Andrew Yang – A presidential candidate I feel compelled to write about

TLDR: Check out this guy running for president: Yang2020.com No matter your political orientation, this man has ideas and solutions worthy of your time!

Let me start off by saying that this position is super awkward for me. Talking, and arguing about politics is partially in my blood as a man who grew up in Hungary. While I understand that politics engulfs every aspect of our day-to-day lives, I simultaneously hate talking about it, because these days especially there seems to be no political discourse that does not invoke hostility and hatred in all participating. Especially as someone living in Hungary, politics depresses me. I will spare you the details: know just that with every passing day the situation appears to be getting ever more hopeless and ever more depressing. So for the most part, I do my best to repress my cultural desire to politicize, and take special care to avoid doing so online, the environment that is proving the absolute worst for someone who does not have rock-solid defenses, which I certainly do not. Furthermore, I also do my best not to involve deep-seated political issues in my creative work (the ones I share at any rate), though I recognize that my own beliefs are represented in the work I create regardless of whether I intend them to be or not. And yet, for the first time since I have been politically conscious, something has happened that I feel absolutely compelled to write about, and to share with as many people as will listen. It involves a man named Andrew Yang.

I have always done my best not to live in a bubble. It is hard, because like most others, I too feel the need to seek out validation in the things that I already believe. Listening to people passionately propagate ideas that I disagree with on a fundamental level, or even find potentially harmful is painful to me. It makes me want to tune out, to label the bearers of those ideas as ignorant and uneducated, and simply continue to consume the media that agrees with me. At the end of the day it just makes me feel that much less depressed. And believe me, I am very depressed. I have spoken previously in a post about Blizzard games, the company behind World of Warcraft. I talked briefly about how upset I am that the overarching story ideas all have to serve the Horde vs. Alliance narrative of the games. But as I’ve always believed, games only mimic real life, and ridiculous as it may sound, the kind of communication I have seen from supporters of one faction regarding the other very closely resembles the type of communication displayed between the Horde and Alliance of American politics. As far as the game is concerned there is no reason for the factions to be at each other’s throats. The threats they faced were hostile to both of them. In essence, the groups within the fan base had been pitted against each other in order to further fuel sales of the game. And if you think that I am going way too far into hyperbole, then I recommend you think about what you have seen from American political discourse in this century and really reflect upon whether it is at all that different.

I tell you all this, so that you can get a comprehensive picture of what my emotional state is at the time that I am subjected to Andrew Yang. The first I heard of him was from my brother, who only discovered him randomly in a YouTube comment somewhere. I remember that, along with the link to the interview he gave to the Joe Rogan podcast, he had added only a single half-sentence: “This is our president“. At the time I did not know how right he was. I can’t quite remember what was going through my head at the time; it likely had to do with one of the many things that I had to finish in the semester I was currently in. But whatever the reason, I looked at the length of the interview and thought to myself: “Eh, maybe later…”  I knew what his talking points were. Automation has been my number one point of interest since I started studying HR, and it’d been on my radar long before that. In conversations previously, I have described how we deal with the massive amounts of job loss destined to occur as a result of AI and robotics as the question that will define the 21st century. Without listening to the interview I knew that automation was one thing he routinely talked about, and at the time I thought that was all I really needed to know about him. He was, after all, just another one of the myriad folks running for president as a democrat, likely seeing his opportunity in what the left considers Donald Trump’s disastrous administration. But my Mom would not stop talking about the guy, and then I listened to my brother talk at length about his thoughts on the subject and on universal basic income, and for a reason I cannot fully describe, something just clicked. And then I sat down and listened to the interview.

