For some reason, ever since my senior year started, I have been physically incapable of actually committing to finishing a show. I have literally started eight shows and have only finished three, one of which I barely finished. I seriously do not understand why but for the past year I have had the attention span of a goldfish and only play video games or watch youtube in my free time, and yet I have like seven really good shows outstanding right now.
First is the plethora of actually great animes I have just stopped watching. I started Dimension W which was great but canceled my Funimation, I started Mushoku Tensei which was great but forgot about it, and then I started Devilman Crybaby which is easily the best anime I’ve seen in forever, and yet every day I just forget to watch it because I’m too busy watching someone try to beat Elden Ring with a torch for 2 hours.
And then there’s both Breaking Bad and Black Mirror which I’ve been watching for years now. I love both shows but for some reason, I just never want to watch them when I’m at home and can play a game or watch youtube. It’s so weird because there was a time wherein a three-week period I watched, Tokyo Ghoul, Death Note, Chivalry of a Failed Knight, and Soul Eater. Now I can’t even finish a 24-episode anime in a year.
Pretty much since the beginning of COVID, I’ve been a pretty big Formula One fan. Although my favorite driver/team changes frequently, my undying hate for Redbull and Max Verstappen has not changed. With the increasing amount of seasons of Drive to Survive and Redbull’s latest success, half of Formula one media either involves Christian Horner or Max. I cannot stand it, the father-son relationship between Max and Christian is appalling. The amount of money that Redbull is willing to dish out to make Max happy is so annoying. They design the entire car for this literal child to just crash into people and the wall. He’s far too aggressive and dangerous for Formula one which is exemplified greatly by the last couple of seasons of Formula One. He actively breaks every rule he can and was even given his World Championship on a silver platter. I have no idea how this spoiled excuse of a driver has a seat in one of the top teams. I get that he’s fast, but he has almost double the number of crashes as he has podiums. I bet half of RB’s budget is spent on repairing this kid’s car because he clearly can’t keep it away from the wall or other people’s cars. Max is really just a Mustang driver who made it too far in motorsport.
Similarly, if you watch the sky sports coverage, and/or Drive to Survive, you’re probably aware of the absurd amount of Christian Horner in both. The only team principal that’s ever interviewed mid-race in the Sky Sports coverage is Christian Horner and he never has anything useful to say. Not only that but he probably has more screen time on Drive to Survive than every single driver or team principal. All because he eats this reality TV crap up for dinner. I’ve never seen anyone on any sports-related reality tv who likes to hear themselves talk more than Christian. And all he does is sit there like an idiot and complain about Mercedes and Todo who never did anything to them except win. Oh no, Mercedes is better than you. I understand that it sucks to lose especially for an extended period of time, but why do you have to whine and moan about it for an entire season of DTS it’s debilitating. I just want a normal season of Drive to Survive where Christan shuts up and we actually get other voices than his dumb British accent and his ugly eStAtE.
Since I was about nine years old, my dad made sure to put a pretty large emphasis on the importance of investing. Now, about eight years later, my portfolio has gone really well. In 2013 I invested in Apple and in 2017 I invested in Nvidia. Both were very good calls but it’s Nvidia and Apple, it’s not like I was making some crazy call option or short given that I have been invested in some of their and the economy’s biggest growth periods. I’m no day trader. However, after taking business math and becoming somewhat adept at reading charts, and having a surface-level understanding of trading and all its complications, I have learned a lot of really sad realities of trading in America. Such as the fact that 89% of all stock equity is owned by the top 10% of investors. However, after going down the lovely rabbit hole of Investopedia, Yahoo Finance, and my favorite Finance Podcast: The Trillionaire Mindest I’ve learned about the sad reality of Insider Trading, especially in politics.
