Hello All! If you haven’t heard of the Youtube controversy yet, it’s about “censorship.” While some will say that the new policy is not “censorship,” especially since Youtube is privately owned, in essence it is one big tool for shutting the mouths of those who are not politically correct (natural disasters are now a no-no too). So whatever you want to call it, it’s not good for free speech, learning about and sharing various opinions, and helping to keep this country from completely losing its democratic basis (a controlled and uninformed public simply can’t be democratic).
A number of articles say, quoting Youtube officials, that the policy isn’t new, actually. I don’t believe this. But if it’s true that it’s not new, the fact that Youtube is enforcing it now IS new. So it kind-of doesn’t matter–the point is just a deflection. This is what the policy says, in part: “Controversial or sensitive subjects and events, including subjects related to war, political conflicts, natural disasters and tragedies, even if graphic imagery is not shown” will be demonetized.
If you’re a Christian or know about the culture wars that have been raging, you can imagine how stifling this policy might be. Youtube, arguably, would be able to demonetize anything. It has even demonetized suicide help videos. While the creators can petition Youtube to remonetize these videos, one only has to imagine the sweeping nature of this video censoring practice. Of course, if Youtube’s program is anything like Hilary’s email search engine, who knows what it’ll find or miss. And speaking of Hilary, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if she has something to do with this. Look at the timing, look at the ability to demonetize your work if it contains a “sensitive subject” or includes “political conflict” (and “natural disasters”?!?).
I’m not going over all the background of the iphone controversy, except to say that Apple refuses to cooperate in the investigation of one of the mass murderers in the December 2, 2015 shooting in San Bernardino, California. 14 people were killed and 22 gravely injured. The radicalized Muslims, husband and wife Syed Rizwan Farook and Tahsfeen Malik, also planned to set a bomb off. Normally, investigators can get a search warrant to look at suspects’ phone records. This has been constitutional and normal practice, useful in a variety of ways, for criminal investigators.
Now, with ever more sophisticated hardware and software, criminals can hide their phone correspondence, and in the case of Apple iphones, they can permanently hide information from investigators that historically could not be hidden. It is constitutional in our country to investigate crimes in this way, yet Apple is holding our legal system–backed by the constitution–hostage.
And yet TV commentator after commentator is acting as if this is all something new and a questionable invasion of privacy. They say that the government is asking Apple to be a “lock pick” into someone’s private data, but since Apple made the lock in the first place (that is, a way for criminals to conceal information), this argument is silly and obnoxious. They say if Apple is forced to do this, other countries will be able to use it against innocent people, like political dissidents and journalists. Really? (Really??) There are ways around this, I’m pretty sure, but high-profit international companies wouldn’t want to go there (if you have a company that is strictly US based, can Iran make you do something?). Maybe I’m giving the likes of Apple too much “benefit of the doubt” by even thinking this claim is a real possibility. I’d like to hear from legal experts in this specific field, since I’m only hearing conjecture.
In any case, Apple has taken the power and not our investigators, as they’re trying to claim. Various people and organizations (Google, Twitter), now even Amazon (boycott Amazon?), are backing Apple. Why? It makes no sense. How paranoid does a person have to be that they’re worried that the FBI or whoever wants to take the time to listen to their phone? And, I for one don’t want my choices made for me by hugely powerful companies like Google and Facebook; based on their current censorship and other actions, they are worse than our own government investigators.♦
This brought to my mind the issue that blacks have brought up in claiming racism in the justice system. I agree with them on this one: why are all the white folks who take drugs free (think of all those Hollywood types, even), while so many blacks are behind bars due to drug sentences? So, are the whites simply worried that they’ll now be get caught buying cocaine? It’s kind-of a rhetorical question, but I don’t know where the paranoia is coming from. And I don’t get how Americans think it’s OK to protect the mass murderers in this case. Criminals, it so often seems, have more rights than their victims. And now that is more the truth than ever. The criminals must laugh themselves to sleep at night.
♦ These companies know how dumb Americans are, I’m guessing, since internet users constantly give them access to private things like email contacts, people in private circles (a Google+ thing), allow them to make posts FOR them at Twitter, Facebook, etc., and allow these companies to follow new people without their permission, etc. If you don’t think so, just try posting a comment at any number of online magazines/newspapers, etc., and read the conditions. Yet, these same Americans complain loudly about investigators trying to look at one phone of a confirmed mass murderer . . .
The new X-Files season, a short one that renews the series after being off the air for 14 years, is a very mixed bag. A very very mixed bag. Episode 5 is practically one long platitude, while episode 3 is brilliant (literally, my favorite TV episode ever made, out of all I can remember, anyway).
