An Aspiring Writer, Producer and Actor who dabbles in the various arts. I can be reached at "MonsoonRush" on AIM or Skype. I enjoy Sappy things even as I make snarky comments. Read more about me in the FAQ or just ask me on AIM/SKype login 'MonsoonRush'. Oh yeah, and I date the most amazing girl - InkKisses. <3
Geeky/Gaming Blog? How many of you would Read?
I’m contemplating starting a blog on the topic of geekery and gaming, and growing up a child of two worlds.
It’d be titled “Dicing with Hanuman” and would focus on idiosyncrasies of the above and the contrast between Boolean thinking of most Western Ideologies and the more shades-of-grey spectrum that is epitomized by the varied schools of thought from the East.
That and the perspective regarding the above while being trapped between both worlds, with a healthy respect for tradition, lore and “what has come before” and the juxtaposition when confronted with the crudely implemented RPG industry practices of built-in-obsolence and the entropy of pandering increasingly to lowest-common-denominator.
All this plus some design diary work for my original Vedic Fantasy RPG Setting, working titled “Rajpunk” that is a culmination of my upbringing and struggle for cultural identity as well a respectful and comprehensive take on Indian Fantasy and cultural ‘flavor’ with an eye towards authenticity.
All that being said, how many of you would read?
My Take on Social Media Activism-without-Academia, Fairness and Bullying
(DISCLAIMER: This refers not to PRODUCTIVE, SOCIABLE Activism that actually changes the political landscape and wins hearts and minds. I have a massive amount of respect for that, so don’t get it twisted. This refers the those who misappropriate, abuse and parody that activism, twisted to their own ends to feed deep seated insecurities, narcism or idolatry to their own egos. This is for the people I refer to as “Activist Weeaboos”)
—compiled from a Facebook debate—
A note on activism. Raising awareness is cool and all. But unless you’re going to do something besides troll social media banging proverbial pots and pans, you’re not actually doing your cause much good. With that in mind, by all means continue … and of course sometimes the system is quite broken and that needs to be redressed. But in the real world, where grown ups dwell and in the arenas that matter there is are credible means of addressing wrongs. It’s called Court. #lawyeruporstopwhining
P.S. Unsubstantiated rumors and scandalmongering are FANTASTIC ways to get hit with Libel and Defamation suits. If you have not yet graduated high school perhaps it behooves to learn that.
Supplemental: It happens to be my privilege to know several educated, progressive, diligent activists who do not match the above. However, as is often the case with Cults of Personality, some of them have more rabid followers (is there a word for the activist equivalent of Weeaboos?) who are NOT so informed, educated, nor versed in the art of debate. Nevertheless these entitled disaffected ‘voices of a generation’ will demand stage time in the theater of public appeal and expect their words to be treated with similar gravitas. The fact that they haven’t put in the time, lack the credentials or any sort of credibility is utterly lost upon them. Rather than Commanding Respect gracefully, they will demand it, and expect zero consequence to their words and actions, often poorly thought out and executed.
It is with a weary sigh that those of us governed by logic on the sidelines must, more and more, turn to the would-be-activists who have spawned, whelped or otherwise empowered these Special Snowflakes and say “Come Collect Your People”.
Again, maybe this is my inner Marketing Monkey speaking. The very best English Professor I ever had taught me that all writing, all communication is manipulation. You are manipulating the audience into believing you have something worth saying.
The problem with most activism (read fascist-propagandism) is it breeds this “Us vs. Them” contention. Those people? Those folks over there? They are the OTHER. You have now dehumanized them. Several colleagues and I had a rather poignant discourse about this as a recent panel at PhilCon.
Speaking as one who often works with the spoken word and communication in a public forum, NO ONE likes to be preached to. Well, maybe people who are looking for meaning or structure to their lives or feel lost. You know, the same kinda audience that hits up the Church when they feel they need guidance.
But when you’re straight-up preaching … I mean full on proselytizing to the tones of a Baptist Preacher. Guess what? No one likes being called the enemy. And if any disagreement or contention is met with more angry rhetoric and demonization?
Why then you have everyone’s super popular whipping boy /black sheep of the Catholic Church, the Inquisition. And we all know how popular THAT kind of logic is these days. So my question is, when it’s done in the cause of Feminism, or Racial Parity, or defense against misappropriation or what have you. What is the damn difference?
