Category: Uncategorized

He had always told the truth (plot twist, he didn’t)

SPOILER ALERT for Guardians of the Galaxy 2.

Having said that Let’s get cracking!

Brandy, You’re a Fine Girl is a song from 1972 (my birth year!) performed by Looking glass and somehow, SOMEHOW James Gunn plucked this song from obscurity to serve as a primary narrative point Guardian’s of the Galaxy Vol. 2.

I cannot possibly fathom the level of creative genius that resulted in this and am awestruck.

The film presents Kurt Russel’s performance as Peter’s father from a story construct that seems at first heavy handed. THE GUY’S NAME IS EGO. but it earns every beat because of the use of Brandy as his explanation for his one flaw: He fell in love. Love is, when pure, the least Ego thing.

The lyric used in the story for Ego’s justification is interesting to me, “My life my love my lady is the sea”. Turns out that wasn’t true and he killed Peter’s mother because of it. And he betrays the other line in the song that he attempts to use as an excuse: “He was an honest man.” He wasn’t.

Her eyes stole a sailer from the sea.

He wanted Peter. He needed to create Starlord and in the process revealed something incredibly vulnerable about himself. He was lonely. He was not honest about that.

And thusly it is revealed through this use of Brandy as the opening song that everything you really need to know about Ego is played out over the next two hours. And Peter is the ultimate victim of this seemingly trivial tune about a ship port waitress because his mother was the single most important thing to him and there, right there, is where the small exhaust port weakness of Ego’s entire plan results in detonation.

He underestimated Peter. He overestimated his designs. And he callously threw a life away and Peter’s redemption in this moment is so righteous because he has a new family. And they have his back. And he has theirs.

The film earns this beat so hard that I actually have a crush on a piece of art.

My thoughts on the Nintendo Switch

So I got a switch once they were available after launch but I got the neon one and for some reason it had a system board error. I got my replacement one (Slate grey, SO SLEEK) 48 hours ago and I have some thoughts on it. This is probably the coldest of hot takes given how long it has been on the market but here we go:

I unboxed the thing and again marveled at the fact the entire console is just the little iPad mini sized touchscreen. It puts out roughly Xbox 360/PS3 style graphics when you dock it to the HDMI enabled mount at 1080p. It’s, like most Nintendo stuff except the Wii U (which felt plastic and kinda cheap), an impressive piece of kit.

Gaming around the house is fun and easy, even though I can already do that on my iPad mini. Late night Mariokart is going to be a big thing for me I think.

Zelda. I’m only partially into it and it’s such an amazing game. I actually am now putting off Horizon on PS4 to enjoy Zelda fully. By going stylized in terms of art they really maximized the look of this title either playing it on a 65-inch screen or on the console’s touch screen. Again I would rate the graphics on Zelda as very close to high quality Xbox 360/PS3 level in this tiny little thing. I can’t wait for some more optimization work that will probably yield stylized looks exceeding PS3 level quality.

I want every console maker to consider making a “previous gen” type experience like this. I can’t wait for Scorpio but man if you could give me an Xbox 360/Xbox One experience in this form factor I think you could still hit the consumer level 299/399$ price point pain for the fact it’s tiny, sits in an entertainment center like it’s hidden, and enables mobile experiences better than any second screen experience I have had to date on iOS or Android.

I worry Nintendo will orphan it.

The battery life sucks but I cannot really complain because it’s working pretty hard.

While the Vita promised this type of experience, the Switch is everything the Vita should have been. I love my vita but this is the new hotness.

I still think Nintendo should port all their titles to other platforms and charge a premium for the software. But hey what do I know, they seem to be doing pretty well without doing that.

“Nintendo Switch” is still sort of a weird name. But not as weird as “Wii U”

I don’t think I’ve been this pleased with a Nintendo device since my ex camped out to get me a Gamecube or I got my DSi.

Zelda. Wow.

 

On the Thanksgiving

It’s storming outside, and Lucien is nervous. The house is talking now and in many ways it is the wind that gives it its voice, not unlike how our own voices work. There’s a low groan from the fireplace downstairs because I have the chimney flute open for a fire later. There’s a pop and crack from time to time as the wood frame adjusts to the storm. The heat registers chime in as they activate to the cold trying to get in. The oven downstairs is almost finished roasting the duck, which will be basically our food supply for the next two days because it’s a larger bird than even I and the dogs could polish off in one sitting.

I am finding I like spending thanksgiving alone. It’s a day where everyone is busy making and doing things and enjoying company and, not unlike someone who works the night shift and sees how everything changes when the vast majority of humans are otherwise occupied, I feel like this day is my own private secret. It’s a good space to reflect, do some fun self-care, and actually pause for a moment to just be thankful by yourself.

Sometimes I think we should all take thanksgiving day privately, and leave the grand sharing with friends and awesome communal experience to Christmas. In a way, I think what we know of even the idea of Jesus would like that. A private reflection followed by a joyous celebration. But that would probably decimate the Turkey Industrial Complex. It would also probably decimate the Xanax Industrial Complex because there would be no political or religious arguments.

I’m thankful for so many things and, in general am happier than I have ever been. I’m thankful for growing up a lot in the past two years. I’m thankful for friends who helped me out through a tough spot. I’m thankful for my dogs Lucien and Basil without whom I simply could not function.  I’m thankful for the land that I live on and that it provides great joy for myself and the dogs. I’m grateful for the house that I live in which echoes and talks in its own way as I mentioned before and seems to be feeding my creative spirit. I love my job and the people I work with and am very thankful for the opportunity that has been provided to me.

