Monthly Archives: April 2015

One Mans guide to the galaxy and the simple solution of pen and paper

Contributor: Kyle Gerst

Have you ever had writers block? Have you ever wanted to talk about your life

but the words just did not come out right when you tried to put them on

paper? Well i can tell you guys i sure have. I have the tendency to improvise.

That comes from my almost 20 years of free word association skills through

the medium of freestyling. In fact, if you were to ask me what i said in a free

style i could not tell you a few minutes later. Although i am pretty good at

remember names phone numbers and key information outside of the

freestyle format.

I used to keep a journal when i went. i did it consistently for few years

without thinking about it. The journal gave me mental clarity. It just did not

happen instantly. At the time i was ok with that because i just wanted a

space to talk about my emotions and thoughts. A place to talk about what i

believe in and what i did that day.

I am grateful that i did those journal entries. I documented my trips to

Chicago, Central America, and my back and forth adventures all over

California. I talked about almost dying on a volcano, helping with a fashion

show in south padre, and sky diving in New Orleans. I talked about my

mistakes to. My 20 something ego, gambling on businesses instead of

researching them, and my lack of self confidence that was only gained

when i started accepting myself.

For some reason though i stopped the journal. Life just kind of took over.

The mind is a very powerful thing. I was reading that our brains will rewrite

memories to tell whatever current story- current identity that we hold

ourselves to. It does this to protect the ego. Having a journal is the best

prescription for this phenomenon because it showcases pure honesty. When

i stopped writing in my journal i lost that honesty with myself. The

best news of all is i am ready to invite that honesty back into my life.

Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag Review (PS3, Xbox 360, PS4, Xbox One, PC, Wii U)

black flag

Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag is an incredible smart, sprawling sequel that places great emphasis on freedom and fun while trimming down most of what weighed down Assassin’s Creed III’s ambitious yet uneven adventure. Ubisoft’s turn with the genre begins in 1715 and presents it with a much appreciated lighter tone that isn’t afraid to make fun of itself in the name of an entertaining journey.

Sailing across the massive expanse of The Caribbean, exploring the amazingly detailed and unique islands, and finding yourself swept up in all sorts of swashbuckling trouble provide some of the most rewarding and memorable game-play I’ve ever experienced in an Assassin’s Creed title.
No matter which platform you decide to experience Black Flag, you can rest knowing that it was by far one of 2013’s greatest looking games ever. The current gen versions (PS3 and 360) build upon the framework set by AC 3 by showing well-lit tropical locations and amazing water effects on the open seas. I’m sure the next-gen versions are just as great but I can’t say much on those versions as I didn’t experience Black Flag on either systems.

Black Flag learns from AC3’s initial ten hours of hand holding and it makes up for its predecessor by throwing you into the action right away. After an exhilarating first mission, in which you find yourself in the shoes of Edward Kenway, grandfather to AC 3’s Connor, the word blossoms and allows you to explore its waters. The size of the world is mind-blowing and the fact that its brimming with fun and rewarding activities made me want to just forgo all the main story missions and just explore. This is when Black Flag is at its best.

It treats you like an adult and allows you to explore the vast open word at your hearts content. Do you want to discover every nook and cranny in Kingston in search of Templar secrets? Or would you rather buy a fishing boat and hunt every manner of sea creature alive and use those spoils to create upgrades for your character? Perhaps you’d rather just sail around and take in all the visuals. Black Flag is all about embracing the freedom and making your own path through the world.

The freedom to tell your own unique story also follows to the multiplayer which refines the cat-and-mouse game-play that was originally introduced in Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood. You have to blend in with your surroundings and try to trick the other players into thinking you’re just an NPC. This provides moments of tense and entertaining mayhem. Just like in previous versions, it’s a much welcome alternative to the typically standard team death match that exists in most forms of multiplayer in other games. Yet its not substantial enough to keep coming back to.

