The ramblings, rants, and observations of an Orthodox Reactionary. Feel free to look around!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Random thoughts

One of my very good friends from basic training got back in touch with me. Lucky is a pretty cool guy. Eh was in Basic with me and doesn't afraid of anything. (Sorry, inside joke. Moving on...) We see eye-to-eye on a lot of stuff, and I have to admit I like him better now that his loving Christian wife has reined him in. Haha. Anyway, I'm looking forward to heading over to Fort Campbell eventually and hanging out with him-- even though he is *constantly* trying to hook me up with one of his wife's sisters as of late. I'll simply take it as a compliment that he considers me worthy of brotherhood, and leave it at that.

I WAS gonna head over to Ft. Campbell this weekend, what with the day off for Memorial day on Monday and all, but I got a phone call from the unit-- it turns out I was volunteered to spend my Saturday (11am- 2pm) standing on a "Welcome Home 201st" float that is gonna be drifting through downtown Grayson (all ten feet of it). I need to find a beret and some wraparound sunglasses before then.

Saw Exorcism of Emily Rose. Good movie.

Might have a job offer around the corner-- maybe more than one.

I'm thinking of posting a series of my favorite Graphic Novels (comic books for all you non-geeks out there) What d' ya think?

I'm gonna go set up my room-- right now evrything is in boxes. I want to make it look lived in.

"Yea- though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for I am the meanest mother#@$% in the valley." -George S. Patton

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

My Star Trek review, and the Nature of Trek

Okay, folks. It took me awhile, but here it is:



I mean, seriously.

Now, I am a life-long Star Trek fan. Some of my best childhood memories involve sitting in the living room with my dad and my brother, watching Star Trek: The Original Series(TOS) and The Next Generation(TNG). I remember once, around 2nd grade, having to be sent back to bed because I had snuck out of my bedroom and into the living room because Star Trek: The Motion Picture was on. My brother and I, between us, owned almost every Star Trek action figure there was. We even had the very badass Transporter room playset-- y' know, the one with the trick mirror that makes the figures disappear with a beaming noise when you put them inside? I discovered much sci-fi since then, but the Enterprise and her valiant crew have always held a special place in my geek heart.

But in recent years, my beloved Star Trek had fallen on hard times. It suffered from a series of lackluster-to-outright-bad movies, even worse TV series, and terrible corporate handling. In the pop-culture solar system, the mainstream and the accepted dwelt nearest the social sun; the tolerated science fiction and fantasy planets revolving at a distance; and further out, the obscure but cool gas giants.

And way out there, at the fringe where barely any light reached, was Star Trek. Star Trek had become a joke and a byword to the masses, only cared about by a sad fraternity of laughable "basement dwellers"-- like the Freemasons, but with fake pointy ears. And it seemed that Star Trek was doomed to eternal irrelevance.

Then... this film. With the aid of some of my awesome fellow Rumblers, I have compiled my thoughts into something cohesive and more substantive than merely throwing around adjectives. Though there will be plenty of those too.

Okay, on to the film itself.

The opening scene is fantastic. We see the USS Kelvin encounter the big bad villain's ship (Emphasis on BIG) from the future. The camera angles and special effects really emphasize the vastness of space. I don't want to spoil this film (it is really good, and you NEED TO SEE IT), but there is a heartbreakingly awesome moment at the beginning that had me in tears Every. Single. Time. I saw the movie.

Zachary Quinto does a great job as young Spock, perfectly balancing the human emotions roiling beneath the calm Vulcan exterior. Chris Pine stays away from Shatner-esque hamminess, finding his own way of expressing the essence of James Kirk. Simon Pegg as Scotty was hilarious, though alongside Sulu, Chekov, and Uhura, didn't recieve nearly enough screen time. But by far the best of all was Karl Urban. He WAS McCoy, down to the facial expressions, physical mannerisms, everything. I wasn't sure that he could pull off "Bones", since until this point Urban had always played big, brooding, manly roles. But I gained a level of respect for this actor that I had never had before.

It was a real delight to see Leonard Nimoy in what is probably his last appearance as Spock. Practically half the movie is fan-service and shout-outs to long-time Trekkers, making us feel right at home alongside brand new fans.