To say that I was blown away would be an understatement for the emotional state I ended up in, and am in fact currently still in. I don’t even feel like me repeating his talking points would matter that much. I would much rather simply direct you to the podcast itself, or literally any other 5-minute interview he’s given on literally any network. That includes news networks that I consider harmful and biased, interviewers I find to be less than fully credible, shows that I have not even previously heard about. Just listen to him talk for 5 minutes, and I think you will feel the same way. Thus far I have seen the man appear in front of various Fox News hosts, numerous town halls, TV and radio shows of all sorts, and to be honest I simply could not stop. Listening to his in-depth, well researched, breathtakingly insightful analysis of the political and economic situation was in and of itself a delight to hear. Even when it comes to a topic that is as much of a political minefield as universal basic income, not a single interviewer with any sort of malicious or legitimate intent could ask him a single question that he could not answer directly, eloquently, politely and without the support of several key studies or sets of data. For the first time after having listened to so many left and right wing politicians avoid directly answering questions to repeat the same four syllable political key phrases, to the point where the presence of a guest politician of any alignment on a news show became a reason for me to switch away, I found myself addicted. Likely it is simply a breath of fresh air to hear someone with a legitimate chance at presidential nomination talk specific numbers and real solutions. But the thing that ended up driving me to the point of crying actual honest to God tears was, and believe me I know how this sounds, scrolling down to the YouTube comments.

The realm of YouTube comments on the internet is oftentimes compared to a bog, a cesspool of humanity’s worst on full display in such a fashion, that it just draws you deeper and deeper in. I remember seeing on YouTube Robert Mueller deliver his speech on his investigation on both Fox and MSNBC Youtube channels. Needless to say on the former he was a snake, charlatan, a crook set out to destroy America. On the other an admired professional, a true public servant, and an American hero. That is the nature of the bubbles we live in: you believe what the narrative is, you let the narrative do the thinking for you. But every single video, every single interview that I could find on Andrew Yang, I had to HUNT for even just a single few comments remotely negative about him. I cannot begin to stress how unheard of this is. To see Americans in this divided political climate on two sides of the aisle come together over anything, and to do so seemingly so unanimously, to the point where negative opinions seem to be so negligible that one could almost describe them as non-existent: this just doesn’t happen. And on freaking YOUTUBE of all places. And as I scroll down on liberal and conservative news channels’ comment sections, seeing the number of people from Republican and Democratic camps rally behind this man and his ideas… As I said, YouTube comments drove me to legitimate tears of joy. I’m actually crying as I write this.

I just want to acknowledge that I realize how gushy all of this sounds. I am fully aware. In a weird way it makes sense that the first time in 10 years I make a significant political statement online would be one so emotionally driven. But there is good reason for it. I described many times how I saw the world around me seem to crumble. How I never felt at home, because I felt surrounded by people who I could never identify with. To see people from so many different backgrounds and so many different political ideologies unite behind a single person like this was just this feeling of hope that caught me off guard. I never expected to get this emotional over an American presidential candidate. And make no mistake: for now that hope is a glimmer. Andrew Yang is polling amazingly well for how little coverage he is receiving. But I simply cannot shake the feeling that the system is deliberately trying to keep him out of the race. Shockingly the left wing Media seems far more biased towards him then the right does, likely because they would favor more “establishment” candidates. But his ideas, his manner, his ability and willingness to engage in discourse with anyone and everyone willing to listen to him, and his ability to defend his ideas in a compelling, thoughtful, intelligent, and polite manner make him, in my eyes, one of the most worthy, and in fact necessary people to become president. My brother was right: this is our president.

So why bother writing about this? I don’t really treat this website as a blog. I don’t frequently share my ideas about everyday life, and I certainly do not engage in political discourse at all if I can help it. As far as my following online is considered, it is so minimal as to have practically no significance. It’s not a pleasant thing to think about, but that’s the truth. Will my posting an article about Andrew Yang make much of a difference? Probably not. But then again, though Andrew Yang is probably not going to become president, he tries anyway. He has a campaign and a plan better than any of his competitors, he tours the country, he talks all who will listen, he goes on news shows most of the Democratic candidates wouldn’t touch with a 40 foot pole, because he is happy for every additional supporter he reaches and every mind he changes. So to stay consistent with that mentality, if just one person reads this post, clicks the links, listens to him talk and chooses to contribute to help him achieve his goal of fixing America, then that means I helped. And if the day comes when our own hatred for each other leads to a conflict that ends us all, all I want in my final moments is to be able to say:  “Though I didn’t have the power to do much, what I did have the power to do, I did.”

A collection of links:

Official campaign page

Andrew Yang on Joe Rogan

Andrew Yang on Ben Shapiro

Andrew Yang with Tucker Carlson

Andrew Yang on the Breakfast Club

Just to name a few. Google his name, or enter it into Youtube and I promise you it will be worth it! Thanks so much for reading! Now I can go back to being politically silent for 10 more years…

Space Amazons – To the Moon

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Picture once again an alternate timeline where the mythological Amazon society was real, and exists up to the present day.

