The Isle of Donne is Here!

Posted in Updates on March 12, 2015 by chemiclord

Book 6 of the MegaTokyo: Endgames series is live!

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After a more than long enough wait, The Isle of Donne is available for sale.

For paperback, follow this handy Amazon link!

If dead trees don’t suit you, ebook versions for KindleKobo, and Nook are available!

MegaTokyo: Endgames books for sale!

Posted in Updates on September 24, 2014 by chemiclord

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The Gate Series

Posted in Updates on January 29, 2014 by chemiclord

Broken Prophecy Cover FinalBook 1: The Broken Prophecy 

Purchase a print copy from Amazon.com

Or purchase a Kindle e-book

Or a Nook e-book

Not convinced?  Enjoy five short stories that set up the novel completely for free!


Front CoverBook 2: The Sixth Prophet

Purchase a print copy from Amazon.com

Or purchase a Kindle e-book

Or a Nook e-book

Want to take a look before you buy?  Enjoy this free preview to whet your appetite.

The Death of the “Silent Majority…”

Posted in Grumblings on November 8, 2020 by chemiclord

It’s been a rather common dream among the extremes of the political discourse; that among the masses of those that don’t/won’t/can’t vote there is a swell of support for them and their message specifically, and thus their platform is nigh infinitely more popular than polling or general sentiment would suggest.

For the alt-right, they insist that there are masses of people in “blue” states who are in lockstep with their isolationist and conservative message, but they are demoralized by dirty liberal dominance.

For leftists, they tell us that there’s an army of wanna-be socialists through every vein of this country that are either beaten down by “politics as usual” or simply don’t realize that they are actually in favor of wealth redistribution, and merely need to hear it from a major leader.

In the 2020 election, we had a chance to see if there is an validity to the “silent majority.” Roughly 3/4ths of eligible voters showed up, a massive uptick from the roughly 50% that normally do. If there was any sign of a previously ignored block of voters one way or the other… surely we’d see signs of those people, at least in the margins.

And at the end of the day, with both candidates reaching record numbers of votes (literally the most and second most in any presidential election in the country’s history)…

The voting splits were almost frighteningly similar to the last twenty years; once again the presidency decided pretty much at the margins. Quite literally; roughly 100k votes among the 150+ million in a handful of states go the other way, and we’re talking about Donald Trump’s second term.

(And for what it’s worth, I think what we’re seeing from our polls is less a problem with finding out who actually supports who, as once again, the predicted splits of the total vote were well within the margin of error, and more a problem of polls being used for something they aren’t well equipped to do… which is trying to work on a micro scale in the one narrow band that actually is extremely volatile.)

It seems pretty clear that there is no silent majority. It doesn’t exist, and even a cursory understanding of statistics should have led to that conclusion. Give any statistician a random sample set of 1 in 2 and they will be exceedingly confident that the other 50% of that set will resemble what has been measured.

And while it’s true that the voting public isn’t a truly random sample size (due to things like vote suppression), there was no reason to believe that it skewed in any particular direction. There wasn’t any particular demographic statistically under-represented despite the best efforts of state and local governments (basically suppression of poor and minority voters was largely countered by laziness and disinterest from white voters).

It would seem that for every liberal/progressive in Texas or the Gulf Coast who was disenfranchised, there is an equal number of conservatives in places like New York or California that don’t bother showing up because they don’t feel their vote matters, either.

(This is a problem of the Electoral College that frankly everyone should find distasteful, regardless of political inclination.)

Nor was there any particular region that was being underrepresented. For all the “Get Out The Vote” efforts that turned states like Georgia and Virginia and North Carolina into battleground states, that inspired equally effective conservative efforts that turned the upper Midwest from fairly solid “blue” to a much more active “purple” as well.

The physical battle lines may shift, the ideological ones aren’t. Everyone pretty much knows what side they are on.

So what does this mean?

