Dreamy alt rock with electronic elements, Washed Out’s “Paracosm” brings along a fresh, good vibes feel to whatever day you may be having.
I’ve been seeing a lot of these articles going around, written by men, stating that the world is different and men are slobs that don’t treat women with respect.
In the hookup culture we now live in, it’s pretty obvious that chivalry is completely dead. Maybe my parents were old fashioned, maybe growing up in a tight knit Italian family resulted in different values, but I was always preached the value of chivalry and etiquette from the women in my life. From my grandmother to my mother, you better believe I learned my lessons, either verbally or via the wooden spoon. But why now does it seem like it’s completely impossible for men to do what I would consider the ‘normal’ thing?
Dating is done. Seriously, who goes on dates anymore? It’s all about hooking up, getting a number, grabbing a drink and getting down. I think I’m the only single guy I know that actually takes a girl out to a restaurant on a first date. There’s a reason for this. If you take a girl out and show her you’re more than some douche looking to just get in her pants, odds are, you’re going to get a second date, at least. Call me old fashioned, but a nice dinner is worth the money to get to know someone to some extent.
For me, it’s not about the money, and I get why people are stingy when it comes to going out with people they don’t know. Look, I get it. Sh*t costs money. But really, what’s the difference? Treat yourself to a good meal, and if the company is good, why the hell wouldn’t you take a girl out to a nice dinner?
All I know is, the more I look around, the less I see men treating women the way that we’re raised to. What happened to paying for dinners and drinks? What happened to pulling out chairs and holding doors? What happened to walking on the outside, closest to the street and all that sh*t? Where did we lose the chivalrous touch? When did it become acceptable to just text a girl, inviting her to come bang? Don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining about those instances, I’m just saying, why have we strayed away from what has been established as the norm?
I think, in an ever-changing landscape of communication between 140 character tweets, LOLs and ROTFLs, we’ve lost our ability to communicate, altogether. You go to a noisy bar and expect to get to know someone new, when all you really wind up with is uninteresting small talk. We don’t take the time to get to really know people anymore and that’s why you see relationships and marriages failing at a 50 percent clip. Ultimately, push is going to come to shove here, and I figured it would have happened by now, but for some reason, it has not.
The real problem here is that women, for one reason or another, have become complacent and allowed men to get away with adhering to the bare minimum. We no longer have to put in the effort of flowers, chocolates, dates, etc., and if we do, we come off as stage-five clingers. I’m not looking for a girlfriend, nor am I looking for a wife. If I take you out to a nice dinner, it’s because I’m a nice guy, and I am looking forward to spending time with you somewhere other than the bedroom.
Eventually, I feel that women will wise up and start asking for the things that they deserve, the things used to be automatic and expected of men, like holding a door, pulling out a chair, and paying for dinners. Until then, men are going to get away with putting in the bare minimum and receiving what we ultimately want anyway – sex. It’s pretty obvious that women own the cards, and when they start acting like it, they’ll finally start getting dinner from places that don’t deliver.
Photo courtesy Tumblr
I understand that the world is different and that there are a lot of bad guys out there, but honestly there have always been. I think complacency and decency has been stripped away a bit in the age of technology, but it also means the world is different. I think it’s time that we adapt to a different atmosphere and learn how to be chivalrous in a way that isn’t for the sake of doing so. Some guys need to step up, but in some ways I think women need to as well. As Jenna Ruth, a Facebook commenter puts it:
“…women don’t DESERVE anything except the respect that you would show an equal. Men paying for dinners was standard common procedure in a time where women were expected to be homemakers, not breadwinners. Dude, everyone wants sex. We’re human, and there’s nothing wrong with that. We also want intimacy and connection, but sometimes, we don’t want a relationship. This is HUMAN, not male or female behavior.”
And I think that holds through. While simple things like holding open doors and pulling up chairs should be done every now and then, We now live in a time where gender equality is something we strive for, and rightly so. I think we should pursue it. It’s okay to “hook-up” if it’s made clear from the beginning that’s what intentions are. Guys shouldn’t be made to feel like jerks when they aren’t looking for a relationship, as long as they are honest. Despite all of this, there is a nugget of truth: don’t forget to treat women with respect, and it never hurts to be a little “old-fashioned”
Specifically, Cheltenham. For those of you who have no sense of geography, like me, here is a lovely map for you.
