Sunday, November 24, 2013

A Turn Before the Closing Action

My Grandmother's health has really declined in the last couple of weeks ago, she has become as weak as she was around the time she was admitted to the hospital. My grandpa, who holds so much faith in her ability to fight the lung cancer (a fight she did have but the cancer seems to come back stronger when compared to a year ago), has recently realized how weak she has become, and now is pained with worry. They have been enjoying the days sometimes, with stories like how young people think they know everything and how I don't look a Catholic Priest during WWII anymore (when I had my big beard a few years ago, they always said I looked like one), but other times I can sense their apprehension and anxiety, it is a wild ride that is throws its twists and turns. However the laughs, stories and smiles I get, and have gotten to exchange with them, is something I hold dear to my heart for the rest of my life.

Found this on reddit just today, what an inspiring image macro. One of my personal favorite quotes from an old Brazilian man of the cloth, Dom Helder Camara, on the hypocrisy of religion, and the powers that pervert any true intentions of spiritual doctrine. 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

A Concise History of Black-White Relations in the USA

Find this cartoon on reddit, by a political cartoonist named Barry Deutsch, and it does an effective job of doing what the title says. His site has a whole bunch of goodies. 

Team Ben: A Year as a Professional Gamer

An old school Melee player, Wife (or Chris Fabiszak), a peach main and one of the best team players in the history of the game, chronicled his stories as a progamer during the era of when Super Smash Brothers Melee got a spot on the highly touted and respectable MLG pro circuit back in 2006-2007. He outlines his competitive spirit, and the tragic circumstances that forever changed his life. The book is a modest size, 92 pages, but Wife is an amazingly eloquent writer. This free e-book might be oneof the most fascinating reads I have ever read, in regards about competitive gaming. Even as someone who has known about this side of competitive gaming, the insight of someone who saw it in its fledgling birthright is incredibly enlightening. And in that same vein, the writer writes it in a narrative that even people who have never touched the game, can still understand the intricacies and the feats these people trained for. Just how he writes the story, it is something that gamers, and these nerdy sub-cultures, often gloss over in telling stories. It is very human, not just robots or impressionable sponges absorbing information, but a person, going through adversity.

The story is introduced with an epilogue, about "Ben," the name that the title of the book is referring to. He was the author's friend who he was extra close during high school. Funny, intelligent, caring, the man was a force of positivity. He had a sweetheart too, her name was Caroline. Together they were fine, but she also had a big heart, as she felt bad for Ryan, a person in their grade, who was the loner type. She befriended Ryan, but what she didn't know that Ryan had a deep attraction to her. However, Ben was the one not to be petty about something  like that, and they allowed him to hang around them. Chris, or Wife, explains this dynamic, and how one day, just like any other day, he founds his friend, Ben, poisoned with Cyanide, by Ryan.  His close friend suffered from the poison, and while they did found in time what was wrong to save his beating heart, his brain already suffered irrecoverable action. At 17 years young, Ben was murdered.
You learn about the struggles of the author, and how his depression of his life, became a looming beast in his day to day life. He looked for escape and solice, and he found it, in competitive gaming, or more specifically in the Children's party game Super Smash Brothers Melee.

It is such a captivating read, some things of note with this amazing E-book-

The way he describes "tags" or "ID" is really nice, he introduces the idea of rappers, and how they all have monikers that they relate to in the rap world, then he segways about gamer IDs, and how serves as a similar function.

Explaining the video game, and the things that make it beautiful, literally poetry in motion, is said so eloquently.

How he treated the game "professionally," he wanted to do this full time, to quote his inner logic, being a progamer is fun, regular life is not, how he is honest about these things, that we have not heard from E-sport athletes being honest about.

It is nice to see passion people grow and develop this passionate community for a great video game. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Crimson Blood

It was a rather quiet night in the small mining town of Butte, Montana. The owner of the settlement’s only hotel was a quaint old lady, who was sitting at the front desk, half asleep in her comfortably old-fashioned rocking chair. She suddenly woke up when five men walked hastily through the front door. Startled by the sudden intruders, she gathered some courage to ask the question as all five of them were giving her a look like she owed their boss some money.

“Whooo…are you?? What do you want??”
“We are officers, and we want Frank Little. What room is he in?”

The men were dressed in some sort of black uniform that was not of any particular regular government issue kind, and their faces were riddled with mustaches and beards. They had looks of bucko mates that you would never want to meet in a dark alley. She was hesitant at 1st to cooperate but when she saw the gents were packing, she gave into their wishes. She timidly pointed down the hallway signaling where he was resting for the night.

“Uhhh, Room 12.”

 The group of men jetted quickly down the corridor as if they just stole from J.P. Morgan and Co. They charged into the room as quickly as they ran in. Inside there was a middle-aged scruffy chap wrapped in blankets who was deep in slumber. Three of the intruders held down the sleeping man. With a towel from the room, and some rope, the other two tied up and gagged him good. Right there he was as helpless as a crab on its back and still in his night clothes, which was nothing more than his underwear really. Once completely gone, the three who pinned him down also carried him out of the sleeping quarters and as the other two went 1st to deal with anyone that would cause them trouble. Only the elderly lady was yelling at them as the plug-uglies made their escape outside to the sidewalk and their black Cadillac car parked by the street corner.

With the extra rope end that was used in tying him up, the gunsels ended up connecting it to the bumper of the car. They all got in the vehicle and drove at a tortoise-slow speed along main street. They could hear cries of pain from their human contraband, as the rocky unpaved roads were rough terrain for the man to handle. Their souls were as black as the paintjob of their fancy Tin Lizzie.  

