Category Archives: Rant

Email Time for the second week in a row!!

What is up, you two burnt kernels in the popcorn bowl of life? Been listening to Part B, and I have to say I gagged a little in my mouth when Rhett asked directed the world to never sniff his old underwear. Honestly, were I to ever run across his old drawers, I would kill them with fire. Then I would pour acid on the ashes just to make certain they were blotted from existence. Well, September 23rd and 25th have come and gone, and the world is still here, despite the internet’s best “prophetic” claims of imminent doom on those dates. Heck, the fourth blood moon even passed without so much as a whimper. Oh internet preachers, I love you sometimes. In case you hadn’t heard, there was supposed to be an asteroid strike that would have obliterated most of the life on earth. Either that or, as they also said, the financial markets were supposed to collapse in such a way as to make the Great Depression look like a walk in the park on a sunny day. And the rapture. That was supposed to have happened too, but not before the LHC at CERN was supposed to have ripped an interdimensional hole in the cosmos through which demonic hordes were to have escaped from their prisons and decimated the earth.

Little did they realize something far, far worse was to occur, and did – another episode of the DGPodcast. Where were their prophecies regarding that tragedy?

You know what prophecy did come to pass, though? Rhett’s prophetic vision of the complete failure of the Retro VGS to secure financing for their ambitious project did in fact prove him correct. They put out a long post on Facebook yesterday explaining that, more or less, they were going back to the drawing board and would later return, working prototype in hand, to try again. Like you guys, I wish them all the success in the world, but I just don’t see it. I know I am not the only gamer who was once enthusiastic about the console to bow out of that arena. They just could not have handled any aspect of their plan any worse than they did. Everything from p.r. to design was a complete train wreck. A lot of people complimented them on their willingness to eat crow and listen. I think the damage has been done at this point, and even if they come out with a fantastic piece of hardware to show, the ill will they have created with what would ultimately be their core consumer is too much to overcome. One guy was defending them pretty hard, though. He compared them to Steve Jobs, and made the point that Steve Jobs never asked for or considered consumer input in his design process, so they would do well to just do what they’re doing. I fired back, saying that Steve Jobs also never asked his consumer base to fund any of his projects, so with Retro VGS being dependent upon the consumers for venture capital, they’d do very, very well to listen to them. I love old cartridge games. I find the idea of a new cart console very cool, but way too niche to succeed. Carts are dead. Heck, physical media in general is on its way out and everyone knows it. Well, except for the CEO of Gamestop that is.

He made the claim recently that “Physical games will be around forever.” I sincerely hope he spouted that sort of optimism for the benefit of his company’s shareholders, because he cannot seriously believe this to be the case. The fact that Gamestop has, for the last several years, been slowly diversifying its business model suggests to me that they are preparing for the day when the last disc ships. We old farts are, for the time being, keeping physical copies of games a viable business, but as much as I hate to admit it, the younger generations are growing up in an all digital/streaming world, and they will not share our sentimental attachment to physical media. Streaming killed Blockbuster, and it will eventually kill the used games market. Everyone kind of accepts this on some level at this point. I know the day will come when even we crusty old jokers will adapt to the idea of not having games we can hold in our hands or put on our shelves. To be sure, given that physical media formats all eventually stop working, it will eventually be the ONLY way you can play.

So what have you two fellows been up to this week? I have been keeping the wife happy by building and installing whatever she wants built and installed. As usual, gaming time has been limited for me, and outside of playing some retro on my phone for a few minutes here and there, I have not played anything of note. The little bit of downtime I’ve had has been spent watching movies. I watched a couple of Christian movies that were surprisingly good. I have given my life to Christ, by the way. That is another story for another time, though, and it was something with which I have wrestled with for most of my life and I had to come to it on my own terms. Yeah…my email just got real, yo. The acting and production values of those kinds of films are really coming into their own and are not the unwatchable mess they used to be. I TRIED to watch Mad M­­ax Fury Road, but guys…yikes. I just could not get into it. I gave it about 20 minutes and shut it off. It did an atrocious job of character development in my opinion, and I just could not drum up a single solid ounce of care. I fail to see what everyone was going on about.

I saw something that was all over social media this week that just turned my stomach inside out. I don’t know if you caught it or not, but there was this woman who bought her 14 year old son “her” first dose of female hormones. The kid thinks he is a girl, and the mom just wants to be soooo supportive of her little “girl.” Everyone was gushing about how great this woman is for her kind gesture to her child. I say she should be slapped upside the head for doing this. This is not kindness. It’s child abuse. I don’t care what your kid thinks he or she is, you do NOT aid them in tinkering with their natural body chemistry, especially when they are nowhere near finished with their natural physical development. If that was my son, he would dress like a boy and remain a boy so long as he was under my roof and relying on me for financial support. My house, my rules. Period. This kid is too young to know up from down, let alone be of sound enough mind to go around deciding to switch genders. What the crap is wrong with our world?! I fear the day we are governed by men and women who, as children, were never told no. I truly do. There are no boundaries anymore. Nothing is sacred. Everybody wants to turn everything into some perverse nebulous construct and push moral relativity. Every great nation that has ever existed always exhibited this sort of self destructive behavior shortly before its fall. I know this has nothing to do with gaming or geekery, but it just is eating at me to wake up and hear about foolishness like this almost every day.

