Sunday, December 30, 2012

My Top 5 Internet Videos of 2012

5. Emma Lip-syncing Guster


4. Cat Puppet singing My Shiny Teeth and Me

This encapsulates everything a viral video should be and it didn't even originate from YouTube. Shout out to Tumblr.

3. Gangnam Style

One cannot talk about the best things on the internet of 2012 and not mention Gangnam style. It's just a brilliant/hilarious music video to an obscenely catchy song. Plus it's the first video to hit 1 billion views and has managed to do so in less than six months.

2. Live Prude Girls- Hannah Hart @ Let's Talk About Something More Interesting

Live Prude Girls are just so great; they could really have all five slots on this list, but I'm all about diversity.

1. Train Simulator Bitch


Special shout out to the YouTube channel GoodEveening . Amy's videos are awesome and her channel was a great discovery for me this year. And "Dawn of the Deluded" barely missed the cut and I feel bad because of my horrible Emma!bias xD

Thanks for reading


Saturday, December 29, 2012

My Top 5 Video Games of 2012

5. Trials Evolution

This was a truly brilliant Arcade game. Super fun. Competitive leaderboards. It is generally addicting to chase ghosts and improving times. 

4. Call of Duty: Black Ops 2

Another edition of the Call of Duty series and while it's still largely the same, there are significant changes in Single and Multiplayer. I think the Campaign was the most enjoyable since CoD 4. Black Ops to introduces moral choices and multiple outcomes. The ending can range from happy to truly fucked up and I personally enjoy games that allow for multiple outcomes.

The changes in Multiplayer are a bit of a mixed bag. I love that Scorestreaks have replaced Killstreaks. As a player who goes headlong at objectives, I appreciate the reward. I also think Scorestreaks are an improvement over the Support Killstreaks in MW3. Another aspect that I think Treyarch nailed was gun balance.

There are some issues in Multiplayer, which is why I have it down at forth. I feel like the Scorestreak rewards themselves are overpowered. There seems to be so much air-support and ground-support that at times the chaos levels approach MW2. The Guardian and Shock Charges are particularly annoying to me as well. Finally, It seems to me that head-glitching is worse in this game than any other CoD.

3. FIFA 13

It was another strong addition to the FIFA series this year. The gameplay feels like a slightly more refined version of FIFA 12. Manager Mode was tweaked for the better with changes to the transfer system and the ability to change jobs more easily. 

Ultimate Team is largely the same. The match making was changed to a 'seasons' model. The change wasn't really that drastic. The game mode feels a little more robust this year and remains the same type of fun/addicting mix economics/gameplay.

2. Resident Evil 6

This was probably the game that was the most fun this year. It took a lot of shit from critics and players, but I really enjoyed playing the newest addition to the Resident Evil series. It definitely took some getting used to. There was a new system for inventory and healing. The upgrade system was changed from being solely weaponed based to a perk system. Melee became a more important and effective part of a player's attack.

The three campaigns were fun and provided a lot of gameplay. Having to face the same boss over and over again got a bit ridiculous, but the gameplay was still so much fun. Mercenaries is fun as ever and is the only way to unlock alternate costumes (and who doesn't want sexy Sherry and Helena?)

The changes from the previous two titles and complete divergence from all the prior ones in the series, hurt this game's critical acclaim. Drastic changes to gameplay are frustrating initially and I think RE 6 struggled with the expectation of being another RE 4 or 5. I feel this game is a hybrid between RE 5 and Arkham Asylum/City and should be judged through that prism.

Also the box art looks like a giraffe getting a blowjob.

1. Minecraft: Xbox 360 edition

The biggest time-sink of the year. I have never been able to explain why Minecraft is so fun. It just is. Mining and crafting and shit. The updates have begun to catch the 360 game up to PC version. It was a surprisingly great transition to console and definitely was my favorite game of 2012. 

Thanks for reading


Friday, December 14, 2012

Special Comment- Guns

Gun violence has been out of control in the United States for quite a long time. It is absolutely incomparable to anywhere else in the world (that isn't a war zone). There are too many guns, guns are too accessible and mental health parity still doesn't really exist, which is a very poor combination for a nation to have. I don't think there is a simple solution here; there are around 300,000,000 guns in the U.S. Those don't just go away with stricter laws, but even this alarming fact isn't the biggest hurdle.

Among the most powerful of lobbies in Washington D.C. and in State Capitols is the National Rifle Association. The NRA would like to see virtually all regulations on gun sales removed. Their influence is all over lax policies on the sales of guns.

Why are they so powerful though? I don't think a majority of American's do not want assault rifles to be legal to own or people with mental illness access to guns. One reason for their influence is they have big money and certainly will spend it to support candidates and run attacks. We saw this in the most election with their typical 'They're coming for your guns.' ads*. Another is their endorsement. It is almost a necessity for any Republican at higher than the local level to have the NRA's support to win nomination. The NRA's support is also coveted by Democrats, particularly in conservative states that are largely rural.

The leadership of the NRA has no concern after the tragedy of this morning. Just like they didn't after the shootings at Columbine or Virginia Tech. Or when there was an attempted assassination on Gabby Giffords. Politicians have proved over and over again that they will not stand up to them. Sure, Senators and Congressmen will issue statements of sorrow and sympathy, but they will not take action to prevent them from having to do that so often.

Is there a way to counter the NRA?  Well, it is hard to say whether or not this time it will finally be different. The pro-gun control sentiment is high right now, but is it going to last? to 2014? to 2016? Politicians ought to be held accountable for their servitude to the NRA. However that is no easy task. The NRA has the funds and will continue to exist as a force in American politics. Does there need to be a powerful anti-gun lobby? I doubt one could rise to have the clout that the NRA does.

