Archive | September 2013

Angry Joe’s GTA V review: thoughts, comments, and discussions. Telegraphed Gazette Column. 28 September 2013

Greetings folks;

angry_joe

Angry Joe – the Youtube commentator – is quite the creative man when it comes to his videos. The guy loves to go off the charts when it comes to his videos, and it shows. According to Totalbiscuit, Angry Joe tends to spend more money than he earns on his videos simply out of passion, and love of craft. What I found particularly interesting was his use of the power wheels toy cars; though what really sprang to mind was how did the public react when they saw two grown men playing dress up – for their video of course – and driving around the neighborhood in power wheels. The reaction would certainly be a surprise, especially from myself, when I see two grown men in costumes – well, at least Angry Joe in his police outfit – driving around in power wheels. The man really does the gaming community a service with his creative review videos, and he is quite thorough when it comes to analyzing the games that he reviews. The link to his video is directly below this paragraph: go check it out, it will give you a good 41 minutes or so of entertainment related to Grand Theft Auto V.

 

However I would like to discuss some interesting points related to his video: namely the mainstream media and their attack on the game itself. Now I have experience with how the old media behaves with a medium that – in a certain way – competes directly with their conventional forms of media. Newspapers and television are slowly dying out as the new generation embraces online articles, interactive entertainment, and various other forms of media, thus it is natural to see the media – at times working with political entities, such as party members, or just independent citizens with certain views that match those of the news outlet – attack the new media in an effort to save their main source of income: the “old guard” variants of media if you will. Angry Joe in his video made reference to a Fox News broadcast in which a woman and two men were actively discussing how to label people who play these sorts of games, and how they could go about “containing” such media sources as to prevent violent crime from occurring.

 

That moment right there made me think of just how – in certain cases – backwards some people are, and it makes me question just how do they stay afloat, and how far does this backwardness extend, and how deep it is within society as a whole. The idea that a form of entertainment can cause people to become violent, when movies like the Expendables, Terminator, Fast and Furious, Transporter, and Death Race can be equally graphic and violent, and is ignored entirely by the mainstream media just boggles the mind. The hosts of that segment did not even consider looking towards how America – sorry my American viewers but you know Fox News is an American phenomenon – treats people with mental illnesses. That country makes it easier for one to access pornography, guns, and cigars, and yet it fails to make affordable healthcare, and mental health treatment accessible as well. Now this is NOT me trumpeting any form of universal healthcare and such: all I am trying to say is maybe set up more clinics in areas with a higher concentration of people so that the services will be accessible to a larger portion of society. Hmm, well I guess this does mean a certain reallocation of funds towards health centers in local states and municipalities. Yet I have absolute confidence that the US will find a solution that fits their needs to this issue, but ultimately what I was trying to get at is that rather than look towards providing better mental health services, they target an entertainment format and begin to label their clients as “deviant,” with the lady in the clip calling for some sort of list of people who buy the game and play it for X amount of hours. Bollocks guys, complete bollocks.

fox_news_logo

 

Now regarding the other aspect in Joe’s video where he talks about how academics on the other side describe GTA V as: “not proper social commentary” because it does not call for immediate action; in what universe does social commentary have to result in revolutionary behaviour? What, so I cannot criticize my government without the need to call for some sort of action against them? When someone dislikes a Subway sandwich, and criticizes it, are they supposed to then firebomb the fast food branch and demand for a new company to take its’ place? People and their opinions ladies and gentlemen, I know on this earth there is always going to be different viewpoints; it just frustrates me to see a lack of rational thinking on subjects such as this. Then again, people develop at varying degrees, and despite all our differences, we can still work together to make a compromise and achieve harmony: for that I still have faith.

smug

 

The game itself looks quite appetizing – all forms of reactionary thinking aside – and it certainly is a bit of a satire to our modern day lifestyles, patterns of thought, and general behaviour at a time when the economy is not doing so well. Ultimately this sort of “attack the soft points”  tactic will continue to be used by the old guard media until the day comes when they adjust to the changing world, and find a new way to earn money in the ever changing world of entertainment and Journalism. There will always be some kind of resistance to something new, this is not a new phenomenon; but rest assured that cooler heads will prevail. Otherwise, we would not be having this discussion now will we, and I would just be another factory worker somewhere in the western part of Canada, and this blog would not exist. Technology and progress ladies and gentlemen: thank you very much for reading this piece, and I will see you next time.

