Flolloping Along
Work Update.

Still no internet at the office, and that may be a good thing, at least for the people who pay me.

That said, my mere existence is a good thing for those idiots, and they’d better realize it soon.

Training Update.

Had a great experience sparring new friends. First time I played someone so well-versed in long range. As usual, despite having trained many hours together, sparring proved to be the real ice-breaker.

Wish I had more serious training partners.

Wolverine’s Skeleton

Wolverine has an indestructible skeleton, but as we saw in Age of Apocalypse and Ultimate Wolverine vs Hulk, this does absolutely nothing for his joints (parts of the skeleton held together by soft tissues).

So here’s a question: why is it that whenever Wolverine is burned or shot or cut to the point that the bones of an entire limb are showing, said bones don’t just fall to the ground? In case comic book artists weren’t previously aware, museum skeleton displays such as those for dinosaurs are held together by rods, screws, and wires.

Cyclops’s power, set to an angle wide enough to engulf Wolverine’s entire body, would *literally* dismember him by severing every single ligament the beams come in contact with. And Cyke could do it from half a mile away.

That said, why the hell is Green Lantern always getting punched in the face when he could fight his enemies from orbit?

Pejorative Connotation.

 And then, in a moment of clarity in the year 2091, society realized that, “cripple” having been replaced by “handicapped”, “handicapped” having been replaced by “disabled”, “disabled” having been replaced by “physically challenged”, which was then replaced by “differently abled”, which in turn was replaced by “people with disabilities”, itself replaced during a particularly sardonic time in word coinage by “crips”, which was overturned by “bloods”, then “crips”, then “bloods”, which was replaced by “unpowered”, which lost popular ground to “differently powered”, which was superseded by “no-money-for-cyborg-prosthetics”, which shortened to what was perceived as the less-pejorative “au naturel”, which eventually was seen as pejorative anyway and made way for “defective” (which by the 2080s due to the perfection of society  had acquired a somewhat positive connotation that actually lasted for about a year), after all that, society realized that any word you use to refer to people who are perceived to have less than the majority will automatically become pejorative. This was explained by the theory of roses and garbage still smelling the same even when you switch the names around, which was discovered in the 2070s to have actually occurred in a cargo cult which had taught itself English through shredded novel manuscripts the Red Cross had used to build houses for them (the cult’s saying, “our breath smells like goddamned roses”, often chanted when praying for toothpaste and fluorinated bottled water to fall from the sky, became well known among American schoolchildren). 

By 3010, after the great War Against Cloying Peace, everyone went back to using words like “blind”, “ugly”, “lame”, “dumb”, “squatter”, “maid”, “fat”, “poor”, and Context 101 became a required subject in the first year of high school.

Inequality of Gripes.

I have a friend who has been living here for a little over a year. He hails from a 1st-world country, and he rightfully states that the political and social problems of the Philippines are the same as in any other country. However, he wrongly believes that our countries are therefore equal in suffering and that I shouldn’t be so indignant about domestic injustices and inefficiencies since “it’s the same everywhere”.

All I can say about this without going off on a rant is that Americans, for instance, worry about ulterior motives in legislation such as Obamacare. Filipinos, on the other hand, worry about legislation will 1) actually be made or 2) ever be carried out. Americans fear the changes that can be brought about by poor legislation, Filipinos wonder if changes will ever be made. Americans fear shadowy conspiracies. Filipinos wonder whether competent, educated legislators even exist. Marcos is still a kind of hero for many even with all the shit that he did because he actually managed to do some good things on the side. Many people I know favored Estrada becoming Manila’s mayor just because, however dumb or corrupt he may be, he can’t play the system like Lim did, and so will probably get away with less. We are similar but not equivalent, dammit.

I even had one balikbayan telling me that copyright law was important to fight for in this country. Yeah, stopping minimum wage earners from buying DVD’s of movies that already made $3B is really going to put us on the right track. Agh, fuck you all.

Redemption!

Ah, such a good day yesterday, making up for the horrible beatings I took recently. Made a philosophical point by kicking the shit out of some spars, and learned a bit more about applying footwork. I’m also further down the line in understanding the distinctions among sport, martial arts, and fighting. 

Some people have told me that PNOY is reactive. Ridiculous. That would imply accomplishment. Paying lip-service after a crime or natural disaster isn’t being “reactive”, it’s showmanship/salesmanship.

Miriam Defensor is so awesome. I don’t for one second believe that she isn’t in some way corrupt, nor do I look past her incessant narcissistic grandstanding. But of all of her fellow senators, she’s not just brilliant in her analysis of situations and application of her skills, she’s also the only politician I can consistently expect to demonstrate any kind of competence or having done her homework. I grew up thinking that I could expect all public servants to be at least a Miriam Defensor. She makes me wish I’d studied law.

