacy and perhaps the ability to stink up the neighborhood in one final FUCK YOU to those dicks next door who constantly threw parties and kept you up on weeknights.  

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Diamonds Are a Fools Best Friend

Diamonds Are a Fools Best Friend

With it being June and all the exchanges of shiny rocks and gold bands in the happy gathering of marriage and what not, it would be a disservice if I didn't do my typical cynical rant about how diamonds are pretty much the worst investment you could probably make.

The whole six months salary or whatever trope cliche on how much a man should spend on a pressurized charcoal rock in the tradition of asking for the gal's hand in marriage always seemed odd to me.  Wouldn't it be a wiser choice to instead of dropping such coinage on that blood soaked diamond, you instead you could easily put that money into actual assets and proper investments that will have a far better rate of return than something that loses 50% of the value the moment you walk out that jeweler's doors.

You have to remember that diamonds aren't even that rare. It's all a marketing scam brought about by DeBeers. Diamonds aren't rare at all aside from the carefully restricting of the supply by those fuckers that has kept diamonds at the retail level so high. But hey, try reselling a diamond to a dealer and they'll laugh at you.

Doesn't that make you think?

And yet here we are with this societal obligation to furnish a diamond engagement ring. An obligation that is around because the company who controls it stands to make a lot of profit of such forced upon tradition.

The whole intrinsic value of a ring is just crazy to even think about. Let's face the reality that a diamon is a depreciating asset masquerading as an investment. It's like comic books and video game systems. People assume you can make your money back on those things, and in some case even more. But the reality is that it's constantly losing value.

Gold and silver are commodities that can be invested in on the open market. They can appreciate and will hold their values at times of inflation. You've seen the many gold into cash ads. People pay money for that shit and in tough times it's often a smart choice to cash in your gold when it's at the high. Becuase you need to remember that it can very well fluctuate down as well.

I still wouldn't suggest it as a great investment since the mark up for gold jewelry is between 100-400% and, well, that shit is more flash and a smarter choice would be to put it into your 401k or IRA.

But when you get into Diamonds, that shit is not an investment and it should never be viewed as one. The main reason why is because you flat out can't resell it.  Retail jewelers, especially the prestigious 5th Avenue stores, prefer not to buy back diamonds from customers, because the offer they would make would most likely be considered incredibly low.

Most jewelers would also not like to offer a customer a super low price of actual whole sale because then it does tarnish the image of a diamond as an investment. As well as most jewelers get their stones on consignment and don't need to pay for them until they are sold. So why would they risk their own cash to buy back a diamond from a customer?

So now that we covered how diamonds aren't an investment and are all flash and you want one because it's pretty. Let's move on to the next part where we talk about why you think about diamonds in the way that you do.  The Marketing of it.

Up till the mid 20th century, diamond engagement rings were a small niche industry in America. The American market for diamond rings. So De Beers went to Madison Ave to the folks like Don Draper to inject new life to their product and get you to buy into this idea. And boy how they were successful.

They got Gerold Lauck and the N. W. Ayer advertising agency on the case with the approach that they needed to target young men and instil this notion that diamonds were the gift of love. The bigger the rock, the bigger the devotion.

Then they went for the sweet spot. Lauck's next approach in defense to those hold-out women who wanted to be different was to shoot for the man's self worth. They promoted the diamond as one material object which can reflect, in a very personal way, a man's success in life.

Got a small rock? Well then, you must be with a loser. The very concept of a diamond ring symbolizing marriage began with a bunch of rich white men in the 40's tricking you into thinking you needed this piece of rock. And today over 80% of women in the US receive diamond rings when they get engaged.

But back now to the rarity, or lack there of in a diamond. Back in the 1870's, diamonds were very rare. They only showed up on crowns and royal necklaces. But in 1870 a giant deposit of diamonds was discovered in Kimberley, South Africa. As diamonds flooded the market, the financiers of the mines realized they were making their own investments worthless due to market saturation. The more they mined, the more diamonds became less rare and would lose their value.

You wouldn't think diamonds were worth anything if that trend continued. It took an enterprising fella by the name of Cecil Rhodes buying up the mines to control the output and keep the price of diamonds high. Soon he controlled all the supply in South Africa. It's because of them that you perceive the value of diamonds as to be something worthy of investment. In reality it's a false sense of investment and you and your future significant other are better off using that money to actually invest into your future or have one hell of a better wedding.

Monday, June 24, 2013

The Sights of Mad Men

The Sights of Mad Men

Ever wonder how they get that new age fun with a vintage feel in Mad Men? This little clip will show you some of the sights and locations it's filmed in so that you can class it up with your very own night on the town Mad Men style.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Happy 50th Anniversary Tiki Room!

Happy 50th Anniversary Tiki Room!

50 years ago today Disney cranked out the Tiki room. And it comes only second to that god awful Small World in terms of infectious songs that once they enter your ear, they won't ever leave your brain. But hey, unlike the small world, the tiki room offers a means to compensate for such infectious music in the form of enjoying a Dole Whip as you wait.

Also while you wait for the attraction is a brief history and run down of those South Pacific Gods and Goddesses.

So who are all these Gods? Since you learned about them pesky Nordic Gods for the release of Thor, learn some Hawaiian ones now.

Pele is the Hawaiian fire goddess and lives in the Kilauea volcano who likes to torment her neighbor.....

Ngendei from Fiji, he is the creator of all the gods. He's also got a big job as a balancer of the whole world. Seems a little odd since he's constantly drunk on Mai Tai's. But that pressure along side the torment he suffers from Pele is a pretty good reason why he drinks and causes earthquakes every now and then.

Maui is the Polynesian trickster who gave people time and roped the playful Sun.

Rongo is the Polynesian God of agriculture, also known as Lono in Hawaii. Who is the provider of food and discovered electricity.

Koro is the Midnight Dancer, under whose spell all the ladies and men learned to dance.

Tangaroa-ru is also know as Mapui-kaufanga in Maori tales and she is the goddess of the east winds, which bring rain

Hina Kaluua is the Hawaiian mistress of rain from Hilo, Hawaii. and keeps it in the family as her daughter Hina is the mother of the trickster, Maui. 

