Sunday, December 22, 2013


Due to this whole War on Christmas (which, it seems, non-literal progressive Christians are saying there is no war and that "fundies" are just going crazy about being persecuted when they're "not"), I would just like to tell you what I told countless college students during the last week of school before going home for Christmas Break:


And that is all for now. Some time in the near future, I'll be discussing some recent controversies and then some, but for now, enjoy the holidays, it doesn't matter which one(s), no matter what you believe. Spend time with friends and family, have great fun and socialize. Hey, even atheists are known to have fun with Christmas (unless they're real-life scrooges...), so go and celebrate a beautiful time of the year (no matter the weather).

Friday, November 29, 2013

Your Faith is a Joke

No, I've never heard anyone actually say that, but I have no doubt that someone may have said it, or maybe just thought it. Considering the slippery scope of today's moral thread and how it's quickly unraveling, I could imagine why people would think faith at all is a joke. How so? Let's take a look at offense.

Back in the times of the Early Church, Christianity was easily THE most offensive lifestyle, before it was misrecognized as a "religion," when it was easily recognized for its revolutionary love. Nowadays, Christians are easily THE most offended people of most faiths. Us and Muslims seem to be equally offended, even if not quite about the same things.
More recently speaking, back a couple years ago, there was a video game being publicized, Dante's Inferno. It was already getting heat for making a fantastical action/adventure version of the epic classic poem from Dante, then they revealed their most touchiest Trophy/Achievement, when someone killed a set number of unbaptized babies, one would get what was named "Bad Nanny", sparking an outcry from the religious community. Then it went farther by having a fake photo of a "religious community" holding signs that condemned EA (who are always testing people's limits, anyway) to Hell. On the website (which hasn't had one update since 2009, thankfully), they took that picture and asked "Why would anyone do this?" That question was the very reason why, to offend.
Personally, I laughed, not because I hate the Church or Christianity, but because I knew Christians would go all up in arms and miss the big picture. Plus, it tickled my morbid funny bone. Many things that offend mainstream Christians simply don't seem to faze me, or, when they do, they simply get me to think about things, none of which are "They deserve to burn in Hell!" Nope, I save such judging thoughts for David Stewart (from and Westboro Baptist Church, who are experts at that (and definitely experts at being misinformed and providing atheism with ammo to shoot down all Christianity for being "backward degenerates", great going, WBC, great going indeed!).
Not all that long ago, I made a post on's fb page about how, according to the page's admin, they're not David Stewart, so I said "This may not be run by David, but it sure has his hatred, nothing at all like Jesus."
I got backlash in one statement, about how I was "obviously" not following the right Jesus.
Not the right Jesus? He made it sound like there's more than one. There can be more than one self-proclaimed "Messiah", but none can follow through with all the Biblical predictions. More to the point, I told the page's host that I followed the Biblical Jesus and went into a long-typed (and one very long sentence) reply on who Jesus was in the Bible and ended with how I am glad to be a Christian Goth. That really confused him, so I explained how Jesus was the ultimate Goth since that doesn't deal with listening to Marilyn Manson and Cradle of Filth (which I don't, I have more refined tastes) and wearing trench coats (wouldn't mind, just can't afford one right now), or painting my face in a very creepy way (only on Halloween, and then just when I can afford it). It's all about counter-culture. In a society that constantly berates you, mocks you, hates you if you don't fit in to their own niche (even if it's a Christian school with STRICT regulations on how to look, talk, act, etc.), then the world gives one every reason to go against it. Is it any wonder why the Bible calls the world a place of rebellion?
As I say, if you go with God, you rebel against the world. If you go with the world, you rebel against God. Either way you go, in life, you'll be rebel. Who will you rebel for?
The church I'm a member of here in Huntington is the first really down-to-Earth Church that I've been to since I went to Valley Brook Vineyard Community Church. Meaning there's humor, worship, seriousness, and an in-depth look at what is being meant by every verse and statement in the Bible, not just going by surface text like so many American churches do. It's why I feel at home there. Christianity doesn't feel like a joke there, I feel welcome going there even though I read Stephen King and other horror authors, even though I tend to wear dark clothing (they didn't hesitate with me when I asked for a baptism), and all 3 pastors were glad to hear that I was interested in becoming a member. In Huntington, which is considered, with how many churches there are per square mile, the "most churched city in America", this one church I feel comfy going to.
Oddball fact: in dealing with the "joke" angle, besides Jesus, my other role model in life happens to be The Joker, who's a total anarchist. He doesn't need a leader, is totally unpredictable, has a strangely illogically convoluted past, and sees the world immensely differently than everyone else does. One would think he was a scorpio like yours truly. Though I consider him a role model and think of myself as a borderline anarchist, I'm seriously not as bad off as he is. Point is this: let's stop giving the skeptics a reason to think we're just a bunch of religious hypocritical losers that need a crutch and yell and snap at every single thing we immediately perceive to be an insult and actually learn from the Bible and find a way to adapt to the world without compromising our spiritual integrity. Otherwise, yeah, I think we'd be a horrible joke. What was it the Apostle Paul wrote?
"If Christ Jesus did not truly die and rise from the grave, then we should immediately disregard all we've been taught and continue on as we had been."

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Carrie: Review

Of all movies I've seen that I want to review, this may yet be the most fun to review:

You may have heard of it. Possibly?
When I think back to the trailers I'd seen, I was worried that they were showing too much, including the infamous prom night scene. Turns out, they were barely scratching the surface. Nothing but teases, those trailers were. Not only that, but the 1979 movie I can now only think of as a bit campy. The visual filter from then was rather light for a horror movie along with the filming techniques used. Sure, they were edgy and maybe revolutionary then, but now, they could just be head scratching today. Now, we have clear camera usage, highly-advanced CG that can look exceptionally realistic with the context, and (most important with the context of this film), the moral fabric today is loose enough that some of what was in the movie can be seen and no one really cries out at the insane things that Carrie's mother, Margaret says or does. Same with the bullies at Carrie's school.
Back in the day that the book was published ('74), "bullying" wasn't an easily accepted word (much like "sin" is not really accepted anymore), yet that was the primary theme in the book. And when I found out last year that this remake would be closer to the book than the last two films, I was worried over one element from the book. Would they use time jumps?
The book literally broke pretty much every single rule of bookcrafting then, including not having a single chapter, but be separated into 3 parts. Within each part would be the central story, newspaper articles, interviews with people, court hearings, even "documented" birth and death certificates. All within each part in no particular order, and in severely disjointed fashion with only enough clarity to figure out what's going on in the "present" of the central story.
Broke all the rules with a good dose of genius, that King.
Luckily, since American audiences today prefer (rather strictly) a point-A-to-point-B storytelling, there were no time jumps. And that's not the only good thing, either.
Something else that tends to ruin today's horror movies are the mandatory jump moments every couple minutes or so coupled with the heavy story twists. Since my mind works a certain way when it comes to a plot-twist-riddled story, I could only watch a WHOLE LOT of horror movies once then get bored afterward. Nothing (much) against them, that's just how I am.
For Stephen King, he doesn't rely on those groundbreaking (or even quaking) story twists to keep the story going. Maybe a few slights to get one thinking about what's going on, but overall, this is more like a slow burn. No heavy story twists that grab your lungs and jumpstart your brain. Yes, that is a good thing for Carrie.
The heavy stuff is in Carrie's gift, which her mother sees as evidence that her daughter is a witch. It's an integral element (though not a spoiler) to the story itself and the unstable relationship between mother and daughter. At first, the telekinesis shown is subtle,  a pile of tampons getting shuffled followed by a light shorting out. Then, over time, it gets a little less subtle and borders on disturbing until the prom scene, then it goes into overload of jaw-dropping shock, regardless of what you saw in the trailer. Between the beginning and that scene, there are multiple subthemes worth paying attention to, one in particular jumped out at me in the beginning: the use of political correctness to hide behind one's own corruption. One of the story's antagonists being asked to take her phone out to see if the video she took of Carrie and posted on youtube, for instance, looks to her dad who's telling her to "just get the g**d****ed thing out so we can get this over." One can tell she's spoiled completely rotten from her reaction that her father seems to be "with" her school principal (whom she promptly calls filthy sexual degradations behind his back afterward). She uses "invasion of privacy" as an excuse to not hand it over at all and blames the principal, phys ed teacher, and her own father for her banishment from the prom.
That's just one subtheme. There's multiple that's relevant to today's times and worth noting.
Do I have any complaints about this film? Only one.
Chloe Grace-Moretz. Yes, she's an incredible actress. She proved that in her highly controversial performance in Kick-Ass and again in Hugo. Now that she's almost an adult, her style is getting matured and so is her already impressively immersive acting. Yet, she's too pretty.
Yes, too pretty. When I think about how Stephen King described Carrietta White, I remember "spots of acne," "chubby," and overall, homely. No pun intended, but Chloe has Hollywood-grade beauty. It's because of her acting ability that I can overlook her relatively heavily contrasting looks compared to the book's titular heroine.
Regardless, this film gets high praises from me (especially with how Julianne Moore, an atheist, can be such a chillingly disturbed Christian mother and an epitome of calm insanity).