The United States placed the first human being on the surface of the Moon in 1969, and in doing so all but won the race to the Moon. As a result both the other nations of the world and the American public lost interest in space exploration, America would go on to complete 5 more missions on the Moon with near non-existent public attention. Head of Themyscira’s Space Operations, Xanthippe Gazis had succeeded in putting Amazons into orbit multiple times, and was ready to start making their own attempts to reach the Moon. Because the propaganda branch of the Themysciran government agreed that man should not be able to claim to be the only one to have set foot on the Moon, military leadership allowed Gazis to go ahead with her plans. She would have to operate within the budget constraints, however. To get to the Moon she had no more than 6 launches, as many as it took NASA, but with a far weaker rocket.

The Amazon P-14 rocket had been responsible for carrying ships into low-Earth orbit, however it was far too weak to do the same with the vessel planed to fly to the Moon, even with the new efficiency modifications applied. Gazis’ engineering team made the decision to use the “Earth-orbit rendezvous” approach: using two rockets to each carry half of the ship, then assemble the components in orbit. Six launches thus became only three flights. One to test assembly, lander separation and flight procedures, one to do the same in lunar orbit, and one to land. Any of these missions failing would mean no Amazon moon-landing. There was no room for error.

The first mission was executed in 1970, and was deemed a flawless success after the assembly and lunar-lander flight was completed without problems. The second mission saw the first Women to lunar orbit in 1971, however once there, a radar malfunction forced the lander to return early to the command ship. Despite this only half successful mission Gazis chose to allow the third crew to attempt a landing, after the mission commander argued that they could pull it off despite the errors that occurred with the previous crew. So it came, that in 1974, after a lengthy period of tests and examinations, the crew lead by veteran astronaut Petra Arma placed women on the Moon for the first time, and paved the way for Themyscira’s glorious future in space.

This image is of the vessel to make the landing, the Andromache (with the landing craft Alkaia), in Earth-orbit shortly after assembly. Commander Arma oversaw proceedings from inside the command pod, while co-pilot Celaneo Axiotou and engineer Eriobea Kyrkos exited the cockpit to perform the final examination before trans-lunar injection.

Post on DeviantArt here.

Virtuous in the Darkest Dungeon

Here is a game I love very much, yet rarely do any fan art for: Darkest Dungeon.

Darkest Dungeon takes place in a fantasy world beset by eldritch evil beings. As the heir to a noble house, you return to your forgotten home to cleanse it of the horrors unleashed by your ancestor. You manage the reconstruction effort of the local hamlet, as well as guide your unfortunate heroes as they delve into the various infested areas. All the while your efforts are narrated by the haunting voice of Wayne June as the ancestor. The game plays much like X-COM. It is all about risk management, proper preparation, making the best of a bad situation, and living with the consequences of your mistakes.

No Lovecraft inspired horror would be complete without a Sanity mechanic. Heroes have not only health points, but a stress meter as well. If the stress gets to high then their resolve must be tested. Most of the time they will crack under the pressure, turning hopeless, masochistic, selfish, or something similar, causing them to act against your instructions, stress out everyone else in the party, and bring your dungeon-run to an abrupt end.

However, every once in a while when the stress overflows, when the group is on the verge of destruction and all hope seems lost, the hero will turn Virtuous. And when it happens it is the single greatest feeling in the world. She will be engulfed in golden light and bring hope to her companions, as the ancestors voice triumphantly echoes over the scene:

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“Many fall in the face of chaos, but not this one. Not today!”

Post on DeviantArt here.

Dettlaff: a Vampire follow-up

Ever have a great idea for an all encompassing post on a topic then forget several major things from said topic?

In my last post I talked about my own personal experience with the vampire myth, highlighting my favorite portrayals, films and even games. And yet I left out possibly one of the most defining recent examples of a vampire story-line, one that had me once again rooting for the vampire: Blood and Wine, the expansion to The Witcher 3. This is all the more egregious because it was one of the prime examples of a case where the vampire was the tragic hero in my eyes. So let me make up for leaving this out by telling you the story of how I met Dettlaff in The Witcher 3, and the impression he left me with. Spoilers ahead, you have been warned!

