Monthly Archives: July 2013

Pacific Rim: GO SEE IT


I can’t believe I haven’t said this yet: Pacific Rim is a very good movie.

Or more accurately, it is exactly the movie it wants to be. It is a giant robot movie, written and directed by giant robot movie enthusiasts, for people who want to see giant robots.

The downside of this is that it’s not very original. A surprising amount of it is fairly predictable if you’ve even heard of giant robot movies, let alone seen a series. But it doesn’t have to be original to be good; most of Dredd is a Die Hard clone but it’s still well-handled and enjoyable to watch. So it is with Pacific Rim. The cliches have so much love and affection poured in that it becomes very hard to view them negatively. The characters work, with Idris Elba in particular putting on a brilliant display, and the special effects are gorgeous.

The main negatives I have were the Crimson Typhoon getting so little screentime and the absolutely terrible Australian accents sported by a couple of characters, but beyond that I can’t really fault it.

Disagree? Found the cliches too over-the-top? That’s your opinion. But seriously, this is my review and I think it’s a damn good movie.

– OSM out

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Filed under I done watched a thing

Chuubo’s Miraculous Arcs, Arranged By Awesomeness Level


1. Primordial.

1. Wounded Angel.

1. Creature of the Light.

1. Creature of Fable.

1. Reality Syndrome.

1. Become Somebody.

1. Spiritual.

1. Child of the Ash.

1. Sentimental.

1. A Keeper of Gardens.

1. Accursed.

1. The Ace.

By which I mean they are all awesome.

Sometime later, ideally when the book actually comes out, I will actually explain what this means.

– OSM out

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Filed under Lord Entropy is a jerk

Dear Christian parenting groups, kindly go away


WARNING: RANTY. OKAY TO SKIP.

(This is going to be an angry one. You may want to stand back. Maybe move pot plants away from the computer.)

Another push toward gay marriage, another group of smug Christian parenting groups claiming that it contradicts federal legislation and therefore will be shot down. Even assuming this is true, why are you happy about this? Nobody’s going to force you to marry another person of the same sex at gunpoint. Same-sex marriage is not going to affect you in any way. Meaning that you are happy about the failure of something that will have no relevance to your life simply because…what? Do you consider other people

In fact, a *lot* of anti-same-sex-marriage arguments are dumb. My favourite has to be the slippery slope one that asks whether the next plan is to legalise marrying dogs. I mean, wow. I’m not even gay and I find that offensive. No, seriously. If you’re using that argument, you are comparing gay people to nonsapient animals. Do you not see how this could be taken as hugely rude and stupid? Are you so devoid of empathy that you don’t see how obnoxious that is?

“If you let people worship God, next they’ll be worshipping pixies!” Did you find that rude? Good! That’s exactly how your argument is structured! I don’t regret giving you a taste of your own medicine at all. A little bit of empathy might even make you less of a dick!

This is the key problem Christianity has picked up. After more than a millennium as the dominant religion in the Western world, Christian groups have started to feel entitled to control. They don’t seem willing to accept equal status; they want greater. It’s not enough to keep your religion’s rules yourself; you need to legislate them, force them on other people. Even the loopy rules. After all, other people’s religions are just hokey superstitions or mockery of your own true religion.

Stop it. Your religion is not entitled to special privileges just because it is yours. You will have equal status and you will like it.

If you believe your religion requires you to be a homophobic tool, I want you to do two things. First, I want you to look deep inside yourself, to the darkest place you can see, and ask why you consider this religion to be a good thing.

Then I want you to go looking for a different religion, because you’ve just proved that the one you have now is not good for you.

– OSM out

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Filed under Rants, Soapbox Mode

50 Things That Are More Fun To Listen To Than John Laws


(These are ranked randomly rather than according to personal preference.)

  1. Weird Al Yankovic.
  2. The Rolling Stones.
  3. The Who.
  4. Gotye.
  5. The Protomen.
  6. The Megas.
  7. Homestuck music.
  8. Sam Cooke.
  9. Yusuf Islam.
  10. The best of the Beatles.
  11. The worst of the Beatles.
  12. The worst of inept drunken Beatles wannabes.
  13. Cats complaining.
  14. Taio Cruz.
  15. That goddamn awful Flo Rida blowjob song.
  16. Meatloaf (the singer).
  17. Meatloaf (the food).
  18. Christopher Walken singing the MLP theme song.
  19. Queen.
  20. HRH the Queen.
  21. Mr T rapping.
  22. Skyhooks.
  23. Supertramp.
  24. Bon Jovi.
  25. Medieval surgery.
  26. MC Hammer.
  27. Chainsaws.
  28. Pig Power in the House.
  29. Don McLean’s American Pie.
  30. Madonna’s awful cover of American Pie.
  31. The words to an American Pie movie played backwards.
  32. Jim Croce.
  33. Jim Cummings.
  34. Gym class.
  35. Sneezing.
  36. Roy Orbison.
  37. Roy Zimmerman.
  38. Row Row Row Your Boat.
  39. Corduroy whiffling.
  40. F#$@ing Call Me Maybe.
  41. The Pretenders.
  42. Disney villain songs.
  43. Achy Breaky Heart.
  44. High-pitched children arguing.
  45. A jackhammer.
  46. A car alarm.
  47. A first-time violin player.
  48. A dripping tap.
  49. Static.
  50. Just turning off the damn radio.