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

When Did I Become a "Terrorist"?

If there was any doubt about our president being not a Believer, it has become affirmed.
I no longer believe Barack Hussein Obama, Jr., is a Christian. Even false shepherds can vocalize a faith they don't believe in.
Recently, I looked up a site that had 72 "signs" that a person may be a "potential terrorist", and it was the last one that was completely blatant.
72. Evangelical Christians.
Nothing on the list indicated anything about being Muslim or supporting Islam like it may have a decade ago, now it was all implicitly/explicitly referring to Christians. I didn't look at the entire list, but what I did look at was a clear indication that prez Obama is NOT a Christian, as though hiring anti-American and anti-Christian people as part of his congress cabinet board wasn't clear enough...
It has become irritatingly clear in the last few years that political correctness has forced Christians their hand(s) to hold back anything in the possibility of being slammed against. They can get offended but cannot offend. They can be fought against, yet not allowed to fight back. It's becoming a one-sided battle with an enemy that starts with spirits, not the flesh. That's the main thing materialism seems to get us to forget, that we're not actually fighting flesh. Flesh is more just a physical channel (if not a conduit) for spirits to interact. From interaction comes a potential to manipulate social activities. Also recently, I'd noticed that certain things we do accept in maybe the past 10-ish years seem to be more accepting of ideals and systematic ideologies that are not (in any way) American and call it political correctness in an attempt to quench it.
Good thing I don't go by political niceties. If almost any, by that matter.
Technically, anyone who causes the biological response we call "terror" is a terrorist, anyway. I, personally, have been through a few traumatic experiences (resulting in civilian PTSD) that caused terror in my child- and teenhood. So I've dealt with terrorists who will never be on any government watchlist, yet, in my eyes, they're terrorists nonetheless. And they're not Christians, either.
So now has come the time when choices will be made that will either undo America entirely or strengthen America as a whole. But the choice one makes, one cannot make and be soft in their core.
Make your choice and stand by it, even if you'll be called a "terrorist" in doing so.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Rage's Echo: a review

This was, by the very definition, an original story. It is truly like no ghost story I've read, doesn't feel reminiscent of anything, it is an original by an original author.
Thematically, it's at times harrowing, shocking, positive, dreary, hopefully, frightening, confusing, unashamed, unabashed, and even laugh-out-loud hilarious.
In the first of this 248-page tome, there were a couple pacing issues that I found some minor difficulty trudging through. Yet, once I got through 43% of it, the story took off with the mysteries, deep characterization, its own story nuances, inside jokes, and even intertwining character personalities. Needless to say, this was definitely an impressive ghost story to get to know.
And the way it ends is both chilling and hopeful.
Not hopeful in "Hope there's a sequel in the works," but hopeful in the thematic structure and for what could happen.

Note: I received a free ARC courtesy of the author for a personalized, honest review. It was definitely worth it!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

A good time for frights!

Since this is October, I've decided to dedicate my reading to nothing but horror and suspense. Here's a few things I'll be reading this month:

*The Shining by Stephen King
*Rage's Echo by J.S. Bailey
*Forever Odd by Dean Koontz
*The Heretic by Joseph Nassise
*Under the Dome by Stephen King

Possible other titles I'll try to get to:

*33 A.D. by David McAfee
*Doctor Sleep by Stephen King
*Winter Moon by Dean Koontz
*Relentless by Dean Koontz
*The 11th Demon: The Ark of Chaos by Bruce Hennigan
*The Blood Gospel by James Rollins

Monday, September 23, 2013

The Thicke of It

I ceretainly hope you didn't think I was going to rag on Miley and forget about the guy she was with, so here I go for the guy.

Men, for a moment, consider something... if you're married with children and you do what Robin Thicke did with Miley Cyrus, consider the potential messages he was sending to them:

His wife- "You want to turn me on? This is how you do it."
His daughter- "You want those boys? This is how you get them."
His son- "You want girls? This is how they're to be treated."

Maybe not those specific messages, but something along those lines.
Essentially put, Robin is sending a dangerous message to young teens and tweens that impressionable and look up to him and Miley about sex. And, it seems, nothing else. The message appears to be that sex is all that counts in finding someone worth knowing then dating, then being with (sadly, that no longer necessarily means getting married to, just shacking up with).
If that were true, there would be no need for abstinence. Or even just the need to have a personality, just be a walking sex toy.
Sadly, though, that does seem to be the advent status quo, and in a much more prominent way than in the past. I guess we didn't learn a thing about the mistakes made by flower generation in the 60's.
Yet, due to how heavily popular the concept is that sex HAS to have happened in life by the time one's a teen, two things come to mind immediately for me:
1. When IS the accepted age of kids being given free rein to give up their virginity and how are they to be treated if it happens before that accepted age? Society isn't very forgiving of pedophiles, but today, it's not very kind to those who hold on to their virtues, either.
2. It's completely accepted that anyone can brag and boast about their sex life, unless you're a virgin. Then everyone has free rein to rag on you and either degrade you (I've been called a fag for being a virgin when I was 22, if that gives you an idea of how cruel society can be) or pressure you to lose it, not helping its image that it is tolerant of people's choices.
With that second one, I have been told 3 times that I shouldn't go around telling people that I still haven't lost my virginity. Only the third one didn't agree that it was hypocritical to think that way. Then again, I thought of that guy as "Eminem Jr." since he's white and has a major ego issue that seems to control him rather him control it at all.

Yes, I can have layers and layers of thoughts stemming from one central thought. In this case, just one guy letting a girl 16 years his junior do an extremely sexually provocative "dance" move that leaves no room to the imagination of the message being sent to the young and impressionable that it's okay, what they're doing. If they can do it, then so can anyone else.
Is anyone else disturbed at the direction this is going?

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

I believe in Harvey, not Miley

Just imagine for a moment that Harvey Dent were a real person. The complete madman, serial killer, BFF of Joker, and conflicting (yet corraborating) split personalities. Now, imagine if this very comic book character were a real person.
And he just admitted that he was a Christian. WHAAAAAAAAAAAAT!?
Here's the crazy thing, I could easily go with one of the most famous slogans in comic book history ("I believe in Harvey Dent.") better than I could for Miley Cyrus. At least people could believe Harvey will make mistakes since his very nature is revealed on the surface, literally.
My brother once told me that Ozzy Osbourne said he was a Christian (once upon a time). When I expressed doubt, our mother said (keep in mind, she was raised very traditional and hates Ozzy) that people will say they're Christian when they're not.
This comes to mind when I think of Miley. She goes to church, therefore she's a Christian. I wonder if I stay in a garage long enough, will I suddenly be a mechanic? Or be in a corporate office, will I suddenly be a CEO? I don't see that happening, so does one presume such for being a Christian?
Granted, Christians do sin quite frequently (I myself am a practitioner, something I find quite unfortunate), so what's the big deal on ragging on Miley? Or even the guy she was... what was that term? "Twerking"? Dumbest term I've ever heard, personally, and I've heard of plenty of bizarre terms. In today's churchey culture, "sin" seems one-dimensional, meaning all sin is sin and therefore can't be allowed. To a degree, that's true, yet there's another degree. The original languages that the Bible was written in had more definitions for certain words than we tend to remember.
For "sin", there were, if I remember right, 2 different versions.

1. There's the "lesser" sin, one could say. The type committed by everyday average joe Christians (and the elites). Stuff like "minor" swearing, lying, lusting, minor "social sins", and the like. Basically, I don't know a single Christian who doesn't break at least half of the Ten Commandments everyday (accidentally or intentionally), and they do so through "lesser" sins. An unfortunate part of human nature.

2. Then the big ones. Blasphemy. Sexual sins (not like pornography, but like marital affairs). Heresy. Things like that.

In Miley Cyrus's case, the idea that she calls herself a Christian, goes with backdoor statements like she "knows" she "loves God" yet does a rather sensual/sexual act on stage in front of a crowd full of impressionable kids and teens that look up to her? As an idol? It doesn't take a genius to figure out what the overall message was behind the... dance (?)...
Call me close-minded. Narrow-minded. Old-fashioned. Prude. Naïve.
Whatever you want to call me, I call me, "myself".
But I believe in this: if a woman (forget the age, got it? Cool) shows off her body to the general populace, then she's lost my respect for her, and not just in the public image. She's lost my respect in what she says she believes. If a woman truly does respect herself, she won't show off to anyone who demands a... performance (no pun intended). A woman who claims to be a Christian and is the real deal knows how to cover herself. Today's society knows how to exploit the lustful weakness of boys (to the point of influence that no one thinks about the way TV affects  the mind of grown men, it seems), so for a young woman (or even tween girl who's already growing) to not really wear a modest outfit will get them howling at the moon better than Ozzy could.
Why would a woman be covered in modesty? Not just the social answer I gave, but it's indicated in the Bible that men's sex drives are focused on sight, and I remember a pastor of a great church I once went to say (during a sermon), "Ladies, you could dress your selves in a potato sack, that's it, and us men would still get turned on!" Some church readers reading this just had a heart attack at that, but it's true, and that pastor was NOT afraid to speak up about the truth of lust, nor the idea of covering one's eyes.
Women are on a different spectrum, for it's indicated in the Bible that their drives are more emotion-based (hence why they say "Foreplay isn't an elective, it's a prerequisite"). Makes sense that way, to me at least. And yet, as much as many modern churchgoers are prepared to condemn anyone who's lured into sexual sin, many don't actually read the Bible (in entire contexts) what the deal is about how men and women think differently on terms of sexuality, and there's plenty in There.
Now, in today's status quo, it's extremely easy to go ahead and brag/boast about how much sex you have, yet people make it exceptionally difficult to say you're a virgin and be as proud.
Oh, wait, that's never happened to me- the difficult part, at least.
I've been made cruel fun of, mocked, called names, challenged to lose it to a hooker, etc., all because I'm the rare person (let alone male) in my mid-20's and still a virgin. Big whoop. No, it isn't easy. But, according to my last ex-girlfriend, it's worth waiting, which I've always believed and have no reason to stop believing.
This is why I don't believe in Miley Cyrus (whether the twerking, revealing the sides of her breasts in photo ops, just barely showing bare thighs, or even flipping off cameras as a reaction to the public's reaction). As much as I've given up being a legalist, I will say this, I don't believe she's anymore a Christian than Fred Phelps would get into Heaven if he'd still be the same anti-gay cultist when he passes on.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Bible mock review