The special effects are stellar (literally!), and the new Enterprise is a beautiful lady indeed. The action is fast and fun. This movie grabs you right out the starting gate and doesn't let go until the classic ending which is the hallmark of almost every (decent) Star Trek film. I recommend this movie to everyone, especially those who aren't Star Trek fans. What you see on the screen, and how you feel, is exactly how I have viewed Star Trek my entire life.

I've heard complaints about the "lazy writing", most of which revolved around the time travel aspect of the plot. But let's face it: time travel is a Star Trek staple, the veggies which go alongside the space opera meat and optimistic-future-for-humanity potatoes that comprise the fun, not-too-hard-sci-fi meal that The Original Series served every week. If you can't handle time travel, you really shouldn't be watching the show to begin with.

True, this movie didn't have an underlying "food for thought" philosophy that some episodes and movies did. But preachiness, to a degree, is what was the worst about Trek. The most loved episodes- in all the series- dealt less with how morally advanced our descendants would be, and more with real people-- people like us-- facing real dilemmas that we could relate to. "City On The Edge Of Forever" is acclaimed not because of any moral message, but rather because Kirk must sacrifice the woman he loves to save the universe. Anyone who has suffered *any* kind of loss can identify with that. What we can't identify with is Picard telling a 21st century woman that "we don't believe in money or personal profit. We work to better ourselves." I'm paraphrasing, but at its best Star Trek was people like us-- people with hopes, dreams, fears, and flaws-- facing unimaginable dangers and mysteries and pulling through because of heart, and because of each other. With a liberal amount of shooting and space aliens thrown in, of course.

And that's what we see onscreen. We understand Nero's desire for revenge. We see the anguish of Kirk's mother and father on the Kelvin. We feel Pike's disappointment at how Kirk has wasted his life. We see Spock struggling to control his anger and grief because of.. well, that would be telling. The point is, these characters are HUMAN.

This film took what was most accessible, most fun about Trek, and put it on the big screen. And in doing so, it made Star Trek "cool" again. (Of course, I always thought it was cool, but who asked me?)

Do yourself a favor. See this movie.

Live Long and Prosper, Star Trek.

"The best diplomat I know is a fully-charged phaser bank." - Montgomery Scott

Monday, May 11, 2009

Sorry y'all

I know I promised a post tellin' you what I thought of the new Star Trek movie. I haven't gotten around to it because my personal life has pretty much gone to shit all at once over the weekend.

And it's all my fault.

Y'see, there is a certain way friends act. Friends are supportive, not overbearing. Friends don't force themselves onto others. Friends don't consider what is going on in their life, in their heart. A true friend only considers the needs of those they care about.

This is where I failed.

I have a friend. I have known this friend for years-- literally, her entire college career. We met, and for me at least, it was love at first sight. Our friendship was somewhat rocky from time to time, as I put her needs above my own consistently. This was not always a bad thing (more people, I think, should do this) but the few times I put myself first, it damaged our relationship spectacularly.

Regardless, though we had feelings for each other, we never got together. Our timing was off, or there were other people in the way, usually.

She eventually got married (a mistake by her own admission) on a whim. She had a son, and then her marriage began to fall apart. I had stayed away at first, still burying the pain her marriage had caused me. But, I recalled my duties as a friend, and when she fell, as she had before, I was there to pick her up. I carefully hid my feelings, both from myself and her, and thought that since they were hidden they were dealt with.

As her marriage began to end I started to feel these deep emotions bubbling to the surface. I knew that being in love with a married woman was wrong only if I acted on that love. So I hid it. Even when she was at her lowest point during the separation, I kept my mouth shut and only administered to her needs.

I finally confessed to her a little while ago that I loved her. And I learned, to my surprise, that she loved me too. She and I began tentatively reaching out to each other, and this is when I committed my greatest sin: I hoped. I actually began to believe that maybe, for what seemed like the first time in a long time, my life wasn't meant to be one of loneliness and dissatisfaction. That maybe, after watching so many of my friends embrace happiness, I too would be allowed my heart's desire.