Well, it’s frankly good news for conservatives, in my estimation, even as their far-right flank was one of the most aggressive believers in the “silent majority.” Their message is rather simple, and it keeps the various groups in line. Irrational fear based on anyone different from them; that liberals are out to take their guns, that women will be lined up around the block to kill their unborn children, and that there are enemies in all directions invested with the goal of destroying their families and their way of life.

As disgusting and misleading the platform is, fear remains the single easiest and effective motivator of the human species. It works, and they’re going to keep using it until it doesn’t.

It’s less good news for liberals and progressives, because both major camps on the left side of the ledger have staked their entire platforms on the idea of a “silent majority,” at least in different ways.

Progressives, it’s time to stop waiting for the Riders of Rohan to appear from the west to lift you to victory. They simply don’t exist. The unvoting public is as moderate to conservative as the voting public you have tended to scorn. There are no swaths of unknowing socialists that you can reach.

For moderates, they need to drop the notion of appealing to the center-right. If the 2020 election should have shown you anything, it’s that it’s not going to happen in any meaningful numbers. “Centrist” Republicans may pay lip service to switching, but when they are alone in the booth, they’ll fall in line just like every other Republican, regardless of how disgusting of a man the GOP has at the top of the ticket.

We have to play with the hand we have, not the one we want to have.

On Baldur’s Gate 3

Posted in Grumblings with tags , , , on October 6, 2020 by chemiclord

This game is an example of how two things you like don’t necessarily combine into something you will.

Because I like the Baldur’s Gate series. I loved playing both games. I still even have Icewind Dale and the first Baldur’s Gate on a tablet somewhere.

I also have been a big fan of Larian Studios. I enjoyed the perhaps overly complicated system in both Divinity games, and had some of the most fun playing them than most titles over the last decade.

So… Larian taking their shot with Baldur’s Gate should be custom designed for my tastes, right?

Ehhhhh… no. In fact, from my initial exposure with Baldur’s Gate 3, my reaction has been, “Ew”, “Ugh”, and “Why?”

Let’s start with the party, filled with completely unlikable and possibly irredeemable characters (including yourself). I’m reminded why old first edition GMs frowned at the idea of “no parties comprised entirely of evil alignment characters;” because if it isn’t done absolutely perfectly with just the right balance of personalities, it is an absolute chore to experience.

And Larian… well… doesn’t do it right. You spend almost as much time thinking the world would be better off if you don’t succeed as thinking about how to succeed. Maybe Larian’s storytellers make them “better” as you get to know them (much akin to Divinity 2), but after about 10 hours, I haven’t yet seen any sign of positive character building, and have lost the desire to find out.

But if anything threw me off, it was the embracing of dice rolls front and center in the game itself. Not only was it immersion shattering, but it represents the flaws of tabletop gaming, and the shortcuts it has to take, rather than a celebration of what makes it great.

I get that dice are nostalgic, and near synonymous with “tabletop pencil and paper” games, but they really aren’t very good at what they do. They are a necessary evil to add a bit of uncertainty to a game and compel players to think on their feet rather than just turn everything into a convoluted math lesson.

But randomness and uncertainty are actually two very different things. Dice rolls aren’t used in tabletop games because they are good at creating the latter, but because there really isn’t a more practical way to get something resembling the uncertainty that a good tabletop game needs. And trust me, game designers have tried for decades to minimize the impact of dice rolls (if not eliminate them entirely) because… well… dice rolls kinda suck.

So, yeah, seeing BG3 lean into it (not just in a “under the hood” way, but as a centerpiece to the design) was an immediate turnoff to the point of, “I will not ever buy this under any circumstances.” Computers don’t have to do this, at least not in that manner.

Larian is so focused on the appearance of a tabletop experience that they either don’t realize or don’t care about what actually makes tabletop gaming fun. But I’ll give them a hint.

It’s not the dice.

On the Sad Sorry State of the Detroit Lions…

Posted in Grumblings on September 13, 2020 by chemiclord

Yep… I’m breaking my silence to talk sports. To my six readers or so, sorry.

