REVIEW: Resident Evil Operation Raccoon City

I’ve been a fan of the Resident Evil series since 1999. I owe my love of survival horror and serious video games in general (i.e not Mario) to the RE series. So naturally I was uber-excited to learn about Capcom’s new side installment to the series, Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City, which would non-canonically detail more events of the original outbreak in Raccoon City. Piquing my interest especially was the thought of playing as the bad guys (an idea that as a child I emailed to Capcom – I still have the original letter and response.) My thoughts flew immediately to dreams of local and online co-op, a Heroes Mode wherein I could play interesting side missions as returning RE 2/3 fan favorites, Easter eggs galore throughout the city, familiar locations and events, the option to take down the heroes myself… The possibilities were endless. I entered fangirl nirvana as I watched the trailers, excitement building with subsequent TV spots.

I rushed to my mom’s house to retrieve the game as soon as it was delivered. The box arrived dented; foreshadowing that now seems so clear to me. As I played through the game, I cringed at the controls (shooter controls are not something I get used to easily; it seems so foreign in a Resident Evil game.) I hoped that would be the extent of my disappointment, but alas… I am unable to count the flaws in this game while using both hands – the quickfire ability is terrible, the cover function is horrendous (if you get slightly near the wall your character immediately drops down to take cover), you have to physically look at every item on the ground and be in the perfect spot before you can pick it up, the boss fights are unforgiving and boring, the AI is useless, the weapon choices are hardly varied and item carry is extremely limited, there are always either never enough zombies or way too many, the game lacks local co-op… Most egregiously, this Resident Evil game is simply just an extremely short, boring sub-par shooter; 90% of the game consists of returning fire to the Spec Ops team (Umbrella Biohazard Countermeasure Service soldiers, a choice that should boggle the mind of any true fan – why would two factions of the same team fight each other?) The abrupt nonsensical ending to this game left me with a sadness that I haven’t felt since S.D. Perry’s contract for the RE novels was not renewed.  I have not been more disappointed in a Resident Evil game since I played Darkside Chronicles (as a rail-shooter for the Wii, it  was at least expected to be horrible.)

It is my sincere wish that this game suffered a horrific production murder at the hands of Capcom for a reason: Resident Evil 6 is due out at the end of the year and perhaps they were using all of their best resources and talent instead for that game. I will never be willing to forgive this squandering of my childhood dream for anything less.

“This Would Be So Much Easier If I Didn’t Care So Much…”

My sister broke up with her boyfriend last week, after nearly two years together. It’s really hit me hard; you would almost think that I was the one doing the breaking up. I’ve spent a total of two evenings crying over it; once when my sister first told us all the news, the next time in the car on the way home from taking her to his house to get her stuff.

I couldn’t help drawing the parallels between the sudden ends of my first relationship and my sister’s ex-boyfriend’s (hereafter known only as T Mos – a nickname affectionately given by my mother, as a How I Met Your Mother in-joke) first major relationship. I knew immediately everything that he must be feeling, with what he must be struggling. My heart went out to him, this quiet boy who waltzed so quickly into my family’s hearts after nearly a year of shy keep-away. My stomach fell when I saw the deep purple circles under his eyes. I couldn’t help but cry a little when he kept his half of the Disney cocoa mug that I gave them last Christmas. My heart wrenched when my sister refused his offer to help her carry her stuff to the car. My face fell when he asked me, eyes filled with loneliness, if I wanted to get something to eat, as he hadn’t eaten all day. I felt a pain in my gut when he attempted to touch my sister or share a big dinner with her and she shirked away in response. My eyes streamed hot tears as we told him goodbye and he walked back into the house, alone. And I outright bawled when he sent me a text thanking me for going out with him, that it meant a lot to him and he loved me.

When my first relationship dissolved I would have given anything to have someone who I felt was on my side, someone I could text and thank for being there for me when I needed it most. It would be impossible for me to turn the other cheek when I know this boy’s suffering intimately from my own scarred wounds.

When we were all at the Chinese restaurant having dinner, T Mos’s fortune said to ‘Remember this date. 3 months from now, your life will change for the better.’ I immediately smiled upon reading it, pressed it back into his hand, and told him to keep that one. The significance of that fortune, the only one that’s ever seemed relevant to me in my entire time of eating fortune cookies, practically screamed in it’s red letters, Howler-like: “It’s going to be OK for him, just as it was for you.” Almost as if my slacking healing process depended upon him healing as well, my heart lifted (albeit a little sadly) at this realization, and the bleeding seemed to stop for a bit.  I’m hopeful that we did indeed happen to run across a truly prophetic fortune cookie, and T Mos’s life will indeed change for the better in 3 months, giving him relief from the pain of a broken heart and bringing him hope for his future love.