Update. September 19 2013

Good afternoon folks;

Today I will just debrief from yesterday’s rather lengthy Telegraphed Gazette Column, as well as throw in the three recent articles for those readers who have not had the chance to read them yet into one – if you will – round up. Let us begin with the post from last night regarding the Quebec Charter of Values.

Quebecers

The idea when I first sought to write on this topic is to really shed some light on what would the two sides get at with regards to the proposed Quebec Charter, and what are the – sort of – arguments from either side. Thus far I see that the reader base has enjoyed the article, and I hope my examples are – were – interpreted as such, and not taken out of context. The thought in my mind however is I do have faith in the reader base here on WordPress.com because it is not like Youtube, and people who dig through articles on this blog tend to be of a more mature audience, rather than a mob of – so to speak – “high minded,” privileged, underdeveloped students who shout down peoples’ opinions with a rather aggressive zeal that would make even a Gestapo officer cringe. Thanks to previous experience on this blog, I am now a bit more confident, and comfortable, writing on such sensitive topics knowing that the reader will be of sound mind when they go about interpreting the text – in theory at least (humor intended).

Looking at it from a particular perspective I can see the need for a head of state – provincial or federal – to be non-partisan when it comes to politics, religion, or what have you (and by extension the public service), and the charter – at least to my eyes – seems to want this as the ultimate goal, rather than exclude a particular ethnic group. Now the article explains these thoughts well so I will not go into details here, but definitely both sides of the coin offer reasonable arguments, and neither side can be said to be in support of a particular ethnic group, or in opposition to – at least in theory. Professors can debate this as long as they please, for it is their duty to engage in such discussion, but rest assured cooler heads will prevail here. Quebec has been known to be the – pardon the pun – “challenged” child of Canada, yet they are still part of us. Will a family throw out a child onto the streets if the child was just a bit hyperactive from some candy, and wants to play on the playground? The link to the article is located below this paragraph: I urge you to read it over if you have even a passing interest in Quebec affairs.

https://thoughtsandtopics.wordpress.com/2013/09/19/the-proposed-charter-of-quebec-values-telegraphed-gazette-column-18-september-2013/

Now onto the rest of the round up – as I already had started it with the debrief of the column article. The first one up is the Planetside 2 semi-review. Now the word “semi” is used, because – like with most MMOs – it is difficult to give a “full review” when all the content in the game is constantly changing and things never stay the same here and there. All I can say to this is the game itself is definitely worth a try if your computer can handle it (sorry console gamers, you will have to wait until Playstation releases it on their devices), and if you have an interest in first person shooters. The link to the article is located below this paragraph.

https://thoughtsandtopics.wordpress.com/2013/09/17/planetside-2-the-story-so-far/

Planetside2_paper1

Lastly we have a Borderlands 2 character review: the Gunzerker. Now I have spent an extensive amount of time playing this character – four months to be precise – and I can say with honesty that Salvador is a fun character to play in Borderlands 2. Duel-wielding any gun, and I do literally mean ANY gun, is an empowering, and enjoyable experience that everyone who owns Borderlands 2 should try. Leveling has never tasted so good as Salvador is not only humorous with the pseudo-macho man attitude, but the actual shooting mechanics feel less restricted than the other characters as Salvador’s main ability is not locking some dude in a ball of energy, or throwing a turret out on the field, but rather it is to pick up the second weapon in either the 2nd, or 4th slot, and fire them both off as if there was no tomorrow. Watch the ammo though, because it can run out fast if you are having way too much fun. You can read more on this awesome character in the article which is at the link below this paragraph.

https://thoughtsandtopics.wordpress.com/2013/09/09/salvador-the-gunzerker-double-the-fun/

salvador-the-gunzerker

Alright folks that about wraps up this update for the 19th of September 2013. Thank you all for your support, happy readings, and I will see you next time.

