One of the best video games I’ve played

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Let’s talk about Injustice 2 – A fighting video game for PS4. You can fight with DC characters like Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, etc. etc. I always had a dream as a kid (a kid that loved doing karate) – to become a world fighting champion. That didn’t quite work out, injuries and a lack of discipline were my downfall. But at least I can play Injustice 2 and whoop some ass. I won’t lie, I’m still going through a huge learning curve, I only just started playing and I am by no means a natural, but it’s all about improving with the passage of time. That’s what life is about isn’t it? Getting better everyday, learning new things, meeting new people, reaching new HEIGHTS.

One of the playable characters is Damian Wayne, Bruce Wayne’s son. Guess who Damian’s mother is? Talia al Ghul! Which makes his grandfather none other than Ra’s al Ghul, the leader of the League of Assassins/Shadows. In the Injustice story, Damian believes that violent criminals deserve no mercy and must be put down. This obviously goes against Batman’s no killing policy. But Damian is awesome, he fights with a sword and staff.

Now here’s what the Injustice story is all about (it takes place in an alternate universe): Joker orchestrates an elaborate scheme to trick Superman into murdering Lois. Lois is pregnant with Superman’s son. Lois is Superman’s wife and the love of his life. Superman is drugged into thinking that Lois is Doomsday (a giant monster) and proceeds to pulverize a pregnant woman. Oh and then Joker nukes Metropolis.

Superman understandably snaps. While Batman is interrogating Joker after Joker’s horrific crimes, Superman smashes through the wall and into the interrogation room. He grabs the Joker by the collar and slams Joker against the wall. Joker laughs and calls Superman big, dumb and gullible. Superman proceeds to literally rip Joker’s heart out. Then Superman forms a Regime to take over the planet and form a one world government. He becomes a ruthless dictator that has no tolerance for violent criminals. Damian Wayne is his right hand man. Wonder Woman also joins the Regime.

I was alright with Superman until he did a number of things that were too cruel – like deciding that that best way to put down rebels (like Batman) from overthrowing his Regime would be to nuke two entire cities (filled with countless innocent people) to make an example out of them. One of those cities was Metropolis, a city that was already nuked. That’s just wrong. Thankfully Superman’s insane plan failed. Also from a story point of view, it’s also wrong because it makes it too easy to side against Superman.

I think it would’ve made for a more interesting story to give Superman redeeming qualities. I think killing Joker was necessary for the good of humanity. Keeping Joker alive is risking the safety of countless innocent people. I was hoping from this point on Superman would’ve become a little like The Punisher, only killing violent criminals who deserve it. I was hoping that Superman’s Regime would’ve been shown to have positive traits as well – like making the world a safer place because violent criminals are put down. Sadly that wasn’t the case. Instead Superman became a complete madman.

Injustice 2 is not just an incredible fighting game, it has a very compelling story. Learn more here.

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Get ready for Geomythology 101!

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Geomythology is the real geological event behind a myth or legend. Of course some myths and legends are entirely fictional but others are based on real historical/geological events. Let’s begin with Teonimanu, a former island of the Solomon Islands that somehow disappeared. Here’s the fun version, or the myth, behind Teonimanu’s disappearance: A cuckolded husband’s wife went to live on Teonimanu with her new lover. The cuckolded husband, humiliated and thirsty for revenge, purchased a wave curse. Yes, a wave curse.

He travelled to Teonimanu on his canoe. Four waves were attached to the front of his canoe and four more on the rear. Once the cuckolded husband reached the island, he planted two taro plants, and then fled to another island. On the day the leaves sprouted, the onslaught began. The cuckolded husband watched in satisfaction as eight powerful waves demolished the island of Teonimanu.

So that’s what I read online but it still leaves a few questions. Were those eight waves that destroyed Teonimanu the same as the ones that were attached to the canoe? Where was the canoe while the Taro plants were growing, on the island of Teonimanu or on the island the cuckolded husband had fled to?

Here’s what I think happened: the canoe was docked near the island the cuckolded husband had fled to. The eight waves were still attached to that canoe. When the Taro plants grew, the waves were “activated”, and they began to surge to towards the island of Teonimanu, gaining momentum and growing bigger like a snowball going down a mountain. And then the waves hit Teonimanu with unrelenting force, destroying the island completely.

So yeah, that’s one version of what happened. What actually happened: a sea-floor earthquake caused Teonimanu to sink. The island was teetering on the edge of a steep undersea slope, so once the tremors shook the foundations, a large landslide carried Teonimanu underwater. Feels like a let-down after hearing the myth right? You can learn more about geomythology here.

Guns

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This post is about two individuals who were present at the Las Vegas shootings about a week ago.

