Monday, December 29, 2014

Day In the Life of a SAHM I Know

-Feed the baby when she wakes up at around 8am, and then sit down for around 30-50 minutes and watch tv before going outside to smoke cigarettes once the baby falls back asleep for her first nap of the day. Once mom is done smoking she either watches more tv or takes a nap, depending on how she feels that day. The baby usually sleeps until ~11am so she will nap/watch tv until then.

-Once the baby is up, she feeds her, changes her diaper and then places her in front of the tv in her playpen and then baby proceeds to watch tv with mommy until lunch time (Or, if this taxing routine has been too much for her to handle as of late, she'll bundle up the baby and head to the in-laws and lets them deal with the baby).

-Lunch time. Then nap, during which mommy watches more tv/smokes cigarettes outside.

Post lunch: The afternoon is just like the morning except a little less reality tv shows and a little more solitaire or pinball on the computer. Oh, sometimes she'll play COD in the morning instead of watch shitty reality shows/daytime talk shows.

Dinner time: Daddy will be home soon (and it can't be soon enough 'cause she's starvin!) Wonder what he (yes, HE) is going to cook for dinner- oh, wait, he's been complaining again about doing everything even though I am home all day (cause you know, he thinks babies take care of themselves and all mothers do is nap and watch tv) so I guess I'll do it tonight to shut him up for a few days (fucking whiner).

So what should I make him? Processed frozen food, or should I just text him and have him pick up (and pay for) fast food?Ah, let's go with the frozen dinner. I could go for some McDonald's and I don't feel like bending down to use the oven but he's been complaining about money since I keep "spending it all faster than he can make it." What a whiner. Get a better job then. Mary's boyfriend doesn't complain about her spending!


Saturday, November 29, 2014

Kids and Drugs II

In my experience as a father of a 5 year old daughter there's nothing in life that more poignantly exemplifies the notion of things in life being both immensely beneficial and seriously detrimental than does having a kid. I have previously written about the downsides of having a kid before so I will just summarize some of them in bulletpoint:

-Tremendous drain on time
-Tremendous drain on resources
--Seriously, the time drain. I have to say it again because "holy fuck can I just have 5 min. alone?" is a common thought
-Being woken up at 6:20am with the lights being turned on, a kid jumping on you, being asked to play, etc
-In a span of 3 hours you might be asked 100 questions
-You have to play the same kids games over and over and fake enthusiasm each time
-You have to consider another person and physically take them with you whenever you plan to do anything
-Dealing with things like tantrums, crying, screaming, shit, piss, puke, injuries, spills (constant spills at certain ages), etc
-Just having to constantly be "on-" You're a teacher, a mentor, a guard, a babysitter, a cook, a cleaner etc all day long

Now, all that aside, all that shit you hear about parenting being the greatest, most rewarding endeavour in the world is (mostly) true. There are moments between her and I that are truly the happiest and most endearing of any in this life and I sincerely mean that. The feelings that your little one can engender within you are far and away better, more intense and more satisfying than any you can experience elsewhere. It always sounded ridiculous to me when I was younger but now I find myself experiencing it: I will sometimes think about her and I will feel myself starting to tear up (or feel like I am close to it). She is the greatest, sweetest, brightest thing in my life and I am completely dedicated to doing the best job I can so as to allow her to become a self actualized, competent, happy, free spirited, inquisitive, motivated human (and in all honesty, so far so good, but not solely because of me; she plays a huge role in it herself).

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Here's What They Don't Tell You About Having Kids (And the Love you feel for them)

Parenting, on a day by day, minute to minute basis is a LOT of work, both physical and mental.

"Oh, I know that," you say.

Do you? Do you really know that?

Imagine being woken up at 6:20am by a fully energized kid ready to start the day off with a wrestling match, or a walk to the park when all you want to do is sleep (but you cannot) so you get up and you start the day. By 1pm you've already made breakfast for two, wrestled, done artwork, watched a kids tv show or two, played outside, cleaned 3 messes, made lunch for two, been asked 1000 questions and pulled in 1000 different directions and have had zero time to yourself. By 1pm you're already halfway to being wiped out but she's not going to be in bed until 8pm and her energy is endless.....btw, if you want to go to the grocery store, good luck. It will take 4 times as long as it would without a kid, unless you make them ride in the cart (and even then they will still find ways to annoy-try to escape, try to grab things off the shelf, ask for everything they see, etc.).

And this is when they are a bit more self sufficient. Take this and add crying/screaming/tantrums for toddlers. Now does doing that over and over sound like something you would want to subject yourself to? It's really not all that fun, at least quite often. It's mostly just tiring, draining work and internally you're just wishing for some time alone. I can see why a lot of parents retreat into their phones, although I HATE that they do it, because it hurts the kids.

Parenting makes you an entertainer, a cleaner, a cook, a boss, a role model, etc.

Those moments that everyone talks about, those "OMG AMAZING MOMENTS" like the "I love you's" and the kisses on the cheek, they are just that-moments. Moments surrounded by hours of work. Everyone points to these moments but neglects to mention the day to day drudgery.

A drug analogy really holds well here. In fact (and this is where I lose people) I believe the 'love' we feel for our children is, as is romantic love, just a chemically induced state (oxytocin, dopamine, serotonin) which we evolved to feel in order to keep us from either abandoning or killing the little buggers. Just think about it: How successful would we have been as a species if we DIDN'T feel that love feeling for the screaming little buggers? And so if this is true, the "love" that we all speak of to justify being a parent (seriously, other dads I talk to agree about what it's like but then invariably go to the "ya, but I love him/her/them and when they give you that random hug it's all worth it!") is actually the 'trick' if you will, that nature plays on us to keep us committed to the kids. We romanticize the shit out of what I believe to simply be an evolved trick of sorts.

Now, that all being said, as they age things change and it can become less one sided and more of a real friendship/relationship rather than just a worker/recipient situation. My daughter is now 5 and she is truly a kindhearted, intelligent, funny and fun kid and the feeling of things being "work" is much less frequent (and intense) as it used to be. Chunks of the day really have become less like work and more just hanging out and having an honestly good time. For example, we'll go on nature walks along the water or in a nearby forest and during times like that it's all exploration, inquisitiveness, appreciation and bonding between the two of us. She is getting much better behaved and so even going to the store has become less stressful (some days, some days I still want to kill her) and as long as you mediate your feelings, have an open heart, treat them well, etc you can have a good time.

But even then it's still a LOT of work and a total drain on your once free time, so potential parents should THINK HARD about the day to day realities rather than just the "aawww moments." Those "aww moments" are a high and the rest of the day is spent doing the drudgery no one really talks about when you mention wanting kids.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Top Ten Divorce Lawyer Dirty Tricks

Top Ten Tricks of Scumbags Known as “Family Law Attorneys”

1. The bankruptcy trick.

Here is how it works……. In the property division portion of the trial, the “wife” and her life sucking leach will let you keep most of your stuff. You know, your classic cars and motorcycles, toys, property in your family for years, etc. {don’t worry, she’ll throw out all the smaller mementos of your life, in violation of the temporary order, to make the math easier} In exchange, you have to pay the princess a cash settlement based on splitting all the bills due minus the assets each person takes. Sounds fair, right? --deleted-- NO! What happens is that, shortly after the divorce, pumpkin declares bankruptcy. Now guess who is responsible for ALL the bills. Yes, you. The nice part is that if you declare bankruptcy to get rid of those marital bills, your ex sweetheart’s cash payout is not subject to the bankruptcy proceedings. Your credit is now --deleted--ed and you will have to pay her the cash the judge promised her. They will seize property (including bank accounts), garnish wages, etc. in order to help out the former Mrs. X.

Solution: What you need to do is make sure that you put on the record, say to the judge during the trial, “Your Honor, I stipulate to the property division as put forth by Ms. _______ ,and her counsel, with the following caveat: In the event that a party declares bankruptcy within ten years of the divorce, that party shall not be entitled to any cash settlement from the other and any payments made as part of a cash equalization payment shall be returned by order of the court.” Then smile and shut up. If they pull this on you, you need to have this on the record. The judge can agree with this or not, her attorney will flip out that you are on to this trick and certainly protest. Let him make an ass of himself or herself. When they finish, simply state that “to do otherwise is to open the door for a future civil case of unjust enrichment and I realize the court is busy and may not wish to reopen this matter, under relief from judgment statutes, at a later time.”