Back in the Saddle, Part I.

I stopped playing new computer games about 10 years ago because I could never afford a computer that could run them. I still haven’t played Half Life 2 and in 2008 I used a budget laptop purchased for thesis/schoolwork to play Homeworld 2 (and lots of Mechwarrior 3! And any of my other old games that would still run). Through an incredibly fortunate circumstance I was given a 2.4GHz i5 laptop with 4Gb of RAM in 2011, which while not being a gaming machine of any kind, will at least allow me to play releases from about 1 or 2 years back.

I was surprised to find so many F2P games available. I had heard of F2P while playing COD and CS in internet cafes, and had thought that the major issue with the model was P2W. Having been out of the loop for so long, I decided to try these games and see how badly imbalanced P2W schemes made things.

Imagine my delight when I downloaded MWO and, after a little reading on military tactics, started making a decent account of myself, whether or not my opponents were so-called “Hero” mechs. So I patted myself and PGI on the back and kept playing. And reading. And grinding.

And grinding.

After several days of play and missed sleep, I suddenly realized that I still couldn’t afford any new mechs! At the rate I was going it would be between a week and a month before I could ever afford a SINGLE new mech. Worse, all that grinding would eventually be for naught because I could only have 4 mechs at any given time. But in order to max out the skill tree of a single chassis I had to purchase each of the variants (3 or 4 variants to a chassis). So effectively in a game of about 2 dozen mech chassis, each with about 3 or 4 variants, you have between 70 and 100 unique mechs available, and you can only own 4 AT A TIME. If you want more storage, guess what you have to do?

Now I understand that some people think that a dollar-and-a-half isn’t a lot of money for a mech bay, and it’s not. It really isn’t. On the other hand you’d have to shell out around a hundred dollars for a mech bay for each variant in the game, as opposed to MW2: Mercs which had over a hundred chassis and cost $40 in a 3-pack of MW2 games back in the 1990s.

And back in those days I could customize my mechs however I chose. I don’t mind grinding to buy weapons and equipment for a mech, because the game-money (C-bills) prices are pretty reasonable. But why in the realm of Middle Earth do I have to pay real money to customize the mech’s paint job??? Character customization is literally the.most. basic element of character creation, and has been this whole millennium. To say nothing of the fact that it’s.a.war.game. and you want to be able to camouflage yourself appropriately.

Also, why are the Hero mechs so expensive? Are there really people who will pay $30 for a single mech? I want to reiterate that I got 3 Mechwarrior games in the 90s for $40 total, and in them I got over a hundred mechs, dozens of hours of campaigning, and as much customization as I cared for. I actually considered buying the Founder’s pack when I heard of MWO (I signed up long before it was in Beta), but I never thought they’d be fleecing customers after the game’d gone gold (in an unfinished state, no less).

Finally, MWO may not be P2W, but people who pay for Premium Time (during which you earn more C-bills and XP than non-payer-players) certainly have a much less grindy life. If they’re earning 50% more money that means they’re only going to have to put in 2/3rds the time and effort that I do. This may sound fair – I thought it did, at first – but this business model feels a lot like being punished, physically punished, for not shelling out money. But in the end, I play. Whatever, it’s fun, it’s not really P2W, it does most of what I expected it to as a MW game and a lot that I never even thought of. Bravo, PGI, you have a fan. 

addendum to “Rambling on Combatives”

Also, at any age, knowing how to throw a hook and a straight, lifting weights and doing some sit-ups will get you out of probably 90% of sticky situations.

Rambling on “Combatives”

Caveat: This rant is mostly based on a couple conversations I had with the most violent-minded people I’ve met, both of whom are in the upper economic strata with tertiary education or higher, and both of whom are family men. I should add that the less wealthy people I know that do martial arts do so because they like fighting and don’t make excuses for it. Finally, the best and most qualified people I’ve ever met in martial arts (especially Muay Thai) are just about the nicest most laid-back people ever —- probably because they let it all out in the ring and don’t feel they have to prove anything outside of it.

Somebody recently told me he was no longer into things like boxing or Muay Thai or BJJ or wrestling because these need youth and strength, while “combatives” are easy, effective, efficient, and practical (I think they call that “functional” these days), like headbutts, eye gouges, and I’m guessing biting.

