New Megatokyo!

Of all the media, movies, music I know and love, MegaTokyo certainly tops the list. Easily top five web comics and in the running for favorite every time I think about web or print media.

It’s long been known that MegaTokyo fans are some of the most patient and forgiving in the world. If Marvel’s next blockbuster is pushed back a week, the fans would probably scream and yell. If MegaTokyo doesn’t publish a page for almost a year… actually, that’s OK. We have a thriving community and know the writer is hard at work on much more than just the comic.

It’s not that we dislike the comic – God no! In fact, it might be one of the most important examples of creator-fan relations I know of. The writer and artist, Fred Gallagher, knows the community. He livestreams, talks to fans, and it’s a pretty open group. He’s not a faceless writer/film maker/artist hiding behind a major studio while he takes flak for a schedule slip, but rather the ever-present creator of one of my favorite pieces of media this side of Neon Genesis Evangelion.

While a handful of the most critical fans can be… unbearable, it’s important to remember these butt-in-skis are no more popular with other MegaTokyo fans than are Hetalia cosplayers (sorry Hetalia cosplayers, it was a cheap shot at you, I know).

Anyway~ exciting news! There’s a new page! So now that I’ve distracted you for at least a minute, head over to MegaTokyo and read! I know where I’ll be. mtnewUntil next time,

-M

Advertisements
New Megatokyo!

90s Kids and Our Failure as Competitive Humans

As someone who is sometimes referred to as a “90s kid,” I have to wonder why.

I’ll admit: I love the 1990s. Movies and music of the decade are classics in my mind; it was a time of relative peace on a personal scale; and I’m a young adult suffering from the same affliction that many millions of other people my age are currently suffering. That is to say, the Baby Boomers sitting atop the rest of us keep saying something to the effect of, “The current generation is the first ever to have a worse world than the one before it.”

This is somehow blamed on the lazy, indolent, ignorant attitudes of Generation X, Y, and Millennials. The article I linked here from “realtruth.org” is… mildly interesting in its depiction of this generation. And that’s all it is. All I’ll say about casting blame is this: does one blame a baby for neglectful parents?

But I think the problem is different. Yes, I love the 90s for the media and what it represents as a carefree childhood. But I also love the 00s for being that decade that most formed my basic personality and the 10s for being those where I took many steps toward being an independent person within American society.

The problem is in the assumption that we’re somehow worse off than our parents and grandparents. This is wrong on many levels.

As a species, we’re doing better now than at any other time in human history. Global poverty, death from curable diseases and infant mortality are all down; basic education and access to food and clean water is up worldwide. We’re doing well and I hope we continue this trend moving forward regardless of what such people as Donald Trump insist.

It is true that many people my age have a hard time finding and holding posts of employment. It is true we’re in debt up to our eyeballs. It’s even true that some of us are unable to find a way out. But why?

I could point out that the economy is not the economy of my father, a man who worked a 40-hour workweek three months of the year as a young man and funded his four-year college education on those wages alone. I couldn’t work a 40-hour work week for ten years (avoiding tax laws and without a single holiday) and fund my four-year college education.

Incidentally, that kind of work at just above the minimum wage (I used $7.45 per hour, $0.20 over minimum wage in Florida), before taxes, comes to just under $144000, which is less than three-quarters of the total cost of my education. In that tax bracket, the actual income is more like $100000 over ten years.

I could point to the boogieman of the Millennial: the wealthy. This mysterious, seemingly all-powerful and untouchable minority of humans who have been systematically taking away the rights of workers by way of lobbying Congress to line their pockets.

I could even point to the Boomers themselves. My generation was promised the world on a silver platter and we fell for the rhetoric hook, line and sinker. Our parents and grandparents swore up and down that with a college education and a little luck, we could all be President of America and Emperor of the Moon all in one go. They were wrong, but we’re managing as well as we can.

