The Ultima Ascent (A Collection of Thoughts)
It’s been awhile since I’ve written anything of worth, hasn’t it? I started out bright-eyed and full of ideas, then … I ran out of steam.
Oh, it’s not that I ran out of things to say. I just ran out of confidence. Even though I managed to reach some people with my writing, I got it into my head that it wasn’t doing anyone any good. I was just another blogger, hammering my TGWTG-related anecdotes and philosophies onto a keyboard and hoping beyond hope that someone, somewhere would think they’re worth while.
The handful of you guys out there that took notice of me back in February, which feels like ages ago even though it’s only been six months, are still with me today. I am so glad that I’ve met you guys, and I wouldn’t have met you had I not taken the plunge and made this Tumblr in the first place.
Now that I have all of that sentimental nonsense out of the way, let’s get down to business, shall we?
After a little more than two years, The Spoony One has completed his Ultima Retrospective. In the finale of his review of Ultima IX: Ascension, he spends some time recalling why the Ultima series was so important to him in the first place. It’s a very moving story, and presented without irony or punchlines. It certainly moved me, and I’m sure that anyone who saw it would be moved too. It doesn’t matter how you feel about Spoony, you don’t even have to have seen the other Ultima reviews to be able to get something out of his recollections of playing Ultima III with his older brother. It’s the most human Noah has ever been on camera. Period.
What Spoony said about his memories started me thinking about the things in my life that I hold dear … not just because they exist, but because of the memories that go along with them.
Turns out, that’s quite a lot of things. In fact, most of the things I’m intensely passionate about are more tied up in my feelings and experiences around those things than the things themselves.
Part of the reason I have such strong opinions and “interesting” things to say about internet reviewers is because of how they and their work have left an impression on me in one way or another. Would the Nostalgia Critic be half as awesome to me if I didn’t have such powerful memories associated with his videos? Would I squee with delight every time Lupa posts a new video if she hadn’t brought some much needed sunshine into a dark time in my life? While it’s impossible to provide definite answers to these questions, it is something that I find myself wondering about on this rainy Saturday morning.
The recent shake-up at Channel Awesome and the firestorms on Twitter have left me feeling … well … a bit betrayed. I’m not just talking about Spoony, here. There are others. I won’t get in to naming names, as that isn’t the point I’m trying to make here. These are people that I admire! These are people that I’ve defended when they’ve come under fire! These are people that, for better or worse, I’ve spent time trying to impress! And there they are, showing their asses and making me feel like an asshole for admiring them, defending them and trying to impress them in the first place.
While my opinions of certain people have definitely changed, I find that my fondness for their work has not. Also, keeping in mind that good people can sometimes say and do shitty things has helped me get over (most of) my bitterness brought on by the whole situation. No matter what someone might say tomorrow, how I felt about their funny review yesterday won’t suddenly become invalidated.
In Lindsay’s recent video about ‘Ender’s Game’, she mentioned how she has trouble reading Card’s published works without thinking about the incredibly bigoted and ignorant shit he says on a regular basis. Yet, even she had to admit, with her Chik-fil-A allegory, that it’s hard to stay away from something so good … even if the source should make you think twice about what you’re stuffing in your mind-mouth.
On a completely unrelated note: THAT GOOGLY-EYED SANDWICH WAS FUCKING TERRIFYING OH GOD OH GOD I STILL HAVE NIGHTMARES ABOUT IT OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Now before I descend into a tangent from which I’ll never turn back, I’m going to sum up the general point I’m trying to make here.
1)The conclusion to Spoony’s Ultima Retrospective was amazing. Watch it. Even if you’re not happy with him right now, PLEASE give it at least one viewing. Turn on Adblocker if endorsing him makes you that unhappy.
2)Memories are powerful, wonderful things that can be forces of good or evil. It’s up to us how they are used, and we have no one to blame but ourselves if we feel they’ve failed us.
3)SCARY CHICKEN SAMMICH.
That about does it for me. For now. Perhaps I will find myself writing again in the near future … I still haven’t gotten around to talking about that snazzy Kyle Kallegren and the marvelous Ven. I’d like to talk about Paw and his work on reviewing musicals. Not to mention exposing myself to the work of some of the reviewers I’m less familiar with, like Blockbuster Buster and the Game Heroes. Somewhere, the words are in me.