Tangaroa is the father of all gods and goddesses who took the form of a tree, though like a good Mormon, no one ever did see it. While these Tiki carvings were based on legends of the South Pacific, a few of our own Disney Legends worked on the Tiki gods you saw in the video and see when you visit the Enchanted Tiki Garden.  They were designed by Imagineers Marc Davis and Rolly Crump. The plaques and dialogue were written by Marty Sklar, who went on to become vice chairman and principal creative executive at Walt Disney Imagineering.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Oh Hey Rape Culture Coming Out Like No Business

Oh Hey Rape Culture Coming Out Like No Business

Well now, I have to wonder what has gotten into the water lately as it seems that the whole patriachy has come out in full bloom with the nicer weather. In the past few weeks we have had some really questionable statements and projects make the headlines on the internet and just in pop culture in general. It's going to be tough for me to even know where to start in all this. But hey, let's go with the video games.

Over at E3 it was a pretty clear case that Xbox got its ass handed to it by Playstation. But let's not talk about that boring played out shit. Let's talk about what happened during the Xbox reveal. What essentially was kicking a company when they were down.You tell me if this isn't a little questionable;

The presentation was for Killer Instinct's latest revival to the new generation of consoles. Because it's pretty clear that the latest generation wants nothing more than to play the old shit again. In any case, it featured the producer and a manager playing the game and he states
“Just let it happen, it’ll be over soon,” 
While most would shrug it off as simple shit talking while playing a game, it does have the roots in being related to rape. Even more so when you originally make a sexual reference to your dick as a fight stick and ask "Wow, you like those." 

I thought it was pretty fucking repulsive in that matter and the outrage for it was pretty justified. Just as much as I would if one told the other "Man, I'm just bending you over and you're taking it, aren't you?" It's simply something you probably shouldn't do on stage in front of the world watching the launch of your already questionable overpriced piece of shit game console.

But hey, Microsoft did respond and apologize for the situation with this company message;
“Yesterday, during the Xbox E3 briefing, one of our employees made an off the cuff and inappropriate comment while demoing ‘Killer Instinct’ with another employee. This comment was offensive and we apologize. At Microsoft, being open and respectful with others is central to our code of conduct and our values. Bullying and harassment of any kind is not condoned and is taken very seriously. We remain committed to make gaming fun for everyone, and in that effort, we must lead by example.”
Which is a step in the right direction, but it does continue to confirm that notion that video games are not for girls. Unless you want to have your self image shattered some more with big breasted avatar characters that are typically catered towards the male demographic. Just look at most all video game female characters and you'll see that there's a type that they like to create.

In any case, now that we got video games done, let's go to music. Just listen to Robin Thicke's newest song that will probably degrade you if you are a woman.

To be honest, I didn't even understand a single thing that is happening in that video. Like, it was a different language altogether to me. Sort of like what the adults sound like in the Peanuts. It was pure jibberish to my ears. Maybe that's just pop music in general as it is topping the charts in the pop scene for some reason.

But hey, what I can make out does seem like it's fairly questionable. I had to go with a few other sources to even realize what is going on and is being said in that sucker. But lyrics like "I know you want it," which when added with the video does make it all into the realm of being pretty rapey.  But then again, this should be of no surprise to anyone. Robin Thicke, when asked about how people are saying that if he thought it was degrading to women his response was simply "Of course it is. What a pleasure it is to degrade a woman. I've never gotten to do that before. I've always respected women."

And boom goes the dynamite. Ha!

But even that bluntness and back handed compliment level, the song continues to be a billboard success. It's also a huge hit in the U.K. as well. Which does make you question exactly what level of concern women have towards things that degrade and mock them so much. 

The final subject is about Kickstarter. Namely someone who tried and did sell their shitty ideas to the masses in the form of a PUA book that was certainly taken as rapey. I present to you, ABOVE THE GAME 

It basically was some Redditors attempt to write a book that took all the years of his knowledge of that stupid PUA system and answering people on Reddit's sub forum dedicated to that sort of nonsense and begged people for money to publish it. The sucker got over 800% of what he was expecting, or at least how much he needed to get the project funded. The problem is that the book seems like it ignores the very basic in common sense with advice such as picking her up and putting her on your lap regardless of how much protest the lady makes.

Shit like that and other stuff about being aggressive regardless on if the woman wants it or not. Suggesting that you should force her to rebuff your advances. Essentially it's Rape 101 for anyone who doesn't want any part of it. In all honesty, I have to say that I don't give a shit about this guy or his book. In fact, by all means he should be able to publish it, especially since there's his fans out there to support him.

Yeah, that's right. I may not agree with what he is saying in his book. Nor would I actually ever take any of his steps to landing the ladies. But by all means, he does have the right to publish whatever dribble he wants to publish. And if that means that it is published because a lot of other lonely losers out there want to read his foolish words, then more power to him.

I don't see how this is any different than the slew of self help books out there that are nothing more than scam artist just making a quick buck off someone too stupid to realize that the advice is no good. People have been calling for Kickstarter to not fund his project. I have to say, what the fuck? Why not? I'm not going to buy it, but we are, after all, in a free market. By all means people can pay whatever the fuck they want to pay for without big brother stopping them. And since Kickstarter seems like nothing more than a futures program, it just means that these people are pre-ordering their copy of another shitty book.

Will it lead to more rape? I think not. I mean, let's face it, what number of morons will take this advice and put someone on their lap? I mean, let's be honest. Most of the folks who read PUA books are completely lonely losers and lifting weights, let alone another person isn't going to happen any time soon. That's for damn sure.

And let's be honest, Kickstarter shouldn't start policing their projects and being stingy with it. Didn't Zane Lampery just raise enough money to do his drinking show again? Why wouldn't M.A.D.D. come in and bitch about him just encouraging drunk drivers? It's a slippery slope when we start monitoring and limiting what stupid ideas get funding and which ones don't. It's best to just let the people decide on which ones they want to support. Especially since this got over 800% of its request amount, it's pretty clear that it's popular enough for all of that.

So what makes this different than the other two things I talked about? Well, it's freedom of expression. No matter how offensive and awful something is, I'd rather defend someone's right to publish what they want, than get upset about the content that they are publishing. If you don't like the content, then perhaps you should vote with your wallet and not buy into it. It's really that simple without the need to censor people.

