Monday, July 21, 2014

... And the times, they are a-changin'

I know this blog hasn't really been about World of Warcraft in a very long time.  I think my real enjoyment of WoW vanished right around the time I moved to Texas.  I mean, that was two years ago.  In that time, I think I've played maybe a month or two, at most?

Most of the blogs I used to follow have also gone silent.  Some of the ones I'd see an update from on the daily have been dormant for over a year now.

What happened to WoW?

I'll tell ya.

It got simultaneously too easy (1-90 is insanely simple now), too complex (but you still have to level four million other things to be "viable"), and entirely too big (to actually accomplish everything is borderline psychotic).

Let's break it down a bit.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Florida Shark Punching

Misleading title aside, I spent the weekend in Florida for my brother's bachelor party.

Now now, before anyone goes off thinking we spent the weekend doing shots off of hookers or something, let me tell you.

My brother wanted to go fishing for his bachelor party.

Fishing.

Not strip clubs, recreating The Hangover, or any of the usual hazing stuff you hear about. Nope. It was beers and fishing in the Gulf of Mexico.

We hit the boat on Saturday morning at six. This is scientifically referred to as "the asscrack of dawn". I quickly accepted that i was going to be soaked by the spray of the ocean.

I should clarify. The boat was small, the waves were big, and the captain saw dollars over safety.

Awesome?

Abso-freakin'-lutely.

Anywho. Five minutes out of the harbor, we're bouncing out of the water and catching air under the hull of this fishing boat.

Most of the guys were either in the cabin being bashed against the walls and windows or they were on the deck watching our wake and rediscovering their respective religions.

I decided to pretend I was a viking.

Why?

Because if you pretend you're a viking and face the oncoming seas head-on, you can see the big waves coming and ride them out with a little bending of the knees.

In that respect, my calves feel ironclad this afternoon.

Eight of us went out yesterday.

Seven of us hurled our guts out over the rails. I managed to hold out to the sixth hour, but at the cost of pretty much falling asleep in the middle of the deck right after.

Seriously, take my advice... when you eat breakfast before fishing, choose something bread-like or cake-like or not-a-breakfast-burrito-made-the-night-before.

Okay. Fishing. Right.

Bait fishing first. We dropped three- and four-hook lines off the back of the boat, hit the bottom, reeled them in, and were dumping six-inch fish in the bucket as fast as we could get the rods to the deckhands.

That was 45 minutes into what was to be a ten hour tour (a teeeeen hour toooouuuuur).  After that, it was vomiting time all the way out. Once we got into the fish, we started the real fun.

We were bringing up mostly vermillion snapper, and the currents we were dealing with (remember, the boat's way too small and the waves were way too big) had us cycling around the deck, hoping for a bite before we had to reel in and reset on the other side.

We honestly didn't catch too many fish. But I had a couple that stuck out in my mind. The first was an amberjack that gave me the best workout of my life. Even now, the day after, my arms are still burning. But I got him up.

He was about twenty or twenty-five pounds, but I had to throw him back. Amberjacks aren't in season, apparently.

Still. It was a good fight, worthy of a pretend-viking.

The next fish is my story, though. The one everybody who fishes tells their family.  I dropped my line and was waiting, when I got a pretty solid bite. I mean "You better be awake up there, because I'm taking your arm as a trophy" type fish bite.

It was a snapper. A big 'un. We were fighting hard. I was letting him run out, then pulling him back. We did this for several minutes before there was a sudden jerk on the line. I mean HARD. I planted my feet and wedged my knees under the ledge at the rail.

I felt the adrenaline start burning. Muscles like acid, friends. Muscles. Like. Acid.

I fought and pulled and finally, the line went slack. The sudden release made me think I'd just lost my fish.

I reeled in the line, and as it neared the surface, Billy the Deckhand said "You just fought a shark!"

My snapper broke the water and I saw the clean 9-inch wide bite taken out of his back.

I got him on deck, dropped the rod, and blew chunks over the back.

The adrenaline apparently can do that.

So, now I get to say I fought with a shark over a fish (I had it first!).

All in all, the weekend was pretty kick ass. Seasickness aside, I think we all had a blast.

I know I did.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

On Identifiers

Howdy.  It's been a while, I know. I haven't died, I've just been busy.

Anywho...

So, earlier today I came across a comment on a picture that got me thinking. It was in reference to the LGBT community defines itself and its members by their sexuality. The comment suggested that they should not use sexuality as their identifier if they wish to be given credibility in their fight.

Quick side note: I am in full support of equal rights.

Back to the main topic. The idea that the "gay community should not not use their sexuality as their identity" is laughable. Allow me to explain.

Rights are denied them based on this single identifier. Therefore, in the fight to have those rights, they must, by necessity, embrace this identifier.  If that single factor of their identity is the only reason given by those in power to deny them the same rights others enjoy, then it stands to reason that the very same factor must be the most important factor.

Allow me to explain by using a different example entirely.

Let us pretend that an individual has religion A, skin color B, hobbies C through J, and Occupation K.

If those in power stated that everyone with Hobby E is to be denied rights afforded everyone else, the other letters are irrelevant to the identity of this person as it pertains to that issue.  This is not to say that their identity is solely defined by the letter E in general, but specifically in this issue.

In this way, if people feel sexuality should not be such an important identifier, they shouldn't be trying to use that sexuality as a justification for willful and prolonged inequality.

