Resolving On Resolutions

It’s that time of year and, yes, I do believe in the idea of New Year’s Resolutions. But why? At it’s core, I believe the ultimate idea is to give yourself goals to follow in the new year. I also understand but reject the stereotype of goals failing. Why make someone else’s failure to stick to their goals a reason to make none for yourself?

At any rate, I’m here to talk about my own goals for the coming year. So without further adieu, here they are!

Watch 1 movie I haven’t seen before each week. 

Why make this one of my goals? I have a bad habit of buying some movies and then not watching them. A few examples sitting in my collection include 42The Life of PiAliens, and The Wolverine. I believe by making a concentrated effort to watch more of the movies I own, but I also plan on watching other selections from streaming services and from theaters. As a matter of fact, tonight I’ll be going to see Hidden Figures, which I’m very excited to see.

Complete 2 games each month.

Seems like an awfully simple goal, right? But with the increased size of modern games, and my desire to play perhaps too many games at once led me to pick this as one for the year. But there is a stipulation. Some games I would like to play have a prominent multiplayer component. And most of the time, those parts have no end. So, those parts won’t really help me actually complete a game. With that in mind, completing a game for the purpose of this goal will mean that I saw the credits for the game. I already have one game under my belt for the month: their Final Fantasy I remake on iOS. There’s bound to be more to come!

Increase calories burned.

Truly though, who doesn’t have this as a goal? My belief is that since calories burned is an easy metric to track with my Apple Watch, I can use that as a metric of my success. The idea is by seeing something I can control and measure each day, some weight will drop without the need for weighing. Do I have an end goal? I actually don’t, but at the moment the goal is 500 calories burned in a day. I’ll need to work harder on my days off to reach it, but it is certainly doable.

Cook more often.

It’sno secret if you follow me on Twitter (and you really should), that Gary and I enjoy cooking and watching cooking shows. But we don’t cook as often as I’d like. My goal is to increase how often I do the cooking, wether it’s baking or dinner I feel like I’m ready. Besides, I feel this way I’ll be able to improve my cooking skill. At least so long as I push myself to try new things.

Be more social, but selective.

I don’t get out a whole lot, but I also don’t make that great of an effort to get in contact with local people in order to change that or even to invite them into my home. With that in mind, the goal is to talk to those I want to know better more, and to try and do something with them. I’m anticipating nothing more then games, movies, and food. Still, I think it will be fulfilling. But why selective? I’ve learned that I don’t have an obligation to be social with someone simply because they have an interest in me. After all, if I don’t want to, it wil only serve to affect me negatively. As another prong of this goal, I plan to deactivate my Facebook account. These days, I only look at it when there are notifications for me, and even then those are usually about groups I’m in. The platform holds no interest to me anymore.

Have a new position by year’s end.

I only have so much control over this, but I do still want to try. By the year’s end I hope to have a new position. Will it be in the same company? The same property? I don’t know. But I know the opportunities are there and I will need to find them. Where there is a will there’s a way, after all.

Consistency In All Things

Towards the end of last year I became very bad about keeping to a schedule for the stream and for committing to do much of anything. I went with my desires and didn’t go for what I should have concentrated on. This goes for real life, the stream, the blog, and truly all aspects of my life. That changes this year. If I say I am streaming, then I will stream. If I say I am going to clean the house, then I will. As the header says: consistency in all things.

On that note, starting again on Monday, the 9th of January, the stream will return. I’ll be concentrating on only one game from now on, starting with concluding Deus Ex: Human Revolution. While I will be focusing on games with a story, there will be moments of multiplayer goodness as well. As always, keep an eye on my Twitter for what games I will be playing.

I hope you’ll join me for next week’s post which will be highlighting something I’ve been watching with new eyes: Sailor Moon.

Star Trek at 50 – The Human Adventure Continues

Pop culture anniversaries seem to be a dime a dozen lately, but there’s not very many that can claim to still be making new fans 50 years after it’s initial creation. Star Trek has done exactly that. For the uninitiated, Star Trek was a TV Series that aired on NBC between 1966 and 1969. During that time, it aired for three seasons and 79 episodes. However, the show didn’t garner much in ratings at the time and was canceled. But, throughout the 70’s, the show became a hit in syndication, and Paramount attempted to create a second series, known as Phase II. However, after much behind-the-scenes drama (seriously, lots of drama) and the successful releases of Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Star Wars, the initial pilot was rewritten into 1979’s Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

Since then, Star Trek has cultivated 12 (with one more on the way) films, over 700 episodes of television through 5 different series, and has gone on to influence more than a few scientific inventions and discoveries. And that’s all fine and dandy if you like behind the scenes info, but what about what is truly at the center of every Star Trek adventure?

themeasureofaman_hd_326
Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) defending Lt. Commander Data’s (Brent Spiner) ability to be his own person and not property in “Measure Of A Man”.

The characters and moral dilemmas take center stage in any truly great sci-fi story, and the best of what Star Trek has to offer exemplifies this. Take an episode from Star Trek: The Next Generation‘s second season, The Measure Of A Man. In it, Lt. Commander Data (played by Brent Spiner) is taken to trial and Captain Jean-Luc Picard (played by Patrick Stewart) defends him. And what is he on trial for? Whether or not Data, who is an android, is the property of the Federation or a sentient being. It calls into question what exactly makes up a true being, and when we build robots, are we not creating a race of beings? It further questions how far would you go to fulfill your own duties, even if you don’t agree with them? Such questions, plots, and strong character-driven moments are at the heart of what makes Star Trek a success.