I really also don't think that Kickstarter has any obligation to take down the project because technically he is writing about his opinions and not about hate speech. Besides, they're just a funding platform and their main goal is to provide a place where others can vote with their wallet in what gets funded and what doesn't. In this case there was enough people to start and fund this project.

Perhaps that should be more of a shame on the public for sponsoring it. But then again, if there's a buyer for it, than it'll succeed. And really, that's all you have to deal with.

Well then. That was three stories that have been going on and has taken stance on the issue of a sort of rapey culture that we seemed to have turned into.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Going Tits Up on Nuclear Power

Going Tits Up on Nuclear Power

A common sight to be had by anyone going either South from Los Angeles to San Diego or North from San Diego to Los Angeles is something that, well, you can't miss. Off towards the beach side is a nuclear power plant that bares a very striking resemblance to a pair of large breast.

It's the San Onofre Nuclear power plant and it has been offline since January 2012 because of safety issues. I mean, it's just like any relationship. Once you lock it down, then there's every excuse in the book as to why they're offline and not willing to generate some energy, am I right, guys?

In any case, it's also a safety issue. Seems that Southern California Edison doesn't want to risk some major bad shit if they run it again and it doesn't hold strong due to cracks here and there. So instead of trying to fix it and have any potential risk, they're just permanently closing down the plant that has been around for 40 years generating power for the area between San Diego and Orange County.

SoCal Edison realizes we have better energy options than nuclear and it's futile to pump money into an outdated technology.

Instead of putting Band-Aids on a nuclear plant built decades ago, the company decided to better serve its customers and its shareholders by moving forward with a portfolio dominated by energy efficiency and other clean energy solutions.

Other energy providers also struggling with aging and outmoded nuclear plants elsewhere can learn from SoCal Edison, and listen to what the majority of Americans say they want: less costly, better, safer, more modern options to nuclear.

So yeah, those tits on the side of the road when you're off on your weekend get-away, just consider them decommissioned. You'll only be able to stare at them as they do nothing productive anymore. Which I guess just means they're becoming more and more like concrete giant boobs every day.

I mean, I guess it's a good thing since the leak that they found was of a risk for the 50 mile radius. And it's going to cost them a bit more to get power to the area, but that'll just come out of our pockets, now won't it. 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

A Game of Misquotes

 A Game of Misquotes

In the game of Internet memes, you either make an LOL or you just get downvoted. Here's a couple of Game of Thrones misquotes that had me cracking up for some odd reason. 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Leave Plastic Alone! L.A. Moves To Ban Bags

Leave Plastic Alone! L.A. Moves To Ban Bags

While I'm one of those big hippie types who rather enjoys taking cans to be recycled (I did pay for that fucking CRV after all), and I'm all for a cleaner environment. You would think that the news that Los Angeles is looking to ban all plastic bags would get me cheerful. You'd be surprised to know I'm completely against the idea.

Here's a snippet of the NBC news coverage of it.
Los Angeles moved one step closer Tuesday to becoming the latest California city to ban single-use plastic bags.
The City Council voted 11-1 to tentatively approve a plan to phase out single-use plastic bags that includes a 10-cent charge for paper bags and regulations regarding the types of permitted reusable bags.

The plan would prohibit stores that sell perishable food from handing out plastic grocery bags. Stores would be required to charge customers 10 cents for using a recyclable paper bag.
Another vote to finalize the ban could happen as early as next week.
The county of Los Angeles and some cities in California, such as San Francisco and Santa Monica, already have plastic bag bans. A 2010 state Assembly bill that would have banned plastic bags and created standards for reusable bags, but the that legislation was defeated in the Senate.
The ban would go into effect Jan. 1 for large stores that make more than $2 million per year or occupy retail space measuring more than 10,000 square feet. For smaller stores, the ban would go into effect July 1, 2014.

It's shit like this that really get me annoyed;
"We've seen plastic bags clogging our gutters, polluting our rivers and piling up on our beaches," 
Councilmember José Huizar said in a statement. 
"The time for the City of Los Angeles to take action to protect our environment is now. And every big city in the nation can follow our lead."
This the part that I don't get. You're taking away plastic bags, but that's not solving the problem or creating a solution. You're simply shifting the problem. Instead of plastic bags clogging the gutters, polluting our rivers and piling up on our beaches and landfills, you're going to have paper bags taking their place. Even worse is that paper bags are even more useless than plastic bags when it comes to multi uses, let alone even for the intended use of groceries.

How many times has a paper bag's poorly constructed and glued on handles failed you by breaking or ripping off. Let alone the fact that they can not support the weight of most anything. With plastic bags people reused them for many different options. From lining the small trashcans of their bathrooms and kitchens, to cleaning up dog crap that their pet leaves on the sidewalk. All things that paper really can't handle and with plastic bags banned, people will have to buy specific bags for dog crap as well as far more spent on GLAD and other heavy duty trash bags - which are far less recyclable and far more intrusive to the environment to create.

And if that wasn't enough to paint paper bags in a poor light, how about the fact that you're still fucking with the environment. It takes 15,000+ barrels of oil to produce and transport 100 million paper bags. Add to that, the average American uses on average a 100-foot Douglas fir tree in paper wood products each year. Making paper bags creates 70% more air pollution and it's 50 times more water pollutant than making plastic bags. Want insult to injury, it doesn't degrade all that quickly compared to plastic bags in landfills either due to the nature that landfills are created in. The lack of exposure to air as it's stacked on top of each other without room to breath and decompose means that they don't break down very easily.

If you're going to ban plastic, then you really need to ban paper bags as well. And if the concern is that it's creating trash in the streets, then you know what the simplest and best solution that conforms with our capitalistic society is? You charge for the luxury of using either one. If you're going to charge 10 cents for paper bags, then you're not doing much more than lining the paper company's pockets. But if you give both options as a choice to the consumer, but add a CRV per plastic bag of say, five cents, then I bet you that you will never EVER see a plastic bag on the floor again.