The proposed Charter of Quebec Values. Telegraphed Gazette Column. 18 September 2013

The push by the Parti Quebecois to institute a charter which would force neutrality upon all government, and public sector employees has received mixed reviews from inside the province, while outside of Quebec in the rest of Canada, things have tended to lean towards a protest of this proposed charter. Now this does not mean that there is no support for this legislation outside of Quebec; indeed when I spoke of this to some of my outfit members in Planetside 2 (keep in mind that I do not know their actual nationality) expressed support for it, and subsequently stated that they wished the United States of America would also sign into affect this sort of legislation.

National Assembly of Quebec

Officially titled: Charte des valeurs quebecoises, this proposed bill would bring into effect the following: amend the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms, establish a duty of neutrality and reserve for all state personnel, limit the wearing of conspicuous religious symbols, make mandatory to have one’s face uncovered when providing or receiving a state service, and finally establish an implementation policy for state organizations. While most obvious religion items are prohibited – such as a turban, hijab, etc – finger rings, small pendants, and earrings will be permitted. Alongside these exemptions is the crucifix in the Quebec National Assembly, and the observation of Christmas; both of which have been cited as a key piece to Quebec cultural heritage, and both have led to allegations of ethnocentric hypocrisy.

christmas_tree_2009

Right now in the present time, all 3 of the major federal parties have come out to publicly denounce the bill, citing it as a sort of tool towards separation: for when the supreme court challenges this and strikes it down, the Quebec government can in turn say that Ottawa is interfering with Quebec’s domestic affairs, and that in order to avoid this from happening again, it is time to separate – according to Justin Trudeau of the Liberal Party of Canada.

Now let us brush aside all the mud and grime that has splattered on top of this piece of paper and really look at what the ink says – yes there is a sort of “encripted code” metaphor being used here, so let us begin. On one hand an individual can argue that Quebec wants their population to be culturally homogenous; as evident by their bill 101 – which protects the French language and gives it priority over all other languages, mainly English – and now the Charter of Quebec Values. Now no where in there does it say that a particular ethnicity shall be barred from holding public office, for a white woman can also be ordered to adhere to this practice and remove her hijab if she is a Muslim. Now let us look at the definition of racism for a moment here: Racism; noun; 1. a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human races determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one’s own race is superior and has the right to rule others. 2. a policy, system of government, etc, based upon or fostering such a doctrine; discrimination. 3. hatred or intolerance of another race or other races.

Racism can also be best described in this format (disclaimer: the following is an example, and should be interpreted as such): I am Asian, I have a head size of 3.457, and I have black hair and brown eyes; therefore I am superior to you, filthy, unwashed peasants. Your small heads and skeletal structures make you weak and inferior, and due to the smallness of your skull, your blood vessels are more restricted, giving you less intelligence, and academic capabilities. There, scientific racism at its finest.

racist-democratic-poster-form-1800s

With that example on the table, let us look at this charter of values: who says a Muslim HAS to be a middle-eastern woman? Where in the literature does Sikhism HAVE to be the soul property of Indian men? Where does it say that ONLY a white male is allowed to be a Christian? The points I am trying to make, are they getting through? This is about cultural beliefs, not about race. People always pulling the race card hoping it would make all other arguments invalid is another story for another day: my point is if they wanted to discriminate against races, they could make ancestral background checks mandatory for all public service employees. Example of this could be: “Was your family here between 1627 and 1775? Do you have any ancestors from that time period?” Pure-blood Quebecers – as they like to put it – will be able to trace their ancestry all the way to that time period, and so they can get priority in the wait list for a public sector job: magic is it not?

