This is far from a new game — but I don’t care. A lot has been said outlining the positive aspects of this game, so I’ll spare you the fanboi drool. Instead, I’ll go a different way.
Old though it is (by internet standards), Skyrim is still an oft-talked about title, and watching my lover play it today, I simply could not delay this rant any longer.

“Lets dumb it down to appeal to a dumber audience!” – Bethesda

Skyrim is so pretty. And so fucking lame.
Back in my day“, you could wear cloths under your armor and a cloak on top of that.
Instead of one ring, you could wear a ring for every thumb you proudly owned.
Skirts did not automatically transform into pants simply because you were playing a male, and women were allowed to wear pants.
Weapons could actually get worn down by careless use.
Legendary items could be sold for the ludicrous amounts one would expect.
Spells could be creatively customized.
Fast-travel was considered too unrealistic and as such not allowed unless you hired transportation.
Invisible walls were unheard of.
Enemies did not level with you, so you knew better than to rumble with the big dogs on day 1.
If you wanted to, you could permanently kill quest-critical characters (even gods!) thereby actually breaking free of the conventional restraints of the game.
There were no throw-away NPCs with a single line of dialogue — everyone had a story.
You could create spells to fucking FLY!

Then I played Fallout: New Vegas, another Bethesda game, and my desire for immersion was truly realized.
You had to eat!
You had to sleep!
You had to hydrate!
In other words, those countless items of food actually MEANT SOMETHING.

But then Skyrim happened and failed to adopt any of these (for me) vital features that had been built up over the years.
In other words, I see Skyrim as the opposite of innovative progress.

Skyrim is very pretty. It has all the tools for a truly flawless game hidden within its code.
And it fails to utilize them to perfection.
So close. Yet so SO far, that it damn near breaks the whole damn game for me!
I know I’m picky. And thats not a bad thing: I demand the best because I care.
Because if you aren’t “picky” about the things you have passion for, what the fuck is the point!?

From Russia with Love

Posted: February 3, 2015 in Life
Tags: , , , ,

Lots of police-on-civilian violence in the news coming from within the USA recently. I thought I’d share my Russian version of things.

My mother, my little brother and I were living in Vladivostok, Siberia. We had just gotten up to our apartment, through the locked exterior door, up the key-activated elevator, and past the locking hallway door of our floor as well. We walked up to our steel barricade of a personal door and my mother began punching in the code. Between carrying bags of groceries in one hand and my little brother in the other (I have no idea what I was carrying), she still managed to get the massively heavy door to swing open, as she did every day, then proceeded to unlock the wooden interior door.

Vault112Only a hundred or so doors to go!

Maybe by now you have noticed two things.

1. We must have been fairly well-off to have had all this security.
2. Holy shit, that is a lot of security for a crummy two-bedroom apartment in a part of town where serial murderers were a monthly occurrence!
Just the other week, a woman was strangled to death with her leggings in one of our building’s elevators. Apparently, the current serial rapist was a ‘leggings fetishist’, so women were advised not to wear any lest they tempt him with their womanly wiles.

19evq452e55g3jpg                                                                     SO asking for it

At this point, stumbling into our ‘stylishly undersized’ apartment, she went about prioritizing between the placement of her children and the placement of the groceries. That is when the alarm went off.
Spinning about, my mother rushed to the door — it had stayed ajar too long and triggered the siren.
Fumbling with her keys she yelled (over the noise) for me to watch my little brother as she rushed through the door to get the land-lady down the hall to turn off the alarm, closing both home doors behind her.

The alarm soon died and I went back to putting away the food. My attention was sparked, however, when I heard a thump against our door. Walking back over to it, I found my little brother standing there, looking at it with his hand in his mouth — he had heard it too.
I stood next to him, a few feet away from the door, staring at the flimsy but pretty inside door. There were then a series of small popping explosions and the metal exterior door came crashing inward, taking the wooden one with it.
Six men in military camouflage gear, wearing helmets and ski masks, wielding automatic rifles and strapped with grenades, piled into our living room.

