Monuments to Impermanence

I’ve had occasion, recently (or so), to visit Antelope Canyon and its surrounding area.

It’s a spectacular sight, a photographer’s dream, whether very amateur like myself or otherwise.

Upper Antelope Canyon; in winter, you might get so lucky as to not get crowds in your pictures. Might.

Antelope Canyon(s) are slot canyons, unique flukes of geology. The Navajo sandstone of the region is very porous and long, long ago, flood waters rushed through the canyons and carved away the weaker stone. They’re formed very suddenly as landscapes go. Their smooth, winding walls are sculpted steadily by monsoon rains and more floods.

It’s a funny thing to think about: once, there were no canyons here. Now, and for long ages, there are. Eventually, they will be gone, even if they last to the death of the Sun. And they will always be changing, daily.

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Sparring Thoughts

One of my hobbies, besides writing (alas) is martial arts, specifically Krav Maga. A lot of what we learn at my gym is specific defenses you can use to remove yourself from a bad situation, defenses that have more to do with physics than strength.

My great cultural upheaval of choice would be to have everyone learn practical self-defense from a young age. It does a lot for you. It gives you a tool kit to deal with bad people wanting to hurt you, a tool kit that is both physical and mental (awareness, empowerment, etc.). It improves physical fitness. It also gives you a grounding in the physical, something I believe gets lost in our information-focused age.

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Bad Guys Who are All the Bad

My MMO of choice is Guild Wars 2. Insult me at will. I shelled out for this game and the reason I got my gaming tower is so it runs smoothly.

I was fascinated by the charr race and that’s what my character is. They are, of course, basically the kzinti, including their past history of genocidal war with humans, though their sexual dimorphism is not Niven-crazy. I generally find the world interesting, though the new main cast of the story is a deeply uninteresting set of people. Such are MMOs.

GW2 was the first time I ever saw the increasingly common trope of the bad guys being ALL THE BAD. They are not merely cultists of a world-eating god or a remnant of a violently deposed regime. They are also racist AND sexist AND they destroy the environment AND…

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Why I Hate Poe Dameron

I’ll preface this by saying that I increasingly despise what Disney has done to Star Wars. I grew up with the Extended Universe. In fact, my favorite book is Starfighters of Adumar. Wedge Antilles is my biggest fictional hero and Mara Jade is the coolest female character ever written.

Poe Dameron is the worst character in the Star Wars movies and I want to punch him in the face. Yes, worse than Jar Jar Binks. Worse then the other awful characters in Disney’s Star Wars, including Rose with her stupid, stupid, stupid line.  I shall now explain at length why I have this unpopular opinion.

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To Wheadon

Many people are familiar—well, people in certain circles are familiar with the verb ‘to Joss‘. It refers to Joss Wheadon’s tendency to totally screw up your predictions/expectations, particularly in regards to melodramatic unexpected deaths of beloved secondary characters. This is a tendency of his, to the extent of self-parody if I thought the man was capable of it.

I have only watched four of Wheadon’s works: Firefly, Dr. Horrible, Titan A.E., and the Avengers. I can’t get into Buffy or any of his other stuff. I love Firefly so much that I have a very nice long brown coat and many other things. The Avengers is my favorite Marvel movie so far. My mother and I are the only people I know who like Titan A.E. (“You know, this movie reminds me a lot of Firefly for some reason…oh, look, it was written by the same guy”). Dr. Horrible…well, that’s more or less what I’m going to talk about.

Spoilers ahead, I guess, for some old stuff.

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Lots of Incomprehensible Cosmic Evils Around These Days…

The Lovecraftian mythos has become something of a thing in a number of video games.

When I say Lovecraftian mythos, I mean not only the specific collection of beings centered around H.P. Lovecraft’s writings, but ideas that draw heavily from it. Cosmic evils are an old fictional standard, of course, but the callously consuming and reality-warping nature of these cosmic evils is associated with Lovercraft’s writings in particular.  Any kind of entity with those particular traits is best called Lovecraftian. Tentacles seal the deal.

As always, when dealing with trends in storytelling, TV Tropes is your guide…and also your doom!

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I Don’t Get the Harry Potter Thing

I am a bit late to the party, it would seem.

I suppose that will keep my generational peers from burning me at the stake, rather than merely denouncing me as a heretic.

You would think that an avid reader like me would be one of the fans of Harry Potter, considering that I was in the series’ target age bracket when it came to the States. Many others of my generation have been singing the praises of the series lately, talking about how it has affected their worldview, using related metaphors for current events…

I actually don’t care for Harry Potter. If it had an influence on me, it was that it enabled the publication of more and longer fantasy and science fiction novels. I read the first three years after they came out Stateside, if I recall correctly.

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