Anyways…now that I have finished ranting a serious rant I suppose I had better call it a wrap for another email, which, by the way, is my second in a row. What what?! Take it easy, guys. Don’t do anything lethally stupid. (that needs to come back)

#KillTheNewAuntMay #DoNotPeeOnMyParadeRhett #DoNotSniffRhettsOldUnderwear

What Were You Thinking, George?

In just a few months we will be privileged to experience a new Star Wars movie. We will find out whether JJ Abrams is truly a fan and has caught the spirit of the originals, or if we are in for more disappointment. You can guess where I stand. I have been a fan since I was five. I used to watch two movies as a kid, Star Wars: A New Hope and Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark. That should give you a clue.

The original Star Wars trilogy was amazing. A New Hope came out and blew people away. They would come out of the theatre and get in line again. The original trilogy set the bar against which SciFi movies are still measured. After watching a new SciFi movie people will start the comparisons, “It wasn’t as good as Star Wars”, “Star Wars did it better”, “It was as good as Star Wars”. That last isn’t heard very often, but you get the idea.

Star Wars became culturally significant in several way. It made it okay to be a SciFi fan and it proved that you could make a great SciFi movie on a limited budget and be wildly successful. It also showed how well SciFi could be made. If the characters, story, effects, etc are done well the whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts.

Which means that it shouldn’t come as a surprise that series creator, George Lucas, would come out with three more. With all the nerd love, a new Star Wars trilogy was more an inevitability than a possibility. However, it seemed that Mr Lucas had forgotten what made Star Wars amazing, and we were subjected to the likes of Jar Jar Binks, midichlorians, and whiny Anakin Skywalker. The new trilogy was an almost total disappointment and a quasi-insult to those who consider themselves fans of the franchise. However, with as bad as Anakin and Jar Jar are the midichlorians were by far the worst thing about the new trilogy. I hear you scoff, but heed my words and you will learn the truth.

The midichlorians ruined everything. At first, the Force was a mystical energy field generated by life itself. It was a power beyond the natural and it captured our imaginations. Then the midichorians came along and all that wonder was thrown down in ruin. No more was the Force a mystical energy field that bound all living things together. Now it was the energy produced by microorganisms in the blood. It no longer mattered how hard you worked to become a Jedi, your power levels were predetermined by the amount of microscopic hitchhikers you had in your blood. Listening to the will of the Force is also rubbish. You don’t listen to the will of the universe or the dictates of the mystical lifeforce of the universe. Now you listen to the whisperings of the microscopic freeloaders in your bloodstream. What do they know about the universe? For them the universe flows around inside fluid filled tracks to the rhythmic beating of whatever the being uses for a pump.

If you are still unsure why the midichlorians are the worst thing about the new trilogy, there’s more. How are these microorganisms supposed to be able to infect the diversity of species that are depicted in the films? Anyone with an inkling of microbiology will tell you that the majority of microorganisms usually adapt to one host and rarely cross to another species and you’re telling me that this particular affliction happens to infect all the sentient life in the universe plus some forms of animals and plants?

I hope that I have impressed upon you the true horror that is a result of the midichlorians. However, I’m not through. There’s more. What happens if you lose some blood? Give a blood transfusion? Take antibiotics? Get a blood transfusion? What happens if you get an autoimmune disease? If you get a blood transfusion do you automatically become Force sensitive? If so, and this might be kind of cool, this could give rise to a Jedi serial killer. He hunts down Force users and drains the midichlorians from their blood, injects himself, and becomes a powerful Force user. If the sensitivity gain is permanent, he can keep draining midichlorians and becoming more and more powerful. If not, he has to keep draining Force users to maintain his powers. If you get a disease that suppresses your immune system, do the midichlorians go wild and increase your powers? If your immune system is hyperactive do you lose your Force powers altogether? How about a scientist or an affluent individual decides that the Jedi shouldn’t be taking Force sensitive children anymore after they took his/hers and develops a virus that destroys midichlorians. Suddenly no one in the universe is Force sensitive. This also ruins the power levels of the Jedi. If you can’t just filter the midichlorians from someone else’s blood can you just culture them? If you can you can create your own super soldiers. I wonder why the Empire never thought of this. Culture midichlorians, inject into the stormtroopers, train, and you have troops that are much more terrifying and Luke and the Rebels would never have gotten close to the Death Star.

I admit, I am looking forward to the new Star Wars movie. I am in hope that JJ Abrams will redeem the series. He has a fairly good track record. He has a problem with lens flairs, but still a good track record. However, he needs to do something about the midichlorians. Ignoring them completely should be the least he could do. Putting in a short conversation about how the midichlorians are an indicator of Force sensitivity, but not the cause would be the best thing he could do. Get rid of the midichlorians!

How to Punish Swatting

In our most recent podcast Rhett mentioned the controversy around Simon Pegg. In a recent interview he disparaged entertainment by saying that it was infantilizing our society. Rhett came to the conclusion that Swatting was a symptom of this infantilization of our society, accusing people who stoop to swatting of being social infants. Basically, this is just a rage quit to the extreme. People who rage quit are social infants who haven’t learned to properly vent their frustration.

However socially maladjusted these people happen to be, that isn’t the reason that I raise this topic. The recent rash of swatting has had lawmakers scrambling to create legislation to stiffen the penalties for calling in a fake emergency call of this nature. What I would like to point out is that lawyers and law enforcement aren’t being creative enough if they have to create new legislation to punish swatting calls. There are three illegal activities that I would like to raise as being applicable in this situation: assault, battery, and attempted murder which could be upgraded to murder.