He was still gagged so his cries for help were being muffled. The only people awake at this time in town were the Micks who drank ‘till they could see the Virgin Mary. And they were just as useless as the kidnappee.

 They drove for about 20 minutes until they reached the railroad trestle that traversed the river at the edge of town. They all got out of the automobile and tried to put a noose on their victim, but even after the torturous car ride, he fought with the gusto he had left and surprisingly fended the bastards offs. It was not until one of them used the butt of his piece to coldcock him. Then they slipped the rope on the unconsciousness fellow, tied a flawless hangman’s knot on the railroad track, pinned a note on his body, and threw him off the side and watched the body plummet like a sack of potatoes in the air until they could hear the snap of the neck.

On August 1, 1917 Frank Little was pronounced dead.      

In the cornhusker state of Nebraska, a mild mannered Quaker man would court a Cherokee woman. Even though they came from what would be considered different worlds to most folk, their values, ethics and codes that they lived by were the same. Preaching peace, social justice, and equality, they would find a common ground.

They would bring 6 children into this world of unsteady times, and all of them were born red. One of them went by the name Frank Little, who went on to be one of most influential figures in American labor history. He was a Hard Rock Miner, Labor Organizer, Free Speech Advocate, War Dissenter, and a Legend.

The Miner

Fremont, Colorado was your typical burg at the turn of the Century, especially in the Wild West. It was a company town, where people settled in the area to get jobs harvesting some sort of raw material. This area of Colorado was hard rock Shangri-la, and the autocrats thought sticking pieces of wood into land that has been there longer than their great grandparents would claim it as theirs, and apparently it works if you got a half-decent shyster. This brought thousands of able bodied men to the frontier for work. A handful of miners were having dinner at the local greasy spoon, where they were chit-chatting over the day’s events.

“We lost poor o’ Bill in the bridal chamber today, the cave-ins are getting’ more rampan’ since we’ve been going deeper.”
“ And with Uncle Yeltzin’s lungs giving out last week, us minners are dropin like flies..”
“He wasn’t even 30 years old, but seems like he was most senior out all of us.”
“And the money ain’t even that good.”
“But if quit, we aint eatin what we eatin’ right now.”
“ And if you trying telling the plutes about money stuff, they fire you and your name gets on the list of you ain’t finding no more work.”

While almost all of the miners were complaining about how the bosses exploit their workers so much, they made no effort in their mind to fix it as they thought one day their hard work will pay off and they would get that Pie in the Sky that preachers like to tell the poor. One man though, who went by the name of Frank Little, stood their quietly listening to the complaining. He was a young fellow from Nebraska, who moved to this part of America to embark in his journey of independence. He only had been working in the mines for a month but he understood what was happening as if he was there for years.

“You know there what the problem here is fellas….”

The man who spoke was someone of a different breed. As a kid, he wanted to learn how to read so he could the Little Red Book. His brother Alonzo organized immigrant farm workers in Southern California, Hank was in jail in Seattle for inciting riots, and brother Fredrick was a traveling guitar player who played for the workers of the world. His blood was red.

“…You’re not organized, one person who makes a demand is complaining, 1,000 people who make a demand is a force to be reckoned with.”

He began to preach the men about the power of unions, collective bargaining, and the thing the bosses and barons feared the most, strikes. He knew of a union that met the needs of the men, the Western Federation of Miners.

“ Miners have the most dangerous job in the world, and in today’s world, it might be the most lucrative job as well. We all should be gettin’ the damn treatment we deserve.”
“ Who’s going to confront the boss? It’s not like he is afraid of you, or any of us, we all be replaceable here.”

Frank smiled at that concern, he was amused. No way in the name of Mother Jones was he going to be intimated by those slimy pigs, they were going to fear him. He answered all the concerns from his colleagues, his blunt yet fiery nature made him a favorite out the miners and his ability to inspire direct action made him the agitator from hell for management. A Cherokee Communist, his blood was truly red.

“ Well, you see they think that we are so desperate for jobs and that they can play us like chickens fighting over feed, but we can have, and what we should strive for, is solidarity. Cooperation not competition. We are all brothers that make that fat son of a bitch who he is, he does not make us.”

The man from Nebraska slowly converted his workmates into card carrying union miners, where they fought for better pay, improved safety conditions, and job security in the an environment more fatal than most war trenches. His work as an organizer was so admired that he became a leader in the Western Federation of Miners.

The mining unions of the west soon became part of a bigger movement and in 1906, that movement was officially born. The founding convention of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) happened in Chicago and Frank Little was a conventioneer. His work with miners was so well respected that he was voted to take part in the original congress that drafted their constitution; his signature can be seen on the original document. One union for all, that was their slogan, and “Workers of the World Unite” was their motto. Wobblies, what members of the IWW are called, fought against the capitalist interests that plagued the sands of equality.
While some of his comrades spread their message of industrial syndicalism through pamphlets, books and newsletters, Frank preferred to be out in the battlefield. He never had a permanent residence and never married. He essentially had no ties to anyone, but just to the cause that is the working class. He was known as the hobo agitator.

 The Free-Speech Advocate

A train arrives in the bordertown of Spokane, Washington. Spokane is thee transportation hub for the Pacific Northwest of the States, transporting goods and supplies from the Great West back east. Hordes of people got off the rattler, whether it is young strapping lads trying to find work or families moving here to start businesses, they were told the American Dream is here. However, far away from coach, two men who were riding the rail jumped off the cargo cars before the Shacks came and give them trouble. The men brushed off their dirty duds, put on their hats, and moseyed on towards town.

