Alone in the Smooze: “Make New Friends but Keep Discord” review

Let me explain to you how my brain works… this will be difficult.

Every time something good happens in my life, I assume it’ll go bad. This is a big problem when friendships are involved.

Every time I’ve developed, or started to develop, some type of friendship with someone, something always goes wrong. And it’s never my fault, it’s always them! Everyone hates me and it was always inevitable!

And I know what you’re thinking: That makes no sense. And it doesn’t. But that’s how my brain ends up processing the situation. It’s always something small and sometimes trivial that takes place, causing me to feel like it’s all over, and I should just throw it all away. It doesn’t take much for my brain to interpret something as absolute rejection, and convert it into absolute derision. And by the time I realize that, it’s hard to go back.

It wasn’t always this way. Back in high school, I was very clingy as a friend, and it would take a person cursing me out to get me to leave them alone. Which actually almost happened.

But now, I’ve gone in the complete opposite direction. Now I’m overly sensitive to it. Now any minor thing will get me to fall apart. And I think it might be due to my fragile self-esteem, and a debilitating social anxiety. It’s hard to approach people, and when I do, if they’re not 100% open, my brain just cries ‘abort’ and I walk away.

And I can only wonder if I’m alone in this.

Possibly not.

For instance: Discord! My spirit animal!

And I’ll explain how as I write another piece on My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. The show that never stops teaching me about myself. Continue reading

Not As It Seems: “Appleoosa’s Most Wanted” review

During the series one finale of Broadchurch (which, if you haven’t seen yet, you should), we learned who killed Daniel Latimer. We also learned that it was unintentional. The killer (whom I will not name here) didn’t mean to kill the kid, just scare him, but got a bit carried away. But obviously, that doesn’t excuse it.

Though it begs the question: What exactly was going through the minds of the writers when they came up with that? Not to say it was a bad idea. I actually liked it. But what is the reasoning, thematically, behind framing the big murder as unintentional, rather than deliberate?

Well, let’s analyse this carefully. If the murderer deliberately killed Danny, and was thinking: “I want this little prick dead!” It would’ve made it much harder to handle. Because the idea that a complete sociopath could live a life in a small town without anyone noticing, is a bit beyond the pale, and probably more appropriate for something like Dexter.

It’s also the reason I think Gracepoint completely screwed that up. Sure, it’s even easier to believe that Danny’s death could’ve been a complete accident, but a major theme of the series was the idea that even though there’s a shell of sweetness and joy, this small town has a dark centre that’ll slowly get exposed. But Gracepoint didn’t really have a dark centre, because Danny’s death was a complete accident. The moral equivalent of a brick falling on his head. Terrible, but not intentional.

Ending what is ostensibly a thriller by revealing it was all just a horrible accident isn’t really appropriate for a dark character drama. It’s more appropriate for an episode of My Little Pony!

Oh by the way: spoiler warning. I’m going to talk about My Little Pony again. Continue reading

How the Rainbow Stole Winter: “Tanks for the Memories” review

I’ll be honest, I love winter. And I doubt it’s for the reasons you think it is.

It’s not because of winter sports. Mainly because I hate sports. Although, I say that, but just this past winter, I got back into skiing, which is something I hadn’t done in over a decade, and I genuinely had a lot of fun. And who knows? Maybe I’ll get another chance this coming winter. But it’s not really something I’d go out of my way for. It was fun, but expensive, and also very uncomfortable trying to fit my freakishly large feet into those tiny metal braces. (They’re not actually metal, but they might as well be.) And then there’s the cold weather trying to bite my face off. So, honestly, I can take or leave it.

So what about Christmas? Well, let me put it this way: I’m an atheist, and I don’t like my family, and I never get any gifts unless you count cash, which I don’t. So no, I can’t say I like Christmas.

So why do I like winter? The atmosphere. The world around you becomes soft and white, like a pure cotton blanket has been delicately placed atop it. And as the outside, cold and frightful, bares down on your home, you can remain inside, with a cup of tea, and good book, next to a warm fire (or space heater, depending on the fire code), safe, cozy, and content.