The legal definition of assault is an intentional act by one person that creates an apprehension in another of an imminent harmful or offensive contact. Basically, the person on the receiving end just has to perceive that there is a threat to his person. The threat doesn’t have to turn into a reality, it just has to be present. I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m pretty sure that I would feel threatened if the SWAT team showed up at my door.

Now the definition of battery comes into play if the threat actually becomes physical contact. Battery is an intentional unpermitted act causing harmful or offensive contact with the “person” of another. If the SWAT team actually accosts the victim and by accost I mean throw down and put in handcuffs, since that’s usually what the police do to a suspect, that would constitute battery. I realize that the police are usually exempt from such, but this would apply to the person who called in the emergency call, battery by police.

At the end of the list is attempted murder which can always be upgraded to murder. How, you ask, can someone who calls in the SWAT team be charged with attempted murder? Follow my line of reasoning here. It can be argued that the person who calls the SWAT team is attempting to commit murder by cop. These adolescent-minded idiots are at least hoping that the person comes to some sort of harm at the hands of the police. When the SWAT team shows up waving their guns around there is the distinct possibility of lethal danger. If the victim dies, that would be murder and the weapon would be the police.

As I said, there are penalties in place to punish those who waste police time and resources in these spurious SWAT emergencies. All it takes are enterprising members of the legal profession and law enforcement. If the perpetrator were to be charged with wasting police resources, misuse and abuse of 911, assault, battery, and attempted murder maybe this kind of petty outburst would stop. Would you risk calling in a spurious SWAT call if you knew that you could be charged with attempted murder. I don’t know about anyone else but, I want to avoid prison at all costs and I hate paying anyone if I don’t have to. I really don’t think that lawmakers need to come up with new penalties for swatting. We just need to apply the penalties that already exist and I think that in most cases the situation will take care of itself.

But what, I hear you ask, if the perpetrator is a juvenile? I can’t say that I see a problem. Juveniles can be still be charged with assault, battery, and attempted murder. They may end up in juvenile hall rather than prison, although with the seriousness of attempting to murder someone maybe they should be tried as an adult instead of as a juvenile.

Why am I being so hard on swatting? It’s the possibility that the victim could be killed. So far, none of the swatting incidents have resulted in a death, but if we don’t take care of this immediately it is only a matter of time before something tragic happens. Some idiot will pull this stunt on the wrong person, the SWAT team will show up, and the whole situation will deteriorate until something tragic happens. At that point the idiot who called the SWAT team will have to live with the fact that he just killed someone.

What can I say? I think that we need to let people know that swatting is absolutely unacceptable. These juvenile idiots who can’t take a loss with grace need to be taught a hard lesson that their actions will not be tolerated. They should have learned on the playground and at home that this type of behavior is in extreme bad taste and complete indefensible. And if they can’t learn the easy way, society will just have to educate them the hard way.

Vampires: How Fast Can They Drink?

I don’t usually go in for vampires. I enjoyed the Blade movies. I know that might not be the correct thing to say, but they aren’t bad. I also liked the Vampire Hunter D movies, especially Bloodlust, and the Vampire Hunter D novels. I own quite a few of the Vampire Hunter D novels as well as quite a few of the Noble Dead series by Barb Hendee and J.C. Hendee, but that’s about it. I won’t turn my nose up at a vampire movie or book (unless it’s the Twilight Series), but I also don’t go out of my way for a vampire movie or book. That said I have been reading the Vampire Files by P.N. Elrod recently.

The Vampire Files are about Jack Fleming. He is a vampire working and living in Chicago during the 1930’s. He works as a writer and assists a private agent (read investigator). I don’t think that I will continue with the series, but the writing is good, it just isn’t what I look for when I look for reading material.

Now the reason that I bring up vampires is that there is a scene in the book I was reading where Jack hypnotizes a woman and nearly kills her when he bites her and starts drinking her blood. He manages to stop himself in time, but it got me thinking about vampires and their ability to kill almost instantly from a single bite. I thought is it really possible for a vampire to drain that much blood that fast? Could a vampire actually drink enough blood to kill someone? How much blood is in the human body? What is the average stomach capacity? And how long would it take for a vampire to drink enough blood to kill someone?

Here are a few facts about blood and stomach capacity:

For the information of the stomach you can check Google or hypertextbook.com – Stomach Volume.

So, it would appear that a vampire could indeed drink enough to kill a person. If you have 4 liters of blood and the vampire’s stomach can expand to 4 liters – you’re dead. Now if you have 4 liters of blood you only need to lose more than 40% percent of your blood before you die. Approximately 1.6 liters would be 40%. That is definitely within the realm of possibilities.

Vampire’s can definitely kill people. What we need to answer now is how long would it take a vampire to drain enough blood to kill someone? Basically they are using their fangs (or tongue-mouths if you watch Daughter of Darkness) which are probably comparable to the needles used in blood donation. Now according to the Red Cross website it takes about 10-12 minutes for them to take 1 pint of your blood. 1 pint = 0.473176 liters and it takes about 10 minutes to drain that much blood. To drain 1.6 liters, which is about 3.4 times greater than 1 pint, would take approximately 34 minutes. Vampires have two fangs so we could argue that they can drain blood twice as fast making the time about 17 minutes, hardly what you see in books and movies. Now the big assumption is that vampire fangs are like the needles used in blood donation. It is probable that they are smaller. I also didn’t take into account that vampires would be actively siphoning the blood, but I doubt that would make a dramatic difference, maybe shave a minute or two, but 17 minutes is a reasonable amount of time. Can you imagine a vampire movie where the vampire had to spend a quarter hour with each victim, and that’s just to put them in danger of dying. It would take about 42.5 minutes to drain 4 liters of blood. In a 2.5 hour movie a third of the movie would be the vampire exsanguinating one victim. I had to include exsanguination in here at least once in a vampire post.