I returned from Afghanistan, and things seemed to go well for the first month or so. Then, she got officially divorced. (*I know this is incriminating, and that my legalistic friends will point their fingers and scream "SINNER!!!!" My only response is, "Yeah, I am. And so are you. Realize that that covenant was broken the moment my friend's husband cheated on her. And once you've turned that over in your mind, you can promptly go to whatever Hell you choose.") Around this time, she started acting strangely. I didn't quite notice, and what I did notice I wrote off.

A brief aside: I am a Christian, and I value my relationship with Christ highly. But the final few months of my deployment to Afghanistan I backslid. HARD. I did not read my Bible, I didn't pray, I was embarrassed when people mentioned God. I used profanity without regard to the feelings of my fellow Christians. I became a practical alcoholic. God has been slowly working on me these past few weeks, and I can see visible improvement in my life. There is still much work to do, but He is making me- willingly-- into the man He wants me to be.

I began to harbor a fear-- irrational, I later learned-- that she and her ex-husband were getting back together. I acted like an idiot, and she refused to talk to me. About two weeks later, I saw her and we talked briefly. I learned what the deal was (they had suddenly gotten joint custody) and things seemed, after that conversation, to improve for about two days. She even said hello to me (!) two days later. I asked her if she needed some space, and she said yes.

I left town and gave her the space she asked. When I returned, things still hadn't seemed to improve. I went to her son's birthday party.( For those of you who don't know him, he is the cutest little kid in the whole wide world. And I fell in love with him too...) There was a moment when she and I were alone, and I asked if we could talk later. She practically exploded at me. She explained that the day we talked before, I had cornered her and trapped her (But, of course, I never grabbed her and locked her in bedrooms, like other people I could mention...) and that this was a wholly inappropriate place to bring this topic up. I asked her how could we bring it up in an appropriate place, if she wouldn't return my texts and calls. She said for me to give her two weeks. (Graduation Day.) Looking back, I realize that she never intended to talk to me, that she was simply buying time for her to get the hell out of Dodge, knowing that she would never have to see me again after graduation. I agreed to give her the time.

But alas, whereas a real friend would actually abide by the wishes of the one they cared about, I didn't. The Monday after the party, a friend that we both confided in told me that she admitted to him that she stopped loving me around the time she got her divorce. That Monday (April 27th) was the lowest spiritual point in my life. I was so completely broken. (On the plus side, Jesus found me that night.) I saw her later that week, and told her that I was going to give her a letter explaining my feelings on graduation. She wouldn't make eye contact with me. In neutral tones, she said that would be acceptable.

The next Monday was where I royally fucked up. I was doing my normal late night routine (namely, obsessing over this whole situation) when I saw that she was logged into Facebook.

I should've restrained myself. I should've stayed away. But I didn't and I was in SO MUCH PAIN. I told myself "She is my friend. She'll understand my problem. Despite all that is going on, we are still friends, right?" So I sent her a Facebook message, apologizing for bothering her, but also explaining that I was hurting and that she was the only person who could help with my pain.

And it was ignored. I continued to watch Facebook refresh itself, as she left comments and photos and took stupid little quizzes.

And I began to realize that the woman I had loved was dead, to be replaced by this person who looked like her, acted like her, and was her in every way, except for a deep apathy where I was concerned. I came to understand that she not only didn't love me, but she didn't even care about me as a human being. And I got angry. I picked up my phone and left a furious phone message.

And you know what? I slept, my first nightmare-free night in almost five weeks to that point.

But daylight made me regret what I had done, especially since I realized that I had failed as a friend. I had let my needs come before hers. So I anxiously awaited graduation day. I decided not to give her a letter, because that might make her feel cornered, like I was trying to force her to talk to me. I had decided to give her all the time she needed. Even after all of this, I still had hope.

I showed up at graduation early. I saw her, and tried to explain to her how I was sorry about my phone call on Monday, and that I was proud of her for accomplishing her goals in spite of everything, and that I was going to give her the space she wanted.

She cut me off, and told me that she DID NOT want to talk to me at all. I asked her if she would talk to me eventually, and she said "maybe". When she said that, I had the first moment of true clarity that I had had in weeks. I saw how everything had come to this point because I kept pushing. I had been so selfish, so stupid, that I had lost my best friend. All that we had been through, all the ups and downs that only seemed to make my love stronger, all of that had gotten to the point where I was not even worth a straight answer.