Even though the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge(STOCK) act has been in place for almost ten years, that has not stopped anyone. For example, the speaker of the house who many people likely know to be Nancy Pelosi. What you probably didn’t know, is that she is a massive Inside Trader. What I know for sure is that Nancy and her Husband have not stopped trading on congressional knowledge. Many people don’t see anything wrong with a Congress member trading individual stocks as literally, every other person is not allowed to. As of early this year, 59 Congress members were identified by Insider and other organizations as actively violating the STOCK act. FIFTY-NINE MEMBERS OF CONGRESS. That’s over half the Senate or over ten percent of total Congress members. That may seem like a small number but that’s only people who are obviously violating it. That doesn’t count any potentially savvy investors or anyone who may be in the yellow zone of violating the STOCK act. In a time where economic policy directly affects some companies that make more money than some countries, it’s pretty integral that these people are unbiased in their policymaking. This just isn’t the case, these people are continually beating the market because they are trading on congressional knowledge because I know for a fact that 60 different people are on the level of Warren Buffet. And that raises the age-old question: how the hell do these people even mildly care about you when they can make hundreds of millions of dollars off of the economic policy THAT THEY MAKE. Imagine being allowed to trade on stocks that your actions directly affect, before anyone else can, and the only reprimand is a two hundred dollar fine. OUT OF ALL THE GOD DAMN MONEY, THESE STUPID POLITICIANS MAKE(over $100,000 a year and millions in investments) ALL THEY GET IS A $200 FINE. That’s not even a drop in the bucket, it’s a drop in a lake. But by all means, your lovely politicians care.
On Wednesday, I had to go through the lovely experience of an almost 20-hour travel day to get back from Barcelona to LA. On the long flight from Frankfurt, I did something quite out of character. Instead of just taking Melatonin and crashing for the whole flight, I only crashed for half and decided to watch a movie to pass the rest of the time. The movie I decided to watch was a movie called Her which I had heard was one of the best-made movies in the 2010s.
Going into this movie I was pretty much expecting a two-hour-long Black Mirror episode with some pretty creepy undertones. Although I was only half right, I was not prepared for what I was about to experience. First of all, watching such a movie with the very heightened emotions that come with flying is not the best idea. Second of all, this movie is one of those Black Mirror-Esque experiences that could actually happen in my lifetime. Which is always an extremely off-putting experience. Before I get into how depressed this movie made me I just want to appraise this movie for how well made it is. Not only does it work with color imagery and contrast so well, but every character is so good and so well acted out it’s almost surreal. The way this movie deals with the depression of separating from a partner, the awkwardness of a new relationship, and even a human falling in love with a brand new Artificial Intelligence experience is genius. Every emotion conveyed in this movie is so real, it makes you want to close down your heart and never open yourself up to human emotion ever again.
To someone who’s never watched this movie, it’s probably pretty weird to think that a movie about a man falling in love with a computer could provoke any real emotions, but it does. It really does. Honestly, this movie made me feel more empty than Your Lie in April, The Joker, and Dead Poets Society combined. I mean this movie made me feel like a hollow husk of a human being. It’s actually insane to me that the makers of this film even pulled it off. Her is one of those movies that was drastically ahead of its time. For being made in 2013, it could have easily made a similar if not bigger impact if it were released today.
In August of last year, I decided to start reading manga. I began with Tokyo Ghoul and Death Note. After reading about eight chapters, I put everything else down and completely blew through all 30 volumes of Tokyo Ghoul and :re. However, once I was finished, I had quite the hole to fill in my heart. I had read some volumes of Death Note and The Attack on Titan prequel which are very good but still didn’t hit like Tokyo Ghoul did. That was until I picked up Jujutsu Kaisen and Full Metal Alchemist.
Although I’ve only read half a volume of Full Metal Alchemist, it is already helping fill the hole in my soul that Tokyo Ghoul and Jujutsu Kaisen left. FMA is super interesting. Not only are both of the main characters very entertaining, but they have a very compelling backstory and relationship with Alchemy. The fights are very interesting and all the characters have a very meaningful place in the story and character development. From just the first half of volume one, Full Metal Alchemist has already dealt with Blind Faith, Scammy Religion, Military corruption, and working-class rights. Mangas like this are set in a completely different universe but are still able to make tangible storylines that make commentary on human interaction and tendencies are such a treasure. Similarly, unlike many special powers or types of magic in animes, there is a cost for alchemy. Some people who overuse alchemy, break the laws, or ask too much of it can face great costs. The layers of story in this manga as of just volume one are so interesting and I definitely cannot wait to read the rest.