Since I've noticed so many "Christians" praising the Bible yet condemning Christian entertainment (fyi, it's not, at its core, meant exclusively for Christians), I've decided on a thought-provoking thought: what if a Christian who follows today's "fluff faith" Christianity were to read the Bible, cover-to-cover, and actually write an amazon review in the same way they review the entertainment? I imagine it would be something like this... oh, and there will be little subtleties to look for, as well.

Okay, there's something seriously wrong here! I was raised up in the church and this "Bible" is NOT what I've always heard the preachers say it is! At first, in the first two chapters, everything's easy-peasy, nice and cheery. After that, literally all Hell breaks loose! I mean, come on, why did humanity have to be viewed in such a bad light? I thought Hollywood was getting worse and worse with all the senseless violence, blood, and gore, not to mention the heapings of language, blasphemy, sex, etc., but even a cursory glance anywhere from Genesis 3 showed horrifying stuff that doesn't make us humans look good! I've believed we were good people and that God loves us, but there were times that God actually commands HIS PEOPLE (how racist is that!?) to kill others! What kind of miserable book is this? Okay, yeah, there are miracles here and there, but come on, now! These defy even evolution, which some pastors I've heard agree is the real deal, and they're legit leaders!
Also, I thought there were no other gods, so why are there mentions of other gods in the Bible? Who in the he- I mean the world, are Mamnon, Dagon, Artemis, and Baal? This was supposed to be about God and His love! Speaking of which, this shows nothing about the love that I keep hearing about, people that DIE for people they love? What kind of screwed-up junk is this?
Just so we're clear, I've been checking out the King James, since I've heard it was the only accurate version, but even that seems to have the most dangerous taboo of them all in my church, that of no swearing! I've witnessed words like... well, like I said, it's taboo. But I've seen them there!
Also, what's the deal with Jesus? I keep hearing he's the Savior of mankind, so why does he bash the religious leaders for following the rules the way they do? Why does he bash the cashing system they used in the temple and got violent? No, not like a drop of blood violent, but flipping tables and freeing animals? Who's this guy think he is? A free capitalist and candidate for the PETA?
What's more, he actually chews out people I never thought mankind's savior would never chew out, besides the religious leaders- HIS OWN DISCIPLES! That doesn't sound like a nice leader to me, sounds like he constantly got up on the wrong side of the bed every morning. Not to mention some of the things he says makes no sense to me, especially in the parables. And, yeah, I've heard he died for everyone's sins, blah, blah, blah, but did the Bible have to be THAT descriptive about the process they used? I thoguht Passion of the Christ was gruesome, but the Bible drove home the imagery a little too well for my taste!
Well, okay, I could have done a cursory glance at any given verse without looking into context, but that's not the point. The point is that it contradicts everything I knew from what the pastors I have trusted have told me!
Not only that, but, aside from Jesus own GRAPHIC death, his disciples also die in gruesome ways, no one seems to live a happy ending except that one dude who lives out his life in exile. IN EXILE! Was no one tolerant of anyone even then? Plus, didn't that Peter dude start the whole Catholic church? Is that where today's hatred of Catholics started? I don't know, it's confusing me too much.
Jesus seemed to support all the wrong people (a tax collector [who apparently, in that culture, stole from their own people and gave to their local enemies, whatever that means], a man that would steal from his own friends, a woman with a serious PMS issue, a woman who was an outcast for ADULTERY, a big-mouthed fisherman, and guys who lived a hardcore partying style that puts college kids today to shame) and seemed like he always missed the right people. And the dead people he came in contact with! If he had done that today, people would've been worried he was a necrophiliac in the process!
There's hardly anything edifying about Jesus, especially since, as he's supposed to be a teacher, he doesn't use those big words that theologians use, doesn't get into systematic theology like I'm used to, and, like I said, his parables make no real sense to me.
And, while I'm still on Jesus here, I've heard some of the most legit leaders in the Church, those who go with the Prosperity Gospel and the Seed Movement,  preach about how good he is. But something's really off. According to what they say, God prospers those who have faith in Him, giving them plenty. If that's so, then why doesn't the Bible describe Jesus as wearing anything like the first century equivalent of, say, Jos. A. Bank, Hostetler, Prada, or even Gucci? Not Nike or Adidas to get away from the bloodthirsty crowds who wanted to off him? He even let a prostitute (!) wipe his feet with her hair after pouring her perfume on his feet, and I get a distinct feeling it wasn't something like Chanel No. 5 here. And if Jesus is prospering, I don't see it. His clothes don't reflect it, he doesn't hang around the higher class, and being crucified DEFINITELY doesn't show he could've given money to save himself. WTH's the deal!?
And speaking of bad things for good people, Job himself gets really horrible things happened to him, even though he follows God's laws to the T! Not to mention his own wife, after everything in his life falls apart, chews him out for still believing in God. I'm starting to wonder about the validity of this tome, with all the bad things that happen to God's children, as well as how they're put as less than good!
And then there's sexual stuff. Just look at Songs of Solomon (or Song of Songs, or whatever it's called), but don't get me into talking about it, that was some really raunchy stuff! But that wasn't all, there were a few other sex scenes that made no sense to be in a holy book like this. It's supposed to be holy! Why's all this stuff in here if it's supposed to be pure!?
This is, by far, the least holiest book I've read, the steamiest raunch, the most graphic deaths, the most insane stuff! And the legit leaders I've trusted all my life support this? WHY!?
My [self-righteous] rating: 0/5

And that, my friends, is the essence of how I'm seeing the followers of all these fluff faiths are becoming if they actually read the Bible on their own without the lens of false pastors who sugarcoat and water everything down.

Friday, August 23, 2013

The 'net just got sad again

Remember when I reported that was down? Apparently payment for the site was paid up because it's back up. Which means people will still e able to come by the site and laugh at it and claim that's how Christians think. Or something like that. It is sad that there are people like David J. Stewart who says Jesus is the only way to Heaven and sound like heathens when they say it.
Now for the blatant contradictions on the site:
*He claims it's not a hate site, yet everything on it is blatantly hateful if you're not of his mindset on any particular thing or issue.
*He claims to have answers on why he criticizes religion. Sadly, he sounds precisely like the religiousity I grew up in, so he's no better.
And trust me... there's plenty more contradictions about the site.
But something for thought. He claims on the contact page that, due to poor health, he's unable to make contact with people who want to ask him stuff. If he's that sick, how could his site be up and running again?