I stared into the gray, empty future. A future where I am alone at twenty-five, thirty, forty-five. A future where I come home to an empty house. I saw my future laying before me, bleak and sad.

And I said the only thing left to me. "I am sorry that things turned out this way," I said to my love as she got in her car and drove off.

I went home. For the first time in probably a decade, I lay on the ground like a little child and sobbed. I felt every inch of my failures, every inch of my pain. And there, curled up on the kitchen floor, Jesus came to me. He came to me and He held me and He let my grief run its course. I asked Him to watch over her, and to bless her in everything she does from now on. And I asked Him to give extra attention to her son, that he might grow up into the kind of Christian man God foresaw when He made him. And I also asked Him to give her good friends to replace me, friends that would succeed where I had failed.

I lost everything that mattered to me on Saturday, May 9th. But Christ found me again. So I suppose it is a net gain.

Life is full of loss and pain. Full of grief. But in those losses, there is a kind of victory. Because I know that I am reunited with my Savior; my Hero. And I also know that we who are in Christ have a joy that cannot be measured, cannot be taken away. "And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God, and are called according to his purpose."

I know there will come a day when she and I see each other again. And we will stand in the shadow of Christ, and our eyes will meet. And we will see all the pain we have caused one another, and we will overcome that pain. And then, we will be friends again.

I look forward to that day.

"True Love never has a happy ending, because True Love never ends." - Alexander the Great

Sunday, May 10, 2009

May 9 2009

A day which will forever live in infamy.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

I'm special cause...

I'm Gonna see Star trek later today. I'll let you know how it is.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Wolverine *****SPOILERS******

Saw X-Men Origins: Wolverine last night.
It was meh. Save your money.

The Good:
- Wade Wilson. 'Nuff said.
- Wolverine is a sympathetic character-- something I've always felt the movies managed well, despite their flaws. (The comic book Wolverine, on the other hand, is so hideously overpowered and obnoxious that I wish Galactus would show up and eat him. And shat the remains into a black hole. That ends directly in whatever passes for the bowels of Nyarlathotep.)
- They made Sabretooth an engaging and interesting character.
- The opening sequence was simply great.
- The "Only I am allowed to kill you" moment between Logan and Victor.

The Bad:
- They butchered Deadpool. He doesn't talk, is a mindless drone, has way too many powers, has swords in his arms, doesn't talk(!), wears pajama pants instead of his awesome Red/black outfit... oh, and did I mention he doesn't talk? The "Merc with a mouth" DOESN'T SAY A SINGLE WORD.
- Stryker's final plan. So, you made Wolverine indestructible, pissed him off, let him come straight to you, and when all else fails, what is your plan? "I will shoot him in the head with these special plot-device bullets, which, even though he'll heal, will cause amnesia. There's no way this plan could backfire. I mean, in a world full of people with psychic powers and dozens of abilities that can affect the brain, there's like, no chance Logan could ever get his memories back, realize how badly I screwed him, and end up impaling me and leaving me to my doom in the future, is there? I'm brilliant!"
- There are a lot of decent characters in the film, but none of them get enough screen time. They show up, drop a few one-liners or use their powers, and disappear.
- The special effects. Some scenes are very good, such as the final fight. Others look downright terrible. Logan's claws in the bathroom, most of the motorcycle scene, etc. Which leads me to the worst offense of all...

The Ugly:
-CGI Xavier. So, you have Professor X in your script, but your budget won't allow you to hire the actual Patrick Stewart. Solution? Crib some of his lines from older X-Men movies, and build a computer generated model that is supposed to make us think "young Xavier" but instead takes us plummeting into Uncanny Valley. Nice.

My final verdict? If you have the money to waste, go for it-- it's an easy, enjoyable way to blow a couple of hours. If not, save your hard earned cash for Star Trek, and wait for DVD.

"We will fight them, sir, till hell freezes, and then, sir, we'll fight them on the ice."-Anonymous Confederate Soldier