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Adventurer’s Remorse/I Still Love Porn

My Friends,
   So I took a trip around the world and all anyone asks me about is the guy who jerked off beside me on the train.  That is the sum total of my meanderings de la monde.  Apparently the most eventful thing that can happen to you in the world is to have a quasi-homeless dude tug his crank beside you.  It bugs me but its also partly my fault; after all, I didn’t have to make it known that this event happened.  Yet somehow I knew it would make a good story.  Little did I know how right I was.
   Other experiences which may have had a more profound impact on me just don’t translate well into storytelling on the blog or around the lunch-table at work.  So as an easy out I just told the story I knew would elicit the desired response (mirth).  And to my credit I have got pretty good at telling the story and its much better than it originally was.

I always wanted the story of “The Masturbator on The Train” to have a dewback in the background.  And now, with “The Masturbator on The Train: Special Edition”, its finally there.

   As much as I hate having my adventure reduced to one (sordid) incident, this isn’t even the first time its happened.  For example, I spent a summer out in B.C. a few years back and although it was in many ways an experience whose greater effect on me cannot be encapsulated in words, when the topic of B.C. comes up, I inevitably talk about the size of the salmon I caught and “the Spirit Bear”… 
…which I saw.
Ditto for two months of backpacking in Australia.  Being in the outback was an experience which defies words, but if anyone asks I will almost certainly reference getting stung by a scorpion.  
Its a cool story, after all  
   Finally, my time in my other favourite desert, Afghanistan, is typically summed up with a story about the heat or the IED we drove over that didn’t blow up because it was water-logged.  Its unfortunate that our most important experiences must be reduced/distilled to the most communicable/relatable stories.  The more esoteric and meaningful aspects of our lives and experiences are either too difficult to communicate or not palatable to others.  Like if I’m at work shooting shit the shit with the boys about travel, am I more likely to bring up the beautiful mixture of feelings I felt while on the road; happiness to be free pursuing what was my highest aspiration yet also sadness for all that I had left behind, or will I bring up the topless beach I went to in Spain? (Protip: I’ll prolly bring up the story with boobies in it)
   Why does it have to be like this?  I think its a result of the society we live in; we tend to value the whole less than the interesting/marketable/sexy (i.e. exploitable) parts.  This is why we tell anecdotes instead of sharing feelings. This is why people visit resorts and not the rest of the country the resort is in.  This is why Hustler et al. show extreme close-ups of women spreading their vaginas.  
This is actually a brilliant cover

   Its just that, pornographic; we like to reduce things to their constituent parts for ease of consumption.  Yet something qualitative is most certainly lost in the process.  When you’re bombarded with all these images and no discernment or thought is required on your part, you will inevitably devalue what you are being bombarded with.  I don’t blame you, you get bored.  
   Everything (people, products, and our most cherished experiences) is for sale in our society, but people don’t want the cow, the woman, or the life experience.  What they want, respectively, is the filet, the vagina or the sleazy story about public masturbation.
Stay Thirsty,
-Andre Guantanamo
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My Favourite Fictional Weapons

My Friends,
   I have been wrestling with ideas for what to write about for the last week and have a few unfinished drafts to show for it.  But I find I have been starting out on what seem like promising and introspective topics and hitting roadblocks the whole way.  The topics I want to write about very soon are “The Effects of Laws and Rules,” “The Wrong Way to Argue.””The Proper Way to Treat a Woman,” and “The True Power of Honesty.”  Rest assured I will endeavour to flesh out these topics in the near-future.
   However, in the meantime I feel some levity is in order.  One can’t simply ponder deep, existential questions and not take time to indulge in some more frivolous inquiries.  Having spent part of last evening watching Star Wars reviews on redlettermedia.com and discussing how episodes I-III could have been much better, I was once again reminded of how the lightsabre has always enchanted me.  This of course led me to think about my other favourite fictional weapons as well and compile a list which I will share with you now.
   **Note: The weapons listed don’t have to be implausible or fantastical, simply featured prominently in fiction.  Some are actual weapons used notably by fictional characters or are based on real-life equivalents.

Lightsabre – Star Wars Universe

   
   “An elegant weapon for a more civilized age,” the lightsabre was an obvious inclusion as it was the inspiration for this list.  With so many variants to choose from it is hard to pick a favourite incarnation, but Darth Vader’s red one gets point for…well, belonging to Darth Vader.  I’d like to think that as the human race advances its knowledge of superheated plasma and the manipulation of magnetic fields that we will one day be able to build these weapons.  I would rate the importance of lightsabre R&D somewhere above ending world hunger as far as global priorities go.


Tuco’s Custom Revolver – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly



   After being double-crossed by Clint Eastwood’s “Man With No Name,” Tuco resolves to get revenge. His first order of business is to procure some heat.  After having his common wares rejected, the gunsmith pulls out the premium firearms for Tuco; “Remington, Colt, ____, Smith & Wesson, Colt Navy,  J____, another Remington…”  The list reads like an antique revolver enthusiast’s wet dream but Tuco remains unimpressed.  He proceeds to dismantle the guns and take the choice components from each to assemble his ideal firearm in what is one of the coolest scenes in the film.  And though he doesn’t fare too well in the final standoff with “Blondie” and “Angel Eyes,” he does manage to get some good killin’ in.


Cerberus – Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII (PS2)



   This revolver is only a revolver in the loosest sense of the word.  While it has only three chambers to house three cartridges which are fired simultaneously with each trigger pull, somehow it can fire 18 rounds before needing to be reloaded.  When you can suspend belief to the point that you glaze over this glaring inconsistency, you can really begin to appreciate the elegance of this weapon.
   Since its a magical revolver, it just isn’t subject to the same rules other gats might be subject to.  Case in point: Magical charms can be procured throughout the game and then affixed to the weapon to affect its power, reload speed, weight and accuracy.  When completely decked out with these charms it is a gaudy, cumbersome affair but still kinda gets me hard.  Its kind of like a Tiffany & Co. tennis bracelet, but with bullets.


