I am a reformed white knight

white knight (n.): A person (usually a male) who sees the typical maiden in distress, and believes that he can help her. A male version of the “mother figure” that some girls become.

Recently, there have been revelations and rumblings within gaming journalism, which the community has collectively termed “GamerGate.” I won’t go into its background as it is really just glorified gossip and it is ultimately irrelevant, but what is important is that it has stirred up discussion of gender issues found among gaming communities, the media that cover gaming, and the games themselves. This is a good thing, but I think what is even more important is that it presents an opportunity for us all–but especially men–to do some self-reflection.

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Californication TV ShowCalifornication is a TV show that started on Showtime back in 2007 about an author that moved from New York to California because one of his books was turned into a movie.  The main characters are as follows (taken from Wikipedia):

Character Name Actor/Actress Name About Character
Henry “Hank” Moody David Duchovny an erratic but esteemed writer who frequently becomes embroiled in bizarre, scandalous situations
Karen Van Der Beek Natascha McElhone is Hank’s long-term, on-and-off girlfriend and mother of his daughter. She is an interior designer and an architect
Rebecca “Becca” Moody Madeleine Martin is Hank and Karen’s daughter
Charlie Runkle Evan Handler is Hank’s agent and best friend
Marcy Runkle Pamela Adlon is Charlie’s wife/later ex-wife/wife again, with whom she has a son, Stu

I could break this down roughly what happens season by season, but there are websites and pages aplenty that already do that, so I’m going to give you a rough synopsis of what happened over seven (7) seasons and try to give you an idea of my feeling about this TV show.

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Magic 2015: Duels of the Planeswalkers

The game’s tagline reads, “Hunt bigger game,” but the hunting grounds aren’t as good as last year

I’m a big Magic: the Gathering fan. Many moons ago, I collected the cards and frequented a comic shop to test my mettle against dozens of other players. Today, you hear the derogatory term “pay to win” being tossed around quite a bit in gaming circles, but let me tell you: Magic was solidly–and still is today–a “pay to win” game. You need the good cards to compete, and you have to either open lots of packs to get them, or purchase them from others. One of the saving graces of the video game adaptations of the venerable collectible card game (CCG), including the excellent 1997 Shandalar game and previous versions of Stainless Games’ Duels of the Planeswalkers series, is that there was a single buy-in for a complete experience. Unfortunately, that ended with this year’s game.

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Recently I have had time to watch a lot of Stargate episodes. I always watched the FOX reruns on TV, and found them interesting, but never really knew that much about it. Then I had a few friends recommend the movie to me, which I had on my watch list, but never got around to it. Science Fiction is NOT generally my thing. In fact, I dislike most science fiction. I took a class on it, actually and found most of it is the same. I only like certain kinds, many of which only certain geekdoms know of. I have an entire hoard of people that will slay me for saying this, but as many Star Trek episodes as I’ve seen, I just was never drawn to either series. Although if I had to pick, the First Generation was better, and my favorite was Dr. McCoy. And trust me, even non-geeks have educated me and Trek, and it’s just something I can never get myself to geek into. I like the concept yes, but it does not have any addicting qualities, even though I’ve seen both series from the beginning.

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Wards Of Faerie

Wards Of FaerieOne of my favorite fantasy authors is Terry Brooks.  Terry Brooks’ stories take place in the modern world, an apocalyptic world and a post apocalyptic world called Shannara.  The most series in the Shannara series is The Dark Legacy of Shannara.  The first book in the new series is called Wards of Faerie.

This the first book after High Druid of Shannara series.  It takes place roughly one hundred (100) years after Grianne Ohmsford’s time with the Druid Council.  There is a new High Druid now, an Elessedil.  One of her druids has found what might be the greatest discovery since the time of Faerie.  She may have found a lead to the missing Elfstones in an old diary.  And, to make things more complicated, The Federation in the Southland want to destroy Paranor and the Druids.

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Movie review: Tampopo (1985)

There are some basic concepts that transcend cultures, even those as widely divergent as East and West. Tampopo is a film that celebrates one of those concepts–the love and joy of food. Prolific director Juzo Itami’s most famous work is unconventional, but it is also a highly entertaining comedy that spins a sweet narrative along the way (yes, pun intended).

Savvy moviegoers will recognize a young Ken Watanabe (The Last Samurai, Batman Begins, Inception, pictured below on the left), but that’s about all that will be immediately familiar to the Western viewer. Watanabe’s character, Gun, and his mentor, Goro, encounter the widowed Tampopo, a good-natured woman who is trying–but ultimately failing–to save her husband’s ramen shop. Goro decides to help the woman find the perfect ramen recipe and save her shop.

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Rock Of Ages

Rock Of AgesNear the end of 2011 or beginning of 2012, I saw a movie trailer that just made my jaw drop!  I told everybody about it.  I couldn’t wait to see it.  In June 2012, it was released in the theaters.  Well, not it Thailand it wasn’t, but that’s OK.  When it was released on DVD, I found and I watched it.  It was incredible, and I loved it!

If you couldn’t guess from the title of this blog post, the movie I’m talking about is Rock Of Ages.  The movie is set the 1980’s.  Guys had long hair and wore make-up, and so did the women.  The music was all about partying, women and having a good time.

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TRON: Legacy

Every now and then I hear about folks watching films or listening to albums while under the influence of various drugs. I have never been the type to partake, so I can’t relate, or so I thought.

I recently saw this film again, after a first viewing about eight months ago, because it simply blew me away the first time. I wasn’t nearly as impressed the second time, and after reflecting on that, I recalled the circumstances. The first time I saw this, I was quite ill with the flu. I could barely get out of bed, and I was quite delirious. “Altered mental state,” indeed. Put that together with how I watched the film: at night, in a dark room, on a PlayStation Portable, held in front of me, with noise-reducing earbuds. We’re talking total video and audio immersion, and zero distractions.

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Powers That Be

I don’t often get to check out the latest and greatest (if you think this first set of posts is dated, you should see my video game backlog), but I have a special place in my heart for those works that are off the beaten path or just simply get overlooked. That will be the general theme you’ll see here going forward, though I may get to write on some new items here and there. I’ll start with a lesser-known title from a big name in sci-fi/fantasy novels.

It’s kind of a weird story how I got into this book. A couple of friends have been trying to get me into McCaffrey for years, actually, but it wasn’t until after I discussed something entirely different that I finally picked her up.

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