The Marvel-ous New Generation: 3 Marvel Legacy Heroes I Want To See In The MCU

So, If you’ve been following movie trailers for some time, you may have noticed that the previews for Logan have teased a young girl with Wolverine’s power set. Fans will recognize her as Laura Kinney; aka. X-23 – an attempt by the Weapon-X program that gave Wolvie’s skeleton its adamantium chrome job to genetically re-engineer him through cloning (they couldn’t salvage the y-chromosome from his samples; hence why she’s a girl).

Now, I’ve expressed my love of legacy heroes in the past, but I feel that most don’t get why Marvel is keen on gender and/or race swapping their classic roster. The answer is shockingly simple; they’re in the movie business now.

Actors rarely want to spend their lives in the same roles forever and those who do reasonably can’t; they grow too old for the part or pass away and have to leave the role to another – essentially creating a legacy of their own.

By test running huge shifts in appearance and perspective in comics (an industry that is much smaller and less risky than film), Marvel is testing the waters beforehand and prepping for when an actor may leave the studio. We’re already starting to see hints of this in the MCU films with Iron Man 3 setting up Pepper Potts as the new heroine Rescue.

So, while we’re refreshing the roster, I thought I’d discuss some legacy heroes in the Marvel canon that I’d like to see in the movies.

Kamala Khan; Ms. Marvel

Getting her in the roster wouldn’t be too much of a STRETCH.
Source: JamieFayX on DeviantArt

Well, now that we have Carol Danvers, the original Ms. Marvel taking up the mantle of her less memorable male counterpart, we have an empty space to fill.

I’ve said that the problem with the old superheroes is that they represent a mode of thinking from a by-gone age. So, it’s refreshing to see a young face providing a new perspective of the world, especially one from a more ethnic point of view.

Let’s be honest with ourselves, comics have always a diversity problem and I applaud Marvel for being the front-runners in trying to set that issue straight. And with all of the anti-Muslim sentiment we’ve been exposed to lately, someone like Kamala – who is just a fun character to work with in her own right – could help to lighten up people’s attitudes.

And on the subject of Muslim heroes…

Josiah X; Justice

American pride status: restored via badassery. Source: Marvel Database

American pride status: restored via badassery.
Source: Marvel Database

Most stories involving Captian America seem to come off as cynical lately. That’s because most of us aren’t happy with how our country is turning out and he comes off as an anachronism.

What we need is a Cap that is less a product of the past than they are someone reacting to the past and wanting to improve the future. Fortunately for us, there’s a cornucopia of star-spangled soldiers out there to chose from.

Josiah X (born Josiah al hajj Saddiq) is the son of Isaiah Bradley; most famously known as “The Black Captain America.” Josiah has seen America from multiple angles; as a soldier in Vietnam, as a former Black Panther (the society, not the African superhero), and as a vigilante breaking up gangs and drug dealers in the city.

Josiah could bring a new globally-minded perspective that could benefit the story and the teams he works with. Sure, Falcon is being set up as the next Cap, but there’s nothing saying Josiah couldn’t play Bucky Barnes to his Steve Rogers.

Of course, there are OTHER replacements for the Captain proper…

Danielle Cage

This is the last thing you'll see before becoming a greasy smear on the wall behind you. Source: World of Black Heroes

This is the last thing you’ll see before becoming a greasy smear on the wall behind you.
Source: World of Black Heroes

I won’t lie, this is less about cultural significance than it is that I just f***ing love Danielle.

For the record, Danielle is probably one of the least likely people to be introduced into the MCU due to the fact that she is a product of writers playing with alternate timelines (and look at how well that played out for Fox), but I adore her as an absolute badass character born from two equally badass parents; Luke Cage and Jessica Jones.

Who knows? Maybe after they wrap up this universe-spanning series of films, they’ll start a new series with Danielle and her future Avengers.

What I Learned When I Called Out Of Work For The First Time.

The difference is I wasn't faking it. Source: BroBible

The difference is I wasn’t faking it.
Source: BroBible

So, this may be a shock to some of you, but I had never called out of work at ANY job I’ve ever had until this week.