The Parti Quebecois is just trying to make their government services less religious, and more neutral when it comes to such affairs. After all enforcing neutrality can – in some cases – give benefits to the greater society for they do not see the government as taking a bi-partisan stance on things; kind of like our Monarch! The charter is meant to put everyone on the same playing field, so that they can gel into one cohesive unit. A polyethnic society, where the population is made up of different ethnicities, and where they all speak the same language, believe in the same political system, and carry common hobbies, social practices, and so forth. The lines of race, or religion, or anything else that divides us, disappears beneath the snow and ice, and we are left with one, cohesive peoples: the Quebecers.

Quebecers

Yet, here is the opposite side of the coin: how does a head scarf, or a head piece, prevent someone from carrying out their duties? The example I will use is the United States Marine Corps and their policy on tattoos. The USMC has a limit of 4 tattoos, and the limitations also extend to what kind of tattoos one has on their body; no racist, hateful, sexist, or disloyal markings are acceptable. Now the latter half I agree with entirely, but a limit of 4? People, just because a kid’s got tattoos does not mean they cannot fight; more often than not they do the fighting, and the hard, dirty, dangerous work that is needed to win wars. They are the ones who have that bit of extra fire in them, and they have what it takes to carry on even when they are cold, wet, thrashed, hungry, and sleep deprived. Tattoos does not make them any less of a marine than a clean-body marine: and neither does a hijab, or turban.

tattooed_marine

Sikhs have a proud tradition of soldiering, and I remember from when I was in grade 7, this Indo-Canadian man came on TV to explain why Sikhs were enlisting at a fairly high rate according to the statistics drawn up for that research. The Sikhs have a tradition of being the warriors, and they transferred that culture into the British Indian Army, and later on the various commonwealth forces that they were allowed to join. Okay cool, so their turban somehow makes them more a soldier than a shaved head farm boy from Saskatchewan? No it does not my friend, nor does it make them any less of a soldier than the Saskatchewan farm boy.

Sikhs-in-world-armies-4

The clothing must be business casual, the uniform must be CADPAT; they understand that, and they have not done a thing to change that. All they ask, is that they be allowed to carry on some traditions of which their ancestors have done so for generations – the Sikhs in particular – but apart from that they WILL speak the same language as you, they WILL adhere to your laws, and they WILL respect your national institutions. When the attacks occurred in Norway, people would have never expected the attacker to be a upper-middle class, Norwegian male who attended university in Oslo. These sorts of hateful, disgusting, attacks are carried out by the lovely little bunch of insane, “mental patients” who misinterpreted the text, and then proceeded to take that interpretation and use it for their crimes.

The day care worker is not going to say: “listen kids, you are now going to become Jewish!” nor will a public service worker lean into a conversation with a citizen and say: “I only serve Catholics, you heathen scum.” The cloth, the fabric, or the piece of metal, is not going to turn them into preachers, cultists, or what have you. The cloth, the fabric, or the piece of metal, just says they are religious: much like the tattoo says that this marine is part of this regiment, or that he or she is loyal unto death, or they have the guts to win, or they like guns. Come on guys, it is not going to change these people, and turn them into cannibalistic, slaving mutants hell bent on world domination. When you walk towards a counter, they will not convert you, only ask you for your ID, and care card. When you put your kid in that day care, all that little child is going to learn is A, B, C, D, E, F, G. H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P. No “special agenda” here people, however the idea of everyone wearing a suit, or the bearskin and red tunic, or jeans and T-shirt has a certain appeal towards it. After all the Chinese-Canadian community does not go about wearing Ming Dynasty clothing, nor do Cossacks in Canada wear their traditional clothes when out in downtown Toronto.

