Cinematic Indulgences: Die Hard

Welcome to Movie Week! Today, the cinematic gem that is Die Hard.

Terrorists. Tower. Takagi. And Detective John McClane of the NYPD, in LA for Christmas with his estranged wife.

Die Hard is so beloved, that loving it is a cliche. Not to mention the fact that all later action movies have so thoroughly ripped it off, that it’s a bundle of action movie cliches.

Even so, Die Hard is pretty much the perfect action movie. It is the apotheosis of the form, the single, unsullied Platonic ideal all other action movies aspire to be.

After it came out, every action movie in Hollywood was pitched as “Die Hard in…” or “Die Hard meets…”. It got so bad, that one of the producers of Die Hard was pitched a movie that was “Die Hard… in a building!” Die Hard literally became synonymous with “action movie”.

(My own, purely theoretical elevator pitch: “Die Hard meets Pride & Prejudice“. I have no idea what such a movie would look like, but I’d pay money to see it. Even if it sucked.)

The movie is popular for a reason — it’s just that damn good. So, if you haven’t seen it, now is the time to repent. There’s seldom a bad time to watch Die Hard.

Contagious Cancer Epidemic Ravages Europe

Jan. 2, 2015 | 8:16 am

Paris, France (NP)

The number of victims of Marchal-Wilson cancer continues to grow, despite quarantine measures recently put into place across the European Union. Public health officials confirmed that cases have been identified in most EU nations, with the largest concentration found in Paris, France.

No official death toll has been released, but doctors from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia, estimate that between 1000 and 2000 people have died from the cancerous infection. The number of infected is thought to be in the tens of thousands.

Like the contagious canine cancer discovered in 2006, Marchal-Wilson can be transmitted from one organism to another, in this case through contact with bodily fluids (including blood and saliva).

Though research is ongoing, no treatment or vaccination has been discovered.

See Also:

Video: Mysterious Origins of a Contagious Cancer
Right Wing Parties Surge at the Polls; Is an EU Rollback in the Offing?
Photo Essay: Thousands Flock to Healing Waters

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[Retrieved 15-JUL-2015 from web.archive.net. source: http://www.latribunejournal.com]

What is “The Temple of the First Mother”?

To invade, High Lords need Supporters. Supporters are people who believe that some significant aspect of an invading Reality is real, believe it will shortly become real, or deeply want it to be real.

Example: Transhumanists believe that AI will happen, they deeply want it to happen, and indeed believe it is imminent (within a decade). Some percentage of devoted transhumanists could qualify as supporters of an invading science fiction Reality.

Now, Supporters don’t have to accept all aspects of an invading Reality. Singular elements (so long as they are significant) do qualify.

One element of the Dark Papacy is real miracles from God. If someone believes such miracles do exist or deeply, devoutly wishes they did, they can qualify as a Supporter.

Another element of the Dark Papacy is a Christian theocracy. The more one believes that such a thing is possible or imminent, the greater a chance they might qualify as a Supporter. (Even if they hate the idea of a theocracy, if they believe one is possible and imminent, they can qualify.)

Thus, all High Lords precede their invasion efforts with significant propaganda, designed to convince people to devoutly wish that some significant aspect of their Reality were true, to believe that it is true, or to believe that such a thing is imminent.

They cement this belief with Possibility Energy. Those with devout enough beliefs, who are touched by the PE, qualify as Supporters.

So, what is the Temple?

It is part of the propaganda efforts of the Living Land. This new religion encourages belief in a real Goddess, who wields power over the world. It encourages belief in miracles, the energy of life, and a coming techno-apocalypse. All of these are key aspects of the Living Land.

According to the teachings of the Temple, the world is being overgrown by technological tools and weapons. They choke out life, leach away the joy of living. Devout adherents are encouraged to give up the material trappings of modern existence and take up life on one of the Temple’s many settlements. (Hence the common insult — “Hipster Amish”.)

They voluntarily give up technology, but (according to their beliefs) all people will be forced to, sooner or later. There is a coming techno-apocalypse, which will see the end of technology and the birth of a new age of freedom and life, when the Goddess’ prophets — the Enlightened — return.

The Post You Were Probably Expecting

…when I announced Video Game Week. So, here it is.

Mobile gaming on tablets and smartphones seems to be a huge and growing trend. According to this article, it drove THQ into bankruptcy, forced out John Riccitiello from his job running the soulless corporate combine called EA, and even kneecapped Zynga (Facebook’s social gaming mega-moguls). That’s a lot of scalps, kemosabe, and all in a very short period of time.

And, of course, all these developments are sparking the usual overblown rhetoric, “The Death of Console Gaming!” and the like. Now I can’t tell the future yet, but I seriously doubt console gaming is going to die anytime soon. At worst, we’re looking at a long period of slow decline as the platform gradually sheds users and developers. (You know, like PC gaming, certain politicians, or European imperialism.)

Of course, console companies can speed the process along. Maybe by making a console so shitty no one wants to buy it. Or by requiring always-on DRM or axing backwards compatibility.

As a dedicated console gamer who’s spent — literally — thousands of dollars on Xbox gaming, I’m contemplating buying a Playstation for the first time, ever. That’s not a good sign for Microsoft. Of course, if Sony proves equally dickish I won’t buy from them, either.

After all, customers don’t have to buy a console — a fact Sony learned the hard way this console generation. And if the — rumored and announced — draconian policies really are implemented, console makers might drive people to alternate venues.

Mobile gaming won’t kill console gaming. But console manufacturers can commit suicide, by badgering customers, making crappy consoles, and in general acting with thoughtless arrogance.

“Temple of the First Mother” Members Detained by LAPD

Jan. 1, 2015 | 12:56 pm

Los Angeles, California (NP)

In the aftermath of last night’s protest, lawyers for the Temple of the First Mother held a press conference to denounce the allegedly unlawful detention of nearly the entire Orange County Chapter of the nascent religion.

“This is religious persecution, pure and simple,” said Jim Wells, church spokesmen. “The State of California has been oppressing us at every step, interfering with our rights to peaceful assembly, free exercise of religion, freedom of speech, and right to educate our children as we see fit.”

[…]

Founded in Pasadena, CA in late 2013, the Temple of the First Mother is the fastest growing religious sect in America, with some 65,000 members nationwide, most in the Los Angeles basin.

See Also:

Video: Protesting “Compulsory Education”
Photos of a Temple Retreat
Editorial: Are the “Hipster Amish” Really a Threat to Society?

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Countdown to Armageddon

Time to get serious. Storm Knights + the ∞ Infinity Gaming System. After 13 years, this is going to happen.

I’m done redefining the various cosms, I’m done replumbing axioms, I’m done roughing out mechanics.

In short — I. Am. Done. Fucking. Around.

Three months. In three months is PAX, the Penny Arcade Expo, in Seattle. When I get back, we are playtesting this son of a bitch. Weekly or biweekly, over video chat in Roll20.net.

9 Realities. 4 players. 1 campaign.

The next three months is about me getting my mechanics and campaign background into good enough shape to start running the game. Preliminary mechanics, sketched-in cosm writeups, rough draft FX systems.

And, of course, it will all be blogged. All the run-up, all the rough drafts, all the mechanical development.

Three months until…

Holes in time and space. Invaders from other cosms. Storms that warp Reality itself.

Three months until the end of the world.