Just think about the last time you saw a bottle or can on the floor. Not very often. That's because there's money to be made with the simple incentive of picking it up and taking it to the recycling center. If you started charging even three cents per plastic bag, but make the stipulation that you'll get the 3 cents back when you turn it into some collection center - then you'll see that it'll never be found on the floor again. And if it is, someone is going to pick it up to redeem it for some change.

It's a far better solution than simply cutting off the options of the consumer and creating a monopoly where only paper bag companies prosper. It's also a great option for those who do happen to forget their canvas reusable bags at home. Which aren't always there when you need them, let alone all that reliable for other reasons.

While I always seem to have at least one or two canvas bags in my trunk, I can see the problem with them. People are so use to a one and done system of carrying their groceries that they don't realize how much germs and bacteria fill a typical reusable canvas bag. Though I guess killing off humanity with a sort of super plague is one sure fire way to protect the environment from humanity.

Do you ban gas using cars and make the only option for Los Angeles between biking and public transportation? You wouldn't stand for that - though I know plenty of bikers who would welcome it. There is and should be a premium to be paid for the luxury of that. CRV is the way to go on that and you'll be generating income for the city through it. But banning something should never be an option for anything in a society that claims to be made up of freedom. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Going Rogue - Or How Not to Run a Brewery

Going Rogue - Or How Not to Run a Brewery

As if there wasn't reasons enough to not buy Rogue brewery's shitty product aside from stupid gimmick beers like the one they made using yeast strains found on the brewer's beard. Or how about the time they brewed beer with pages of Moby Dick and called it a White Whale. Do we even need to get into the Voodoo Bacon Maple donut mess?

Well, there's one more reason to hate them. Their hiring practices are down right insanely stupid. Just look at this Craigslist ad as they look for a new hire.. or should I call them slave.

Mirrored with that clickable image just in case they... well, it's a given fact that they're going to pull that ad as soon as the nightmarish backlash comes rolling in. And it will. But right in line with the stories people have mentioned about how shitty it is to work there, this job ad is rather insulting, arrogant and rather unprofessional. It's no wonder that the turnover rate for this company is so absurdly high for what is essentially a poorly run business offering an underpaid position with such high demands.

Just look at that. They want you to be on call 24/7 for not only their brewery, but for the company owned brew pubs that are littered both in Portland as well as in San Francisco. So that means, as the ad simply states - that if any of them have any IT problem, it's your job to deal with it... all for less than 50K.

They're essentially asking for people who have no self worth. They'll pay you very little to work a lot and you must conform to their brand of edgy non-conformity. Yes, that's what they said, and by edgy-nonconformity they mean poor management, no forethought to planning ahead and a slew of abuse of both your time and your personal life, failing to acknowledge your contributions and all while maintaining a megalomaniac ego that produces mediocre beer to down right shitty beer.

And again, all for under 50K. What a shitty business model. I'm amazed more people aren't laughing at that except those who are too desperate for a job straight out of college. Anyone with that skillset in their description could make almost double that in Portland at a place that has a far more sane on-call rotation. If anyone needed yet another reason to never drink Rogue's beer again, this would be an easy one.

And can we talk about how offensive their targeting is. "The Rogue Nation is always on the lookout for HARDCORE UNEMPLOYABLES."  I really hope they mean that as that's the only demographic that is going to apply for a job like this.  Just imagine the how burned out they must make their employees. Not only that, but this job posting has been posted 4 times in the last given time span that I can recall. Clearly the turn around is insane on something like this.

I don't even know how to touch on the whole banning of words for a company. Especially banning of THOSE words. I seriously don't get it. When they say they have no HR, perhaps that's part of the problem. You shouldn't brag about having no plans or goals or things like HR. This is shit you need for a company - for any business! Why is that so complicated?!

The life of an IT guy is seriously one of the worse possible already. When you're doing your job right, then the CEO questions why they are "wasting their money" on having someone around to maintain the technical aspect of it if there's never a problem. It's only when you fire that person that you realize the reason why there was never any technical problems. It's the same curse as editors and other technical positions in the television industry.

This is my favorite part:
Rogues are willing to shun titles and personal financial success in the pursuit of the greater good.
What exactly is the "greater good"? Well in this case it is the profits of the company. So they are saying that "Rogues" are people who like to work hard and sacrifice any personal success, achievements, or prosperity so that others may profit generously. They make it sound like "everyone needs to make sacrifices for the team" as if they were a struggling new company or a non-profit, instead of the fact that they are a very successful business with a long track record of consistent success and gradual expansion that spans decades.
I guess I'll never be a "rogue", and I can live with that.

It's amazing that they choose these words to be their selling point on a job opening. I don't know how anyone could have possibly thought that this was the best way to get a good potential employee who will drive your business to bigger and better things... oh wait, yeah. I forgot, It's Rogue. Business sense is probably one of those banned words. 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Running With Gender Norms

Running With Gender Norms

hey there kids, who here likes gender norms? Well do I have one for you today! Look at this;

I'm willing to lay money that there is no such fucking "cherokee proverb" so add racism to that as well. Just like that whole "Two wolves" one.

But yeah, it's pretty clear that a woman's only job is to make sure her man succeeds, for she needs his protection and without his protection she may as well be a walking pin cushion that gets hurt all the time. Go figure. 

This reminds me of when I was at a friend's wedding, and when hanging out talking to the bridesmaids and groomsmen's girlfriends at the "significant other" table, One was going on about how shitty I thought the symbolism of the marriage ceremony was, with the father giving away the bride to the new man to take care of her and all that jazz. And I got told by one of them "but that's how marriage should be, it's like a body, the man is the head of, he makes the decisions, does the thinking, and the woman is the neck, turning the head to what she wants it to see".

I continued to drink at that point. I don't see how that is even remotely close to even an ideal situation. It also paints marriage as a grim activity that one probably should really reconsider why they are getting married. If it's solely to exchange ownership of a female body that will be the crosshairs of the gun, then what's the point? Shouldn't the goal be for equality?