Cossack

Tough topic ladies and gentlemen, there is no easy answer because when you look at places like Saudi Arabia, they do enforce a dress codes and religious practices. Likewise in Japan, they also enforce cultural practices: we here in the west are free to openly discuss these topics as it is not a matter of race, but a matter of how we want our nations to look like in the near future. Already some cases in Europe have declared Multiculturalism a failure, so it is only a matter of time before we engage in a serious discussion over what to expect from our citizens, and how do we communicate this is a manner that will convince them that we want them to be part of our society, and that we are not interested in differences, only similarities. Heck another example is the French Foreign Legion: the unit is part of the French army, but only foreigners can join it. How do they get people from so many different backgrounds to gel as a cohesive fighting unit? Legion traditions: marching songs, hats, Legion cultural lingo, and the French language as the common language of all the recruits in the Legion. When someone wants to be “smart”, or “funny” and say: “hey are there any Chinamen in the Legion?” the Legionnaires will answer: “You will only find Legionnaires here.” That sentence – aside from the rather distasteful remark from a hypothetical idiot prior to (it is an example by the way) – signals that Legionnaires are Legionnaires; there is no difference between a Legionnaire who is of the Chinese ethnicity and the Legionnaire from Romania. This cohesive family-like structure is appealing to me in some ways. When someone asks me what am I, I reply Canadian. When they probe further, I get pissed: I do not like to think of myself as anything else. When I am identifying my ethnicity for a statistical survey or something along those lines, fine, I will cooperate. However when it comes to the general public, I dislike those who seem to always be astonished at the fact that I am a Canadian, and not what they think I was. Look genius, last time I checked, you do not look “American.” The hair is too blonde, and the eyes – oh the eyes – they seem more, Russian. Get my point?

On one hand, cohesive people from various backgrounds, all gelling together as one: sounds great, but it might need more work. Yet on the flip side, even without this “united as one peoples” sort of chant, the turban, or the hijab, is not going to stop him or her from giving me my medical attention, helping me carry the ammo across the 600 meter zone, or helping me up when I fell on my rear end because I did not see the sign when I ran into the hallway.

french-foreign-legion-pd

Planetside 2: The story so far.

Greetings folks;

Well so far I have been playing Planetside 2 since launch, and suffice it to say I am quite pleased with it. There were certain incidents where my gun became a sort of wielded jelly blob, but the game is quite massive and it is constantly being patched, so I can let that one slide (humor intended). Coming back to the main point, Planetside 2 has not failed to deliver when it comes to that sort of massive capture point warfare that I have been looking for these past years.

Planetside2_paper1

Some of you may remember from my post yesterday that I stated I play for the Terran Republic: this is true. Some games I like to play a sort of mercenary – where I can switch around and not feel somewhat guilty for leaving the other faction in the dust. However there are other titles out there that I feel I can safely sink into a particular faction and develop a sort of faction loyalty which helps immerse me into the game as I spend hours upon hours in it (currently I have clocked in 268 hours according to Steam). Thus one might ask: “what makes’ this game so interesting? Is it not just another capture point game of which almost every first person shooter has in their game types?”

Planetside2_picture1

 

Yes Planetside 2 is largely a territory-based game where you capture key points on the map – such as Tech Plants, or Bio-labs – but the way in which the game is set up allows massive battles consisting of thousands of players to occur. Thus far no other game in the market can give such an experience where thousands of players on each faction battle it out for points in a given “province” – if you will – all the while reinforcements are coming in, and tracer-fire can be seen lighting up the night sky as the battle rages through the day and night cycle in game – which translates into real-time hours – until someone emerges victorious. Kill/Death ratios are no longer of concern in Planetside 2, where team work is key to victory, and where everyone can play a part in the fight. See the key feature in Planetside 2 is it is one giant war for a planet via three – soon to be four, not including Virtual Reality Training – continents. Each continent is unique in environments and overall tactical gameplay: allow me to explain. Esamir is the snowy, Hoth-like continent where everything is buried beneath snow and ice. However with that snow and ice, comes greater mobility when using land vehicles as a tank or Harasser can traverse the terrain with no difficulty, seeing as there is barely any obstacles on that continent. Now if you go to Amerish – the sort of Vietnam-like map – but instead of jungle you have massive rock spires – vehicular combat is almost impossible, and bottlenecks and choke points are easy to set up. Combat is therefore funneled into key bridges and valleys, and air support is always in demand on Amerish.