The Detroit Lions, or as Homer Simpson would put it, “The sorriest bunch of sucks who ever sucked.” A team who on any given Sunday will add another example to the definition of “futility.”

There’s no real analogy I can make to describe this team outside of the realm of sports; because in no other field could anyone or anything be allowed to fail so utterly for so long before the rest of the industry simply refused to have anything to do with such an absolute disaster.

The closest examples I can think of would be if you’re a movie buff to picture Ed Wood. Try and wrap your brain around his filmmaking career. Now have that career go twice as long as it did.

Even other sports examples really don’t quite capture just how awful of depths this franchise has sunk to. You can cite the Chicago Cubs or Boston Red Sox or the Cleveland Browns or Liverpool (if you’re fans of the English Premier League, but those teams actually had moments during their trips in the wilderness where they actually got your hopes up, like there was a chance. They had stretches of competence that just for one reason or another didn’t end with a championship.

Not the Lions. This is a team that has been perennially awful for over sixty years. They have yet to even see their league’s championship game. Hell, they’ve only seen their league’s semi-final once. And it doesn’t look like this season is going to end that wandering through the wilderness either with another opening day that ended in the same agonizing fashion as so many games did the last two years… jumping out to an early lead, and unable to close the deal, eventually losing just before the end in spectacular fashion.

The problem, at least on the field, is two fold. Firstly, they have a defense that simply can’t stop anyone if they don’t stop themselves (if I follow up on this, I’ll delve into the systemic ineptitude of the franchise’s management and ownership). I say that quite literally; the Lions have routinely had one of the worst, if not the worst, defensive teams in their league for the last three years.

In this most recent game, the Lions defense gave up three consecutive scores in the last quarter of play to go from a solid lead to losing. To futbol fans, it would be roughly analogous to a side giving up three consecutive goals in the final twenty minutes.

This puts constant pressure on the Lions offense to keep scoring points, rather than play a more conservative game plan that limits mistakes that would give an opponent new life. Unfortunately, the Lions try to play more conservatively anyway… then go into panic mode when that proves foolhardy, and eventually making the sort of mistakes in their panic that they were trying to avoid making in the first place.

And thus, you have a consistent recipe for failure that has happened with almost eerie regularity, almost like they are reading from a script. The National Football League only plays 16 games a season, and this particular script has played out 11 times for the Lions in the last two seasons and now one game.

I’d argue the root cause of this repeated, catastrophic failure is arrogant pride on the part of Matt Patricia, the Lions current head coach. He is a man whose entire career has been on the defensive side of the game. He has to trust in his defense to shut down the opponent, and refuses to suffer the idea that the defense he has is simply incapable of doing that.

It’s the sort of pigheaded stubbornness you have to settle for when you’re a neophyte General Manager without any real connections, and thus the number of people you know is dreadfully small…

Okay. I’m not mentally ready to dive down that rabbit hole. I’m just gonna stop now. Sorry for rambling.

My Home Town Burned Last Night.

Posted in Grumblings with tags , , , , , on May 31, 2020 by chemiclord

I’ve struggled much of today trying to decide how best to write this. But this isn’t something that can really be encapsulated with a witty headline or some clever wordplay. All that I can manage is a stream of consciousness, so here goes.

Firstly, I have no evidence of what transitioned the event from peaceful protest to violent and destructive rioting. I’ve heard a ton of accusations. I’ve seem a ton of finger pointing. But I don’t know.

Was it the police finally getting sick of it? No clue. Protesters having enough and escalating on their own? No idea. Outside influences deciding this was their chance to throw gasoline on the fire? Couldn’t say.

And I’m not even going to judge anyone on the side of the protests if they were the ones to up the stakes. Frankly… nothing else has gotten White America to listen. We’ve happily ignored police brutality because it’s never happened in our gentrified enclaves.