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The Witcher is a story about a mutant monster-hunter, in a fantasy world, named Geralt. He wonders the land killing dangerous creatures nobody else is willing to face in exchange for coin. Every now and again though he is sought out by more wealthy and powerful people, even kings and queens. One such event takes Geralt to the land of Toussaint, where the local duchess asks him for help finding out what kind of monster is killing her knights. As the title of the expansion suggests, it is not hard to guess that the creature in question is a vampire, a man by the name of Dettlaff, as Geralt finds out from a friendly vampire he knows, who shows up to help track him down. But the thing about the Witcher is that nothing is as it seems. The writers of the series love to frame situations with clear heroes and villains, that would be totally straight-forward situations in other stories, then toss a few twists in along the way. Good and evil are completely subjective terms here, and as with most Witcher story-lines, this one too is far from as simple as it seems.

marcin-blaszczak-thumbVampires in the world of the Witcher operate by somewhat different rules than in most other versions. They do not burn up in sunlight, for instance, nor are they repelled by garlic or religious symbols. Their transformation abilities are restricted to a single, massive, bestial human-bat hybrid form. But by far the greatest departure from the common rule-set is that vampires do not require blood to sustain themselves. Blood is like alcohol to them, a substance they can survive without, but one they love and crave despite that. So there is nothing other than cruelty and greed behind those vampires who choose to hunt humans for their blood. As a matter of fact, I’m not even sure they count as undead in this world.

Geralt’s vampire friend describes Dettlaff as one who does not partake in the addictive behavior of blood consumption, and through magical means we even get to see Dettlaff execute one of his murders, all the while showing great regret both before and after the deed. Almost as though he is not in control of his own actions. The answer ends up being quite close. As it turns out Dettlaff was being blackmailed. A woman he fell in love with had been taken hostage by criminals who were using her as leverage to force him to kill the duchess’ knights. This kind of moral gray area is pretty much standard for The Witcher. Was he wrong to do it or not? I’m not just being leading when I say “you be the judge”, because I honestly can’t be sure myself.

Giving the monsters human sides is another thing the Witcher does often, so sympathizing with Dettlaff was not surprising to me, hell, I was kind of expecting it. But this would not be a main quest story for a Witcher game without at least one more big twist, and huge moral choice at the end. Geralt goes to rescue the captive lover to free Dettlaff of the blackmail, only to find out that the woman in question was the one leading the bandits. She is the duchess’ sister, and she is out for revenge for her childhood banishment for being born under a bad omen. And as you can imagine, when Dettlaff finds out he goes mad with anger, demanding that the woman be handed over to her or he will wreak devastation on the city until she is. And he follows through. Despite the fact that the sister wanted desperately to murder her, the duchess is entirely unwilling to hand her over to Dettlaff, so Geralt has to take matters into his own hands. As the result of a series of end game choices as to whether to lure out Dettlaff or kidnap the sister, one of several things happens. So let me try to be as systematic as I can with how I approached the endgame. Trust me, this is important.

Based on the interactions I had with the sister (I know, I forgot her name and am too lazy to look it up, sue me) I had absolutely no qualms about handing her over to Dettlaff. Her backstory ends up being something along the lines of being banished from her home for being born under a bad omen, then being abused by the knights quite badly. I don’t know many of the details because when prompted to inquire further about her past I simply told her I didn’t care. Geralt, who speaks more from his own hearth than mine most times, did take the words right from my mouth when he told her she was less interesting than she thought she was. I’m not denying that she has the right to be angry for what was done to her, I’m not even going to argue that the knights didn’t deserve death since even though they never acted as anything other than perfect gentlemen to me she may have known a side of them they didn’t put on display. Where I drew the line at the time was what she did to Dettlaff. He loved her. He loved her enough to murder people he considered honorable men to keep her safe. To a vampire struggling day after day to keep his evil urges in check, to force him to kill, turning him into an accessory… that was more or less the point where I thought to myself: Fuck her. I would hand her over to him, and if he ended up killing her I would say she had it coming. Alas, this is the point where I expected too much of the game.