planetside2_Esamir

Indar is a mix of the two continents; though the deep canyon near the south-eastern portion of the continent is evil and it needs to die in a hole somewhere far off in the outer worlds. The point I am trying to stress here with a bit of humor is that the canyon offers players above the fighting a good vantage point for sniping, while being exposed to air assaults. Subsequently the aircraft cannot dive into the canyon without risk of being caught on a cliff face, flipping over, and exploding: anti-air turrets therefore have a distinct tactical advantage when facing against the Galaxies (dropships), Liberator gunships, or the various, faction-specific fighter craft. The war for Auraxis has never been so enticing, and they did not even give me an enlistment bonus!

PlanetSide2_Indar

Planetside 2’s vehicle combat is varied and well polished for the most part. The tanks all have customizable turrets, and the defensive weapons, abilities, and armour slots make it so that no two tanks are the same – at least in theory. The Sunderers – the all-faction troop carrier, and if certified properly a mobile spawn beacon – are built tough and flexible, making troop movements fluid and fast. Finally we come to the Flash – an ATV-style bike – and the Harasser – a humvee-style recon vehicle. The Flash really is not useful for anything else other than getting a lone soldier from point A to B in a hurry. Weapons can be prow-mounted, but if your aim and driving is trash, do not bother with this feature. Those certification points are better spent on your class’s weapon, suit abilities, or other upgrades for the vehicles in the arsenal. The Harasser by far is a very fun little toy added to all three factions: it features seating for three with the rear seat big enough to accommodate a MAX suit – the power armour suit for all factions – and it comes with a defensive turret for the co-pilot if you will. The gun can be upgraded, and if used properly, the Harasser is definitely a lot more enjoyable to fight with than the Lightning Tank which – to be honest – should be a back up in case your faction specific tank is blown up by a roadside IED, enemy rocket, or air strikes.

planetside-2-harasser

Thus far the free-to-play model for Planetside 2 is working well; I must admit I did purchase some items from the in-game store, because vanity is all so important and fashion is always in style (humor intended). Sony definitely made the right choice when developing this game, and it certainly shows as a ton of players in-game has camo paints from the store, as well as different guns, armour bits, and headgear. However I would like to see a bit more weapon variety in the game as some of the weapon sets are the same models just with slight variations: examples being magazine size or gunfire sounds.

 

Auraxis is definitely an interesting place to be, especially if you have nothing to do on a Friday night. The new Alerts system makes gameplay more hair-raising as factions race to capture key objectives, and there is always fighting going on in the game so even in the dead of night, on some server soldiers are burning their midnight oil to kick some serious ass, and take point in the name of (insert respective faction here). Pandora, and Auraxis are the two places out here in the border worlds where I will be spending most of my time: after all the life of a mercenary who secretly gets attached to certain factions is one of adventure, danger, loot, and glory. Now if you folks will excuse me, I am off to do my part for the Republic, before I disappear to Pandora for some treasure hunting – yes I just strung two games together, deal with it. Thanks for reading folks, and I will see you next time.

Planetside2_TR_Screenshot

Update. 15 September 2013.

Good afternoon folks;

Well, so far this past week there has been nothing but a constant barrage of reactions to the Quebec Charter of Values proposed by the incumbent Parti Quebecois. Now this issue is somewhat sensitive at the moment so I am quite hesitant to cover it; I know many people – both for, and against – have a vested interest in this topic and could become aggressive if things do not go according to their agenda. However I probably will cover the topic eventually when the heat cools to a sort of ready-to-eat warm, but until then I will hold off to avoid any – unwanted rashes.