2. The “Magical Order” trick.

You’ll like this one. You go to court and get basically what you want, justice. Then a week or so later you get a copy of the proposed order. Well, holy --deleted--, the order has things that were never discussed or ordered or has it just plain wrong. This is definitely NOT what the judge ordered. How did this mistake happen? It isn’t a mistake. The other attorney knows that these things are usually rubber stamped by a judge’s secretary and they aren’t going through the transcripts to see if the lawyer accurately wrote down what the judge ordered. The judge has lots of cases to handle. In most cases, he will not remember, and will take the “scumbag attorney” at his word.

Solution:A week before the hearing, or trial, submit a “request for audio recording” of the action. If it is denied, and it is a one party consent state, tape the thing yourself secretly. Once they know you are on to this trick, by your request for a recorded hearing, they will be more “careful” when they word the order. When you get the proposed order, review it immediately. You generally have five days to object before it is made final. If it is wrong, make sure you object. If your objections are overruled, let them know that “the audiotape I possess clearly shows the order is wrong.” Threaten to contact your States attorney ethics board if you are being ignored. Be nice at first. Never lose your temper.

3. The Disappearing mail trick.

You can trust the one who agreed to “better or worse, richer or poorer, sickness and health”, right. No. You can’t. You get something in the mail that says basically “hey, you failed to show up for _______ (mediation, court hearing, required appointment, etc.). Since you didn’t care enough to show, we bent you over the bench in effigy and ass raped you. Have a nice day and --deleted-- off.” You think “well, I never got a notice of that”. How could I get the ass rape letter and not the initial notice ? It just can’t be. Sure it can. Little miss innocent simply knew when the original notice was mailed and had someone (bad boy, player, thug) intercept your mail. What? That’s not fair. Doesn’t matter. What does matter is that she got a default judgment, or something else to her benefit, because you didn’t show. And now the judge thinks you don’t care. He will not likely believe someone tampered with your mail and you probably cannot prove it anyhow. And now he is pissed off at you.

Solution: Get a post office box. Send registered letters, return receipt requested, to the court, child support agency, ex’s attorney if she is represented (or her if she isn’t yet) and EVERYBODY ELSE INVOLVED that formally notifies them of this change. Do not say why as it makes you look like a whiner. Just do it. Do it as soon as the action is filed. Check this PO Box every day.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Re: On Labeling Women 'Crazy' (Thoughts From a Discussion I Had)

I see both sides of this. women getting irrational and hyper emotional is pretty much a staple of female behaviour, so on that one I am with you guys 100%. On the other hand, there are guys (and girls, yes feminists, chicks do this too) who "gaslight" their partners by essentially doing shit and then denying it when the person reacts and then furthermore telling them that they are "crazy" or "oversensitive." They do this even though the person is right and that can really fuck with someone psychologically.

P.S. Just the word "oversensitive" alone should give you guys pause. Who determines what is an acceptable level of sensitivity? Are we really going to deny that a lot of guys act like dicks, or do something shady and then when the girl reacts to it they shut them down, not because the chick is wrong but simply because they don't want to actually have to consider their own behaviour or just "don't want to hear it?" Sure, a lot of the time they are being "crazy" and making a mountain out of a molehill, but let's not lose sight of the fact that a lot of people out there are horribly self involved and don't give a shit about other people especially if it inconveniences them to do so. That shit exists and I have even faced it as a male.

An example: person insults the other. Other person gets hurt and mentions it. First person says "I was just kidding, jesus. You're too sensitive!" Too? As determined by who? I see absolutely no pausing to consider the other person's feelings there, and that's because people are a) apt to assume everyone is wired just like they are and b) don't want to have to admit fault or actually consider their behaviour.

When it comes to this "acting crazy" thing, is that if you ask first, and their response is pretty well, crazy, then okay. Bitches be crazy. A lot of guys though, they don't even ASK. Just immediately write it off. "Oh, you're crazy, relax!" The author is just saying, "hey, why not investigate a little before writing them off? Sometimes you're writing off legitimate feelings." And btw, when guys do that, guess what that leads to over time? More "acting crazy" which they further chalk up to the chick being "nuts" and don't ever stop for a minute to consider their part. I can't understand how anyone can deny that this happens. It's super common, and not even just with guys/girls and romantic relationships. ALL relationships (friends, family, etc) are fertile ground for this. I myself have had this happen numerous times over my life. A lot of it because of my own parents and their abuse. Or friends in the past, being total dicks. I tell them how I feel about what they did/do and I'm just "too sensitive" or "making a big deal out of nothing." Not one second to consider their (shitty) actions or how I could be affected. Just quickly write you off and move on.

Monday, September 1, 2014

The Irony is, They Aren't Teaching Girls Equality

They're giving them a complex about it. My daughter (she's 5) sang this part of a song this weekend for the first time "boys can *insert whatever action* and girls can too!" So she'll skip along and sing "boys can skip and girls can too!" or "boys can jump and girls can too!" etc. I asked her where she learned this song and she said it was at school last year (SK, she starts grade 1 tomorrow, which seems insane but that's for another topic). Now, on the face of it, this seems like a great message to be sending little girls. And my initial though actually was in this vein "oh, cool, they start early with the equality now, that's good." Something to that effect. I mean, a main focus of my parenting style is to avoid limiting her; encourage her interests and objects of curiosity- never repress them.

Not long after this though, my (fuckin unstoppable and often annoying) need to question goddamn fucking everything woke up from its nap and started the process. It's tentative conclusion? That this might be doing less teaching about equality and more introducing the idea of gender inequality, leading to an immediate (and gender wide) inferiority complex. The central question here then, if my goal is to find out if I am on the right track or not, is simply is there an inherent, ingrained idea of gender inequality amongst young children which necessitates this kind of teaching, or does the post feminism practise of teaching equality from a young age actually just introduce the idea of inequality in them and do the opposite of what it tries to?

What do you think?

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Parenting Rules To Live By

My daughter is five. Here's a list of some of my parenting rules: (I try to stick to them as much as possible)

-If she gets dramatic/emotional to manipulate me into doing something, a) do not do it for her; b) call her out on it (with humour).
-No yelling or "spanking." There's no lesson that needs to be bullied into a kid in order to reach them.
-Say no but say it when it matters so it's not a pointless word that just starts battles.
-Think about her as a person. Empathize. Remember her age, remember her brain's limits. Don't just expect her not to be who she is because it's inconvenient or makes it hard for me to have control. Cut ego OUT as much as possible.
-Wrestle/playfight often. Don't go easy on her the whole time. Let her have some wins but mix in some moments of high challenge (build self confidence, teach her to overcome obstacles and stay persistent, increased physical strength and capabilities, exercise, bonding).
-Share jokes, and ask her opinion on things.
-Have fun
-Do things outside. Be in nature. Explore.
-Don't say no to things just because I, as an adult, no longer enjoy them. She's a kid, not an adult. If she wants to jump in a puddle, LET HER. Her shoes get wet, oh no! They'll dry, and she'll have a great childhood moment. Or, just have her take her shoes off. Think outside the box
-Like I said, think outside the box
-Question things, and have her do the same
-Try to show more than tell
-Share my love of learning and my awe of (and passion for knowing) the universe
-Engage her in things.
-Challenge her. Mentally and physically
-If she asks me to get her something for no reason other than laziness, decline. She can do it herself.
-If she tries to get something making sexy poses, point it out to her, and then ask her if perhaps there might be a better way. Never indulge it, but never shame her either. She did not choose her animal nature, so don't make her pay for it.
-If she falls, know the difference between real hurt and not so real. Attend to the first, handle the second with amusement and try to bring her into that frame. End result: hopefully she laughs off the not so bad ones instead of sits there vying for attention. (By the way, it worked. She "walks it off" and we talk/laugh about it or just keep playing. If she is really hurt I immediately know the difference and giver her the hugs and soothing that she needs.)
-TV isn't the end of the world, but don't have her in front of it for hours and hours either

That's good for now.

My goal is to have a confident, open minded, critical thinking daughter who isn't ashamed of her sexuality but doesn't wield it like a weapon. Ditto her emotions. It would be nice if she worked through problems, had some measure of self reliance and autonomy, and didn't just cry on facebook when something mild goes wrong. Nice, caring and empathetic but not a pushover and physically capable. Just an all around cool chick. Possible? I dunno. Signs are promising. She's a badass five year old. Then again she's only five. Grade one starts next month and along with it a year's worth of other kids and their influences. And those influences only grow with each passing year. For now I just do what I can.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Thinking Obesity is a Disease Makes You Eat More

On June 18, 2013, the American Medical Association officially recognized obesity as a disease. The nation’s largest physician organization said the new classification would help turn more medical attention toward obesity, as well as increase reimbursement for obesity-related drugs, surgery, and counseling.
“Recognizing obesity as a disease will help change the way the medical community tackles this complex issue that affects approximately one in three Americans,” said AMA board member Patrice Harris, M.D. “The AMA is committed to improving health outcomes and is working to reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, which are often linked to obesity.”

