The Empyrean

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“I don’t need to take drugs. I feel so much more high all the time right now because of the type of momentum that a person can get going when you really dedicate yourself to something that you really love. I don’t even consider doing them, they’re completely silly. Between my dedication to trying to constantly be a better musician and eating my health foods and doing yoga, I feel so much more high than I did for the last few years of doing drugs.

At this point I’m the happiest person in the world. These things do not fuck with me at all, and I’m so proud of that—you don’t know how proud I am. It’s such a beautiful thing to be able to face life, to face yourself, without hiding behind drugs; without having to have anger towards people who love you. There are people who are scared of losing stuff, but you don’t lose anything for any other reason than if you just give up on yourself.”
― John Frusciante, Red Hot Chilli Peppers

Don’t do drugs kids.

That about sums it up…

I took up a conversation with a gorgeous country girl wearing a low-cut cotton blouse that displayed the beautiful sun-tan on her breast tops.

She was dull.
She spoke of evenings in the country making popcorn on the porch. Once this would have gladdened my heart but because her heart was not glad when she said it I knew there was nothing in it but the idea of what one should do.

“And what else do you do for fun?” I tried to bring up boy friends and sex. Her great dark eyes surveyed me with emptiness and a kind of chagrin that reached back generations and generations in her blood from not having done what was crying to be done — whatever it was, and everybody knows what it was.

“What do you want out of life?”
I wanted to take her and wring it out of her.

She didn’t have the slightest idea what she wanted.
She mumbled of jobs, movies, going to her grandmother’s for the summer, wishing she could go to New York and visit the Roxy, what kind of outfit she would wear — something like the one she wore last Easter, white bonnet, roses, rose pumps, and lavender gabardine coat.

“What do you do on Sunday afternoons?” I asked.
She sat on her porch. The boys went by on bicycles and stopped to chat. She read the funny papers, she reclined on the hammock.

“What do you do on a warm summer’s night?”
She sat on the porch, she watched the cars in the road. She and her mother made popcorn.

“What does your father do on a summer’s night?”
He works, he has an all-night shift at the boiler factory, he’s spent his whole life supporting a woman and her outpoppings and no credit or adoration.

“What does your brother do on a summer’s night?”
He rides around on his bicycle, he hangs out in front of the soda fountain.

“What is he aching to do? What are we all aching to do? What do we want?”
She didn’t know. She yawned. She was sleepy. It was too much. Nobody could tell. Nobody would ever tell.

It was all over.

On the Road by Jack Kerouac

 

 

Choose

“The punishment should always be commensurate to the crime. It should be proportionate and visible. A punishment is not only an act of retribution, it’s also a signal.  It needs to be seen and understood by anyone else who might have flirted with the notion of committing the same transgression, and it’s a signal that no one is exempt from the consequences of betrayal.

We had a saying when I was in the boy scouts whenever we entered a camp: “Take pictures, leave footprints.” But now more than ever, you must do neither.
There is a formal aspect to punishment, a ritual nature. It has shape and body. It’s about Consequence, Accountability, Actions having repercussions. It’s vital that the transgressors understand the rules they have broken.

Your choice of punishment needs to be seen as fair, proportional and reciprocal.
But the nature can only be decided by the punisher himself – You.

You decide, the boss.”

-Ezra Stone

And now you have it.

“The facts of life are very simple. In the beginning we feared everything — animals, the weather, the trees, the night sky — everything except each other.
Now we fear each other, and almost nothing else. No-one knows why anyone does anything. No-one tells the truth. No-one is happy. No-one is safe.
In the face of all that is so wrong with the world, the very worst thing you can do is survive. And yet you must survive.
It is this dilemma that makes us believe and cling to the lie that we have a soul, and that there is a God who cares about its fate.”

-Dider, Shantaram.

 

(I seriously can’t get enough of this book.)

Protagonist Armour~

Who would’ve imagined you would make it this far?
Few have even made the attempt, and none has succeeded.