However, Full Metal Alchemist is just filling the massive hole in my soul that Jujutsu Kaisen left. Jujutsu Kaisen is one of the only storylines that are so good that I watched the whole anime twice. Even after having seen the anime multiple times, the Manga still blew me away. The art style in Jujutsu Kaisen is so interesting. It’s so polished but at the same time, you can tell it’s all hand-drawn. Every character has such unique power and look, the character design and their respective powers are just *chefs kiss*. It is the perfect mix of my two favorite animes/mangas. It has the unique character design and art style of Hunter X Hunter whilst also being able to seamlessly integrate humor. It then has the darkness and uncertainty of Tokyo Ghoul whilst having Tokyo Ghoul quality fights. All that and it has some of the most compelling and interesting characters in the manga period. I’m honestly a little glad it’s all sold out everywhere because I would blow a BAG on the rest of the series.
In the past couple of years, everyone and their brother, mother, and sister have made some outrageous statements about how Web 3, Crypto, NFTs, and the Metaverse are going to be the future of everything. At first glance, it seems very true, NFTs can help artists’ rights, Web 3 and Metaverse will decentralize the internet, and Crypto will decentralize currency, it’ll all be great!
Or so everyone thought. I find it pretty astounding the number of people that were really convinced that it was all gonna work out swimmingly. Sure, I’m happy to admit that at one point I saw more of the advantages in this whole scene than disadvantages, some really cool things have come out of this whole boom. The DAO that tried to buy the constitution(which was completely undermined by the ETH fees), and NFTs that allow access to a restaurant or a real club were all really interesting innovations in the Crypto World. However, in the past couple of years, it has all become an absolutely insufferable party topic for Tesla and Silicon Valley bros alike. Everyone who heard about it on their favorite podcast just had to take it to themselves to mansplain it to every other person they see. The culture around this whole thing just completely devolved into DogeCoin bros and making their ugly bored ape their profile picture. It definitely has cool art but a floor price of 100 ETH is genuinely criminal.
Not only that, but everyone and their mother who had the money to do it completely took advantage of the lack of laws surrounding this whole scene and absolutely screwed, scammed, and crushed everyone involved. Yes, I am talking about Elon Musk and DogeCoin. If you still believe he actually believed in Doge and wasn’t just doing it to pump it and dump it, you are gullible. Pump and dump schemes were coming out the wazoo, to the point that they gained enough traction to involve influencers such as members of the FaZe Clan. Similarly, popular influencers alike such as Logan Paul were making lazy NFTs and charging thousands of dollars in ETH for an unoriginal picture of a Pokemon with absolutely no exterior purpose or club. And Logan Paul isn’t even close to the only person that has done this.
Similarly, everyone has all these high hopes for the Metaverse, but 12 different companies are trying to make their own Metaverse and have made no significant progress. I mean have you seen the Facebook/Meta trailers of their Metaverse it looks so bad. It literally looks like an animated children’s video it is so ugly. Not only that, but Mark made the whole experience seem so underwhelming. Similarly, the Metaverse is realistically going to look and feel nothing like what these corporations are making it out to be. There’s going to be dossing out the wazoo, server issues to rival most Ubisoft games, and more microtransactions than the entire battlefront series I mean imagine what TenCent and EA Metaverse games are gonna be like. Not only that, but Mark’s version of the Metaverse displayed a very calm and normal conversation which I can assure you there will be none of in the Metaverse, it’s going to be a glorified VR Chat Lobby.
Overall, although the Metaverse, Web 3, and all of its capabilities seemed exciting at first, the lack of legislation and the fact that only big corporations are trying to take over the space completely murders the hype of all of it. The goal of Web 3 has completely disappeared and has just devolved into a disappointing mountain of pump and dump schemes and faulty technology.
When I wrote my first blog post about Elden Ring I was about 25% through the game with about 20ish hours on record. Now, 2 or so weeks later, I have 106 hours and I’m almost done with my first playthrough. If I thought that Elden Ring was the peak of gaming at the time, I was wrong, because the mid to end game was getting ready to completely blow me away. The end game of Elden Ring is so fun. There is literally no other game that can feel so fresh even over a hundred hours into this game. Every single boss and area is a fresh and enjoyable challenge. Not only that, but the variety of builds that are possible in Elden Ring is insane. When I first picked up Dark Souls 3 I was bewildered by the variety of builds that I could run, but Elden ring is on another level. Elden Ring gives the players full creative control to switch their build at any time after a certain point, which was also a feature in Dark Souls 3. However, I have never respecked in my multiple playthroughs because it’s simply too short to want to switch builds mid-game so most players just try new builds on their next playthrough. However, the sheer size of Elden Ring almost encourages players to use this feature as switching builds to keep the playthrough fresh even to the end.
