Blog Archives

Defending Ashley Williams of Mass Effect

Mass Effect, as a series, is probably known and loved more for the cast of characters Shepard pals around with while saving the galaxy multiple times than any other aspect. Other games do combat better (although I’ve never enjoyed any shooter more than Mass Effect 3, especially the multiplayer), or have better plots or storylines, but no game really comes close to having characters who grow and evolve during the series, in many cases shaped by their interactions the player has with them. Fan favorites like Garrus, Wrex, Tali (I even named my dog after her), Jack, Mordin – all of them are incredibly well fleshed-out, have real growth arcs through the series, and have real resonance. They are beloved.

There is one character, though, who is not beloved. She is rarely even be-liked. She is usually be-fucking-hated. She is Ashley Williams.

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Spoiler: My (Spoiler) Thoughts on (Spoiler) Star Wars: The Force (Spoiler) Awakens

Here is the non-spoiler portion of this post: There is a movie called Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I have seen it.

This is the end of the non-spoiler portion of the post. Seriously, everything that comes after this will spoil everything, including movies that haven’t even been written yet. That’s how spoilery this shit is. After this, if you see something that ruins a crucial Jabba the Hutt related moment in the movie for you, that’s entirely your fault and not mine.

Last chance.

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Top Ten Inexplicable Names Rich People Give Their Sons Which Are Jobs They’d Never Allow Them to Do for a Living

In order of pretension:

1. Tanner (leather maker)

1. Chandler (candle-maker)

1. Baxter (Baker)

1. Fletcher (arrow maker)

1. Brewster (Brewer, often a female brewer)

1. Carter (one who moves things from place to place, in a cart or as if they are a cart)

1. Hunter (self-explanatory)

1. Cooper (barrel maker)

1. Harper (one who plays a harp)

1. Mason (stoneworker)

And the most horrible name no one should give their son but would probably expect him to do for a living:

Wexler (money-lender)

What I imagine everyone named these things sees in their mirror every day.

What I imagine everyone named these things sees in their mirror every day.

Don’t name your children like this.

Way-Too-Late Movie Reviews: Interstellar

I watch a lot of movies, but usually well after they’ve been released. That doesn’t mean I don’t have opinions about them, because I am an asshole (that’s what that old saying means, right?). Based on those two facts, I am introducing a semi-regular feature called Way-Too-Late Movie Reviews, since the review comes well after everyone else in the world has already seen it. The first movie is one I just saw over Easter weekend: Interstellar. Maybe soon I’ll do Avatar or Titanic next!

Oh, and by the way, there are spoilers here, because no shit there are spoilers in a movie review that’s been out for months.

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What It Would Take to Get Me To Pay $4k a Night for a Hotel

I am not unfamiliar with the concept of a luxury hotel. I am also aware that hotels on the beach in Florida are pricey as all hell. I am not entirely a beautiful naive sophisticated newborn baby (despite what my betrothed would say), so the fact that there are incredibly expensive hotel rooms out there is not a shock or unfathomable or anything. It does make me feel a little ill, to be honest, or at least the concept of paying for such a hotel does – I am an accountant, after all, and cost/benefit analysis is as hard-wired into my psyche (accountants are born, not made – if someone likes to learn about rules and is the first one to read them when a new boardgame is brought out, you’d probably make an excellent accountant. Which after reading that makes accountants sound boring as hell, which isn’t always true, but accounting itself really is pretty boring when you get right down to it.) as love of steak and distrust of yellow squash. I can’t wrap my head around paying 10 times as much for something simply for the fact that I can afford it when a suitable alternative provides the same function. I get nauseous.

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Some Thoughts About Feminism and Being a Man

My blog is usually about ephemeral bullshit and inchoate rage about ephemeral bullshit. This post is not like those posts. Ya been warned.

I’m a feminist. It seems like it should be a pretty innocuous and easy thing to say – I believe men and women are equal and should be treated the same, and it seems obvious to me that this should be the case and it’s kind of unfathomable to me that there are people out there that disagree but there are – but it isn’t. For some reason the word feminism has been conflated into some amorphous thing that means different things to different people, to the point where successful women will publicly state that they aren’t feminists, because for some people feminism is a movement of man-hating shrieking furies (there are some who do vocally take offense to things like holding a door open for a woman, which is idiotic since I’d do the same thing for a 6’4” 270lb linebacker because it’s about politeness and not the idea that weak woman cannot push door but anyway, these people do in fact exist) while for others it’s about defining which wave of feminism we’re currently in and whether or not women having sex with whoever they want whenever they want are owning their sexuality or merely giving the Patriarchy what it wants because they are being influenced by media portrayals of sexuality and buying into the heteronormative narrative perpetuated by male-dominated industries and on and on (there are plenty of people like this; you can find them in the comments section of Jezebel and other places). In fact, it seems like there are as many definitions of feminism as there are individual people in the world, making the statement “I am a feminist” nebulous save for a vague sense of “I like women”.

