3 Dishes, 3 Observations

Photo by Lou Stejskal. Used under Creative Commons license.

Oxtail Stew

The world is unfair. Mean people can be successful. Nice people get stricken with terminal diseases. Karma does not exist.

Except, perhaps, with cuts of meat. Most meats fall under a continuum with flavor on one side and price/ease of cooking on the other. Take, for example, the filet mignon, which is expensive and takes only a few minutes to sear. That steak is tender and tasty, but it is a little bland and forgettable. Continue reading 3 Dishes, 3 Observations

The Possible Letdown of LeBron Going to Philadelphia

The NBA Eastern Conference Semifinals have been a huge letdown. Philadelphia has barely avoid getting swept by a Celtics team missing their two best players. And after a difficult first round, LeBron and his team of nobodies have demolished the Raptors. Neither the Celtics nor the Cavaliers deserve to play in the NBA Finals, but one of them is almost certain to make it.

LeBron knows his team is bad. The Cavs have been a flawed team both before and after the trade deadline. At times during the regular season, LeBron James looked listless and rightfully so when you look at whom he is playing with. The situation has not improved in the playoffs. Kevin Love, JR Smith, and Tristan Thompson have had at most two or three good games apiece during the first two series, and everyone else on the roster has been completely forgettable. Continue reading The Possible Letdown of LeBron Going to Philadelphia

Nier: Automata – Every Love Story Is a Ghost Story

Full spoilers for Nier: Automata follow.

The least attractive quality a woman can have is being in to me. Too much interest is going to make me bored. Also, being attracted to me is an obvious indication something is wrong with you because clearly you need to raise your standards. I should always be the reacher in a relationship.

This is why I am attracted to girls with a bipolar personality. I want someone in my life who can be the kindest person one moment and then say psychologically damaging words immediately afterwards. Love and hate should always be intertwined1)This is not healthy..

And that is the reason I love Nier: Automata. Continue reading Nier: Automata – Every Love Story Is a Ghost Story

Footnotes   [ + ]

1. This is not healthy.

The Magic of Marvel

In Spider-Man: Homecoming, Peter Parker and his classmates compete in Academic Decathlon. I love that AcaDec is part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe because I competed in it my senior year of high school. In fact, academic decathlon class was where I first heard about Marvel’s grandiose plan. One day during seventh period, a classmate of mine was talking about the Avengers movie. He said they would have to make Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor films first. And I remember thinking, “That’s too many movies. This will never work.”

Boy was I wrong. I have loved the MCU since the release of Iron Man and seen every single one. Seeing tribute videos makes me incredibly emotional.

My opinion is not unique. Walking into a comic book shop can be an off-putting experience. I walked into one this weekend. A group of teenagers was playing a tabletop game. Another group of middle-aged men sat across the room talking comics. Even for a nerdy loser like me, a comic book shop can be too dorky. On the other hand, everyone can talk about the movies. Continue reading The Magic of Marvel

No Asterisks

The Houston Rockets won the NBA championship in ’94 and ’95. However, those titles will always carry with them an asterisk: They won them during Michael Jordan’s first retirement1)Technically, Jordan came back during the ’94-’95 season, but he would not return to his GOAT level until the following year.. People look down on those championships because Hakeem Olajuwon did not have to beat Jordan to earn them.

As a Rockets fan, I say this argument is bullshit. Injuries, retirements, and bad luck are inherent factors every season. The best teams and players often do not face off against one another. The Lakers still won in ’09 even though Kobe vs. Lebron never happened. Back in the 90’s, The Rockets were the best team in the NBA two years in a row, and nothing should diminish that.

But deep down, even I know that is not true. Those Rockets championships do have a little tarnish on them. The Dream never got to play MJ in the Finals. Continue reading No Asterisks

Footnotes   [ + ]

1. Technically, Jordan came back during the ’94-’95 season, but he would not return to his GOAT level until the following year.

The Earnestness of Genre Fiction

I wrote a novel.

Technically, only the first draft is finished, but that just means I wrote a really shitty book. When people ask me to describe my novel (or when I try to subtly bring the subject up in conversation like an arrogant asshole), I tell them:

The book is about a lot of big themes. Part of it is about the disempowerment of young men in the modern economy. Some of it is about the mind-body problem, in particular how the body is extensible through the use of tools.

But primarily the book is about giant robots fighting each other.

Laughter normally ensues. The joke proves I have a hip, ironic detachment with my work. Giant robots cannot have thematic value.

I am a fucking coward. The ironic detachment protects me and hides the truth: I wrote a book called Mecha Americana because I love Gundam and Neon Genesis Evangelion. To this day, I wish I could pilot the Gundam Epyon or Eva Unit-01, so I wrote a story about a white dude whom appropriates Japanese culture and technology to save the day. Continue reading The Earnestness of Genre Fiction

Back to School

This blog is a collection of my failures. I have written previously about my biggest mistake:

I screwed up my life.

At the beginning, I had so much talent. I skipped kindergarten and dominated my classes. In high school, I was a straight A student who graduated sixth in my class of over eight hundred. My parents and teachers told me I was so smart. I was easily accepted to the University of Texas as an honors biomedical engineering student with a full scholarship. My first semester GPA was a 4.0.

Then everything went to hell. I failed some classes and lost my scholarship. Engineering turned into philosophy, bringing constant questions of, “Philosophy? What on earth are you going to do with that?” After five unsuccessful years in college, I dropped out and moved back in with my parents. I started cashiering again at the same grocery store I worked at in high school. Even four years after dropping out, I have barely gotten my life on track. At age 26, still having a roommate begins to look a little pathetic.

The good news is I no longer have a roommate. In fact, I not only have my own apartment but also a career too. After I returned to my hometown as a cashier, I quickly moved up to an assistant manager position. Getting to wear a blue shirt instead of a red one was marginally less humiliating. Continue reading Back to School

A Trip to Ikea

I loved going to IKEA as a kid. My mom would drop me off at the child care section and go off to do some shopping. I would jump around the ball pit and play Super Mario Bros. on the NES. When my mom would pick me up, we would go eat. I would always get chicken fingers at the restaurant and then a cookie for the way home. With all those benefits, IKEA was my favorite shop to visit, infinitely better than my childhood nemesis Dillard’s.

That fondness has continued into adulthood but for different reasons. Recently, my mom and I took another trip to IKEA, so I could get some furniture for my new apartment. Upon first entering, we saw the ball pit through the window on the first floor. A twinge of nostalgia ran through my body. My disappointment was quickly replaced by excitement as we took the escalator to the second floor showroom. Continue reading A Trip to Ikea

Burnout Paradise Remastered: A Racing Platformer

Two dimensions are never enough. Plenty of 2-D video games, like Super Metroid and The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, have exploration components. Link and Samus bomb walls to discover treasures and ascend to great heights to discover new locations. But the sense of exploration in those games is limited.

The addition of the third dimension increases the complexity of moving around a space. Your non-game-playing grandparents may look like passable Space Invaders players but may struggle to get out of a room in Grand Theft Auto V. Breaking away from a single plane of motion increases the complexity by an order of magnitude, but that difficulty increases the reward of being able to explore that space.

This was the revolutionary component of Super Mario 64; exploring a three-dimensional space can be rewarding on its own. In SM64, it was exciting to climb to the top of Bob-omb Battlefield, race to the bottom of Cool, Cool Mountain, or even just jump around the overworld castle. Continue reading Burnout Paradise Remastered: A Racing Platformer