October 17th, 2005


Mr Wombat reviews

Final Fantasy VII - Advent Children, the first fifteen minutes.

Remember final fantasy 7? remember how the cut sequences made your jaw drop and you'd go "Holy Shit! thats awesome"? Well, this is ten times more awesome. I don't care how badly subtitled my copy is, or how dire the plot turns out to be, the first few minutes made me want to wee and I only went a few minutes ago

Chicken or the egg (or "Mr Wombat takes a temporary swing to the right")

After my daily power struggle with the old witch who keeps trying to shove in front of me when getting on the number ten this morning my mind somehow wondered onto the moral decline of western civilisation. Actually, first it occured to me that I might be shockingly racist since I had such an adverse mental reaction to the lady who hopped on a stop or so later - very much your typical "skanger" woman. It got me to thinking about how in a great many ways, Dublin's inner city population are like another race to me - they differ from me in the same way as most immigrants would in that they have very different clothing styles, accents or dialects of english, dietary habbits, musical tastes and so on and while I'm not inclined to make judgements on immigrants, I immediately assume that a good portion of our own population are little more than useless wastes of skin, and this is with a good many pieces of evidence to the contrary, I've seen compassion and charity from "scumbags" that I wouldn't be capable of while many of Dublin's finest turn a blind eye and walk on past. Your classic "good samaritan" scenario really [1]. So, if I'm going to have a go at folks for thinking they're better than someone else purely on the basis of the country of their birth I should probably get the splinter the hell out of my own eye first [2].

We seem to have entered an age of reason without restraint. In the past we always had Religon as a series of checks and balances for our behaviour but as is typical of humans when faced with decades, if not centuries of moral opression we've rebelled and struck out at all the values of christianity regardless of whether the values in question were for good or ill.
In a lot of ways, the church had the right ideas - no sex before marriage worked as a concept because frankly, far too many people couldn't be trusted to have the common sense to avoid pregnancy or the decency to do the right thing when it happened [3]. Masses and masses of guilt was all that kept us behaving ourselves, like a carpet bombing of morality - sure, you might end up guilt tripping a few sensible people who don't need to be preached at but the main thing is you get the ones who lack the moral fibre to be perfect. Of course, this raises the question as to whether or not society could have evolved into something better without this interference. But as is typical with humanity, someone had to go and abuse [4] the power and now all the "good" ideas are lumped in with the bad. In our haste to rebel against the church we've not stopped to pick out the ideas that were worthwhile on their own merit.

So now we have a society that doesn't feel the need to answer to a higher moral authority, and governments who are following suit. We're so obsessed with our own rights that we don't stop to think that we might not be ready for them ourselves - I'm pretty sure that when freedom of speech was developed as a concept they didn't imagine a day when it would involve pictures of simulated rape being made available on the internet to anyone who wanted to see them regardless of age. I'm not saying Freedom of Speech isn't a grand and noble thing, but I think we've demonstrated that we're just not ready to use it responsibility - I think thats the problem in general, we've shed the bindings of the church and granted ourselves all these freedoms we're just not able to handle.

The other thing that occured to me this morning is that I wish folks would stop trying to argue "Intelligent design" vs Evolution - a matter of *faith* [6] cannot be argued rationally people, faith isn't rational, stop having the goddamned debates, the religous right have deliberately made it an unwinnable point of faith and supporters of Evolution are being caught discussing it at that level instead of at the root, separation of church and state.

Oh, that and "America - God's chosen country". Folks, theres nowhere in the bible says a country that wasn't discovered at the time was going to be God's chosen country. So either you're just making it up or you're putting words in God's mouth and that seems more than a little presumptive to me. Besides, you guys are regularly stricken by earthquakes, tornados, floods, droughts and quite possibly locusts and rivers of blood. That says "God's chosen country" to me alright, though I think he chose it to kick the bejeezus out of it. Hell, Ireland never gets that crap, maybe we're chosen too?

[1] For those of you not up on your parables, the samaritans were disliked by the Jews at the time, which made it all the more remarkable that the Samaritan of the story stopped to help. [5]
[2] Of course, I often think I'm better than pretty much everyone, so this is less of a problem than it might seem in terms of scale.
[3] Not that I'm suggesting we all have to get married, I always figured it should read as "No sex before you're *older*"
[4] By "abuse" I mean "open the magdalene laundries, abuse children, embezel church funds, act like complete and total hypocrites and use their position of moral authority to get away with immoral acts"
[5] I'm not saying I buy into all this God and Jesus stuff, but as a set of checks and balances for the human psyche they weren't the worst ever.
[6] Faith in some passages in the Bible, not just plain old "I made this up and I believe it" faith. You gotta bear in mind that its in the bible.

Mr Wombat reviews

Final Fantasy VII, the rest of the movie.

Not much to say here except
1) You will not have a single clue whats going on here unless you played the game through to the end and you remember it reasonably well.
2) When playing the game, you will have needed to get the "secret" characters like Vincent to understand whats going on.
3) Even having done 1 and 2, you'll still be hard pressed to understand whats happening - things like character motivation and plot twists are more like matters of faith than anything laid out, just like in the games you're frequently left going "What the hell? why did he do that? Why are they saying that? Whats going on?"
4) The laws of physics take such horriffic, unrelenting abuse in this movie that part of your brain that understands such things might actually bleed a bit. Since its entirely CGI, the makers had license to be entirely unrestrained by normal problems in filming action scenes, like the frailty of the human body.
5) Leaving aside 1-3, and taking 4 as a *good* thing, HOLY CRAP! Its a 100 minute assault on the sense of beautiful images, fight scenes that might well make you weep, stylishness that borders on a religous experience and swords the size of two grown men. Even if you've not done 1 and 2, you could still appreciate some of the most amazing CGI ever created.

In summary - its like the world's most amazing surrealist painting, damned if you know whats going on but it looks so good you just don't care.
Diesel Sweeties - Science

Home Economics

Today, Brid and I ended up in the Oriental Food Emporium down beside the Jervis St Shopping Center where they have delights like a sack of dried garlic for a fiver and about a gallon of coconut milk for seven euro. Needless to say I went hog wild, buying anything I couldn't understand the name of.
Then, a short while ago, in the name of science, cartographer (T)and I (G) tried them out. For the first time however, we're providing photographic evidence of our stupidity instead of leaving it up to you to think the worst of us.

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