24a                                    Welcome to adulthood! I think puberty just hit all at once!

To put this surreal situation another way, I just had the SPETSNAZ breach my steel front door with explosives and point their AK-47s at me and my 2 year old brother while screaming at us to identify ourselves. I was 10, starting down the barrel of (into the barrel of?) a rifle. I think its right around then that I came to terms with the fear of death – saving my little brother was more important than worrying about mortality.
Everything seemed to slow down and it appeared to me that I had all the time in the world to decide what to do (I later learned that this is called an ‘adrenaline rush’ and can take years to master willingly in stressful situations).
Having had this ‘time’ to consider, I pulled my brother behind me, puffed out my chest, and answered that ‘we live here’.
The lead-man hesitated and pulled down his mask without lowering his rifle.
“What did you say, boy?” he asked.
“WE LIVE HERE,” I repeated, matter-of-factly. The strangest sort of calm had come over me and it seemed to stun this soldier.

Its_13e715_238988                   This isn’t actually funny. Brazilian cops are paid to beat street urchins to death.

Why soldiers were responding to a police alarm in the first place, I still do not know. Maybe SWAT was occupied elsewhere. Maybe the bribes were better working street. Maybe they were just passing through.
Whatever the case, at this point, my mother rushed in swearing and screaming apologies, shoving past the armed men as she threw literally handfuls of money at each of them (“for their trouble”) before finally getting to the point-man and handing him the rest of the considerable amount of cash she had with her.
As they happily filed out, the leader sternly reminded her to promptly keep her (detached) door closed at all times to avoid this in the future.

Now, imagine if she did not have a lot of money. Or that the SPETSNAZ man didn’t hesitate to blow away some ten and two year old professional burglars/terrorists. Or that we weren’t well-off by their standards. We would have been entirely at their mercy (as opposed to just being able to bargain for it).
That is the situation for 99% of the people on the planet who have to deal with overzealous police-departments. Instead of sending well-manner police officers, or — I don’t know — just a regularly lethal strike team, they might send FUCKING SOLDIERS.
Don’t we all feel safer?

“It is the job of the police to protect the people, and the job of the military to fight the enemies of the state. When the military are the police, the people tend to become the enemies of the state.”

~From Russia with Love

(No doubt) in response to my SCATHING criticism of Richard Dawkins’ sexist remarks, he recently made a speech not only openly supporting Feminism (likely intended as a direct apology to me) but also hilariously dismissing the entire Men’s Rights Movement and its overbearing misogyny.

Another video blog, because I just KNOW you can’t get enough of my beautiful russian mug!
This one is on sexism in the (prominent) atheist community (not just the dipshits on youtube).

Welcome to Middle-Earth, weary fantasy-lover!
You have the option of following the epic tale of a heroic white guy (of varying height) as he treks around vanquishing evil, dark-skinned barbarians! If you want to watch (or play) a woman who isn’t given the smurfette treatment, too fucking bad! If you want to be a guy who isn’t white as snow and pure as rain – “we don’t like yer kind ’round hurr!”

Orcs                                                                                   Sad-face

Ah yes Mister Hero, and should the forces of ‘darkness’ unite against your ‘heroism’, fear not, for the pure-races will be preserved by the Deus Ex Machina of an invincible army of green white-dude ghosts! Afterall, what could be more heroic than a god-moding cheat code?

But don’t the orcs eat people, oh wise-and-mighty Aleksandr the Great(est)?

Why yes, my curious Judeo-Christian friends! In the same way that I’m sure all black janitors are magic.