I can put up with some pretty terrible stuff while working; wrenched neck, nausea, flu. I’d like to think I’m a Juggernaut of dependability in the workplace. But, I was forced to make the decision to call out this week due to unavoidable circumstances and learned a lot about myself in the process; Things like…

It takes a lot to make me give up on a task

For those who don’t live in the New Hampshire area, the catalyst for this bailing out of my duties was the massive go-f***-yourself nor’easter we got between Sunday and Monday that crapped out at least a foot and a half of fluffy white s*** over my house.

The storm was so bad that my town couldn’t keep up with clean-up detail. The net result – and the thing that ultimately cemented my decision to call out – was me being woken up at 6:00 pm (remember, I work third-shift) by the sounds of a fire rescue vehicle spinning out on my street.

Bare in mind that my mode of transportation is a tiny sub-compact. So if a fire truck can’t survive those conditions, I’m practically a quadriplegic man trying to tame a dragon by comparison.

In short, if I know I have a job to do, the heavens have to LITERALLY open up and rain death upon humanity for me to back down.

I hate admitting defeat

I spent the rest of that night brooding and sulking around the house. I didn’t want to talk to anyone and I didn’t want anyone to talk to me. I failed and I hated myself for it.

Of course, I’ve always known this about myself to an extent. I cuss out games when I lose and I get really competitive with friends. But this was different; this was pure, white-hot rage.

It wasn’t until my mother – the lovable, overly-caring alarmist she is – called to insist that I stay in that night that I understood my anger. Put simply, …

I worry about EVERYTHING… and my worry manifests as anger

I was legitimately afraid that I was going to lose my job because I couldn’t make it through the weather. And, emotional train wreck I am, I was taking that anger out on myself and people around me.

After a rational conversation with mom, though, I was able to think clearly. When Governer Chris Sununu tells everyone to stay off the roads, there’s a good chance you should listen. Plus, this wasn’t a ‘no-call/no-show’ situation. I left voice mail and texts to my boss letting him know what had happened and any action he took against me would be a fine reason to file a wrongful termination suit.

So, after milling about the house for hours, I was finally able to rest peacefully. And when I went to work the next night, I was surprised to see that…

My superiors are more reasonable than I gave them credit for

As a third-shift employee, I’m used to the idea of EVERYTHING being my fault on the grounds that I have to pick up the slack for everything the previous shifts may have missed. No surprise then that my image of my managers is less than sterling.

However, when I bumped into the assistant manager, I was surprised to see how calm he was. He totally understood my plight and told me that he had planned to sleep at work just to avoid driving in the storm had I not called out. The fact that he kept this cool even after covering for a friend of mine who had broken his hand recently made it all the more impressive.

I guess the lesson to be learned here is that you can’t be expected to work full steam at all times and that you will encounter failure at some point. So, there’s no real point in fretting over it. A child-like moral perhaps, but one that’s surprisingly easy for me to forget. You don’t need to be perfect; you just need to be willing to be better than yesterday.

And now, I’m going to go get ready for night’s shift and remind myself why I’m still the best they have despite occasional failures.

Three Types of YouTube Channels I Can’t Stand

“WHY WOULD YOU PUT THIS ON ME!”
Source: The Daily Dot

I’ve expressed my deep love for YouTube content creators of all types in the past. The fact that there exists a platform for young creative minds to get their ideas out in a fun and entertaining way (and get paid for it if they play their cards right) is an absolute positive. Even when we complain about policy or interface changes, we still keep coming back because – at the end of the day – it’s the producers creating informative and amusing shows that are the real heroes.

That said, there are some types of channels that just shouldn’t exist; the ones that garner millions of followers despite how horrid they are.

So today, let’s talk about how to sacrifice talent for fame on YouTube and examine a few channel archetypes that frustrate me with their poor quality and paradoxical success.

Commentary Videos

I may have mentioned in the past how I dislike Commentary videos, but for those who haven’t heard, let me fill you in.

Commentary Videos are essentially VERY low tech Vlogs that replace the man/woman talking into a camera in their living room with a backdrop of video game footage with their commentary dubbed over it; hence the title.

I actually understand the existence of this genre; setting up a YouTube career is a pricey investment and you need to cut corners sometimes. But if you’re just going to talk into a mic for half-an-hour, why not just do a podcast instead of wasting the potential of a visual medium? Even musicians on YouTube are kind enough to display lyrics on screen if they can’t make a video.