I’m thankful for life! We spend such a short time on our planet. I wish so very deeply that I could share my new found zen sense that there is no great scorecard up in the sky for any of us. Our species moves on long timelines but our impact on it moves only in tiny bursts. History cares not in value for the victory of an election day for instance. It merely records it. Set down your baggage if you can, and stretch your arms.

I’m thankful for my privilege. I didn’t earn it nor do I deserve it, and I wish that everyone had the same privilege. My price for being thankful for it is to see it and work as much as I can to provide its benefits to everyone. Everyone. Because everyone deserves it.

The sun is setting. Dark when it’s day applies to us in Seattle. Basil is looking at me with his deep brown eyes and his serious face. I had put jazz on the turntable downstairs but it’s run through its side. It’s time to go outside and run my boy ragged with his ball while there’s light.

It’s thanksgiving. And if I was struck dead at any moment I would want my last words to be:

“Thank you for everything. I had a wonderful time.”

Thoughts on an Election

It’s not going to be ok. Not for a while. Strangely, that’s the magic of our American system.

***

I woke up this morning thinking of a Star Trek: The Next Generation episode. It was a fairly good one as I recall, where the Enterprise was evaluating first contact with a race who wasn’t quite ready for it.

The away team was found out, and an enlightened leader of the race seemed set to push his civilization to the next phase. But they were not ready. Institutionalized pride and fear, some religious and some xenophobia caused tragedy and in the end first contact had to be delayed. Bad for the civilization involved as the Federation could have helped them solve numerous problems. But good in the sense that forcing a change will always be met with the elements of tradition and protection and that could now let them know there was a change on the horizon. Don’t worry, just not today.

We get caught up in waves of positive change. We have a short time on the Earth. We tend to believe in momentum despite the fact history has shown us over and over again the momentum surges back quickly, sharply, and sometimes with great pain.

***

I was talking last week with a fellow Bernie supporter and we were joined in the conversation by a Trump supporter who opined:

“You guys should have run Bernie. I like him as much as Trump. He would shake things up. But Hillary, all she and her husband want is another turn at the power wheel.”

It wasn’t a sexist comment. It wasn’t a conservative comment. It was an expression of dissatisfaction with the status quo.

***

What has bothered me most by far are my scared friends. People of color. Non-Christians. People who, thanks to the gradual removal of morality from a biological imperative, have come out as gay or gender neutral or fluid or been able to embrace their true physical identity or their religious preference openly for the past eight years.

These people are afraid not just for the direction of the country they are terrified for their marriage, their ability to use a restroom, their ability to practice their faith, their feeling that it is unreasonable for a police officer to be able to shoot them under lax rules of engagement.

I can’t tell them to calm down, they are rightfully losing their shit over what this means for them and I have zero frame of reference to help.

***

While Trump may indeed be the least qualified person to run and win, the long arc of history in general shows there have been far worse presidents. Harding, Buchanan, Hoover all come to mind immediately. Granted Trump has not started yet, but I do take heart in that we’re still here and the gradual trend while never moving fast enough for my liking is ever better.

***

The status quo sucks. Hillary Clinton was, by the traditional sense of the idea, one of the most qualified candidates in years according to the job description. Donald Trump, in objective contrast, was one of the least by the same definition. But the reality is many of my fellow citizens simply feel slighted by a system that rewards playing by Washington rules. By playing the game.

I make no apologies nor regrets for my support of Hillary Clinton. I find Donald Trump in every way abhorrent in his behavior and his inability to understand you can lie for the rest of your life to make people like you but that will not change the fact you lie constantly.

The only downfall to Hillary as a candidate is that she and her husband have consistently handed their enemies the ammo needed to build a long and sustained narrative that they are untrustworthy. I still boggle over the email server. I get how it happened, and I understand its implications are not near as severe a “crime” as one side would like it to be. But it’s still a self-inflicted wound in a career riddled with them. The sum total of controversies over the Clinton’s that have been disproven is staggering but it is undercut on an almost two-year basis by something they say or do themselves that actually can be used against them.

***

I said on twitter that Trump has a mandate now. That’s not correct and I should have put it better. You cannot have a mandate when the other candidate won the popular vote.

What the Republicans have now is unfettered control. They have the three branches of the Federal government and a majority of the state legislatures and governorships. That means effectively if the Republican party wanted to add an amendment to the constitution they could do so far more easily than at any time in recent history. (note I said more easily not easily. It’s still a difficult process)

What this means is: They have no one to blame and no excuses. If the next four years is the dawning of a new golden age of prosperity or worse the dawning of a new dark age, it will be the direct result of conservative policy and no one else’s.

***

I hope Trump is the Republican party’s Carter.

***

What does this mean for NASA? One of the “Make America Great Again” pillars is a throwback to times when America had great successes. What was a more crowning achievement of American greatness than landing on the moon? Someone tell President-elect Trump that the Chinese are headed to Mars first. That ought to do it.

***

Talk of secession and faithless electors upsets me. The former was settled over the lives of 600,000 Americans. It is settled. No state can legally peacefully secede from the United States. It is not possible.

The latter would give us a powerless democrat in the white house against the aforementioned full republican control of the rest of the governing apparatus.

Both are folly.

***

I keep coming back to that Star Trek episode. One-half of the country isn’t listening to the other half. If we’re not listening, we’re missing the opportunity to assuage fear. To address concern. To actually learn that maybe some of what we think is wrong. I used to watch that episode thinking “screw it just do the first contact and deal with the fall out” But in that fictional world the fear meant people’s lives.

On this side of the real world it’s already costing lives and the full brunt of change isn’t even realized yet. What do you actually do in that situation?

You can sit and hate I suppose. But that’s going to be a long four years.

***

Michelle 2020.