Category Archives: Uncategorized

Entertainment

So I like them good movies like S-dog Millionaire, Exit Through the Gift Shop, and that one about the Shawshank prison, but if you don’t like Wall-E then I don’t think you know how to love because that shit makes my soul weep every time I see it. 

Harry Potter occupied my angsty years in middle school and a Song of Fire and Ice is brutally amazing. That’s all I feel like discussing about literature.

That said. The Walking Dead scratches my zombie itch, and Game of Thrones is the best show on TV, nuff said. It’s also safe to say I’ve had air bending withdrawal before, so I love Avatar and Legend of Korra.

As for music, don’t get me started, Kendrick’s the best rapper out there right now, and for some reason I think of Frank Ocean whenever I’m Thinkin’ ‘Bout You.

Atmosphere makes the Sunshine better because Yesterday I saw my dead dad, but whenever I listen to Calvin Harris I have a Flashback to when I saw him at Lollapalooza.

Deadmau5 is awesome, and Daft Punk is my favorite band because they are Harder, Better, Faster, and Stronger than anyone else on the market, they also show me how to Get Lucky with people I don’t care about.

Some Nights I like to have Fun. because that’s the only way to listen to Kanye West while he registers late to dropping out of college. I also aranged my stuffed animals around my pillow, making an Animal Collective while My Girls dance to their LCD Soundsystem. But sometimes All My Friends make me Panic! at the Disco because When The Day Met The Night Ratatat comes with their Loud Pipes looking for attention.

All I really want is Justice for D.A.N.C.E. because Fred Falke knows how to lay down a bass line at 8:08 pm At The Beach, except when Madeon’s young face plays that Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ Remix because that shit gets me hoppin’.

Honestly, though, MGMT just thinks It’s Time to Pretend that their Kids because the Beastie Boys decide to Make Some Noise.

Pink Floyd make classics, and Porter Robinson shows us that it’s Easy to speak his Language.

Now don’t take me as a Twilight fan, but I don’t mind having a Vampire Weekend every once in a while, and who really gives a fuck about an Oxford Comma.

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Experience with Bioshock Infinite (Minor Spoilers)

Infinite was very similar to The Last of Us, in that it sucked me in from the start and didn’t spit me out until I fininshed it, and If I didn’t start playing it so late last night I probably would have finished it in one sitting, but even I have trouble staying awake at five o’clock in the morning. So I had to settle for the good ole’ two sittings to beat it.

Playing that late also made for one of the weirdest experiences I’ve had in gaming, because right before I went to bed was when Booker and Elizabeth first started going through the different dimensions, parrallel universes, tears, or whatever they’re callin’ em now. In a way, I felt like I was already dreaming because of how abstract the concepts were and how confused I was right before hitting the sack. All confusion and sleepiness aside, I really enjoyed this game and by the end of quite an ambitiously audacious story became my favorite Bioshock title of the three.

Confusion was a big part of my playthrough because the game throws so much at you throughout the game, especially at the end. Once I finished the game the first thing I did was look for an explanation to the story on the interwebs because my mind was spinning at that point. Although, I hope I don’t make it sound like the story doesn’t make sense, because it holds up for the most part, which is quite a feat considering how complex it becomes at the end, and it was my fault for binge playing the hell out of this, causing my brain to be mush by the end. It was one of the only games I’ve played where I was truly mindfucked coming out of it, and I had flashbacks of when I came of the movie theater after watching Inception for the first time, and I loved it for that.

The troubling question for me, though, is whether this should have even been a game? I say this because the story was just so well done, that I feel as though I would have rather just watched a movie version of the game, so I could have focused more on the intricacies of the story rather than having to fry my brain on shooting down tons baddies for long periods of time. Also, I found the vigors (or plasmids, in the other Bioshock games) to be forced in this entry because they didn’t fit all that well in the world. In Rapture, they worked really well because of the science-infused theme that surrounded the world, and messing with gene pools made sense for the people within it. In BI, it’s literally there because they were in those previous installments. Nonetheless, like I said before, this was my favorite Bioshock game because of the story, one that I will enjoy to play in the future when I’ve forgotten it’s secrets.