Also, most Commentary Video creators have a bad habit not editing their audio. The result is a lot of dead air and pauses that infuriates people like me who crave information-dense material.

And why is it always video games that serve as the backdrop? Why not shoot a walk through the park on your smartphone or play some royalty-free/fair use compliant stock video clips that relate to the topic? At least throw some spiffy images on the screen for visual humor from time to time.

Again, I get the need for this kind of video on a technical and budgetary level, but there’s a certain level of success one reaches when you need to start stepping up your game and put more effort into your craft.

Reaction Videos

Okay, not all Reaction channels are bad. In fact, the good ones provide a sort of psychosocial service by simulating the sense of community you get while laughing at stupid videos with friends.

But you want to know what the worst reaction videos often forget to do? REACT.

It’s shocking how many videos there are that just have the host/hostess in the corner saying or doing nothing while the video they “react” to runs uninterrupted. At that point, you aren’t adding anything to the original content. and what do we call it when you use someone’s work without adding to it in any way? That’s right, kids; PLAGIARISM.

This is another case where the judicious use of editing could save a video; Simply cut out the dead air and remember to emote to what’s happening on screen. You’ll be far more entertaining and people will be encouraged to seek out the full video – thus supporting the original creators.

Basically, if you must be a Reactor, try to be more like Chadtronic.

ASMR Videos

What’s that; You never heard of ASMR? Well, it’s short for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response. It’s that tingling sensation you get when you hear certain sounds. Some people apparently find it soothing and relaxing.

We had ASMR stuff back in my day… back when we called it WHITE NOISE.

This is another example an audio-centric medium that wastes the potential of being hosted on a visual platform. But that’s not the worst part; That would be the CREEPY AS F*** whispering that people often do while making these things. There’s a video of a guy whispering into the microphone while running a knife across his beard and it seriously feels like I’m being seduced by a serial killer.

I’m not sure if this is a problem for other people, but ASMR isn’t soothing for me; it’s a fear response. It’s the chills down my spine when I hear leaves crunching in the woods or the dull roar of a crowded room that prevents me from hearing what’s behind me. It’s my sign that some funky S*** is going down and I need to get the F*** out of there.

I hope to start a YouTube career myself some day and if I make a video like the ones I described here, I give you all full permission to demand I pay you for a round trip ticket to Manchester, New Hampshire just to give me one of those little tiny flicks to the crotch that barely makes contact but hurts twice as much than if you just kicked me in the nuts.

Three Things We Were Told Are Bad But Are Good If Used Properly (and How To Do Them Wrong)

“Sola dosis facit venenum.” The dose makes the poison.

This is the most basic principle of the study of Toxicology. It’s the simple fact that anything can be made lethal or even just detrimental by misusing or abusing it.

So why do so many people still insist that some things are just plainly bad for you?

I hate the idea of being told that something has no practical benefit and I often check out as soon as someone that thinks that way speaks. To me, it’s an indicator of narrow-minded and unquestioning thinking that I have no respect for.

So today, let’s discuss the things that we are told will put us in an early grave that, in reality, can be beneficial as long as you aren’t stupid about using them.

Marijuana

Eh, I would have put the snakes and the staff head around and on top of the center leaf, but the point is clearly made. Source: Weedist

Eh, I would have put the snakes and the staff head around and on top of the center leaf, but the point is clearly made.
Source: Weedist

As always let’s get the big one out of the way from the get-go.

EVERYBODY knows that there is a long list of medical uses for marijuana. What’s more, the LD50 (the dosage of a substance required to cause death in 50 percent of cases) of THC is so astronomically high as to be practically impossible; especially when you compare it to its effective dosages and even MORE especially when you compare it to the LD50 of alcohol and tobacco.

That said, you CAN get stupid with the stuff. People whose brains are still developing (read: under 18) are at risk for a loss of mental faculties and, needless to say, you shouldn’t be driving or operating heavy machinery while under the influence. But seeing as those problems tend to drop off after legalization, the problem seems self-correcting. Still, it’s best to bake responsibly.

Caffeine

As someone who works overnight shifts for a living, I practically live on coffee. So all that caffeine can’t be good for me, right?