X-Files Season 10
I’m going to make this section short. X-Menesque mutants debut in episode 2, after in episode 1 Mulder talks of having the newrevelation that men are using alien stuff to evolve humans and improve technology. While critics ate this stuff up as a critical reflection of modern American politics, I thought it disappointingly silly, since I was pretty sure Mulder had already thought this (that is, his new revelation) from watching the previous shows. It’s what I took away from the X-Files in the past, anyway, so it seemed cheap and confusing. Most of the new episodes are quite gory, too (that is, gorier than before).
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 41,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 15 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.
I was reading Matthew today and came across the below group of verses. It made me think about my own salvation and if I’m on the right track. I have these times where I wonder if God expects more of me, if I’m letting Him down, and if He’s really paying attention to me anymore. I think all believers go through times with thoughts like that. I do believe I’m saved, as Paul wrote: “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children” (Romans 8:16). But I also think Paul wrote his passages about persevering for a reason, that people can indeed fall away from the faith (become apostate). One example from Hebrews (12:1-3):
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
The following passages from the end of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, consisting of three paragraphs and concepts, is a good reminder to consider: where we’re at in our faith; if our faith is matched by our actions; and, if our righteous-looking actions are hiding unrighteous motives. It is that last bit that is the scariest. Those persons who do NOT enter God’s Kingdom, even though they seemed like they were powerfully working for God, seem to be surprised. Perhaps it is yet just another deception they are trying to pull off, or, they are so deluded they can’t even tell the difference.
This is the ongoing notebook, or journal, of a guardian in Destiny. It contains information on gameplay, game characters, and the storyline. . . . last updated on 10-7-14. For the my “likes and don’t-likes” of the game, see the second part (especially) of Destiny, A New Kind of Online Multiplayer Video Game .
Well, this is awkward. And sad . . . that is, I’m sad. The reason: one moment I’m battling some earth invaders, the next I’m talking with this little floating angular thing which appears to be staring at me with one bright bright eye, and he – yes, he – is saying how I was dead for a long time but I’m alive now . . . by some unstated, unexplained voodoo . . . and how he’s my “ghost.” Then run run run.
So, what year is it? 2726?* Did my family leave any descendents that are now alive? The Traveler I know of, but all this is new. Or, I guess, the result of what was beginning when I was killed so many years ago. So, now there are these “ghosts” The Traveler made before it went into a sort-of hibernation, and I draw power (“light”) from my ghost, or is it The Traveler? This power is awesome, so don’t think I’m complaining. Just confused, so far. Hmmm. I am a powerful Titan now, but with much to learn . . . and of my past, much to forget. Even my name, apparently, since it is Amenta but my ghost only calls me Guardian.
A Later Day
I have learned much but haven’t been in any mood to write. I have done what I ought to, have been going through the motions since my second birth, and now am beginning to get used to my very unexpected new life; all that I knew, all the people I liked and loved, gone . . . in a flash . . . and yet everyone wants to dance.
Here’s a pic of me. Not very good, taken before sunrise at The Tower. But it’ll have to do for now. I will return later with some of my experiences, but know one thing – it is as annoying as you have imagined having to take a potty break. Oh, and know a second thing. With all the incredible tech that goes into the armor, weapons, ships, teleportation, etc., they still can’t get me a helmet with night vision . . . How crazy is that??
The Sword of Crota – Oh Happy Day!
I had the most fun today. Patrols can be fun and relaxing, and the missions – well, they can be fun, but those thick-skinned bosses can be a bit tedious as well! But then I get this mission to find the “Sword of Crota,” some old super powerful sword. Sounds like a legend that turns out to be, if anything, just an old cool looking piece of steel. But no, I found the Sword of Crota and it was all that it was touted to be. Wielding that thing against enemies was like playing an aerobics version of whack-a-mole. Yes, you actually whack the ground with a sword! You can slash around with it, too, and slicing up the annoying Hive lackeys was quite satisfying. Of course, I defeated the three powerful Swarm Princes that guarded it. They’re not very good guardians if they can’t stand up to their own weapon. But then again, look who was wielding it. 😉
(I wonder when I’m going to find a blade I can wield against enemies. That Crota Sword was just so much fun, but I find there is some force that doesn’t allow me to pick up any Hive swords I find laying around. Hmph.)
How is ANYONE Alive Anymore?