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Revelation Road: Review

A couple years back, I'd thought of trying to come up with a concept for an End Times story where the main character WASN'T a new journalist. Though I got the concept (and it would be a children's story, believe it or not), someone beat me to actually getting the story done.
Introducing Revelation Road: The Beginning of the End

First off, I'd like to mention that a part of me was hesitant on seeing this film because of the last film from Pure|Flix I saw, Saving Winston, which ended up being a Christian movie full of Christian tropes and cliches that bored me. Not only that, I'd noticed people on hated this movie because of its violence (makes me wonder how they'd react to Jesus when He comes back in full Terminator mode like He's described in the Book of Revelations?)
(Possible spoilers ahead)
Josh is a travelling salesman on his way back to his wife and daughter and on the phone with her when two strange things happen. One is a bizarre lightning storm. Just lightning. Constant. The other, as he's pulled over when his car dies down, is some guy bumping into his car, then yells at him as if he was the one that ruined his truck. As Josh points out the error of what the guy's saying, things just about get out of control when a bike gang (who, in the initial scene, have already beaten up a federal agent and the leader says something really insightful on how backwards the world is when it comes to who's to fear and who's not) comes by. After the nonviolent skirmish, the bike gang goes off.
Josh goes into a convenience store to try another try at selling what he's selling. Then comes straightforward questions from the man he's trying to sell to. Not long after, the salesman who's "not on speaking terms" with God protects the store's owner and his granddaughter from 3 of the bike gang. From there, things get intense. And not just the constant lightning storm from nowhere, either.
Normally, when it comes to indie-made Christian flicks, I'd get really hesitant on trying them out because of the tendency to have little variety. It was only because the people expressed disdain because of the violence that I decided to try it out. Now I'm glad.
You have a trouble-making biker gang, straightforward talk about Jesus (luckily, nothing too cheesy for me to handle and it definitely hit home on a couple points about God's character), and the biker gang is as hardcore as they come (of course, there's no swearing, and in only one instance did the swearless talk come off as slightly cheesy) with their leather getups and crazy helmets. And it turns out the leader has a somewhat ambiguous relationship with one of the women (not sexual, it's hinted they're related, like father-daughter, but his crude talk shows disgust toward her).
So, basically, the bikers represent how the world is toward Christians, and accurately as well.
The violence is what would make this film PG-13 if it were rated (that and one woman mentioning that she's a drug junkie). A couple shootouts, blood mists sprays, but certainly nothing as extreme as, say, The Book of Eli (there was no dismemberment, full-framed headshots, decapitations, bloody arrow shots, etc. in this movie), but when vioelence happens, it's immediately clear what's going on.
And some of the violence is contextually clear as protecting one's family.
There are people who've shown how legalistic they are on terms with the objectionable content of this film, but I guess they miss the overall picture with an erroneous reading of the Bible.
There are moments when Josh has clear struggles with who he is (though it's never fully explained what his past was like, that's going to be shown in the sequel), and when one woman mocks him and asks "What? You found Jesus?" when he explains that he's not who he was, he says a stunner for him and explains about his wife. And the way he talks about her, it's blatantly clear how much he loves her and is not willing to compromise for anything. In that one scene, the woman throws out realistic questions that one really normally wouldn't hear in the world about how nothing in the world can change who someone really is, no matter what. After a brief fight with the woman's friend (couldn't tell if he was her boyfriend or client consider how she hints about herself), he begins to realize something about himself and, while on the phone with his wife, something weird happens.
I won't get into what happens, but if you've seen all the other End Times movies, you can figure it out easily.
When the store owner's granddaughter manages to escape from the clutches of the biker gang, she runs into an unexpected character (if you've seen The Encounter, you'll recognize him), and he performs one crazy miracle for her to let her know who he is.
If there was anything that did annoy me about this film, it would be the lighting effects from the constant lightning strikes, for they were overprocessed to the point of being obviously fake. Some of the script tended to go overboard (though not much) that showed it wasn't a major production.
Ocassionally, some stylized shots just seemed to come out nowhere. Most of them helped out with the stylizing of the action, but others simply seemed pointless.
Beyond these technical reasonings, I actually enjoyed this movie quite well.
Now to wait for the sequel.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Quick update on a hate site

If you remember my blog about relating to sinners, which included the site, guess what? It seems the site has been taken down by its supporter. Well, that's so-called "Christian" hate site down. But what to do about the White Aryan Race or the Christian Identity Movement? That's going to be a little trickier if you ask me.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Live the Unrated Life!

My brother and I have an inside joke about un/rated movies:
Rated movies are decaffeinated coffee, you won't get as much as you should. Unrated movies are like regular coffee, you get the whole deal. However, to go further into detail, I have noticed 2 kinds of unrated movies.
There are those that are unrated just to have more content:
And there are those that are extended to give more story:

As I've thought about it over the years, I've realized that there's an integral difference between the people in the Bible and today's churchgoers (not all, but a sad chunk of them); the people of the Bible lived such a noticed life full of intensity in faith that they lived an UNRATED LIFE! They did not care how society saw them. Yeah, they still had flaws (who doesn't? I'm still a pretty jacked-up person despite having faith in God and Jesus), but they had more a passion to follow Jesus and God.
And how are today's Christians?
They're rated.
They seem to act and behave like following the rules (made by man, mind you, barely striving for God's commandments at all) will save them more than living the committment to Jesus' commandments.
It's no wonder we're such a joke in the eyes of society, whatwith Christians just going to church, giving 10% of their income, singing a few songs, trying to not swear/drink/smoke, and trying to appear presentable. I've known a man that went to church, wouldn't dare watch an R-rated movie, cringed whenever his co-workers swore, and always tried to follow the rules of today's church. And then he would say that he was a good person. His wife asked me once if that was all it took, I told her "Not by a long shot." It really doesn't. If all that's needed to be done to get into Heaven was following the rules and being a good person, then the Pharisees had been right all this time and Jesus died for NOTHING. In which case, there'd be people I really don't want to see again in Heaven. If that were the case, Heaven would be a nightmare for me.
Following rules has nothing to do with following God, particularly the rules made by man, but a heart that strives to know and love God, that's important. 2 excellent examples was King David and his son, Solomon. And I follow their example whenever I can (not easy in this generation, yet I believe it's worth it).
So, let's try to live an unrated Christian life, one filled with unexpectancies, open to the insane possibilities of what God has in mind for us. You never know the asinine stuff that can happen.
Now for my own question: what's my excuse for not going with that kind of life?

Monday, July 29, 2013

How long's this trend been going for?

Ever since a couple years ago, while in Oklahoma City, I've been noticing a tragedy of a trend on
1-star reviews on anything just because someone doesn't like something. Books, movies, music, etc. While a 1-star review can be a great sourc ematerial for knowing how bad something is, it's worse when the reviewer readily admits that they did not even bother trying the product all the way before writing the review. The first time I noticed this trend was looking at all the negative reviews for one of my favorite indie Christian movies, To Save A Life. Some people turned off the movie because they hated that it was a Christian flick with "cursing." I could go into semantics about the difference between "cursing" and "swearing," but I won't. I could get into the issues I have with people having issues with that one movie.
I won't.
I will say this, that's not the only product I enjoy that gets a scathing review for even the most trivial stuff. And I mean content that you could miss with a blink of an eye in the entire movie.
What's much worse is when someone doesn't finish something and not only admits that, but intolerantly bashes the product for being "Christian" or "not Christian" or says "it's labeled Christian, but is not!" then their review seems to have an underlying current that they have a checklist of things they expect from a Christian book/movie/etc.
From what I've read through for the past 2 years, here's a glimpse of certain expectations:
*No sex scenes/women showing cleavage (not even a centimeter, apparently teen boys can get off on that, I never had a problem, wasn't even to catch my eye)
*No violence (wait, what? What about the Bible? It's LOADED with it!)
*No "magic" or "sorcery"
*Must explicitly present itself to be a Christian book (even if it's with a nonChristian publisher)
*Must be on track with some individual's denominational giving (forget the other person, they're a lazy, self-righteous, hypocritical schmoe)

Those are the simplest basics. Whatever happened to being the MOST offensive lifestyle in the world that rebellious children in their cultures that wanted to be Christians that's ended with us trying to look for an example of living Biblically and looking for it everywhere EXCEPT in the Bible?
Yeah, I can see why people point at us and laugh like we're a joke. We've set ourselves up to be like that. So, with that in mind, it's no wonder a couple friends in the religiously-based area of Clarksburg, WV have given up going to church. One's now an atheist, the other's still Christian, just doesn't trust many other churchgoer (wouldn't blame him).
All of this has made me wonder... what if Christianity could be judged on a site like amazon? How many people would rate it 1-star for some reason or another? Major and/or trivial? It's purely legalistic/pharisaic/insanely illogical. And it makes total sense why so many show fangs when a Christian turns out to be a pretty good person and cheers when they have a fake they can point at.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Favor to ask you readers

Starting this week, I'll be getting back to writing my novel WIPs, and I'll need proofreaders. If anyone's interested, when I have time, I'd like to send 5 chapter segments of stories to anyone who wants to look over. Spelling mitsakes, grammar issues, if something to needs better clarifications, etc.
Here are the story titles and their genres. If you want be a proofreader, let me know which story you want to be a part of.

Incongruity (weird/sci-fi)
DeadHunt (psychological suspense/thriller)
Love... in the Flesh (historical fiction)
We No Longer Believe in Heroes (contemporary drama/suspense)
The Forbidden Invasion (post-apocalyptic horror/thriller)
Grips (psychological horror)
Plain Jane (short story)
The Pariah (short story)

If you're interested, here's my e-mail address:
Just enter the book title as the subject and I'll add you to the proofreader list.