It seems remedial logic to me that being approachable and having a calmer, gentler demeanor would be ever so much more conducive to achieving ones goals. It is in such manner, that hearts and minds are won.
I know, every one wants to be a rockstar and go “rebel rebel” everywhere. And that is PRECISELY the kind of egocentrism that I am OPENLY MOCKING as A Count Named Slick-Brass.
Yes that the system is flawed is a sublime truth and far be it from me to gainsay anyone in the quest to change things. Lord knows I have a goal to much of my satire to undermine the same. That being said the entitlement that comes when often a “Crusader” as they tend to be, expects everyone to stop their lives and the presses so they can get on their soapbox is nothing short of phenomenal. I’ve seen it come down to policing people’s cosplay in Steampunk and elsewhere … which to me, is just as reprehensible and contemptible as the Stitch-Counters from the SCA and elsewhere or the NeoVictorians starting the diatribes about what’s “Historically authentic”. It all becomes a banner for what I think we’re all really pointing at but not using the right word for: Bullying.
The world is not fair. Life is not fair. Bite your cookie, grab a helmet and go change it. And if you do it in a civil and intellectual manner, I’m all for it. Woe be the ones who label me or mine the enemy though. Because the pen is mightier than the sword, and I am satire-engine fueled by rage.
To quote Christopher Titus “Hi. We’re America. We Build Monster trucks … For FUN. Piss us off and see what we build”.
P.P.S. The subject of this debate became quite heated on my Facebook. I engaged an activist friend who seemed to vehemently defend such terms as “whitesplaining” and “mansplaining”. The rationale was that “ feminism doesn’t really need to handle your feelings with the kid gloves you seem to expect.” “I’m really not concerned with being “racist” against white people or “sexist” against men. That’s now how power and oppression works.” This expanded in private discussion to include “I’m not out to win hearts and minds”. It essentially epitomizes a bear trap that I desperately wanted my friend to not step in, labelled HYPOCRISY in shining neon letters. It also justifies and actually ratifies several theories and diatribes that I have previously avoided titled “Victim Culture” and “Revenge Culture” that I am now forced to take a second look at. Because the sort of militant extremism that generates that rhetoric is prevalent on both sides of the debate, and all it does is serve to polarize, y’know … as opposed to the meat-and-potatoes work that SOLVES problems and changes the Culture and System we live in.
The phrase I have for what happened above was the one I was forced to sum up the latter half of that conversation with: “Do you just want to make some noise, or do you want to make a difference?”
Moral of the story - Militant Extremism and Fascism are alive and well and can be as close as the person you’re sharing drinks with.
Social Justice Problems
|on tumblr:||guys we need to have a serious discussion about the erasure of nonbinary trans* people|
|in real life:||ok, I guess I have to explain to my entire class how "feminist" is not an insult|
|And this is why Tumblr and Social-Media activism fail, or at least require some rather stern examination.|
|Welcome to the post internet world. Trolls are everywhere. And this is where I turn to my activist friends and say "Come collect your people." Not for the response, but for the first line of text that prompts this posting. The vast majority of activism, to be sure, is good and well intentioned. However the appropriation of it to the detriment and bullying of others has become rather chic and popular. I and other moderates are becoming motivated to start clubbing these "special snowflakes" with some cold, hard logic.|
|I sympathize with the issues you have in dealing with the amorphous club of social reform and change with these Acti-fascists in your midst. At some point, there is only one recourse ... censure and distance yourself from them. Differentiate the extremism of "youthful exuberance" or "jaded extremism" with the actual desire for change and productive movement and growth in society. And when all else fails, cleanse it with fire (by which I mean flame the ignorant, not arson or assault lest anyone get their dander up by that).|
My Fictional Mt. Rushmore - Life & Leadership Lessons From My Favorite Characters
(Going to be expanding upon this periodically. Please hold critiques and constructive notes until I am truly finished. Some of it is my own, much of it is from source articles that I’ve borrowed and re-interperated/rewritten with my own spin.)
Heroes can teach us a lot. In real life and in fiction, they hold up qualities and ideals that we can find admirable and emulate. Their highs and their lows, on a grander scale, are the trials and tribulations of life. So with that in mind, here are some Hard-Learned lessons I learned from Barney Stinson, Captain Kirk, Iron Man, Luke Skywalker & Jack Sparrow that I’ve had hammered home and reinforced in my own endeavors. They’ve helped me in my ‘dog days’ and otherwise more rough-and-tumble moments.