I have been through many battles now on the planets we had settled in our Solar System. Besides the heart-wrench I feel when seeing all things abandoned and destroyed, especially on wild and beautiful Venus, there are all the enemies. The Traveler has so many enemies – why? The Darkness is The Traveler’s foe, but why does The Darkness have so many apparent minions that fight each other? How can these “civilizations” go on, fighting and killing so much? Well, THIS guardian is helping to relieve them of their miserable existence, but, there are just so many. It’s like they breed and grow to adulthood daily . . .
In any case, there are four different enemies: Fallen, Hive, Vex, and Cabal. The Fallen; I expected a race having the name “Fallen” to be human, at least, but these things have four arms. So, the Fallen are insectoid humans? They are piratical with no real home, apparently feeling most comfortable with their military “houses”–one is called “Devils,” another “Exile,” again making me wonder about a possible human past. I’ve been told that the weird purple spew that I see when they die is their souls coming out, but I’m going to ask around about that more; I wonder if The Speaker knows?
The ancient, undead Hive are moon-based, but invade Earth too, fighting us and the Fallen. Their moon settlements are vast and amazing, even though their floors, chambers, halls, outdoor grounds, bathrooms (no doubt), and anywhere a Hive member has walked, are littered with human bones. I don’t know that humans are their enemies so much, more like their meal source.
The Vex; how I hate the Vex. They occupy Venus, and they are biological-mechanical hybrids (abominations that, to all appearances, have traded in their biological bodies for mechanical ones) with no desire whatsoever to communicate – exterminating us is their only desire.
I wonder if the Cabal are just imperialistic opportunists who don’t care about The Darkness or The Light, but only go forth and conquer in the name of power and money? Whatever their motives, they fight any Vex they see on Mars (a VERY GOOD thing), but they also attack Guardians, so . . . another day, another enemy.
Mom, Where do Servitors Come from?
Went on this strike mission on Venus, at Ishtar’s Sink, and ran into an Archon Priest. What a bear and a bug it was to take him down! He was an amusing foe, though, with his wicked laugh and his presumed curses at us. His name was Aksor, and he was of the Fallen House of Kings. Besides noting my team’s victory, I wanted to record something else odd and amusing the Archon did. Servitors are everywhere and I don’t know how they all come into being, but Aksor makes servitors appear to assist him in an odd way. Maybe he doesn’t do this all the time (or didn’t, I should say), but as I was standing in front of him at one point, he squatted – yes, squatted – and emitted purple energy all around him. Then pops out a servitor. OK. So, was Aksor really female and she births those things, or is Aksor going to the bathroom, or is Aksor a male that drops a ball now and again? No matter which might be correct, all methods would imply either a limited number of drops or a necessary regeneration time. At least it didn’t smell.
So I’ve been around for a while and have made some new friends. I took a pic of two of them together – aren’t they cool? One is the gunsmith at The Tower, Banshee-44–he’s on the left in the photo. The other is Phil, a strapping Exo Warlock; he’s good to have by your side on strikes. He has those exotic Sunbreaker gauntlets, which are just so awesome (and I lent him some coin for their purchase . . . . he owes me ^_^ )!
Banshee-44 and Phil are both Exos and get along great. I don’t mind just listening to them talk, especially since Banshee-44 is just so funny. When they first met Banshee dryly said to Phil, regarding his face paint, “Are those bite marks? Nasty . . . “.
When I first met Banshee, he said, “Have we met? I know that gun.” One time when I approached him it was early, and he said, “Nothing like a new gun in the morning.” “Indeed, indeed,” I said to him, and “If I purchase a new firearm from you, perhaps all three of us could go have some coffee and danish together.” I didn’t end up buying a gun that day, but next time I do I need to be there in the morning so we can get our Danish!
The Queen’s Wrath
The Awoken Queen said she expected me to answer her calls for assistance after she helped me gain access to the Black Garden, and she has wasted little time in calling! But as the Queen is rewarding diligence handsomely for doing her bidding, I am pretty much at her beck and call. She has two new shades to color armor, which I would love! – but, one of them requires that I do A LOT of her quests. I will see if I can accommodate her while her emissary is with us at The Tower (she is only with us for about two weeks, though I’m pretty sure she’ll be back again). It IS pleasant seeing her ship docked out past the large tower gate courtyard, with its huge streamers flapping in the breeze. Her bounties can be fairly easy, but her missions . . . that is another thing altogether.
The Black Garden
What a time I had at The Black Garden. I made it there, and I made it out alive; I fought the Vex and the Sol Progeny, alone, and have lived to tell of it. Or rather, I would live to tell of the beauty of that garden. If I can find a way back to the garden, I will go and maybe be able to get an image of it, an image worthy of its beauty and remembrance. The images I have seen of it come out so green, and no doubt that is the spiritual essence of the place – or so it was.
