The SamuraiMarine

Thoughts, Philosophy, Life and Love

Category: Games and Entertainment

What makes beauty?

What is beauty?  What does it mean to be beautiful? What do you consider beauty to be?

More or less I think that too many people attribute beauty to be solely that which is on the outside, beauty of the flesh not of the spirit or the mind, when in reality, regardless of how a person looks, THAT is where the TRUE beauty lies.

Media, today, does nothing to help the matter in that most of what you see on television, movies and magazines are designed, either by intention or happenstance, to shame people who do not appear a certain way, dress a certain way or otherwise fit a certain category.  This is, in turn leading to people hating themselves because they do not like the way they look.

Popular culture is brainwashing us into thinking we all need to look like people like Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Tyra Banks and George Clooney, when in reality there is nothing wrong with looking like who we were to begin with.

People as young as in their early teens and as old as their eighties are going in for surgeries to augment themselves, make themselves look younger, make themselves prettier.  Except in rare cases, there was nothing wrong with them to begin with and they looked just fine.  But because they did not look like a super model or a certain actor or actress, they do it any way.

To be fair and honest, yes… I considered cosmetic surgery for a while.  My reason was because of some discolorations I have under my eyes as a result of some malnutrition issues when I was very young.  But that is it.  I am not looking to liposuction my waist, tighten my butt, make my skin more taught… you see, that is what exercising and diet is all about.  It’s called NOT BEING LAZY.

One last thing I think people need to remember is this.  If you are not happy with the way you look, then all the surgery in the world is not going to correct the issues you may have.  If you were not happy being who you are before, what makes you think a little nip and tuck here and there is going to help you?  Doctors should offer FREE extensive counseling to anyone who comes in for cosmetic surgery, that does not have a need for it other than to look prettier.  Be they would never do that because of the potential lost revenue.

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HALO 3: Recon – Why do they do this to us???

OK…

Once again Bungie has played to our Achilles heel and released a trailer for the new game based on the HALO universe.

HALO 3: Recon

To be honest… I am not sure what kind of game this will be without the Master Chief.  I mean, HE is the HALO series.  To be fair, though… I am going in with an open mind.  All I can say is this:

“My name is Sam, and I am addicted to HALO.”  <everyone else says “Hi Sam.”>

H3:Recon is set in the same universe as the Master Chief, but you do not play him.  You play the only other character that can come even close to his caliber in the games.  You are an ODST, the Elite of the UNSC soldiers, also known as “Hell Jumpers”.

These soldiers, the future equivelant to the Navy’s HALO jumpers of today, strap themselves into a pod, in low planetary orbit and are “shot” into a hot zone of the planet surface.  These are guys that make us Marines look like Boy Scouts.

Am I jazzed about the new game? Hell yeah…  is a Rabbi Jewish?

Am I going to put my name on the list for the early release?  Darned tootin’!

Do I have any comments to Bungie?  YES!!!!

WHY DO YOU MAKE US WAIT FOR A YEAR FOR IT’S RELEASE!?!?!?!?

Argh!

Et tu, Bungie???

Something about entertainment…

When I was growing up, my mother must have owned every Beatles record that was ever made.  At the time I was not interested in them, all that I knew was that she would alway stack the vinyl on the changer early Saturday morning, and that was the queue that we were going to start cleaning.  Cleaning for her, at the time, meant EVERYTHING.  Stem to stern, top to bottom, etc… So obviously I grew up associating things like the Beatles with things like cleaning house, scrubbing toilets and such.

It was not until after I married, and she brought the Beatles back into my life, that I started to enjoy them again.  They took on a new meaning to me, and I was able to enjoy them again without the sudden urge to go find the vacuum or broom.

What strikes me as interesting about groups like the Beatles is that if you listen to them, you can hear them change from the fun “bubblegum rock” band that they seemed to be when they first became popular in the states, to one of the soundtrack groups of the late sixties counter-culture movement.  You can also see the changes in their music as they became more and more influenced by both the drugs that were more and more available to people at the time, and by George Harrison’s trips to and in India.  In fact George’s sitar work is some of the most mesmerizing that I have ever heard.

The reason I bring all this up is because my wife and I recently watched a great movie called “Across the Universe“, which is set in the late sixties during the Vietnam era and is a Beatles trivia and music orgasm.  We have seen it four times, and will probably see is a couple more times before it leaves the theater for DVD.  One of the best parts about the movie are the subtle pieces of Beatles trivia that are strategically placed throughout the movie.  I will not give them all away, but as an example, look for the occurrences of the number 9.  Anyone who is familiar with the Beatles will know the significance to this.  There are others, but I will let you find them…  If you have already seen the movie, and know about them, please do not post them here.  Have the fun is letting people find them on their own.