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Due to my gamer tendency to complete everything I possible can, I ended up helping the sister retrieve an item of sentimental value to her. I did this not because I cared about her feelings in any way, just because it was a task and I wanted to tick it off. However, when I went through with my plan to hand her over to Dettlaff it came into play. I was expecting Dettlaff to prepare to murder her, at which point I would be given the opportunity to interfere or let him (as it happened in a previous expansion in a similar situation). Instead the item in question teleported her away to a place of safety. Dettlaff was furious. He was convinced I had tricked him, and would listen to nothing I said. In his rage I had no choice but to kill Dettlaff, and because I earlier ignored the finer bits of the sister’s backstory, I was missing key information for a certain line of dialog. As a result I received the bad ending, where the naiv duchess tried to forgive her sister, who ends up killing her with a hairpin just before getting shot herself by a crossbow bolt. Fuck me, right? To then make matters worse, the friendly vampire – whose name I do remember: Regis – I mentioned earlier ends up hated and hunted by his kindred for aiding in the death of a fellow vampire, so literally all my intentions went to shit, everyone I cared about died or ended up otherwise for the worse.

tesham-mutna-syanna-is-deadAnd the irony here is, that if this was all a result of wanting to hand over the woman to the vampire, if it was some cruel act of karma come to teach me a lesson and punish me for being bad, I wouldn’t be making such a fuss about it. But it was an act of compassion that ruined the whole thing, namely me going the extra mile to get the sister her keepsake. I know this, because I naturally reloaded my save game from before that event and ignored it. The events change in the following way: Dettlaff kills the sister; I was given the choice to let Dettlaff go, which I immediately took without a second of thought; the vampire swarm attacking the city disperses; the duchess has Geralt thrown into prison for a bit, until she has her mind changed by on old friend of the witcher’s; the duchess lives; Regis is not hunted by the other vampires. And the ending I got still seemed to try and convince me that this was the wrong choice.

Out of curiosity I looked up the other ending, the one the game considers to be the “Happy ending”. Basically imagine the original scenario I got playing out, except if you talk more to the sister, you can eventually convince her to forgive the duchess. In the same scene, where the two got killed for me, they end up hugging it out, and they all lived happily ever after. You know, except the two vampires. One is dead, the other now ostracized by his kind. But who cares about them, I guess? This was not the first time The Witcher’s sense of the correct conclusion to a plot-line was very far from mine, but this one really stuck with me. Specifically because the game made damn sure we saw how much Dettlaff hated to kill, so I assumed he would get some redemption in the end. Yet what the game considers to be the good ending ends up with him dead.

Anyway, that is the beauty of games like these: they are open to interpretation. Each player has their own experience, and what you expect or hope for will likely be very different from what I do. I am pleased that my version of the story ended in a way I was happy with, even if the game did its damnedest to make me feel bad about it. After all, who hasn’t felt so betrayed by a woman, who tricked them into murdering her enemies, that they later unleashed a swarm of angry vampires on humanity until they handed her over to them to execute themselves? … No one? Just me? Well… pretend you didn’t hear that. Later!

An essay on Vampires

Good evening. I’m Lemorack, and I bid you welcome to my site.

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Video games have allowed me to thoroughly examine my own personality from multiple angles. I know that “evil play-throughs” of video games are popular, that is a play-through of an RPG style video game (or similar one where player choice impacts story) where the player role-plays an evil character. Murder, steal, betray, rule the world as an evil overlord and the like. I get the concept. Sometimes it’s just fun to be bad, to let loose and allow all the inhibitions to give way to the built up frustration. It’s make-believe, after all. I have tried multiple times to play an evil character and never finished, because my fragile soul couldn’t handle it. This makes me feel both good an bad. Good, because it means my parents did a good job of raising me to be compassionate by nature, but bad because I can’t help but feel like I’m missing out on some good fun. I did, however, find a loophole in the workings of my conscience: I can easily play evil characters, as long as they’re Vampires.

It is said that everyone is the hero of they’re own story. The key to being truly evil is to start seeing yourself as a hero while you do. I’ve liked vampires for quite a while as effective villains, and I’ve been trying to pinpoint when and why they recently started to turn into heroes to me, if that is actually the case.