– OSM out

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Filed under Randomness

Fountainhead Wrap-Up, Part 1: Ayn Ranting


I have found many, many reasons to hate this book. Rather than go through the chapter-by-chapter, because let’s face it I’ve tried that and it was excruciating, I’m just going to go into detail on the author:

I really do not like Ayn Rand. I think no good came from her hands. I hate her books. I hate her work. I hate her heroes being jerks. I do not like Ayn freaking Rand. I do not like her, Sam-I-Am.

Her books are dumb. Her books are bad. Her every sentence makes me mad. She doesn’t know. She doesn’t care. She doesn’t think she should be fair. I do not like Ayn freaking Rand. I do not like her, Sam-I-Am.

Tempting though it is to write this entire post like that, I’m going to actually go into detail.

 

Part 1: Argumentation

Ayn Rayn’s argumentation technique was awful.

I mean seriously, deep-down horrible.

I think the problem is that she didn’t quite get that people could legitimately disagree with her, and thus wrote all her stuff under the assumption that as soon as people heard what she said they would immediately drop their former opinions and embrace the manifest truth she was spouting or some crap like that. It’s really the only explanation I can think of for why the arguments in the Fountainhead are so horrendously bad.

If you think I’m exaggerating, find a copy. You will never find an argument in favour of something Rand disapproved of which sounds like an actual real human being could say it. You will never find a hint of respect for people who like classical architecture; they’re all at best blinkered idiots who only care about a checklist rather than aesthetics, at worst evil Communist conspirators who don’t realise that architecture critics don’t get to cause revolutions and who get ludicrous rants about how evil they are and how they’re totally using altruism (scare chord) to destroy society because blah blah stuff that doesn’t make sense blah.

Nobody talks like that.

Nobody makes those arguments.

Cartoon supervillains do not exist. People do not behave in that “I’m not washing my hands…’cause I’m EVIL” fashion, unless they’re overdramatic teens putting on a pose to annoy their parents. Whenever I say Rand didn’t bother doing any research, that is mainly what I meant: her arguments against things do not bother addressing anything the people supporting those things would actually say, instead preferring to present it as an equal parts blend of legalism and tall poppy syndrome. Ignorance is actually the nicer interpretation; the alternative is to believe that she did look up all these things she is arguing about, then deliberately threw out that information and wrote a pack of lies instead.

Either way, however, she’s “arguing” against something without accurately describing what it’s about. That’s just plain dishonest.

(I *am* aware that people are likely to try and call me out on perceived hypocrisy; see below.)

 

Part 2: Application.

Ayn Rand sucked at following her own doctrines.

No, really. While I disagree with Objectivist ethics, I can at least have some measure of respect for those who actually apply them. They at least have the courage of their convictions.

Ayn Rand had “convictions” in the same way that…you know that Calvin and Hobbes strip where Calvin claims to be deeply principled because he sticks very closely to the principle “look out for number one”? Yeah. That’s pretty much how Ayn Rand approached her own philosophy.

This is a direct quote from Rand:

“Everyone has the right to make his own decisions, but none has the right to force his decision on others.”

Judging by Rand’s behaviour, there is an implicit “Unless I agree with you, in which case, go nuts” at the end of that.

The Fountainhead devotes its entire opening to telling us that if we like Classical architecture we are wrong. That’s technically not forcing a decision on us, but it’s fairly close.

Ayn Rand not once, but multiple times, demanded that her followers vote for a specific President. That is a clear attempt to force a decision on others.

Look, I don’t care who you vote for. But if your philosophy is based on the premise that nobody gets to force their decisions on others, you don’t get to do exactly that. If your philosophy rejects collective action as worthless and exploitative, you don’t get to exploit it yourself. This is How Not To Be A Colossal Hypocrite 101.

Her commentary on things like the destruction of Native American culture is also loaded with this kind of thing, in which it’s “none has the right to force a decision on others, unless I don’t think much of the others, in which case stomp ’em into the ground and steal all their stuff”.

And then we get to the major case: the rape scene in The Fountainhead.

Rape is by definition the attempt to force a decision on someone. Wikipedia states that Rand’s notes ‘indicate that when she started working on the book in 1936 she conceived of Roark as feeling that Dominique “belonged to him”, that “he did not greatly care” about her consent and that “he would be justified” in raping her.’

No.

Fuck no.

There is no such thing as being “justified” in rape. If Roark felt that way, that means he deserves to die.

While there is an indication that Dominique was attracted to Roark and wanted to sleep with him, Rand’s notes above mean that this doesn’t matter – Roark thought he was engaging in rape and went ahead anyway. Again, this means he should be shot into the sun. There should be no place for him in the civilized world.