Playing this game and The Last of Us has made for one of the best, if not the best, summer of gaming I’ve had the pleasure to be a part of, not to mention other games like GTAV and South Park: The Stick of Truth coming later this season. Whether I liked Bioshock Infinite more than The Last of Us is a whole other post in itself, but I can safely say it is one of my favorite games that I have ever played.

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My Love/Hate Relationship with MOBAs

I played a shit ton of League of Legends during the late fall and early winter this past year, the cause of that spurt of  non-stop playing is still as unknown now, as it was during the lonely nights playing it. Whether it was because I was injured, unable to play Ultimate at my college, finding a different competitive outlet, or because I actually enjoyed the game enough to spend god awful amounts of time playing it is still hard to decide, but nevertheless those long hours of getting lost in a competitive MOBA still absorbed my life for those few months.

I bring this topic up because I started playing MOBAs again recently when the long awaited DotA 2 finally came out of beta. The problem I have is that whenever I go on these binges of playing MOBAs, at some point I always become conflicted about them, unlike any other type of game I have ever played. There are multiple factors  that contribute to this conflict, one being that I like the idea of them, I love being able to control a character with its own special abilities and lore, as well as being able to see my improvement when I play with certain characters.  One of the best feelings is to find that one hero/champion that you understand the first time you play him/her as if they were made just for you to play them. Although, at the same time the learning curve is very steep, and people in game are usually no help at all, so it takes a good amount of playing to actually get to the point where you can play with a champion for the first time with no major problems. Time, both in the long and short term, plays a big factor in MOBAs because, in the short term, games are ridiculously long, and by the time you’ve played three or four full games you can end up playing four or five hours without even intending to, making me wonder what I’m really doing with my time.

That is the question that comes through my mind every time I play a MOBA for a long period of time. I am a relatively pragmatic person, so I always think about end results, as I don’t like to waste my time. This is another aspect of my conflict with MOBAs because I always get deceived when I start playing MOBAs thinking that the end result is winning games, but after a few games there is a shift that always occurs where I realize that there isn’t really an end result because there’s always more games to play. The only result that I can think of would be getting so good that you could make a living of it, but I don’t want to even know how long that takes. I never have this problem with other games because most of them have an ending, and usually, if I pick the right game, feel better from getting through it. Even other multiplayer games don’t create this problem because most of them don’t take so much time to have fun with or have such a steep learning curve. And having fun can sometimes be hard, depending on your personality, because both the community and game itself aren’t very forgiving. If there’s one thing I know about League of Legend’s players, it’s that they aren’t afraid to tell you that you suck, even if you only make one mistake in a game. Not saying that they don’t have that right, but it can get demoralizing if you are a sensitive person, making the mute button a pivotal part of the game.

Even after writing this post I still cannot decide if I like or dislike MOBAs because there are almost as many pros as there are cons for me when I look back at my experience in playing them. Will I continue you to play them?Yeah, probably off and on again, and since everybody and their mother seems to be making one of these I am sure there will be different variations that might fit my wants and needs than what’s currently on the market. I guess, as simple and obvious as it sounds, it really comes down to whether it’s fun, and maybe I am way over thinking this topic and I should just forget about amount of time it takes to play the game, and instead just enjoy it.

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Seriously I am Super Cereal

Thinking back to how I was before I started college two years ago, I have noticed that my everyday behavior and personality has changed quite a bit from how it was at the end of high school. My senior year of high school was a blast, it was a time spent with some of my best friends whom I still hang out with today. We weren’t taking life seriously and not really giving a shit since we still didn’t have any huge responsibilities at the time. It was a wonderful time and an entire year that felt like a vacation. Then college came along and even though I loved being on my own for the first time, studying the field that would fuel a career after school served as a wake up call for me to figure out where I wanted to go with my life. From then on I began to question everything in, out, and around me to make sense of my future.