Arthur Miller Could Not Have Written It Any Better

The Cast:

Person A: Female half of a couple

Person B: Male half of a couple

Person C: Mother of Person B

***

Act 1:

The sun shines down hot and bright inside the wide, blindless windows of a Roswell Steak n Shake. Person A awkwardly fiddles with her straw, swirling it around in her coke, while Person B and Person C argue. Shortly before this scene, it has come to light that Person C opened credit cards under Person B’s name without B’s knowledge. After a confrontation, Person B was asked to leave the house and has since been living with Person A’s family. Person C calls Person B for a favor, and agrees to further discussion about what happened.

Person B: Opening credit cards in my name without my permission and using them past the credit limit and not paying them on time or at all is harmful to me, Mom. I am trying to start a life for myself, and this is inhibiting me. I need them paid off immediately, in full, or I feel that I need to do something about it.

Person C: If this is how you’re going to be, to your mother who gave you life, I mean, I can’t believe you’re acting like this. I guess I’ll see you in court, if this is what you want.

Person B: I don’t want to get you in trouble. I definitely don’t want you to go to jail. But I would like to talk to someone, a lawyer, maybe and see what my options are. I want this off my record, it’s not my real credit history.

Person C: If you do that, fine, I’ll see you in court, but that’s it for me. We don’t have a relationship any more.

Person B: I just don’t feel that I should be punished for something that I haven’t done.

Person A: If I may interject?

Person C: Yeah, go ahead, you’re a smart girl, I respect your opinion.

Person A: Personally, if I were a mother and, you know, had to resort to this kind of thing, I would be able to recognize that those actions, while necessary at the time, have been harmful to my child, and if I were assured that jail time would not be a consequence I would be willing to go to court and take the fall for my child.

Person C: [silence] Look, I’ll pay them off. Just give me some time. There’s no need to make this worse.

All 3 leave the restaurant content, confident that a resolution to the problem has been reached.

***

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Check out’s 11AM

The dining room becomes visible as the boxes that once spilled out of it slowly disappear, one by one. The apartment looks beautiful, filled with all of the things I was once holding onto, waiting for the day I would finally have a place to call my own. This is a home that 19 year old me would be stricken with envy over.

Somehow, though, the place still doesn’t feel like mine.

I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop; inability to make rent and therefore facing the humiliation of an eviction? Perhaps the checkout date of a gorgeous hotel at the end of a two-week vacation? The furniture in this apartment is nearly intangible. When I sit on my sofa, it feels like I’m sitting on my Aunt’s couch. It means nothing to me. I have no ownership. I’m a vagrant merely here by the graciousness of a sweet young couple, for the free grub and a temporary place to lay my head.

Some mental excavation leads me to wonder if perhaps I can never truly feel as if I own anything, attributable to my home life pre-move out; we never owned a stick of furniture in our lives. I also ponder the lack of maturity that might cause these feelings; it’s possible that I’m just not ready for this step after all. Maybe I’m permanently bonded to my mother, so irreparably that it’s akin to conjoined twins ripped apart and left raw and bleeding a million miles from each other.  Maybe I feel that like everything that’s come before it, this will also be snatched away from me too soon.

It’s always night time when I become immersed in a cold pool of sadness. I lie there on Auntie Macassar’s couch, aching a little inside, struggling to breathe with my allergen-infested lungs, missing my mother and sister. My boyfriend is little comfort, it’s like living with Dino, my family’s Chihuaua; hyper and excited and always needing more attention than I can afford to give at the moment. He recognizes an increase in my moodiness, he realizes that I am angrier and sad more often than usual. He’s happy and doesn’t understand why I’m really not that happy right now. I’m unsure how to lay bare my struggles in a way that will make sense to him.

I simultaneously love privacy and hate being alone. I appreciate the click of my boyfriend’s key in the lock when he comes home from class. I like being able to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, naked. I enjoy keeping a neat place. I like being the ruler of my own little kingdom. I just wish it didn’t have to be without the people I love the most, wallowing in the silence and fears.

In the back of my mind, I’m unwilling to let go of that check out date. Just in case.