Thus far I have three self-portraits where I depict myself as a vampire. The first was an attempt to sort of theme my profile pictures across social media to Halloween, even going as far as to change my twitter display name to Lemorac-ula, in an objectively hilarious play on the name Dracula. I strongly dislike the first picture in retrospect. The goofy grin was a result of me wanting to show of the fangs, just so all who look at the picture can easily identify the mythical creature. The second time around I chose to go more subtle. Of all the profile pictures I had the second Lemorac-ula is likely my favorite (close tie between that and Medivh). The third I never used as a profile picture, as that was never my intent with it. But of all my self-portraits, not just the ones I used as profile pictures, the Vampire Lord takes an easy first place, though that is largely due to the company he keeps.

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I went through most of my youth not having seen a single Dracula film. The only vampire movies I saw were by chance during random flips of TV channels. Most of them were garbage, or sub-par at best. I encountered far more vampires in games. Off the top of my head I’d have to say the first ones had to be from Heroes of Might and Magic III, and the very similar game Disciples II. The first time I played as a vampire in a game was in The Elder Scrolls V : Skyrim, and it wasn’t really much to write home about. I had a random throwaway character who would do all the things my main character would not: missions for the thieves guild, the dark brotherhood and eventually the court of Harkon. That is where things started to turn. Skyrim’s legendary modding community turned the game’s mediocre, uninspired vampire experience into possibly the best existing gaming example, on the count of how customizable it is.

This was right around the time the Twilight series became a popular film franchise, as well as becoming the Justin Bieber of cinema: a movie for which there were no centrist feelings, they were either adored or despised. You can easily guess which camp I was in. Simultaneously I recall there being a TV series also featuring vampires called True Blood, which I will confess knowing absolutely nothing about. But vampires had something of a golden age. Rather than the villainous predators they are they received a conversion to sympathetic pretty boys. And I want to say: I get it. I do not approve, but I understand. Vampires are attractive for numerous reasons. They have elegance, they have charm, they are inherently mystical and seductive. But more than just that, they are dangerous. Dangerous is exciting, especially when it’s just fantasy. It’s the reason such poorly written garbage as 50 Shades of Gray was popular, and it’s also part of the appeal of say Amazons. Elegance and beauty, with just the right amount of danger mixed in. Who doesn’t like a bad boy? And no, you can be sure it’s not just a female preference. I know I’ve had my fair share of villainess crushes in the past. But I like them because of their evil side, and I can accept that. I don’t need to turn them into sympathetic characters to justify my attraction and resolve the cognitive dissonance.

Nevertheless, I felt the vampire mythos come under attack and a desire to rush to it’s defense, to protect the vampire image from this, what I considered slander it was receiving. I was motivated to preserve my vision of what the real vampire was like, and she was not sympathetic. Vampires are predators. They are wolves in a world of sheep. They feel the same amount of sympathy for mortals as we do for cows: they don’t care, for to them we are just food. Since then I have read Dracula by Bram Stoker and seen every major Dracula film, not including the most recent Dracula: Untold (2014), because I was told it tries to turn Dracula sympathetic again. The movies had their ups and downs. I consider Nosferatu and the 1931 Dracula an obvious high point, though surprisingly both the Francis Ford Coppola version and the Hammer films to be confusing at best, and just disappointing at worst. As much as I adore the portrayal by Lugosi Béla (Bela Lugosi for everyone not born Hungarian) my favorite Dracula might be looked upon as a controversial pick: Dracula: Dead and Loving it. I just have a soft spot for Leslie Nielsen, and despite him being a parody of the character, I actually find him to be a better Dracula than any other I can think of.

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“Renfield, if I am discovered we must flee.”

“Yes. I’ll escape and meet you at Carfax.”

“No, that would be to dangerous. They will search there first.” says Leslie Nielsen’s Dracula, shamelessly pointing out a major plot hole from the 1931 movie. “I have moved my coffin to the abandoned chapel at the top of the cliff. When you come make sure you are not followed.”

To then put the cherry on the cake, I recently also watched the Netflix Anime: Castlevania, and loved every second of it. This was the first time I found myself actively rooting for both sides: the vampires and the hunters. Dracula was sympathetic without being good, he was an evil tyrant, but one still felt for him, understood why he chose to wipe out humans. Still it was also clear why the heroes had to end him. The only real villains here were the church, and boy did they get what was coming to them!