Well, much like our friend weed above, the ratio of caffeine’s effective dose and its LD50 are massive. You would need to drink 80 to 100 cups of coffee in one sitting to have a 50/50 shot at getting penciled in for a visit from Azrael.

That said, it’s not impossible. Reported deaths from caffeine overdoses are usually from those abusing pep pills or mainlining pure caffeine. And that’s to say nothing of the risks of Stimulant Psychosis that comes with abuse; especially for those who already suffer Psychosis through conditions like Schizophrenia.

But, for most normal and healthy humans, even the withdrawal symptoms are more like minor hindrances than serious issues. Just make sure that you stick to the coffee and energy drinks for your buzz.

Video Games

Can we start calling IQ points 'Brain Levels?

Can we start calling IQ points ‘Brain Levels?” I feel that would make my life more fun.
Source: LifeHacker

Not a drug, I know. But it’s still an issue… Why it’s still an issue I’ll never know.

All my life I was told that Video Games were bad for me and that I was going to grow up to be a mentally warped, violent freak for playing them.

But here’s the thing, while games can increase aggressive tendencies (as most competitive activities do), evidence shows the rate of violent crime DROPS with new major releases as a result of providing a time waster for those destructive desires. Also, as I mentioned last week, gaming provides useful mental exercise for those looking to keep their minds sharp.

But on the subject of exercise, let’s not forget that gaming is a largely sedentary hobby. So, it may behoove you to drop the controller once an hour to go on a 10-minute walk. Also, maybe we should replace the chips and energy drinks we often nurse with roasted nuts and iced tea.

Gaming for Everyone: A Guide to Gaming for Older Newbies

Grampas with game. Source: davidlc3.wordpress.com/

Grampas with game.
Source: davidlc3.wordpress.com/

Some time ago, my dear sweet mother expressed interest in purchasing a video game console for herself citing that she wanted it to help her keep her mind sharp.

Needless to say, spending nearly 30 years trying to convince her that gaming is actually good for the mind and psyche have finally paid off.

But then I realized that she’s in the same boat as many other people her age; an older person looking to enter a sub-culture that they’ve been rejecting (by choice or out of fear) for years and unsure of where to go. This issue can only grow when the ever family-friendly Nintendo drops the Nintendo Switch this March.

So, I feel its time for me to lay out some basics for the generations catching up to us and help them to understand how to look for games and how to best enjoy them. Just remember the following:

PC’s are for variety; Consoles are for specialization

There has been a LONG TIME argument over gamers as to whether PC’s or consoles are the superior gaming platform. But both sides miss the obvious point of having the two. You can argue technical specs and throw numbers around as much as you want, but it means nothing. The two sides exist and continue to exist for the sake of convenience.

PC’s sport the potential for larger libraries of games and beefier technicals than consoles, but consoles succeed by catering to those who know precisely what they want and cutting out the fluff to save themselves and the consumer cash in the process. This is partially a result of console manufacturers having very specific images of themselves they like to maintain. For example, Nintendo tends to put out a more family-friendly vibe to draw in older potential gamers while mining the nostalgia long time fans that are old enough to share them with their families. Meanwhile, Sony and Microsoft focus heavily on the 18-24 demographic for security’s sake and their line-up of more realistic, action-centric games reflect this.

Basically, you have to ask yourself how specific your tastes are and how deep your wallet goes before you settle on a platform… provided you don’t go multi-platform like most dedicated gamers.

The ESRB is next to useless

Back in the 90’s when games started tackling more adult material, people not up to speed with the culture freaked out and demanded regulation. Thus, the Entertainment Software Ratings Board – ESRB for short – came about to serve the same purpose for games that the MPAA does for Movies.

But those little labels are not a good description of quality or content. Take for instance the Super Smash Bros. series. Those games are light-hearted, colorful, and feature no blood, gore, or suggestive situations. They’re on par with the cartoons your 10-year-old kids watch. BUT, they still get a Teen rating because the characters are VAGUELY human and they OCCASIONALLY use weapons that VAGUELY resemble real ones.

Yes, the ESRB folks are even stuffier than the FCC.

If you want an accurate look at a game’s content, your best bet is to find a playable demo or, failing that, find a playthrough on YouTube (many games only get popular after a popular channel shows it off these days).

