Monday, September 28, 2015

Breakup Wharf

While I was in college I loved exploring, and since my college was in a beautiful coastal area I loved visiting the water and going for walks. One spot in particular was gorgeous. A twenty minute walk along the water, and a quick jog over some locks would lead you to long beautiful wharf that was far enough away from the shore to be quiet while pointing right into the setting sun for a great view. I would even drop by on occasion when I wanted a change in scenery or some time to think.

Fast forward five years and I'm dating a girl and want to take her out on a nice romantic little walk. What could be more romantic than a nice sunset stroll by the water? I refuse to tell her where we're going, insisting that it must be a surprise, but the closer we get to the spot the more hesitant she becomes. Once we get within sight of the wharf she stops cold.
"You're not breaking up with me are you?" she asks.
"No," I reply. "Of course not, we're on a romantic walk!"
"Then why are you bringing me to the breakup wharf?" She exclaims, pointing at my wonderful spot.
Put at ease by my confusion she goes on to explain that this is the spot all the local college guys would take their girlfriends when they wanted to break up with them. The seclusion of the area allowed privacy for the crying or screaming that might come of it, and the long walk back gave everyone time to recompose themselves. At this point I realized in horror that I HAD in fact brought two different girls here to break up with them.

Now we occasionally drop by that beautiful spot and laugh at the silly memory, but each time I make sure to tell my girlfriend, (who is now my fiancé) that no, I am not breaking up with her.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Joe Ledger vs The Iron Druid

A few years ago I rediscovered the joy of reading and have been making my way through a few books every month. Unfortunately with that I also discovered the pain of falling in love with a series then having to wait months, or even years as the author writes the latest book in the series. In order to pass the time as I wait for the newest book in a series I have decided to reread two of my old favourite series and wanted to share them with you.

The Joe Ledger Series and The Iron Druid Chronicles.

The Joe Ledger Series tells the tale of eponymous hero Joe Ledger as he joins a secret military organization called the Department of Military Science, or DMS for short. The DMS only hires the best of the best and the creator who goes by the code-name Church, gives his people the best toys available. A running joke through the series is how whenever something is requested, Church always seems to have a "friend in the industry." Whether it is the latest in bio-weapon protection or a circus tent to protect a large crime scene, Church is always able to get what they need. The DMS handles the biggest and baddest problems which could occasionally wipe out all life as we know it. The first novel  is about a mad scientist who creates a doomsday plague that turns people into actual zombies… Yup… zombies. Picture Mission Impossible meets Walking Dead.

Probably my favourite part of this whole series are the characters. The main character is nearly insane and struggles with the horrors his work forces him to deal with. His boss is a stoic man who exudes power and capability while simultaneously maintaining a secret identity and hinting at a dark past. Their enemies are unique and deadly while being so over the top evil that you feel great whenever the good guys land their big finishers. But the best part of all is how each character grows and changes throughout the series. The good guys are not invincible badasses, they are hurt and changed by the problems they face and in such a dangerous world some of them even die.

All in all this is a great series for anyone who loves a well written action movie of a book with an interesting cast that has to deal with some of the craziest situations imaginable.

The Iron Druid Chronicles follows Atticus O'Sullivan, a 2100 year old druid who maintains the the outward facade of a college aged occult bookstore owner. Atticus lives in a world of magic and supernatural monsters where all pantheons of gods exist and earth is the crossroads they all share. Atticus is the last druid as previously, gods who feared their ability to enter any pantheon and possibly kill the gods therein, led a crusade against them and all but wiped them out. He managed to survive this long by hiding and changing his identity, bouncing from place to place as people get suspicious of him. The first book in the series starts with Atticus being found by one of his greatest enemies and deciding it is finally time to stop running and decides to fight back.

My favourite part of this whole series is how the author is able to weave all the different pantheons together and explain their interactions. One particularly funny moment is where one goddess of death explains how several of them get together and visit war zones and have a bit of girl's night out together. The author even goes on to explain how they could possibly all exist, talking about how they get their power from the faith of their followers and how everyone hates Thor lately because his ego has become so inflated after the popularity of all the movies about him. One of the more interesting characters of the series is a Russian thunder god named Perun. Perun is a jovial man who's mass is only matched by his body hair and he's so likable that I can't help but root for him no matter what situation he is in!

The Iron Druid Chronicles is a funny series with a sprinkling of epic god battles that is a must read for anyone who enjoys supernatural or godly stories.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The socially acceptable F-word.

The topic of feminism is a tough one to talk about openly. Use that mighty F-word in a casual conversation and you can immediately see people gathering on either side to defend their stance on the subject.

According to Merriam-Webster, Feminism is "1. The theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes" or "2. Organized activity on behalf of women's rights and interests." Feminism is about equality. It's about how she should have the same rights as he does, and he should have the same rights as she does. Now some people might read the second definition about how it is focusing on women's rights and say "Aha! It's not about equality, it's about women!" Let's stop for a second, we're all educated people here, with at least some knowledge of the past hundred years. If one group were to need a bit of focus to make everyone equal, wouldn't it be the almost universally worst off women? That's not to say that we should stripping rights away from men and giving them to women, it means that we should focus our efforts on getting aid and representation for the group that needs it most.

Feminism has become something of a buzz word in pop culture today and everyone seems to have an opinion on it. It's great that we as a culture are finally beginning to change and slowly but surely all groups are beginning to get the equality they've been striving for. Unfortunately, with that rise in popularity came the creation of the Feminazi.

Feminazis are some of the worst people around since they commandeer the name of a genuine struggle and use it to further their own ambitions. Suddenly any perceived slight, be they real or imagined, is an insult to feminism. Every activity they pursue, no matter how little it has to do with it, bears the stamp of feminism. These people no longer strive for equality of sexes, they instead seek to show their superiority over the opposite sex. Not only do these people insult the cause through their actions, they deter possible supporters who do not want to be associated with such people. I myself have struggled with the title "Feminist" because of run ins with Feminazis. It wasn't until I read a rather intense declaration from one of my favourite actors, Marc Ruffalo that I began to research the subject and finally embrace the title.

In short, feminism is a beautiful thing that every good level headed person should be supporting. It's a fight where the loudest voices are often the worst examples but it is a fight for equality that should have been won long ago.