Monday, July 1, 2013

New Chapter in Life

Just letting you readers know that my family and I have moved from Oklahoma to West Virginia to start a new life. One problem, we did so to start from scratch. Now to look for a job and a place to stay.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Relating to sinners

I've been wondering how to tell people this gently or my normal way and it's not going to be easy, so I'll just come out and say it: I'm a sinner by nature, American by birth, Christian by choice, Jewish by spirit, and completely eccentric all on my own. Now that I (may) have your attention, there is something I want to mention. In regards to the way I was raised, I see that it would be unfair if I called myself a "Christian" and remained a stubborn, legalistic, holier-than-thou jackass (see what I did there? It's in the KJV!). With that said, I've come to notice a couple things in the last couple of years that's made me sick to my stomach on how some people call their selves Christian and are blatantly not and how others are Christian, prove it, and get backlash from the religious community.
One example is this: there is a metalcore band called Sleeping Giant. I discovered them back maybe 3 years ago while in Oklahoma City. Or 4 years ago in Huntington, WV. Somewhere around that time. They are heavy metal, yet their lyrics are seriously nothing but praises to God. One video of theirs, "Tithemi", is a concert compilation with the singer singing lyrics that are, in not a single way to doubt, pro-God, anti-religion praises. And, until the very last verse, he actually sings it. Like I'm-in-a-church-not-a-mosh-pit singing. The last verse, he growls, but he's still praising, regardless.
In another video, "Eyes Wide Open," that song has a surprise guest singer in it. Frankie Palmeri of Emmure. Anyone that knows that band knows they have frequent, EXTREMELY STRONG swearing, and they show they don't care if they offend people and who they offend. Yet, in that video, not only does Frankie not swear (and not just because he's a guest with a Christian band), he actually does some cooperating lyrics (the song's about the religious elite who look down upon frenetic fanatics of Jesus who are not afraid to praise God and JESUS publicly). People on both sides of the faith fence have sneered Sleeping Giant for having Frankie be a guest singer and Emmure for their singer being with a Christian singer. Only a few recognized what it really meant- that the members of Sleeping Giant were witnessing to nonChristians not by being "Bible Thumpers" or "Holy Rollers," but by actually letting them try out their angle of something they have common ground with. In their case, making heavy music and hanging out with fans. RAWK ON!
The other scenario deals with an obnoxiously rigid legalistic, ultra-religious, holier-than-thou, extremist Christian website, simply known as Beyond the URL's name, there's nothing I can get myself to agree with on the site. Why? Well, for starters, unless you're in a southern Gospel choir group singing nothing but safe-for-church-ONLY hymnals, your music group would be condemned by the moderator of the site, unashamedly, and without remorse.
Not only that, but he publicly condemns every factor of American society and wrongfully uses the Bible to do it (wait, don't cults do the same thing?). Today, I was looking into the site's articles on "Hellivision and the Movies" and one article definitely caught my skeptical eye (don't tell the moderator I'm also a skeptic by nature, he'd likely judgmentally condemn me as a "heretic" ;), about Mel Gibson's "Porn Hall of Fame," why call it that? Because his notoriously controversial film, Passion of the Christ, features 5 porn stars. At least, according to his website. Has an asterisk by their names and mentions their specific roles in PotC. Oh, it gets better (no pun  intended, of course). He publicly hates on and condemns Mel for being Catholic (I'm not a supporter of the Catholic religion nor the Catholic church, mind you, but I do have close friends that know where I stand and they're okay with me, I'm a borderline anarchist, got it?), and for having a sordid history of Hollywood movies. And, by "sordid", I mean films that do not go up to the moderator's own personal standard for what a Christian should star in. I wonder if he's read the Bible and noticed all the gory, explicitly violent content, numerous sensually steamy sex scenes, sensual word imagery in some of the poetry (ahem, "Songs of Solomon", anyone?), and, the one version of the Bible he demands all churches use, the KJV, all the swearing in it? (yeah, I still remembering seeing "ass", "whore", and "bastard" in it, yet the church rarely ever mentions that, and I don't know why)
Well, the way I see it, if you're gonna relate to sinners who really hate traditionalistic religion, you won't have them coming in rows to the congregation with a movie that doesn't fit their interests (like if PotC were just PG or just G-rated), so you have to do what Paul in the Bible suggested, find a way to find common ground with a nonbeliever and have a cool, civilized talk without compromising Scripture, and let it sink in, not trying to coerce/force/manipulate them to be a Christian. If God would have said that in the Bible, I would've walked out of it and wait for death to see where it took me, regardless of the consequences. Let's face it, the Church has been having less and less members in the pews or whatnot and it's not entirely the world's fault. Sometimes, it's actually the Church's fault, and not because they try to be hipster or whatever, but because of their attitude and either subtle or outright hypocrisy and it does become an annoyance for someone earnestly wanting answers and all they get is "Have faith." Yeah, we got the faith angle, but it kind of feels like they're also saying "God may not have the answer." The reality is they don't have the answer and God, who's omniscient, does have answers, but doesn't always give them the way people expect. We've become a generation of expecters. Something else that Yeshua had touched upon about HIS own people, how much they expected this or that, or this and that, and did not have much care if they didn't get what they expected. Hey, I tend to be impatient, okay? I think I get it from both parents (I think Mom's by far more impatient). So I can relate to not wanting to wait for God's answers to a prayer or to a question, but when He does answer it, in His own way, it's always worth the wait.
So, you have read why I'm not a traditionalist anymore, why I don't go for religion, and why I find the moderator of to be such a condemning religious nutcase that I could easily wonder if he's not really a member of WBC moonshining as someone else.
Also, he shows a lot of ignorance in a lot of integral factors. And so does another website that hasn't had any updates since September 2010 (that's a good sign in this case, less un-Biblical poison to spread around), Just like j-I-s, om constantly puts down and condemns ANYTHING that doesn't present the Gospel their way, and sometimes rather scathingly. Like video games. They've posted "reviews" of video games and have disclaimers (in this age of censorship, I really, really hate disclaimers, we may as well have one for the Bible if we're all for family entertainment!) about how the M-rated games are not allowed to be played where they live (is that in Alva, OK? I sometimes feel like it), so they had to go by media outlets to find out information about those games. And their own extreme religious filters. Therefore, a good number of actually well-done games get "No Crosses" (I thought it was only 3rd-rate Christian indie flicks that got lame), with Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty getting "1 Cross" for their own reason. And a whole lot of substandard games (wait, why is Minecraft on that list?) getting "5 Crosses" for presenting the Gospel "accurately". As if that's not ignorant enough, they also have a section for what's "evil" in malls. And some of the stores they list as "Satanic", they list simply for phoenetic reasons (who knew "Cinnabon" sounded like "Sin upon"?) or for historical ignorance (condemning JC Penney's [I'm sorry, "JC Penny's"] because, to them, they're "devaluing" Jesus down to one penny and make it sound like Judas Iscariot saw 30 pieces of silver's worth of value in him... only, in that culture, that was literally a Jew's day's wage of work, selected by the Pharisees as an agreed-upon price to betray Yeshua into their hands).
There are few things that seriously irritate the Sheol out of me, and showing cultural and historical ignorance for something one should know about if they call theirselves "followers" is one of my top peeves. So much for proving that Christians aren't as ignorant as skeptics claim, huh?

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Prophetess: book review

In case you are not familiar with this title, series, or author, here's the quick scoop on the series:
Winter Maessen is a Gothic Christian, she's different, anyone can tell from her dark style of wardrobe, her heavy sarcasm, etc. What no one, least of all her, expects is she would be chosen by God to be a prophetess. In the first book, Winter, she finds out her calling and eventually has a confrontation with a self-proclaimed Satanic terrorist.
Now, things get heavier.
Story: it's the new year at fictional Tishbe University and Winter is excited to see her old friends from the previous year and make new friends. Though, after the events of Winter, nothing- at all- will be the same. And yet, there's barely any time to breath when Winter gets a whole new kind of vision, a total whiplash compared to the kinds she got last time. And that's not all, the terrorist she dealt with, Xaphan (according to the book trailer on youtube, it's  "Zah-fon"), has a new plan to seriously weaken the Christian stronghold and spiritual strength at the university. And these new visions Winter's getting are newly problematic, highly enigmatic, and flat-out disturbing for the most part. And none of them are predictable (no pun intended) on their meaning, except for one, and even then, it's a total blow-out on how it comes to be. Plenty of misdirection, red herrings, heavy twists, turns, and shocking revelations on people you thought you knew from the first book.
On the enemy: Instead of being a traditional one-dimensional enemy like normally presented in standard Christian fiction, Xaphan proves himself formidable, unpredictable, and extremely dangerous and creepy. Even though he has less page time this time around, he's still creepy, chilling, especially in his roles in Winter's visions. And, this time, Xaphan's not easily satisfied, you wouldn't believe the measures he uses to make sure he gets what he wants. But he's no longer the only terrorist around- there's a new Satanist with a mysterious role, Skotos. Though Xaphan revealed the fallen angelic origin of his nickname, the fact there's no revelation on the origin of Skotos' nickname makes him even more intriguing, twisted, and disturbing. Especially the person that helps him (possibly IS him?). And the one extreme act of violence they do? It would seriously offend many people today considering how random it is, but I'm glad there are authors who will include it at the risk of getting backlash from people who have suffered from this type of violence. Did you actually think I would reveal what it is? Go read it!
Atmosphere: Since Winter was set in Winter's Freshman year at Tishbe, it had an occasionally warm, funny spot to relieve the creepy tension. This time, less humor, a bit more mature (to accommodate the terrifying visions), and more. Not only that, but the atmosphere's quite twisty when it comes to Winter's flashback chapters, further revealing dark secrets of her past and shocking secrets about her own family. Things that actually dropped my jaw!
Overall: Winter was an incredibly well-done, well-crafted, even well-prosed book, showing that Keven could write as good as the likes of Stephen King, Frank Peretti, and even Ted Dekker. This time, for Prophetess, he shows he won't let the "sequel bog" happen, and does it quite well. Providing new mysteries, more light shown, and stunning information on past foreshadowing that isn't your normal, standard fare, he proves he's worth the merit, regardless of if you're a Christian or not (one minor character, annoyed at how people were treating her, said that she was agnostic and Winter said something profound about that view that I had never considered, a whole new angle of seeing that borderline belief).
Ultimately recommended!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

