New Years Resolutions – 2017

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The New Year is here! With a brand new year comes a new opportunity to look back and examine how things were, where I stand now, and decide how I want things to change in the future. For a great many people, that means New Year Resolutions.

I’ve never put much stock into new year resolutions, though I think I’ve always made them to one degree or another. They get broken very easily, after all, and nothing is quite as demoralizing as failing to live up to your own expectations.

However, I think the key to solid resolutions is, primarily, to remain general. Specific resolutions are the most fragile sort, and are easily broken. If approached more generally, little lapses are not crushing and adjustments are more likely to continue to mean success. In that vein, I make the following resolutions.

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Political Labels: Conservative vs Liberal – Side Notes

 

Side Notes

This is the first post in my “Side Notes” subseries of the broader “Political Series” of posts on this blog. “Side Notes” will be for when I give my flat opinion on an issue that I don’t believe requires a great deal of dissection and debate.

Is it odd that my first post after the “Rights and Role of Government” post is in the “Side Notes” subseries, rather than something like the “Economics” subseries or the “Race” subseries? Yeah, maybe, but I feel this particular topic should be addressed before going forward. Let’s get started, shall we?

Where I Stand Final

There is something pleasing about putting things in a box. By putting something in a box, you know what it is and where it is. It is either safe and treasured, or it can be forgotten and stored away in a closet. It is compartmentalized. Its contents will not mix with other materials. It is clean. Things can’t get messy, and pieces won’t become lost.

This is not too dissimilar from what we feel happens when we define a concept or term. By putting a box around something, we feel we have solidified it in some way. We have control over it. Fortunately or unfortunately, that is not how language works. Instead we find that the box is made of cardboard, and our concepts and ideas are liquid and leaking through.

So when it comes to terms like “Conservative” or “Liberal,” we may feel we have put a really solid definition on these that are immutable. They aren’t messy, surely. There is always air space between them. If a politician or a policy fails to fit the definition, then that just makes them a bad “X.” However, that just doesn’t work. The definitions of these loaded words change from person to person.

When you think of the spectrum of political thought, the two terms that tend to represent the different sides of the middle point are “conservative” and “liberal,” and they are also often referred to as “right” and “left” wing. But what exactly do these two opposites mean?

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Rights and the Role of Government – Political Series 1

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I will begin by once again providing the disclaimer that the political series is my opinion on how things should be, and not necessarily a reflection of the way things are. I say this because it is inevitable that someone will read something they will say is impossible in the current political climate, or unrealistic to change because of who controls the yadda yadda. That’s not my point. I’m merely stating my personal beliefs on the matters at hand as I feel they should be.

That said, please comment! I want to know what you agree with, what you don’t and why. I consider this an evolving set of beliefs, and not something set in stone. I want multiple viewpoints so I can adjust when needed, or polish and strengthen my own beliefs. Without dialogue there is no growth.

It took me a long time to get this particular post off the ground. Not because I had nothing to say. Quite the contrary. Rather, I have been struggling to find ways to organize it and present it concisely. Furthermore, I had originally planned on introducing topics slightly differently. My new plan is to write each post as one of my “Fundamental Political Beliefs” until I have covered the wide variety of topics I set forth at the start of this thing. We’ll see if it all pans out.

No matter. Let’s just get started!

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Oscars Predictions – 02/28/2016

It’s an hour before the Oscars starts, and I’m typing this from my phone, so let’s keep this short and sweet. I’m going to come back and update later with my score!

Best Picture:

Who I want to win – Mad Max. The only three I saw last year were The Revenant, The Martian, and Mad Max. I loved all three, and it’s hard to choose between them. The Revenant is close for me, but Mad Max is a genre film with a strong female protagonist in Furiosa with an amazingly simple but satisfactory plot and terrific cinematography and stunts. It would be a very different sort of film for the academy to award.

My prediction – The Revenant. It wouldn’t surprise me if I goes to Spotlight though.

Actual Winner – Spotlight (MAN! I should have gone with my gut on this one!)
Best Director:

Who I want to win – Alejandro G. Inarritu.

My prediction – Alejandro G. Inarritu.

Actual Winner – Alejandro G. Inarritu.
Lead Actor:

Who I want to win – Leonardo DiCaprio. I thought he acted very well, and I didn’t see most of the others to compare, but more than that we can finally put the whole Leo-never-wins thing behind us.

My prediction – Leonardo DiCaprio

Actual Winner – Leonardo DiCaprio (Yeah, this was practically a guarantee)
Lead Actress:

Who I want to win – no opinion (I didn’t see any of these films)

My prediction – Brie Larson.

Actual Winner – Brie Larson.
Supporting Actor:

Who I want to win – Sylvester Stallone. Nice comeback role and his best acting in forever.

My prediction – Sylvester Stallone

Actual Winner – Mark Rylance – WHAAAAAAAAT? O.o Completely blindsided here.
Supporting Actress:

Who I want to win – No Opinion (Didn’t See the Films)

My prediction – Rachel McAdams (they might give Spotlight a nod here.)

Actual Winner – Alicia Vikander (Turns out the nod to spotlight was a liiiiiittle off in terms of category. O.o )
Animated feature:

Who I want to win – Inside Out. Great film. One of Pixars best, in my opinion.

My prediction – Inside Out (come on, this is a freaking lock)

Actual Winner – Inside Out (Deservedly so. This film gets some retroactive flack by some people for some reason. It was a great film!)
Cinematography:

Who I want to win – The Revenant. I was incredibly impressed by the beauty of the cinematography in this film combined with the difficulty of the process they used to make it. Completely deserved.

My prediction – The Revenant

Actual Winner – The Revenant
There are plenty of others but these are the ones I’m predicting tonight.

See you guys later!

Planning for my Blog and a New Post Series

Hey everyone,

So, while I’ve revived my reviews site (look forward to a review of “The Stanley Parable” sometime soonish) my main site has remained fallow for some time. There are quite a few reasons for this. A lot of my previous material was either gushing over nerdy news or ranting about politics and religious topics. That’s fine and all, but so many other people already do that, often better than I. The Young Turks is a great source for news and political opinion that often (though not always) reflects my own. There is a mountain of entertainment news and opinion sites.

So what can I offer? My personal life is either too personal, or not exactly brimming with entertainment value, and my reviews site is where I give my opinions on the various things I like. So what’s left?

Well… I will be trying a couple of things. Continue reading

The New Year – 2016

 

Blog Segment - Peeking Through The Window copyYou know, typically, I’m not big on the whole New Year’s Resolutions thing. It has always felt a little bit weird to me to have a specific time of the year to say “Things are going to be different, now!” when that’s generally the sort of thing that I would assume we should be ready to do, and be serious about, on any given day. If anything, having a national holiday (kinda) for it makes me realize all the more how bad I am at keeping “resolutions.” Despite this, I find myself here about to write down a little bit of a wrap up for last year, and a look ahead to this one, with a little of resolve for solutions thrown in the mix. So let’s get started.

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NA LCS Playoffs and Predictions

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Here’s my first experiment in smaller, more focused blog posts. I hope it works out well.

So this one is for those of you who follow the North American League Championship Series(LCS). Doing predictions when I am doing them is perhaps a bit… silly…. We’re already in the semifinals, and Cloud 9 and Liquid are fighting it out, so it comes a liiiiiitle bit late (I’m experimenting with scheduled posts). Despite that I want to throw out some last minute predictions that will make me look even sillier since they will be coming out after at least one series is over.

But first, a few small thoughts on the previous match-ups! Continue reading