Marois

Now onto the good stuff; sadly I have not finished my play through with Axton the Commando in Borderlands 2. Recently for the Gearbox community day, the developers released western-themed ( that is Wild West, or Western Frontier) skins for all 6 characters for the game. Yes this does mean I broke my little so-called vow to only stick with the Gunzerker and the Commando, and I now have a Siren, an Assassin, and the Psycho. Those skins are simply too good to pass up, and with all of them unlocked – and yes I did farm for about two hours to find them all – I had to see for myself the glories of the frontier.

Thus far Axton’s skin and head piece look the best. The idea that he is a soldier for hire just helps add to the immersion factor, as does the Assassin’s skin and head. The idea of being a mercenary has a certain appeal if you will, and it helps with the transition from video game to video game as you never feel like you must remain loyal to a faction; though in Planetside 2 I am always employed by the Terran Republic.

Some of you may have noticed that I have – suddenly and out of the blue – started to post pieces for Off the Record, The Opinions, and the Rhetoric. The reason for that is I find their formats suitable for short topics that do not require as much – research so to speak – as the gazettes that I write. Right now it seems that I only have the time to write shorter pieces, so there is a risk that the main long form gazette might be sliced down into column articles, or – if it is informal to be short – place it under a different category. Still I do miss writing for the gazette; the articles covered really do help me understand the city of Montreal and the rest of the province. Suffice it to say nothing is for certain here on Thoughts and Topics, so there is always hope.

Well that about wraps up this update: I am off to collect some bounties, and probably return to Auraxis to fight in another skirmish in the name of the Terran Republic. Thanks for reading folks, and I will see you next time.

Planetside2_paper1

Dishonesty Hurts, laziness impairs

Hello folks;

Earlier today my father encountered a case where a young boy rode past his car – not touching it – and then proceeding to take a sharp turn before falling over. Now the gap between the car and the bush was narrow, but the young man – roughly 16 years of age – decided it was a good idea to move between that. Keeping in mind that the car was immobile; the kid then walks up to my father’s car after he goes around in a circle to park – after the kid took his sharp turn to the right and fell – and proceeded to claim that it was a case of hit and run.

Now here is the interesting part: bicycle was undamaged, no visible marks on the kid, and no marks on the car. The kid then goes about saying that there are cameras around the place, and that he should give him his address and telephone number. Suffice it to say my old man just got back into his car, and drove off. This sort of behaviour worries me because the effort put into coercing/convincing someone into paying him cash, could have been better spent – I do not know – looking for a job!

The young man is 16, he was able to walk up to my father’s car, and then attempt to use the whole: “I am victim, give give give” speech. Look little man, first off, I have seen hit and run victims; they usually stay down and are unresponsive. Second, a “hit and run” is literally a “hit and run” where the vehicle speeds off leaving visible marks on the car – blood, dents, etc – and on the victim – broken bones, massive bruises – and at times a pool of blood. Second, going back to the first bit, how are you still able to run up to the car and talk with no difficulty? Hit and run implies that you are badly damaged, and require immediate medical aid. Now if the young man can physically walk up to people, and then walk all the way to the police station – a some 250 meters away from the store according to Google maps – then you are clearly bluffing. Go ahead, talk to the cops: undamaged, fully aware, and capable of taking your bike with you to the station; right like that will be a believable story.

Look, this young man could easily get a shift or two at Tim Hortons. I am certain he is at school, but if he needs money this badly, he can work for it. Too young for Timmys? Paper routes, collecting bottles, washing cars, mowing lawns, are just a few jobs I remember myself and some of my friends doing when we wanted money for our collectable card games. What about the hard-working immigrant who struggles with 2 jobs to stay afloat? Can he or she simply say: “eff this, I am going to jack cars for a living. Much easier, and I get some power and satisfaction out of it!” This kid is an example of the length some people are willing to go to make easy money; effort that could have been spent – oh I do not know – putting in a resume at MacDonalds, or taking up a line cook position at a fast food place: yes I know my examples are all food related, bear with me (humor intended).

jobs in the uk

This scenario just disgusts me: a young 16 year old would use hit and run – a very serious crime I might add – as a means to trick or coerce people into giving him money, large amounts or small. Thus I will give this “infant” a bottom line: get to work slug! Nothing on Earth is free, and if you think living in the wilderness without money to worry about is better, remember this: you have to cut down the tree to build your house; catch the fish from the lake; harvest the berries from the bushes; sew your own clothes – if he can even do that – kill your own deer for the meat; make your own arrows for hunting; and build your own fire. Oh I almost forgot; generally speaking the wilderness is undeveloped, so no electricity, and thus no video games or television – in case you were thinking of sitting back and letting machines do all the washing and cooking. Sound like an easy life?