A preview of a classic

I went with my family to a job site (deconstructing a torn barn) when we came to an estate sale. Of course, the one thing that got my attention were the books. I wasn't sure there would be anything getting my attention (the person that passed away was an elderly woman), surprisingly, there were 3 books (all classics). I'd like to talk about one in particular.
I once heard that this is the original Christian horror story (it first came out even before Stephen King's debut novel Carrie). In today's standards (which are faulty and subjective at best), this would NOT be Christian in any regards.
You seen the movie? Besides the notoriously frightening head-twisting scene and the girl's transformation, there was a whole lot of graphic language, disturbing violent content, and even graphic sexual material (such as the possessed girl actually slamming a crucifix into her vagina and screaming out "F*** ME! F*** ME! F***ME!" and letting the blood fly).
I decided to skim parts of it and, it turns out, it's far more deprived, and, honestly, I found myself actually wanting to really get into the story.
One particular part that really sent chills down my spine (or close to it) was the girl looking at her mom and, by the control of the demon, told her religious mom that she "should let Jesus f*** you."
No, the book doesn't censor it, but it got me thinking two things:
1. The movie must have had to take some seriously heavy liberties to not seriously upset the religious community, lest the Catholic Church grade the movie "C" for condemned (like they did with the book-based movie "A Clockwork Orange").
2. The author did not let any barriers get in the way of portraying a demon realistically, graphically, and seriously.
When I read Ted Dekker's demon-possession-based horror story Adam (the first horror story to really give me the chills, ever), the demon in the story, because of the CBA (those that deem a Christian book to really be "Christian"), had to refrain from swearing at all and spoke euphemisms. The demon in The Exorcist took no such softening- it cussed, profaned, blasphemed, and even spoke sexual sacrileges. With the realism put into how the demon spoke (and yes, in the book, the demon did force the girl to masturbate with a crucifix, and the detail was quite vivid), it really impressed me.
Today, if Christian wrote something like this, they'd have to use a pseudonym and publish either through a secular channel or independently because of all the all-too-easily offended nature of today's church ("You can not believe in demons today!"), yet this reminds me of the offensive nature of the Bible- revealing the ways of the natural and spiritual worlds without barriers, without a care about how the populace would react, its purpose is to reveal the truth, not appeal to people's wishes about who they are (or it'd be far thinner). It also made me wish the CBA wouldn't exist so Christian authors could write the way they feel they could (like Dracula, which has no swearing, but is considered too "horrific" by the church to be "Christian", ridiculously enough).
If anyone should feel the entitlement to be offended at all, it should be God, not us humans who are filled with offensive sins anyway. So, I don't care about the language usage or the bizarre sexual/violent content, I can see this being the original CHRISTIAN horror story since it deals with the graphic, grotesque, disgusting, aberrant, dark, and ultimately twisted nature of pure evil... and how God Himself is the only to deal with evil itself, it doesn't provide alternative "humanist" methods, it presents a HARDCORE battle between pure good and pure evil and that relentless battle for each soul, no matter what it takes.
The next blog I write about this book will be a full review. Yes, I'm excitedly looking forward to it in the near future.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Farewell May

This has certainly been quite a month for me. As I'm sure this coming month will be as well.
Many projects I'd wanted to work on I had not much time to do so, maybe I will this month.
Here's what I'll be working on (hopefully) book-wise:
The Forbidden Invasion (dubbing it a "post-apocalyptic horror/thriller", and apparently people are willing to be offended to read it as some have acknowledged when I asked on facebook)
Plain Jane (a short story)
DeadHunt (Part 1 of the Jeffrey Krowe Chronicles, this book is the one I've written the most in at this point)
The Pariah (a short story)
Love, In The Flesh (a historical fiction [NOT ROMANCE!] set during Jesus' life, will be more accurate in the timeline and the linguistics/culture than most books about Jesus' life that I've read. Yep, I'm doing it in a way I'm familiar with)

Some works I'll be working on details before I actually get to work on them:
Darkest Reign (Part 1 of The Abnormal Traveler Saga, a sci-fi series that traverses basically every known subgenre of sci-fi)
Incongruity (Part 1 of an as-yet titled sci-fi series)
Bloody Rebel (hold on to your hats- it's vampiric fiction [no, I'm not trying to sell out] set in London in a future where it's controlled by total anarchy and the demons of the 7 Deadly Sins)
We No Longer Believe in Heroes (contemporary suspense)
Grips (straight-up psychological horror set within a haunted hotel)
Searflash (techno-thriller set within a horror story about a prophet and a terrorist set on vengeance)
Tragic Beauty (part 1 of a series about one of the things today's church is so afraid to talk about lest they offend people or get laughed at- pornography and how it could become interactive in our world)
The Street's Fighter (cyberpunk mystery)
Dystropolis (cyberpunk techno-thriller in a metropolis that is, in every way, one step away from falling total anarchy and disarray)
Perceptuality (sci-fi murder/mystery dealing with time jumps and reality shifts)
Contract City (a bizarre genre-bending action-mystery dealing with hitmen and complex political machinations, or something like that :)
The Originalist (dark fiction dealing with an amnesiac trying to figure out who really is and why he's so good at torture and interrogations, and why there are people after him like they're trying to kill him). Speaking of torture...
An Extreme Trial (grueling, graphic dark mystery dealing with domestic torture and how people react today when it comes to finding out the darkest secrets we have, even though we claim that, as Christians, we're supposed to overlook our dark pasts to see the new creations in God. This, second to The Forbidden Invasion, is my darkest story idea, dark enough that I actually flinch at the thought of a couple scenes).

Oh, last thing: it's not only books that I'll be trying to work on. Depending on how this summer goes on, I'll let you know how things go. Maybe next month I'll post a couple reviews of books that I really need to let you know about. (Prophetess by Keven Newsome, for one)

Monday, April 22, 2013

A Hero(ine) Worth Cheering For: my Tomb Raider review

Even when the original was released when I was a preteen starting to experience hormones, Tomb Raider didn't get me very interested. Besides her bust line looking to fake (do video game characters get plastic surgery?), the series itself suffered (for me) from tank controls (keeping her from moving in a lifelike manner, no matter the gen system), awkward encounters with unbelievable creatures, not-very-believable storylines, etc. Even when the last one before the reboot came out, I could not even fake interest. Even with the improvements done to her face for the Anniversary Edition, she still looked like a "dollface," not a human being. Then news about the reboot came out, and I immediately took ne about Lara's newly-designed face and model and was thankful they went for realism, not idealism.
Now we get the real deal of a woman.
This, quite honestly, was an exhilarating experience, watching a naïve young woman who lost both parents before the game's events become a force to be feared and reckoned with.
It starts off when Lara's boat goes into a bizarre storm system in the Dragon Triangle (an actual geographic area, go ahead and look it up) to search for a mythical island that she is positive really exists (and prove big-headed scientists wrong about the location). But there is a problem, in going into the storm system, the ship gets BADLY wrecked and the crew gets separated from Lara. Before Lara can get their attention, she gets knocked out by... someone.
From there, all sense gets lost, and nightmares get realized.
Upon waking up, Lara shows she's not just some other video game character that either stays silent nor immediately "knows" what's going on, but is frightened by what she sees. And to get out of what she's in, she realizes she will have to hurt herself ("Oh God... this is going to hurt!") and hurt she gets. Gets ablaze, falls in midair, then lands with a spike on the ground protruding through her side. But no time to fix it and let it heal, she needs to escape where she's from, which is a cave that proves to be truly bizarre, with imagery reminiscent of the religiously creepy atmosphere of Bioshock 2. Only a couple notches crazier.
And as if the hurt she'll go through throughout the entire game will not be bad enough, she has to endure psychological pain as well- the first person she shoots a gun at. In this gaming generation, we're so focused on "kill-target-to-advance-story" that this comes as a realistic stunner. A person looking for her, finds her, makes a disturbing sexual advance on her, yet doesn't rape her, instead, he simply tries to kill her (by choking), through 2 QTE's, she gets the enemy's gun and fires (first shot she gets made me cringe) then one last shot. And it's her response that drives the realism home effectively. She doesn't take a breather like it will be fine, doesn't shrug it off and call it a day. She does what many war veterans describe as their first kill or killing many then do: she vomits from adrenaline overload and the thought that she's killed a person, sure, a game character, but, in the gaming world, a person that won't regenerate nor spawn back to attacker with a vengeance. She keeps in contact with a mentor through a walkie-talkie and, when she describes killing the adversary, she says "I killed him... I had no choice." He doesn't soften the tone, doesn't cheer her up, but drives the realism even farther, "That could not have been easy, Lara."
Then it gets more intense after that. And not only in the torment, but the mystery of the island itself. The scriptwriting shows itself to be thought-out very well, having many complex themes intertwined into the story, with people sacrificing their selves to keep Lara going forward to her ultimate goal, even when she does not want to because of their sacrifices.
With all the stuff that Lara was going through, I ended up thinking an uncanny thought, a very candid one, Come on Lara, you can do what I probably couldn't do myself! Talk about being honest with one's self.
Now comes one of the biggest surprises in the game- the trophies (I have a PS3 copy, ok?). With the exception of two (one of them only kinda), the trophies don't deal with the story. The only ones that do deal with getting every bit of dialogue from all the characters during the story, the other being when you beat the game. The rest deal with killing/looting animals of different sorts, collecting GPS caches, artifacts, journals, environment-related tasks (like burning zealot flags in the mountain village), and completing the optional tombs (and there's plenty). This game is a first for me. You don't gauge how far you are in the story from the trophies gained, so you have room to wonder what's going on and have extra room to explore around, collecting XP to upgrade your weapons and improve your hunting expertise (and more).
Good move, Square Enix!
Now, I got this game for more than one reason. One was because the designers decided to go for realism over idealism (can't state that detail enough). Another was, a Christian-based review site that's not so much Biblically-based as it as solely focused on family-friendly content. In other words, on their review for this game, they moved the overall message of the game itself. The reviewer claimed they'd suffered a "misogynistic guilt trip," missing the core of the game- that a young naive archaeologist will have to overcome extreme odds to survive a lethal, brutalizing world, and won't come out unscathed, let alone clean.
What this video game does (through all the death-defying set pieces, crumbling worldscapes, QTE's, first-time experiences, becoming a fearful sight to a male-only cult, and so much more intense things) is create a relatable, enjoyable, likable heroine.
With how the ending went, I do hope Lara will have an equally intense and interesting adventure, welcome, Survivor!
My review: 5/5