Should we go back to the world were women shouldn't be allowed to vote - for they don't know what is good for them or our elected officials? It's all a bit morbid and what I'm basically saying is that perhaps we should stomp all these gender norms out like cockroaches on the restroom of that seedy gas station bathroom I used a couple of days ago on a road trip.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Father's Day

Father's Day

While I can't say I ever expected to see through Dax Shepard's eyes, especially when he was making pretty bad comedies, this blog post that he posted a while back has been open in my browser since and it's well worth reposting his Post that talked about his dad on this day of Fathers.
My Father's Horniness 
by Dax Shepard
My father, Dave Robert Shepard Sr., died on either December 30th or December 31st, depending on what time zone you were in. I received the call on the 30th at 11:30PM in Los Angeles, but the caller, positioned in Detroit, was two hours deep into the 31st. He was dead at 62 years old. Small cell carcinoma was to blame. It originated in the lungs and then travelled with great speed to all corners of his body.
     I had been back to Detroit just six days before and was disappointed I couldn’t be with him at the actual finish line. We were partners. We had taken on this cancer project together. He chose me to deal with all the doctors and creditors and landlords. It was the only project we ever teamed up on. We never built a tree house or a soap box derby car together, but you would have never known it by watching us tear through chemo decisions and radiation plans. We were two great minds with one single thought: get into the end zone gracefully.
     He had noticed a lump in his neck in August. A biopsy was taken and some chest x-rays. “A mass” was detected on the lungs. Those were his words to me, “a mass,” which sounded much more like the words of a doctor than the retired car salesman that he was. He was much more prone to use the word “fuck,” and I wondered while he was telling me this news if he realized how serious that word was. Test results from the “lump,” which turned out to be a swollen lymph node, came back positive for cancer. It was the phone call you see on TV and in movies. It was happening to me now, and I found the timing to be exceedingly inconvenient. In movies, news of this kind seems to always coincide with a huge hole in the lead character’s schedule. He or she is able to spend vast amounts of time at the bedside of the loved one, or at a diner having coffee and pie with estranged family members. This flexible schedule allows for some high quality catharsis to take place.
     I was acting full time on a TV show based in LA when I got the call. He was in Detroit. On my days off from the TV show I was traveling around the country promoting a movie I had directed. During the month of August I went to Portland, Seattle, Chicago, Detroit, San Diego, Nashville, Memphis and New York. Compounding all of this was the recent and incredibly fortuitous news that my wife and I were pregnant with our first baby. Whoever was writing my life couldn’t figure out which storyline they wanted to tell, and decided to tell them all at once.
   As tends to happen in real life, despite it being inconvenient, it all worked out. Pockets of time opened up here and there and I was able to go back to Detroit often. My initial response was to get him to do chemo in LA. Surely the weather would be better. He wasn’t having it. I then made a strong push for him to go to Oregon to be with my brother. Nope. He was staying in Detroit. He had a huge support system of friends there, and in the end, it was the right decision.
     His friends. This is relevant. One of the few upsides of my father being dead is that I can now break his anonymity and state plainly that he was a proud member of Alcoholics Anonymous for over 25 years. During that quarter-of-a-century span, he  accumulated the most colorful, caring, fucked-up group of friends you’d ever want to see. It was a rag-tag band of misfits bound together only by their shared desire to not get loaded anymore. What a group. It was truly his greatest accomplishment. They all loved him in a way that even my brother and I had a hard time doing. He hadn’t missed any of their birthdays or soccer games, and they saw only the man who had helped so many struggling folks get sober. They were by his side, uninterrupted, from diagnosis to death. Often annoying, but always a blessing, they gave him the greatest gift possible: their time. He was never alone. Not for one second.
  When I visited we would break up the chemo routine with trips to the cineplex or restaurants of his choosing.  He loved to eat. Holy shit could he eat. Of all of his addictions, and there were many (drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, sex, cars, houses, shiny things), eating was his number one. He never did get a handle on that vice. He could hunker down in front of the TV for hours, nibbling with comma-inducing ferocity the entire time. Nothing in the pantry was safe. He would come up with the most counter-intuitive combinations of food. Like a true alchemist, he’d put salsa on oatmeal, or smother frozen waffles with a can of black beans. He was like a perpetually stoned, pregnant woman. No permutation of ingredients was out of the question; anything was possible. It was a sight to behold.
We had a lot of fun together during those four months. We took long car rides through the back roads of rural Michigan. We spent a weekend visiting every single house and apartment the two of us had ever lived in. There were 28 between the two of us. Together we had only shared three of those places: a single-wide mobile home from 0-1 years-old, a small, brick ranch on a few acres in the middle of nowhere from 1-3 years-old, and a modern, middle-class home in a McMansion-ee neighborhood from 15-16 years-old. It was that gap between 3 and 15 years-old that caused most of our issues. He was a selfish asshole, and I lived to hold a grudge, so it was a thoroughly symbiotic pairing. The car rides proved to be shockingly therapeutic. One of the hidden benefits of cancer is that it can erode grudges the way WD-40 dissolves rust. It just finds it’s way into all the nooks and crannies and starts loosening. Before long, the once formidable chip on my shoulder had melded into something the size of a nicotine patch. Apologies were exchanged. Tears were had. Hugs were frequent and lingering. I spent the majority of our time together running my hand lightly over the tiny little hairs peaking out from the back of his soft, bald head. He let me do that for hours. Without any awareness of it at the time, the trips home turned into a proper Alexander Payne Movie. It became one of the more beautiful experiences of my life.
     Things got worse, as they do. Car rides gave way to hospitals and senior care facilities. His last two months were spent dealing with cancer, heart disease and gout. He had an increasingly difficult time walking and spent most of his time in bed. On my last trip home, just before Christmas, I took him on his final jailbreak. I threw him in a wheelchair and rolled him through 20 degree weather to his favorite restaurant, where I watched him pick at his waffles and bacon. He couldn’t have had more than four bites over the course of an hour. It was a very clear signal to me that the end was near. I took him, for the last time, to his house. I gave him his percocet and sat him in front of the TV. He held the remote in his right hand like a six-shooter, splitting his attention between the TV, the view of the lake through the sliding glass door, and me. It was wonderful. We sat that way for over three hours. 
     I took him back to the hospital right around dinner time. They brought him a full meal, complete with dessert. He didn’t even touch the dessert. I never thought I’d see that. I had always imagined he would be chewing WHILE he died. When the nurse came to get the tray, my father thanked her and then went straight into his normal schpeel about taking her to the movies and maybe dancing. These invitations were always laden with less-than-subtle, yet just-charming-enough, sexual innuendoes. I had seen this fearless maneuver millions of times since I was a boy. My brother and I were routinely embarrassed by him at Big Boy’s, where he would tell female servers they had “nice assets.” We would hide our faces in shame as he flashed his warm, sincere smile. Shockingly, these gals often blushed or said something flirty in return. Now, I don’t think that is a testament to my father’s sex appeal as much as it is an indictment of Big Boy’s monotonous work environment, but regardless, he did manage to get away with murder, and that deserves some recognition. And as hard as it is for my brother and I to accept, he did have a “way with woman.” He did date, and sometimes even marry, women vastly outside of his pay grade (said the pot to the kettle).
     The next day I showed up to the hospital to find that he had taken a very sharp turn for the worse. It was not what I was expecting. I had let myself believe that the fun we had the day before was some kind of magic antidote. I half expected to see him eating a full breakfast when I walked in, but instead he was dazed and motionless. He could no longer sit up on his own, and talking was proving to be too much for him. So we sat quietly. I climbed in the bed with him and rubbed the little hairs on the back of his neck. I squeezed him. I’d never seen him so cute and little. He was a 250 pound baby. We spent most of the day that way. 
     At one point, and unbeknownst to both of us, my wife walked into the room. She had flown in from LA without any warning. It was a surprise. It was an amazing, incredible, perfectly timed surprise. She lifted her shirt up and he put his hand on her swollen stomach. He left it there for the better part of an hour. He was smiling from ear to ear, sitting contently, unable to put together a sentence, but still capable of connecting to the new family member we were creating. He wasn’t going to make it to the birth, but that didn’t get in the way of him meeting the new baby. It was an emotional and triumphant moment. One I will never forget. If I live to be a thousand, I will still be in debt to my wife for giving him that one last thrill.
     But there was still another thrill left to be had. One that is equally memorable. Just as day was turning into evening, the nurse came in to assist him with his pee jug. She was manipulating his penis into the mouth of the jug when he mustered up the strength and focus to say something pervy into her ear. It was too quiet for me to make out the whole sentence. I heard snippets of words and then, “…when I get out of here…” and then more snippets followed by her laughing and giving him a playful nudge. I couldn’t believe my eyes. He could barely muster a “hello” when I came in, and here he was waxing poetically to this 20-something stranger. As she walked away, he was smiling like a teenager behind the wheel of his first car. My normal reaction would have been to defend the poor nurse’s right to work in a harassment-free environment, but on this day, I was just too shocked by the eleventh hour show of virility. Here was a man, a bona-fide food addict, who had lost his will to eat. He couldn’t walk, and up until then, had stopped talking. He was wearing a diaper for Pete’s sake. But here he was, horny as hell and ready to party. It was his only vital sign still thriving. It was indomitable; impervious to the suite of diseases ravaging his body.
     Witnessing the sheer power of that drive was eye opening. It put a few historical things into perspective for me. If this force was stronger than my Dad’s will to walk, talk, use a toilet or EAT, surely it was strong enough to lead Kennedy, King, Haggard and Clinton into the weeds. This was some powerful shit we were dealing with here. Putting the moral implications to the side, the strength in and of itself was astonishing. It almost deserved a round of applause.
     I left the following day. I got updates from my uncle on Christmas and the four days that followed. Each was progressively worse. The light was getting dimmer and dimmer. He was slowly transitioning to whatever is next. Through all of those updates, there were no reports of pain, seizures, or bed sores. Only accounts of gently drifting away. And so it was, that on December 30th or 31st, we made it pain-free and with grace into the end zone; a feat that, as I write this, overwhelms me with gratitude. Our first project together was a total success. My only regret is that we didn’t take on more together.

