A couple weeks ago I happened to come across a TV Tropes entry for the television program Revenge. It was summed up pretty accurately in the article as a retelling of The Count of Monte Cristo, which is a book I really, really need to get around to reading some day (I’ve glossed over the Cliffs Notes, though)– but that’s all beside the point today. I just wondered exactly why some executive thought the title Revenge would in any way compel people to watch the show.
Although, sadly, the more I think about it, revenge is itself pretty much its own motivation. I have to admit that I find some amount of satisfaction in seeing someone get a comeuppance they seem to deserve. Schadenfreude is, after all, a perfectly legitimate emotion to feel– it’s a primal instinct that helps to reaffirm our tendency towards being social creatures. When you f#$% up, you’re gonna get it somewhere down the line. Humans as a rule like to know that the karma bank is solvent, and paying out dividends on time and to their rightful clients.
Where it gets ugly is in the urge to act on that oneself. The people that wronged us should get their just desserts, but for us to see that happen we have to be on the outside of it. Otherwise, when you start working towards the goal of revenge, suddenly the nature of the catharsis changes: you’re not seeing something bad happen to someone you dislike, you’re actively causing harm to that person, and that’s what your brain rewards.
Besides, the perfect revenge isn’t about stomping someone down below your level: it’s about raising yourself up so that you end as far above your aggressor as they pulled you down with them.
I’m working on it.
I just saw a commercial this morning that, for the first twenty seconds, sounded like a political advertisement. I was scrambling to try to remember what office the man was running for, and to see if I could figure out what party he was from, and to try to connect his victories in motorsports to political parallels.
It turned out to be a commercial for a car dealership. Dude was just a race driver.
Is it November 10th yet?
Submitted without comment.
So, today seems to be rather more open than I had initially anticipated. I’m not surprised, of course, but it does leave me in the interesting position of not really having that much direction for the evening and weekend. I do have some plans, though.
Before that, I should probably mention that I finally got around to seeing How To Train Your Dragon last night. It’s a gorgeous movie, and extremely well-paced. I had some serious issues with the voice acting– seriously, why does every Viking sound Scottish? Gerard Butler and Craig Ferguson are great actors, but c’mon, there’s a freaking limit. And I have to wonder why Hiccup sounded like he was thirty-seven. But, in truth, all that was forgiveable by the fact that it was just so wonderfully written for the most part. The progress of Hiccup and Toothless’ friendship never feels forced and never feels one-sided; you can see that they’re genuine friends by the end of the film. The rest of the village children… not so much; Astrid in particular does a personality-180 at such dizzying speed that it completely wrecked her character. Still, the final battle was suitably impressive, and its resolution a nice change of pace from most other kids’ fantasy these days. I’d heard rumblings that there was to be a spinoff television series and possibly more movies, both moves I’d greatly support.
Speaking of well-written children’s fantasy, apparently Season 2 of Wakfu is also well underway. So that’s good. It’s appalling to me that there’s been no talk of a North American localization for the series, even as Square Enix is handling the MMO. Appalling, I tell you.
Anyway. Last April, after Tekkoshocon was over, I took on what I called the “Rush to Judgment”– a pair of posts where I went through a dozen anime series’ first episodes, and wrote down first impressions. This was the second Rush– the first one had been for video games, which unfortunately didn’t work out so well. Anyway, this weekend I’ll be doing a new Rush with ten series I haven’t seen the full first episodes of. It’s worth noting that, of the twelve I watched last year, I only got through three full series (Baccano!, Slayers Next, and Ah! My Goddess Season 2), so a 25% rate isn’t that bad.
The list for this year is as follows:
Day One: Key The Metal Idol, Revolutionary Girl Utena, Strike Witches, Nerima Daikon Brothers, Gao Gai Gar
Day Two: Slayers Try, Haibane Renmei, xxxHolic, Squid Girl, Shattered Angels
The posts should be up on Saturday and Sunday; I’ll likely be liveblogging them, so if you catch the first RSS feed update, be sure to come back later in the day.
Next, I set out my list of games that I was going to try to get through during 2012. I’m shooting for a goal of 40 Clears again, and I hope to get through one or more of them before the Tekkoshocon Flyer Rally on the 14th. I’ve also set up ten additional “Extra Credit” games. The thing is, fully 25 of the total games on the list are long-form RPGs or SRPGs, so I’m not entirely sure how I’ll manage to get even half of the number of expected clears. I have a backup, though, what I’m calling the “Trump Card”: Demon’s Souls. If I manage to complete that nightmare of a game, I’ll call the year an unqualified success. But first, though, I’m starting to get deeper into the new Professor Layton title.
As an addendum: there’s someone in my apartment complex with a 3DS as well. The only reason I know this is because I managed to get a StreetPass tag from this person when I left my machine at home in the charging cradle. This is a remarkable coincidence, I think. I kind of wonder if I know this person… probably not.
Finally, in addition to the nerdery nonfiction writing, I’m also going to take some time to revise some of my older fiction outlines in order to prep them for eventual rewriting. I took a look back at the very first NaNo I attempted to write, a fantasy story, and found that, while it was flawed, it was still salvageable; I just need to think back about some of the ideas that I’ve had in the meantime and see which are worth welding onto the original plot, and to see what bits that I patched on are no longer necessary. I also want to take another stab at fleshing out the sci-fi universe I was working on, and seeing if it should or already does fit in with the universe set forth in “A Civics Lesson” and “Frangible Time”. Actually, writing that last chapter of “Frangible Time” might be worth doing, too– likely in February.