The series signature feeling of momentum is also back, and its better than ever. It does an amazing job of marrying the vertical urban-city based travel of Assassin’s Creed II, with the energetic frontier movement of Assassin’s Creed 3. Having said that, Edward will still occasionally disobey your commands by jumping erratically off rooftops and climbing up walls that you may not have wanted to traverse. These nuances combined with the possibility of having to restart a mission when the guard you’re trailing to acquire a key suddenly disappears; are few and far between.

Ubisoft wisely avoided the convoluted plot that the franchise has become. Instead Black Flag’s plot paints a much lighter tale that embraces and harkens back to the classic pirate stories. I thoroughly enjoyed the fact that Edward is so unlike his Assassin relatives. He’d much rather pursue money and other riches than worry about the war between Assassin’s and Templars. This makes it a refreshing change of pace which was desperately needed.

The lighter tone is also evident in which Black Flag seems to be less violent then past entries. Death animations are short yet sweet, with a shockingly lack of blood. Ubisoft’s restraint here is amendable considering the series is centered around going stabby on your enemies. This restraint makes the combat more fun and less serious. Then again, Black Flag does fall back on the series favorites, like forcing you to tail a victim at a safe distance for minutes on end while he or she spouts out exposition.

While some might find the story a little heavy handed and underwhelming, I was surprised to at how much I enjoyed my time out of the animus. These first person missions are optional yet are really great. As a new Abstergo employee, working on developing an entertainment product based on Edward’s life, you’ll soon find yourself taking part in a bit of corporate espionage that will ultimately lead you on to discover a whole lot of secrets in regards to the future of the series.

The immense freedom and open world of Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag kept me happily occupied longer than any game in the series so far. Even though the main story isn’t the strongest, at no point was I ever bored or didn’t have anything to do. The simplistic nature of sailing around the Caribbean and going wherever I please is a complete joy. Black Flag delivers a world overflowing with gorgeous places to explore, cool secrets to discover, and a whole lot of enemies to stab.
Final Rating: 9/10

Contributor: [Adam Buskirk]

Waking Up

Back into the corner, breathe in. Anger, fire. It burns in your veins. It’s unfamiliar, and comforting. You’ve been here time and time before; the same thing day after day, but it has never made you feel like this before. It’s a welcomed change, and it confuses you. Looking up, you wonder if you ever even knew anyone that’s surrounding you.

At first, you never noticed anything was wrong. It seemed like everything was normal, subjectively speaking. They all seemed nice enough. They cared enough. And even if it was never what you imagined for yourself, it was enough. You gave up on feeling truly happy a long time ago, but you were content. You were okay with what you had. It wasn’t perfect and things didn’t fit as puzzle perfect as they did before. This isn’t then, this is now and now is enough for you.

Sometimes you would notice little things. Minute details that no one else seemed bothered by. Either they didn’t notice or you were the only one who felt that something was off, but you still didn’t know them all very well so you kept your mouth shut. Maybe it was just you. You have a different background than them. They grew up in another town and they have all known each other a lot longer than they have known you. For them, maybe this was the normal. You didn’t want to cause waves. You were content, and content was good. If the seeds of unease had been planted in your stomach, well you’d push those feelings down just like you always do.

You had been fighting for so long. Fighting for what you thought was right, fighting for what you thought you deserved, fighting for those that you care about, but it always seemed to bite you in the ass. It was easier to just let things slide, stomp down the building anger, bitterness and resentment, head down and hold your tongue; the world started turning a lot smoother. You just grew tired of fighting and the longer you bit back your every instinct to keep fighting in the name of keeping peace, you just forgot how to. After a while, you wonder how you managed to keep fighting as long as you did.

Slowly, bit by bit, things started slipping out of control. Every tiny piece breaking so quietly, so unobtrusively, that you barely even noticed. Every time you thought something was wrong, you just told yourself that it was all in your head. It was just you. Don’t bring it up. They will all look at you like you’re crazy, and it just isn’t worth it. Things aren’t perfect, but they are all just so nice and they seem to care; you don’t want to put a voice to your idle thoughts, lest they start to think of you differently. They didn’t seem to be as okay with you when you fought; when you voiced your opinions. They seem to like the calmer, go-with-the-flow you. You have to admit that you like the new control you have over your previously too potent temper. So you keep ignoring the little signs. It just isn’t worth it to fight.