But new psychology research suggests the “obesity is a disease” message actually undermines important weight-loss efforts.

“The term disease suggests that bodies, physiology, and genes are malfunctioning. By invoking physiological explanations for obesity, the disease label encourages the perception that weight is unchangeable,” Crystal L. Hoyt of the University of Richmond and her colleagues wrote in their study, which was published in the April issue ofPsychological Science.

In three separate studies with more than 700 participants, the researchers found that obese participants who read aNew York Times article about the AMA declaring obesity to be a disease were subsequently less likely to be concerned about their weight and more likely to choose to eat higher-calorie foods.

The “obesity is a disease” message did, however, have a positive impact on body image. Obese participants reported greater body satisfaction after reading the New York Times article. This greater body satisfaction predicted higher-calorie food choices.

“This research illuminates the potential benefits and hidden costs associated with the message that ‘obesity is a disease’ by showing that this message cultivates increased body satisfaction but also undermines beneficial self-regulatory processes in obese individuals,” Hoyt and her colleagues wrote.

The researchers do not dispute that obesity should be classified as a disease. The goal of the study was to better understand how public-health messages can have unintended consequences.

“We are not advocating that the ‘thin’ ideal that pervades Western culture is an admirable goal, nor that internalizing these unhealthy standards is a worthwhile strategy,” they explained. “In addition, we agree that the acceptance of diverse body sizes is laudable, as is the goal to increase medical treatment for obese individuals—themes that emerge in the argument in support of obesity as a disease.”

Saturday, August 2, 2014

I Attempt To Answer The Age Old Question "Why Am I Me?"

(If I wrote for some big site they would have made me title this "Why Are You You? Here's Why" but thankfully I do not (thankfully in this instance, not in general; let's not get crazy here) and as such it was titled something more appropriate/honest)

Have you ever asked yourself "why am I me?" "Why am I not someone else?" I certainly have. Many times in my youth and adolescence (and once or twice in adulthood) I have wondered to myself this very thing. At 32 years of age I found myelf pondering this once again but this time an anwer came, almost immediately actually. It's that immediacy that makes me think I might have it, but each time I get close to accepting that, I's like an eel escaping a predator's grasp- one second it's there and the next it's gone. I am just about to emotionally connect to the idea that I am right when suddenly I don't feel so sure and I start saying things like "wait, what?" and "No, wh- hmmmm....wait, what?"

Well, I am writing down my thoughts in the hopes that I can finally figure this out and maybe have a good discussion with somebody online.  I will do this as though I were responding to someone.

"Why am I me?"

Well, I think each "us" may ask why am I 'me' (as I have many times in my life) and I think the only real answer is you are "you" because when your parents procreated, your consciousness developed as a necessary result of that process. Each one of us is a 'me' and it's only after we came to be that we would even think to ask this question but the question itself is kind of pointless because rather than a consciousness being dropped into a body consciousness is the result of the biological entity processing information. If you weren't you there wouldn't be a you. In order for you to ask about yourself there must have been a you in the first place. If any conditions had changed, you would not have existed. Therefore, you are you because the conditions that made you were what they were. If your parents hadn't conceived you when they did you wouldn't be, well, you. So to say "why am I not someone else" is to essentially say "why am I, a thing that came to be as the result of my parents being together exactly when they were, not that other thing who is a result of totally different circumstances?"

I think the anthropic principle might be applicable here- the idea being that when one is examining the universe the universe MUST be congruent with that beings' existence and this congruence cannot be used as evidence for something in an argument as it would apply in ALL cases. So for example, if someone wants to point to the remarkable number of conditions that must have come to be exactly the way they are for life to be as we experience it now and use this as evidence for a god the only correct response to that is to point out that in order for life to be here things had to be a certain way, and would be so regardless of HOW it came to be, so you cannot point to this congruence between life and the universe and say "see, god!" If humans came to be 100% without any gods, things.....would be exactly the same, otherwise there wouldn't be an us.

This topic makes my head hurt.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Quick Update

My knee (as per the last post, car accident) is something like 90% better. My insurance came through with the money and I am now driving a replacement vehicle (one that is 4 years newer with way less mileage hehehe) and my new job is going great! I have been working like an animal (55+ hours per week) so for now there is nothing substantive to post but I should have a juicy one up next week. I have a few ideas percolating in the ol' brain and I have nice blocks of 3-5 days off in a row these next few weeks which means time to write!!!

Sorry for the wait but thanks for the patience, friends.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

I Pissed Someone Off Up There......

So if you read this blog on occasion you may have noticed that I have not posted in the last 2+ weeks. Well, I have been an atheist for as long as I can remember but I think perhaps I have been wrong and there's a really pissed off god out there waving his godly staff of power in my direction. Here's what's been happening over in magx01 land. Try not to choke when you laugh at this bullshit.

-Air conditioning broke. Cannot fix right now (bad financial situation after the recent loss of a job contract)

Okay, no big deal. It's just me here so meh. I've been letting cold air in at night and keeping the place shuttered tight during the day. Windows open on the odd cool day. No wife to bitch and moan and make it sound like the world is ending so in the end, eh.

Then this happens:

Guy ran a red light going 80km/h and destroyed my car (a second car, the one behind me, hit me after I spun which is why there are two impact sites). I walked away with a smashed up left knee and nothing else so I cannot complain too much. It's been 2 weeks now and the knee is like 70-80% better already :)

Okay, so two shitty things, but both are not too bad in the grand scheme of things, right?

-Three days after the accident, I hobble over to my freezer upon awakening in the morning to get an ice pack to ice the giant swollen painful knee when I discover fridge/freezer is no longer working!!!!

Okay, now wtf. I'm a calm dude who takes a lot of shit in stride but even I had to yell out "OH COME ON!!!! WHAT THE FUCK NOW?!" (I did laugh after, but it was more of an anxious laugh than a truly legitimate heehaw laugh). Ugh, so I call the repair dudes and the come and fix it the next day. $140 which I really cannot afford right now but it needs to be done so I do it. I ice my knee three times that night and go to bed relieved, money issues aside. I wake up the next day, and I wal-wait, what's that sound? Oh, NO FUCKING WAY.....that's the noise the fridge was making before it broke (click buzz, click buzz). I go over to it, open it and.....

(wait for it)


At this point I just felt defeated. I call the repair guys, they come back the next day and the good news is they tore up my cheque and only charged me $60 instead (they took back the part they installed the day previous). The bad news? I need a new fridge. I spend several days hobbling back and forth between my house and my neighbours' to get and hand them food/drinks/ice packs they are storing for me.

-Insurance comes through on the replacement value of the car. The settlement they offer is fairly reasonable, thankfully. I'll be able to get something similar. They tell me the cheque will be here in 5-10 business days. Cool, right? I'll drive my rental car for now, the cheque comes and I go car shopping, buy something, return the rental. Right?

BZZZT. Wrong. The rental needs to be returned tomorrow. "But I don't even have the money yet, how can I buy a car? And how can I get there without a rental?" "Well sir, you can pay out of pocket for the rental." "Out of pocket? This happened because the guy ran a red light. He was charged for this. I was totally innocent and now I am being penalized? How is this in any way reasonable or fair?" "I agree sir, but there's nothing I can do."


Moral of the story: Don't lose a job/contract if you're an atheist because someone up there will choose that time to turn his giant magnifying glass on your tiny little life.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Self Help and Social Anxiety

The Problem I have with self help when it comes to social anxiety:

There is no answer.

The fundamental reality is that social anxiety and the lack thereof are arrived at by equal (and opposite) roads, and the only way one could morph into the other type of person is by having new experiences opposite to the old that would in effect, reprogram the person to feel differently around others. Can someone with SA work on it? Sure, and well have some agency over our own behaviour, but let's not invalidate years of learned behaviour. A person with social anxiety will only truly be cured through positive experience with others. Of course, one does have some room to self improve in ways that would give them a higher chance of having said positive experiences, and for that self help material can be useful, but not in the way it is advertised. it always seems to put the onus on the self while ignoring the fundamental fact that good experiences with others throughout ones life=confidence and vice versa. A non confident person can get there, sure, but it's like asking a confident person to suddenly feel anxious around others- it ain't happening unless the people around them suddenly start responding differently to them.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Man becomes Woman and Talks About Privilege

This is a post I saw on reddit (unfortunately I did not record the link when I saved this into my drafts) and thought it worthy of sharing. 