In conclusion, vampires are quite capable of draining enough blood to kill a person. However, it is doubtful that they would be able to do it in a short amount of time. You should be able to save a vampire’s victim if you act fast enough. The vampire would be vulnerable while you figure out how to save the victim and then implement you rescue plans.

My Top Superheroes

Everyone has their own list of their favorite superheroes. You can’t swing a dead link on the internet without hitting a top list of superheroes. Even people who formerly wouldn’t admit to having favorite superheroes now have lists. I chalk this up to the recent successes in superhero and comic based movies. Suddenly it’s mainstream and hip to like comics and superheroes where once it was the realm of pasty-faced loners living in their mothers’ basements. So, since we are inflicted with their list of favorite superheroes I feel no compunction against sharing mine with you.

Spider-man

Spider-man has always been my favorite superhero. I got hooked on Spider-man as a kid watching Saturday morning cartoons. I think that my first exposure to Spider-man was watching Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends. Spider-man teamed up with Iceman and Firestar to fight crime. They lived together, evidently in Aunt May’s house, and when needed one of them would trigger some knickknack and their hidden equipment would emerge from panels, etc in the walls. Evidently, Firestar was created for this show and then introduced into the comics later. Originally the Human Torch was going to be the third member of the group, but couldn’t because of licensing issues and so Firestar was created.

Spider-man is one of my favorite superheroes for several reasons. First, I identify with him because of his origin as a nerdy awkward guy. Even after gaining his superpowers he’s still the same nerdy, awkward guy. Peter Parker, Spider-man’s secret identity, wasn’t the most popular kid in school. He wasn’t a jock, did well in school, had a hard time talking to girls, wasn’t rich. He still had these problems even after becoming Spider-man. I am a nerd. I like video games, Dungeons & Dragons, did well in school, am shy and awkward (just ask my wife). I find myself draw to Spider-man because of our similarities.

Second, Spider-man always tries to do the right thing. Peter Parker could have used his superpowers to stop a simple theft, but he didn’t and his uncle Ben died as a result. That was when his uncle Ben’s lesson about great power and great responsibility really sunk in and he truly became a hero. Spider-man isn’t an antihero or even a reluctant hero. He fights crime because he has the ability to do so and to do otherwise would make him less a man and tarnish the memory of someone he loved.

Third, he has problems. That’s right, his life isn’t perfect. His life continued normally after gaining his powers. His life didn’t magically improve when he acquired his powers, if anything it deteriorated. Not only did he have to continue to deal with his personal life, now he had superpowered villains trying to kill him. As Peter Parker, he had to deal with school, work, social life, etc. Then he had to turn around and try not to die as Spider-man.

Captain America

Captain America is the ultimate Boy Scout, not only is he a decent, honorable man, but he can kick your butt seven ways to Sunday. One of the main things about Captain America is that he embodies the values that all superheroes wish they possess. He is the superhero’s superhero. He isn’t the fastest or the strongest, but despite all that other superheroes wish they were Captain America. Spider-man looks up to Captain America, and he is the one person that Wolverine truly trusts. Why is that? Because he’s Captain America. He is brave, unselfish, honorable, decent, courteous, and more. He is the one hero that we can always count on to do the right thing all the time, every time. Captain America is heroic, not because he has powers. He is heroic because of who he is. The powers just help him. He would strive to be a hero no matter the circumstances, which is why he was chosen to be the first test subject in the super soldier program. He embodied all of the characteristics that they were looking for.

I was so pleased when I heard that Captain America was coming to the big screen. I was worried for a while that Hollywood would erase all that was decent and right with Captain America and turn him into what you would find in every other third-rate action movie. However, going against type, we got one of the best superhero movies ever.

Batman

Many people but Batman higher on their lists. I really like Batman. I remember watching reruns of the old Adam West/Burt Ward television series as a kid. I still remember watching Batman the Animated Series when it first came out. I have seen every Batman movie from the Tim Burton/Michael Keaton offerings to the Christopher Nolan/Christian Bale trilogy. Batman has always interested me and impressed me. He is smart, tough, and resourceful. He knows that Gotham City is corrupt and dangerous and he does everything in his power to clean it up and make it a safer place for normal people. The criminal element rightly fears him and his brutal and effective ways. And face it he is one of the coolest superheroes of all time. However, there are some things about Batman that push him further down my list.

Batman is almost an antihero. He’s dark and brooding. He doesn’t like anyone and very few people like him. He doesn’t kill his opponents, but he certainly isn’t afraid to maim them in horribly permanent ways. People will say that he has to be brutal in dealing with evil. He doesn’t have the advantage of superpowers. He has to put his opponents down quickly and make sure they don’t get up again or he’s toast. While that is substantially true, why doesn’t he invest in more tasers or knockout gas?

