What if the Vex came to Earth IRL?

Peace?  War?  Total annihilation?

 

Trust me, I’m a writer.

By Dylan R.N. Crabb

 

“Journalism is not supposed to be propaganda from politicians.  Journalism is supposed to hold politicians accountable for what they say (Ana Kasparian, The Young Turks, 2019).”

How can a news organization today (particularly a new organization) gain the trust of the public given the current over-saturation of the market?  I think the key is transparency for themselves, each reporter/editor/producer must be willing to put their name in front of the public eye and stand up for their work in the face of criticism.  Make sure that any one of your readers/viewers/listeners can approach you with questions if they so desire and accept criticism with grace; do not let praise inflate your ego.  This is also just good advice in general – be honest with yourself about what you’re doing, try to be self-aware in what you do, and maintain an over-arching vision to guide your work.

It’s impossible to be completely objective simply because most humans orient themselves around their subjective feelings rather than logic and their objective surroundings but that doesn’t mean that we can not strive for objectivity for its own sake.  Every human has the capacity for logical reasoning through critical thinking and discourse, it’s what makes our species so powerful in nature – we can come together around common goals and manipulate our environment in ways other animals can not.  However; this attribute is a double-edged sword for, if we remain too long in one group with the same ideas in circulation over and over and over again, our minds become dull from ease and the group weakens with fatigue.  To maintain a competitive edge, a group of humans must always be inviting to a variety of ideas, individuals must be willing to challenge themselves to sharpen their arguments.  Echo chambers are dangerous.

This is exactly what modern media has become: an ecosystem of echo chambers.  People on the political Right-wing have their own sources, people on the political Left-wing have their own sources, and more moderately-minded people don’t know where to go for sources so they try to read multiple sources from both sides of the spectrum (if they don’t opt out of politics altogether) all the while animosity for everyone else increases and politics becomes more and more tribal.  Modernity is supposed to be more civilized than tribalism.

I think I’m digressing, let’s go back to the topic of modern news media.  I think the key to success in news media is transparency which is why I want to list what I think is important to discuss when it comes to political engagement, government functions, and such:

  • the role of a government relative to the society it presides over,
  • hearing from a variety of perspectives regardless of popularity,
  • clarifying differences between perspectives and taking care to NOT miss-represent one’s ideas.

I believe these to be important facets of news media – a result of my own beliefs in individualism, free speech, pluralism, government and corporate transparency, and democratic-republicanism.  My goal with my writing (both my personal writing and professional writing) is to promote inquiry into how our societies operate, encourage more people to ask questions that some people in positions of power may not want to answer.  I’ve written in the past about my belief in writing skills and their importance to civilization and I stand by that belief today.

City Councilor Draws Mid-sized Crowd at Weck’s on Louisiana Blvd. @ Montgomery

By Dylan R.N. Crabb

 

Albuquerque City Councilor Diane Gibson organizes a regular event in her district to meet with city residents (posted on the city website).  The meet-up this morning was a very cordial one of a couple dozen or so concerned citizens albeit the majority of attendees were senior citizens.

I was not disappointed about who was in attendance but rather about who was not in attendance; only a handful of faces in the crowd looked younger than 40.  It baffles me that most individuals from my own generation have no interest in prospecting their local political processes.  Although cynicism is understandable, it is not excusable.  Regardless of the overwhelming burden of political activism on an individual, it is still necessary to at least attempt to understand the issues happening around you and make an effort to exert your influence (no matter how small it may be) on the people elected/appointed to represent you.  Governments do not stop operating simply because you choose to bury your head in the sand.  In fact, averting your eyes from government processes will only ease the temptation toward corruption on government officials, a temptation that pulls on every human in a position of power.

The group discussion began with the possibility of a land bank for the City of Albuquerque, basically a method for the city to identify vacant lots and run-down structures to acquire and flip for productivity.  There was a majority support for this idea as a main concern throughout the meet-up was blight and property values.  I asked Councilor Gibson about this so-called land bank being used to identify vacant lots and dilapidated structures to be transformed into new public parks, she said public parks could be a possibility but the main focus was on acquiring old and vacant homes to flip on the housing market.  I also asked Councilor Gibson about how the Council could improve the city buses, she replied that she would like to see a larger fleet of buses to reduce wait times at bus stops.  Councilor Gibson joked that she would probably be long dead before we saw more bridges constructed across the Rio Grande so a larger fleet of buses is the next best thing to reduce traffic on the roads; she said that she is a ardent supporter of public transit.  The meeting ended with a vibrant discussion on how the city can “go green” regarding his consumption and energy use, it seems to be an issue on a lot of residents’ minds which is hopeful for the future.

It’s Monday so be sure to set a new goal for the new week and try and be a better than person than you were last week.  We all have our “bad days” but, if we tackle life just a little bit at a time, we can get through anything.

NewWeekNewGoals

 

Go vaccinate yourself!

I caught the flu last weekend.  I could have easily avoided it by walking a block away to my local pharmacy and paying for a seasonal flu shot but I had become complacent in my health, I was taking my health for granted as do most modern humans.  I paid the price for my complacency (and my laziness) with lungs full of mucuous and the temporary loss of two of my physical senses.

Vaccines really are a marvel of modern healthcare, an invention that has saved millions of lives from what are now preventable diseases.  Diseases that were once feared as potential plagues are now confined to history books thanks to vaccines (some of those diseases are unfortunately coming back thanks to the spreading of some mis-information but that is another topic of discussion).

Fortunately for myself, I still have a relatively strong immune system and my good health is returning but I should make more of an effort remember the new flu season every year.  I don’t want any new influenza mutations to infect my body again.

Go vaccinate yourself!

 

Apex Legends bashes through a wall into the battle royale genre.