We had no problem picking up our guns, and storming the state capitol building, and presumably would have had no problems using them, all because we’ve been told to stay home for the last month and a half. But we’re going to sneer disdainfully at people who have watched their brothers and sisters and husbands and wives and sons and daughters killed for decades? Fuck off with that nonsense.

I personally witnessed police harass my mother into paranoia, because they decided they needed to protect my father’s integrity during a messy divorce. And we were a lower-middle class YUPPIE family. You think they aren’t going to circle the wagons here? Just like they have every other time they crossed the line?

I see the Medical Examiner in Minneapolis already trying to run cover for the murderer. Because apparently, the police officer isn’t guilty because the victim wasn’t healthy enough to be strangled for almost nine minutes. And we wonder why those at the bottom of society protest, or why those protests would escalate into rioting.

And at the end of the day, my home town about 450 miles away, burned because of those crimes. And I can’t say with complete honesty that we didn’t have it coming.

We all have it coming. Wake the fuck up and change.

#blacklivesmatter

On the Final Fantasy 7 Remake (Addendum)…

Posted in Grumblings on April 12, 2020 by chemiclord

(Disclosure: I have not personally played this title ((yet?)).  But I have watched it played by several others who had advance copies, so I am comfortable enough commenting on the narrative.

And while I by nature try to avoid massive spoilers, there’s going to be no avoiding some mild ones, due to their importance to the story as a whole, and the critique that follows.  So, as always, proceed only if you’re willing to accept that choice.)

So, as we begin to dive in, what’s important to acknowledge is that regardless of medium, 1:1 faithful adaptations are rare, nor did Square Enix at any point pretend this was going to be either.

That said, if you are going to significantly alter a classic story (and no matter what some fans might tell themselves, Tetsuya Nomura and his team have already significantly altered it, and even threw down the gauntlet in game that they intend to significantly alter it further), you better know what you’re doing and why.  Because if you don’t stick the landing, you’re going to have a swarm of outraged former fans that are ready to burn down your studio.

And I wish I could say that was hyperbole.

The “why” in this case isn’t hard to suss out, because Nomura isn’t half as clever as he thinks he is.  The wraiths of fate are representative of old fans, who demand the story proceed in very specific ways, and get increasingly aggressive as the remake pushes forward; whereas Nomura sees himself as a visionary trying to get said fans to accept that things can (and should) change.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with “meta” story-telling and high concept narratives winding through an otherwise played-straight story.  Hell, my most notable series is built on the characters are self-aware MMO characters that don’t realize they’re part of a game, and I’m pretty proud of that work.  I think I did pretty damn well with it.

There’s also no inherent sin in challenging the audience, even doing so directly.  Let’s be honest, the overwhelming majority of fans… aren’t very good at storytelling or even comprehending a story.  Any given fanbase will often have mutually exclusive desires and be very unwelcoming of change, even if its needed.

But if you’re going to take on your fans, and have them appreciate you for it at the end… it takes some very clever storytelling and a very deft mind for getting to the heart of what the narrative is supposed to be about and convincing them that you can give them a satisfactory experience.

A remake of Final Fantasy 7 could have been a lay-up; fairly easy money for Square-Enix.  Nomura and his team are going for the 360-tomahawk dunk.  If they pull it off, the fans will be out of their seats in awe.  If they don’t, it’s gonna be on blooper reels and mocked for the rest of their lives.

Good luck, guys.  You’re gonna need it.

On Remaking Final Fantasy 7…

Posted in Grumblings with tags , , on April 10, 2020 by chemiclord

In 1997, I bought an original first generation Playstation in order to play Final Fantasy 7 specifically.  That was not a throwaway expenditure for a freshman college student.  I had been enthralled with the series since the time it used an entirely different numbering system for the North American releases.

I even played Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest and for the most part enjoyed it.  I have a fanfiction in which I create an entire unique Final Fantasy world.  So yeah… I was (and to a degree still am) a fan of the series, and was ready to bend over backwards to acquire at the time it’s latest entry, intrigued by the promise and potential that it had.