The walkway in the center, which is part stairway and travels downward, is beautiful in itself; but from it you can see the utter vastness of the garden. Its huge, depthless chasms, its field of black flowers that release red petals that float, float up, up; it’s so odd, and it inspires awe. Before you get to that area there is an interior sort of winding garden area with pools of water. I mention this because they, too, release something that floats–water coated gas bubbles emerge from the water, travel upwards, and dissipate. I want very much to return.
I want to mention a curious thing related to the enemy that “lived” in that timeless, placeless place. What is called The Black Heart was there, a disturbing, roiling mass of what looked like black oil. It had called the Sol Progeny to fight me, and these three Sol Progeny had been–to all appearances–lifeless statues. The Progeny were brought to life and emanated dark energy.
The thing I find curious is that I too was lifeless, and I was brought to life and draw on the power of the one who reanimated me, The Traveler. His energy is light, though. Just something that occurred to me. There are powers in this universe that control life and death, that can channel their own power through a living thing. I wonder if it’s someone’s unchangeable “destiny” to belong to a power that is dark or a power that is light. I’m glad I’m with the light, but for those with the dark, do they ever wish they weren’t? Do they ever think of “changing sides,” but cannot? Or once your being flows with whichever energy, is it even possible to think of being different? I’m thinking of it objectively now, but I am not tempted to change.
Who Am I, Really?
I have memories of battle, sort-of, and I knew how to use a high powered weapon right after my reawakening . . . it all seemed right and seemed to fit. But, I don’t know if all my “memories” are really my own. I mean, it dawned on me that I was found by my ghost amongst a ton of cars that were obviously in a jam, no doubt a jam that was headed outside the city; I wasn’t found at a battleground. All were dead, and I had seen more than one skeleton. All the dead there were very dead for a very long time. Yet, somehow, I was reanimated, flesh and all. Since The Traveler has the power to do that, He no doubt has the power to make me “know” things, like how to handle a weapon or two . . . and make it seem like my own memory. Or maybe I happened to be a Guardian (soldier) who happened to be running away . . . yeah.
I wonder if any Warlock has figured this out yet, but is simply holding out on us.
Black Garden Memories
I asked my ghost, and he was able to provide me some images from The Black Garden! It’s exciting, even though they are not very good. My ghost is more than amazing, but images simply can’t capture the all-encompassing beauty of The Black Garden. Here are just a couple, but I’ll be putting more together in a little photo album.
As Days Go By
The Queen’s Emissary will depart soon, but I’m confident I’ll at least be able to buy a couple of weapons (and the “class armor” item, which for me, is just a fancy butt banner) before she’s gone. I was able to win her favor to a degree and obtain the Queen’s Emblem and a new shade of color for my armor–they are both very nice. But I will not have done enough by the time she leaves to have earned the special armor shade or the exclusive emblem. I’m a good guardian, but I not the best–at least for her purposes.
I know guardians who like fighting it out in the Crucible and who have guardian friends who can accompany them on the hardest missions. Those kinds of things are needed to win the highest favor of the The Lady of the Reef. I do some “strikes” with others, even the hardest Vanguard strikes, but the very hardest things, no, I’m not qualified yet to do them. My friend Phil, whom I mentioned earlier (and he’s in that great photo!), he’s very good but he’s still not able to do the hardest missions yet. He and I–we do many missions, even hard ones–by ourselves; still, the social guardians are the most highly rewarded.
PS: It took many tries at The Lady’s “Kill Order,” but I finally won the Queen’s Armor (the “chest plate”). I have it on in the two photos here.
More Guardian Training, Fewer Missions
Now that the Queen’s emissary is gone, someone else has set up shop in our tower: Lord Saladin. He’s from the Iron Banner and has some nice things for sale for those who prove themselves in the Crucible. I’m not very interested in training against guardians in the Crucible (I much prefer targeting real enemies), but he’s offering special bounties and missions there; Phil already made a reputation with Lord Saladin in his first day of doing his quests! Anyway, the machine gun he offers is just . . . awesome. It’s practical looking but in a clean, stylish way, with just the right amount of embellishments. It’s called “Jolder’s Hammer.” So, maybe I’ll be persuaded to do Saladin’s wishes! Or if Phil is nice, he may buy me one of those pretty machine guns. 🙂
The Queen had given guardians missions to do in the worlds, but no so with Saladin. So, I’ll just be going around, doing some strikes and such, and collecting Relic Iron from Mars and gathering all the other collectable things a guardian can to improve armor and weapons, and to bring to the guilds for trade. I’ll have enough this week to buy the last weapon that I want that is actually purchasable right now. After that, I’ll have less to do. I think it will be time to catch up on some reading! I might as well add these photos I took, too. I wish they could really capture the beauty or other aspect of the place that I see when I’m there.