The end-game of Elden Ring is honestly my favorite part of the game. Before I got there, there were hundreds of posts all over the internet of people complaining about how unbalanced the late game portion is. I honestly have no idea what these people are talking about. It’s probably because most players don’t level vigor and just get one-shotted by literally every enemy past the Plateau. The Endgame is most definitely very difficult, but the game gives the players all the tools necessary to handle the Endgame. I mean even souls veterans who are well aware of how broken some builds can be are complaining about the difficulty of the endgame and speculating that it wasn’t playtested. I don’t believe that for one second. The increasing challenge of Elden Ring through to the end is exactly what drives me to keep coming back day after day for hours. Being slapped by every boss over and over again, learning their move set, and finally beating them after 10+ is literally the point of a Fromsoftware game. I seriously don’t understand this anti-difficulty sentiment in the Elden Ring community, not only does the game give you all the tools necessary to beat these enemies, but every other Souls or Fromsoftware game is insanely hard. I mean if you look at the Bloodborne and Dark Souls 3 DLC or the Sekiro Endgame, these are some of the most difficult bosses in the gaming period. These games have always been about overcoming what seems to be an insurmountable challenge. The point of these games is to die over and over again because these enemies are truly more powerful than you are but through trial and error, eventually, you will beat them and that adrenaline is absolutely unbeatable in gaming. Because Elden Ring is so big, the difficulty had to spike, it had to keep going up so that players had the challenge to overcome. I hate to be that classic Souls series troll, but if you find yourself complaining about the endgame difficulty, git gud shitter.
Over the weekend I had an awful cold. One of those colds that just shut down both your brain and your respiratory system to the point that playing video games or doing anything that’s not lying down feels like a chore. So instead of doing my ritual video gaming I did something totally out of character and actually sat through not just one but three movies. Long ones too. Over the course of Saturday afternoon, I watched Marvel’s Eternals, The Dark Knight Rises, and Joker.
I started with Marvel’s Eternals, one of the first Marvel films in years to get a trash rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Going into this movie, I was already expecting this movie to be not that great. I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect, but this movie fully exceeded my expectations. It is not a good film. First of all, they bring in an entirely new group of heroes who are supposed to be immortal and help birth planets but they’re pitifully weak for the task they’re put up to. Secondly, they implant a completely new villain who was nowhere to be found in any other marvel movie despite being seemingly pretty abundant in the world, so much so that an entire group of heroes was created to fight them. Not only that, but the whole point of these heroes’ existence is to help life flourish throughout the universe and then continue to neglect a situation in which Thanos tries to wipe out half of all life. In general, this movie suffers from a pretty unrelatable cast of characters and more plot holes than the entire franchise so I really don’t understand how Marvel pulled off such a mediocre film after such a reigning decade of great movies.
The next movie I watched was The Dark Knight Rises which was a long-overdue viewing experience for me. I had seen the first of the trilogy at a very young age and then watched Dark Knight multiple times throughout my life because that movie absolutely slaps. I honestly don’t know what I was thinking about not watching Dark Knight Rises for so long I mean Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies are awesome. Although this one doesn’t have as compelling or coherent of a plot as the one preceding it, Dark Knight rises is a very good-looking and well-shot movie with a pretty moving plot for a DC/Batman movie. Christopher Nolan does a great job of blurring the line between good and evil to create a tangible dilemma that Batman/Bruce Wayne has to face throughout the plot. Although this movie doesn’t live up to its predecessor, it is a great continuation of the trilogy and a good way to cap it off.
Joker was the last movie I watched and this one was a very different story. This movie is straight-up depressing. This movie is a fantastic example of the direction that DC needs to take to be taken seriously in Hollywood. This movie takes Gotham, a city that is very prevalent in the DC universe and makes it a very tangible, and very depressing place with deep-rooted economical issues that caused an uproar of poverty. And it doesn’t just show that by having a lot of crime. There are living in rundown apartment buildings, suffering to find a living, and even budget cuts in mental health institutions. Instead of Gotham just seeming like a playground for Batman, it is now a mirror of the depressing reality that is living in poverty in a city, the neglect of the U.S government to fix these many problems such as mental health and care, and the empty promises by those who are wealthy to fix all of this. This whole film completely flips the Batman story on its head. Now you have this horrible and unsavable town in which people are doing whatever they can to help themselves out of this crushing situation that they didn’t even cause. It makes all the people previously beaten into a coma by Batman seem almost innocent for their crimes compared to the heinous neglect of the lower class by both him and his father. By the end of the movie I was kind of waiting for them to kill Bruce’s parents because, in all honesty, Thomas deserved it. Overall, this movie is the direction that DC needs to take with their films because this is a clear improvement over everything they made after the Dark Knight Trilogy.