At the end of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, the Enterprise goes to warp and viewers are presented with a single sentence: “The human adventure is just beginning.” That has been the cornerstone of each series so far. The Next Generation sees Picard and crew go on trial for the crimes of humanity against itself as Q, a god-like entity, challenges the crew of the Enterprise-D to show him that humanity has evolved beyond it’s troubled past. Deep Space Nine was a show tackling a lot of different issues, chief among them, religion and rebellion during times of war. Voyager hearkens back to The Original Series by throwing Captain Kathryn Janeway and crew to the other side of the galaxy where they meet new races and worlds on their way home. But Enterprise was the most unique show of the bunch. Enterprise chose to turn back the clock and has us see the Federation being formed when humanity first starts to truly explore the stars.

trekxihd2739
Captain James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) and Commander Spock (Zachary Quinto) discuss giving Nero (Eric Bana) leniency as he looks on from the view screen.

In each of these series, there is a deliberate choice to create very unique characters that tackle subjects the majority of television doesn’t dare explore. Things like the aforementioned qualifications of sentience, sexuality, and of how often what is right or wrong can fall into a gray area. But to me, Star Trek has shown me that when you have a disagreement with someone, there is always a solution that is better than the initial idea.

The Federation, more often then not, seeks to find peace in the galaxy. That desire is reflected in each captain’s actions. Even in the 2009 film, Captain Kirk asks if Nero wants assistance while his ship begins to be ripped apart by the black hole. Nero adamantly refuses by saying he would rather witness the death of his homeworld a thousand times over. Yikes. Point is, diplomacy is at the forefront of what the Federation hopes to achieve. Is it perfect? No, just look at Star Trek Insurrection. The Federation is capable of heinous acts, but for the most part Star Trek has shown me that humanity can overcome it’s greatest obstacles and push ever farther into space and other frontiers.

star-trek-into-darkness-vfx-001-1200x800
San Francisco as depicted in Star Trek: Into Darkness.

And that’s what I see and get out of Star Trek. It creates a future for Earth and for humans that is nothing short of wondrous. Where we as a species have shed our prejudices, and collectively strive to make humanity the best that it can be. And an ideology where peace and negotiations take precedence over waving the biggest stick. It gives me hope that the squabbling I see in our current world will eventually give way to something prosperous.

New Year’s Resolutions

New Year’s Resolutions are a very fickle thing. Some of us say we’re going to do something just to save face in front of others at a party. You know, when you say you’re going to go to the gym religiously, but really you’re thinking of that leftover pie in the fridge.

Myself, I think it’s a fantastic time to try and take stock of your last year, what you liked, what you didn’t, and find ways to improve upon it. Thing is improvement is different to everyone. So, with this post I hope to outline my resolutions for 2016 to you and explain why I have chosen them as goals.
First up happens to have everything to do with this blog. It has been horrendously neglected over the last few months. The fact that this is my first post since July really speaks to it. In short: I want to write more. Now, I have in mind blog posts, but who knows? Maybe it will expand into other avenues. But the main purpose is to get this blog to have expected postings.
My second resolution sounds a lot more specific, but it really isn’t. I want to be more active in the gaming community. Presently, I have profiles set up on YouTube, Twitch, and Trueachievements.com, but just being there doesn’t feel like it’s enough. What I;d like to see is that I try to stream when I can. I’ve made the determination that I can’t stick to a regular streaming schedule because of things like having a new puppy in the house, feeling like I get interrupted constantly, and that I was playing more for what would get views then what I wanted to play (that took a LOT of figuring out to come to.) But along with that I want to be more active in communities and a local level. As it stands, I don’t know of any groups of gamers in the local area, and I’m just “there” on any online communities.
The next resolution is probably the simplest and hardest one to do. Say “hi” more. See, at work I need to say “hi” to everyone that comes through, and that is well and dandy, but it’s with friends that I ironically have the hardest time with. At the moment I’m that friend that exists, but I never say hi or anything. On Facebook, I creep around, reading about what’s going on in people’s lives like it’s my own personal CNN. My goal is to engage my friends more, wether it’s through social media, or just a text to let them know I haven’t forgotten about them.
Everyone has this resolution, right? I want to get back in shape. If there’s ever a cliche, there it is. But really, I feel like I haven’t done al I could especially with two dogs now, and the ability to work out at home (if I move some furniture). And really, not much is stopping me there, but I need to keep reminding myself, or it simply won’t happen. For me, it’s very much an “out of sight, out of mind” mentality. So how do I get back in shape? Making better food choices and making the time to actively move more. In the past, that’s all it’s taken for me to lose.
Another resolution is about the exact opposite. I want to watch at least one movie a week. That may not seem like much, but sometimes I get so worked up in doing anything/everything else that I don’t take the time to watch any of the movies I keep getting. Ideally, this would also be of movies I haven’t seen, but sometimes the mood strikes and you want to watch that one movie again.
While I’m at it, I’m not giving myself a time limit for this one, as it will really depend on home life and how things go at work, but I want to stream again. I don’t know that I can go to a set schedule but more of a “when I’m able” schedule. As with my earlier mention, it would be whatever strikes my mood.
But there, you go, a few resolutions for the new year, and everyone of them is doable. I hope to hear some of what your resolutions are, so go ahead and leave them in the comments area or write a blog in response! Until next time!