Just gotta work on finding them is all.
A Few Thoughts on Springboard
A few of the TGWTG people have moved away from Blip.tv in favor of Springboard, a similar video hosting service.
… This has been a terrible development for me.
The phone line in/around my house is shitty. Terribly shitty. In the last two years, we’ve had the phone company out here to fix the same exact problem over a dozen times. They keep claiming that our issue has been resolved… but, that is not the case.
At the moment, my land line cannot make or receive phone calls and my DSL speed is crawling along at about 10% of what it should be.
When I have a low speed, it’s hard to stream videos. Even short ones require at least ten minutes of loading time, and if the video is longer than 6-7 minutes, the video won’t load more until I start playing. The playback speed is faster than my connection can load the file, and as a result watching a 20 minute video can take up to an hour. Sometimes longer.
I skirted around this annoying bullshit by relying on Keepvid.com. I’d download the video (after first loading it enough to play the ad, I want the producers to make money after all) and watch it from my hard drive so that I could view the work as intended. Keepvid does not support the Springboard platform, so as of yet… I cannot find a way to download the videos.
Since Sage and Lupa have hopped over to Springboard, I’ve been unable to watch their videos without wanting to break something. Every two minutes I have to pause it and wait 5 minutes for another two minutes to load.
This wouldn’t be a problem if AT&T would get off their nutsack and FIX MY GOD DAMNED LINE, but since I’ve been battling with them for more than two years, I feel this is unlikely to come to pass any time soon.
While I’m glad Springboard is offering my favorite producers better opportunity, it’s incredibly frustrating to not be able to enjoy their work.
Subspecies Review Marathon? You Had me At “Hey Michelle!”
Hey, guys! If you have a free moment tonight, hop on over to Lupa’s Blip.tv Page and watch one or two of her episodes. Apparently, the whole Zen Films Fiasco has resulted in the related videos being taken off of Blip.
Scott Shaw is nothing more than a megalomaniac and bully, and it’d be really cool if we could all show our support for Lupa by giving her revenue a bit of a boost by making her view count climb. This’d be a productive way to show we’re in Lupa’s corner instead of wasting our time and effort on lambasting Shaw for being a giant prickhole.
While it’s tempting to write that misogynistic cumguzzler a barb-filled message about how he and his floppy nutsack can die in a fire…. that will only serve to make things worse.
In the meantime, let’s show Lupa how awesome we think she is.
PS: I propose that we redub “Zen Films” as “Zen Flims” … yes F-L-I-M-S. It’s more fitting.
Scott Shaw and the Art of Drama Llama Film Making
… I can’t help but weigh in, here. I’m not trying to stir shit, if I were … I’d be sending a needle-worded private message to Shaw himself.
As some of you may know, the director of ‘Video Violence’ actually sent Brad Jones an e-mail about his review. The e-mail was good natured and took Brad’s review in stride. The film maker had a sense of humor about it, and appreciated the fact that someone noticed his work enough to make an internet video about his low-budget gorefest.
Scott Shaw has …
Well, been a douche. We’re talking BEYOND Wiseau-levels of douchebaggery here. I can’t fathom what he hopes to accomplish with this crusade… other than harming his already “damaged” sales.
I used to be a big fan of his films. While I preferred Donald G. Jackson’s work BEFORE Shaw was involved, some of their later collaborations offered some amusing distractions from the daily grind.
Lupa and Phelan’s parody of Zen films was a labor of love. It took work, it took heart, and most certainly a lot of effort on both their parts. Yeah, it makes fun of Zen films… but to be fair, I make fun of things I love all the time. The more I love something, the more I make fun of it. It’s just… how my brain works.
The fact that all of this went over Shaw’s head astounds me.
After this, I doubt Lupa will continue to cover Shaw’s work. Which is a definite shame, as I have been looking forward to her thoughts on “The Roller Blade Seven” ever since she started covering Zen Films. I do hope she does review the original “Roller Blade”, as Shaw has nothing to do with that film and it is my favorite Donald G. Jackson movie of all time. Fuck Frogtown, gimme sexy nuns on roller skates! Also, the GREATEST AWFUL GREEN SCREEN EVER. Also, ladies wrapped in tinfoil stuffed into shopping carts while a puppet drools over their pubes.
Also: “Yer SCREW-WEWD!”