All games are ‘educational’

One of the concerns parents buying games for their kids (and for themselves by extension, I’m sure) is the educational content of the game. To wit, I’m here to allay those fears and tell you that ALL games teach something at some level.

Take the popular Pokemon series. On the surface what seems like simple virtual dogfight is actually a deeply complex arithmetic strategy game where the best players use basic addition, multiplication, division, and probability to form a winning strategy. And that’s to say nothing of the genetics lesson in breeding the perfect stats or the occasional Cultural Anthropology class you’ll get if you decide to research the inspirations behind the designs and lore of the various creatures and locales.

Remember; games are an interactive medium that requires your input. That means you’re forced to use your mind every time you play them.

Archive News: I Want To Mix Things Up

Writer’s block strikes me, folks. I just haven’t been very inspired lately. That said, it’s not like I have nothing to talk about.

So, one of the things I’ve wanted to do for some time is to start doing these weekly articles as videos on YouTube. I honestly feel that an audio/visual medium would be better since having a voice and face attached to my words would humanize my work a bit more and it would mean that you wouldn’t have to stare at/drag your eyes across text; you could just play it while you work on something else.

Obviously, I’m still a long way off from that goal. I want to make sure I have decent equipment for recording and editing. But, I’ve also been toying around with ideas for a regular series in the meantime.

One idea I had was an exploration of tropes and cliches in media using cultural and psycho-social analysis. Think a TV Tropes article as written by Gaijin Goombah; two things that I can waste an entire day absorbed in if the mood takes me. I liked this I idea the most so far as It would give me and others a better understanding of our favorite movies, books, TV shows and video games.

Anyway, I just wanted to let you know what’s jostling around in my headspace right now. I’ll be back once this creative slump passes. In the meantime, you should all go read Anonymously Autistic. It’s a wonderful blog about living with autism that provides great insights on the subject.

Thanks to you all. I’ll be back soon.

Three Things I Hate About Dealing With Depression

It's time to start mending myself... Source: Everyday Health

It’s time to start mending myself…
Source: Everyday Health

Oh dear, I’m in one of my funks again.

Normally when my depression hits on posting day, I’ll make up an excuse for being too overwhelmed to work and take the week off. But I made a promise at the start of this year; this is the #YearOfTheIronWoobie and I owe it to myself and the people that look to me for wisdom, inspiration, and simple entertainment to press on.

So then, to help others understand that depression is a lot more than just unexplainable sadness (as an unfortunately large number of people tend to think), here are just a few of the struggles that I deal with that have suddenly been getting on my tits today.

Feelings of Inferiority

You know that feeling where it seems you can never make anyone happy with you despite your best efforts and it seems that you are just naturally built to suck at everything you do and you lose the drive to even try anymore?

Yeah, that’s usually the first sign that I’m having another episode.

This is probably the worst part of depression for me since it means that I lose interest in the passions that would be perfect for pulling me out of the stygian abyss of my crippling apathy because I don’t think I’m good enough to do them right. It creates a downward spiral that I feel I can’t break out of. And when I do break the cycle, I’ll never know what I did to get me out when it comes around the next time.

Self-Hatred

I’ve made it a point of advocating anger as a motivator (when used properly) and I make a clear difference between anger and hate. But you want to know what the worst kind of hate is? Self-hate.

Hating yourself accomplishes nothing. All it does is urge you to metaphorically rip yourself apart when you should be rebuilding your mind and body.

It’s okay to be angry with yourself. Sometimes we just do stupid stuff and can’t believe we would ever do something that terrible for us. But depression helps it to linger and become toxic – preventing us from taking steps to rectify our mistakes.

Misguided Frustration

Remember when I said that the feeling of inferiority was the worst thing about depression? Well, I hate to contradict myself in the same article but, no; THIS is the worst part.

It’s bad enough that I’m being compelled to destroy my own sense of self-worth by an irrational force I can’t comprehend, but having that anger and frustration get thrown on to people I care about because they don’t understand how I’m struggling with my own emotional state makes matters even worse as it drives away people that could have helped me.

Of course, if people aren’t bothering to take the time to understand you and stay with you despite your rough patches, they hardly count as good friends. But that lingering guilt stays with you and makes it harder to move forward.

Wow, I feel a lot better already. Thanks for hearing me out, folks. And I hope you’ll hear out your other friends who struggle with depression as well.