Basically, I like to hibernate during the winter. In fact, there’s this island in Lake Huron called Mackinac that I visited a few times as a child. The only way on or off the island is by ferry, so once winter hits, the entire place is locked down. Because of this, I have this secret fantasy. I want to spend a winter there. Actually, I want to spend a whole year, but winter would be part of it. At home, isolated, little contact with the outside, I’d only have to leave to replenish my food reserves, which would be relatively easy since it’s a small island. To me, that would be perfect. They have a newspaper! The Town Crier! I could work as a reporter there! Or possibly manage the local digital infrastructure, or be the go-to computer repair guy. I assure you, I can pay my way in even the most isolated of communities, and I would love it! However, this fantasy is slightly kicked in the head by the fact that there’s an airport and internet connection. But cut me some slack, I’m slightly dependant on the web at this stage. Without Google, I’d probably snap. And without regular shipments from the mainland, I don’t see how I could manage a computer repair business anyway.

But you get my point, right? I love winter. It’s the only time I have an excuse to never leave the house. And I’m sure many share my perspective.

But not Rainbow Dash.

No, she hates the idea of staying inside where one won’t freeze their nipples off, which is where she comes into conflict with Tank, her pet turtle/tortoise/who-gives-a-shit!? Because apparently, he’s planning to hibernate for the winter. And she does not like it. Continue reading

The Filly Who Wouldn’t Grow Up: “Bloom & Gloom” review

I think I may be afraid of growing up. And that is a terrifying revelation to come to in your late 20s.

This is something I only recently noticed. Because next year, I’ll be graduating college for the second time, and I have no idea what’s going to happen. After all, my last college diploma didn’t do so well for me, if I’m honest.

For a start, I’ll have to move out of the college dorms, and I have no idea where I could move to and be able to pay for. I mean, if I don’t find a well-paying job, I might have to live is some shitty share house again! I don’t want that! Mainly because I don’t want another surly and obnoxious roommate whose major hobby is calling me a ‘fag’!

Though that’s unlikely to happen, regardless.

But can that really be defined as a fear of growing up? I’m not sure. I think it’s just fear of the unknown… fear of uncertainty… fear that I won’t be able to support myself. I’m not afraid of working, I’m afraid of not working. And given how the economy has been going these past few years, it’s not looking up.

But more than that, what if I get a job I hate? Alright, I’m getting paid, but I’m miserable at the same time, so it wouldn’t really be worth it. There comes a stage where you have to admit that the job you have is worse than starvation. I really hope I never reach that point. Then again, I’m learning IT, which is slowly making me want to live among the Amish.

Am I alone here? Almost certainly not. There are probably many people around the world genuinely afraid of what their future holds… and many ponies.

Yes, Apple Bloom. The precocious little filly who’s been spending the last several years desperate to lose her virginity– Uh, I mean, get her cutie mark, is now deathly afraid of it. Oh how times change… Continue reading

A Small Fish in a Big Pond: “Castle Sweet Castle” review

For some reason, these days I’ve been watching a lot of ‘Let’s Plays.’

You know what a ‘Let’s Play’ is, right? They’re those videos people post of gameplay footage, accompanied by their own boring commentary.

Generally, I watch them for the talk, because the right commentator can make even the most boring game in the world, a fascinating piece of work. Case in point: Gabe and Yahtzee, who do the ‘Let’s Drown Out’ series on YouTube. They’re entertaining, insightful, and hilarious as they talk about gaming news, answer viewer questions, and comment on random shit while one of them plays a game.

It may not sound that great, but for some reason, the formula works. And half the time I just pick a random episode and use it as background noise while I’m doing some menial stuff around the house.

One of their most recent videos featured them playing ‘Papers, Please,’ (which is a really good game, by the way) and their discussion naturally drifted toward communism. Or should I say: COMMUNISM!!! [shake fist dramatically]

That doesn’t work as well in text.