If you've read this far, you may as well read some more. That blog post really hit me hard. I was and still am dealing with the fact that my own father is in a very similar position as Dax's Dad. My father is battling pancreatic cancer and, well, it's something that is a ticking time bomb. I really don't know how much time I have left with him even though he's doing treatment.

The treatment itself is pretty taxing on him. There's that I see him just completely passed out exhausted because of the medicine. My hope, or at least the idea that we would finally spend some quality time together sort of get smashed whenever I can think of them. The medicine has rendered a lot of his taste receptors in his tongue to only register anything not very sweet as very hot. So my biggest skill - the ability to cook and know plenty of places in L.A. to go to for amazing food, is pretty much out the door.

The second thought was to go to wine country, but then it hit me that pancreatic cancer medicine and taxing the liver is not a combination that anyone would suggest. So it's just a long process to make it out of this holiday with my sanity. 

Saturday, June 15, 2013

A Game of What's Next?

A Game of What's Next?

One more Game of Thrones post before it goes into the archives, only to be released come 9 months from now. Let's all face the facts - last week's season ender, to many, didn't feel all that much like a closer to the season. It didn't have the big punch in the face that dragons did in the first one or the white walkers did in the second season closer.

One of the biggest complaints I hear is that they didn't introduce lady Stoneheard. Yeah, in the book she's brought back to life 3 days after the red wedding, and it works fine in a book because there's not a whole 9 months of real time between reading about her death and getting to the epilogue, but again, that was in the epilogue of the book. And while the show doesn't do flash back scenes, I do think that It would be very silly to give you this huge impact of her death and nobody would have any amount of time to ruminate on the death of Catelyn if they simply brought her back at the end of another 60 minutes from when she died.

Putting it in there for the sake of having a shocking ending to the season to punch you in the face is not a good enough reason, if you ask me. Besides that, the sooner that we gain Stoneheart, the sooner we lose the lightning lord. And let's be honest, I'd trade away a Stoneheart reveal for a few more scenes of the Band before they become a single minded Frey killing machine.

Did people really want Stoneheart to be revealed? Besides taking the oomf out of the Red Wedding scene an episode ago, in the books it was half a book to the reveal, then you'd need to do something for the next two years before she meets up again with Brienne. And hanging around just randomly killing Frey redshirts will get pretty boring and repetitive quickly. Just look at how boring Theon's torture scenes were pretty bland this season.