Your mind flashes images of that day when the Antagonist and his group of renegade soldiers murdered your family and burned your village to the ground. You swore revenge and spent the last few years or so under going vigorously Martial Arts training as well as mastering various endurance techniques.

The Antagonist mocks you for attempting such foolishness. He announces how effortless it would be to annihilate you and proceeds to describe the many perverse ways in which he would dispose of your corpse, most of which involve dismemberment of some sort . You would perhaps be slightly ruffled had you not noticed he’s starting to sweat… You unsheathe your father’s blade and assume a battle stance~

The fight begins…

Swords crash with thunderous intent. You are calm, you are focused, but he is skilled. He draws first blood. A cut on your fore arm, not severe but it encumbers you. He laughs teasingly and continues to taunt you. It begins to pour violently for some reason. Possibly for dramatic effect.

The fight ensues…

You are severely wounded on several other places. Although you manage to return some attacks, it seems as though its not enough to hinder your opponent. The pain is constant. Blood drips down onto your leg from an abdominal wound. You stumble…
The gash is long and wide, you wonder how your innards have managed to refrain from spewing out. There is a lot of blood.

An exchange of words occur, mostly pertaining to you and your past. Hidden information on your parent’s death is slowly revealed to you and enrages you even further. He crackles at your feeble attempt to continue the fight. You lunge forward, he drives the tip of his cutlass into your shoulder.

Your cry could be heard a mile away. Its amazing how you’ve yet to pass out from the sheer torture of it all. He leans in closer, piercing the blade deeper into your chest, and mutters some discouraging words of your failure and soon to be demise. You fall to the ground as he pulls his blade out. You check to see if your heart’s fallen out. You were almost certain his sword had punctured a vital organ of some kind. Guess not…

You are defeated, or so he thinks. He faces his back towards you, big mistake…

He turns around just in time to see your sword between his eyes as you proceed to stab him in the face. He falls over the ledge into a vat of toxic chemicals conveniently positioned behind him and then proceeds to die a gloriously cinematic death.

Lights flash and alarms go off. The building is about to explode all of a sudden. Must be bad luck I guess….
Before you know it, the entire building is engulfed in flames. In an attempt to escape you smash through a window and leap out of the burning inferno just as it explodes in a fantastic display of light sending millions upon billions of little tiny shrapnel your way, all of which you miraculously dodged, and you splash landed in a generic swimming pool that had apparently been located right beneath the 20-storey window from where you so causally leaped out from…

You emerge from the pool unscathed, unbeknownst as to how you managed to survive let alone still be able to so much as even move from all your wounds. I mean, the fact that your still standing from the ordeal is starting to become a tad suspicious~

Nonetheless, the you have defeated your nemesis. A helicopter comes and picks you up, along with half of the city’s police department and army, you tell them everything’s fine now, the bad guy’s been dead. They have so many questions, you begin unfolding the tale. For someone who just got stabbed a couple of times and fallen out of a 20-storey building, you sure seem to be able to hold a conversation without any medical treatment of any kind yet…

Fancy that…

Tier One.

MEDAL OF HONOR 2010 (The Review)

Developers: EA Digital Illusions Creative Entertainment, Danger Close, Dice.
Publishers: Electronic Arts
Genre: First-person Shooter
Release Date: 12 October 2010

Minimum System Requirements

* OS: Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7
* CPU: Pentium 4 @ 3.0 GHz / AMD Athlon 64 3200+
* RAM: 2 GB
* HDD: 10 GB free disk space
* Graphics: 256 MB Graphics Memory
* Sound Card: DirectX 9 Compatible
* DirectX: Version 9.0c

Recommended System Requirements

* OS: Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7
* CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo @ 2.66Ghz / AMD Athlon 64 X2 5200+
* RAM: 4 GB
* HDD: 10 GB free disk space
* Graphics: 512 MB Graphics Memory
* Sound Card: DirectX 9 Compatible
* DirectX: Version 9.0c

 

INTRODUCTION

The Medal of Honor series has always been well known for establishing a touch of realism and historical authenticity into every game they’ve developed. From their previous titles like “Medal of Honor: Allied Assault”, which takes place during World War II, to the present day  Medal of Honor Tier One, which portrays the on-going conflicts in Afghanistan.