Anyway, it got me thinking about why communism has never worked in the past. And really, it all comes down to the fact that no country has ever had enough money to pull it off.

Alright, part of it is human nature. If you’re not getting rewarded for doing a good job over a bad job, why would you bother doing a good job? And if everyone gets paid the same regardless of skill set, why wouldn’t you just pick the easiest job you can find?

But let’s be honest, how many jobs out there can be described as, ‘shit’? How many jobs are lamented with the phrase, ‘it’s a dirty job, but somebody’s gotta do it’? How many jobs does no one want to fucking do!?

So imagine a world where that’s no longer an issue. Imagine a world where toilets were self-cleaning, robots handled shipping and loading at factories and warehouses, where machines handled our customer service… Actually, we already got that last one, which proves my point. Eventually, that’ll become a reality, and there’ll be no demand for shit work. So what does one do? How does one earn an honest living? Well, in that world, we’ll be so bogged down with resources, we won’t care! We’ll just give you food, fuck it!

This was what was envisioned by Gene Roddenberry: the Star Trek economy. They have no money in Star Trek, so they do what they want to, not what they need to.

But why would they even bother working at all in that world? Well, for recognition, responsibilities, power, fun, or simply maintaining their own sanity! It’s not for personal gain, but personal growth.

But even with plentiful resources, there is only so much land mass on this planet. How do we control that? If we can get anything we want without working for it, how do we stop people just taking five-story mansions and claiming that as their own?

Which finally leads me to a very important point: I don’t think that’s an issue, because not only does no one person need a five-story mansion all to themselves, I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t even want it if they had it!

Now, to be honest, I’m not someone you’d call ‘cheap’. I do have expensive tastes. I like fine wines, and imported Scotch Whisky. I like a good meal in a fancy restaurant, Earl Grey tea, and a well-made cup of coffee (which I still haven’t found in this town). I like a custom-tailored suit and tie, with nice shoes and a sweet hat. I like nice things. What I don’t like is a giant house with 27 rooms unless it’s a goddamn orphanage! Do you know what my dream home has? A bedroom, an office, a kitchen, a bathroom, and if I’m feeling cheeky: an entertainment room for all the entertaining I never do. And if I’m living with other people, like a wife and family for instance, we’re sharing most of that.

So why would anyone in their right mind want a house ten times bigger than they need!? Where half the time you’d enter a room and go: ‘Oh, this is new, never been in here before’? Where you can get lost on your way to the loo? Where every room just reminds you of how alone you are?

No one would want that!

And that brings us, in a roundabout way, to another episode of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. Establishing, once again, that Twilight isn’t princess material, and for once, I mean that in a good way. Continue reading

The Stepford Ponies: “The Cutie Map” review

I’m perplexed by conformity. This desire by some people to fit in, and be the same.

Not that I don’t understand people wanting to be part of a group. That I certainly get. We all want friends, and companionship, and what better way than by being part of a group? We are social animals after all.

No, what I don’t get is people seeing a group, and deciding to fit into it by changing who they are. That is perplexing to me. And you see this happening all the time; people adapting and giving into peer pressure, particularly teenagers. A lot of social fears are heightened at that age and the fear of being ostracised can lead someone to change their entire personality. Adapt to fit the crowd. Of course, these people are young, so they’re allowed to be stupid.

But I still see this happening, even years after I left high school. People are encouraged, and oftentimes forced, to adapt to the crowd and do things the way the majority does it. For instance, I’m currently learning Computer Programming (well, technically I’m on break right now) at college, and because of that, I have to run Windows on my laptop, even though I’d much prefer Linux. I know it’s a minor point for some, but it matters to me! However, one could argue a practical limitation here. It’s very hard to develop Windows applications on Linux.

But that’s not the only pressure I experience. For instance, I prefer open source software, and whenever I mention I don’t use Microsoft Office, people look at me like I got a third arm growing out of my chest.