"I'm a woman, who......

Brace yourselves......

Used to be a man. There. I said it. So I know exactly what it's like to be a man, and exactly what it's like to be a woman. With that out of the way:

1. Men do not earn more than women. The Wage Gap is a myth that really does follow the Nazi's philosophy that "if you say a lie loud enough, for long enough, people will start to believe it". All you have to do is look up information freely available from the US Department of Labour and Statistics. The numbers are right there. Women do not earn less than men.

1.1 As a woman, I'm now earning FAR more than I ever did as a man.

1.2 In some parts of the country, women earn some 120% of what men make. But we'll never hear about those.

2. Men do not have a better chance of winning political office. Women simply do not run for office as much or as often as men, because it requires work they are not willing to do. Again, this is information freely available.

As a man, I could only be a doctor. If I were a male nurse, I'd be laughed at. If I were a male nurse's aid, I'd be laughed at even harder. If I were an orderly, I'd be a loser who just pushes brooms because he couldn't make it as anything else.

As a woman, I can be a doctor, a nurse, a nurses aid, OR an orderly, and at no point along the way am I laughed at or put down. In fact, I'm applauded the whole way through. Even if I want to stay at home, I'm still applauded!! Because now I'm a little home maker!

So is it any wonder that men MUST push themselves relentlessly to make it as CEOs, while women simply do not have to. And we wonder why there are more men CEOs.

3. Promiscuous behavior, you say? Check this out.

As a man:

if I went into a sex shop, I was a pervert.
If I walked by a playground, I was a pedophile.
If I looked at a woman the wrong way, I was a rapist.
If I said the wrong thing at work, it was sexual harassment.
If I tried to hit on girls, I was a pathetic desperate loser.

As a woman:

if I go into a sex shop, I'm an independent woman exploring her sexuality.
If I walk by a playground, I must be there to pick up my child.
If I look at a man the wrong... pfff come on! I can look at a man any damn way I want! I can tell him to go to hell and he has to applaud me for it!
If I said the wrong thing at work, I'm forgiven. All I have to do is pout and look sorry.
If I try to hit on men, I get men. I can have any man I want. I can hit on women too and it's still perfectly fine, because being gay is gross but lesbians are HAWT!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Syko Shadow and The N Word

This is a new blog series by contributing Thoughtful Gamers writer Syko Shadow called Syko Shadow and Friends, where each time I select a controversial and highly debated topic, give my piece on it, and hope to offer a different viewpoint than the ones that are more widely heard in the wild stupid world of politics and debate.

Today's topic is, as the title so succinctly suggests, the N word!

And by N word, I mean "nigger." (Chappelle's Show reference FTW)

Obviously, it's a bad word for a good reason. Since its inception, the word "nigger" has been associated with the oppression and racism towards black people that has defined the United States since before it became a nation. But for such a bad word, there sure is alot of debate over who can and cannot use the word, or its cousin "nigga" (or "nyugga" if you gettin' fancy), in modern society. Some believe that only black people themselves have any right to use any version of the word without fear of social backlash, some wish to see other races free to use the word to exercise free speech, and some want the word flat-out banned as it is a painful and vulgar word that nobody should WANT to use.

So where do I fit in all of this?

Thursday, May 29, 2014

About This Elliot Rodgers Thing. Look, It's Not Misogyny or 'Rape Culture' That's To Blame

There has been a ton of talk online since the shooting happened and most of it is centred around misogyny, rape culture and guys feeling entitled to sex with girls who are not interested in them. The mainstream media, bloggers, etc have been postulating about this stuff and the answers they put forth are almost always missing the point. It's really, really, REALLY simple and it's not about hating women or seeing them as objects.

It's ignorance of human biology.

We men (and women, but the focus for now is on men) all have a biologically imposed need for sex and the objects of said need are going to be largely the same (ie, 'hot girls') as the 'hot ones' are the ones that bear the indicators of good genetic material. You know, youth, symmetry, health, hip to waist ratio, etc*(see below). These guys don't lust after these girls because they think of them as objects that they have a right to; they lust after them because millennia of evolutionary imperatives compel them to. This is exactly the same type of compulsion that drives women to want to feel safe and protected with their man. Are these women viewing men as security objects? Oh, what's that? "That's different?" Okay, explain how without just implying that sex is somehow less valid a need than security.

Hmmm...silence. Odd.

Want a hint? Either we all view one another as objects (because we ALL want certain things from someone else) or none of us do and it's all a part of life. You don't get to pick and choose which needs are 'okay' and which needs are 'objectifying' people. Doing that is simply sexism; ironically the very charge you're levying against the guys for wanting sex (which you do too, right?).

Look, snarkiness aside, all guys want sex; the only difference is the Elliot Rodgers' of the world never get their urges satiated. Year after year of this resulting in them becoming enraged after years of frustration is understandable and NOT a symptom of rampant misogyny. It's simply frustrated biological urges manifesting in a terrible, terrible way.

The real answer is not gun control, blogging about rape culture or any of that other nonsense: It's education, better communication in our society regarding sex and relationships, a removal of the stigma against male sex toys and legalized and affordable prostitution for guys who cannot get laid but really need to. You'll never get rid of the urges, nor can you change the fact that some guys will never get said urges satiated. So what you do is allow them to legally and safely satiate those urges, thereby allowing it to be done without harming another person.

You'll never get guys to stop lusting after women. And to think if you just educate them about "women not being objects" they will stop feeling this way is really missing the point. If you think you can condition this into them then logically you could condition the girls to be into the guys they aren't into, right? I mean, men aren't objects and maybe that nerd is an excellent person- if only she could get past her culturally induced ideas about what is attractive, right?

Oh, what's that? Suddenly biology is a factor?

Make up your damn minds!

I'll end this with this thought: Even if he did view women as "objects" how did those women view him? As nothing. would you rather be sexualized or totally ignored?

*Right here is where the 'women as objects crowd' will get all excited and say "see! he's talking about them like they are objects as well." Here's something you all need to hear, so listen up: People have physical characteristics and it is these characteristics upon which they are judged by men when it comes to sexuality. This is much in the same way as THOSE SAME GIRLS JUDGE THE GUYS AS NOT BEING 'WORTHY' OF SEX. Either both sides are objectifying the other, or neither is. Pick one but stop putting the onus on the guys only. As i pointed out above, if you want to talk about sexism, it's actually here in this area, and it's against men. Women categorize men all day long but anytime they feel like a guy might be categorizing them suddenly there's an epidemic of men viewing women like they are pieces of non sentient meat.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Should Glory (Kickboxing) Abandon The Tournament Format?

I've been watching Glory kickboxing and while I am rather impressed with this new promotion, both in terms of the calibre of fighters in their roster and the quality of the shows they put on at such an early stage in their existence I think that the single day tournament format they employ might need to be reconsidered, the unique excitement and drama it brings notwithstanding. The tournament format is one of the reasons that I love Bellator MMA so much (although it's not a single day tournament) so I definitely do understand the reasoning behind Glory's use of it but after watching several of their events I am starting to question the wisdom behind the single day tournament format.

One of the things that has become clear is that a single day tournament is often times simply unfair. In almost every case, the fighters who made it to the final fight had totally different experiences along the way which invariably left one fighter in a much better position to fight than the other. Even the very best fighter in the roster could be in an underdog position, at least informally, in a fight against the last ranked fighter simply because his first fight went the distance (or close to it) while his opponent's fight ended within two minutes and as such he is undamaged and has a full gas tank while his opponent is battered and exhausted (or at least much further along the path to exhaustion than is his opponent). Clearly this would mean that the lower ranked guy will have a huge advantage over his opponent in the finals; isn't that statement alone enough to convince you that something is amiss? In this system a fresh fighter fighting a guy who is three quarters of the way to exhaustion right from the opening bell isn't a freak occurrence but a regularity. It's remarkably unfair.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Women Should Be Treated Like Corporations

I know how that may sound, but bear with me here.

There are a bunch of women out there vying for your investment (emotional, time, and yes, even money) and just like real companies, not all are solid investments. When you invest in stock you do an inventory of the companies' history (business dealings and practices, financials, etc) the current price at which their shares are being traded and you make an educated guess as to how their future will play out. If it seems favourable, you invest. If it does not, you don't. Simple. No guarantees (you can still lose everything) but you're not just dumping your eggs into the first basket that comes along. You are investing in the one that is least likely to cause you to lose everything/most likely to pay off. 