I have a BA in digital art. I make pretty pictures, annoy conservatives, tell my friends how much they mean to me and write short stories in my free time; and work for my uncle in demolition. I’m not great at my job, but I’m learning and I hope I can be of some real value to his company. I have an apartment, electric and water bills; home internet and a phone. I’m staying afloat. I’m not saving money, but I’m not coming up short either.

I’m surviving. One day, I hope I can thrive. But whining about the economy or the Boomers isn’t going to get me anywhere. Going out of my way, saying the right thing to the right person, trying to make other people’s lives a little better if only by being their outlet… that’s how I’m going to save the world: a little at a time.

I don’t just preach noblesse oblige, but I know I can’t use money to uphold that belief; so I just act as well as I can to and for others, and try to do better than my parents and their parents. So far, I think I’m succeeding.

Enough for tonight,

-M

90s Kids and Our Failure as Competitive Humans

ISIL, ISIS or Daesh?

One of the least important arguments over the illegitimate state calling itself a part of Islam is the name.

I mean, so lacking in importance that Sunday seemed the best time to write about it; as we all know, I’d make a very bad God. For starters, you wouldn’t get a day off each week. You might get a holiday on my birthday or something, like Jesus. 😉

I was on Facebook today. Always a bad idea; especially when going out of my way to find people acting the fool. One such fool I found on a friend’s page. He had posted an article about President Obama’s response to Daesh (which itself refers to heresy; best name in my opinion) several months ago and had commented:

“Every time I have seen or heard Obama he never refers to ISIS, he always says ISIL and there is a major, major difference. The L refers to Levant which covers the whole area of what is Biblical Israel and is representative that this area is Islam and there is NO Israel. He knows this and it clearly is a code to Islam that he does not recognize Israel and this area belongs to Islam. It is a deception.”

Oh. My. Me. (As opposed to “Oh, my God.”)

Yes, President Obama says ISIL. But this is because of a problem in the media’s early attempts to translate the group’s name. ISIL is the closest we have to a title that both translates closely and makes sense. Yes, one translation says the L in the acronym refers to the Levant. But do remember that the area traditionally called the Levant is a large portion of the modern-day Middle East; including Jordan, Palestine, Syria, Turkey and, yes, Israel.

This is part of the problem I have with fundamentalism in any context. Such folly is not only for Muslims or Christians, but Jews as well. I would know. I put up with such for years before I could willfully ignore my mother’s synagogue and the ridiculous obligations I was forced into as part of a covenant I never really agreed with and, on a technicality, don’t have to uphold. This kind of reverence for Israel without historical or factual context is why I make such fun of stupidity.

Just because other faiths don’t revere “biblical Israel,” doesn’t mean they openly oppose it. In fact, most Muslims and Christians are either in favor of or don’t care if the Jewish people have such a homeland. If you want to blame anyone for the state of affairs there and the tensions about that land, look no farther than the British Empire who had promised the land there to just about everyone they could to gain political favor.

The point is this: don’t make assumptions about the world, be those assumptions political, religious or otherwise, based on what you see on the TV news. They’re probably wrong and will cling to their opinions more than barnacles cling to the underside of ships. Be smart, don’t get keel-hauled.

Until next time,

-M

ISIL, ISIS or Daesh?

HASSELBACK POTATOES

Saw this online today and had to repost. Looks fantastic.

IMG_0030

Cut the potatoes almost all the way through as many times as you want, drizzle olive oil, sea salt and pepper over top. (I tried this with Old Bay seasoning; it’s to die for!) Bake at 425 degrees Fahrenheit (or 220 C for our readers outside the States) for 40 minutes.

DSW recommends serving this alongside such outdoor classics as hamburgers or steaks this winter. Oh, wait. Sorry. I’m in Florida and forgot about the REST OF HUMANITY having normal weather. Erm… DSW recommends eating indoors this season and pairing such a tasty side with a roast or stew.

Enjoy,

-M

Source: http://www.seasaltwithfood.com/2009/05/hasselback-potatoes.html

HASSELBACK POTATOES

The Future – Our Future

I normally don’t have much love for New York (save some of the people that live there), but this week, two major New York papers have made huge statements about gun control. When the opposition has no better ideas (or no ideas at all besides Mr. Trump insisting that Muslims be banned from entering America; which is a bad idea all around), maybe it’s time to change the status quo.