I know, I know. It’s a very IT-specific point to make. I’m sure most people couldn’t give a shit about my software preferences.

But here’s my point: You shouldn’t let that happen. You shouldn’t let other people determine what makes you, you. Mainly because if we did that, we would stop being. If you’re the same as everyone else, we wouldn’t need you anymore, because we have everyone else. Which sounds very nihilistic, but it’s not untrue. What makes us important, and gives us value, is what makes us unique and different.

And I’m sure I won’t get anyone to question that. I’m sure everyone can agree that we should cherish what makes us unique. Right?

Well, perhaps not everyone. Which brings us to the fifth season première of My Little Pony! Or as I like to call it: Adventures in Stepford!

Ehh… creepy… Continue reading

It’s a Pet Shop Blitz: “Feud for Thought” review

One thing that strikes me about Broadchurch is that it seems no one gets along with anyone. In almost every episode, everyone is fighting with everyone else! We have feuds between families, family members, former colleagues, and whole professions!

And it very rarely seems rational.

I’d say ‘never’, but the show opens with a child being murdered, so a bit of animosity between the characters can kinda makes sense.

But that was two whole series ago. Can’t they get over it!? Can’t we all just get along? Can’t we get over our petty little differences and learn that we’re all humans, wanting to make the world a better place?

This even happens in the real world! Take France and England! They may not go to war anymore, but they still constantly find ways to get on each other’s tits! Russia and the US still glare at each other from across the Pacific Ocean. And then you have the middle east, where you can throw religion into the mix and holy fucking hell! And all these feuds are pointless, and juvenile, and they all just need get the fuck over it!

And that’s the lesson that framed another episode of Littlest Pet Shop! All about conflict, and conflict resolution! Continue reading

Not Just For Christmas

Well, Happy Holidays everyone! I hope you’re all having a merry old time.

I’m not, I’m spending it with family, so by default it’s crap.

Regardless, it’s a time of celebration, joy, and consumerism, as people give gifts, get drunk, and have fun.

But what kind of gifts? Toys are a given, every child loves toys. Makeup is a common gift for girls and women, and many people give clothes because they like to think practically. Some people also give cash or gift cards, the lazy prats. Gift cards are the worst because they’re actually a step down from cash. They’re just as practical, but only valid at one location and often for a limited time only. And if the store closes down, you’re fucked!

But even cash annoys me because it shows no effort. This is something I mentioned before: The real meaning of a gift should be in how much effort and thought is put into it. Saying, “here’s a twenty,” involves absolutely no effort, and even less thought.

So what did I get for Christmas? A $25 prepaid Visa card. Okay, that actually costs more than cash and is exactly as useful. However, I guess I could use it online. That’s a plus.

But there are other gifts one can give. For instance, some people give pets for Christmas. Dogs, cats, that kind of thing. Which is great. There’s a lot of love one can get from a pet, and it can last a lifetime. But it’s important to remember that. It’s important to remember, as every animal shelter on earth needs to remind everyone every goddamn year, that “A pet is not just for Christmas!”

Basically it means people are taking in animals at Christmas, and giving them as pets, without thinking it thorough. Without considering the costs and responsibilities that come with pet ownership. And this is evidenced by the fact that most pet shops and animal shelters see an upswing in pet sales/adoptions in the run up to Christmas, and an associated upswing in the number of returned and abandoned pets in the months following.

You see, it’s fun for a couple of weeks, or maybe even months. Then you realize you have to feed this thing, and reality hits like a ton of dog shit you need to pick up!

If you’re going to get a pet, keep it. This shouldn’t be too hard to understand! Pets are great! They’re constant companions that’ll always stay with you. And if you don’t think you want that, don’t get one at all!

And while we’re on the subject of pets, let’s talk about another episode of Littlest Pet Shop. Where the lesson is simple: If you’re going to buy a pet, keep it! Don’t be a pet-tease! You cocks! Continue reading