The developers of MOH have stressed their inclusion of actual U.S. Military Specialist from various special operations units as consultants to ensure realistic gameplay. The story starts you of as a member of a special operations team, call sign Neptune, sent to collect intelligence from an Afghan informant and then revolves around a group of soldiers, which allows you to play as multiple characters as the plot progresses.

The storyline, although slightly confusing, wasn’t all too bad. It feels as though they could very well be actual event that are unfolding over in Afghanistan rather than just figments of the game developer’s imagination.  It has a somewhat accurate depiction of the kind of uncertainties a soldier faces at every corner and teeters on the brink of tragedy that would make a rather interesting HBO mini-series.

 GAMEPLAY

However, despite having a somewhat conventional storyline, MOH isn’t exactly a very polished first-person shooter. It’s basically just a more advanced game of wack-a-taliban. The enemy AI often emerges from the same areas and runs to the nearest rock to hide for a couple of seconds before popping up to take a shot at you. And they NEVER move from their spot again.

Maybe they were trying to illustrate how in a real-life combat situation, people really do just hide behind big rocks to prevent from being shot at, or maybe the developers were just too lazy to make them run around. Either way, that’s an AI fail.

The main issue I have for the PC version is the hassle of having to hold down the shift-key to dash instead of simply tapping it once like in all the other FPS games. Most of the time you find yourself running for cover from enemy fire or simply just trying to keep up with your teammates.

The hassle of having to constantly hold down the shift-key while sprinting just feels awkward. Which makes me wonder how the developers could’ve overseen this quirk, or have they just never heard the saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Another thing that annoyed me was how the hud has no compass or mini-map to point to mission objectives. Instead, you have to press H, which would display the name & whereabouts of your teammates for a few seconds, as well as where you’re supposed to go. This can be really troublesome during the stealth missions which are mostly played in the dark of night and filled with fog. You almost never know where you’re supposed to go. Ergo, make a god damn compass map next time. (Be sure to keep that in mind all you future FPS game developers.)

GRAPHICS

The graphics aren’t too shabby. Lot of nice mist and sand blowing at you, nice poofy clouds of dust that forms every time you fire at the ground. Cut-scenes are very sharp; the characters each have their own unique facial features and none of that weird blotchy shit. Despite the lousy gameplay thus far, the Daylight in MOH really shines. The terrain & environment is lavish and wide, and the landscape of the desert is as beautiful as a computer generated desert can be. Same can’t be said for the night missions though.

MUSIC/SOUND EFFECTS

The sound design is excellent. The developers did not hold back on preserving the genuineness of how a real gun battle should sound like. Every shot & explosion packs a hefty punch and sounds remarkable, especially if u have a surround sound system to back it up. The music score is quite well done too. I’d have to say this would probably be the game’s saving grace, seeing as how everything else is pretty fucked.

CLOSING COMMENTS

The campaign is short and rather dull. It clocks at about a mere 4-6 hours of gameplay, and could probably be completed in a day. The multiplayer will probably wear out to the more popular FPS and the maps are surprisingly boring so I wouldn’t count on much of a replay value.

The interface lacks in a few customizable options (and perhaps a better map system) but otherwise it’s alright. Daylight graphics are great but there’s almost nothing to look at during night missions. Sound quality is awesome like I said before, but at this point who gives a shit?

Maybe the developers were too fixated on trying to deliver a realistic war experience that they neglected certain elements of gameplay that were necessary to make it fun. Not even DICE’s talented multiplayer designers were unable to resuscitate its numerous flaws and already quirky gameplay. With that said, fans of the franchise would likely agree, Medal of Honor is one of the bigger disappointments of 2010.