I was not disappointed.  It remains, to this day, one of my favorite games, and I respect how it had no small part in the legitimizing of video games (and of RPGs especially) as a story-telling medium.

So, surely, I should be ready to do the same on the day that the highly-anticipated remake of that all time classic releases to the general public, right?

Eh… not exactly.  There is a very strong chance I won’t get it (or its future episodes) at all, even when the exclusivity deal drops and the PC version is released.

And no, it’s not because I’m some “classic gamer” irate that it’s being chopped up into parts, or that Square-Enix dares to change it.  I’m actually glad that they are remaking it rather than take what would have been the easy money of just remastering the original title.

There’s plenty about the original game that has not particularly aged well, which I am glad to see Square-Enix seems to understand.  It sounds like the updated Wall Market and Honeybee Inn were a successful alteration that needed to be made for the game to not be rather offensive to today’s audience, to put it mildly.  It gives me confidence that other parts of the game will get a suitable repainting job as well.

No, the long and short of it is that I simply do not trust today’s Square-Enix business side of things, and there’s little that they’ve done to assuage me on that score.  The lack of any sort of roadmap as to just how many parts this game will be in, or whether it will have Playstation 4 support through it all is not very confidence boosting.

I’m especially wary because it shouldn’t be hard to have a roadmap in place.  We’re dealing with an already existing framework.  It’s not like this team is developing it whole cloth as they go.  That they don’t know just how many episodes this title is going to be parceled into is because they don’t want to know.  They want to ride this train as long as they can get away with over as many console generations as possible.

I have little desire to get locked into a Kingdom Hearts scenario, where meandering story-tellers waste over a decade rehashing a mess of a story and still haven’t resolved its most salient plot points because the series is such a damn money maker.  I have little interest waiting years as multiple directors repeatedly scrap everything a la Final Fantasy XV because it has to be an 8-million copy seller just to break even.

Come back to me when you’re willing to be straight with us about what you’re doing, Square-Enix.  Until then… I’ll save my money and my frustrations.

 

On Medicare for All…

Posted in Grumblings with tags , , on March 26, 2020 by chemiclord

Again, apologies for “getting political.”  If you simply want nothing to do with this topic, back away now.

First things first, what you’re about to read here is not a defense of the current system of healthcare in America.  It’s a disgusting mess of hideous failings that isn’t even doing the bare minimum.  It needs to be dipped in bleach and then run under ultra-violet light until the germs that infect it die, then set on fire afterwards just to be sure.

This is something that the entirety of what passes for the left in the United States of America (and even a fraction of the right) agrees with.  Where the reservations begin is with the idea of a single-payer government run and administrated “Medicare for All” is the best (or even a good) answer to the problem.

I will acknowledge that I am one of those people.  I do not see any scenario where Medicare for All ends up being much more than an equal disaster of a different vein.  And here are the primary reasons why (in no particular order)…

Firstly, anyone who wants “Medicare for All” most likely has never been on Medicare.  Admittedly, this is a messaging bit, but Medicare is unmitigated garbage.  You spend your time on it desperately trying to scavenge the money to get off it.  Its means, compensation, and providers are routinely below par.  Wait times are horrific.  Quality of service varies so greatly that you’re basically flipping a coin that you’ll even be able to arrange for care at all, much less that it’s actually going to help.

After a severe injury to my back that required “immediate surgery,” I nonetheless waited four months while Medicare weaseled through every alternative (against the spinal specialist’s recommendations), until I was able to swing into a private plan that got me the surgery I needed with a nationally acclaimed surgeon in two weeks time.  This was fortunate, as the surgeon noted that the herniated discs had started to calcify and if I had waited much longer I would have likely required a wheelchair for the rest of my life.

To make Medicare a viable national single-payer system would basically require it to no longer be Medicare.  Which is fine, but if you’re gonna have to tear it all up anyway, let’s not cling to the wrapper.