This inquisition caused a drastic change to my everyday behavior and I began to take life very seriously, in terms of deciding what my future should hold for me. Granted, I do not regret this period of time, in fact I am better person from experiencing it because I grew so much as a person during that era. At first, the constant brainstorming of  a bajillion ideas and questions was a fun and fresh experience, but the more time I spent in this state of “idealand”, the more draining it became for me, so much so that I slipped into two minor depressions this past year (a problem I’ve had since my sophomore year in high school). My tragic flaw was that I was not allowing these ideas to flourish in the present. I would literally have a thought that I wanted to pursue, but for one reason or another wouldn’t take the action needed to flesh it out. This extended period of time over-planning my future and taking my life too seriously caused me to suffer in the present, a trade that I do not regret, but one I don’t wish to transact again.

Now, you may be thinking, “Well, Michael, that’s all well and dandy, but why the heck did you bring your last year of high school then?” Well, fine sir or miss, the reason I brought that up because it was the most recent time in my life where I was, for the most part, living in the moment and wasn’t taking my life too seriously. Sure, I did plan for the future and had responsibilities, but when those were never in the forefront of my mind each morning when I woke up.

No work or love will flourish out of guilt, fear, or hollowness of heart, just as no valid plans for the future can be made by those who have no capacity for living now. –Alan Watts

For the past two years, and maybe even the majority of my living memory, I’ve been planning everything out, building up expectations for those plans, without knowing how to live in the moment. It hasn’t been until recently that I’ve realized how flawed that mentality is, because it is almost impossible to find happiness when thinking too long in the future. So go ahead and stop taking life too seriously, toast to this moment, and don’t give a shit about the future because, sometimes, that is the most powerful and freeing thing you can do on the planet.

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A Proposed Mindset

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For the past two years or so I have been longing to build a new PC for myself, but I was always thinking in the future about, assuring myself that when I get all the money I needed I would get the computer. Yesterday, a thought popped into my head, what if I were to get the computer now, or at least start buying parts to start working on it? This astonished me because I never actually asked this obvious question. I always thought that I couldn’t afford it, or that it was too much money, but the more I thought about it the more I came up with ideas about how it was possible, and just this morning I put in the order for my new computer!

After reflecting on this I realized how big a deal it was for me to shift my mind from a place of longing for what comes in the future to a place of the present where, in a broad sense, I can have whatever I want now. Another of this example on a smaller scale, would be just now I decided I wanted to make a pizza for lunch, instead of thinking I can’t make this pizza until I have a certain cheese or certain ingredients, I decided to use what I had in the refrigerator, and sure enough I made a delicious pizza that I’m eating right now. It’s not my favorite pizza, but it’s better than having the same meals I normally eat. I was also happy that I made it because not only was it delicious, but I moved the negative thoughts about whether I could make a pizza aside and instead just started making it.

I know that you literally may not have the means to get what you want, and I completely understand being rationale about this concept, but my point is to never write off something that you think you can’t achieve or gain because it seems out of your grasp, and I know what this is like because a new computer was that thing for me for a long time. Although, I strongly believe once you take the time to actually analyze how, right now, you could take steps, even small ones, to get attain that thing, chances are it may be easier than you think, and who knows you may realize that you could have that thing as soon as next week, which was the case with me.

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Violence in Entertainment (But mostly games)

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After Sony closed out E3 on a fine Monday night, an observation which started earlier on in the day came back into fruition while reflecting on a day of watching numerous games, consoles, and ideas being presented, as well as the commentaries that followed.

It was the observation about the significant role of violence not only gaming, but almost all of our entertainment. Now, I’ll start off by saying that this is not going to be a preachy post about how gaming, movies, music, books are causing all the world’s problems involving violence, because they are a mere reflection of the world we live in today. What does strike me is how much violence plays a part in how, most of us, enjoy our free time. Out of all the games I saw at E3 I’m not sure I saw one that did not involve some sort of violence whether it be as blatant as any shooter on the market or a more sneaky one like Plants vs. Zombies. Even games like Journey, which is mostly focused on beauty, its world, and companionship, has its share of violence even if you aren’t the one delivering the punches. It’s an observation that struck a chord with me, and really dives to the depths of modern civilization as we know it.