OK first of all, if your body is destroyed training anything, then you’re either a professional athlete or an idiot. It is a pro’s job to destroy himself to be competitive and entertaining, not so for a civilian who wants to learn to defend him/her self. If you insist on training with BJJ guys who think torn rotator cuffs and ACLs are membership cards to an elite club, that’s your choice. If you think that fighting every week or month in full contact matches is necessary to learn to apply the techniques, that’s your choice. If you think that you need to destroy your knees and ankles or shoulders through overuse injuries to learn to kick someone in the thigh or elbow them in the face, that’s your choice. If you think that it makes more sense to only do things that any untrained person could do, rather than say, train in something and also be aware of the things any untrained person could do, then that’s your choice.

Me, I think that martial sports are healthy and improve reaction speed, timing, strength, stamina, health, etc etc, and everything else is about mindset (not my term, thanks sir) —- a mindset that a trained person OR an untrained person could have. The difference being that a trained person can have the mindset along with totally useful skills, while an untrained person can have the mindset, eye gouges, groin shots, teeth, and would probably collapse like a sack of potatoes if you punched him in the nose or kicked him in the leg. 

Furthermore, I find it silly when people come along telling me they’re learning X or Y martial art for practicality. Practicality is studying hard, working hard, being a nice guy, and avoiding dangerous situations. Practicality is technology: a gun, gloves that can’t be cut, hidden edged knives, poison. 
Efficient techniques are making money so you can pay someone else to put their lives on the line for you, or getting in a fight with someone and then telling them that you have had his family kidnapped.

We practice martial arts because they’re cool. It’s probably a tiny minority of people that got the snot beat out of them as kids but then practiced martial arts and then managed to save themselves and their friends and family from muggings and gang violence. To say nothing of the fact that saving the environment and working in education or simply wearing a cop uniform and driving around the block a few times with an unloaded gun do a lot more for public health and safety than any number of ULTRA REAL NO BS MARTIAL ARTS.

Nobody looking for practical solutions to everyday problems will learn how to hit things with sticks, knives, swords, fists, or feet. No society ever became better or won a war because of the ability to throw down (sharper rocks, longer spears and automatic weapons, hello!).

We think it’s cool. We want to be like the masters. We want to feel strong. We’re upholding traditions.

Martial arts won’t make you feel strong. Walking in a dangerous place at night will always be walking in a dangerous place at night. And in fact, looking badass can make you a more inviting target. Winning streetfights can make you a more inviting target. Being the toughest guy around WILL make you a more inviting target. And as much as I hate Penn and Teller’s “Bullshit”, they’re right about one thing: martial arts practice is a surer way to get injured than random violence. More expensive, too.

Please, I’m still not sure what I’m doing martial arts for, but if you just want you and your family to be safe from violence, be a good person and do good things for and with good people. 


All Crap X-Men.

Wish my brother would buy more All-New X-Men so I could find out what’s been happening. Here’s what I think will happen:

Sexual tension and an unexplainable connection between Wolvelogajames and a very under-aged Jean Grey who is afraid of nice guys pushed over the edge but not spoiled rich brats with knives in their hands that kill people when the girl they like likes someone else.

Old Cyclops will act more and more like a supervillain so that nobody remembers that his whole fall from grace was extraordinarily contrived and illogical.

Young Cyclops will keep moping and acting like a little kid and will eventually be convinced of LogajamesXerine’s point-of-view because in comic book logic, if your younger, innocent, less experienced and less educated self disagrees with you, you are automatically evil.

Professor X will come back to life. He may walk. If he can’t walk, just give it a few story arcs.

Oldclops will want to repent but it’ll be too late —- he’ll have gone too far to turn back!

Beast will become a hairy blue dolphin, further deepening the already brilliant and nuanced character development he’s gotten through the years.

JameXerine will cleverly make a meta-reference to the fact that he’s on 3 dozen other superteams. He will not, however, cleverly make a meta-reference to the fact that he has 2 to 3 love interests on each of them (all of them will be attracted to him because he hates them and/or can’t be with them).

Mystique will not wonder how the hell she got shoehorned into this story in the first place.

Spider-Man will guest star, giving out words of wisdom despite being a barely-functional, neurotic mess of a man-child who never stops whining about his horrible luck despite being one of the smartest people in the world, being able to jump over a building, and having dated or married only supermodels whose superpower was hotness since he was fifteen years old. Oh, wait, isn’t he Doctor Octopus or a ghost or something right now? Uh, never mind.

Iceman (old) and Iceman (young) will make ice jokes and compete with each other. Despite being one of the most powerful X-Men, he will be treated as a chump.

Wolverine will Wolverine the Wolverine on the Wolverining Wolverine of the Wolverine’s Wolverine. 

Wolverine.