The next thing is his money. Don’t get me wrong. I would love to have as much money as Batman. The problem is that I can’t identify with him as well as I can with some of the more down-to-Earth superheroes. I have the same problem with Ironman. As Bruce Wayne, Batman has so much money. I just have no concept, no way to relate to the guy. His socioeconomic status an mine just don’t see eye to eye.

The last thing is the most annoying my opinion. Naturally, superheroes have to defeat the bad guys. We wouldn’t like them if they always lost. Why would we root for a superhero when we know he was going to lose every single time. However, Batman carries this to the extreme. Whenever anyone asks the question, “who would win” the answer is always rabidly Batman. Batman vs Superman? Batman. Batman vs Darksied? Batman. Batman vs Captain America? Batman. It has nothing to do with examining the characters’ powers, experience, and weaknesses. Batman wins because he is Batman. That is so much crap. Superman would smear Batman across the landscape if they were really going at it. The only reason that Batman won is because Superman really didn’t want to hurt him. In other words, he was holding back. Batman had to go all out and won, but it wouldn’t have mattered a bit if Superman hadn’t been holding himself back.

The Sovereign Seven

Now this in an obscure one. I came across the Sovereign Seven a number of years ago at the library. I have found the library to be an excellent resource for comics and the selection keeps improving. Anyway, the Sovereign Seven is a DC Comics offering featuring a team of seven individuals gathered by the team leader, Cascade. Each of the seven were of royal heritage, but were exiled because they would not submit to the Rapture. Indeed they were rebels seeking for a means to defeat the Rapture and take back their homeworlds.

The leader of the Sovereign Seven, Cascade, her story is a little different. Cascade is the daughter of Maitresse, an ally of Darksied. In fact Maitresse freed Darksied after he had been imprisoned on the Wall. Cascade’s mother was imprisoned on her homeworld where, like Darksied, she is absolute ruler and can reshape the planet according to her whim. Cascade isn’t trapped however, her power enables her to teleport herself and other through time and space, which is how she gathers her companions.

After gathering the others, Cruiser, Indigo, Rampart, Network, Reflex and Finale, the seven end up on Earth, courtesy of Big Barda and her Mother Box. They tangle with Lobo who was transporting Big Barda in a Tantalus Web. The effects of the web were to turn Big Barda into the ultimate object of male affection. She would morph to suit the tastes of whoever viewed her. For a time she became Czarnian just like Lobo.

The team consists of Network a telepath, Cascade who can teleport through time and space, Cruiser a powerful telekinetic, Rampart who can build shields of any configuration that protect against physical and psychic damage, Reflex – the largest of the seven is also the quickest – able to dodge most anything, Indigo a master escape artist and tactician who can blend in in any environment, and Finale is the weapon master of the seven. Together they fight various foes, Darksied’s Female Furies among them, from their base in the Crossroads restaurant on Earth.

The series wasn’t that popular and I’ve recently heard that there were problems with the series, at least problems from a fan perspective, but I very much enjoyed what I’ve read, but I don’t think that the Sovereign Seven lived up to its promise, which is too bad.

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

The next superheroes on my list are the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I remember when the Turtles cartoon first came out. It was amazing. It hasn’t really aged well, but what can you do. That aside what isn’t there to like about the Turtles? They were reptiles, always cool, and they were ninjas, put the two together and you had a winning combination. Now, of the Ninja Turtles my favorite has always been Leonardo. First, I like swords. And second, my favorite color is blue. I realize that only applies to the movies and the cartoons. In the comics all the Turtles wore red. The comics, as I found out later, were also great. Now, back to Leonardo. Besides the weapon and color combination, Leonardo was always the most noble of the group. He was the one that really embodied the aspects that I look for in a superhero. He was honorable and decent. He made you want to be better yourself. He had the qualities that make a person heroic. The other Turtles were great and all, but Leo was better.

Interesting fact about the Ninja Turtle, they were created by the same accident that gave Daredevil his powers. However, since they aren’t Marvel creations they can’t actually claim it in the comics.

Deadpool

Deadpool makes this list for a variety of reasons. Sure, he is an antihero not a hero per se and he will back-stab and betray his allies, but every once in a while he comes through and saves the day. Now that isn’t why he makes the list. He makes the list mostly because in a world where superheroes take themselves too seriously, he doesn’t. He knows he’s in a comic book and he will talk to the audience as they read. Even in the Marvel vs Capcom 3 game, if you win as Deadpool he will harangue you for sitting on the sidelines while he does all the work. I am also glad that he was included in the Ultimate Alliance game. He provides some much needed comedy relief, shouting things like “I won, I won” or “And now I’m better at doing whatever it is Wolverine does!”. Deadpool was once a normal human being until he was diagnosed with cancer and volunteered for the Weapon X program. Yes, that program, the one that fused adamantium to Wolverine’s skeleton. In the Weapon X program Deadpool was given Wolverine’s healing factor which cured his cancer and irreparably disfigured his face. The process also had the added side-effect of unhinging him a bit, which is why he talks to himself and knows that he’s a comic book character.

Interesting fact about Deadpool, he’s “dating” Death. Thanos is in love with Death and is willing to destroy the universe for her, but evidently she would rather have Deadpool. Go figure.

There you go these are my top picks for my favorite superheroes. Let me know who your favorites are and why. What makes you prefer say Batman over Superman or any of the other hundreds of superheroes out there. Who would you like to see translated to the big screen, hopefully without the standard Hollywood must put its mark (read damage) on the character adaptation. You can let us know what you think by commenting on our Twitter account or comment here our blog or go to the forum. You can also email us at
thedistractedgamers@gmail.com and support us on Patreon.