This is exactly how you should treat women. You don't just throw your currency (love) into the first thing that comes your way (or every thing that ever comes your way). Not all are deserving of it and you will get burned. Invest in the best ones only, and reduce your risk. 

Friday, May 9, 2014

Scientists Invent Anti Nagging Pill- Earthquakes and Orgasms Ensue

-Some new agency, some place. Scientists from the university of Fuchyamen revealed that they have created a pill which makes women orgasm when they get the urge to nag. We expect this pill to be the best selling drug ever.

The Day of the Pill's Release:

-Some new agency, some place. The pill that turns nagging into orgasms released today and immediately sold a bagillion copies. Seventy trillion female orgasms in the course of the last hour have resulted in worldwide earthquakes, killing hundreds of thousands. The remaining people on Earth all agree that it was worth it. The twitter hashtag #sorrybutitwasworthit has been fighting for number one spot all day alongside the tag #omgomgomgomg

We'll have more on this story in the weeks to follow.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Blast From The Past: Syko Shadow's 2010 Gaming Shout-Outs

Note: While I work on some new ideas for posts and formulate them into barely coherent and publically shared entities I thought I would treat you to an explosive blast from the past courtesy of my friend SykoShadow. 


Well, 2010 has been gone for a long time now, so I think it's time I finally took a good look back at last year in gaming. I don't do award show-type crap, instead what I try to do is simply give recognition to as many stand-out games as possible, whether they stand out in a positive or negative light, unlike an award show which only congratulates the winner of each generic fucking category and forgets the runner-ups entirely.

There's been quite a few games out this year, good ones and bad ones, amazing works of art and horrendous pieces of horse dick. So let's get down to business, time to give some shout-outs to the best and worst of 2010!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

On Guys Being "In Trouble" and Being Servants: Observations at Birthday Party

*This was written a few weeks ago*

So this weekend I attended a birthday party. There were several couples there and I noticed a disturbing trend. You know the classic relationship dynamic (especially these days) where they are out in public and somehow, the guy always ends up "in trouble?" He usually says something she doesn't like (often a joke) and he gets "the look?" Then they have that awkward whispered conversation, or that even worse nonverbal one, either way it's in public so they're trying to do it discreetly but holding back so they aren't really saying anything?

Well, there was a lot of that going on at this party. The guy would get "in trouble" (usually the "look") and then awkwardly try to explain himself to her but without fully having the actual conversation because there were people around. Then, if they think there's no one looking, the guys will often kiss her and talk to her with that annoying babying voice, trying to soothe her and get back in her good graces.

Every single time there was an issue, it was the girl getting annoyed at the guy, and almost always over a joke or just something he said. Well, the thing I really noticed more so now than ever before was the fact that these guys will often look at the woman after making a joke to make sure that he's not getting "the look."

It's almost like they are kids dealing with a humourless mommy.

The other thing I noticed was that whenever something needed to be grabbed from the car, another room, or even 5 feet away, it seems to always be the guy that has to do it. The most painful one was my cousin forgetting her camera in the car and instead of going to get it she said to her fiance (oh, the camera is still in the car." His response? "Well you know where the car is." Right on brother......oh wait, except for the fact that he said it in a voice that betrayed the fact that not only was he joking, but he was doing it overtly so, in an effort to let her know that he didn't really mean it. What was her reaction? A dirty look, followed by him saying "of course I'll go get it".....which he did, right away.

Bunch of pandering, snivelling, grovelling little manslaves. Do they have no self respect?

Friday, April 25, 2014

On "Manning Up"

NOTE: This post has now been published (in a more fleshed out format of course) on the website A Voice For Men. The link is HERE is you wish to read it in its updated format.

-Social anxiety?
-Self confidence issues?
-Struggling with something?

"Just get out there and do it."
"Get over it"
"Just be you and start feeling confident."
"Suck it up."
"Deal with it."
"You're x age and still doing this/feeling this way? Come on/it's time to grow up."

Basically, "man up." 

I was just reading a forum post about anxiety written by someone with really bad social anxiety and of course the replies were full of those quotes above and others like them. Any time anyone ever says something to that effect (which includes me at some points in my life, either to others or to myself) I think to myself "okay, can you do the opposite?" When you say "man up" to someone, what you are basically saying is "be not like you."

Well, I have a question for you. Can you "man down?" If you are confident can you be anxious and insecure instead?


So what makes you think someone else can "man up?" If you are who you are why aren't they afforded the same sort of leeway?

Now, I'm not at all saying that people can't get past things, but sometimes I think people (myself included at times) downplay how strongly other people are who they are in the exact same way they are who they are, but just in the opposite direction. Next time someone acts like "manning up" is the easiest thing in the world to do, ask them if they could just as easily "man down." When they invariably say no, ask what the difference is. I've done this before and people usually get totally stumped because they've never thought of it like that before.

The thing is, the part that everyone always misses with this stuff is that most of the time, the anxiety, lack of confidence, whatever, comes from past experience and past experience is instrumental in making us who we are. If you have good experiences with people, you'll be fine looking them in the eye/feeling adequate socially. If, however, you have had bad experiences with people that made you doubt your self worth, you won't. It's not as easy as "being confident" or "finding your balls." You being uncomfortable around them is as much a result of your genetics, psychology and experience as them being comfortable in those situations is a manifestation of their genetics, psychology and experience.

That being said, this isn't necessarily it forever. A series of positive experiences and some practise can change this for the person affected negatively by their past. I know about this from experience and man; it isn't easy to change but it can be done.

Just not by being told to "man up."

P.S. In some instances, people really DO need to 'man up.' I'm just arguing against it being used in situations in which it's really not at all applicable, helpful and most importantly, fair.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Meet BoxMan, a new villain from the upcoming The Evil Within

Monday, April 14, 2014

Syko Shadow's List of People to KILL

Just like magx's list before mine, this is a collection of names of people who I think are ruining this world by their mere presence. These people are the worst of the worst in their respective fields, and the world would be better if Marty McFly went back in time and accidentally prevented their birth, or some shit. Unlike magx, however, I will give a short quip with each name, making it perfectly clear WHY I hate these people, because I'm not lazy like him... well, not AS lazy... well, fuck you anyway. Let's begin!

-Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer, the directors of Date Movie, Epic Movie, Disaster Movie, Meet the Spartans, and Vampires Suck. These people are actually worse than Michael Bay, Uwe Boll, Ed Wood, and whatever fucking tool directed the Twlight movies COMBINED. Their movies are like the flaky sticky scum buildup under the scrotum of a Mississippi redneck who hasn't bathed in two years. You can't even say they make bad movies. They don't make movies, they make cinematic dogshit. Two retched, painful hours of brainless slapstick which usually degrades to mindlessly beating someone up in the most absurdly retarded way possible, pop culture references (which mostly consist of a poor impersonation/caricature of a celebrity that's on the top Yahoo! searches list at the time), and occasionally an actual attempt at a joke with a punchline that always ends up to be so unfunny it actually makes me physically cringe when I hear it. From the bottom of my heart, go fuck yourselves.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Deconstructing the FPS AKA Boring Horizontal Whack a Mole

It is my contention that fps games are, at their core, both boring and mind numbingly simplistic. While there are a variety of skills at play during, for example, an online game of Call of Duty (was I going to use any other game/series for my example?) the one that comprises more than 50% of the player's actions is the act of aiming. Trying to line up either your reticule or your iron sights with the current (or future, in the case of those longer distance shots that require you to lead the target) location of your intended target is, as anyone who has experience with the genre will tell you, a large portion of the player's actions during any given game. Would it be unreasonable for me to state that this large portion is somewhere over 50% of the players actions during gameplay?