The city was booming, as the two gents walked down the main drag, they saw large buildings filled with all different kinds of business, to Balkan owned grocery stores, Chinese food joints, and even land prospecting supplies. One thing though that was a sight to be seen was the disturbing amount of boys in blue and soldiers on the streets. Common folk were the minority in terms of who you could see walking around in Spokane. The two men ended up walking down to skid row but it still continued to mirror what would be best described as an Austrian military state. Taking a gander at the scenery, the two gentlemen’s focus was taken elsewhere when a tall man wearing a white port uniform called for their attention from the alley adjacent to them.

“ Hey you two, come over here.”

Walking towards the lengthy fellow, the two men then introduced themselves.

“ My name is Frank Little, and my colleague righ’ here is James Cannon. Word on the grapevine here is that good people of Spokane can’t do anything.”

The lofty sea stiff eye’s had opened as if he was starting at something small in the distance. He knew who they were. They were walking delegates, card men, wobblies sent from the General Assembly. Wobblies who have dealt with these situations. He told the story of Spokane.

“ The governor is wealthy man who controls the commerce and the military here in Spokan’. Me and my boys at the dock were getting paid like dirt, and even though the city is exploding with business, not any of us has seen pay cent raise. So we tried to get a union going, along with the coal passers, plough jockeys, and boomer boys, but the governor sniffed it out and shut it down. He is not letting anyone talk about anything you know, no organizing, no pamphlets, and no meetings. And as you can see, he’s got a lot of boys in uniform.”

Pointing at all the young kids who signed away their life into martial slavery, the situation looked worse than Joe Hill’s murder trial. Frank though beamingly look at James, and glanced back at the port worker.

“You know comrade, this is more than worker’s rights, this is about free speech. Right to assembly is something that god damn Jefferson wanted fer us all.”

Frank is a man action, he is more brash than a bundle tosser who sees his last stack. Within 10 minutes of hearing the initial tale, He marched towards the edge of the main stem, right in the sight of the officers and the local newspaper building. He looked around to see who was around in the vicinity, and started to recite something.

“…We Hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, and they are all endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness…”

He went on for 30 long minutes, people walking by tried to pay no attention to him as they did not want to associate with him at all. He did not stop declaring his god given rights until a few soldiers came and tackled him, and arrested Frank for public disturbance, treason, and some other trumped up charges. Word reached the masses that Spokane, Washington was silencing free speech, and eventually public pressure forced the corrupt mayor to let the workers organize, a win for the wobblies.

He was in the can for 30 Days, and they say he never stopped pacing in his cell, not for one minute.

The Labor Organizer

A huge crowd of striking dock workers and iron miners congregated around the marketplace in Duluth, Minnesota. It was 1912, Labor relations have been at an all time low for the workers, as the company officials completely suppressed the right to organize. The man in the middle of the gathering was a representative from the Industrial Workers of the World, his name was Frank Little.
He was a stout and yet strong man who wore incredibly raggedy clothes. He was telling the tales of when he worked as a miner in Colorado, and how he and his fellow laborers were part of what became the strongest and most radical union in the country, the Western Federation of Miners. As much power as his oratating had, what was captivating the interest of the crowd more was Frank’s looks.

“Yes, many of you are probably looking at me, and seeing what those goons did to me.”
The right side of his face was completely bruised, indicative of a dishonorable beating. His eye on that side of the body too was bloodshot as the thugs probably clocked a red blood cell in his retina.  His right arm was being braced by a crutch, as his leg was completely wrecked.  Even with all of these ailments, he stood tall.

“Yeah they kidnapped, roughed me a bit, but because they are scared, scared of all of you, scared of change, scared of what it means for labor to be organized.”

Frank was no intellectual scholar or artist from Greenwich Village, he was born and raised to be scrappy and that is why he was loved. Fearless, even to the point of arrogance, he showed the capitalist attack dogs who threw him in prison, dark alleys, or the trunk of cars, that he wasn’t afraid. If he wasn’t afraid than the strikers wouldn’t be afraid. And if the strikers weren’t afraid, than the bosses should be.

Frank rose in the Ranks of the IWW, and become Chairman the General Executive Board in 1915. Here he and the wobblies would fight the biggest battle of their existence, World War I.

The War Dissenter

All over the country, radicals and leftists were debating whether the not the US involvement in Europe’s war should be supported or not. Ask Frank Little and he’ll tell you:

“The Great War, as it been named by the politicians and capitalists, is nothing but kings and despots using their slaveling citizens as pawns in their lethal games. Workers and Solidiers get nothing out of this dang conflict. We have to believe in solidarity, let ‘dem do their dirty work. Let the capitalists fight the battles and we will go into the munitions plants and see they get plenty of bullets.”

Most organizers did not want to encourage strikes or any labor negotiations during war time, as good ole’ Woodrow Wilson was willing to send the National Guard to break the disputes. For Frank and a few others in the IWW, this was best time to stir up trouble, as it would undermine a wealthy man’s war. However the large stakes would create deadly backlash for the wobblies.

The Legend

It was no secret who killed Frank Little. The Anaconda Copper Company in Butte, Montana hired Pinkertons, thugs and hitmen of the wealthy, to slay the hobo agitator. He was one of many casualties of activists and revolutionary figures during these volatile of times. However the infallible Frank Little, who seemingly survived more battles than Napolean Bonaparte, met his maker in 1917.

In the few months before Frank’s Little murder, a young man named Conn Lowney would see the striking miners and the infamous organizer trek back from the mine to their housing.  Conn worked in the barbershop but also was a proud card carrying member of the IWW, as with every working man, woman, and child in Butte.