Secondly, the cost analysis of it makes a dangerous assumption that the government will be able to lock in or reduce medical costs.  This is a flawed assumption because there is literally no precedent where this government has demonstrated that ability.  In fact, and you can probably ask the same college kids who are clamoring for M4A how well the government has managed the prices of their higher education.

When this government gets involved, prices inevitably go up, and usually go up in astonishing fashion, and that can be found quite literally everywhere that government is involved.  There is no evidence whatsoever that it is capable of bringing costs down, and the burden of those increased costs will nigh assuredly fall into the laps of the people who can’t afford it, because…

Thirdlymy grandfather used to have a saying whenever he would talk to me about politics.  “Never give your government a power that you don’t want your opponents to use.”

Internet Leftists seem to operate on an idea that their ideas will be so amazing once implemented that the populous would never dream of handing the reins back to Republicans.  Problem is, (once again) that there is absolutely no precedent of that, and every precedent that Americans will not only give power back to conservatives… but that they will do it in depressingly quick fashion.  It took Americans about thirty years to forget how bad things were before the New Deal.  It took them about five to forget how despicable of a man Nixon was.  Obama’s growth policies didn’t even have time for the ink to dry before enough of America was willing to hand power to Donald Trump.

America will not hesitate to give this single-payer Medicare to the Republicans that will either immediately gut it to the point that it can’t function, or use it as a weapon to impose their draconian, Evangelical leanings.  When, not if, the GOP starts requiring Medicare to deny any and all abortions, transitional therapy, or requiring gay conversion treatment in order to see benefits, I would want there to be another option for our most vulnerable to have, even if it’s not cheap.

Today in Gamer Rage…

Posted in Grumblings with tags , , , on January 16, 2020 by chemiclord

Hello darkness my old friend…

I’ve come to talk to you again…

I’m actually not much of a fan of that old song, which is annoying because it pops into my head every time I watch gamers willingly taking control of the hype train completely on their own, driving it straight into a wall, then getting furious at developers after it crashes.

This time, it’s because of (*sigh*) another Fire Emblem character in the Smash Bros. series.  And hoo boy is every loud mouthed aggressively online gamer east of the International Date Line pissed about it.

Let’s get a few things squared away first.

  1. I’m not excited about the addition of Byleth myself.  I enjoyed Fire Emblem: Three Houses a great deal, but I’ve never really been all that much of a FE fan, and have played absolutely zero of the FE characters in Smash Bros.  That… almost assuredly is not going to change this time.
  2. Like it or not, Sakurai and Nintendo consider Fire Emblem to be a tentpole IP for the Nintendo brand.  Considering it is 14 exclusive games strong, and Three Houses released to critical acclaim, stunning sales worldwide, and multiple awards, it doesn’t seem like that is an incorrect sentiment.  No, the IP is not particularly strong in North America (though Three Houses sold extremely well even here), but at some point, you have to accept that it’s going to receive considerable representation, on par with the Mario series, Pokemon, and Legend of Zelda.  Gamers in the west are just gonna have to deal with it.
  3. The rage, in my opinion, really isn’t about “another Fire Emblem character.”

See, gamers have a problem.  We love to be hyped.  We love to shoot for the moon.  That, in and of itself, wouldn’t necessarily be a problem… if we didn’t get furiously angry at everyone but ourselves when our moonshot falls short.

In this case, Smash fans had convinced themselves that the fifth DLC character was going to be Dante from Devil May Cry.  They were duping themselves with a bogus scam account of one of Capcom’s lead developers.  They clung to a Capcom announcement happening the same day as the Smash fighter announcement as incontrovertible proof  that Dante was going to be the guy.  This was a stone cold lock, guise!

Did Nintendo hint at any such thing?  Nope!  But hell if we didn’t convince ourselves they did!  Did anyone actually at Capcom make such a connection?  Nope!  But we were damn sure of it nonetheless!