I. Barney Stinson
1. Suit Up - Dress for the Job/Position/Lifestyle you want, not the one you may be at. This is more than just fashion, this is your personal demeanor, your carriage, your conduct. BE the charm and debonair person in the room that would win you and your friends over. Hell, win your enemies over. Everyone has SOMEthing to offer, and you’ll never know what that is unless you SUIT UP.
2. Be Confident - Okay, now that you have that excuse for it, have some confidence and show some backbone. Stand tall… no matter how short you are. Command the room, just by walking in and not saying a word, AND KNOW THAT YOU DO. People respond to power. Have some of your own, and know it. Whether you’re selling something, or just out for a night-on-the-town, sometimes you have to be your own cheering section … (in the back of your head, silently). No one else will care to hear what you have to say if you don’t visibly show that you do. No mumbling, no shuffling. Walk Briskly, Stand Tall and Speak with purpose.
3. Don’t Hold Back “Go Big or Go Home” - Imagine you’re at the Fourth of July (or for my international friends, some other National Celebration of choice) … and the Fireworks display fizzles and sparks out. No one gets an “A” for effort in life, and neither will you. Do not “Fizzle out” before you have a time to make an impression. And here’s the Key - EACH moment, each venue, is a chance to make an impression.
4. Skills Beyond What Pays the Bills - Stinson does Magic. And speaks multiple languages. And frankly is “fun”. In all you do, excel. Be DAMN good at what you do. Not obsessively, lest you get myopic and forget about smelling the flowers, but bottom line: His nationalist pride (for all that he slams Canada) does not get in the way of his cosmopolitan appeal (speaking Japanese, amongst other languages) and his geek enthusiasm (Lazer Tag) does not eclipse the importance of social skills and his keen understanding of human nature. For all that he “plays blond” and appeals to baser natures, Mr. Stinson is one sharp cookie. All admirable, all qualities that require practice, expertise and honing … i.e. “Skill”.
5. Mystique - Barney, for all that he can be a chatty Cathy, does not “tell all”. Some rather invasive questions or even just incredulous “how can you afford _______” all have the characteristic response of “Please *snort*”. Sometimes, it pays to evoke a little mystery, and not blab everything. It’s a hallmark of Class: Discretion. There are things he brags about, sure but even cursory detaiols of some of his more expansive escapades only come out by accident. That’s keeping it classy, through developing a Mystique. “How did you DO that?!?!?” ”PLEASE *snort*”
II. Captain James T. Kirk
1. Never Stop Learning - A hallmark of Kirk’s “Think on his feet” quick-wittednes is the fact that he never ceases to take in information, up to and inclusive of learning how to cobble together makeshift gunpowder and a shotgun/cannon to defeat a much more powerful opponent. Be it in the TV show, the movies, or the reboot, Kirk is constantly thinking on his feet, constantly re-evaluating his opponents (and the state of his crew) constantly learning new data, like a sponge. That is never a bad thing.
2. Take Input From Different Viewpoints - Kirk’s crew and counsel are far as you get from a series of “Yes” men. Between Spock’s Vulcan logic and Bones’ impassioned soulfulness and even Scotty’s technical hands-on wisdom, Kirk constantly takes advice from wildly differing viewpoints than his own, and uses it as guidance before making final decisions. His confidence in his own leadership does not require external bolstering, and can take more than a fair amount of external critique and grump-ing, but neither does he ignore sound wisdom from all sides in making a balanced choice. However, he also knows to take action when the ship enters combat, and does not host full “committee hearings” in the heat-of-the-moment.
3. Lead from the Front - Kirk attends almost EVERY Away Team mission. He doesn’t delegate the potentially most risky or at turns, onerous tasks to others … he climbs down into the veritable trenches with his troops, suffers and bleeds with them, and takes each casualty personally. Why because he cares, intensely cares about the welfare of his Crew. That empathy translates into a work ethic that some might qualify as foolhardy in a Starship Captain, but it translates into ‘ask nothing of others that you aren’t willing to do yourself, and prove it regularly’. As Kirk himself says, “Risk is our business.”
4. Play Poker, Not Chess - While Chess is an admirable metaphor for strategem and manuevering it loses its perspective when it comes to “the human condition” and also utterly fails to factor in atmospheric or chance conditions of random occurence and Entropy. Luck of the Draw, Opportunity and Setbacks are all factors to encounter in-the-field. Life is not a series of defined terms that can be Mathematically Defined. Chess is.