The first is a former marine who stole a pickup truck to drive 30 victims to the hospital. He was able to make two trips before ambulances arrived on the scene. So he went to the hospital and then came back. Then he went again and came back for the second time. When he came back a second time, that’s when ambulances arrived. What’s amazing is that he was fast enough to arrive at the scene twice, before the first ambulance even showed up.

This brave man, Taylor Winston, didn’t have to do what he did. He could’ve stolen the truck and driven himself to safety. But instead he placed his life at risk by staying in the danger zone. He looked for people with the most serious injuries to take to the hospital. Unfortunately he could not rescue as many he wanted to, there were simply too many. Before embarking on this dangerous mission, he checked the nearby parking lot for vehicles that had keys in them. Luckily the first vehicle he checked had the keys sitting right there. Luckily he was not hurt while saving lives.

The second individual is country guitarist Caleb Keeter, member of the Josh Abott band. He used to be a major supporter of the right to bear arms, until the Las Vegas shootings. What transformed him into an advocate for gun control was actually being in the danger zone. He realized firsthand that he couldn’t use his legally owned firearm to defend himself because the police might think he was the bad guy too. It would be difficult for police officers to identify which gun wielding person is a threat and which is not. During the massacre he wrote letter to his parents and his girlfriend, saying goodbye to them in case he didn’t make it. He even wrote a will.

Now some may question the moral compass of individuals who only realize that guns are dangerous when they themselves are getting shot at, but I think many 2nd Amendment proponents do not comprehend the reality of being in the vicinity of a mass shooting because they’ve never been neck-deep in such a situation. Unfortunately that’s just human nature. Here’s how one twitter user summed it up: “It’s frustrating that some people don’t call the fire department until the blaze is at their own front door.”

Here’s hoping we will take steps to prevent tragedies of this kind. But if we do not, then we will need heroes like Taylor Winston to step up.

Two of my favorite quotes

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Have you ever been in a situation where you stood up for what you believed in even though everyone else was against it? Or maybe you wished you had stood up for your beliefs?

Which brings us to today’s quote by Captain America, which is long but damn good.

“Doesn’t matter what the press says. Doesn’t matter what the politicians or the mobs say. Doesn’t matter if the whole country decides that something wrong is something right. This nation was founded on one principle above all else: The requirement that we stand up for what we believe, no matter the odds or the consequences. When the mob and the press and the whole world tell you to move, your job is to plant yourself like a tree beside the river of truth, and tell the whole world – “No, YOU move.”

This quote is especially relevant for Americans who are dissatisfied with their President and the morons who support him. Assuming Trump or climate change do not end up destroying humanity, future historians will have their work cut out for them when it comes to educating future generations about the 45th President of the United States of America. I won’t be surprised if Trump gets a whole textbook that describes his misdeeds.

While it’s important to stand up for what you feel is right, it’s also equally important to be flexible. Being rigid and close-minded is dangerous not only for you, but for others around you. Which brings us to Bruce Lee’s quote on why it’s important to be like water.

“As you empty your mind, be formless, shapeless, like water. Now you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle, it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.”

This doesn’t mean you should keep your mouth shut in the face of injustice. All it means is – keep an open mind and be ready to adapt if necessary. And if you do find yourself having to go along with something that doesn’t align with your values, just wait for the right opportunity to “crash like water”, or in other words, wait for the right opportunity to rebel.

Bruce Lee’s quote is applicable even if you never find yourself in a situation that requires you to stand up for what is right. Think about your daily life. Are there times when things would be easier if you were more like water? For me personally, being water is a challenge because it requires you to be patient and patience is something I need to consciously work on.

So basically, it doesn’t matter if the cup is half empty or half full, all that matters is that you are what is inside the cup!

Human Stampede In Indian Railway Station

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In Mumbai, India: A stampede on a pedestrian bridge linking two railway stations led to almost two dozen deaths and a lot more injuries.

How it happened: A lot of people were taking shelter under the roof of the bridge to escape the sudden, heavy downpour. And then 4 trains came in at the same time, adding to the already massive crowd, and since it was morning rushhour, people were scrambling up and down the stairs to get on or off the bridge. (Also it doesn’t help that so many hawkers are peddling their wares on the bridge.) The rain made the stairs slippery. So when a few commuters slipped, people fell on top of them. And when falling concrete hit the bridge railing, everyone thought the bridge was going to collapse so they made a run for it. Many people died due to suffocation, there was literally no space to breathe.