The solution lays with the electorate. Politicians who sell their soul to the NRA should no be seen as liberty-perservers, but as extremists who are unwilling to compromise even when the problem with current gun laws is apparent. The NRA shouldn't be at the heart of our politics. It should be at the fringes with the Ku Klux Klan either until it falls apart or grows some goddamn sense. The NRA's approval should be a stain on a politicians record for a voter.

The legislation that needs can be thought of pretty damn easily. Even really basic regulations don't exist. In fact, regulations on gun sales are more lax now than they were before the Columbine massacre. I think most student councils could come up with a better weapons policy than the United States' government has managed to do. Here's some of my ideas for some reforms:

-Illegal to be in possession of any firearm, which is primarily designed to be anti-personell or anti-vehicle. 

The main example of this would be an Assault Weapons ban, which we had, but was allowed to lapse due to NRA influence. Certain guns exist for the purpose of combat. That's what they were made for and what they do well. An AK-47 certainly can kill a deer, but that's not it's designed purpose and their are rifles which are much less of a threat to human lives.

-Illegal to have any ammunition, which designed to cause greater damage (such as hollow points) to bodies. 

For much the same reason as above. There is no reason one needs tracers or hollow points, or armor piercing rounds for hunting or sport.

-No person with a mental illness should be allowed to own a gun. Gun Sales should be contingent upon review of ones medical history. 

I don't even know why this doesn't exist yet.

-Every weapons sale requires a clean background check.

40% of gun sales are done without these checks. Mostly because of what is directly below

-Ban Gun shows

Allowing these to exist is awful. A place where guns and ammo can be exchanged legally without any trail of the possession of a gun changing hands and no regulations.

-Allow local governments to have their own laws on the sale and possession of firearms. 

The needs of Chicago and rural Illinois are vastly different, but it was decided that it would be unconstitutional to have a local law further restricting sale and possession of firearms. I disagree. There is no sport going on with guns in Urban Chicago.

-Magazines cannot hold more than 10 rounds. 

High capacity magazines have absolutely no other purpose than to kill more people more quickly.

There is just so much that could've been done to prevent mass shootings from be such a common occurrence. And it just stays there, because Washington never moves and State houses do no better. This is a fight that neither major party is willing to take up and that needs to change. It hurts everyone. It puts everyone in danger. And all just to please the fucking NRA

Thanks for reading


*Always masked behind the idea of liberty.

Sluts and Such

Since everyone else is doing it. And I haven't posted in ages.

I'm not the hugest of Jenna Marbles fan. I was, until yesterday, subscribed to her channel, but I'll say I was picky about which ones were worth watching. If it looked like a funny topic, I'd be down, but there's only so many 'what guys think while' videos one can take. Anyway, her video this week was about how she doesn't understand 'sluts'. (If you wanna watch, you can look it up. I will not be putting a link to it here.)

I think it's informative to think about the issue of slut-shaming in a broad perspective. We cannot escape that as a western culture sex out of wedlock is frowned upon nor that the culture has largely derived its values from Christianity. Basically what that means is
Pleasure = Sin,
Sex(for any purpose other than recreation and in wedlock) = Pleasure
Therefore Sex = Sin
We all have grown up in this world. Our minds are sort molded to feel guilty for even desires of sexual activity and to place shame upon those who do get their swerve on.

I realize fully that when it comes to sex women have it much, much worse than men in terms of being shamed by society. It is a patriarchy after all. A man who has lots of sex with lots of different people* can certainly be shamed by society**, but that is atypical and only really happens when a man is unfaithful.

The main societal issue is obviously not with the perception of men who have sex. If a man is getting laid a lot, it's cause he's virile. It's a point of pride amongst male peer groups to be getting some booty.

Okay, enough about boys.

Girls and women who choose to have casual sex or pre-martial sex are viewed by our culture as 'sluts.' Not everyone shares this view obviously. People have their own moral codes and views. The stricter religious types may see any sex outside of marriage as being 'slutty.' Some people with looser views may think pre-maritial sex is okay with a longstanding boyfriend, but may still give a woman the label 'slut' if she has multiple partners. Or if she puts out on the first date. Or if she has one-night stands. Or all kinds of things.

I do not have definition of slut. I don't think it's a useful term. It shames someone for doing something that isn't shameful. Whether or not a person chooses to have sex and the frequency of it and with whom the act performed is no reason to slap a label on a person with such negative connotations. Calling some one a 'slut' just enforces the religious idea that sex is bad and the patriarchal idea that women need to save themselves for marriage.

The only sexual behaviors that should be under scrutiny of any one should be dangerous ones. There isn't a problem with taking 'too many dicks.' The concern should be whether or not that dick has a condom on it, or is there with consent, or has an STI or could cause an unwanted pregnancy.

If anyone deserves a derogatory term thrown at them for their sexual behavior, it is those who have unsafe sex. Even then it is so much better to educate rather than mock.

The culture on this issue isn't going to change quickly, I'm afraid. Different generations have drastically different views and the old and morally stricter generations have great social and political control. There will be a changing of the guard before too long though. There is a march towards tolerance of sexuality and sexual behavior. As Dr. Martin Luther King said, "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice."

Thanks for reading and please comment

*I will come to safety in a bit
**See Tiger Woods***
***I am certain that if Tiger Woods were single when we learned about his propensity for having lots of mistresses, it wouldn't have been a big deal,****
****See Wilt Chamberlin

P.S. Ending on a Dr. King quote. Gag me with a spoon.