Manic Pixie Dream Band

Kaiser Chiefs @ The Tabernacle, March 10th, 2012

Ricky Wilson woos the angry mob

I saw the Kaiser Chiefs play live tonight. There is hardly an album that I have kept on repeat rotation longer in my life than their debut, Employment. I’m sure my sister can still pontificate fondly on the caterwauling she heard through the shared wall of our bedrooms during the height of my infatuation; I simply could not stop myself from wailing along with lead singer Ricky Wilson’s manic lyrics. Speaking of Wilson, he is a whirling tornado of symphonic destruction on the stage. He managed to break two microphone stands and possibly cripple at least one tambourine, causing Davy Jones’ ashes to flare the angriest shade of red at such abuse to his beloved instrument. It was a dream to finally see one of my favorite bands live.

A concert is always the most exhilarating when the singer does his damndest to make the crowd feel everything in their bones, convincing them that they’re a part of the magic of the night and that without them, the band would be nothing. The Kaiser Chiefs were more than successful at this endeavor, with Ricky Wilson at one time parting the crowd, only to immerse himself in it seconds later, and climbing a ladder to run through the balcony (allowing me the chance to touch him twice as he ran past.) Likewise, I’m not sure it would be possible to find a more dedicated audience; the entire crowd was one in spirit as we sang, screamed, clapped, and laughed along.

Near the end of the concert, I took a refrain from frantically dancing and bopping along and sat down to rest during a song that I wasn’t quite as familiar with, On The Run. I latched on to the lyrics, Oh, I live for these moments/just like this one, and I began to reflect on how perfect the night had been. Earlier on, before KC went on stage, I realized that unlike previous years, I didn’t make a beeline for the stage, but for the balcony and seating. I even caught myself wishing the band would get on with it so I could go home early. For a moment, I feared that I would turn into one of those people that used to be cool but gave it all up to stay at home and watch reruns of Matlock. Once The Kaiser Chiefs began their performance, all of my fears were whisked out the window as I was reintroduced to my one true love. There is nothing like becoming one with 200+ others as you all share a common love for music.

The band renewed my love for them, if possible, stronger than before, but they also achieved something much more valuable: they brought the old me, uninhibited by worries about money, old age, and an ailing body, back to life. And that is a truly a moment to live for.

Match Made in the 9th Circle of Hell

Everyone always says they join dating websites for the quizzes, don’t they? It’s such a prominent excuse that has slid right over into ‘cliche’.

But truly, no lie, I did in fact join OKCupid for the quizzes. I joined in the autumn of 2007, when I finally succumbed to the persuasion of an online friend. He was right; it’s not a terrible site. I have really enjoyed my time on there. Aside from the occasional Nice Guy (TM) attack (apparently he was entitled to a response from me) and skeevy pervert (I really don’t need a sugar daddy, thank you), I’ve had a great time meeting new people, sharing experiences, and of course, taking quizzes.

It hasn’t always been fun and games, though. Finding love is not a game for the weak, and OKC does a bang up job helping to weed out the undeserving.

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My Feelings On Porn, As Expressed by Mr. Dudely Porn-Right Himself

Confession: I’m addicted to watching really bad porn. I don’t mean the sort which are intended to be bad; I love the unintentional, the B movie porn, if you will. Keep in mind, this is coupled with the fact that porn sickens me in its debasing treatment of women. I’m a little contradictory (or hypocritical, if you prefer) in that way, I will admit. Now, on to the point.

I was on efukt.com today, browsing through the newly posted videos, and I found one entitled “RARE: Girl Actually Cums on Facial Abuse”. (I’ll admit that it took me a moment to decipher what the title of the video actually meant; I was not aware of the Facial Abuse website prior to a quick Google search after viewing the video. I would not recommend a visit to that website if you wish to keep your dignity.) I’m sincerely hopeful that everyone is with me right now in noticing that, within the title itself, we’ve already come across the most major problem in porn – despite many self-convincing arguments to the contrary by Nice Guys, porn is not for, by, nor about women. Women are not expected to actually enjoy themselves (and, as we’ll see shortly, are not intended at all to enjoy themselves) during porn. This was most eloquently stated by Twisty Faster recently on her blog, I Blame the Patriarchy  when she stated that, “Sex can never be a politically neutral interaction as long as the interests of one party are by universal decree prioritized over the interests of the other.” To be clear, porn/sex can never truly be mutual, so long as the interests of men are prioritized, e.g. degrading porn scenes in which no enjoyment by a woman can possibly be taken, but from which nevertheless many a man has cum.

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