Going All Out Against The Hive
Since Eris Morn came to the Tower, I’ve been sent off to kill off more Hive enemies. This is OK by me, but I haven’t gone after Crota himself yet . . . Eris is interesting and I’d like to know more about her, but she’s pretty tight-lipped. Or, maybe, she doesn’t really know enough about herself–what happened to her–to even tell me. I know she’s a former Guardian who is the only survivor of a group that hunted Crota, but how the Hive took away her light, and how she ended up having darkness and Hive elements while still remaining with The Light, is a mystery. At least to me. Why does she hold that orb of dark light with a shard of something floating in it? Since the Hive had used a shard of the Traveler to weaken it, maybe Eris is doing the same thing to The Darkness. I hope we can find out more about her. Maybe she’ll open up at the Tower pub??
* The game is set 700 years in the future, but from “near” our present time, when – as you can see in the opening of the game – humans had landed on Mars. So, I made up a “we landed on Mars” future date and added 700. This is the date for my character’s rebirth, not an official date from Bungie.
For a recent review, or impression, of Destiny after its first DLC was released, see Don’t Buy Destiny . . . Unless (honestly, if you like shooters and that’s what you’re after, Garden Warfare might be a better choice).
Some would say I’m a bit of a tom-boy, but when it comes to Hello Kitty, I’m all girl. If, somehow, you’ve missed the ubiquitous feline adorning girls and women alike, let me tell you a bit about her; if you came here trying to figure out if she’s actually diabolical, I’ll get to that. Hello Kitty is the star in the line-up of successful characters created by Japan’s Sanrio Company, Ltd. (Sanrio, Inc., is its U.S. subsidiary). Now at the ripe age of 40, she is more popular than ever and is one of the most successful brands in the history of marketing. She is so popular that Sanrio–without advertising–brings in $7 billion a year from her character alone.
Sanrio’s perspective is to spread happiness, love, and friendship. Their success in selling seemingly innumerable products, running popular theme parks, and even having Hello Kitty painted on airplanes (EVA Airways), shows that people desire to connect with those values.2
One of my initial thoughts about the characters in the movie Guardians of the Galaxy–as a Christian who wonders about my duty and role in the salvation of others–was, “Could those guys’ lives really be turned around like that?” You see, this is the story of how the Guardians met and who they were before being awarded that title.
These characters (Peter Quill/Starlord, Gamora, Drax, Groot, and Rocket) aren’t all bad, just selfish with a general disregard for the possessions, and maybe even the lives, of others (oddly enough, Drax the Destroyer seems to have the least of these unpleasant characteristics). But, of course, as the story unfolds we find that things are not always what they seem. These characters are rough, violent, and self-serving, but they all have reasons for their behavior–they’re not simply sociopaths. They were either forced into a life not of their choosing (often brutal) or are reacting to a sense of nihilism. Those with power control you, even modify you, and no one cares so why not simply do the selfish thing? But we all are forced into a life we didn’t choose, to some degree at least, and our character is developed and shown by our reactions to life’s crap-grenades.
By the end of the movie, however, the characters have come to know that something exists that they came to think was impossible: there do exist others who actually can, and will, be a friend (you know, a real one). Their early abuse of each other was just as effective as any armor in keeping others out of their lives, but they learned to let the shield down and not treat others as simply a thing to be used. I haven’t read the comic that this movie is based on, though I can guess that the story was changed a lot. It seems to reflect our present socially dispossessed age well.
I’ve only seen the movie once so far and may do a more in-depth article later, but I wanted to “put out there” that the writers of this movie purposefully included dialogue that affirmed an after life. Many Christians put down Hollywood as wholly ungodly and anti-Christian, but I don’t believe this is justified. There are script writers, producers, directors, etc., that in their perhaps subtle way acknowledge our spiritual identity. For any militant atheist, I doubt that the tiny spiritual aspects in this movie seem subtle.
Also, generally speaking, the movie is hilarious and intelligently pokes fun at the super serious and dark sci-fi movie genre. This movie is different, too, in that it blends ancient myth or legend with the futuristic in a way that can teach any “serious” movie a lesson. As long as you’re not against some swearing and contemporary crude humor, I highly recommend Guardians of the Galaxy (rated PG-13). For a ton of details about the film, see its special page at IMDB.