Saturday, October 30, 2010

What Feminism Really Is

Just like with Liberalism and Conservatism, Feminism seems to be oft misunderstood. Just like with the former two, it seems the stereotype associated with Feminism is that of the extremist; people who I wouldn't even call Feminists. I'll explain why.

Feminism is a Liberal philosophy which fights for freedom and equality between the sexes, but is called Feminism because, for that to happen, women would need to gain more rights and privileges to match those shared by men. This means that Feminism is not just a viewpoint for women to hold; men can be considered Feminists as well. This also means that anyone who actually fits the stereotype of a Feminist (a misandrist who wants to treat men as inferior) is not really a Feminist.

Believe it or not, we still have a bit of progress to make in the United States (considering it is a country founded on the concept of freedom, yet inconsistencies still exist), and it seems that most of these problems exist in the workplace. Also, the problems seem to be persistent because of the cultural belief in nature over nurture, far more so than what should really be believed about the subject. However, I will say that it's at least not nearly as bad as what is going on over in places like the Middle East and Africa, where women have little to no rights.

Also, even though I understand why it was named so, I don't like the term Feminism. A change nowadays would be good. I'd prefer something gender neutral, but I don't know what. If anybody has any great ideas, let me know (if you don't want to leave a comment, you can email me through my profile).

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Banning Teens From Trick or Treating

http://shine.yahoo.com/event/momentsofmotherhood/how-old-is-too-old-for-trick-or-treating-2403664/

I've complained about a lot in the past, but this is just about the dumbest thing I've ever heard.

There is no reason to be afraid of kids or even people my cousin's age trick or treating. I'm curious, what is the fear based on anyway? You think they're going to immediately swarm into your house and cause mischief or what? Why worry about somebody asking for something that you have plenty of and are willing to provide for free? That's what I see it as: asking for free food. It may be mostly junk food, but it's still food. That's all these people, both young and old, are really doing is looking for something to eat.

Or is this all just based on social stigma? Deviation from social norms is not reason enough to make a law limiting people's freedoms. The fact that it's not a normal occurrence does not make a cause for a concern. It doesn't mean that there is something wrong with a person if they deviate from social norms. Then again, considering the history of the human race, this isn't a surprising thing to discover, and just proves that even the smallest little thing can be taken far out of context.

No matter what, though, there is no good reason to ban anyone from trick or treating on Halloween. Anyone deliberately out to get someone in any way on Halloween is not going to be trick or treating. They obviously have other motives if they're not, and that's all you'll be giving people (particularly teens, I imagine), a reason to do something else, including trashing houses, like has always been done and can be done even if not allowed to trick or treat. So even if it's banned, there's no point, because shit can still happen anyway. The only purpose it serves is to limit citizen's freedoms for no reason.

So why do it?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Cheating in Online Multiplayer

I'm going to talk more in-depth about one of my biggest problems with online gaming: cheaters. In this post, I'll be using Call of Duty 4 as a prime example, since that's where I see this bullshit the most. I have the Xbox 360 version, so Microsoft is supposed to be able to detect whether or not someone is hacking and cheating automatically. However, there are still quite a few who are undetectable (and if you want proof that people are indeed cheating, look at the leaderboards, particularly the kill ratings), and usually try to hide their cheating ways by trying to play legitimately, but they usually still do little things that give it away. Playing on Hardcore can render a couple of the cheats useless, but many still work well.

For instance, there is a name display hack, which always displays the names of everyone, so they can not only tell who's on their team, but they can even see the names through walls, and if they have deep impact on (they likely do if they're using this hack), then they can easily shoot your through the wall. Now, here's the problem. Just because they shoot you through the wall does not mean they know you're there. They may have gotten lucky, since there may have been a person in front of the wall they were trying to shoot at. Otherwise, you can tell someone's hacking if no one is around that area, or if they only shoot one or two bullets and manage to hit kill you. Hell, that's a general rule of thumb even if there is no wall: if someone only shoots a bullet or two, particularly from a sub-machine gun more than halfway across the map, and it hits you and kills you, that person is very likely cheating.

Either that or they make themselves seem legitimate by coming around to get you, so they're in plain sight when they see you to seem legit. Sometimes they are, like if there is a UAV (radar) activated, but half of the time I've had that happen to me, it wasn't even on. In fact, I remember a time when I was hiding in a building for a bit, shooting someone out a window (somebody else was in there with me at the time). After I kill that person, I move away from the window a few feet and sit for a moment to see if anyone will come through the door, and sure enough, after about fifteen seconds, a guy far away pops up from behind a corner, immediately shoots a rocket launcher through the doorway (not even enough time to aim), and hits me with a direct hit. And there was no UAV at the time, so there was no other way for him to know I was right there, so it would've been dumb for him to waste a rocket on nothing if nothing were there. It's too hard for me to believe that was based on luck or skill, mostly because you don't just go shooting rockets at random because that's a bad strategy, since you can only have two shots with it, until you die and respawn, and the guy only died a couple of times during the game. And got a kill score higher than thirty.