(Roark later breaks Rand’s rule about decisions again when he a) dynamites the building, which somehow is not forcing a decision on anyone even though it wasn’t his money it was built with, and b) puts Dominique in hospital with this blast to cover their affair, not even thinking to warn her let alone get permission. Because tricking someone into risking their life in an area where you are engaging in egoterrorism is totally not forcing a decision on them, amirite? Here’s some glue. You’ll need it for the moral.)

I hate Howard Roark with a passion. He’s deeply uninteresting and a total likeability vacuum. The few moments of actual humanity he gets are invariably either recanted later or overwhelmed by the necessity to struggle against 600 pages of sociopathy to make him tolerable. He’s a smug, ignorant, condescending ass who has learned nothing since he was arrogant and fifteen. I loathe him. He is detestable in every way and does not deserve even a moment of respect.

I could fix this book with five words, added to the last page. Go through the bit about how they’re married now, cut to the end of the final sentence, paragraph  break, and then add “And then Dominique shot him.” This fixes…not everything, because an editor would still need to cut the lectures about how classical architecture is evil and wrong, but it becomes a lot more tolerable. It becomes a story where Dominique takes back her life from sociopathic parasites like Roark. It becomes a story where the evil Roark does gets comeuppance, rather than one where it is rewarded. It puts justice back into the equation.

I’ll probably do a couple of things where I rip Roark’s lecture to shreds later, then let this topic finally die.

– OSM out

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Filed under An Awful Awful Book

MTG: Magic 2014 Awesome Awards


Once again, bear in mind that I am not sorting according to power or combo potential, although that may be a factor. These are subjective awards calculated purely on coolness.

 

Most Awesome Non-Planeswalker Mythic Rare

#3: Scourge of Valkas. I like Dragons. How is that not clear by this point?

#2: Devout Invocation. Ye gods this could produce an impressive endgame.

#1: Rise of the Dark Realms. This is how necromancy is supposed to work.

Runners-up: Archangel of Thune; Kalonian Hydra; Windreader Sphinx

 

Most Awesome Planeswalker

#3: Garruk, Caller of Beasts. Pricey, but he’s in green and has a nasty set of abilities.

#2: Ajani, Caller of the Pride. Cheap, but can still wreak havoc. If nothing else double strike and flying on a decently sized creature can win the game in one swing.

#1: Chandra, Caller of Pyromaster. (Okay, that’s not the card’s real name. Sue me.) There’s nothing quite like a mixture of harsh abilities and decent casting cost.

Runners-up: Jace, Memory Adept; Liliana of the Dark Realms

 

Most Awesome Rare Creature

#3: Xathrid Necromancer. I do have a soft spot for human tribal effects, especially evil ones.

#2: Jace’s Mindseeker. I do like the hybrid of mill and sorcery-stealing.

#1: Vastwood Hydra. Combine with Death’s Presence for goofy amounts of +1/+1 counters.

Runners-up: Bonescythe Sliver, Mindsparker, Witchstalker

 

Most Awesome Noncreature Rare

#3: Oath of the Ancient Wood. Terrible penis jokes notwithstanding, I like the enchantment-based stuff in this. It’s a nice prelude to Theros, which is apparently an enchantment block.

#2: Haunted Plate Mail. Awesome.

#1: Strionic Resonator. They don’t copy triggered abilities much. Or ever. Now they can.

 

Most Awesome Minotaur

#3: Canyon Minotaur. This one has been around forever.

#2: Undead Minotaur. It’s not a good card, but then these have never been about “good”, they’ve been about “awesome”. The only way to make this better would be either to make it a Ninja Pirate, or to make it an actual playable card.

#1: Minotaur Abomination. As above, but with bells on. Say what you will about its casting cost – this is TWO ZOMBIE MINOTAURS NAILED TOGETHER.

 

– OSM out

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Filed under Tragic: the Blathering

Politics Corner: Voyage to the Bottom of the Barrel


Australian politics has finally reached rock bottom. As far as I’m concerned, politics has now come down to Greens vs. Idiots.

What has produced this breakdown, you ask? Labor’s new asylum seeker policy. Yeah, here’s a thing, Labor: that you are shoving people to a different location does not mean your policy is substantially different from the Coalition. In fact, a lot of your policies are not substantially different from the Coalition’s, except that they tend to involve throwing money away rather than pouring it into a giant Scrooge McDuck money vault and refusing to let anyone look at it. (Except John Howard, who would revert to his true form, curl up on it and sleep, at least until a party of dwarves and one wizard recruited Bob Brown as their burglar and set off on a quest to liberate it.)

And this is what we call a problem.

Why do we even have multiple parties if the three biggest are all the Liberal Party in different hats? How is it good for democracy that the primary choices are three batches of clone troopers?

I know it’s not going to happen, but I can’t help but want the Greens to win the next election. If nothing else, it’ll indicate to Labor that they can’t get away with just photocopying the Liberal policy documents and sticking on different colour covers.

– OSM out

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Filed under Guide to Life, Rants, Soapbox Mode