Race and Gender Swapping in Comics

I hope that I will be able to treat this topic with the respect that it deserves. I also hope that I don’t come off sounding like a lunatic that hides in his parents’ basement drafting his manifesto. What I would like to talk about is the recent trend in comics and movies to recast iconic or well-known characters as minority races or swapping genders. Like I said I hope to treat this topic with respect and I don’t think that, for the most part, race or gender should play a role in determining whether or not a person should or should not be a superhero. I don’t believe that is the issue. The issue is this seeming affirmative action going on in comics and movies.

Right now the Spider-man of the Ultimate universe is Miles Morales, an African-American, not a problem, but they had to kill off Peter Parker first. Captain America is once again Steve Rogers, but for a time the mantle was given to Sam Wilson, the Falcon. Thor is female for some reason. She is actually called Thor, not Thorina or Thorella. She doesn’t just have Thor’s powers and hammer as other heroes have done in the past, i.e. Beta Ray Bill. The new Ms. Marvel is Pakistani-American. Johnny Storm is African-American, but for some reason his sister is white? Will Smith was rumored to have been offered the part of Captain America. Heimdall was recently portrayed by Idris Elba and Hogun was portrayed by Tadanobu Asano. I do think that comic book writers should experiment with race and gender and ideology and orientation, but I don’t think that they should do it at the expense of already established characters. I realize that some of these characters are secondary and therefore not as important to the main storyline, but that doesn’t mean that they should be recast.

This may sound like I am ranting about race and gender, but I’m not. In fact, I think that for the most part race and gender are interchangeable and really don’t matter. For instance, does Spider-man need to be a white kid from Queens? Not really. How about Ghost Rider? Well, when he lights himself up it really doesn’t matter one iota who’s beneath the flames. Could Superman be a girl? Yes, and there are two of them. There is also a She-Hulk and numerous Batgirls or women or whatever. Thor’s power has been held by various people over the past – Captain America, a couple of androids, Wonder Woman, and even the Man of Steel (look it up, it happened). Yet, there is a backlash every time these characters are mucked about with in either the comics or the movies. Why is it an issue if gender and race don’t really matter?

Before I answer that I’d like to change gears briefly. I mentioned before that for the most part race and gender really don’t matter and there are instances in the comics that bear that out. However, there are times when it is vital to the character that they are of a certain gender or race. Black Panther for instance. He is a black African, and not an African of European descent. Black Panther is the king of Wakanda. He can’t be some white guy. At the very minimum you could argue that he could be of Arab descent depending on where Wakanda is located. Also, Heimdall and Hogun are two more examples of characters where race is important. Heimdall and Hogun are figures from Norse mythology and while Idris Elba and Tadanobu Asano are excellent actors, Heimdall and Hogun should look Norse. You know, tall, most likely blonde, fair skin, that sort of thing. Mythology isn’t really about racial diversity. Could Wonder Woman be male? Of course not. Amazons were not men they were women. Could Thor be a woman? No, and I don’t care what Marvel says the, new Thor isn’t female. Thor is Thor and this woman is just filling his position, she isn’t really Thor.

Now back to why there is a backlash every time someone decides to make a change. It is because of the weight of the publishing history behind these characters. Captain America has been in print for 74 years, Spider-man has been around for 52 years, Superman 76 years, Batman 75 years…Do you see where I am going with this. The characters have a history. We know who they are and what they look like because they have been drawn a certain way for a very long time. Captain America is a white guy from Brooklyn. Spider-man is a white guy from Queens. Wonder Woman is an Amazon from Themyscira. Black Panther is a black African and king of Wakanda. Batman is Bruce Wayne, a rich white guy from Gotham City. It isn’t up to the most recent comic book writer or Hollywood director to go changing these details. If you want to make your mark, do something amazing with the already established characters, or if you find that too stifling then create a your own unique character, but not at the expense of already established characters. Is Sam Wilson worthy to be Captain America? Absolutely. Should he be? No, he should be Falcon. He is awesome as Falcon. Should Thor be a woman? No. Could Thor be retired/dead/on vacation and a woman wield Mjolnir in the interim? Yes. Is she Thor? No. Hammer Girl is better than female Thor.

Now if you still want to mess with the characters, don’t do it in canon. Create a one off or an alternate universe. Want Spider-man to be an African-American teenager then have Miles Morales get bitten by the spider instead of Peter Parker. Don’t make Peter into Spider-man then kill him and cover your butt by retroactively creating another Spider-man. Spider-Gwen is a perfect example. She received the spider powers in an alternate universe instead of Peter. Granted they still killed Peter Parker (stupid move), but the story started as what if Peter wasn’t bitten, not what if Peter died and we needed to come up with a way to replace him. Batman has one of the most interesting lists of alternate versions. There is a steampunk version of Batman (which almost got it’s own video game). In one version Bruce was killed not his parents and so Thomas Wayne became Batman. Martha Wayne cracked and became the Joker. There is even a version of Batman who became a criminal – Owlman. All these versions of the same character exist without destroying the original character.