Was it a perfect movie?  No… if you are a detail nut like myself, you will see several continuity faults in the movie, but do not go in for the first time looking for them.  Just enjoy the movie and the story line that they are presenting.  Depending on your age, you will probably be silly like my wife and I and sit in the theater and sing along with the music.  If you are young and not as familiar with the Beatles, then you might discover something that you like in this movie, and become a fan.

The songs themselves are not sung by the Beatles… they are sung by a cast of unknowns.  People that have had next to no coverage on the big screen.  But they certainly do the songs they sing credit.  There are also a couple people that you will know… Joe Cocker plays the part of a street-bum, Pimp and a Hippie.  Oddly enough these are all parts that he looks very convincing in… they are not really parts, per se… he is singing “Come Together” during this part, and it does not last too long, but he is memorable in it.  Another face you will know is Bono.  He is outstanding as Dr. Robert singing “I am the Walrus.”  He also sings “Lucy in the sky with Diamonds” towards the end of the movie, and does an excellent job of that as well.

Unlike most Vietnam era movies, this one centers more on the happenings on the home front without vilifying the soldiers the way some movies seem to have done in the past when they address the counter-culture movement.  They address the war, and there is a brief display with soldiers carrying the Statue of Liberty across the Vietnam landscape, so it is not hard to see what they are implying, but that is about it.

Really, you should go see this movie.  It is fun and you get to hear a lot of great music.

A word of warning…  If you do go see it, and then go out to buy the CD, you may be a little disappointed.  Some of the songs that are in the move, are not on the CD.  I am not sure why, but I am sure it probably has something to do with licensing.

Go see the movie, and have fun.  It is a great watch.

HALO 3… Believe (In Commerce)!

It’s funny.

I was never really interested in getting a game console until the first time I played Halo: Combat Evolved for the PC. I played it so many times that it was like an addiction for me, but what always bummed me out was the play speed. It seemed like it hung so bad sometimes that it was crazy. Then someone let me play it on their XBOX. It was all over, then.

At the time that I first got infected with the HALO epidemic, it was towards the end of the life on the original XBOX console, and I saw no point in going out and buying the XBOX, when the XBOX 360 was going to be on the market shortly. When I let people know that it was my intention to wait, I heard it from everyone. That I would have to wait a long time, and I might not see one for several months after the release date. What these people failed to understand was that my last game console was an Atari 5200… anf if I waited this long, I would be safe waiting a little longer.

About a month after the release, people were still saying that they did not have any in stock… and I was walking through Sam’s Club here in Bakersfield, and what do you know. They had two stacks of 360s. Not empty boxes, not displays, but the real thing. They were $459.99, for the premium edition, and there was a sign that said “One unit to a member.” This immediately killed my plan on buying five and putting them all on ebay and still waiting a little while for my own, so… I bought one for myself.

Now… Here we are, over a year later, and with the release of HALO 3 just a stones throw away, and the rage has still not died down. What amazes me though is not just the game box or the game, but the culture that the game has created.

I sat down tonight and watched all the little movies that they have made for the game… specifically I am referring to the “Believe” campaign. This has got to be one of the most well thought out and most well done advertising campaign that I have ever seen done. The most poignant part of it for me, however, is the emotion factor. I am ex marine, while I have never seen combat, I have spoken with people who have. I have had friends who have fought in several wars, from Korea to Iraq, and in all branches. When I hear them talk about the ones that they lost in battle, the friends, the family, those they never knew, it touches me. When I see these ads, I feel that they worked very hard to convey that same feeling in the spot, and it makes for a very moving commercial.

Is it foolish to get emotional about a commercial for a game? Yes… it is, but I feel that the marketing team that put these series of ads together has outperformed themselves on this go around. You watch these and walk away not with a feeling like you have watched a commercial for a game, but that you have just seen an ad for a new monument for a fallen soldier… or a battle that has yet to happen.

The commercials for this game should qualify for some kind of award in their own right. They are moving, thought provoking and leave you thinking.

To all my HALO friends out there! Game On!

Have a good one, and I will see you all on the ‘Net… hoping to do some fraggin!

The Master Chief doth approach

As we get closer to the release of HALO 3, I am reminded of many things… I just cannot recall what they are at the moment, or why they were important when I first thought of them.

With the release of H3, I stop to consider two very important matters that border on the life altering and awe-inspiring.  First, how to plan the two vacation days I plan of taking in a semi vegetative state in my office at home playing this game, and two, why the hell am I, a nearly forty year old man, spending $125+ dollars on a game?

Again… these are both important questions, and have deep moral meanings, but greater yet are the smaller ones… like how will I fit the port-o-pottie into my office, and what will I eat for the two days I plan on staying in my office after I finally get the game?  How will I prevent my wife from walking into my office and interrupting me at some crucial moment in game play without doing something that might envolve police and small arms fire?  How do they get those little malt canisters into the cans of Boddington’s ale?