By Dylan R.N. Crabb

 

There is a new battle royale game available that blows Fortnite out of the water.  With over ten million players in its first week upon launch, Apex Legends is geared to compete in the rising gaming genre that pits players in an arena-style map to fight to the death.

Did I mention that the game is free to download? 🙂

One reason that I prefer Apex Legends to Fortnite is the greater details in the gameplay.  Fortnite‘s cartoonish asthetic gives it an immature and child-like feel, limiting my suspension of disbelief in the fictional world.  That child-like feel combined with the fact that there are no unique characters in the canon makes the environment too superficial.  It’s true that Fortnite players can customize their appearance through the purchasing of various skins but it is purely for aesthetic purposes.  Apex Legends players have a choice of a select group of characters to play in the map and each character has unique abilites to use in combat.  The characters not only add variability to the gameplay but also add to the lore of the story.

You can decide for yourself which character is best for your style of gameplay but here’s a subjective guide of the characters from YouTube user “ImMarksman.”

Another reason why Apex Legends is superior to Fortnite is the more intricate map.  The little details in the terrain (more rocks to use for cover, more ledges to climb up on for a better view, the various paths you can take from one end of the map the another, etc.) make all the difference in the battle royale genre, a genre that is inherently limited by a set map that gets smaller the longer you play.

 

ApexLegends-map
Image Source: <https://venturebeat.com/2019/02/04/apex-legends-hands-on-gameplay-videos-highlight-fresh-battle-royale-tactics/>.

 

An unfortunate down-side to Apex Legends is that the game currently has no solo mode, you are forced to play in a team of three players.  That specific caveat would not be a  problem if more players would speak to each other cooperatively over the built-in voice chat.  In most matches, you’ll find players (like myself) wandering off on their own and not even attempting to coordinate with each other.  Those more solitary players would prefer a solo mode.

Despite the forced team play, Apex Legends is fantastic for newcomers and veterans alike, it has a beautifully designed map with detailed twists and turns that make for endless possibilities for potential strategies with rumors of more maps in the works from creator Respawn Entertainment.  I recommend this game to anyone craving some mindless competition while still looking for some decent world-building.

City Quirks – When You Just Can’t Wait

By Dylan R.N. Crabb

 

Yesterday, I took a ride on a city bus to downtown Albuquerque for what I believe turned out to be a productive morning.  I enjoy riding city buses and I definitely have a preference for public transit over owning/driving a car but, on the way back home, I witnessed an interesting display of “not giving a fuck” from one of my fellow bus riders.  It was nothing violent or dangerous, just odd.

Traveling down Central Avenue, there was what I assumed to be a couple sitting across from me on the bus: the woman was staring out the window across from myself and the man was leaning against her with his head down, his right hand shading his eyes.  The man remained like this for most of my time on that bus until he finally moved to pull out a white paper bag from his shoulder bag laying beside him.  From the paper bag came out a smaller, zip-sealed plastic bag as the man’s other hand revealed a glass pipe (in plain view of any other passengers sitting to his left).  Despite my intention to NOT stare, my eyes were glancing back to the pipe repeatedly.

I’m very libertarian-minded regarding drug use under the rationalization of, “your body, do what you want to do.”  I simply thought the location was a little strange.  Perhaps he should have waited until he was home before breaking out the drugs rather than displaying it to about a dozen of his peers on a public bus.  But, whatever. . . .

Happy Monday (said no one ever)!

By Dylan R.N. Crabb

 

Perhaps you all have noticed in my writing that I’m not a very optimistic person.  One could accurately describe me as a grouch or (in the spirit of the upcoming Christmas season) a Scrooge.  I’m usually the person in a group asking questions like “why do this” or “what purpose does this serve?”  That mentality has utility but it’s also important to remind yourself about the positive things in your life as well.  “Counting your blessings,” as the saying goes.

PessimistReasoning
Photo Credit: <http://runtime-era.blogspot.com/2013/07/being-pessimistic-programmer-but.html>

My pessimistic disposition usually paints Monday as a negative day in my mind as the day marks the beginning of a new work week with the next weekend furthest from it.  This mentality can be flipped over for an opposite feeling.  Why not look at Monday as the start of new opportunities for the new week?  A new week means new things to do and more acts to accomplish.  A day to re-organize your goals, short-term and long-term.

Sunday and Monday =

planning days

 

 

NewWeekNewGoals
Photo Credit: <https://twitter.com/MondayMotivater/status/800601512665870336>

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Make it a goal to find more inspiration and motivation on Monday.

 

 

Saints of the World Wide Web

By Dylan R.N. Crabb

 

The World Wide Web has grown a lot since it’s public premier (it’s no longer just for porn) and it’s easy to get lost in the electronic jungle as your L.E.D. monitor blares in your strained eyes but, once you carve out a path for yourself through the endless Googling, you can find friends in the strangest places.

Enter the YouTube Saints.

The late-night comedy show starring entertainers Jeff Holiday and Nick Goroff airs on the popular (almost monolithic) video-sharing website once a week (every Friday at 7:30 pm, Mountain Time).  Holiday’s comedic timing and Goroff’s cynical wit makes for a hilarious (albeit depressing) Web program, but the insanity doesn’t end with those two bastards.  Since the inception of the show in March of 2017, a community of geeks, half-wits, and creepy losers have flowered around the two comedic geniuses.  To describe them as “saintly” might sound facetious at first glance until you take a look at their competition and then come crawling back to the relative Saints in abject horror.  The Web can be a scary place and finding your niche can help you come out of your shell.

Behind all the sarcasm and the intelligent mockery, you will find an inclusive community of individuals from all over the globe who aren’t afraid to live and laugh with each other.  For that, we can be grateful to Holiday and Goroff for bringing us together.

Praise the Saints of the Web.