One day three gentlemen walked into the shop, looking sharp with their slick and fancy coats coupled with their fedoras, Lowney knew that these chaps were from out of town but not scabs looking for work but something more evil. Scabs are pretty high on the list of evils though. The tallest one wished for a haircut but the other two were discussing something. Trying to get closer without being too suspicious, the young wobbly picked up his broom and started sweeping around the area of the gentlemen, but could only hear snippets of certain words. One being Little, and he knew what to do with that piece of gossip.

When the miner’s walked across the town that day after striking, Conn left his shop and looked frantically in the crowd for Frank Little. He found him lagging behind the crowd.

“Hey Frank, some city folk are in the shop and I herd them rumorin’ about you. I reckon you should be careful.”

The proud half-breed gave a smirk that was famous in the west, a smile that stood in the face of adversity and spit right back in its face. No matter what shape he was in, he always had an air of confidence with him that empowered the worker’s around him. He belted out a hearty laugh.
“ Don’t worry son, it won’t be the 1st time I gotta look out for mysef.”

The young lad was eased by Frank’s assurance, he looked up to the man and knew that he has been through the gutter and back, and back again. He returned inside the barbershop.

The next day Frank Little was found lynched on the nearby railroad trestle. A note was pinned to his mangled carcass , “…First and Last Warning.” Sadness and concern of more murders soon overtook the mood of the union town, especially for Conn Lowney. The criminal investigation was never properly investigated, but the townfolk knew who did it, but the law can be bought just as easily as apple pie.

That night, Conn would break into the police headquarters and he pinned a new sign on Frank’s body. It said:

“ Slained by Capitalist Interests for organizing and inspiring his fellow men.”

To this day, you can see that quote on his burial in Butte, Montana.

*This is a story I wrote back in my creative writing class in college, one of the better courses I took during my tenure at UOG. It's influenced by history, but the scenes are romanticized a bit and dialogue is speculation at best, but the themes and messages are all there. It is about Frank Little, a person I have blogged about before, a labor agitator and organizer at the turn of the 20th century. I enjoyed this piece a lot, it really was so much fun to write.

My days recently have been pretty packed, my Grandpa is trying to find every reason to blame for my Grandma's sub par health, but the actual reason/sickness. Wanted to play my Trombone too today but my Grandpa didn't want the noise inside the house. Bless his heart (She has impaired hearing). Had some laughs with them today which makes me happy to see them smile, I really do feel their love of me, and how they give me so much respect and courteous when I have my girlfriend visits Like, today, had a nice and expansive conversation today. Enjoyed each other's presence immensely as well.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Kick a Buck

Been listening to this song by The Vessels lately, a gem I found on reddit, called "Kick a Buck." Link for it since the video is not being recognized by Blogger's video feature.  After reading that this is the band that came before The Aggrolites, a band that's been on my hit list since High School, I instantly turn up the bass on my speakers.

The song title really confused me, wasn't too sure to think with the name like "Kick a Buck." Where I grew up was deer country, it really was the kind of place that cars would get ruin by crashing into large Bucks during the night, and it was the name of my middle school band director, and his son who I was pretty good friends with. So personally, it struck a chord in me, but as a ska song, it really could be anything.

So I pressed play, and hear the intro, which I believe is the chord progression being strummed by the guitar and backed by the bass, ok so 1st impressions, I like the beginning, it is an old school 1st wave feel, a short intro, right before the skank section, or the beat. But once the beat came in, with the drums and the keys, man the groove is undeniably catchy. That organ sound with the descending melody line, it is vivacious. It really does sound like a video game track, because with that catchy hook, it has the higher register too, which really admits like a playful and colorful town setting. The 1st game that it reminded me was Earthbound, which is something way back in the day. I remember renting it, and it was one of the special games that had a large packaging box because it came with a strategy guide, the game was difficult. Played it and beat it, but that was years ago. But I've heard music from the series through great games like Super Smash Brothers. Here's the 4 main characters from the game, and now imagining them walking through a little city in cute little party, that's what I am imagining with this track.

The organ playing is slick, the usage of the long held notes followed by stagnant series of short ones really creates a "hoppy" feeling. The bass too adds to the "homey" flavor, while everything is moving, such as the melody and the upbeat hits by the rhythm voices, you hear the foundation being belted. Awesome.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Rosa Luxemburg Graphic Novel

I want this to come out already, looks amazing, from rosaluxumbergblog.

" We have a sneak preview of the wonderful new graphic novel currently being created by artist Kate Evans (twitter; @cartoonkate). The editor is Paul Buhle and the project is funded by the Rosa Luxumberg Stiftung in Berlin.

The graphic novel is due for publication in 2014.

Looks pretty cool, material that combines leftist historical figures and comic books is an instant buy in my book. Active as a political party leader and resistance figure in Germany during WW1 (even imprisonment), their revolution ended though in 1919, not with a whisper but a bang, as they took the streets of Berlin during Spartacist Uprising, but poor planning by leadership allowed the counter-revolutionary parties to squash it. Her story and her work are all so incredibly interesting, as she was killed during that uprising. Kurt Weill, the composer, wrote the Berlin Requiem and included these words in her honor.

Red Rosa now has vanished too (...)
She told the poor what life was about,
And so the rich has rubber her out.
May she rest in piece. 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Terran that Shares a Name with a Flower, a Song, and a Korea Drama

** My days lately have been so packed, but the free time I've had I've tried to make the best of it. My Grandpa is going to the heart doctor today, just for a checkup, hope everything is all right. Been reading more of my old stuff during down time, and learning from it. This is the continuation from the last post, and talks about Savior's foe in that series, my favorite "E-athlete" of all time, Iris. Enjoyed his crazy gameplay, heart, and humble nature. Here is his handsome self.