Okay, seriously, what is my point?
Why, allow me to answer you, dear hypothetical reader!
Because while this type of review is not my usual fare, I feel it is incumbent upon me(as a geek)  to address this widely acclaimed work of horseshit that has been methodically spreading itself around popular culture like some over-hyped viral outbreak.
Because I was sick and tired of Lord of the Rings by the time the second movie came out (thats Two Towers, not that desiccated Hobbit story arc). Yes, I’ve read the books. No I didn’t like them either but holy SHIT did the racism not sink in until you put that crap on screen!
I’m not just being hyperbolic! If you take a step away from what orcs (every single one, apparently) do, and just look at it in terms of racial issues, why WOULDN’T they rebel against their Caucasian overlords? Orcs are pushed unto a volcanic reservation (and still hunted for sport) and treated like utter monsters by every single ‘goodly’ person without exception. There are apparently NO redeeming qualities to orcs at all. Shit, even the evil drow of better fantasy series have their outliers! (one outcast drow being the moral hero of several series). More than that, all of the ‘civilized’ societies of Middle-Earth have been living in relatively close proximity for ages and yet remain completely segregated even from each other. Which begs the question: What…happened? Was there some great ‘purge’ of half-breeds? Some ‘final solution’ that all the pure-bloods agreed upon? It seems to me that Sauron, is in fact the Abe Lincoln liberator of the orcs (we just happen to be sitting on the Confederate side of history).

sunrise                       The Grand White Wizard leads the charge against the forces of darkness!

My point is, I really don’t give a fuck if Tolkien came up with the archetypal human/elf/dwarf narrative that is still used today by better fantasy writers (he didn’t). On top of the seriously problematic racial overtones, one has to notice the utter lack of notabe female heroes. Tolkien established an oppressive gender heirarchy in his fantasy world for purely peripheral reasons (as opposed to Game of Thrones, for example, which actively explores these issues ad nauseam).
If you can’t turn a critical eye to the blatant failings of your preferred entertainment genre, you are failing your own sensibilities while openly propagating rather jarring racial (nevermind gender) stereotypes for the sake of cheap (and very white) thrills.

This is a video blog. In other words, instead of ranting in writing I just did it at the camera.
Not sure why I had such trouble with my English today, but perhaps this is coherent enough.
This is on the Abrahamic God, Rape, Sexism, Feminism, Darwinism, and Atheism. Specifically, addressing the religious argument that without gawd, rape is permissible. I argue to the contrary from a secular humanist perspective.

femfatale,female,feminism,feminist,fight,movement-8736bed24c128f6ce450693f50716e90_h                                                                 “Give me back my Midol!!!”

Fight Club is a Feminist film.
Hear me out. These are not my words, but of another feminist. Apparently, because the real thing the men in Fight Club rile against is the established patriarchal order, it is in fact, a feminist film (for dude-bros).
“Huh”, said I.
Bob, (testicle-less though he may be) is clearly very in touch with his emotions, and this is not seen as a bad thing, but surely that alone does not make it a ‘feminist’ film. In the same way the overt flirtation the film has with the homoerotic aspects of male sexuality does not really make it pro-LBGT, right?
(Okay so that was a crap joke…in the same way that 300 was TOTALLY not homoerotic).

film-300_005                                                        Soak in the manliness!

Even as I enjoyed the nuances of the film’s dichotomy, the way the sole female character was treated by the males in the film always troubled me.
They clearly resented being “a generation raised by women”.
Fight Club itself is exclusionary to women (as a combat instructor, that’s some serious — no sarcasmBULLSHIT right there).
Further, the male ‘protagonists’ state that they, “don’t think another woman is what [they] need”.

300: Rise of an Empire Eva Green as Artemisia             Everything Eva Green touches, no matter how shitty, turns into Gold. No discussion.

Fight Club is usually seen as a schizophrenic thriller — a single tear-drop away from an MRA manifesto — especially since for the majority of the film, the main character fixates on openly hating the sole female lead of the movie (while simultaneously sexually fixating on her).
However, misogynistic as the male characters may be, the point of the film clearly illustrates the hatred/obsession with women as the focal point of the film; and when you think about it, that is some surprisingly honest shit from such a popular piece of cinema.
That view alone, intentional or not, makes this a film worth taking a second look at — difficult though it may be to wade through the sexism — in order to see the misguided angst of the men under the patriarchal system they, themselves erected from their own twisted and confused, perspective.

I leave you with a kiss: