Villains or the Egg

I watched Captain America: Civil War again last night. There’s an interesting concept in any of the super hero movies. Do villains appear because the heroes amped up the power level?

For the history of comics, this is true. Superman existed uncontested. He stopped meteors, trains, exploding factories, and so on. I remember these when I was younger and I watched them on VHS. While VHS is ancient and dates me, not nearly as much as if I’d admit to watching Superman when it first aired.

The people making the heroes had a good heart. Let’s start with the best in people. Then they darkened it.

Villains started appearing to create a better conflict. They were stronger, more clever, had some ability to keep down the hero. The hero came first.

Now that we have our super hero origin stories, usually starting with them facing up against a major terrorist, the villains don’t appear until later. As they say in Civil War, like the challenge is there, and they have to live up to it.

There’s a problem with this. Escalation of power rarely starts with defense.

Cities were conquered. Walls were built. Battering rams were deployed. Hot tar was poured down on them. People used swords. The bow was created to keep them at a distance. The shield had no reason to exist until someone was trying to kill someone else.

The Great War was so bloody because offensive capabilities completely outstripped defensive capabilities on a scale rarely seen, possibly never seen. They used machine guns and gas. Trenches and gas masks were utilized. Mortars were used to force machine gunners to hide so charges could be mounted with some hope of success.

Historically, the defense, the protector, comes after the offense and destroyer. Joker should have gone on a rampage, and after seeing the destruction with no end in sight, Batman would rise up to defend his city. Now he may have already been defending it from street thugs, but when you’re trained as a master assassin, you really don’t need billions of dollars to defeat a guy who barely knows how to shoot a gun.

In your own stories, keep that in mind. There are heroes that are greater than life, but they rarely come out without a challenge. How do we know they’re incredible if they haven’t been forged in equally great strife?

Pokemon Red

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I got Pokemon: Red on my 3DS. Originally it was to let my nephew play from the beginning, but kids love their pretty graphics, and so he was bored quickly. I upgraded him to Diamond, and he seems to accept that leap, despite his complaints he wants X/Y. Sorry kid, I can’t afford to buy you a 3DS, but I can afford to give you my old DS.

With my nephew moving on to decade old technology, I dove into a game that came out when I was 12. At this point in my life, there was a Playstation, I played Final Fantasy VII, middle school was a horrifying experience, but life overall was good. However, I only watched people play Pokemon.

I’m used to wrap not interrupting me for three turns. I’m used to poison wearing out when my Pokemon reaches 1 HP. I’m used to a skinny pikachu.

fat pikachu.jpgYes. Pikachu was fat. Actually it was because in the anime he was slimmed down and kids liked that more so pikachu lost the baby fat.

Anyway, there are a lot of things that I had become used to, as I first started in Gen III and IV. A lot of these changes were brutal. A kid with an under leveled ekans nearly slaughtered me because he was a little faster than me and kept using wrap. I just watched for three turns as he curb stomped me, then hoped that maybe this time I would be faster. Or he would use leer. What I learned is I need a speed arbok and I’ll crush all in my way.

Last night was a nostalgic reminder of how difficult games were. Today for Pokemon, you get an XP share that works for your entire party. It’s easy to get rid of status effects. You know how you’re training and don’t need a guide on which Pokemon give which stat boosts. From the sound of it, in the next game you won’t have to breed Pokemon for 8 hours to get the ideal one for competition. One. Out of six. And you usually need one or two a month to keep up with the evolving trends.

I kind of miss those difficult video games where imagination was king. But I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I really like seeing a picture of my Pokemon and I know what it is, instead of a blob.

The Magic of Repetition

I’ve been waking up every morning for two weeks at 6:15. There was only one snafu, and that was on me. I mean, the weekends are also sacred, so those are days off, just because I have time to do my routine later in the day. Back on track.

So I wake up at 6:15. In two weeks I want this to be 5:30. Bracing myself.

When I wake up, I go downstairs, start the coffee, and do stretches. Salutation to the sun. Though I just looked up videos, and apparently Wii Fit did a super modified version of the stretch. I will have to modify going forward.

Either way, at a point you reach for your toes. When I first started, as I breathed out, I could get maybe halfway down my shins. This is what I’d expect.

Today as I went into my third rotation, I touched the floor. I gained an extra eight inches of flexibility after two weeks of doing this. Imagine what will happen now that I’m doing it right! I feel like a putz.

After that I go and write for an hour, give or take. Really it’s 45 minutes. Once I wake up at 5:30 it will be an hour. That or I’ll workout in the morning, then write in the evening. Though then the writing usually gets eaten up by Paragon and I feel horrible.

Anyway! Get into a habit. It’s amazing what very little time in that habit can look like. Sometimes it looks like eight inches. Innuendo intended.

Pokemon Sun and Moon Demo

The demo came out today. I’ve been waiting for it as they show more and more of the features. It looked like a living world that wasn’t just battles and a few side missions like coordinating. Instead of battling to the equivalent of a gym battle, you have to take photos of rare Pokemon hiding all over the cave. When you get past a certain point, you can do a Pokemon catching competition. There will be a contest to see how many millions of Pokemon players can catch shortly after release. This is incredible.

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So I started playing the demo. It’s really limited. You start as a boy named Sun. You get an epic geninja, which I can’t wait to use in the game. You also get to see the first trial. From what I can tell there aren’t any gyms. It’s all trials. Each one seems a unique challenge.

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So I’m excited for the new game. It’s one month away, and I will likely play the demo a lot. A friend asked me today why I liked Pokemon. What made me so giddy about it. I love going out to adventure. In my head I’m not simply running around with some pixelated animals in balls. I’m talking to them, like a writer talks to their characters. I coach them. I think about what it would be like in that world, walking alongside them, going through challenges.