The Terran that Shares a Name with a Flower, a Song, and a Korea Drama

                To give a classical musical analogy, if Savior was Beethoven, than his opponent and friend Iris was Modest Mussorgsky, a respected and solid composer with memorable compositions, but no pieces that they’ll put in any space capsules that show alien species organized sound that embodies the human soul.
Byun Hyun Tae was given the nick name “Berserker” by his fans of Balls-to-wall aggression, especially in TvT, as he entered the scene as a monster in the mirror matchup with 10 straight wins. His usage of drops to break positions and out strategize his foes made him lethal in an era where lines drawn on the battlefield but never contested for. He definitely embraced the legacy of his dongseng Xellos in the TvT matchup, where their army movements and small skirmish style soon became the adapted style in TvT. Later he adapted his love of dropships in the other matchups as well, and continued to put the pressure on his opponents rather them himself. To put in statistical terms, Iris held the best win percentage in 2006, with a 77% win rate in Terran versus Terran.
With terrans doing so well with every league because of the current map pools, this was just simply a godsend for Iris. This meant more terrans were in brackets and he smashed other terrans. In the Ro16 od this OSL, he got his wish and squared against the Terran versus Terran master of old, Goodfriend. The posterboy of mediocrity, and Nal_Ra’s pimp hallucination arbiter play, showed he was a step behind with the time as Iris came out on top 2-0 in standard TvT firefight. It was only a matter of time that he had to be tested in his other matchups, and this became true as he had had a Terran versus Zerg in the next tournament stage.
Iris’s TvZ historically has been his 2nd strongest matchup, right after his terrifying mirror. Traditionally a matchup that favors terran aggression, he maintained this theme in his play. His zergopponent in the Ro8 was Zergman, a lesser known player for KTF and further proof that zerg players just lacked creativity as they have this burning desire put the name of their race in their IDs (put a list of “Zerg” players).Azergling rush on the 1st map put the KTF player ahead, but slow defilers from Park Sung Joon and close spawning positions evened up the score with an Iris win. On the last set, played on Neo Arkanoid, Iris defended the Mutalisk harass well, a little miss control from the zerg helped a bit, and pushed hard into the Zerg player before Guardians came out to play. While Iris looks to have a decent grasp of the matchup, it is important to note that he is also riding high from the terran dominance so he might have a chance of success with the best player in the world.

Internal Strife

                Savior and Iris have a history even before their epic encounter in this starleauge, as amateurs they were both part of the (GM) clan, or Good Mannered. An old-school clan that was the home to many Brood War legends, such as the “Death God” Anytime, the man who invented Mutalisk stacking Shark, and even the Protoss Commander Stork himself. As they are of the same age, they even came onto the pro scene together. The two were both recruits to the team that Xellosbuilt, Suma GO, which eventually became CJ Entus.
                They nurtured and grew together through the ranks of the Suma GO team, but Savior became the ace and eventual bonjwa while Iris for awhile was not even the top terran of the team, that title belonged to Xellos. While this may have discouraged many people to be content with their role on their team, this was not the case for the Berzerker terran. Savior run and reign of domination within Starcraft only fueled his teammate to train harder and become well rounded top player, and around this time is when his hard work reaped its benefits.
                 Ma Jae Yoon knew all too well what life on the top was like in contrast to his friend who thirsted greatly for ultimate victory. It is also always important to point out too that this was teammate versus teammate battle, therefore this becomes more about just a Terran and Zerg player showing up to play a friendly match, but a fierce battle of wits of two people who lived, played, and ate together. In practice though, Savior casually reported that Iris beats him more times than not in the internal rankings matches. And leading up to this match, they have been keeping away all and anything to their temporary foe to hold onto any real edge for the televised games. This series had the beginnings of something truly marvelous.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

A Maestro’s Opus

*** Reading through some things I've written today and ran through some chapters I drafted up for a Brood War book that I really wanted to complete a few years back. It was about the "top 10" Brood War matches of all time, as determined by me, the writer, as it explains my favorite and the most historic simulated battles that professional players of this E-Sport have partaken in. This entry is about Savior vs Iris, a popular match in the annuls of Starcraft history. This is the 1st few pages of it, about the infamous figure Savior. A pic of him down below.


A Maestro's Opus

                Dominance in sports can be a double-edged sword, there are people who revel and cheer on for this almost mythic figure or entity, and see how long their greatness can last. Take Michael Jordan, who showed the world for 6 years he was unstoppable. There are other people who enjoy diversity and are disgusted by the fact that one person is winning everything and their hands holding a trophy becomes déjà vu.
                Whatever your opinion on is about single-player dominance, what it does create an entertaining scenario. Anti-fans of the said player often rally around anyone who can slay the beast while their loyal fans enjoy the constant of state of euphoria. The whole spectating community watches on to see if someone rises to the occasion or another day of utter humiliation for some unlucky chaps. Savior, or Ma Jae Yoon is his birth name, was either a villain to the masses, or a hero to the herd during his prime as player. As a zerg progamer, he became the 1st dominant player of that chosen race, who showed flawless and inspiring play against every opponent.
                Ma Jae Yoon showed his dominance for over year in Starcraft Brood War, making it to the finals of 6 straight consecutive starleagues and leading his team to the playoffs with the highest individual win percentage to boot. He played his song perfectly, and no one could match its glory and remarkability. However over time though he slowly lost his traction and looked almost mortal. With every player, map, and organization working against Ma Jae Yoon, he still soldiered on.
                In the ShinHan OSL 2007 Starleague,he would give his last masterpiece to his fans. Just like Beethoven, Bruckner, Vaughn Williams,  and Mahler, whose ultimate piece of work was also their most painful and heartfelt one. Ma Jae Yoon even looked mortal in this competition and when it looks like a God loses his immortality, everyone watches. His style has been studied and therefore countered, the maps are basically Zerg graveyards, and his thirst for victory is no longer as invigorating as it once was. But as a true champion who will stand strong when tested by the sands of time, he overcame it all.