Another complaint was about the lack of Coldhands. I'm sorry, but introducing a new character in the last 15 minutes of a season would be really dumb. Especially in a show that has this many characters already. I don't know why everyone is so attached to Coldhands. Yeah, he's cool, but till Rickon  gets to the North, you really could skip out on the majority of his character.

Aside from that, how could folks see the season finale as a bad episode? Arya's coin trick was pretty amazing part and she got to finally kill. That in itself was excellent. As well as the letter by Ramsay. It's interesting to see what they're going to do with Yara this next season.

Perhaps it's a case that people were mad not because it didn't follow the book, but because the finale, to most, was a bit bland with very little punches in comparison to the previous episode. But let's be honest, do most folks not follow HBO shows? That has become a standard with this show. The episode before the last of the season usually had the bigger of the bangs. Take Treme or the Wire for example.

There's still plenty to look forward to with this show, so I don't see why anyone is complaining that they didn't just cram everything into this last episode for shock value.

Next season is going to be busy:
- Balon's death
- Brienne / oathkeeper - Even if she's at Kings Landing a bit too early. So maybe she'll hang around till Sansa leaves.
- Joffrey's wedding
- Tyrion's trial
- Mountain vs. Oberyn
- Attack at the wall / Stannis the Mannis' part to be played there
- Tyrion finding out the truth
- all the events in the Vale

See all that we have to look forward to? In retrospect, there was a lot to love. From the opening with Robb Wind scene being so brutal and in your face. Those who marathon the season will not have the chance to get up before they get kicked in the stomach again. Then you had Yara grabbing the 50 best killers to go save her little brother, as well as the already mentioned Arya killing, then you had Dany, walking into a crowd any one of whom could kill her -- even if they looked like homeless folks. These were all scene after scenes of good punches. And while it may not be a White Walker or some Dragons hatching, those scenes combined together, added with just coming off the red wedding, the audience needed a moment to not get a major sucker punch again to close it out.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Superman may have Slapped a Jap - But Batman worked for the Government

Superman may have Slapped a Jap - But Batman worked for the Government

While Superman may come out today and be the bee's knees that takes over all talk about The Dark Knight Rises, maybe we should take a moment to look at when Batman was slapping Japs in his own right, much like Superman did during World War II.

Take a look at this pre-Adam West Batman mini-serials;

Yeah, you heard that last part. "This was part of a foreign land transplanted to America called China Town. Since a wise government rounded up those shifty eyed Japs"

God fucking damn. I know it was a different era and all and just a product of the time. But then again you don't hear people say things like "those shifty camel fucker towel heads" to describe folks from Iraq. Well, at least not places besides Fox News.

Let's continue with this clearly questionable Batman content.

I had to stop this a few minutes in because they introduced the Japanese ring leader and while I have been offended with white washing Mexican parts, and Black facing is always out of the question... But did they just get some white guy to play Doctor Decker? I mean... Whoa. That was pretty sad that they couldn't find one actual Asian person that wasn't in a prison camp or accused of being an Axis spy.

Nothing says Asian ring leader other than a thick Italian accent bleeding through forced L's and R's being replaced. So let's do part 3.

 Welp, that certainly was... something, alright.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Last Son of Krypton

Last Son of Krypton

The latest trailer for Superman trailer goes on to tell us something very distinctive about the film. Here, take a look for yourself

As impressive as that trailer is, it does tell us something very important about Zach Snyder's take on Superman. He's no longer from a dead planet. Which really makes me feel all sorts of strange. That's the whole point. Superman was rocketed to Earth right when his planet was about to blow up. Making him the last survivor of that rock. Welp, no longer.

I guess I shouldn't be very surprised by these constant rebooting and retooling of the Superman mythos. DC has been fucking with the comic book properties a whole lot more lately than ever in an attempt to capture the attention of newer readers. It sort of goes along these cycles every few years just to grab some sales. But now Superman is no longer from an exploded Krypton and that just makes me all sorts of bland.

I mean, it's not as bad as J.J. Abrams latest fuck up in taking the greatest hits of Star Trek's past franchise films and just jumbling them together and mixing shit around to give us Wrath of Kahn reboot... when he swore that Kahn wasn't going to be in the film. Hell, what they did with replacing Spock and Kirk's positions from Star Trek 2... well, that's annoying in itself some more.

In short, there's no reason to dumb down or placate all these films to the larger audiences. Guess what, the geek community is now the masses. How about you just keep it simple and not mess up the mythos all that much. 

But I guess we'll see as the film is released today. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Red Weddings And Religion

Red Weddings And Religion 

Yeah, yeah. I know. Still talking about Game of Thrones?! Even though the season ended, it's still worth writing an article or two more about and this one was pretty interest covering the unforseen reaction to the Red Wedding in that group that is fighting to defend the sanctity of marriage - the Catholic Church
Can a Christian watch 'Game of Thrones'?
David Gibson, Religion News Service 5:09 p.m. EDT June 4, 2013
Game of Thrones

(Photo: Keith Bernstein, HBO)
Story Highlights

Christians are debating whether they should watch HBO's hit show
Some say series' only virtue is depicting how the world would look without Christ
Others say the show, like the Bible, finds unlikely heroes among the shunned

(RNS) Is there anything morally redeeming about "Game of Thrones"? Does the hit HBO series even have a moral vision?

The show is certainly entertaining, almost addictively so, and as "Games of Thrones" wraps up its third season on Sunday (June 9), the ratings reflect that popularity: a record of more than 5.5 million viewers have followed the ruthless struggles for power among the teeming clans of Westeros, the medieval-looking world created by fantasy novelist George R.R. Martin.

That success has also guaranteed that the show will be back for a fourth year of mayhem and passion, swords and sorcery, despite this season's many violent endings. Or, as one tweet put it after the bloody penultimate episode: "Why doesn't George R.R. Martin use twitter? Because he killed all 140 characters."

But therein lies the moral problem for some: The appeal of the series seems bound up in the senseless violence and amoral machinations — not to mention the free-wheeling sex — that the writers use to dramatize this brutish world of shifting alliances and dalliances.