So one month. I just need to wait one more month.

Men’s Retreat and Addiction

I’m Christian. I try to be fairly vocal about it. I do know I’m still a sinner.

This weekend I’m helping with a men’s retreat. I spent today literally bearing a cross (onto a truck), along with numerous beams, boxes, and bins. I love alliteration.

As I’m ready for this exhausting weekend, I’m already nearly tapped. On top of that, next weekend I leave for Guatemala. Just ordered our craft projects. Should be fun.

The weekend after we get back from Guatemala I’m doing something I meant to do a long time ago. I firmly believe that if you see something and you feel called to it, and it’s meant to happen, eventually God gets tired of waiting and puts it in front of you. If you keep ignoring it, eventually you get swallowed by a fish the size of whales to stew for three days.

Christmas two years ago there was an addiction center that was looking for donations. I didn’t have the money as the holidays are horrible for my paycheck. However, I have time I can give, and I asked if they were also looking for volunteers. The guy said of course. I never went. I am a wretched sinner, but God is a loving God.

So today, mindlessly skimming Facebook because that is all the energy I have, I saw our church is having a football party at the addiction facility. The idea is to reach out to these individuals and eventually form relationships over several visits. Chances are they have few friends who understand their desire to get clean, so we want to give them a better foundation. Or something.

I apologize for how horribly written this post is. I’m going to eat dinner now. I’m half dead. Nap time. Peace!

Congestive Heart Failure

Click bait! Kind of. I wish it was more click bait than it is.

Since Sunday I’ve been having heart palpitations. It’s that thing where you have a flutter in your chest, but it’s not because of some gorgeous woman you’re in love with. Monday I felt exhausted after the palpitations. I was eating a lot of potassium, I was going to start working out in preparation for Tough Mudder, and I was drinking water like Europeans drink alcohol. Or Wisconsinites drink beer.

Then yesterday hit. They were ever fifteen minutes, I felt drained, I had a cough, I looked up the symptoms. Congestive heart failure. First, apparently crack and meth can lead to this, and medical experts suggest stopping to help lessen the damage of congestive heart failure. Or, you know, everything that will kill you within five to ten years after taking it.

Second, the name is a bit of a misnomer. Congestive heart failure to me sounds like something that means I’m humped. I should write some letters to loved ones because I’m dying. Not so much. Basically watch sodium and water intake. Take medication. Boom. It can last a couple years or the rest of my life, but it’s strangely treatable for how terrifying the name was. Either way, you don’t get treated if you don’t get it checked out.

I was doing the Guatemala meeting. I had set the date, thought I should see it through. We had our meeting, I cut it short, and on my way home I called mom. “Mom, I’m coming home. When I get there I’m changing. If you could take me to urgent care, I’d appreciate it.” It was later in the night, so I assumed she had on pajamas. I was changing because I was still in work clothes, and I was not going to be uncomfortable while dying.

I am very charming when I think I’m dying. I made a lot of beautiful medical workers laugh last night. No numbers. Married or dating.

I also found out the waiting line gets really short when you have heart palpitations. It was maybe ten minutes before I was strapped into a chair giving vitals with base reading materials.

Just like a car taken to a mechanic with a funny sound, my heart regulated. I was fine. Just fifteen minutes ago, while in the car, I was having them every few minutes, and they were gone. The cough was still there.

Soon I went from a small room with a technician to a larger room with three nurses and a PA. Two nurses? I can’t quite remember. There were a lot of people, I was bleeding into little containers, jokes were cracked, and I had sticky things applied to my chest. I was being monitored by a thing and I was told I’m likely having PVCs. Basically heart palpitations, but a specific type.

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Does this count as being tapped? Like, if I was a nurse, I’d say, “I tapped that.”

They also asked about the symptoms I wasn’t showing which related to congestive heart failure. Web MD can’t be wrong all the time.

I had an X-ray at a point, finally caught a heart palpitation, which they said was definitely a PVC, I enjoyed messing with my monitor so it would shake all over and show my oxygen count as low (this freaked out my mom the first time, then I started laughing and she saw I was tapping my finger), and my heartbeat went down to 49. I was informed I have a slow heartbeat, which happens in men sometimes. How is it only 49?!

Anyway, mom enjoyed her revenge for me freaking her out. She got to rip off the sticky pads on my chest. They hurt. I had more applied for a heart monitor, and there was a threat they’d have to take them off and reapply them. I made darn sure they exhausted every possible avenue before we hit that point. Eventually the heart monitor worked.

I can shower in about 40 more hours. I feel disgusting. I can’t wait for this heart monitor to be off.

In other news! I signed up for Tough Mudder. Because who wouldn’t? Heart palpitations? Just an excuse to skip anything which can electrocute me.

I hope you’re in good health! And I’m hoping I’m in good health. Live on.

All Children Should Read

Check out their site and get them some pics of children reading! Preferably your children or closely related children who know you. Don’t like chill across the street from a school and take stalker pics.

Joshua Robertson

14536940_10155111004925931_1396212729_o“The school year has begun and nearly 50 million children in the U.S. have returned to class. Roughly 3.5 million children have started school for the first time. Unfortunately, at least a third, more than 1 million, of these children will enter kindergarten without either the cognitive or social-emotional skills necessary to start to learn. Research has shown that children who start school at such a disadvantage struggle to catch up – they are more likely to fail third grade reading tests, and less likely to graduate from high school. Many of these children will grow up to live in poverty.” …more…


We need your help to destroy these roadblocks and change our children’s future. We only have 6 short days left to collect images for a promotional video to support Early Childhood Literacy. Catch your kids reading by October 10th and send the photo to info@goblinhorde.com.

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