The God of The Battlefield

                For a person with who had tremendous impact on the scene, Ma Jae Yoon had humble beginnings. As an amateur, he played under the tag IPXzerg, and showed particular impressive management play in his games. In 2004, he was picked up by the Suma GO pro team, a team with young talent like himself. After what became the most innocuous name change in progaming history, IPXzerg became Savior, channeling the spirit to defy the terran kings who dominated the scene and a tag that harbored his aura of otherworldly abilities. In his only 2ndStarleague attempt, he would claim ultimate victory in the UZOO MBC Game StarcraftLeague, besting the protoss hero Reach in a PvZ finals.
                While not a royal roader, his MSL win was still that should be impressive but at that time he did not get the credit he deserved. Zergs were dominating the in leagues, especially against Protoss. Ma Jae Yoon’s victory was said to due to racial imbalance in the matchup. In the next MSL though, he showed that lighting strikes twice as he advanced to finals again, but lost to the Veteran zerg Choja in a tense ZvZ series. While he did claim 1st place in this starleague, people started to take note of the people Savior was beating and how he was beating him.
                Ma Jae Yoon revolutionized how the game was played, he took the management style that GoRush pioneered and mastered it. Favoring fast high tech play to gain advantages, Savior had to prepare how to defend from proper timings and attacks so he simply did not lose. He often looked like as if he used the bare minimum needed to stay alive in the situation at hand. 
                Savior also popularized the defiler, fully abusing and exploiting a unit in the zerg arsenal that made Terrans shiver in the sight of their clouds of doom. They were the perfect the unit to spearhead Savior’s battleplans, using them to with small groups of Zerg forces, to hold off aggression or performing a surgical attack, Ma Jae Yoon used this late-game spellcaster to its full potential. Rather than focusing on Zerg’s obvious strength of mass troop production and reinforcement, the Maestro incorporated other tactical ideas that were not being heavily explored by his zerg counterparts making him the man who forged the path of the modern Zerg tactics.
                While his style and approach the game changed the way we thought about Brood War, what else set him apart was his army movements and strategic control on the battlefield. His most well known nickname is the Maestro. He would conduct the swarm with the fluidity and grace of Karajan, but with the power and might of Bernstein. One of his iconic masterpieces was against none other than IloveOOV, who ate zerg players for breakfast, on Ride of the Valkyres. The Maestro lives up to his name as he orchestrates the swarm on a grand scale to break a seemingly ironclad defensive terran position, shocking the world with his style and gusto. While his mechanics were not the best in the scene, he had to rely on his game knowledge and tactical skills, two categories in which he was unirvaled in.
                As the 2006 year came around, Savior became truly the 1st zerg to be feared and dominant on the scene. Slaying the best player in the world IloveOOV in multiple starleagues, leading his newly funded and corporate sponsored team CJ Entus to the top of the proleague, he became a monster. Slaying Nal_Ra and lesser known zergSilver in one-sided starleague finals, only a certain terran called Midas, a former clanmate and teammate, gave Ma Jae Yoon a scare, but ultimately fell short as Savior is still being talked about, for both positive and negative reasons, while latter fell in A/B Team obscurity for years until his eventual retirement.

What Goes Up, Must Come Down

                Even though Savior had all the momentum in the world, in 2007 leagues started to introduce new maps that were heavily Terran favored. Maps like Reverse Temple, Neo Arkanoid, and Longinus 2 were dubbed zerg graveyards. Savior even quoted on that he was able to win on these maps as Terran against other professional zergs, that is how tough it was.If this was an attempt to bring down Savior a notch, than history tells us that it certainly failed. While many of his brooding brethren’s felt the wraith of these horribly imbalanced maps, Ma Jae Yoon wrote a new chapter in his story and continued making his case of why he was the greatest competitor in this sport.
                In the Shinhan06 Bank OSL, 9 Terrans, 6 Zergs, and one lone Protoss made it to the Round of 16. Terrans were demolishing any race in their path, and with competent terrans like Nada, IloveOOV, Midas, and Hwasin still in the player pool, the Pride of War looked as if they were adding another trophy to their collection.
                Savior’s path consisted of dodging a bullet with his Ro16 opponent Midas, who was one scan from taking the series but instead lost 5 crucial tanks to a couple of lurkers. Whether this was due to Midas having nerve problems or the gods who watch over our world wanted to keep Ma Jae Yoon’s aura of invincibility evident, one may never know. In the Ro8, he faced his teammate and Protoss Much, who is known for his looking older than his actual age and his creative Protoss tactics. However nothing in his strategy book was effective against Savior, as the only zerg Bonjwa sweeped him in clean 2-0. His next opponent was someone that he has quite a history with, a both friendly and competitive one.


Throughout College Starcraft was my "Football," or the sport that other males tend to gravitate towards to when they want to get their mind off normal duties. Enjoyed writing about it. 

Friday, November 8, 2013

Labor of... Passion?

I'm not a big fan of reality shows, I will admit though I watched a little of Flavor of Love (Big Public Enemy fan here), back when internet was slow and Late night Cable shows kept you company before bedtime, but I do watch a few when they are related to a field I am interested in. One in particular that I kind researched was Sony's "The Tester," a reality show that asks the question, "Are you ready to be part of the Quality Assurance Team for one of the biggest video game companies in the world?" Compete for this "once in a lifetime opportunity."