If you know me personally, you probably know that I love dogs. I have a powerful affinity for dog breeds that have had tarnished histories or bad reputations because of dogfighting and generally poor owners. As a kid, my dog was pretty ambiguous, but it was pretty clear he was either American Bulldog or Pitbull, and so was his brother. The dog that we take care of for about a month each year is also a pitbull-boxer mix. Similarly, my family and those around me have also had quite a few Pitbulls, Dobermans, Rottweilers, and other ‘dAnGeRoUs’ dog breeds. Through all this experience, I have not met a single one of these dogs that were aggressive even in the slightest. In fact, the most aggressive dogs I have met have been breeds that are usually considered well-mannered.
However, despite having such a wide range of great experiences with dogs of these breeds, I have met an abundance of people that are either scared of these breeds or dislike them because they believe they are dangerous. Usually, it’s some story about how they were kids and got barked at or nipped at, or even bit by a dog of said breed. To me, this literally just sounds like racism. When someone comes out with their excuse for why they dislike a particular breed, it’s usually worded exactly the same as when a racist says they don’t like a race of people. I mean, think about it, telling you like labs but not Pitbulls is not that far from saying you like one race of people and not the other. In terms of weight and general history, it’s not exactly the same, but in biological terms, it’s strikingly similar to racism. I’m not saying it’s ok to prefer a breed and look for one that you want, but having a pre-set prejudice against a dog breed is dog racism. Don’t be a dog racist.
If you know me personally, you know that as a masochist, FromSoftware(Souls-Like) games are literally my favorite types of games. Bloodborne, Sekiro, Dark Souls 3, and Dark Souls 1 are all four out of my top five games. However, FromSoftware and Bandai Namco just released their newest title, Elden Ring. Which had been in the works since before Sekiro was released in 2019. It is now 2022, three years later, and Elden Ring is finally here. And it’s the best thing I’ve ever played. From minor detail to major detail this game is as close to perfect as anyone can get. (I play this on PC so I am aware of and have experienced the frame stutter when in fights, but they’re already fixing it and it really doesn’t take away from the experience at all).
First of all, this game is absolutely gorgeous. Elden Ring is hands down the most artistically and graphically impressive game I’ve ever played. Sure there are a lot of games with technically better or more realistic graphics but, the care and detail put into making this world is absolutely unparalleled. As an open-world game, I was expecting it to be a little lazy with lots of walking around between one interesting location to the next like most large open-world games. I was wrong. This world is jam-packed with detail, easter eggs, items, side quests, characters, hidden levels, the list goes on. And every single one is great with immense detail, no enemy, no boss, no area feels unfinished. Every nook and cranny is filled with fun things to do. It is the single best open-world game I’ve ever played. And as a souls game, it is easily the best. It brings back my favorite part of Dark Souls one which is semi non-linear progression. Instead of only being able to go to one level and being stuck there if you’re under-leveled or skilled, you have the option to go do something else and explore the lush and lore-rich world that surrounds you.
Secondly, Elden Ring takes everything good about the other games and packs them all into one. Weapon arts from DS3? Check. You can even change your weapon art on the fly. Powerstancing from DS2? Check. I am currently power-stancing two greatswords. A separate jump button from Sekiro? Check! 83 bosses??? CHECK. This game is jam-packed with content, it is everything FromSoftware learned from all the time they’ve been making games. And just like the masterpiece that is Bloodborne, it is a completely separate game from Dark Souls in every way. It doesn’t matter that the combat is technically similar, the environment, the feeling of playing Elden Ring, the satisfaction is all just on a different level from their previous games. It is a culmination of all of their previous masterpieces. If there’s any game that defines the spirit and the artistic value of gaming, especially RPGs and Open World games, it’s Elden Ring. I adore this game.
Plus it has the two best NPC’s ever in gaming, Pot man and Wolfman. Buy it right now