The world is changing, our laws and our society must change with it; we can no longer be held back by the rule of the past and the aging generations. Look to them for wisdom and hard-earned sense, sure, but don’t let people with no stake in the future make decisions for the future.

The future belongs to the young – for better or worse. We’re going to be here, and we deserve the chance to shuck off old ways of thinking and look toward tomorrow.

Until next time,

-M

The Future – Our Future

Perspective: The Enclave

USA_Flag_Pre-War

No matter the argument or conflict, there tends to be an Other in the minds of each side. This Other is sometimes seen as somehow less than the person speaking, somehow inhuman or negatively foreign. The point of discussions like the one I’m starting with this article is that there is always another perspective. The established opinion of the masses may only scratch the surface of the reality to be had.

Dissecting the Enclave, remnants of the elected government of the United States of America, circa 2077. What if the Enclave were legitimately trying to better humanity at large?

In a short piece of investigative journalism left unpublished in an October 2077 issue of the Boston Bugle, it would have been revealed to the American people where their President and majority of the government had been during the last six months leading up to the Great War, the day every nation on Earth left sanity behind and committed to total nuclear destruction.

Earlier that year, the President and selected members of the government had abandoned the White House and most offices in Washington, even leaving their local bases such as the Raven Rock facility with only skeleton crews. Where did they all go?

Publically, it was known as the Poseidon Energy Off-Shore Oil Platform. To the growing organization that had a President in office and fingers in every branch of government and the private sector, it was known as The Enclave Oil Rig.

History says the leaders of America died along with the rest of civilization, but they survived. They ran away with the intent of not only saving their own skins, but also preserving that which they believed was the “best of America;” the government, scientists, thinkers and soldiers.

Their reappearance in the 2240s cemented their despotism in the minds of many, especially in the minds of the people of the fledgling nation, the New California Republic. The destruction of the Enclave Oil Rig was spread through newspapers as nothing more than a bright light over the horizon of California, but many in NCR and other factions on the west coast remember the facts.

A certain Chosen One gave the Enclave a multi-megaton slap to the face when they attempted to kidnap an entire village to use as test subjects for a deadly strain of the Forced Evolutionary Virus; which is about as terrible as the name suggests.

But years later, in 2277, the Enclave appeared again in Washington DC, now the Capitol Wasteland. History says a Lone Wanderer and his allies in the almost mythical Brotherhood of Steel, the remnants of the old American military, beat them with a combination of righteous authority and Communism-crushing robotics.

But what if history was wrong again?

There were, by 2277, three factions within the Enclave. Of these, the least involved were the aged, retired Enclave Remnants who settled into old age in New Vegas Independent State (NVIS) territory outside their capitol of New Vegas.

The second of these was the generation of Enclave that fled east to Washington when the Oil Rig went up. Several dozen men, women and children made it out of the Enclave main base of operations, and many of them ended up at Raven Rock with the third faction.

The skeleton crew of Raven Rock was long dead and turned to bones, but one man survived. President John Henry Eden called on the leader of the scattered Enclave, General Autumn, to head up the reborn military of the United States of America.

40 years after the Enclave arrived on the east coast, Autumn’s son, Augustus, has risen to the rank of Colonel and is standing in his father’s place as leader of the armed forces of the Enclave. And he has a plan.

In the 2250s, a group of scientists were at work on a project to purify the drinking water of the Potomac tidal basin for the people of the wastes. The project had been abandoned for almost 20 years until the Raven Rock facility received a signal that the generators of the bastardized Jefferson Memorial were turning again.

Moving quickly, Colonal Autumn ordered his forces to the site of Project Purity with the intent of enlisting any person present and restarting the water purification project.

Autumn’s violent execution of his plan was cut short when the project’s leader flooded the control room with waste radiation from the system, killing two Hellfire troopers, himself and very nearly killing the Colonel.