"Quality Assurance" Engineer is basically you play a game and make sure there are no bugs, glitches, and problems with the programming code. How is this done?? Well by playing sections of the game, over and over again. Hours and hours of mindless grinding, and basically not fun. Imagine playing Mario, and you've beaten the 1st stage, it's pretty easy and you want to continue, but you can't. You have to play the 1st stage only, and for a 10 hour workday. Sure you try new things and follow the directions of the programmers, but still, it is a tedious and not a stimulating experience. 

People want to do this though, and are attracted to idea of playing Sony's 1st Party games before anyone else, the exclusivity is such a big selling point, and want to be game testers. Also the idea of getting paid to play is such an alluring concept for so many gamers, and I will admit as a younger and naive kid, I did want to participate in a job like this. But upon further research, and reading interesting articles like this, "You Can Sleep Here All Night: Video Games and Labor," by Ian Williams, my middle school dream was quickly changed . This article is an excellent leftist approach to this new age industry. A few points he makes:
Testers, and many of the entry level job at these video game companies are terrible.

- Pressured to work 80 hour workdays, to reach deadlines
- Minimum wage with no benefits, many are considered to be just temp jobs
- The constant of badgering by management and developers, the more well paid positions, and in turn they are pretty shitty work conditions.

There are many accounts that verify his points, and people trying to organize workers in the tech world is a next step in this digital age, but one section that he elaborates is in is so interesting. A common word to describe "the ideal employee" in this industry is, passion. Great games are made passionate people make sacrifices to insure success. This ain't no passion project, not something you do with people you went to school are something, you do the work, and you reap the benefits. The guise of passion has been capitalist tool for free labor and exploitation for centuries. Especially with the amount of money making games are making nowadays, where GTA5 has already surpassed the 1 billion Dollar profit mark, that kind of talk is bullshit. Also QA testers are so vital for the development of these games, testing code is long and tedious process, that the coders and designers don't have the time for, they are crucial part of the system. 

This whole discourse is allowed because the common geek, no matter what breed, is very apolitically in their own right. This was covered by the author in an interesting way that I have heard, and that is he says nerds are more willing to sacrifice and surround them with their passions. I do agree with this too, they become very short sighted and many things that do happen around them are not given the thought they deserve.

Last night I hung out a beach party that was organized by my GF, it was for the Anthropology club and Department for the local university.  While I did get there a little late, it was my dad's birthday and went out for dinner, the turnout, food, and the atmosphere all looked mighty fine, even by the time I got there. Glad it was a success for her! She really does work hard and for her to get this recognition, and the President spot for the club, is damn awesome. Met some of her teachers and stuff, always interesting to see how faculty conduct themselves in a party setting, since that is usually the big difference between High School and College, you hangout with your professors, outside of class, more.  We were both pretty tired, long days for both us, so afterwards we relaxed and embraced each other in our arms, felt so maolek.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Skatalites in Japan

Ska is huge in Japan, and has been since The Specials played in the 1980s.  Here is one of the Skatalites re-released CDs in that country, it is so cool the cover art. Brings a smile to my face : D

Stopping and Frisking

New York City has become a Police State, this recent report on Democracy Now talks with a former policemen, and a lawyer, who are trying to shut down "The Stop and Frisk" policy, which has become an avenue for racial profiling. Here is a 1st hand account of this policy in action by former Officer Polanco.

"We would stop a person on the street and on a corner, because the sergeant says, "Stop him." Why? You don’t ask. You just stop him, you frisk him. If it’s possible, you search him. And these kids, sometimes they’re just walking home from school. They’re just walking to the store. They’re just—they’re not doing absolutely anything. They’re not doing absolutely anything. And it’s a really humiliating feeling. When they go through your pockets, when they stop you, you don’t have no freedom. If you stop and then tell the officer, "I’m not—I don’t have to give you my ID. I don’t have to give you my name," which is within the law—the law allows you to do that—you’re going to get hurt. In the Bronx, you are going to get hurt.

My turning point was with a bunch of kids on a corner stopped by the commanding officer. There was a 13-year-old Mexican in the group. "Polanco, cuff him." I said, "For what?" "Cuff him. You don’t ask me questions. Cuff him, bring him back." His brother come to ask, "Why? What’s going on with my brother? He’s walking home from school. Officer, did he do anything stupid?" The commanding officer looked at my partner, told her, "Cuff him, too. Bring him in." "For what?" "Oh, we will figure it out later. Just bring him in." And that was my turning point. That was the time I said, "You know what? Why should I do it to a kid that’s just walking home from school, that we know is not doing anything? Why should I do that? This is not what I became a cop for. This is not what I wanted to do."

He says something later which needs to be echoed more by Law Enforcement.

"Harassing innocent people is not going to help the community, it only harms it."

Installing fear into people does not really work, especially in these strong urban communities with strong cultural identities. 

These quotas installed by the Police, forces for results, and does not give a proactive stance on crime that makes us feel safer, shit is still going down. Even off duty,  Officer Polanco was a victim of the "Stop and Frisk" policy, from an unmarked car and an undercover cop, and was never said sorry or why he was targeted.  He also talks about the Quotas being illegal, because it kind of perverts police power, but the whole system is pretty messed up.  The pressure of Police management and adminstrators to regular officers, about meeting their quotas, is sending New York City into an almost Orwellian city state.

Polanco ends his interview on the show, by saying that it is so easy to be a cop right now, go to some street corner and arrest a brown or black kid, and then put hours of overtime in, and no one is the wiser, especially not Mayor Bloomberg. Wonderful...

And here's a guide and how to "Be okay with having a communist friend." Not sure if serious or sarcastic, but point 4 kind makes me chuckle. Funny how everyone looks Chinese, with their history and whatnot (Mao).