In closing, whenever you find yourself thinking that an individual is using their sexuality as the primary identifier for themselves, try to remember that it wasn't their decision, but the decision of those on the other side of their fight.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Hang in there, Ukraine

I don't know if anyone in the Ukraine will even see this.  I hope so, but I honestly don't know.

If you're reading this, that's good.  It means you're still alive and still fighting.

I won't pretend I understand every nuance and detail of what's going on over there.  I do know your president had a chance to make some serious changes for some serious good for all of you, and he folded to suspected Russian pressure.

I know most of the world is nearly oblivious to it, and I'm sorry for that.

I get more of my updates via photojournalists uploading straight to various social media sites, and it's chilling.

The police in their matching uniforms, neatly arranged battle formations.

The protesters dressed as everyday civilians, wearing whatever they can find to protect themselves, showing more unpredictability in their guerilla-style movements.

And here and there, in the pictures, there are priests and other members of the clergy, only asking that the bloodshed stop.

And I can't imagine what it's like for you there.

The ones who put themselves at risk just to strike back at the ones who stand as your oppression... I can't figure out which side of the razor's edge between courage and madness they're actually on.  Perhaps it takes a bit of both to have the kind of hope for change that's required to fight back so hard.

I respect you all, the ones throwing the molotov cocktails and the ones raising their fists in the air and the ones huddling in a corner just praying for it all to be over so they can have a moment of peace.  Truth be told, I don't know where I'd be if I were in your position.  None of us ever really can until it happens.

Hang in there, Ukraine.

I don't know if the leaders of my country or any country are planning on coming to help.  Truth be told, from a global standpoint, I don't think any of them feel that they can.  Nobody wants to get involved.  "This is an internal conflict" they say.  And to a certain point, they're right.  You're fighting for the soul of your own nation.  You, the people, are making the hard choices because it's worth losing some landmarks and some beautiful things in your country for even just that chance to grow and become great.

I saw the before and after pictures of your Independence Square.  Before looks so clean, so neat, with nice pretty architecture and a general air of peace.  After looks like a warzone, the only color to offset the blackened ash and the grey skies is the orange of the flames and a few red splashes of blood.

It's sad, and it's painful to see, so I can only imagine what it's like for you to be there, seeing it in person.

I hope you get through.  I hope you succeed in your goals and get the chance to be the nation you want to be as a people instead of the nation you're forced to be by someone else who isn't even you.

I'm cheering for you, and I hope even one of you hears it.

If you need motivation, remember this.  Freedom is worth it.  Anything at all that "it" may be, freedom is worth that sacrifice.  So don't stop fighting.  By fighting for it, you have freedom.  Even if nobody agrees with you, even if nobody admits that you are free, if you are fighting and raging against everything that wants you to be a prisoner, even if you die in that fight, you are free.

So fight on, Ukraine.  You deserve to be free just as much as anyone and everyone else.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Super Bowl

I followed the game just fine. I understand the rules and such.

But ultimately, the only reaction that comes to mind is Roy from IT Crowd saying "Did you see that ludicrous display last night?!"

Poor Manning. Twelve seconds into the game, his face defined the remaining 59:48 of play time.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

J.K. Rowling and the Relationship of Uncertainty

Okay.  So J.K. Rowling said in an interview that she felt Harry and Hermione should have ended up together in the Harry Potter book series.

Personally, I think it was perfect how it was.  This idea that because Harry is the primary hero, he's "supposed" to end up with the main female protagonist is laughable in my mind.  If Rowling *really* believed it should've been Harry and Hermione all along, I'm pretty sure she would've written it that way.

Having said that, I fully respect her right as the author to want to change what she's written.

This is actually not what's bugging the shit out of me about the whole situation, though.

No no no.

What's really annoying is the sheer volume of people who are referencing various scenes in the movies, like Harry and Hermione dancing in the tent during Deathly Hallows part 1, as evidence that it was "supposed to be them all along".  People "ship their relationship" (that particular turn of phrase is another rant for another time) for no reason other than what?  Their misguided ideas that the main protagonists always wind up together?

Please.

Let's go ahead and look at the issue by comparing Hermione and Ginny from the start.

And no, I'm not talking about comparing the actresses who played them in the movies.  I'm talking in an obnoxious literary purist way.  The characters in the books are the focus.

Hermione always was the intelligent friend.  She was the advisor to Harry, the one who served to reconcile Harry's lack of academic ability and his eventual prodigious use of magic.  At no point in the entire series did Harry or Hermione ever demonstrate even the slightest interest in each other as anything beyond friends.

Ginny, meanwhile, was smitten with Harry right from the start.  And in later books, Harry finds himself keenly aware of Ginny's other relationships, complete with irrational feelings of jealousy.  Ginny becomes a symbol of Harry's growth into adulthood, both in his ability to form a romantic relationship and his decision to end it at the end of Half-Blood Prince in order to protect her from harm.

Now, as I said, I fully respect Rowling's right to disagree with her own decisions.  However, I think the story is fine the way it is.

Non-smoking

I quit smoking seven months ago, cold-turkey.

I find the only thing that still triggers a craving is these commercials for different products meant to help you quit smoking. It's like they're all telling me I can't *really* be done with smoking unless I get their help.

They can go fuck themselves.