Which reminds me of another thing that should tip you off on who's cheating and who isn't. If there is someone who is consistently never or rarely dying and getting a shitload of kills every single match/map (and there's usually one of those mother fuckers every game), there's a good chance that person's cheating, but that depends on how that person is playing. If they're one of those run and gun types, then they're probably cheating, because in Call of Duty 4, doing that will typically get you killed often. If they're sniping people out from a secluded location, particularly one that takes time to get to (which makes me wonder why they don't die anyway, since they usually have to be wide open to get to those places most of the time), it's kind of believable, but still makes it not much fun to play if some asshole keeps sniping you out every minute or two (by the way, sniping like that takes little skill, and if anything, shows a lack of it, despite the large scores attained).

But beware of reporting these people. If you do it enough, and it turns out they're not cheating (somehow), then you could be the one who ends up banned. Some of these people are either just being legally cheap, or are insanely good (i.e. a person who needs to do something else with his time, even if that means playing a completely different game and not just, you know, switching to Modern Warfare 2). So if you're thinking someone is cheating, but aren't completely sure about it, just give them a bad rating. Otherwise, if you've seen enough proof, such as another person not dying after several hits in Hardcore mode (if I remember correctly, Juggernaut only helps in Normal mode, and even if it worked in Hardcore, it wouldn't help you last more than a couple of hits), or if someone one-hit kills you in Normal mode (no head shot) all the way across the map with a pistol literally almost immediately after being killed by you, then it probably wouldn't hurt to report them.

And of course, I am certainly not against cheating in video games. Sometimes doing so extends the life of your game with neato codes that you can use. And you want to make your purchase worthwhile, so if you can't beat a game, you're not getting the full experience. That's another instance where cheating can save the day, and it's nothing to be ashamed of if you ever have to do it, since there are quite a few games out there that are otherwise good, but are just too fucking hard. However, the one instance where I can easily make an exception is in multiplayer games, particularly online. It just goes to show either a person's lack of skill or inconsideration for the concept of having fun whenever someone feels the need to use cheats and hacks online. If there is one thing that makes me think a person is less of a gamer for doing something, that's it right there: the need to cheat in multiplayer, for a person who otherwise can't play worth shit in the game. On second thought, what I think is worse is if someone is really good already and still feels the need to cheat in multiplayer. Either way, it's stupid.

P.S. Not that I care much for winning or competition compared to having fun, but for those who do, it's because of bull shit like this that, for a game style that I otherwise usually do at least decent at, I usually get low scores in this game. If you normally do well in games like this, like I do, and expect to do well, think again.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Local Multiplayer Vs. Online Multiplayer

Local
Pros:

-I love having the ability to hug and kiss my girlfriend before, during, and after games. It's otherwise still great fun playing with friends and loved ones, i.e. the people you typically want to play games with the most.

-Cheating is nearly impossible, so you're almost guaranteed a fair game.

-Usually no worries about lag or having a game cut out suddenly. A game that does (that's not online) either has too much going on at once, or has bad design.

-It's easier for the group to get what is preferred, such as a particular map or weapon set to be used during play.

-You don't normally have to pay for extra crap. Maybe an extra controller, if anything, but that's about it. Everything else is available for you automatically. 

Cons:

-You don't get to play with some cool people you otherwise wouldn't normally get a chance to play with.

-Unless you have LAN set up, you can't play with more than four people.

-Sometimes the people you want to play with in local multilayer aren't available at the time you want to play.

Online
Pros:

-Sometimes, there is extra content available online, such as more maps and items. Extends the life of the game and usually makes it more fun.

-Usually, you can play with up to sixteen people easily. Sometimes more, sometimes less, but either way, you're most likely going to play with more than four people.

-Somebody is always available for play, and sometimes you can meet some good people.

Cons:

-Most of the people you meet online, however, are assholes in one way or another, but your most common asshole is probably the troll, who just does what he/she does for his own personal lulz (not like it's funny or takes much thought anyway).

-To add to that, the treatment of women is particularly bad, and is otherwise something you normally won't get in local multiplayer. Click the image below to see a good example of the typical bull shit involved with that.



-There are quite a few cheaters online. Although some people are unfairly judged as cheaters, some people do little things that give away the fact that they are indeed cheating somehow, such as being able to see your display name at all times, or if they only need to shoot one or two bullets from a sub-machine gun to kill you.