That, in turn, has prompted intense debates about whether Christians should watch "Games of Thrones" at all, or whether the show's only possible virtue is depicting how the world would look if Christ had never been born — or what it could look like if Christianity disappeared tomorrow.

"Why should Christians watch 'Game of Thrones'? There's no necessity, and some will find the gratuitous sex and violence dangerous and damaging," wrote Daniel Muth of the Living Church Foundation.
game of thrones

Characters Talisa Maegyr (Oona Chaplin) and Robb Stark (Richard Madden) don't have happy endings on "Game of Thrones."(Photo: Helen Sloan HBO)

But, Muth concluded, "Seeing the hopelessness and savagery of what this age threatens to become may serve to shake us from our torpor."

To be sure, "Game of Thrones" can be as "relentlessly grim" as Jonathan Ryan described it in a Christianity Today critique. As one character puts it: "When you play a game of thrones, you win or you die."

Dark magic plays a role in the plots, yes, and there are hints of something supernatural, if not altogether benign. But for the most part, the land of the Seven Kingdoms is a dog-eat-dog world dominated by soulless connivers like Lord Baelish, who concludes one chilling monologue by declaring: "Only the ladder is real. The climb is all there is."

Which is not to say that the world of "Games of Thrones" doesn't have religion. In fact, it has several of them. But belief is slippery and divine justice improbable. Even those who hope there is something at the other end of the ladder — a realm above — fear that it is populated by cynical gods who view mortals the way cats regard a mouse, as something to be toyed with until it dies.

"The gods have no mercy. That's why they're gods," as Queen Regent, Cersei Lannister, coldly tells terrified young women praying for help during a siege.

For some, the most damning aspect of "Game of Thrones" may be the way that it subverts the work that it most closely tracks: J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings" saga that's beloved by so many contemporary Christians.

In those novels, and the hit films they inspired, Tolkien also presents an epic struggle — but one in which good battles evil, and triumphs in the end. George R.R. Martin is having none of that.

"The sort of fantasy where all the people get together to fight the dark lord doesn't interest me," Martin told The New Republic when asked about comparisons to Tolkien.

"We don't tend to have wars or political controversies where one side is really ugly and wears dark clothing, where the other side wears white and has glowing magical swords," he said.

(Martin, who is helping to adapt the television series from his series of novels, "A Song of Ice and Fire," is busy shooting the fourth season and was not available for further comment.)

Kit Harington as Jon Snow on 'Game of Thrones.(Photo: Helen Sloan, HBO)

But ambiguity is not necessarily amorality. It can also reflect the complexity of real life.

"What constitutes good and what constitutes evil? What happens if our good intentions produce evil? Does the end justify the means?" Those are the questions Martin says he is asking, and they are questions that have spawned a cottage industry of blogs and even a book about the philosophy behind the show.

Still, some have also detected a genuine theological framework behind the show that does not reject Christian teachings but instead reflects them in important ways.

"Indeed, the series can be read as an argument for Reinhold Niebuhr's Augustinian realism," George Schmidt wrote at Religion Dispatches, citing the Cold War theologian who has often been invoked during America's current battle against terrorism. As Schmidt notes, idealists who would triumph in Tolkien's world are blithely cut down in Martin's.
Game of Thrones

Michelle Fairley as Catelyn Stark in a scene from "Game of Thrones."(Photo: Helen Sloan, HBO)

The Rev. Jim McDermott, a Jesuit priest who is studying screenwriting at the University of California, Los Angeles, also pointed out that in "Game of Thrones," raw power and high birth provide no guarantee of protection. And, like the Bible, the series finds unlikely heroes among "the shattered, the shunned and the disregarded."

The realism that McDermott finds in the show is the gospel truth that life is often hard and unfair — but everyone shares in that fate.

"And salvation is not the purview of some elect, nor does grace inherently reside in a crown," he wrote in America magazine. "As with horror, so hope springs from the most unexpected of quarters."

Or maybe not. The story lines continue to unfold, and Martin hasn't yet finished the final book that will serve as the template for the rest of the series. Strong characters and unpredictable narratives are sure to keep coming, and to keep viewers glued to the screen. But at the end will they find a "transcendent moral vision"?

That's the question that troubles Scott R. Paeth, who teaches Christian social ethics at DePaul University in Chicago.

"Thus far (Martin has) been fairly scornful of the idea that the end result of the political struggle is the establishment of social justice, and seems to be suggesting that, in the end, all succumbs to dust and entropy, or that on the whole those willing to give themselves wholly over to their will to power will ultimately prevail," Paeth wrote on his blog.

"How he ends his story will tell us much about the moral world in which he dwells."

I'm amazed that this qualified as news. But it's an interesting read and I have to wonder, I mean, isn't the faith of the Seven a complete dig on Christianity in itself anyway? Seven being analogous to the Trinity. At least that's how I interpreted it. Not to mention that the Seven is probably one of the most inept and useless Gods to pray to in Westeros. Worship the god of light and you got yourself necromancy. Worship the seven and you're just fucked like Ned, Robb or Cat. But yeah, the Seven seems to, you know, not exist at all. 

GRRM even explain it in a good interview with John Hodgman a while ago. 
The faith of the Seven is of course based on medieval Catholic church and their central doctrine that there is one god who has seven aspects is partly based on the Catholic belief that there is one God but he has three aspects: Father, Son, Holy Ghost. With the Seven, instead, you have The Father, The Mother, The Maiden, The Crone, The Smith, The Warrior, and a Strangers, who's the death figure.
He talks about where he got some other ideas in the interview
That's the general process for doing fantasy, is you have to root it in reality. Then you play with it a little; then you add the imaginative element, then you make it largely bigger. Like the Wall in my books, of course, was inspired by Hadrian's wall, which I visited on my first trip to the United Kingdom back in the early 80s. We climbed to the top of Hadrian's Wall and I looked north and tried to imagine what it was like to be a Roman soldier stationed there in the first century. At the end of the known world staring at these distant hills and wondering what lived there and what might come out of it. You were looking off the end of the world. Protecting the civilized world against whatever might emerge from those trees. Of course, what tended to emerge from those trees was Scots, and we couldn't use that. So I made the Wall considerably bigger and made it of ice, that's the process of fantasizing.

Welp, there you go.