HardWork_slogan

Salvador the Gunzerker: double the fun.

While I am aware that I am fairly late to the whole: “Borderlands 2 review” bandwagon, I feel it is appropriate to give some of my thoughts on the game as I spend even more hours this week playing – while neglecting my course readings. This week we will be covered a class which was my first when I landed on Pandora, the Gunzerker.

salvador-the-gunzerker

Gunzerking is an ability in Borderlands 2 unique to the Gunzerker where – upon activation – the Gunzerker goes into a sort of rage mode and wields two weapons of any type during the short burst of aggression. Thus far I have enjoyed my time playing as a Gunzerker, but I found some areas to be a bit lower than expectations; though I will admit, I probably did not invest in some skills that I should have from the start. When it comes to co-op play, the Gunzerker can fit the role as a sort of off-tank; bursting in front of everyone else to gunzerk while the rest of the team goes about flanking so to speak. However the Gunzerker – in my experience – lacks the tank’s main attribute when it comes to this sort of game play: damage resistance. Now I only invested in the skill tree, Rampage, while only investing a few points in gun lust, and brawn; in other words I may have only focused my Gunzerker on damage per second, instead of tanking, which is why I face this issue.

gunzerker_skill_tree

That little bit aside however, Salvador can dish out the pain and leave the player wanting to quickly gunzerk again. Gunzerking is immensely entertaining, and the dialogue delivered when the Gunzerker enters gunzerking is quite interesting, to be polite. The ability to dual wield two guns of any type – with the first two weapon slots paired, and the last two slots paired – gives the Gunzerker a unique ability over the Sabre Turret of Axton the Commando, Phase Lock of Maya the Siren, and Stealth of Zero the Assassin. Apart from Axton, I never felt the need to try the other characters; Salvador seems to fit my mental image of a Borderlands 2 character relatively well. The gun totting, foul mouthed, adventurous hero who is over the top and – somewhat – insane is a nice break from all the bleak, special forces elites with alcohol addictions and drug problems.

Gunzerker_Skill_tree2

Borderlands 2 is not meant to be serious: it is chocolate and cotton candy all rolled into a neat little package and served with mead, wine, and ice cream. The Gunzerker definitely reflects this state of wackiness and adventure, though it can be a bit repetitive at times. However since I have dinged level 51, I have moved onto playing a different character. My dear readers you may have already picked up the clue from earlier in this article: it is Axton the Commando. Prior experience with MMOs and Team Fortress 2 have taught me that a turret can be helpful on the battlefield, and who does not like the soldier-type every now and then. Yes I did say earlier that the Gunzerker was a nice break from all the super-serious special forces steel caps, but Axton is not so much serious as he is mildly insane. Now I say mildly insane because unlike Salvador – and to a greater extent Krieg the Psycho – Axton tends to be the strong but silent type. However at the moment, I am not prepared to give my analysis on the character class as I am still playing through normal mode with Axton, and have not experienced the DLC with this character yet. Therefore I will leave you readers with a final note on the Gunzerker before I return to Pandora in search of treasures: Salvador is definitely a fun character to play, and the style of dual-wielding is way better than Halo 2 where you could only dual-wield little pistol-like weapons. When a bad guy wishes to reduce your face into liquids and gases, try two rocket launchers, see how he or she likes the “Sunday night encore.” You see what I did there folks?

Nevermind, you grow tired of me: thank you all for reading, and I shall see you next time.