No, I say? Okay then, I answered my own question and I have to say I agree with myself (aren't one way conversations great for being right?). It's not an exaggeration to say that more than half of the actions you take while playing your typical online fps consist of aiming your weapon at various targets. Well, what does aiming at a target entail and why am I harping on this? Let's deconstruct: If you strip away the visual and auditory feedback mechanisms in place what do you get at its core? Fundamentally, you have periods of navigating through an enclosed environment punctuated with bursts of moving a cursor around the screen and trying to time the pull of a trigger with the placement of the cursor over the avatar of the intended target.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

"I'm Already Bored With My Marriage" Marriage Advice From Logan at Cosmopolitan Magazine (And Then The Truth, From Me)

Ask Logan, taken from COSMO

I’ve been married for a year, but with my husband for almost five years all together. Within the past seven months, I have felt like we are drifting apart. When we’re together, we have nothing to talk about or everything he says annoys me. We are often in the same room together playing on our phones because there’s nothing to talk about. I was recently contacted by an old fling, someone I had a huge crush on for about five years and was good friends with. We only slept together twice but never actually dated. While talking to this guy, I felt giddy and all my previous feelings resurfaced. It felt as though I had never met my husband. I am conflicted and don’t know what I should do. I love my husband dearly, but I honestly feel bored with our relationship.
Their response:

Unfortunately, you’re not alone. There’s often a lull, right after the excitement of the engagement and the thrill of the wedding, when the honeymoon period peters out and two new spouses suddenly realize that they’re not newlyweds anymore: They’re just another married couple, sitting in another living room, playing Candy Crush on separate phones. And since you were together for four years before the wedding, I’m sure you have those days when you think that the wedding didn’t change much: that you are, in some sense, right back where you started.
You sound so disconnected — and you mention twice that you’re unable to even talk to each other. So, of course, this old flame rekindled some old passion. There’s nothing wrong with a little flirting: Everyone flirts a little. It feels good to be desired. But you have to know your limits (and your partner’s limits), and right now, you seem dangerously confused. It’s one thing to flirt harmlessly when you know it’s not going anywhere, but you’re playing with fire when you’re unhappy in your marriage and don’t know what you want. It’s probably not worth the risk. So think this through.
You say you love him dearly, so if you do, do not strike up some ill-conceived affair. It’s only been a year since you took your vows, so it’s too early to get complacent, and it’s too early to become fatalistically convinced that nothing is ever going to change. You’ve got to focus on your marriage and not distract yourself. So, before you do anything else, tell your husband how you’re feeling: Don’t let quiet resentment gnaw away at your relationship from the inside. Start a discussion about how the reality of your marriage is different from your expectations. And try to get a handle on what’s going on in his head too. He doesn’t sound that happy, either.
Then maybe do something pro-active. This might sound cheesy, but maybe you should break up the monotony with a vacation. Get out of that house where you’re always on your phones. Take a break, even if it’s just for a weekend. Try to talk and have fun and reconnect.
And try to stop thinking about this former crush. Since you are distraught, I’d recommend that you cut him out of your life until you know what you want. Think about it: There are probably reasons you only slept with this old flame and never dated him. And there are certainly many more reasons you loved your husband so much that you put a ring on his finger.
Now reality, courtesy of me:

Dear everyone who writes a litter like this:
The truth is, monogamy is not our biological norm and as such marriage is contrary to our nature. This sort of stuff will ALWAYS happen because the situation you're in is stupid to begin with and if we had been taught reality from the start no one would be in this mess.



Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Ninja Gaiden (Xbox, 2004) Was Ahead Of Its Time

Note: I use 'hack n slash' to describe the genre of games to which titles such as Ninja Gaiden, Devil May Cry and Bayonetta belong. I recognize that to many, the term hack n slash calls to mind games like Diablo and Champions of Norrath while games like Devil May Cry and Ninja Gaiden would be considered third person action games. Just remember that when I say hack n slash I mean Ninja Gaiden, not Diablo.

'Ahead of its time' is a phrase with which I am intimately familiar, having said it myself many times in my life (usually in reference to a video game or a technical death metal album I am raving about at any given time). It is also a phrase with which I take issue, as the concept of something being ahead of its time implies that it is possible for something to exist before it should exist, which seems patently absurd, especially when stated so clearly. If something comes to exist at a moment in time, what other time could there be, aside from the one in question, at which the thing in question should exist and who determines that? Clearly the idea of something being ahead of its time is a romanticized and hyperbolic one. That being said, I am prone to hyperbole and romanticism and so I am going to make the claim that Ninja Gaiden (Xbox, 2004) was ahead of its time. If it is at all possible for something to be so, Ninja Gaiden is it.

At the time of the game's release, the hack n slash genre was well established, but certainly not to the degree to which it is today. Nor was it nearly as popular as it is now. God of War had not yet released. Devil May Cry 3, arguably the best in the series and the title that really elevated both the Devil May Cry series and the hack n slash genre as a whole in terms of mainstream popularity (as well as acting as redemption after the dud that was Devil May Cry 2) had also not yet been released. The first title in the series was, at the time, widely considered to be the best of the genre, and probably rightfully so. At the time, Capcom really innovated and elevated the genre with the release of the original Devil May Cry.

And then in 2004, a reboot of the classic 8 bit Ninja Gaiden series developed by Team Ninja, the development studio behind the Dead or Alive fighting game franchise, was released and the genre was elevated to dizzying new heights (see, there's that aforementioned tendency to hyperbole).

The first thing that really stood out upon first playing the game was how smooth, fluid and fast everything was. The game ran at a blistering 60 fps, which, if I am not mistaken, was a first for the genre, at least on consoles. It felt incredibly smooth, fast and responsive, and this was felt immediately after beginning to play. The controls were tight and the main character, Ryu Hayabusa, was incredibly agile. The options in terms of mobility were staggering. You could run up and along walls, hop back and forth between them to get to high places in seconds (known within the series as "bird flipping") jump on enemy heads and then launch yourself off of them, either once or multiple times in succession, allowing for the possibility of getting past a group of enemies by simply traversing over them as though they were a part of the flooring. Ryu could also roll dodge and perform a move known as the "Flying Swallow" which is a mid air flying sword thrust which covers great distances instantaneously and can decapitate multiple enemies in a single motion.

Hmmmm....three guys all shooting at me, what do I- oh, that takes care of that then!
Totally unrelated to the feel of the game, but equally noticeable upon first playing it was the fact that the game was absolutely stunning. Upon release it was one of the best looking Xbox games. Arguably even the best, period. This makes the fact that it ran at 60 fps all the more impressive since developers typically have to sacrifice either visual fidelity or the framerate when developing console games. The best looking games, especially during the sixth video game generation, were typically 30 fps. The few games that did run at a higher framerate were not typically the most technically impressive games from a visual standpoint. Ninja Gaiden was a top tier game in terms of visuals and it also somehow ran at 60 fps. The game was an absolute technical marvel and it was a dream to play while being a beauty to behold.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Keep Faith Alive, a.k.a. These Games Need Sequels!

By Syko Shadow

For the past month or so, there has been some news regarding one of my favorite games of this generation, Mirror's Edge. Apparently, development of a sequel has been pushed to the side by Electronic Arts so that the developer DICE can focus on making a game to compete with Call of Duty, presumably Battlefield 3.

Fuck that, I want my sexy free-running goddess, I do NOT want another patriotic Aryan poster boy fightin' the dang Ruskies for the old Stars and Stripes! American military videogames weren't fun the first time around, now we've got more interactive advertisements for the U.S. Army than I can count, and on top of that DICE is tossing aside a sequel to one of the most unique games on today's consoles to continue this stream of semper fi bullshit.

You know, Mirror's Edge is far from the first original IP I've grown to love, yet others look down on, and due to that the aspects of a sequel are... less than hopeful. With that in mind, I decided to write about my most desired sequels I need, but may never get.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Citizen Kane of Videogames, Part Uno

Haven't we heard this phrase before? There's always so much debate over which videogame is the proverbial Citizen Kane of the industry, as in which videogame can be recognized by the most people as being "the best." for those who are not film buffs, the movie Citizen Kane is widely regarded by professional movie critics as the best film ever made, and as such you can't really BE a professional film snob-- I mean critic, without agreeing to this one unwritten rule amongst the Oscar-loving film community.

There have been quite a few videogames that, whether coined "the Citizen Kane of gaming" or not, HAVE been praised as being one of the best, if not the best, ever made. Some of the more popular choices for this controversial category have been Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Super Mario Bros. 3, and ABC News even did a piece in collaboration with Michael Thomsen from IGN giving a detailed analysis claiming Metroid Prime to be the Citizen Kane of videogames, directly comparing their themes and stories.

Consider this video by Anthony Burch to be in line with my feelings about not only Metroid Prime, but ANY game being called "The Citizen Kane of videogames."

Monday, March 10, 2014

It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's....a Pilot? Pilots Without Planes- A Titanfall Review

Titanfall is an online only shooter that takes place in a future in which humans have colonized outside of Earth but have not yet freed themselves of the shackles of violent confrontation. In a government vs. the people type scenario, diplomacy has failed, as it often does, and a violent revolution has broken out and both sides are utilizing mechanical, weaponized armour called Titans to do aid them in expressing their message of discontent. 