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Understanding Gandalf now

There is a scene in Fellowship of the Rings where, during the talk Gandalf has about responsibility and the dangers of carrying the One Ring to Frodo, after some thought, Frodo exclaims that he will do what's been asked of him, and not solemnly either. Rather, with some enthusiasm. In both book and film, Gandalf's reply is pretty much verbatim- "No matter how long I'm around your kind, you hobbits always manage to surprise me!"
When news hit about the bombing in Boston, there was one thing I was expecting all day, all night, all next day, and all next night to hear... yet I didn't hear it. People shaking verbal fists at God, demanding that He show Himself. For once, I heard nothing like that. What actually happened was something I rarely see during a tragedy on American soil- the community acting as one living, communicating, interacting body.
Sure, there's already a number of conspiracy theories flying around, everything from the predictable "Muslim terrorists" to "American government" being behind it, this happening, that happening, yet I haven't heard word of anyone chewing God out (or cussing Him out) for the three people who died and the couple dozen injured to any degree. Instead, I saw pictures and videos of people running right into the epicenter of the danger zone (without a second thought, it seemed) to help others out. Runners who griped that they weren't doing as good as they expected their selves to be found theirselves thankful that they had a chance to do something more meaningful and impacting than proving theirselves race-worthy. Restaurants opened to help the starving without charging anyone, volunteers freely gave blood (far more than the Red Cross had asked for), tents got set up for people to recover under and get looked at. Even atheist comedian Patton Oswalt never said anything denigrating God, but gave a word of inspiration (yep, that shows God can even use an atheist as a source of hope), and a memorable quote from Mr. Rogers became an instant viral pic on facebook to be shared, helping us through yet another dark time.
Yet, for once that I can recall, no one showed doubt against God, everyone was actually being God-like in character, helping people, encouraging one another, nothing negative (aside from the 3 casualties) showed up to show the ugly side of human nature.
Who knew my own home nation could do something to surprise this jaded American? Now I know how Gandalf the Gray felt when he told Frodo his surprise.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Just an Irish gamer

Immediately before all the controversy over gun control, there was major talks and debates over whether the mass shootings in America over the past 3-5 years were a byproduct of video game violence.
As an avid gamer since I was a young kid, I can officially tell you I don't find the logic behind the statement. Why? It's easy.
My brother, when I told him the government was trying to pass yet another law to prevent violent video games (if not video games overall) from being sold, let alone being put on shelves, he had a two-in-one response.
1. They won't be able to do it, not only because video games have one of the biggest and strongest fanbase industries in generations, but because they started using technology, in the first place, as a way to train soldiers in the army on how to shoot, react to situations, etc. They'd essentially have to also ban an effective method of training soldiers, especially those who've never used guns up to that point.
2. This one was more personal to both of us. We were both raised on video games, including violent ones. And, as kids, the most violent one we played is still, to this very day, on every list of top banned/controversial games list, is consistently at the very top of the list. We both played it frequently and turned out fine (don't look at me like that!). That game was Mortal Kombat. Known for its extreme, gratuitous, over-the-top hyperviolence, it was the reason a politician came up with the ESRB.
Granted, some people have psychological reasons that they shouldn't play games, the problem is that we would not know who they are unless they played a game.
Like in centuries past, when a person did something considered "strange" and were called "witch" out of ignorance and not looking into the evidence but, rather, going by personal bias, when mass shootings happen anywhere, or any other kind of shocking violence (and I have the sick feeling that, in due time, there will no longer be a thought of how "shocking" any kind of violence will be since we're getting desensitized), politicians immediately pipe up that it was because of violent video games, case closed, everyone back to your day job. If only life could be so easy, huh?
Not everyone who commits a crime has ever played a video game. A man stabbed another man over in Europe when a certain game was popular on the PS2, and when our government officials claimed the man just HAD to have had played the game, the man said, "I've never heard of Manhunt."
Can you say epic face palm moment?
Anyway, I'm not the only one who sees no logic in taking away violent video games from the shelves, as I saw an author, Bruce Hennigan, post a few articles on his site ( about his thoughts on the matter, including a response from his own gamer son (who's a little older than me) about the entire subject. It was well thought-out, balanced, provoking (in a very good way), and, if the government has its way in the future and reflects the book 1984, Bruce's son's response could either be considered invalid or just get taken down and he'd be forced to be quiet on the matter, anything just so the government can be made to look like it knows... "best"?
I admit, I do have a pretty bad temper at times, but it doesn't stem from playing violent games all my life (including the reboot Tomb Raider, the Dead Space series, the Assassin's Creed series, Gears of War, etc.), it actually comes from my Irish heritage, among other parts of my heritage. I do believe that even if I never once played a violent game, never watched anyone play a violent game, not even watched any video game walkthroughs on youtube, then I would still have this temper. Yes, it can be sharp (as some of my former co-workers at Wal-Mart in Alva can testify), but have I ever thought of gunning down the bullies at any of the schools I attended? Never once. If anything, I wondered what would happen if terrorists had tried to take over the school and I were stuck, not in a classroom, but in (get ready to laugh) the bathroom, having more free reign. I knew, even then, the mental scenarios were all implausible, but it was never about getting violent, it was about helping others (my schoolmates, even the ones that I couldn't stand with how much they picked on, ridiculed, and mocked me) survive.
That's something I look for in a game, no matter how family-friendly or violent. The positive aspects of the storyline.
Call of Duty series: no matter what tragedies happened, the good guys always looked for a contingency to save America. Yeah, a lot of headshots and explosions, but never a civilian to gun down (except in Modern Warfare 2, which the game allowed you the option to skip the entire level, and playing the level helped one understand all the angles of reasons behind the machinations of undercover warfare and foreign betrayals, but you don't have to play it if you felt like you'd be in the boots of a terrorist, something the news pundits seem to have purposely left out of their reports). In Black Ops 2, though it gets extremely graphic in both the past and the future, you do have important people to protect, and if they die at the hands of the enemies, it's game over, so you have to protect them, period.
Batman: Arkham series: Though the enemies may have guns and knives, make lewd comments about the women, and swear (nothing beyond PG-13 lingo, though), Batman doesn't use a single normal gun (just a shock gun that temporarily incapacitates an enemy), never kills, and doesn't use knives, and he's always trying to protect the innocent. In Arkham City, there's even an occasional side mission where you rescue "political prisoners" from being beaten up and killed by other inmates.
Sleeping Dogs: crippling moves, bone-breaking moves, heavy shoot-outs, a bloodied wedding, gang warfare, even fatal melee moves have nothing on the split-storyline of a man who's trying to be an undercover officer and get in with an old gang who believe above, all else, in respecting one another and having trust.
My brother has quite a collection of violent video games as well, yet some I would never have a copy of for my PS3 because they have no positive aspect in their storyline (biggest example, no reason to give society a reason to hope, only fame and fortune through very gratuitous means).
So, does violent video games cause people to commit extremely atrocious crimes? It depends on one's psychological status. If they know something has the potential to make them snap for whatever reason and they ignore that inner voice telling them they shouldn't play it, it's not the game developer's fault, not the video game industry's fault. It's the player's fault for not listening to inner caution. And to ban games is a sure way to take away games with a strong, solid hopeful storyline that transcends all the violence within.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