Anyway, that’s the plan for this weekend. Things are going to get very busy very fast with regards to the rest of my activities, so this may be one of the last few weekends I get to myself before Tekko prep causes all hell to break loose. I intend to enjoy it.
Wednesday’s unpleasantness aside, I suppose I needed that time to relax. I did manage to reinstall my FIOS box, meaning I had access to both regular TV and a usable DVR… but no content recorded on it. I eventually went to bed at 7:30p after watching Jeopardy.
But anyway, there’s been a little bit going on in terms of games, both the video and tabletop persuasion. I picked up Blood Bowl Team Manager a week or so ago and have yet to give it a proper play through, but I’m hoping that if things progress the way I expect, that will change very soon. Beyond that, I’ve been involved in a couple of campaigns in various role playing games, ranging from Star Wars d20 to the indie and quirky Inspectres. That one came about from an online campaign I’ve been trying to get started, and the only reason it hasn’t started is because I’ve been too lazy/busy to send out the character creation rules. So, mark that as something I have to do tonight (yesterday by the time this post goes up).
As for video games… Well, money has been tight lately. Really, the Blood Bowl game was about the only real extravagance I allowed myself in October, and that was just on a lark. I want to eventually pick up the new Professor Layton game, and after playing the demo, Ace Combat may be my big purchase for November. Ultimately, though, I took a serious look at my backlog for the first time: I have over two hundred games that I have not completed, and only about a dozen of those are ones I’ve even started. Granted, I’m a collector, and having the games is just as important as playing them; at the same time, though, every game I’ve picked up, I’ve done so with the intent of playing it at some point. I took some time on Monday and compiled the list into a prioritized queue, giving me some amount of direction with it. First up on the list are a handful of games that are trivially easy to finish, namely Starfy, Prinny (I halted progress literally at the final boss about a year ago), and a run through Space Hulk on the PS1.
I may wind up taking a year or so off of buying games; there are a few things going on behind the scenes that will take up a fair amount of money, but really there’s just not that much coming out in the immediate future that really gets me going. There’s a bunch of games I’d like to have handy, but not in a compelling enough way to get me to pay full price for them– I can wait until they hit the bargain bin. That’s something that’s burned me badly in the past; a handful of games that I bought on launch day sat on my shelf collecting dust, getting marked down to greatest-hits prices or lower before I got around to firing them up. Granted, there are still some “political” purchases that I’ll want to make, to support a developer or series; and some games still get criminally small print runs, so buying on day one may be the only way to snag those titles. Even then, though, those titles are few and far between in the projected future, so I feel relatively comfortable not being on the bleeding edge for a while.
Besides, I’m having a hard time being home enough to play the games I do have.
It’s been a little unusual to see so many free episodes of TV series I actually care about being offered on iTunes lately. The two big ones have been Top Gear and Mythbusters; a relatively recent episode of the former and a positively ancient one of the latter. While I can understand on some level wanting to promote shows that are coming up on their new seasons in the next couple months (unless the BBC runs on a different season schedule than North America, and they’ve already started), it just feels kind of weird to think that there’s some huge rush to get these old and dusty ones and zeroes off of virtual store shelves in order to make room for the proverbial new hotness.
Everyone knows that ones and zeroes attract dust no matter where they are. That’s why the insides of computer cases are always so horribly filthy.
The White House has come up an awful lot in the media I’ve been consuming of late. For something like The West Wing, this is understandable. It’s also excusable in a couple of the games I’ve been playing, specifically Splinter Cell. It’s not really that I don’t want to see “the Residence”, but more of “wait, wasn’t I just here a minute ago?”.
Part of the reason why I try to avoid watching certain shows until long after they’re culturally relevant is because, innately and quite unhealthily at times, I have an in-built and deep-seated suspicion of anything that becomes too popular too quickly or too universally. In general I’ve noticed that, averaged out over my lifetime, I’m usually either six to eighteen months ahead of the curve on some things, or three to six years behind it. In short, and put into tropes, I’m susceptible to early-onset memetic mutation, and in cases where the meme doesn’t take hold I instead suffer from acute, prolonged, and chronic hype aversion. Neither of these things are in and of themselves bad. In point of fact it turns out that nine times out of ten this allows me to keep a dispassionate, critical eye while examining media.
But for the love of God, why didn’t people at least try to pressure me into watching The West Wing before this?! I haven’t TV-crushed on a series this hard since Babylon 5 (another one I got into nearly a decade late). Just… yeah. If this means I have to re-subscribe to more than just basic cable so I don’t miss something really good coming out this fall, then so be it.
This weekend was a flurry of activity, but most of it being involved in the home meant that even though it was very, very busy, it was still a welcome change from the torrent of draining errands I’ve had to spend my weekends on in the recent past. Now, I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me at work, but it’s also a huge amount of stress off of my shoulders.
And yet now I find that I need to spend plenty of time watching The West Wing. Awesome.