The world keeps spinning, days blur into one another. You know you’re complacent and you keep convincing yourself that this is enough. You’re content. You don’t go to bed crying, temper consuming you, heart beating out of control with excessive adrenaline-induced energy, the urge to run until you can’t breathe anymore, with enough frustration burning through your nerves to singe anything you touch, you don’t have that anymore. The calm that the absence of it all leave, it’s strangely soothing. You’ve never felt this calm before and while you have made peace with many of your demons, you don’t quite feel at peace with yourself. You continue to ignore the growing unease. You’re content and that’s enough for you.

Things continue to break apart and you feel the pressure building inside you. It’s a torrent of confusion and warring emotions. You’ve gotten so used to suppressing your thoughts and feelings that everything swirling inside you just seems like ghosts of what they once were. Every once in a while, a taste of the fire you used to be so familiar with surfaces; it feels like you can breathe again, and a part of you feels whole again. That scares you. You tried so hard to not be that person again, the one who wanted to burn down everything around her in retribution to every perceived slight. You never want to be that angry, volatile person again. You’ve worked hard and now you are so amenable and docile that they all think your stories of who you were before them are a load of shit. They don’t outright say it, but you can see it in their eyes. You don’t take it like a bad thing; you’re proud that you have changed so much that they can’t imagine you being that person that you were. And it’s good. It’s still enough for you.

It continues to be enough. Head down, keep quiet, life goes on. Then one day you bump into something, look up and you wonder where the Hell you are. You wonder who these people are that you spent the better part of two years hanging around with every single week. You look at yourself and you wonder who the fuck that person is that’s staring back at you. Deep from the pit of your stomach, everything you have been keeping under lock and key surfaces. It feels so, so good and hurts you in all the right ways. It’s confusion and passion and anger and agony; it’s everything you didn’t know you missed and everything you never thought you’d want to feel again. And you do have trouble trying to reconcile who you were with who you are as the two finally mix. It feels like a part of you is finally waking up. You realize that you were settling; settling is never going to be enough.

You feel selfish and you hate that. You want to keep quiet, and you really are trying to, but now you can see the cracks, all the broken little pieces. How it has gotten so bad without you realizing it is beyond you. Everything seems so decayed and forced that you don’t know how you could have been fooled into thinking that everything was okay. A little thought runs through your mind, weird and oddly fitting in a sense. They were like a puzzle. All the pieces fit in the beginning, but over time, with age, the pieces warp, the colors fade. It still fits together for the most part, maybe not as well as it once had, but it’s still enough that you can pretend nothing has changed. Eventually time damaged the pieces too much, aged and different than they were at the start, but you still keep trying to force it because the memories of what it once was are good and you aren’t ready to give that up. It’s so broken beyond repair, but your nostalgia keeps you pretending. They can keep pretending but you can’t anymore.

You aren’t quite sure how to go about things. You realize that even though they seemed to care, they really don’t. They don’t know you; they know who they think you are. To them, you are all the pieces of their opinions that they put together of you until they truly believed that, that was really you. To them you are nothing but misconstrued ideas of the person they wanted you to be and the person they don’t like. It’s funny in a way; it’s almost laughable that you can spend so long around the same people, but you know absolutely nothing about them and they know nothing about you. It isn’t for lack of trying. You did. Try, that is. You tried to be their friend, tried to get to know them but they were always sidestepping and giving you just enough to think you were becoming real friends, without ever having to actually give you an inch. And you, you didn’t even know that you lost a huge part of yourself in trying to fit in with their broken pieces. You lost something that you now have back and you aren’t even sure what to do with it anymore.