Green Shell – Super Smash Bros. (N64)



   The oft-underrated green shell is overlooked as one of the better weapons in the game because it can only be thrown, not used for melee.  However, it packs devastating power when it connects and can be ricocheted or even hit again while in motion to increase its potency.  Unlike other pick-ups in the game this one will not cover for your lack of skill, but instead will complement your mastery of a character’s fighting style.


Cougar Magnum/DD44 Dostovei – Goldeneye (N64)

Cougar Magnum
   DD44 Dostovei



   Based on the .357 Ruger Blackhawk and the Soviet TT-30 respectively, these two pistols were vastly different (the former being the much more powerful of the two) but were both more elegant than some of the larger firearms in the game.  If its not already glaringly apparent, I’m a bit gay for pistols, revolvers particularly, and I tended to prefer these two to the more powerful golden and silver handguns in the game for their realism.


Crissaegrim: Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (PSONE)



   The Crissaegrim is quite simply the only weapon you need to find in the game.  Thankfully, the developers had the good sense to make it appear late in the story because when it is equipped you can literally mow down any ghoul that has the audacity to proceed in your direction.  On top its power, each push of the attack button actually causes it to hit seven or eight times in overlapping arcs.  Perfect for patricide against the Prince of Darkness. (ps you play as Dracula’s son in the game)


Battle Rifle – Halo 3 (XBOX 360)



   When I first played Halo 3 I thought this was simply a neutered, 3-round burst version of Halo 2’s fully-auto Battle Rifle.  However, the more I played, the more I came to appreciate it.  It really can dole out some serious damage and the burst fire compels you to make aimed shots instead of spray & pray.  In a hectic battlefield it is an excellent balance of speed and power.

Minigun – Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (PS2)



   An indispensable part of your arsenal when taking on police and military, this incarnation of the minigun scores over its Vice City predecessor by being fully aimable (sic.).  Seriously, I don’t think I ever barricaded myself into a fortified position and started picking off cops without this baby and a ton of ammo.

Ol’ Painless/Lincoln’s Repeater – Fallout 3 (XBOX 360)

Ol’ Painless

Lincoln’s Repeater



   While I played through most of the game with the readily-available energy weapons and power armor, I decided to tackle the expansions with simple combat armor and bullets.  Insofar as video games can be said to be satisfying, satisfying it was.  The “PYOOM-PYOOM” of plasma and laser weapons doesn’t do it for me like the explosion of gunpowder and the report of bullets streaking through the post-apocalyptic air.

M4 Revolver – Killzone 2 (PS3)



   A simple yet effective .357 magnum.  The number of revolvers on this list must be getting tiresome by this point but its my list so have a smile and Coke as they say.  This revolver makes the list not only for its power but its accuracy.  It fires true and as long as you can aim worth a damn it can take out Helghan scum from the other end of a multi-player map.  So effective is this weapon in fact that it has to be earned  to be used in multi-player.

Beer Bottle – Def Jam Vendetta (XBOX)

NO PICTURE AVAILABLE

   Perhaps no picture is needed.  Basically, if your opponent was on the ropes you can pick up a bottle and smash it over their head for an instant knockout.  Far more satisfying than returning it for your deposit.
Lead Pipe – River City Ransom (NES)


   Among the game’s multitude of weapons, including a tire and rock, the lead pipe was king.  It did about the same damage as any other weapon in the game but unlike the rest it made a pleasant ping when it cracked off some fool’s head.


Plasma Grenades – Halo Series



   Like a persistent booger that you wipe on your girlfriend’s sleeve, this bad boy was sticky.  While it wouldn’t do too much damage when it exploded near an enemy, if you managed to “stick” it to someone when you threw it, their death was assured.

Castor Troy’s dual gold 1911s – Face/Off


   I think any young male who saw this movie jizzed their pants when they got a peek into Nicholas Cage’s box of goodies.  But more than the golden dragon money clip holding his Benjis and the profusion of illicit drugs, we were mesmerized by his matching pistols.  Anyone who saw this contemplated “terrorism-for-hire” that day.

High-Frequency Blade – Metal Gear Solid Series



  This weapon was only briefly usable in MGS 2 and completely unusable in MGS 4, despite being featured prominently in the beautiful cinematics, but its pretty much the ultimate in non-lightsabre sword technology (NLST), beating out Blade’s katana in Blade, and Squall’s Gunblade in Final Fantasy VIII.  Definitely looking forward to the upcoming MGS title focusing entirely on swordplay.
Flamethrower – Contra 3: The Alien Wars (SNES)


   There were A LOT of weapon power-ups in this game, and though it wasn’t the most powerful and had only a finite range, the flamethrower had a certain je ne sais quoi which made it the go-to implement for alien extermination.

Dual Enforcers – Unreal Tournament


   In a game chock full of devastating weapons (ie wire-controlled nuke) the basic pistol was my favourite when dual-wielded.  Its faster, secondary mode of fire (gangster style, pictured above), although less accurate, was what really sold me on it.  I don’t play too many video games any more but I have yet to see another game let me bust my gat sideways.  Things just ain’t the same for gangsters…
Anyhow, I could probably go on all night but I have to work tomorrow.  I hope this has made some of you catch nostalgia and who knows, I may even do a sequel.  If there is any egregious oversight (and I’m sure there is) please let me know what I missed.
Stay Thirsty,
-Andre Guantanamo




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