So why do I like vampires as much as I do? I have several theories. For one I might be at odds with my own mortality and find the idea of living forever to be very appealing. More likely is that I relate to them on a level. For what vampires mostly are is an elegant, beautiful facade hiding base, vicious desires. Maybe I see them as liberators from outdated human morals, kind of like what the zombie apocalypse means for society. When you consider how appropriately sexist the original book is (I say appropriate, because it was written in 1897) you can even make an argument for Dracula being the tragic hero of the story. A man who liberates women from the society that chains them down and keeps them from reaching their full potential, and gives them the opportunity to let their desires free and overcome those who tried to keep them down.

“Even if she be not harmed, her heart may fail her in so much and so many horrors; and hereafter she may suffer–both in waking, from her nerves, and in sleep, from her dreams.” 

uta_refsonOr maybe vampires are just cool. Maybe I’m just putting far too much energy into answering a pointless question. But I like to know the reasons for things, and I enjoy discussing theories that are on my mind. So to conclude let me just say:

“Do you not think that there are things which you cannot understand, and yet which are; that some people see things that others cannot? But there are things old and new which must not be contemplated by men´s eyes, because they know -or think they know- some things which other men have told them. Ah, it is the fault of our science that it wants to explain all; and if it explain not, then it says there is nothing to explain.”

Deviantart links:

Vampire count; Lemorac-ula I; Lemorac-ula II; Centuria Sanguinis; Ancient Vampire;

Tyrande’s Senitnels

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Activision Blizzard has come up among the topics of my blog posts quite a few times. As of the past decade or so, give or take, I have had very little good to say. As a matter of fact my opinion on the company is just straight up terrible. For the most part I don’t like drying attention to Things I Hate. On the internet the opposite of love is, after all, not hate but apathy. I make a constant exception in the case of Activision Blizzard for one reason and one reason only: Very few companies I can think of have been this consistently responsible for creating some of the most defining works of entertainment that I experienced as a child. To put it simply: Blizzard’s games defined my childhood, and it breaks my heart to see what they have become.

Warcraft. I imagine many people have that one specific story that changed everything. As children we were told fairy tales. Evil creatures would do evil things, and valorous heroes would perform heroic acts to put a stop to them. But at some point the lines became blurred, heroes could become villains, and good deeds would not always go rewarded. For me that story was Warcraft. I was too young to understand the story of StarCraft back when I first played it, my deep appreciation for the storyline of that game would not develop until much after I had finished Warcraft 3. But Warcraft was the video game that shook the foundations, the story told to me that turned Fairy Tail into Fantasy.

Anyone who knows even just a little bit about me or my work knows how important powerful female characters are to me. Being able to play such a character in a video game has actually become an important selling point when I shop for games. This was also the period where that started to mature, where the women in the games that I played began shaping my perception into what it is today. A while ago I had done a series of tribute drawings to those women in video games who stuck with me as the most prevalent, the ones who had the strongest influence. Warcraft, even just Warcraft 3, has no shortage of such characters. Ladies search is Jaina Proudmoore, or Sylvanas Windrunner stand out as such. And while I am fond of both of those characters, as far as I’m concerned neither can hold a torch to Tyrande.

“Women! They’re women!”

“Yes. They almost look like elves, but they’re far too tall, and far too savage.” said Grom Hellscream when the night elves were encountered for the first time, for the Orcs were on edge as the whispering voices in the woods gave them a haunted feeling. Indeed there were spirits among those ancient trees, but they were not the danger. The sentinels were. While literally all than night elf men spent centuries sleeping, the protection of the forest was left in the hands of the sentinels, Night elven warrior women, who’s prowess in battle and fearsome tactics were enough to keep even orcs on their toes. Common Tolkien fantasy would have us thinking of elves as peace-loving Forest dwellers, who welcome guests with open arms, warm fires and leafy food. Not these elves. If you do not respect nature then the only greeting you will receive from a Sentinel is an arrow to the chest. One can imagine what an elf must be like, if an orc would characterize them as “too savage”.

tyrande

Priestess of the Night Elf goddess Elune, Tyrande is the leader of the sentinels. Despite the previously mentioned numerous other prominent women in the campaign of Warcraft 3, Tyrande still stuck out the most to me. When I think Warcraft 3 it is her face I see. She is both a powerful priestess, and a cunning warrior, though not without her own flaws. Many millennia of protecting the forest clearly made her weary of outlanders, she would not give her trust easily. These all perfectly complemented by her love, arch-druid Furion Stormrage, and his softer more peaceful perspective make for possibly the only fictional couple you make me question my thoughts on relationships.

