The 2016 Sometimes-Annual Aravan Awards!

It’s been a couple years since I did this, but I thought that if there was ever a year that deserved to be celebrated by a two-bit writer on a pointless blog, it’s 2016.

OK, wait a second. First aside (and it might be a record coming in on the second sentence – although the chances that I’ve done it before in the first sentence is becoming likelier the more I think about it): it’s been a long-time habit of mine to be self-deprecating and insulting to my abilities and this blog. It’s a tradition, of sorts, mostly because I try to be humble and also that I recognize that, in the world of writing, I’m barely the speck of dirt that will one day invade a pore and give rise to a pimple on the ass of the world’s literary giants. I might not even be that important. Anyway, I recognize that my talents are limited and this blog is rarely updated and barely worth the cost of reading it (opportunity costs, folks. You could be learning about dimorphism or the Egglet-Burke Theory or how to properly season a cast-iron skillet instead of wasting your time here). So I know these things. But I’m going to take a conceit from my favorite gaming-related blog (The Angry GM) and, instead of being self-deprecating (read: honest) about my abilities and this site, I’m going to go the opposite route. For the remainder of this post, I will assert that I am an amazing writer, the GREATEST WRITER, and this site is the most prestigious and exclusive gathering of the greatest distilled thought that millennia of evolution have worked towards in building to that apex of human development, me.

So I’ll basically pretend like I’m almost every other blogger ever.

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Actually, This Is Me With a Mustache

In my last post, I posted a picture of Ron Swanson with the caption, “this is me with a mustache”. In actuality, this is me with a mustache:

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Random Grab-Bag O’ Thoughts, December 5, 2016 Edition

I talk about Westworld, but it’s spoiler free. Promise.

1. Westworld just aired its season finale. If you haven’t seen it, I strongly urge you to do so. It’s on HBO. If you don’t subscribe to HBO, someone you know has HBO Go. Get their password from them. Ask nicely. Catfish them. Threaten them. I don’t care what you do, just get the damn thing and watch the show. The writing is amazing. There is no such thing as a throwaway line. It’s so tight. I couldn’t write that if you gave me a billion years and a copy of the script. It’s a great example of Chekov’s gun principle: if there is something shown or said on the show, it will be for a reason. The finale pays off in a big way.

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A Serpent in the Citadel, Chapter 10: An Overdue Conversation

This is the tenth chapter of this story, in case the title didn’t give it away. If you want to read the others first, or if you’d like to read them in random order (hey, I don’t judge), here are the other chapter links:

Chapter 1: The Big Sister

Chapter 2: Long Walks and Short Thoughts

Chapter 3: Time for a Drink

Chapter 4: The Turian Inquisition

Chapter 5: Watchful Eyes

Chapter 6: A Great Plan

Chapter 7: Taking a Few Shots

Chapter 8: Waiting For It All to Blow Over

Chapter 9: Ducking and Covering

The universe had other plans for me besides a stiff drink or seven. It always did. “Before you pickle yourself,” Severa said, “I need you to ring my contact. You’ll want to be sober for the meeting.”

I grabbed some filtered Earth water instead with a scowl. The label made it look like Earth was a pastoral wonderland and the water therein was hand-filtered by nymphs. I grew up there and knew it probably came out of a rusty spigot in some filthy bottling plant. I drank it anyway in a misguided show of solidarity for my species. “What’s the name?”

“Don’t worry about that,” she responded, clicking on her omni. Mine buzzed silently as she sent me a message. Just a number with no information. “You have encryption on your piece of terracrap?” She was recovering quickly.

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The 5 Greatest Performances by Kurt Russell’s Hair

 

I have a deep and enduring affection for Kurt Russell. Even above and beyond his movies, there is just something about the man that makes my knees weak. This perplexes and worries my wife, but there isn’t much I can do about it. I love his performances, his manner, his aw-shucks grin, his interviews – you name it. But there is one thing above everything else about the man that impresses me and leaves me swooning.

His hair.