Did we get mad at ourselves for duping ourselves yet again?   HA!  Of course not!  We got righteously irate at the developers who didn’t promise what we decided they promised!

Again.

It’d be funny if it wasn’t so damn toxic.

Gamers are what’s wrong with gaming.

On a (Not-So) Rise of Skywalker

Posted in Grumblings with tags , , , on December 25, 2019 by chemiclord

(Note: This will NOT be entirely spoiler free.  I really can’t avoid it in this case, I’m sorry.)

Let’s get this out of the way.  “Rise of Skywalker” is an entirely average Star Wars movie.

Kinda like the other eight.

It’s end goal is to keep you mildly entertained for two hours without having to think too hard.  It does that.  Rian Johnson wanted to try and make it broader than that, but the old guard clearly refused to allow that, so… here we are.  Back to the old formula.

That’s something to keep in mind as I proceed through my thought space here.  For as much as I scoffed at Episode 7 (https://tkocreations.com/2015/12/29/on-an-awakening-force/) or lauded Episode 8 (https://tkocreations.com/2017/12/17/on-the-best-last-jedi/), there’s really not all that much of an overall quality difference between any of the Star Wars films.

Because there is a problem that really emerges with this trilogy especially; Rise of Skywalker suffers for it, and I fear every successive film is going to suffer even more as inevitably this story continues.

It is trying way too hard to placate a segment of the fan base that is frankly going to be impossible to placate.  Rise of Skywalker does everything it can to get back in the good graces of the “long time fan.”  You guys had a big problem with Rose?  Okay, she’s a bit player now.   Hated that Ray was just a nobody without any ties to a noble bloodline?  Hey!  We fixed it!  Couldn’t stand that some woman that could have been Ackbar tried to tell Poe what he couldn’t and couldn’t do?  He’s the general now!  We brought back all these old faces that you remembered from thirty years ago!  Isn’t that awesome?

Guys?  Please, don’t be angry anymore!  We’re trying to give you what you want!

The problem is what the “old guard” wants isn’t something that they’ll ever get.  They want to be 10-15 years old again watching “A New Hope” for the first time.  They want that magic back.  But they can’t get that feeling back.  They are going to be perpetually enraged no matter how many times you try to callback.

Stop trying.  Let Star Wars be for a new generation.  Yes, the perpetually online old guard will be pissed about it.  But guess what?  They’re gonna be pissed at anything you do.

On Becoming Useless…

Posted in Grumblings on December 17, 2019 by chemiclord

In 2014, I was hit by a car in a rather “classic” hit-and-run while exiting a biking trail.  While the damage definitely could have been a lot worse, what did happen was bad enough, nasty scarring on my right calf for one, some lacerations, some bruises, and most significantly, a severe herniation of the L5/S1 disc that required emergency surgery.

My surgeon for the procedure was excellent, explaining that this was as close to a routine surgery of the spine as you can have.  But even then, she also told me that it was never going to completely heal.  I was never going to go back to what I was.  It was merely a matter of sustaining function as long as I could before the inevitable.

A sign of that inevitability came this morning, as I was informed that I would be given “lifelong” restrictions at my day job.  There are going to be elements of what I did that I shouldn’t ever do again for the sake of my health (and ability to walk).

It’s… been a blow, to be honest.  I did everything I could to avoid having this meeting, because I knew this was what I was going to hear.  I spent most of my adult life trying to be the guy that you could count on, that could do anything you needed.  And now I can’t.  Now I get to be lumped in with the stigma of “lazy” people.

“If you can do [x], why can’t you do [y]?”

“If you can do [y] for twenty minutes, why can’t you do it for eight hours?”

Here in the US of A, this is part of the “working man” motif, and not even I am immune to it.  Even if by all rationality, I should be celebrating this good thing… I can’t.  I’m no longer the “good worker.”  I can’t be.  Now I’m the “useless worker,” the “lazy” one.

And it hurts.

It’s probably going to hurt for a while, at least until a new normal sets in.

Here’s hoping.