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Phoenix Wright Listening Hour

Yesterday, I was invited to be a guest on a local radio show, called "GG." The show refers the expression, "Good Game," an thing gamers exchange between each other after a worthy match or battle. The show is hosted by two of my good friends, Rob and Tim, and we all got together and talked about video games and music! This week's game franchise, the one I got called in to be an "expert" on, was Phoenix Wright, a character whose world I do enjoy immensely. The game is about a Defense Attorney, who goes by the very punny name "Phoenix Wright," His 1st name referring to him always able to pull out victory from the clutches of defeat, and his last name being a play on the word that is clearly associated with law interpretation.

While the gameplay is fun and really engrossing, like gathering evidence and making breakthrough with witnesses, the charm of the game comes from the dialogue, character designs, and lovely 2-D drawn graphical sprites. The game has character, which in a world dominated nowadays with online multiplayer capabilities and graphics, it is a gem. Also the music, which is the basis of the radio show, is phenomenal. Here's a track that showcases how well the compositions depicts a courtroom/law setting.

Some things about the night~
The recording of the show was a lot fun! Before, many years ago I was one of those people who didn't care much for my voice, like you don't enjoy the sound of it, but that is just such an idiotic position to hold, I mean it shouldn't deter you from doing anything. So it was nice to do something like this, which I have never really done, such an intensive recording experience with my voice and ideas, not my instrument, being on display.  As a kid too one my favorite sitcoms was NewsRadio, a show starring Dave Foley and Maura Tierney , and its setting is a radio station in New York City. So to record in Guam's own Public Radio haven, KPRG, was pretty fun and made me think about that classic show.  It was something I wanted to do, like talk and shit, and enjoy my time, which in the end I achieved that.

The show airs this Thursday, 10-11, at 89.3 FM!
And here's their archives, check it out!

Eff The Tories Freestyle by NxtGen

Found this "freestyle" rap the other day, from a Brtish rapper who calls himself NxtGen. I put freestyle in quotes because while could be rehearsed, as it is performed well, but it does not matter to me if its off the dome or written, because the actually rhymes are pretty amazing. Enjoyed it a lot, really appealed to the leftist in me. In the beginning he introduces he wanted to perform for SBTV, a British live music channel, but was never called back because of its strong political nature. Here's the vid.

Some Particular Lines I enjoyed in it~

"This is not a recession blood, it's a robbery."
A direct reference to the banker's bailout, fat cats still are fat.

"... Yet that is there project, putting public money into private pockets."
Just clever word play, public to private.

"What kind of society is this when pigs are profiting off dying kids."
Uninsured children not getting the care because it is too expensive, a crying shame

"You actually believe these hypocrites, hating people on benefits and demonizing immigrants."
What a damn true rhyme, and this is why the richer continue to get richer, because people really do believe these things, the social demeaning of the poor and equating them to economic parasites. Class consciousness has been subdued, it needs to be woken up.

Good stuff, been stressful at the homefront, had some good talks and some deep thinking kind of centered myself to a good place. Been playing more music too, its really great.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Frank Little

Can't wait for this book to come in. Ordered it a few weeks ago, been longing for it since I loaned my copy out to a friend who moved off island.  Frank Little, who was slain by capitalist interests for trying to organize strikes during World War I. The cahones of this man, unheard of, since that is treasonous and seditious behavior, especially during wartime. A group of privately hired thugs left him to publicly die in Butte, Montana. 

Friday, November 1, 2013

The Weekend

I feel so rejuvenated right now, finally got to rest an ample amount of time last night, with no distractions or waking up, 8 hours of constant rest. Been an eventful last 4-5 days around the house, with my Grandma and Grandpa getting older, and realizing the decline they are partaking in. It is a tough environment, but it has its moments and I really do care about them, so I try to take their complaining, with a grain of salt, and just remind myself it's their ailments talking. Did a nice walk around my street for about 30 minutes while the weather is still not too hot. Miss my pancake though. 

Want to finish some work for my Grandfather today, so he can make a little money and that will give him some temporary relief.

Hope though this afternoon I could get some writing done, been working on something for my brother Jack, while he is here, we talked about it in person yesterday quite a bit, it is like a post-apocalyptic story about a band of kids living in a world where every adult over 18 has disappeared. So much fun to write and stuff, I'm mixing like Mad Maxx, with Warren Ellis tech and imagination details, and topping it off with a Boondocks-like political/visual vibe. Excited to see it come to life.

Read lyrics through a song I liked and I band's music I really do enjoy, the World Inferno Friendship Society, the self named "Punk Orchestra." But one lyric annoyed from this song "Ich Errinere Mich An Weimar Republik." The line is, "Socialists are Boring." O man that is far from the truth, and it hurts me in the feels haha. Whatever the song is referencing, period or history, but man, people on the left invented fun. Than I watched in a live acoustic performance video of them, and how apolitical they are, telling Euros that they are from Canada because they don't want to talk about American politics (But don't even know the Prime Minister of Canada, which is of course Stephen Harper) Sad stuff, but hey, I guess know what they represent as artists and don't pretend to be anything they are not (I guess...). Here's the video I am referring to.

Spanish Civil War Poster

This type of propaganda/political art is visually, one of my favorite genres. To see how the artist demonstrates and exemplify whatever they are suppose to sell is an interesting sight to see. Either it can be incredibly heartwarming and beautiful things to witness, such as this Pro-republic poster during the Spanish Civil War, or be incredibly wrenching and vile imagery, such as Nazi art. But whatever side of the political spectrum the spectator belongs to, it will summon a reaction out of the audience, and we need more people to get riled up about these important issues.