It would not be all that hard to understand why, to an outside observer, Titanfall might strike them as "just another fps." A standard, run of the mill first person affair replete with fast paced  action complemented by a screen covered in rpg-esque numbers and symbols; both of which work to provide immediate and visceral satisfaction and long term addictive behaviour, including the inability to refrain from buying overpriced map packs or a "season pass." Play the game however, and it becomes abundantly clear that Titanfall is more than that. The folks at Respawn Entertainment were clearly aware of the state of the genre and the long term implications of market oversaturation and worked hard to make a shooter that may look like the rest but is actually substantially different (even including addressing the pricing of post release downloadable content).

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Alcohol, Sex, Consent, Rape and Contradictions

So as you all know there's been a lot of talk about drunk sex lately and it seems that there's a push to consider consensual sex while drunk to actually be sex under duress. Which, unless I am missing something here, logically places alcohol on equal footing with "roofies."

Assuming we accept that premise, I would go on to point out that girls don't really believe this themselves. An overstatement? Perhaps, but on some level at least, they make the distinction between alcohol and roofies without realizing it themselves. I say this because they:

a) Aren't asking for alcohol to stop being served/sold without a prescription ("roofies" are prescription only, not sold at bars but, following their logic, if it has the same effect, what's the difference?)

b) Willingly avail themselves of this free flowing alcohol (but not ingesting "roofies")

Am I wrong in thinking that perhaps this is indicative of an underlying contradiction in this new way of thinking?

P.S. I've certainly heard this said before but it bears repeating: If they aren't responsible for having sex while intoxicated then why are people who drive drunk responsible for their actions? Which is it, ladies? Do drunk people have agency over themselves and their own actions or no? Or maybe an even better one is a guy cheating while drunk. Are they prepared to let him off the hook? Oh, they aren't? Okay, let's see them explain that without a major contradiction or invoking special pleading.

EDIT:  I want to make clear right now that in NO WAY would I advocate someone plying someone with booze, getting them blackout drunk and having sex with them. I am merely talking about the usual "go out, have 3-4 drinks, end up with someone" thing that is now coming under fire. 

Friday, February 28, 2014

The Recent Nevada State Athletic Commission Ruling on TRT Makes No Sense

So the NSAC has just banned testosterone replacement therapy for fighters in the state and they are encouraging other commissions to follow suit. Essentially, a precedent has been set and knowing the way people/bureaucracies work they will. The response to this in the mma community seems to be, at least so far, overwhelmingly supportive. The consensus seems to be that trt is somehow cheating, and it allows fighters to use steroids with reckless abandon as if they damage their hypothalamic pituitary testicular axis (HPTA), the areas that regulate hormonal levels in men, they can simply use testpsterone replacement therapy later on as compensation, bringing their now unnaturally low levels up to par. 

Is it me or is everyone completely missing the point here? 

There are defined levels of testosterone allowable in the sport. As long as the fighter is within them, why exactly does it matter where it comes from and why they might need it in the first place? People might say "oh, so we're going to allow people to use steroids and then rely on trt later on?" one's allowing anything, and steroid use will happen regardless. All you're doing is limiting a fighter's career when science/medicine has perfectly safe ways of extending/enhancing it. And some cases of low T are NOT related to prior use, so what about them? If two fighters have equal test levels, there is NO ADVANTAGE to said levels being from trt. The only thing that matters is the levels of the hormone in the blood and that is already regulated. All this does is punish fighters and limit their careers. This is terrible, especially in a sport where they don't make a lot of money as it is yet need to dedicate their lives to it in order to succeed. 

It seems pretty fucking simple to me: Here are the testosterone limits, stay within them. Everything else is just noise. Am I missing something here?

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Advice To Potential 'Self Help Gurus' ('Life Coaches', Marriage Counsellors, Sex Therapists, etc)

There are often two paths when it comes to advice about life, yet in cases where this is true, the path that is followed is the one that is perceived as the sole option, as those who follow this path are blind to the existence of the second, and more importantly, correct, path. For example:

Let's say the advice in question is regarding a married man, self described as "happily married," who is guilty because even though he loves his wife and the marriage is great he can't stop wanting to sleep with other women. He doesn't act on it this desire, but he feels it. Often. Now, the path most travelled, seen to those taking it as the only path (they're wrong) is the sit down/discuss the relationship/examine the self/spice up the sex life with the wife path.

If you want to really help people, stay away from that path. The people on that path are playing in a matrix of socially approved and spread ignorance they just don't see (or they do but they deny it because it is threatening to them in some way). There's a second path, at that path is truth. Real truth. Often politically incorrect truth. So, in the example above regarding the husband with the wandering eye, the second path would be the that's natural/there's nothing to worry about/and p.s your wife does the same thing path.

Stick to the second path and you'll draw the ire of the masses but you'll also be truly helping people and what could be nobler than that?

Sunday, February 23, 2014

UFC 170 Quick Take (More of a Brief, Curse Filled Rant)

1) Goddamn Ronda Rousey. Just....ARGH. FUCK! God I hope the Cyborg fight happens. I need to see her get fucking smashed, if not for her own sake then for my own (okay, mostly my own.....just my own, fuck her).

2) For a second there I thought Maia was going to take Rory. That was pretty exciting, which is surprising because I like Rory as a fighter. A lot. I guess I just really love underdogs. Always have. Great fight.

3) Patrick Cummins- just lol. Destroyed. He probably has a future in the upper echelons of the sport but definitely not yet.

4) Near the end of the prelims Mike Goldberg said "millions" were going to be watching the main card. Liar liar, your pants are on FIRE!

5) Fuck Ronda Rousey.

6) I am getting extremely sick of the crowds booing and motherfucking standups. Last night they fucking booed while someone was working on setting up a head and and arm choke from the half guard. And guess what? As they sometimes do, the ref responded to the crowd and initiated a standup. For fuck's sake! Plus bad decisions. The integrity of this sport is definitely an issue.

7) Seriously, Ronda Rousey.....fuck you.

Friday, February 14, 2014

The Problem With Media Reports On Video Game Violence Studies

We've all read the headlines. "Video Games Lead To Violent Behaviour." "Video Games Cause Immoral Behaviour In Teens." "Video Games Lead To Aggression." The question is, are the conclusions drawn in these reports backed up by the science they are reporting on? My contention is that they absolutely are not and I will use a recent study to demonstrate where they are going wrong.

The study in question, conducted in Italy and published in the online journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, looked at how violent video games influenced post play morality in teenagers. The researchers recruited 172 high school students (aged thirteen to nineteen) and separated them into two groups. The first group was tasked with playing a violent video game. The second group was given nonviolent games to play. After both groups played the games, they were directed to complete a logic test, and every time they achieved a correct answer they were allowed to remove a raffle ticket from a bag. The teens were left alone in a room to do this, and upon completion of the study the researchers found that those who had played violent video games prior to taking the logic test were eight times more likely to remove more than the one raffle ticket from the bag when they correctly completed a section on the logic test.

The authors noted that the teens who showed signs of 'moral disengagement' were the most affected by playing violent video games. Moral disengagement is the ability to remove oneself from the normal rules of morality in certain situations because, in the view of the people who show this trait,  morality does not apply in certain situations. The teens with this trait were much more likely to steal after playing a violent game. A nonviolent game did not trigger as large a discrepancy between the two groups.

A study like this is perfect fodder for one of those media frenzies mentioned earlier. According to the study, the teens, especially those who score highly on "moral disengagement" scales were more likely to take extra raffle tickets; to steal, essentially. At the very least, to cheat. Not good, right? Obviously the violent video games are having a negative effect, one that was not seen to the same degree in the group that played non violent games. Seems like an open and shut case on the face of it. Except it's not. At all.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Fable Anniversary Review- Saving The World, One Chicken Punt At A Time

You want to pass through me and gorge yourself on my treasures? Get fat first. That is the message delivered to you by one of Fable Anniversary's so called 'Demon Doors,' magical doors created long before the time during which the game takes place, made to conceal the existence of various treasures. Approach the door in Barrow Fields and this is the message with which you are met:

"Oh no, not again. Another bony adventurer seeking to plunder my riches. I'm not interested in your meager frame. Get some meat on you! I want beefy! Blubbery! Plump! Porcine! Stop being a slave to public perception, and treat yourself. Pies, meat, beer, anything; but lots of it! Eat yourself large, and you'll be welcome here!"