Do you want to create a version of the Fantastic Four where Reed is the son of Chinese immigrants, Ben is a woman, and the Storms are identical twins. Do it. What if Superman was raised as the son of the Waynes and Bruce was a farmboy from Ohio? What if a male child was taken in by the Queen of Themyscira and trained by Amazons? What if Green Lantern of Sector 2814 was a Labrador? All of these are fine concepts, just not in canon. Don’t make the mistake that so many artist and directors are making. Stick to established characterization or don’t label your creation Superman, Spider-man, whatever. When you screw with already established character like this you come off as feeling forced and heavy handed and we can tell.

We are NOT all nerds now. (or why Max Landis is wrong)

Its an interesting time now when “nerd culture,” and I use that loosely, is accepted in general public.  We are inundated with comic books and movies and video games to the point where most everyone knows who Wolverine is when ten years ago he was only known to a portion of us.  However, we are jumping the gun here and unlike what Max Landis had proclaimed we simply aren’t all nerds now.

I am not calling Max out because of some grudge but his declaration on the Video Games documentary reminded me of the current attitude that everyone seems to have right now.  Video games are everywhere, everyone is playing them, everyone is a gamer.  This simply isn’t true, and its not because I feel being a gamer is an exclusive club and that to qualify you have to play so many hours a week.  Sometimes I’m lucky if I get to play a few hours a week.  What I’m talking about though is the idea that because something becomes popular everyone is immediately part of the group and we all get to hold hands and skip.

Being nerdy inherently implies you are setting yourself aside, you have a huge amount of enthusiasm and love for something specific and you simply are not part of the average group of people when it comes to that topic.  I love video games, that makes me a gamer, not the skill level or the amount of time I commit to gaming every week but the fact that I love gaming.  With the advent of the new Marvel movie craze everyone just assumes that we all get to be nerds now.  My mother has enjoyed the new super hero movies a great deal, she is far from nerdy when it comes to super heroes.  I love books, does you reading a book immediately imply that we all love books and should be together.  We all know that when we get nerdy about something we are setting ourselves apart from the rest whether its video games or football.  It never bothered us if our love for something was popular or not we loved it anyhow and that’s what people get wrong when it comes to “nerd culture.”

What is probably the biggest catalyst for claiming everyone is a nerd now is the desire not to be exclusive.  Anyone who has ever loved anything, which is everyone, has known the feeling of being left out.  Being big into comic books doesn`t usually garner a great deal of popular support.  Being isolated isn`t fun and we all would like to share what we love with everyone else.  Its unsurprising though that when most of us feel left out or ostracized we get excited about the idea that everyone is coming around.

The problem is this simply isn`t true.  Just because your a dork, a nerd, a gamer, or however you care to define yourself that`s what makes you special.  Even if its been used to hurt you or make you feel bad being a nerd isn’t wrong and there is anything wrong with you.  One of the greatest things about getting older is you begin to embrace what you are more and care what people think less.  If your into video games then so be it, be happy about that and if other people join you then that`s great too.   Don`t feel bad for being different, what makes you different is what makes you special.  Just because a lot of people have come to love Lord of the Rings it doesn`t mean I love it less or that we all are immediately nerdy for enjoying the movies.  Hopefully what we do get is more understanding when someone geeks out over something you don`t care for because hey, you do it too.

Suck it internet, ill see you later.

-Rhett

Regret from a cynical man.

It is perhaps a given that I will be cynical when it comes to the vast majority of internet personalities.  I myself have coined the phrase “Douchiepie” in place of PewdiPie (or however you spell that ridiculous name).  Whether or not this is justified is another story.  Over a year ago the story about the death of a man who goes by the name of JewWario was read on our podcast.  Not knowing who he was and simply seeing the twitter response I was somewhat dismissive of his passing.  Recently I had the opportunity to view some of his work on Youtube and I must admit that I regret dismissing him out of hand.

JewWario, as his name implies, is a Jewish gamer who posts videos on Youtube, one of his specialties are import games.  Though somewhat goofy he comes across as a very competent and knowledgeable individual who genuinely seems to want to share what he knows with everyone else.   A website he was heavily involved with describes perfectly his encouraging attitude towards imports as its called youcanplaythis.com.  His interests are a specialty thing yet he never manages to come across as elitist or restrictive in any way.

What is striking about the man is his overall encouraging and loving demeanor.   He was a genuinely caring person.  Countless stories can be found of him stopping everything he was doing simply to talk to a fan.  He cared very much for those who listened to him and made every effort to be encouraging as well.   His best known moment was a candid conversation he had at the beginning of his regular Friday live stream.  I could describe it but its best to simply let him do so in his own words.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8tN60yFjO-g

Getting to know him better about a year after his passing has made me not only regret my cynicism but regret not knowing the man at all.  Its hard to find very many genuine people and he very much seems to be one of them.  Not having known him I didn’t feel his loss as much as I felt the loss of someone I could have known.  Do I regret my Douchiepie comment?  Absolutely not what are you ridiculous?  I do know however that Pewdipie may actually be a decent person despite his just terrible contribution to the internet.

Perhaps even more unfortunate was the way JewWario passed.  His suicide it seems, surprised everyone, including close friends.  The ever encouraging JewWario gave very little indication he struggle with depression at all.

Every time something like this happens you hear the call for more dialog on the problem.  Those who have dealt with depression often sigh dismissively at the efforts because they have heard this before.  Depression is, and always will be, a monster, a ravenous foe that consumes relentlessly pouncing upon those we least expect to succumb to it.  The passing of Robin Williams is a perfect example that it can affect even the most joyous of us.