 “You realize that we will age as these mortals do. Our powers over nature will wane in time. “

“If pride gives us pause, my love, then perhaps we have lived long enough already. I will proceed to the summit and prepare our defenses there. Whatever comes, my love, remember… Our bond is eternal.”

I stopped following the Warcraft storyline after Cataclysm. Any and all semblance of interesting writing has completely surrendered to the games Alliance vs Horde mentality, which in my cynical opinion, is a despicable attempt to profit off of a fanbase of rivaling groups. As such, my interests in any further developments have long since evaporated. But as I have probably mentioned before, I have chosen not to let the company Activision Blizzard has become to Taint the fond memories they gave me as a child.  I acknowledge, that the game is nowhere near the masterpiece it appears through nostalgia goggles in terms of storytelling, but that will never make it any less special to me.

Post on DeviantArt here!

Undyne to the rescue

Undyne from the video game Undertale has been on my shortlist for a while now. I have yet to make a list of my favorite video game women from current games as opposed to those of my childhood, but if I did, this fish-lady would easily make the cut. Determined and headstrong, as well as the true hero when you need one most. Among others, she saved me from my slump.

undyne_armor

As someone who is not a professional artist I lose my confidence like I lose my TV remote: all the bloody time. I am 90% self taught. I took just a year and a half of professional training in classical art at the end of high-school, other than that my only teacher has been practice. I don’t have the drive to look up and watch videos, I don’t even have the willpower to convert to another art software. My only means of improvement has been drawing. Just drawing, drawing and drawing again. I need to finish pictures in order to keep myself motivated, the method of producing page after page of posed hands just doesn’t work for me, even though it would really do me some good. My drawings are far from masterful, but often I end up with a finished drawing that doesn’t even meet my own standards. It is times like these when I lose most of my confidence in my ability to draw, and that sends me into a slump.

If I convince my self that I can’t pose a figure, then for the next few attempts I am guaranteed to mess up all my poses. If I get the sense that I cant compose a picture, I will be unsatisfied with anything that comes out of my pen. This will then lead to several sketches I start doing and then give up on less than half way through. That then leads to weeks or even months without a finished drawing, without something uploaded to my site or my DeviantArt. My recent addition of making timelapse videos also has a tendency to hold me back. When I know I’m going to record my process it gives me the need to have the composition ready in my head, so that the start of the video doesn’t contain the many minutes of me messing around with the starting sketch before I get the final one. But if I just draw without recording it, that’s another drawing that doesn’t get uploaded to Youtube. The need to go all out, combined with the unwanted extra pressure has the effect of keeping me from sitting down and starting to draw.

There is only one way I have ever been able to combat this problem. When I get stuck like this, the picture I do finish has to restore my sense of ability, and make all the pressure pay off. Simply put, I have produce a kick-ass drawing, and that means I have to draw something that really inspires me. It is always some awesome, badass woman who comes to my rescue in such a case, one even more so than the ones I draw regularly. Below are a few examples of the women who restored my faith in myself at such times in the past.

This time it was Undyne.undyne_casual

Undertale is as close to a timeless game as I can think of. It has a simple but appealing visual style, amazing soundtrack, engaging story with a cast of wonderfully written characters, and a method of storytelling that touches beautifully on video games as a medium. Without being overly explicit, the events within the game world make subtle comments on concepts like player agency, choice and consequence, persistence in the face of adversity, and even watching video games played on video or live-stream. To say anything more is to spoil the game, so beyond that I shall only say a few words about Undyne.

Now I know you aren’t just some wimpy loser. You’re a wimpy loser with a big heart!undyne_the_undying

Tough and relentless on the outside, but warm and fuzzy on the inside with a heart of gold. She can come off as hard and overly aggressive, but when push comes to shove you can count on her to put her life on the line to protect others, and no danger of any size will get her to give up. She is the perfect character to help inspire me not to back down from the things I love and, above all else, to stay determined.

You’re going to have to try a little harder than that!

Link to the drawing on DeviantArt here: Armored, Casual, Undying.