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Not Only Is Everything Not Going to Be OK, We Are Well and Truly Fucked

Yes, this is a political post. I know you’re tired of it. I’m fucking tired of it too. I just can’t get it out of my head, and I have to write it down to get some of this vitriolic poison out of me before what’s left of my brain drowns in it. I’d say skip it, but I don’t want you to, because I think this shit is really fucking important even if my opinions are completely irrelevant to the rest of the world. These are my opinions, though, so I’m gonna let ‘em out, and if you don’t care for them, that’s fine, because many of them are probably terrible. Read the rest of this entry

Everything Isn’t Going To Be OK

I have a life mantra, a simple phrase that encodes and distills my own personal philosophy and a guideline for how I live my life. Many of us do, a sort of inspirational and motivational quote we pin on the corkboards of our hearts, something we turn to in times both dark and light. Most of those mantras came from wise and revered people, like Ghandi, or Martin Luther King, or Michelle Obama, or Mark Twain, or Dorothy Parker, or someone considered to be deep and learned or witty. Thinkers, philosophers, the lights of the human spirit.

My life’s philosophy comes from a terrible head coach of the Washington Redskins, a man unprepared and ill-equipped to run a team of people who run around and play for a living while sacrificing their physical and mental health for entertainment. A man who is little-remembered for good reason, and certainly isn’t wise, not even in a football sense. The saying that I hold as my guidepost to surviving life was espoused by a man whose signature playcall for the sportsball team I follow was this:

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My guru is Jim Zorn.

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Untimely Movie Reviews: Miss Peregrine and The Raven

One of the specialties of this blog has always been reviews of things that are well past the point of needing reviewing, since by the time I see them or write about them you’ve already made the decision to see or not the movie a long time ago, so my review had zero chance of swaying your opinion one way or another.

Actually, that’s total bullshit.

Yeah, OK, maybe some people read reviews to help determine if they’re going to see something. I myself have a few places I trust to see if a movie is worth it, but I usually don’t read them because they’re spoilery and I just glance at it quickly to see if it’s a yes or a no. But you and I both know that reading movie reviews is only fun if you’ve already seen it, and you either want to have your own views confirmed so you can nod along and be all “yeah, that movie sucked/kicked ass” and feel smug, or you want to read a review of a movie you loved/hated that hated/loved it so you get a chance to engage in our national pastime: outrage. That’s why I write these things, anyway.

So today I have a couple of movies to talk about, one of them pretty recent! Miss Peregrine’s, uh, House ofPeculiar Creatures? I think? Something like that? That sounds mostly right and I’m not looking it up. Also, 2012’s The Raven, starring John Cusack as Edgar Allen Poe. Yeah. That is a thing that exists, and I watched it.

Oh, yeah, also, SPOILERS. I mean, you’ve had a chance to see this shit, so if you get mad that I let slip that Negan killed Luke Skywalker’s father then it’s on you.

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I’m Afraid to Write

This blog in general doesn’t contain a lot of personal stuff about me. This is one post that is intended to be very personal. I’m warning you now. This is a good time to go back to whatever else you might enjoy as you kill time at work or in line or wherever you like your distractions.

Anyway, like I said, this blog tends not to have much that is very personal. There is some, here and there, mostly when I’m trying to explain why I’m not updating the site, or when I feel like I need to scream into the void. Some things are very, intensely personal, but I put a façade over them and use the voice of the persona I use when I write here. This emotional distance is a reflex, something I’ve always done, a way to keep myself functioning in a world that is often, to me, a swirling maelstrom of chaos that I’m unable to comprehend or understand without a remove and a wall of sardonic cynicism and sarcasm. And passionate feelings about cupcakes and smoke detectors.

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5 Things for Tuesday, October 25th, 2016

1. Jack Chick died today. If you don’t know who he is, you probably didn’t play Dungeons & Dragons back in the ‘80s. Chick was a fundamentalist Christian comic artist who wrote tracks presented in comic book form. These railed about the terrible things bringing American civilization directly into the ARMS of LUCIFER HIMSELF, like Masons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, sports, role-playing games, music, bare navels, evolution, peach pits, homosexuality, Halloween, girls wearing pants, critical thinking, and wearing sandals without socks, to name a few. They were, and are, terrible, bigoted, narrow-minded, and thoroughly, deeply hilarious. They never fail to make me laugh every time I see one. So in his way, he brought a lot of joy to my world. I think if Jack Chick was right about his beliefs, he’d probably be in Hell right now, but if my worldview is correct, his consciousness is no more and he is as one with the Universe now as he was before he was born. I think that’s a nice thought. It’s certainly more than he would have ever wished for me.

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This is laughably inaccurate. When we play D&D, we wear white robes and only draw 2 circles around the pentagram.

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