Blog Archives

The Republican and Democratic Parties Are Destroying Our Republic and Democracy

I said before here that I detest the fact that we’ve allowed a two-party system to arise and get a chokehold on power in United States government. Of course, I leave the possibility open that I have no idea what I’m talking about. I am, after all, not an expert in political systems, or the intricacies of government, or history, or really any subject at all. I may be an expert in churning out stream-of-consciousness rambling word vomit, but even that’s debatable. I know enough about a lot of things to know I don’t know enough. But I do know enough to have opinions on them, and I am an expert on knowing my blog’s username and password, so I’ll continue putting out these things here.

To be honest, I’m writing this because it’s been a very emotional and shitty couple of weeks. And writing about the potential dissolution of our Republic is actually a way for me to escape my troubles. A few friends of mine encouraged me to write, so I am. My original plan was going to be a Fears and Hope in Donald America post, where I could talk about what I’m afraid of and hopeful for in the next few years. I may do that at some point. Instead, I’m going with a lashing-out of anger because I feel helpless and scared and sometimes yelling at clouds is the only thing I can do because the things I’m actually angry and scared of can’t be targeted or confronted. They just Are.

Anyway, whatever, here we go.

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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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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

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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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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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 on Ferguson and Eric Garner

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

I almost didn’t write this one.

The issues that I’m going to talk about are so politicized, so polarizing, and so inflammatory that I know I can’t even state my thoughts without angering someone, or a lot of someones, or even large swathes of entire political parties. Like yesterday’s post about feminism/gender equality, these issues are emotional and almost immediately cause disagreement. So it would be easier for me to say nothing, except to the people I’m close to who mostly agree with me.

Except I think that’s the coward’s way out. So here we go.

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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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