5. Blow up the Enterprise - The Endeavor’s first and formost commodity is its people. Without them, you have nothing. If it saves their lives, preserves their well being, or otherwise accomplishes the long term goals, don’t be afraid to stop, change direction or even abandon a certain goal or passion project if it overtaxes or endangers your people. Lose sight of that, and you’ve lost more than your ship.To quote Forbes directly, “We are often, in our roles as leaders, driven by a passion. It might be a product or service, it might be a way of doing things. But no matter how much that passion burns within us, the reality is that times change. Different products are created. Different ways of doing things are developed. And there will come times in your life when that passion isn’t viable anymore. A time when it no longer makes sense to pursue your passion. When that happens, no matter how painful it is, you need to blow up the Enterprise. That is, change what isn’t working and embark on a new path, even if that means having to live in a Klingon ship for awhile. ”
III. Iron Man / Tony Stark
Source Articles -
1. Embrace Publicity - Know who you are and have the confidence to let the world know it. You can toil in quiet for decades and it won’t get you (or your fellows) the recognition that your endeavor deserves. Advertise, Carry Business Cards and Call Clients. Embrace the Chase, and prepare to be under scrutiny. Regardless of what you choose, Publicity may choose to embrace you, so be prepared.
“I AM Iron Man.”
2. Challenge Yourself - “Sometimes you gotta run before you can walk”. Don’t be intimidated by challenging goals or projects. Just because something may appear out-of-your abilities at a glance doesn’t make it so. We learn more from failures than successes and no experience is ever wasted. So throw yourself into it and learn something. “If you do pull it off you’ll have proof that impossible only means hard, and that will help you do the next impossible thing.”
3. Communicate Clearly - With Clients, with Colleagues, with Subordinates the key value of Communication cannnot be understated. Don’t engage in Spin-Doctoring or Hide Inconvenient Truths. When Obadiah Stane interferes and Filters feedback to Tony, he has put a division between communicating with his employees and Board, and thus entered an “Ivory Tower” scenario. Similarly, when Tony changes direction of his Company, as much as Stane interferes, Tony does not shy away from the truth nor misdirect the media from a potentially controversial and unpopular decision. He lets down his facade and really communicates, to the point of sitting on the floor as he eats his cheeseburger. Later, when he crashes through his cieling and is beta-testing his suit, he has to dress down his robot helper and give it precise instructions. Demeaning? Perhaps, but it communicates EXACTLY what he wants, what’s irritating him and why, and most importantly, it uses an economy of words to do so.
“If you douse me again, and I’m not on fire, I’m donating you to a city college. Please don’t follow me around with it either because I feel like I’m going to catch on fire spontaneously. Just stand down. If something happens, then come in.”
4. Do What You Enjoy, Enjoy What You Do - Anything worth doing will be hard. There will be difficulties, there will be pitfalls. But if YOU don’t love what you’re doing, truly love it, then that will translate and things go from bad to untenable. That translates to every strata of an endeavor, in any organization. A Joi de vivre, a love of what you do, is critical. You have to have fun with it, and what’s more, give opportunity for others to have fun with it as well. If it’s not enjoyable, despite the difficulties, perhaps you shouldn’t engage in it. It’s clear that in any and every appearance, even when he is getting slammed into the pavement or his best friend James Rhodes (debateably) turns on him, Tony endeavors to have fun. His wit, his sense of humor, his ability to laugh at himself is everpresent, as with when he’s blasting AC/DC while blasting Loki. That being said, don’t make yourself personally responsible for others’ fun, and let them know when they’re being pissy or a downer. There is an invitation to be mature, to have fun and to be “in the party bus” with him. And if someone passes on that, that’s their outlook.
“I’m sorry. This is the fun-vee. The hum-drum-vee is back there.”
“My bond is with the people, and I will serve this great nation at the pleasure of myself. If there’s one thing I’ve proven it’s that you can count on me to pleasure myself.”