-If there aren't people cheating, you're bound to find somebody using a cheap tactic, or you'll find somebody who's insanely good (i.e. somebody who spends far too much time playing the game). Either way, getting killed constantly by any of these people ruins the fun for everyone else.

-Don't be surprised if the game ends suddenly, or lags because of a bad connection. Hell, don't be surprised if you can't even get online, either.

-Extra shit usually must be paid for, whether it be a monthly subscription to the online service running your games, or add-ons and stuff like that.

-Certain options are usually predetermined, mostly maps. Sometimes it can be changed with a vote if a particular map is unsatisfactory to most players, but that doesn't happen even half of the time you play. A bad setting is almost guaranteed any time you play.

-Good luck being able to play your games online forever. Servers may be shut down; a lot of games no longer have online multiplayer due to the feature not being supported by the company anymore. Even so, don't expect to play games like Mario Kart 64 or the original Super Smash Bros. online.

So, what would I pick? I think it should be obvious: local multiplayer kicks online's ass any day of the week. I'll play online games if I'm really bored and have nobody around to play a game with me, but otherwise, I'll take giving my girlfriend hugs and kisses over some idiot insulting me for the easiest attempt at "humor" ever any day of the week.

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Fifth Element


Upon first viewing this film in the late nineties, I found it confusing, but I figured that was because I was a kid who couldn't understand any underlying themes like my cousin usually kind of could. Even after learning how to search for that kind of symbolism in film and literature, I still don't know if this is one of those kinds of films that can be studied much, if at all, but either way, all I needed was just another viewing with my cousin to explain a bit more of the plot. After that, it made sense, and I liked it a lot.

The film is essentially about this evil sitting out in space that gains power from evil deeds committed either throughout the world or the universe, and attacks Earth once every five thousand years. To stop it, four stones representing certain elements are to be collected and placed in a pyramid around a fifth element, the supreme being representing good or love, to stop the evil heading towards Earth, but if evil stands there, then. . . obviously something bad happens.

Unfortunately, considering this is directed by Luc Besson, the same person who also directed The Transporter, I'm not even sure if this movie does have much hidden symbolic stuff to look for. A lot of the messages seem to be pretty clear. That's not a bad thing, it just seems like quite an artsy project despite the action and comedic moments. Here you have a film with a wobbly, penguin-like alien with shitloads of DNA being resurrected as a sexy flat-chested, red-haired woman who knows martial arts and eats more food than that Japanese guy who eats over fifty hot dogs every year, an evil corporate boss with half a head of hair and plastic on his head who deals with evil alien merc creatures and talks to a magic evil orb thing hanging out in space waiting to attack Earth, and a tall blue female opera singer with tentacles coming out of her head who bleeds green blood, and has magic stones that are supposed to help the red-haired chick save the world stuffed inside her stomach somehow.

Oh, and I can't forget about the most annoying character in the film, probably the only thing that is truly bad about the film: Ruby Rhod, the radio DJ with wacky hair, a horrible fashion sense (it is the future, but damn, a full bodied leopard print outfit?), an annoying voice, is an extremely jumpy scaredy cat, and has a scream loud enough to pierce through the sound of an explosion (and still manages to get plenty of women even considering all of that), played by the only actor this character could possibly be played by: Chris Tucker. Other than comic relief, he has no purpose. He essentially does nothing helpful, other than ensure Korben Dallas, played by Bruce Willis, who can usually only act decently in an action film (12 Monkeys being a notable exception) is accompanied to Fhloston Paradise. Thankfully, though, even the movie is self aware that Ruby Rhod is annoying, but it doesn't have the gall to kill him off or let him leave the group. Once he appears, he sticks around until near the end of the movie, so have fun.

Anyway, despite the fact that this film is mostly Science Fiction with some Action and Comedy thrown in the mix, there is even a bit of Fantasy. The fact that the four stones, which represent the four elements, are magical, and require four elements (fire, water, wind, and earth), and the fact that there is a big ball full of evil, and something good, a fifth element, must stop it, essentially makes this film Fantasy as well, since there is no scientific process involved. I can also talk about how morality is relative, but it's a movie critical of war and violence. . . even though there is a lot of beating up and blowing up of bad guys by the main characters, but screw it, I agree with the message that war is not always the answer and it's bad that we're one of the few species on the planet that kills itself en masse like we do despite our higher reasoning abilities.

I also like to mention how, since the fifth element, Leeloo, played by Milla Jovovich, seems to represent love, that essentially makes me wonder if Luc Besson ripped off Captain Planet. Seriously, it's the exact same elements: Earth, Fire, Wind, Water, and the additional power of Heart (Love).



But that show sucked, and this film doesn't, so it's all good.