This is merely an observation, I don’t mean to tell people to not involve violence in their works of art because art should never be censored no matter how controversial or mundane, and I realize that violence is a great vehicle to create conflict, which leads to intrigue giving reason to why it’s so overused. Although, as noted before our entertainment and art reflect what and how we are as a society, so I guess the question is how far have we really come along? Are we so civilized that we enjoy watching, reading, listening, and interacting with inflicting pain on other beings, whether they represent humans or not?

One theory I have about this subject is our creation of evil. I have a firm belief that evil, as most would consider it, does not exist, only that we were clever enough to create “evil” to know what “good” was, because if everything was “good” all the time it would be hard to decipher what “good” was. This idea has become so engrained within us that we are constantly looking for “evil” in the world, that’s why people enjoy reviewing Wars so much, particularly WWII, because which ever point of view you come from there is a common evil that people can agree upon, and feel “good” about defeating, and what better way to show its defeat than killing it? Hence violence.

This theory has some bold accusations and I by no means claim it to be true, because I don’t have the sources to back it up. It is merely my best explanation to the question posed earlier from my experiences and intuition about the subject. Take it or leave it, but if you take anything from this post I hope it would be the question to which my theory was inspired, because it is an important question to say the least.

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The Intrigue of the Comments Section

As I watch the mass amounts of YouTube videos that I do, and consume the numerous articles that I read, I am always a culprit of scrolling down and seeing what is happening in the comments. I don’t think I have ever participated in this section of the page, but I have always been interested in how the piece of work I am seeing is received.

This post is meant to delve into why I am intrigued by this frenzy of opinions, arguments, and trolling that is a defining aspect of the internet. At first glance, I believe, that the comments section really personifies why the internet is such a wonderful and terrible thing, depending how you look at it, and that is because as the often over-announced point that everyone is given a voice on the internet, which can be argued as positive, negative, or a little of both.

At the most basic level I really enjoy the drama that comes out of the comments section, by going into anything on the internet, especially something about politics, I can see the soap opera of people in agreement or disagreement, the trollers, the jokesters, the philosophers, and the ignorant ones all in one little part of an endless amount of data that is on the internet. It’s as if the comments section of a popular video is a microcosm of our world, where people agree, people disagree, people joke, people are crazy, people just don’t care, people theorize, people under-analyze, people overanalyze, you get the idea.

At another more basic level, I enjoy just seeing what the overall impression of the thing I’m consuming is, as I said in the beginning of this article. Do people like this? Do people hate it? Does is strike a chord with one person? Many people? It’s these questions that usually get answered in the comments. Given, that any sort of commentary has to be taken with a grain of salt because everyone has some sort of bias coming in, even I do, but when many people congregate around the same idea or single comment, it’s easy to see that that is what people think about this video. Which I believe to be very useful because a somewhat concrete answer as to what this video or article or song means to people. Giving you or I platform to begin forming an opinion about it as well.

Now, I do realize that there are many arguments to this; the fact that not everyone watches the video your watching or reading the article your reading, and if your reading a blog with a certain kind of people you may not get a whole spectrum of ideas to counterbalance one another. It could also be argued by seeing other people believe in an absurd idea that you could be persuaded to also believe in that idea. Other arguments I know exist, but I cannot think of all the arguments under the sun at the moment.

Any of these arguments I would deem irrelevant, because I don’t think it matters that not everyone will watch or comment on the thing you are observing. I don’t think it matters that you may not be getting a full spectrum of ideas or that you could be persuaded into something that is “wrong.” I claim this because I believe the reason I love reading comments on the internet is because of the deeper meaning of it. That it can be another place that ideas can be shared, creativity can be shown, and that we are all connected in some way because whether we agree that the song Friday sucks or not, the idea that everyone, at least if you have access to the internet, can be able to say what they think about something, how ridiculous or not, is a wonderful thing. So, I suppose I agree with the positive aspect of the democratization of the internet, that everyone should have a voice, because the comment sections across the web show how sacred the internet is, where it is maybe the only place on Earth where it is, for the most part, an even playing field.

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