So when I say I am a feminist, I am really saying I am a gender-equalist. That’s longer to type and say and includes a hyphen, but I suppose it is fitting since it doesn’t have decades of misunderstanding and bitter recrimination and in-fighting involved with it, so we’ll go with that.

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On Cultural and Intellectual Ossification

You can tell that I suck at making titles for things, because the title for this sounds like the worst kind of pointless mumbling and useless commentary about nothing anyone wants to know a goddamn thing about. Of course, I’m keeping it because pointless mumbling and useless commentary is pretty close to what this is about, with extra added drooling navel-gazing just for fun.

Actually, I’m not sure what this is. It’s the usual stream-of-consciousness thing I do, but not about some thing I hate, so it’s less fun.

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Why I Hate on Peter Jackson So Much

The-Two-Towers-The-Two-Towers-legolas-shield-surfing-1

The shield-riding is probably not a bad place to start.

In another of my popular series, “Why I Hate on Random Shit Like TV Shows and Movies That Are Not Very Important In the Big or Even Medium-Small Scheme of Things,” I have decided to answer a question posed to me by a commenter on my last blog post. Basically, it boils down to this: as a fan of Tolkien, why do I hate on Peter Jackson so much when he brought so much of Tolkien’s vision to the big screen and mass audiences, revitalizing the genre and Tolkien’s legacy and exposing an entirely new generation to the joy and wonder of Middle-Earth?

Christ, when I put it that way I make myself feel like a crotchety misanthropic asshat who would complain about the method someone used to make me a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Of course, I am exactly the sort of person who would be disappointed if someone incorrectly assembled such a sandwich by, say, putting the jelly directly onto the other slice of bread rather than on the peanut butter, which is the proper method for creating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and anyone who says it is the same either way is wrong and should feel bad about themselves.

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Heartwarming Thoughts of Spring

Ahhhh, spring. That time of natural and spiritual renewal, when life shrugs off the long cold grip of winter and embraces life anew, reveling in the rebirth and joy that the change of seasons brings. The heart lifts, the trees bloom, and smiles and good feelings towards all creation shine forth from the sense of freedom and reawakening that only Spring can bring. Read the rest of this entry

I Watched the World War Z Trailer. I Would Like to Take a Moment to Rage Incoherently.

Nice haircut.

Side note: yes, I know I’m a week late on The Walking Dead Episode 3. I just finished watching it this morning since I was busy last week. Plus the events of Episode 4 were surprisingly spoiled by close to a dozen people on Facebook within hours of it being shown, leaving me ambivalent for the moment. I’ll get to them. Promise. Here’s a heapin’ helpin’ of rage to tide you over.

World War Z is a book. It’s a zombie book. It was written by Max Brooks, son of Mel, who also wrote The Zombie Survival Guide. Both of them are considered essential reading by zombie aficionados for very good reasons. They are smart, well-written, and funny while treating their subject matter seriously. They are near and dear to my heart, as they are to many. Upon finishing my first zombie novel, The Curse of Troius, my dear friend and sadly passed Carl Spicer declared simply, “I’ve only read one good zombie novel, and that was World War Z.” (Sorry Carl, you know I can’t resist telling people that even though you tried to explain what you meant. It’s too good a line. Miss you, bud.) Max Brooks’ books are the literary equivalent to Romero’s cinematic influences on the entire zombie genre.

What makes World War Z special for me and many others is its story structure. Instead of focusing on a particular protagonist, the story is presented as one-on-one interviews with a wide range of people who were involved in the zombie war that ended ten years prior to the story. This allows the tale of the war to spin out in little vignettes, from its ostensible beginnings in China to its spread throughout the world and eventual conclusion, as told by the eyewitnesses to the events. The different stories highlight bravery and cowardice, self-sacrifice and self-promotion, agony and joy and despair and hope and everything in between. The eyewitnesses are neither good nor bad; they’re people, some more sympathetic than others. Reading through the novel provides the best of both worlds: the epic saga of man’s battle against the shambling hordes of the infected dead as a whole, and the harrowing and humanizing tales of the individuals swept up in it all. It is a remarkable book. If you’ve never read it, buy it here. It will not disappoint.

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