5 Never Give Up on What You Believe In - Tony could easily walk away from any fight and live comfortably. He could easily take a path-of-least resistance and have continued as a war profiteer. He could have given up on being an Avenger, on the additional expenses and headaches therein, he could have taken every accusation of alcoholism as an excuse to never be in the public eye or have a drink again. He doesn’t. He perseveres and lives down the more baseless critiques of others in actions, rather than dignifying them with a response. When Nick Fury ceases considering him as a viable option for the Avengers Initiative (Movie reference) he pushes and pushes and PUSHES forth. He doesn’t take “no” for an answer. And when demanded to turn over his work to an administration that would abuse it, he stands his ground. When Norman Osborn takes over as “top cop” of the United States in Marvel’s Dark Reign line, and Tony becomes public enemy #1, he moves heaven and earth, destroys every last one of his armors, even lobotomizes himself in stages to prevent the villain from getting access to technology and designs that would be used to oppress others. He stands his ground and lets Norman almost beat him to death on live telefeed in the middle east while wearing not just outdated armor … but one of his FIRST armors.
“Well, you can forget it. I am Iron Man. The suit and I are one. To turn over the Iron Man suit would be to turn over myself, which is tantamount to indentured servitude or prostitution, depending on what state you’re in. You can’t have it”
“It has to be this way! The ranks of the Avengers will always need replenishing! The old must ever give way to the new! ”
“I promise I will explain it all when we get back. I will draw you pictures, I will use puppets…but for right now, you have to just listen to me.”
IV. Luke Skywalker
1. Your Heritage Defines You ONLY as Much as you Let It -
Luke was Born to Farmers in a backwater planet. His dad is the bloodiest butcher in the Universe. He is not defined, limited nor even shaped by such things beyond a certain point. His career (for those of you fans who follow the expanded universe) goes well beyond addressing the sins of his father and re-establishing the Jedi Order. Many great works can be accomplished by those of humble beginnings and you are NOT defined by whom you are born to, nor how you were raised, beyond what you choose. Luke keeps his simple but moral values, and expands it across a much broader universe … it is a strength of character and his adaptability that he does not remain simply a farm-boy hick, but actually is able to grow into his own and wrap his brain around greater ethical, philosophical and cultural quandries as a diplomat, a peacemaker and a general.
2. Find Capable Surrogates & Delegate - One of the principal qualities that Luke demonstrates, both in the films and elsewhere, is delegation. He finds capable, reliable surrogates, be it his friends in rescuing Han from Jabba’s palace, his squadron mates in Rogue Squadron, or teaching the Jedi of the future. Some of his cardinal mistakes was and is trying “to do everything himself” and this is a hard learned lesson, as his failures to do so lead more than one would-be apprentice to the Dark Side and opposing him in a variety of ways.
That being said, other Jedi Teachers such as Tionne and Streen, Mara Jade and so on are of immense help to him through his journeys and in raising new generations of students.
3. See the Best in People, But Don’t Be Naieve - Luke continually sees the best in people. It’s an admirable quality and one that’s worthy of emulation.
4. March to the Beat of Your Own Drum -
5. Keep Reaching Out, Even to Enemies -
V. Jack Sparrow
1. Be Flexible, Improvise and Let the Wind Take You -
2. The Journey, Not the Destination -
3. Use your Resources Wisely -
4. You’re Going to Fail / Learning to Fall With Style -
5. Talk is Cheap and Perfection is Both Friend & Enemy -
You don’t need the perfect ship. You don’t need the perfect crew. You don’t need the perfect Quest. W
What you need is to move your ass! If you wait for perfection, if you delay for “the right time” perpetually, you’ll never even get started. Sparrow (excuse me CAPTAIN Jack Sparrow) makes the most of any situation, despite the (sometimes profound) drawbacks of his human resources, his means, the disrepair of his ship. If the goal is to get where he’s going, he’s even ridden a ship down into-the-water to step off onto the gangplank. The key there is the DOING.
What’s considered to be a curve jumping, paradigm shifting and world changing innovation today, isn’t necessarily true tomorrow. The pace of change today, fueled by constant technology breakthroughs, is unprecedented. In this kind of environment, time-to-market is a very important concept to understand if you want to innovate. Jack Sparrow knew this. Steve Jobs knew this.
Jack Sparrow’s not worried about finding the perfect ship, the perfect crew and the perfect opportunity. Even the perfect impression is something he considers negligible compared to getting his hands dirty and getting the job done… However, he remains extremely focused on achieving his goals! Where there’s misunderstanding or mistrust, he addresses that as best he can. Where there’s a setback he makes the best of the bad situation … but the key sentiment is to DO. Because where others abandon ship or even betray him, he knows at the end of the day that more will enlist with and some will rejoin him.