No Longer Celebrating Ish-

I mean Easter. Sorry, almost made the typical modern American mistake of calling it by the name of the goddess the original festival is named for.
What am I talking about? The same "Christian" thingamabobber that kids in church are raised up on. You know, Easter bunny, colored eggs, egg hunts, blah, blah, blah.
As a kid, there was something strange about Easter to me: the eggs, bunny, hunt, treats did not make sense to me when put into context with the Bible.
At all.
In college, I would hear about how Babylon had its own city-official religion, simply called the "Babylonian religion," and of the myriads of gods and goddesses it had worshipped, the goddess of fertility (yep, meaning sex, and plenty of kids) was known as Ishtar. Linguistically, my mind began to notice that Ishtar did have an eerily similar ring to "Easter" yet it wouldn't be the only thing I would find out.
How was the Easter festival in Babylon like? No egg hunts. Nothing childish. For the goddess of fertility, nothing but sex, and in full view.
There was a recent episode of World's Worst Tenants I had seen on TV where a tenant was being warned through their landlord's client that they could not be having sex in full view of the place they lived in. In other words, they were having sex on the balcony. Crazy thing was, the lady claimed to have a fetish where she got sexually crazy by not having it be in privacy. Strange world we live in, huh? But during Easter in Babylon, that really was how it was like- and it was mandatory. And, no, it was not strictly one woman with one man. It was anyone with anyone, not strictly one partner. But, just like many of the stories of the Bible that we've watered-down so they would not be offensive to unbelievers and kids, Easter itself was watered-down to be kid-friendly. But now, after years of research dealing with the festival, the traditions, and comparing it all to the Resurrection, I can say, for sure, that there is nothing about Easter that's connectable to the Resurrection.
And, remember, just because the women who came to give the corpse of Yeshua in the tomb some perfume mistook Yeshua for the gardener does not mean that He was petting a little bunny. That doesn't count for justification. I choose to celebrate His Rising, not a symbol of Ishtar's debaucherous festival.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Winter Sparrow by Estevan Vega: A Review

Have you ever felt out of place, like you don't belong or, worse, like you're unlovable? If so, you could place yourself in Mary's shoes. She's getting ready to get married to Joshua, an architect. Mary, a painter, can see inspiration on many fronts, but it's not always getting that inspiration, especially after a tragedy happened when she was a little younger in high school. Before getting married, Joshua shows Mary the mansion he's inherited and will live with Mary when married.
While exploring the run-down areas and wings, she sees the one area that gives her hope of a good life, an exquisitely, elegant, and unbelievably beautiful garden (with Estevan's powerful word smithing skills, I can imagine it, and my jaw dropped at the imagery). Yet, while there, she spots a tree in the courtyard with a single word carved into its bark, and something about it, Mary doesn't know what, bothers her on a level she doesn't comprehend, then she sees something strange, if not a little unsettling.
This will be the start of strange things that happen to Mary while she's married to Joshua.
Though Estevan's a powerful Christian writer, he doesn't abide by today's standards of Christian fiction writing, so this is not a light read, there are parts that are hard to fathom, some of the pain described, some of the circumstances that are just out there. And even a brief conversation between Mary and her little sister that implies hypocrisy. Yet it gets weirder, as it seems anything with Estevan's writing does, only, as much as I've read from him, this definitely took things to a new level of weird, yet, by the end of the story, I understood what was going on and why he wrote it the way he did. A beautiful, unsettling, dark, at times humorous, at times harrowing, frightful tale about how true love (not the tainted, flat portrayal in Hollywood films today) looks like no matter the consequence, and the end of it, with some hindsight, makes complete sense to me about what's going on, making it feel more true-to-life than a dark fantasy novellum.
I imagine, if this isn't Estevan's stride, that he will hit his stride and craft a masterpiece that will drop my jaw very effectively, even better than the beautiful garden of Joshua's estate.
Also, it makes me wonder if there could be a potential sequel in the works..?

Slow inspiration

There's a recently new Dell commercial, featuring a man who goes on a train at a specific time every day he goes to work. He goes early to find inspiration for a comic book (maybe graphic novel) he draws in. The narrator is right about something when it comes to one's inspiration, and using him with it: "Sometimes, inspiration comes slowly."
Stephen King would know. In his book The Waste Lands, he has Roland Deschain constantly referring to when he beat his mentor, Cort, in a duel, to prove he had the merit to be a gunslinger. In the book's timeline, sixteen hours after defeating Cort, Roland goes to bed with a hooker. In the afterword in his next book in that series, Wizard and Glass, Stephen reveals that, though it was only sixteen hours difference in the storyline, it took him 26 YEARS to finally think of a way to bridge the events and the courage to write it down. Yep, inspiration came quite slowly for him, but he finally got it and wrote it down.
And now, 36 years after releasing one of his fan-favorite books, The Shining, he is giving his fans what they've been waiting for all these decades afterward (and that book was released a decade before I was born!), a sequel called
Though it has been quite some time, inspiration had come to Stephen, through multiple inspirations over time.

Personally, I know the feeling of inspiration being slow. To date, I have been inspired to think of over 100 stories, some have taken a long time to get inspired, others took just a quick thought. So, remember, if you think there will be nothing to inspire you to do something that's not considered "mundane," don't give up, inspiration can be slow, but, as God constantly reminds me through inspiration, it will come.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Welcome to the Freakshow!

There can be many things one doesn't have to look hard to notice. In our fallen world, one thing that's exceedingly clear is that words hurt.
Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.
The logic is more broken in that statement than the bones.
After a lifetime of being verbally assaulted for being very different, I have a load of experience on the painful power of words. One such word that tends to be a punch in the face is "freak", something that I've been called at one time or another. And yet, strangely enough, I've grown accustomed to it. Not in the sense of "Great, getting called freak again, oh well, just let it happen," but rather in accepting that I am, in fact, a social freak.
In other words, I use a socially demeaning term in different context than is intended, and it tends to throw people off. From the popular times of hippies, Christians were called "Jesus Freaks," at first an insult. Then dc Talk came around and used the term as an anthemic proclamation ("I'm not ashamed to eb a Jesus Freak!"), though there may be one or two somewhere that hates that use of the term (like the curator for the hyperlegalistically religious, Dr. David Stewart, using the Webster dictionary's definition to justify his hatred of the term).
I had a boss in my first job in OK that, when he introduced me to the new co-workers, would call me "Jason, a.k.a., Jesus Freak." Since he knew my typical response, I think he always pruposely said that so he could enjoy my response.
"Hey now, get it right, it's Trouble-making Jesus Freak!"
But now for another thought, one that uses the viewpoint of postmodernism to a unique advantage. Perspective.
On the back cover of Winter, there's a tagline about being different.
"We're all freaks, it's just a matter of perspective."
Well, that is true. But, more recently (Winter was released back in 2011), there's been a new show released on AMC, called Freakshow.
In the first episode, George Bell (America's 2nd tallest man) comes to see the curator of the Venice Beach Freakshow. The curator, Todd Ray, has his blood family (his wife, son, and daughter) alongside his extended family, who are the freakshow. He doesn't push them away like most of society might, he accepts them as part of his family in general, and they are grateful that somehow out there understands. George, at first, is highly reluctant to join, since the term "freak" had always been used at him negatively in reference to his height and crude jokes made at him. He let it be known how he feels about it, and Todd Ray understands completely and lets it be known, sensitively. Close to the end, George accepts how these people are, despite the strange looks he's gotten here and there throughout the episode, and is glad there's not just one person, but a group of people willing to accept him no matter what. And joins the Freakshow.

My only question is this (and it's in relation to the church): whatever happened to us accepting people wherever they are in life? There's church doctrines that prevent people from even entering the church doors if they are not already a Christian, let alone if they're curious about something.
Well, world, I may be a Jesus Freak, but I'm also just a social freak, very different in every way and am not afraid of showing people acceptance, no matter how "different" they may be.
Welcome to the Freakshow!

Monday, February 11, 2013

A V-Day Project

For my first post, I'd like to introduce an innovative project for this year's Valentine's Day.
Having never had a girlfriend for Valentine's Day, I have pesonal experience on how depressing it can be to have no one around that loves (save for family), so I'd like to do something different.
This Valentine's Day, if you're a Believer in the Bible, make RANDOM V-Day cards that don't strictly say "I love you," but have them be randomly inspirational. Write something in them (for fun, whatever amount of cards you're making, make sure no two have the same statement) and make the statements Biblically correct, not politically correct.
Our world is entirely focused on hedonism- that is, "all for me." Sadly, I know some churches that are like that. This will be different. Make sure to have the central theme of each statement be about having love and compassion for them. If you want the statements to be subtle, go for it, if you want to make them referential, by all means do it.
Not everyone has a "significant other" to be with, and some, because of the world's expectations for Valentine's Day, will no longer feel like they have anything to live for. Prove them wrong compassionately.
Up for this project? Just remember, if you go for it, be serious about it, don't hold anything back and definitely have no fear ing iving the cards to any given, random stranger you meet anywhere.