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

I Finally 'Get' The Fluidity of Gender Idea

I have always accepted the idea of a sliding scale of human sexuality, but it never quite 'clicked' with me until now. Thinking of men, if a 'straight' dude had a sexual experience with another man, people would say "well then he's gay, or at least bi" and I always felt the same way (I would have said bi) although I didn't ascribe  any morality to it. I could not understand how a 'straight' dude could fool around with a gay guy and still be 'straight.' I mean, if you like girls you like girls, right? If you are into guys how could you possibly be with one in that way?

And then today it dawned on me. Well wait, we don't ascribe any sexual categories or morality onto masturbatory practices. You're not into dildos or a man's hand (it's yours but it's a man's), watermelons, etc. You just use them to get off. Everyone accepts that. No one makes sweeping/black and white statements about your sexuality based on these factors. And it was this thought that sparked the realization that well wait, why can't a person of the same gender be used in that way? Given the right circumstances, I could see how a person could use someone of the same sex in that way and how that would not speak to their preferences in terms of attraction.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

If You Liked The Original, Don't Overlook Fable Anniversary

Update: REVIEW now available

Fable Anniversary, an HD remake of Lionhead's now ten year old Xbox original adventure/rpg hybrid Fable will be available for purchase both at retail and online this Tuesday (at least in North America) for $39.99. The question you may be asking yourself is, is it worth the asking price? Considering the fact that this is a remake of an already existing game, that question seems entirely warranted and valid. Let's consider the facts and perhaps together we will answer this question for you.

The first thing anyone who has played the original will notice upon first seeing Fable Anniversary in action is of course the updated visual fidelity. Lionhead, tasked with bringing Fable to the modern era, utilized the Unreal 3 engine and employed 100 artists with the aim of totally redoing the textures, lighting and special effects. Widescreen support was added, a very important upgrade since the original Fable only supported a 4:3 aspect ratio. This might not sound like much in 2014 but pop in the original Fable and you'll be met with black bars on both sides of the image, which are now thankfully removed as the native aspect ratio has been updated to the industry standard, widescreen enabled 16:9.

In addition to the aforementioned textures and lighting, draw distances were improved, as were the particle effects, shadows and water effects. All of this has resulted in a much prettier version of the original game. It still retains the visual style and flair of the original while updating the visual offerings to a level more suitable for consumption in the modern era.

One of the strengths of the original game was the sound, especially the musical score. At the time, this high point was held back by audio compression as well as being limited to two channel (stereo) audio. Fast forward ten years and the original score that was so beloved by the fans is not only still intact but allowed to shine, freed from the chains of compressed, two channel audio. For the first time, fans of the Fable will be able to play the game they love with no limits placed on the aural experience. Multi channel surround sound and uncompressed audio are now a part of the Fable experience.

Friday, January 31, 2014

I Now Write for Pixelvolt

I recently got a gig writing for PixelVolt and my first article written for them went live today. If anyone is interested it is available to read HERE and yes, it's about Ninja Gaiden. It's a new approach to talking about the game, although I guess not really as at the end of the day it's a bunch of praise for the game written under a slightly different context. I can't help loving what I love, people :P

I promise that going forward I will be tackling a diverse set of topics. The next one I am working on has to do with the fps genre and I promise no mention of Ninja Gaiden will be made.


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Response To "Two Quick Questions For Christians"

In an earlier post I asked two questions aimed at Christians (although they could apply to people of any religion). I received a response from a Christian and I am posting said response here. I guess this speaks to the idea that smart people are less likely to be talked out of their religion when faced with questioning, contradictory evidence, etc as they can better justify their beliefs. Trying to weave through this web of logic and rationales would be an exhausting task. Not only that, but it really exemplifies just how difficult it would be to try and eradicate religious belief via debate, no matter how compelling the argument/evidence against. 

Question 1: Is there any non biblical, supporting evidence for what you believe ? If so, what is it? If no, and your beliefs are based solely upon what is contained in the bible, what then compels you to believe the book, especially as opposed to all of the other similar books upon which other religions are based, if, and I assume this is true, you believe that none of those other books are supported by extraneous evidence?

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Mass Effect, More Realistic than Call of Duty?

Now you may be asking, how is a game about aliens, ancient evil robots quadruple the size of the Titanic, and spaceships more realistic than a modern-day war shooter set firmly in our level of reality? Well, to answer that, one must look into how we as gamers define realism.

Do we simply refer to realism as making the game look as photo-realistic as possible, à la Crysis? Or maybe you define realism by gameplay that faithfully represents the laws of reality with no hint of supernatural elements, like the current Call of Duty games or the Uncharted series. I keep hearing that people want games to be more realistic, and the vibe I get from this rallying call is that this statement basically means "less Ratchet and Clank, more Heavy Rain," and if that's the case... I hope that never fucking happens. Ever.

Since simple visual photo-realism is simple enough to understand, let's focus instead on physical realism in games. People who want these types of realistic games want things to react just as they would in real life. This not only extends to certain materials acting as they should, whether it be wood breaking or metal bending as it should, like in The Force Unleashed, but it also means that the human character you play as must feel human. Their abilities must be based in our current reality, so no superpowers or futuristic tech that doesn't exist in our world. I don't know about you, but to me, that sounds boring as hell.

I'm not saying realistic games are bad... well, not completely... but if you look at it, their attempts at realism push them further away from the goal. The more things they do to make the games seem more realistic, the more noticeable it is when they overlook something. Take Uncharted 2 and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 for examples. Both games go to lengths to make themselves more realistic. They both sport art styles firmly within the boundaries of real life with no artistic deviations, neither one lets you do anything supernatural like shoot fireballs from your eyes, use biotics or fly with the power of dreams, and both games are set on our quaint little planet Earth complete with real-life locations such as Moscow and Washington D.C.

And yet, they are both completely unrealistic.

Monday, January 13, 2014

"It's Just Business"- An Innocuous Phrase, or a Symptom of a Sick Culture?

We've all heard the phrase. It's usually uttered in an apologetic tone along with a slight shrug of the shoulders (as if to say, "eh, what can you do?") which makes it that much worse when you stop and think about it- It's simultaneously being treated with ambivalence/an air of meek acceptance (the shrug) and an implicit admission of the phrase's darker undertones (the apologetic tone).

"It's just business."

You can bet that if someone is saying it, someone else, or a group of someone else's, has just been (or is about to be) hurt. Maybe a thinly veiled bribe has been delivered by a lobbyist to a government official, gaining favour for a corporation in a manoeuvre that, whether the parties involved want to think of it this way or not, violates the entire premise of a democratic government. Perhaps an entire town's/state's/countries' water supply is sold to a company who then sells it back to the community at prices they cannot afford and/or utilizes it in less than ideal ways (things that maximize profit (logging, let's say) but not availability of fresh water to the community) causing serious water shortages and causing massive health problems.

Whatever it is, something has been done that would be unacceptable in  a non business context but because the context in which it occurred is the wonderful leviathan we lovingly refer to as "business" it becomes acceptable. If you examine this for but a second the extent to which it is clearly a symptom of a system gone awry becomes glaringly obvious. So much so that I struggle to understand how this notion has pervaded for so long without really being deconstructed in the public consciousness. At it's core, "it's just business" is a euphemism for something that, once faced without prejudice, bias or the desire to defend, justify or diminish, is shockingly sinister. If we were being honest with ourselves, we would recognize that "it's just business" is a less obviously disgusting way of saying "I know it's wrong but I'm getting paid to do it."

Having said that, let's now consider an example from my personal life, first using the euphemism, then replacing it with a more appropriate, more accurate and non obfuscating statement like "I know it's wrong but I'm getting paid to do it." This example is not nearly as obviously immoral as some of the examples I mentioned above (especially the water supply one, which, by the way, happened in Chile) but it struck me at the time as being wholly unfair and really started the process of opening my eyes to the reality of business practises (working for a few doctors and seeing the relationship drug company reps have with the medical establishment definitely accelerated that process, but I digress).

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Two Quick Questions For Christians

1) Is there any non biblical, supporting evidence for what you believe ? If so, what is it? If no, and your beliefs are based solely upon what is contained in the bible, what then compels you to believe the book, especially as opposed to all of the other similar books upon which other religions are based, if, and I assume this is true, you believe that none of those other books are supported by extraneous evidence?

2) Do you think you'd be a Christian if you were raised in say India, or would you be a follower of the Hindu religion? Does the fact that religiosity is so highly correlated with culture/geography ever occur to you and if so, does that not strike you as a fairly compelling counterargument to your claims of truth?

Monday, January 6, 2014

Haunted Attic? (Demons?) Scary Sounds!

Please tell me there's a natural explanation for this......