All Very important questions, and ones that I will delve into more deeply as the release date approaches.

I do wonder, however…  I put my name on the list and paid my deposit when GameStop first started taking names and deposits for the game, so I am curious as to how far down their list my name is, and how long I will have to wait.

In closing, I will alter a great quote by a great man.

If Winston Churchell were awaiting the release of H3, this is what he might have said:

“Never has a game meant so much, to so many and cost so much!”

Trek…

Yes yes… we have all heard it. The words of William Shatner are permanently ingrained on the world.

“Get a life”

I do enjoy Star Trek… It is, without a doubt, one of my favorite story lines. But there are limits to everything and I have to agree with Shatner when he made the comment .

There are people that take the series entirely too seriously, and delve a little too deeply into the fantasy. While this article is about them, it is not meant to hurt or make fun of them… at least not too much. 😉

I consider myself a “Trekkie”. This is, for all of you out there that may not be familiar with the term, the Old School trek fan. I was not around when the series first aired, but I was a child of the syndication era of Star Trek. This was fine with me, because I got to experience all sorts of rich and entertaining 70’s Sci-fi in addition to Star Trek.

My TV watching of the 70’s included such shows as Space:1999, Buck Rogers in the 25th century, and Quark, among many other gems of television watching. So I was not without fuel for my imagination.

But I digress… Back to Trek…

I have been to a couple Sci-fi conventions, and one thing that amazes me is how much people devote of their lives to the fantasy of Trek, as well as the myriad other Sci-Fi fodder that there is out there, but for the sake of this argument, Trek.

I can understand the people that sit and have heated discussions about the physics of Star Trek, because in that, they are talking about something that actually has something to verify. Phasers work because of established (if not a little vague at the time) laws of physics. Warp engines are based on the theory of warping space/time… etc. Going to a show dressed like a Klingon, Romulan or any other of the vast universe of Star Trek charactors, serves no purpose… at least to me.

I do notice several things, though. Why is it that people insist on going to these things dressed up as people that they could not possibly be? I remember seeing a woman dressed like Seven-of-Nine, and she would probably have been very convincing… had Seven-of-Nine come from a collective of borg cubes somewhere in the backwater of an Oklahoma trailer park and had given birth to several Mini-Borgs, and looked like a little of each of them stayed with her.

Or the folks that wear, and anyone who has been to a CON has seen them, an uniform that is obviously for a person a few sizes larger, and the resulting effect is that this is a person whom suffered a strange and little publicized result of losing a few too many molecules in the transporter, or perhaps a Star Trek era Jenny Craig program gone horribly wrong.

Then there was the guy I saw that was dressed like Scotty. Except he was balding, black, missing the entire right side of his lower dental work, and would make the real Scotty (in the last two of the movies he was in) look like Mr. Universe.

Conversely, there are the ones that show up to these dressed in such a manner that they should almost be banned to an adult’s only section. Women dressed like Seven-of-Nine that would make Jeri Ryan run screaming at them with visions of a cat fight in mind. Women made up to be Orion slave girls that even I would consider putting some money down for (If my wife is reading this, it was a JOKE!!!) And a host of other people that really look quite good in their dress. My favorite was the woman who must have gotten the wrong memo, and came to the Trek Con as Leah in the Jabba scene from ROTJ, complete with shackles and bikini. As I recall.. she was the only person there from Star Wars…

I may sound like I am being and ass… but I am not. I enjoy these shows very much but I can just not understand why people spend so much time making the outfits, dressing up and going to these shows when it is really just as rewarding to go as yourself, and play… god forbid… yourself!

I am not a Kirk, Spock, Checkov, and certainly not Sulu (haven’t we learned some interesting things about him, in recent years.) I am myself… an avid Trekkie who loves the shows, read many of the books, is intensely interested in the science, but understands that I am still here, in this universe, and will probably never be anything more than just a fan.

There is nothing wrong with that. I am content to live me life as such, and to go to the shows and watch all the other people who do dress up. I will not call them names, as I have heard others do, because they are still people. Some are smart, some are challenged when they encounter a doorknob. Some have vibrant and active lives, others have had no more rewarding relationship than that of a person they met online but have never had the nerve to meet in person.

They cover all walks of life… and I am sure they are all good people. But still I am miffed, and I suppose I always will be.

If you are reading this, and taking offense, don’t. None is intended. In fact, I have a friend, whom I am pretty sure never reads my work anyway, who has himself a suit of Star Wars StormTrooper armor… but I would never do it. But yah know… if it makes you happy, and does not hurt anyone, then why not?

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