Many say this was a tragedy waiting to happen because there is only one bridge when there should be a lot more. In fact there are many tweets going back 4-5 years, where people warned that a disaster was bound to happen on this bridge. Many are also furious that instead of allocating funds to improve shoddy railway infracture, the government of India is shelling out $530 million to build a statue of a famous Indian historical figure – Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, an honorable warrior king who fought bravely to overthrow the Mughal Empire in India.

The bronze statue will be brandishing a sword while charging on a horse. That’s pretty awesome to visualize until you stop to consider the fact that there are millions of hungry people in India. The government is likely thrilled that their statue will be twice as tall as the Statue of Liberty and almost 40 meters taller than the world’s current tallest memorial – a statue of Buddha in China. Sounds like a dick-measuring contest to me. I’m sure Shivaji himself would’ve rather used the money to improve Mumbai’s railways in order to prevent needless deaths. Don’t be surprised when he turns over in his grave after his statue is built.

The Things We Do For Love

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How do you feel about wrestling a dangerous animal to impress a potential life partner? That’s what you have to do if you’re a man seeking a wife in Madagascar. These men wrestle wild bulls to impress future wives so that babies can be made. God forbid if your family name is eliminated because you suck at bull wrestling.

The rules are simple. The wrestling goes on until the bull gets tired or until the man dies or gets injured. Ideally you want to tire out the bull, that really gets the ladies soaking wet. I’d definitely get killed trying to win over a future wife in this manner. I can’t even last 15 seconds on a mechanical bull.

Thankfully this isn’t the norm for men all over Madagascar. If it were, I’m sure the country’s population would be in steep decline, because I’m betting most men cannot merely tire out a bull. This tradition mainly takes place in some villages, where bull wrestling is the only form of entertainment that brings together large groups of people. When there are no bars or clubs to meet single people, the only sensible option is to risk your life in order to shed the ‘forever alone’ label.

Take a look at the video that inspired this blog post. At the end of the video, one guy feels good about doing pretty well in his bull wrestling match. But when he tries talking to a girl, she pushes him away and tells him to leave her alone. Damn, that’s rough.

How well do you know your grandparents?

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I’ve always had trouble getting to know my grandparents because they don’t speak English. And now I only have one left. But I’m going to make a better effort to get to know my grandmother, because everyone has a story that deserves to be heard. I’ll try to learn more of the language she speaks but I’m honestly afraid that’ll take so much time that she won’t even be alive by the time I learn the basics. I think it’s probably a better idea to get my mom or one of my friends to translate.

I was watching Master of None on Netflix and Season 1 Episode 8 was about old people. The grandparents of two characters had very interesting stories. Let’s start with the grandfather. He fought in the Korean War. Now he and some other soldiers were parachuting into the war zone but it was so windy that the soldiers didn’t land where they intended to, they got blown all over the place. Now the grandfather got stuck in a tree. There were so many branches that he couldn’t really move. He wanted to cut himself free but he dropped his knife. And then he sees a group of four enemy soldiers coming towards him.

Now the grandfather’s trying not to make a sound, even though the enemy is right below him. And then one of the enemy soldiers bends down and picks up the grandfather’s knife. He realizes he only has mere seconds before the enemy looks up and sees him there. So he pulled out his gun and fired at them. Then he shot some of the branches that he was stuck in and managed to climb down the tree. When he got to the ground he saw that one of the enemy soldiers was still alive. But the grandfather didn’t have any bullets left… so he killed the last soldier by smashing the butt of his gun on the soldier’s head.

Such a happy ending! Let’s move on to the second story, the grandmother. Here’s how she got married: some boy in her neighborhood walked up to her and said, “You’re beautiful. I’m going to marry you.” That’s it. So simple. Then she had children with him and when those children grew up they put her in a retirement home because they were worried she couldn’t take care of herself when she slipped and fell that one time. She hates it at the retirement home. They don’t let her go out unless a family member takes her out, and her family doesn’t visit her as often as she would like.

Now in the early days of her marriage, before she had kids, she stole a car. She was walking on the street and saw a man rush into some furniture store. This man left his car running, and she just felt like getting in and driving… so she did. The car was a convertible and decades later she still remembered the wind on her face. For the first time she felt like she could go anywhere and do anything.

But then the car started making weird noises and the hood started smoking. She thought about calling her brother who was a mechanic but he’d just be mad at her for being a thief. So she just stopped the car in some random neighborhood and got out and took the bus home. When she got home she resumed her normal life: she cleaned the house and cooked dinner. Her husband never even knew what she’d done.

As you can see, old people have some fascinating stories. Probably not as dramatic as these two examples, but worthwhile nonetheless. Hell, even if the stories are boring, just listen anyway because old people tend to be lonely and like I said at the beginning of this post, everyone deserves to be heard.