I don’t have any answers for you today but I think an honest man would admit that JewWario was a good person and the world is worse off without him.  Perhaps, at the very least, we can all find a way to lessen the burden of those around us and find a way to stave off depression for another day?  This cynical man will see you next time.

– Rhett

Open Letter to League of Legends Players

Recently an open letter was posted to the League of Legends (LOL) forums by a player named Ice Weasel X. The aim of his letter was to educated the parents of LOL players because,

“I have seen numerous stories of children who routinely disconnect mid-game because it’s bedtime, or their parents decide that they’ve played enough for the day. Some of these stories have come from parents themselves, proudly stating that they are firm about making their children stop playing at a specific time.”

Evidently if you quit mid-game it screws up the stats of the other nine players in the game and Ice Weasel the 10th wants to make sure that parents are aware of the consequences of their actions. That by making their children obey the rules and set proper priorities, these parents are adversely affecting the LOL statistics of up to ten players including their child.

I know that you recognize the need for parents to impose restrictions and enforce the rules. Ice Weasel the Unknown says as much. However, he then asks that parents teach their children not to neglect their responsibility to other people,

“While it is admirable that you are teaching children some responsibility to schedules, please stop neglecting to teach them responsibility to other people. Unless your child is playing a Custom Game, his actions will permanently affect the statistics of up to 9 other people. Don’t enforce behavior that involves disregarding other people. Do you want your child being callous to people in face-to-face situations too?”

This is in fact a false equivalence. The two situations here are not equivalent and quitting mid-game will not lead to anti-social behavior. In fact, LOL has a group chat where the players can apologize for leaving the game early which is exactly what would happen in a face-to-face situation. How many of us when we were growing up would be out playing with our friends when we were called home for dinner, bedtime, trip to grandma’s, homework, etc? What did you do in that situation? Leave without a word? Apologize briefly and then go home, promising to return later? I guarantee you did the latter.

You aren’t asking for courtesy in your open letter. What you are asking for is consideration. This is where you make your mistake. You are asking that parents place a higher consideration on your video game and your player statistics than anything else. Let’s think about that for a second. First off this is a game. This is one of the first things that Ice Weasel V + V points out. In the real world which is more important: bedtime or a video game? If you answered video game you are an LOL player and wrong. Second, your player statistics are made up numbers that tell everyone how well you play a video game. Are they more important than bedtime? The correct answer is, “No”.

If you actually think about what this open letter is asking, think about it dispassionately, you will realize how discourteous you are being to the parents of LOL players. You will also realize how presumptive you are thinking that you can give unsolicited parenting advice for a situation that is a non-issue. What you should be doing with your open letter is calling for LOL players to be more courteous to other players and more importantly to their parents by turning off the game when their parents tell them to. Had parents of LOL players asked for advice on what they should do in this particular situation you would be justified in doling our the advice. However, as a blatant non-parent you expose your ignorance with this letter.

I call for all parents, especially Ice Weasel 100/10’s parents, to keep it up. Our children need boundaries and they need them enforced consistently. This helps them to know that we care about their welfare. They also learn to follow the rules, something that can only help them throughout the rest of their lives. In fact, we should turn off the computers more often and teach our children a healthy respect for face-to-face interactions over virtual ones.

Gaming Perspective

Sitting here grinning over a few old bits of data on a cartridge seems silly.  Silly perhaps but meaningful in its own way, battling the nefarious forces of darkness bent on destroying the world, or even galaxy.  It’s hard to define accurately the feeling of nostalgia when it comes to video games.  Little bits of excitement wrapped around doing things you remember doing decades before.  Simple and refined and oh so darn fun it becomes a connection to your older self.  A self you keeps trying to remind you to settle down and have some fun.

Recently our super fan Chance sent me an old Nintendo 64 he bought at a DI.  Already having one he sent it my way out of the kindness of his dirty little heart.  I owned an N64 in the past and through various stupid scenarios I no longer possess the magical device.  Magical it was at the time since the greatest Christmas’s I can ever recall revolve around receiving games for the thing.  The first year I cheated and decided to carefully open some of the presents and reapply the tape was the year I got The Ocarina of Time cartridge.  The ensuing fights afterwards when my brother or I would refuse to stop playing despite food or slumber became epic.  We both knew that in the end when we stopped the other began and our adventure would reach an untimely end until complaining brought it back around.

Though it’s difficult to recapture that experience, plugging the console in and starting up games I haven’t played in a great many years brought something special back.  A something special that I’ve been grasping at for some time with my recent gaming choices. The lack of excitement seems trivial but you know it when its gone. Recent drama and dare I say “first world problems” brought this interesting event some perspective.  On the same day I got it I was greeted to complaints from my father about how his HD 3D TV has died.  Though my shrug brought annoyance from him it is just a toy, an unnecessary and overly expensive toy.  Yet later that day amidst many signs and portends my cell phone gave up the ghost as well.  Yay for coincidences.

It’s hard to define how much these little bits of luxury become so necessary and important to our everyday lives.   Suddenly you stop to exist as a person, you no longer consume information nor receive digital comfort the way you once had.  Yet with all this going on I decided to sit down and play my new Nintendo.  A Nintendo gratefully received and one that brought back an odd moment of joy and reflection which I seem to lack now.  Thus it was Saturday night that I sat and fought with the Imperial forces bent on destroying the Rebel Alliance and found out that life wasn’t so bad.  At least until I fell off into a ravine because the controls are terrible.