It makes me sad Shaw has chosen this road, and I hope that Lupa isn’t deterred from her work because of it. I also hope that Shaw realizes that he’s alienated a HUGE potential market. A lot of people who frequent TGWTG likely haven’t seen many of his films … and those who haven’t may have well been curious enough to purchase them. So instead of raising those “0%” sales figures… he has ensured they’ll stay there.
I’m certainly not going to pay money for his films. Not after this. I feel dirty owning the ones I’ve already paid for.
Laughter Echoes in An Empty Heart
They teach a lot of things in schools about the dangers of the world. Stranger danger, gun danger, drug danger, even the danger of rock and roll. All of these things and more were an essential part of my gradeschool education. The world could fuck you up at any time, you had to stay on guard lest you fall victim to the evil unknown.
One kind of danger they never, EVER warned me about was the danger a sociopath could pose to your mortal soul. A sociopath will tear your heart open, shit inside of it, and then somehow convince you that not only was it the right thing to do, but it’s all your fault it happened in the first place.
What is a sociopath? A lot of things, but in general summary, sociopaths are people that have no empathy for others and are incapable of feeling things like guilt or remorse. They’re often charming and manipulative, able to gain the trust and affection of others easily and extremely adept at playing mind games to get what they want.
Some of you might be reading this and thinking “Oh come on, someone like that would be pretty easy to spot. You’d have to be pretty stupid to fall for that kind of person.”
If that’s the case, you can color me retarded.
I fell victim to a sociopath two years ago, and they did a really good job of messing my life up. If it had just been me, I might have continued to suffer through it … but no, others were involved too. Things finally came to a very ugly head, and when the dust settled … my misjudgment of character had thrown everything into complete turmoil. People were being forced to choose sides, and because of this more than a few friendships curdled. I was homeless, penniless and completely broken. I mean BROKEN. Mentally, physically, emotionally … I could not function.
My friends came to my aid. They got me off the street and started to build me up again. I got up the courage to ask my parents if I could move in with them, something I was avoiding out of sheer stubborn pride. I was able to get moving, get healthy (well, healthier), and enrolled in college. Slowly, but surely, I was starting to move forward again.
Even with my progress, I still felt very empty inside. For awhile, I self-medicated with alcohol… but all that ended up accomplishing was making me feel like shit. Besides, by numbing the pain? I was preventing myself from actually dealing with it, so that when my sober brain encountered something painful, it felt ten times worse. I struggled for quite awhile, it took me a long time to really feel like I was back on my horse.
Dark days, they were. But alas… there was light. I got myself into the habit of making myself laugh every time I got depressed. If I was feeling really down, I’d hop on YouTube and watch funny videos of cats until my tears were being born of laughter. That, or I’d head on over to TGWTG and watch whatever videos I happened upon. The more I laughed, the easier it became to laugh. The more I laughed, the less empty I felt.
As it turns out, it was around this same time that Obscurus Lupa appeared on the site. The first video of hers that I remember watching was X-Treme Fighter, part one of the Cynthia Rothrockathon. Lupa became one of my favorite reviewers VERY quickly, mostly because of her source material. Her sunny disposition and silly grin also helped, I must admit. It’s hard not to watch someone that shines so bright.
There was one more thing about Lupa that really caught my eye. How literally colorful she was. From her bright red hair to the way she used bright, vibrant colors for eyeshadow and then masterfully coordinated these colors with accessories. Seriously, go have a look at Lupa in any given review. You are looking at an artist’s work right there. Ask any woman, to pull of that kind of look with such bright (and often opposing) colors is a feat. I still maintain it’s more artwork than make-up and accessories. (On a side note, Elisa’s work with costume and make-up is also art. Have you seen her Maven of the Eventide reviews? Fucking hell! )
Watching how Lupa’s reviewer persona evolved over the last few years has been fun. Some people complain about her derpy humor, but honestly … it makes me laugh every time. Something about her delivery and the way she smiles just tickles my funny bone to no end. Oh, and when she suddenly launches into srs!faec? I die a little. From laughter.
I’ve seen a lot of posts from fans in various places that credit Lupa with cheering them up when they were sad, or inspiring them in some other way. I find it almost a little ironic that I largely credit her for helping me to figure out how to laugh after I thought I never would again.
And today, my friends? I laugh a lot.