You have been without your fight for so long that now that you have the will to do so back, you aren’t even sure you really know how to now. It’s an odd feeling. You want to call them out for all that they have hurt you, but you aren’t even sure they know what they did. To them, all of it was normal. To them, that is what friendship is. And you can’t fit your head around this warped idea of what care and love is supposed to be. You want to scream at them, make them see where you are coming from; make them see that something isn’t right. They are all falling apart, and they don’t even realize how badly they are hurting each other. They have gotten so used to their own pretending that they truly have no idea who any of them are now. They grew up without realizing how far they had grown apart. You don’t know if you want to be the one to bring it up. Despite it all, you do care about these people that you barely even know, and you don’t want to hurt them. Even though they had hurt you so deeply without you even knowing it, you can’t stand the idea of opening your mouth and telling them. It would cause a huge fight, and getting everything off your chest might just not be worth dealing the final blow to bring everything crumbling down. You can’t help but to rationalize what they did; you don’t know what will happen if you were to voice your thoughts, it would make things real.

You stay in your corner, taking another deep breath. You look around again before pushing away. Anger, frustration, love, hatred, empathy, fear, desperation, caring, desire; it’s all welling up into one big ball centered in your chest. And then you bolt. You run, because staying still isn’t even close to being an option anymore. You don’t know what you are going to do, just that you need to do something because things can’t stay the way they are. You don’t want to hurt them, as much as a part of you does, but not doing anything is just hurting you. That can’t be an option either. You may have lost the sense to fight for yourself, and you might still be trying to figure out if you are still something worth fighting for, but you know that you gave and continue to give your everything to them, and you don’t deserve to be hurt.

You still don’t know if you will ever know how to feel truly happy again. You aren’t sure if you’ll be able to find the right balance between the two halves of yourself. There are so many things that you just don’t know and aren’t sure of, but you do know that this type of content if slowly killing you, and you don’t want them to be the things that finally bleed you dry of everything you built your confidence and self-worth on. It isn’t your time to give up on yourself and suddenly, enough just isn’t enough anymore.

Contributor~ Amanda Zober

How It Goes

It was a stormy night
Once upon a time
The story takes flight
Adventures to find
Starts off easy
Something simple
Something sleazy

It’s all fun but then it gets bad
Out of control
But that’s just how this story goes

Break fast
Reality crumbles
Think quick
Before you stumble
Don’t quit
Time to move on
Time to run along

It’s the middle now
Figuring out how
But solutions aren’t binding
The plot is winding
Gets complicated
Something crazy
Something heated

It just all went bad
Out of control
It’s how this story goes

Break fast
Reality crumbles
Think quick
Before you stumble
Don’t quit
Time to move on
Time to run along

Freak out
Break down
Shake it out
Go around
Lose hope
Find a way
Live another day

The end, Le fin
Happily ever after
The credit’s rolling
Was it what you asked for?
It wasn’t easy
So, so crazy
Something sleazy

It just all went bad
Out of control
It’s how this story goes

Break fast
Reality crumbles
Think quick
Before you stumble
Don’t quit
Time to move on
Time to run along

Contributor~ Amanda Zober

Top 5 Things You Do Not Say to Family Guy Fans

Contributor: Rick McGimpsey

2 temp

1. I hate this show! All it is is a vulgar rip-off of The Simpsons and South Park.

2. Oh I love this show! Urkel was my favourite!

3. Cleveland Show is better.

4. The Star Wars specials were horrible. One of my favourite childhood movies ruined by this disgusting excuse for a show. I can’t believe George Lucas didn’t sue them!

5. Family Guy used to be good until they changed the characters. Stewie moved from supervillain to gay. Brian turned from intellectual to douche. Meg turned from moody teen to scapegoat. The show degenerated into a horrible mess that proves that animated TV series should end always end after season 10.

Next Week: Top 5 Things You Do Not Say to NCIS Fans

Top 5 Things You Do Not Say to Stargate: SG-1 Fans

Contributor: Rick McGimpsey

2 temp

1. Stargate: Universe was a much better show hands down.

2. You lost me at MacGyver and Anubis being enemies. I am sorry I am going to stick with more intelligent Sci-fi I am comfortable with like Tripping the Rift or something.

3. This show should have stayed on Showtime. The boobs would have made it watchable.

4. Stargate? Umm..no. Sorry I don’t much care for Bioware’s D&D games.

5. What this series needs is a good J. J. Abrams theatrical reboot!

Next week: Top 5 Things You Do Not Say to Family Guy Fans