In the following months, the Enclave worked to get the purifier working, but found that several uncommon components were needed to make the system work. All of these could be found in a single package: a Vault-Tec Garden of Eden Creation Kit.

Unfortunately, such a device was lost when the single Vault to be issued one, Vault 87, had been hit with a high yield nuclear warhead in 2077, permanently sealing the entrance to the bunker.

It wasn’t until a free lance for the Brotherhood of Steel broke into that Vault that anyone in the Enclave had hope for utilizing the purifier. Using his paths and their aerial superiority, the Vertibird VTOLs, Enclave officers wrested the much-needed GECK from this mercenary and arrested him.

Once interrogated by the Colonel, the prisoner was set free by President Eden with orders that he be allowed, fully armed and armored, up to the President’s office. This order was countermanded by the Colonel, who ordered the prisoner’s life be terminated on sight.

Here, the divide becomes clear. In a private meeting with President Eden, the standing leader of America shared his plan for the genocide of the irradiated people of the wasteland.

There were two standing factions, and two standing plans of operation, on the east coast in the Enclave: one sought power over the nation’s capitol city by using clean water and force to enforce their laws and authority. The other faction sought to wipe the slate clean for “pure” humans to take the wastes back from mutation.

What happened was never clear to many outside the Brotherhood of Steel, and many of the details were blurred or wiped from record by Arthur Maxson, leader of the Brotherhood in 2287. Some say that the honorary Knight of the Lyon’s Pride was the hero who erased the Enclave from the Earth. Some say he agreed, foolishly, with Eden’s plan to wipe out mutated people and creatures; tainting the waters of life. Whatever the case, one thing is certain: the Enclave, for better or worse, wanted to make America great again; however misguided their actions were. America was still great, but just needed clean water and a few good heroes.

Perspective: The Enclave

Terror

“Terror! A man can face known danger. But the unknown frightens him.” –Robert A. Heinlein

I have to ask a question. What makes the perfect television rating? How many TV news stations covered the weather in sunny Miami, Florida yesterday? Not many I imagine. But you couldn’t miss the news about the terrorist attack in California yesterday – the news was swimming in a lack of information until almost midnight west coast time.

And, yes; I called the attack yesterday an act of terrorism. But what is terrorism? It’s when those evil Muslims attack God-loving Christians, isn’t it? Well, if you watch Fox News you might think so. In the reality we live in, acts of terrorism are defined by the stage on which they are set and the effect that comes from them.

In this case, the stage was a civilian setting: a center for the developmentally disabled in California. The effect was… nothing.

But I thought you just said terrorism was defined by the effect. What gives?

If the shooters were foreigners, or if they had affiliations with protest groups in America, this would be an open and shut case – public opinion would be against them… somehow. But they were Americans who bought their guns legally and had, as some early stories say, been planning this attack.

What was the response? “Our thoughts and prayers are with the families…”

Ad nauseum.

For better or worse, the New York Daily News has the one response I respect. “God isn’t fixing this,” with images of GOP tweets about their condolences.

I’m not saying this isn’t a nice gesture. Even President Obama’s official press channels have quoted him saying that his prayers are with the people of San Bernardino. But he, and other Democrats, went on to say that these acts of terrorism, homegrown and with legally obtained weapons, are not acceptable.

If I’ve made any point at all here, it is that our politicians should be beholden to us. If the only politicians with affiliations with the Democratic party are willing to take a stand against attacks on American citizens, maybe we should take a good, long look at the GOP and conservatism to find out what their plan is; so far, it looks like prayer is on the table.

As for me: I don’t want prayer. It helps the faithful make sense of the world, but it doesn’t do anything for me, and it sure as frak doesn’t do anything for the victims of the more than 300 shootings this year alone.

Please, call your representatives, email, write letters. Tell them we need better controls in place. Shootings like this, attacks like this, should not be so easy. They should not take place every week, every day! This is America and I’m scared to drive to work because I might get shot on Interstate 95.

Something is foul in America, and it starts with the Second Amendment.

-M

Terror