As you can see, Cheltenham is located in the southwest U.K. According to Wikipedia (always my favorite source, despite what the haters say):
Cheltenham/ˈtʃɛltnəm/, also known as Cheltenham Spa, is a large spa town and borough in Gloucestershire, England, located on the edge of the Cotswolds. It is the home of the flagship race of British steeplechase horse racing, the Gold Cup, the main event of the Cheltenham Festival held every March. The town hosts several festivals of culture often featuring nationally and internationally famous contributors and attendees, including Greenbelt, Cheltenham Literature Festival, Cheltenham Jazz Festival, Cheltenham Science Festival and Cheltenham Music Festival.
This is an image of what the town looks like up close:
Now, for the personal details. I am going to be spending the following 7 months here. From September 2013 until April 2014. This will be made possible through a study abroad program called BCA out of my native college of Elizabethtown. I will live in a flat and study at the University of Gloucestershire over my time there, as well as meet people, see the sites, and travel often.
Many of my peers have chosen to stay only for the semester, which is understandable, as it is the common course of action. Unlike my peers however, I have chosen to study for most of the academic term. My reasoning for this stems from many things. Firstly, It is safe to say I am sick of my hometown area. No offense to the people or anything in particular, but I am ready to get out. That is my main reason for studying abroad. I’m a wanderer. Secondly, I have visited England before, albeit briefly, but that experience has made me want to go back since. From the stories I’ve heard and my experience there, I am positive I am going to want to stay. Thirdly, my sister has lived in London for years, and fortunately I am going to have her as an outlet. And finally, from what I understand reverse culture shock is a biznitch and a half. I know for sure that I don’t want to come back to the states mid transition and head right back to an American school. I spent my first two entire collegiate years in the same school, without break, as I worked there over the Summer. While I love Etown to death, I am perfectly happy waving the white flag and giving it a go somewhere else for a year.
I am particularly excited about where I’ll be staying because it provides me with an ideal location to live: rural, which is similar to what I’m used to, but also not far from nightlife. It is also a short and cheap (important thing to note here) ride away from major areas such as London, Sheffield, Birmingham, and even Paris, France. I’ve done a bit of research of the happenings in Cheltenham and I am excited to check out the clubs such as MooMoo Clubrooms, Voodoo, and Fever. And I will no longer have that pesky age limit hanging over my head like in the states, so even if I just want to enjoy a night with my friends without partaking in anything, I can still enter the place. Because I write for a blog and will be providing international coverage, I also forsee a good bit of time spent in London. I’ve already received press for an event at the Electric Brixton which has me stoked.
I’m not sure what to expect exactly. I am trying not to plan ahead too far, and just let it all wash over me. I am not scared to leave. I don’t anticipate being very homesick, except perhaps at Christmas time when I’ll be doing most of my travelling. I am confident that once I leave for this trip, many things in my life will be changing. I’ve already marked this past Summer as my last year living with my parents. I’m growing up, and doing so fast, and I am accepting that fact with open arms.
If you’d like to follow my travels I should be posting on my blog at the very least twice a month. In addition, my girlfriend (who is going with me) and I are hoping to create a video log under the working title “The Wanderlusters,” so keep an eye out for that.
“A bee I am not… I’m from 10 years in the future. And, in the future, all is devastation… Giygas, the universal cosmic destroyer, sent all to the horror of eternal darkness… …… However, you must listen! Where I am from, there is a well-known legend that has been handed down from ancient times. It says “When the chosen boy reaches the point, he will find the light. The passing of time will shatter the nightmare rock and will reveal the path of light.” You see, it is my opinion that you are that boy, Ness. This I believe… …… Giygas’ monstrous plan must have been set in motion somewhere on Earth… If you start to confront the enemy immediately, you may have time to counter the evil intentions of Giygas. Three things are of the utmost importance: wisdom, courage, and friendship. …The legends from the ancient times tell of three boys and a girl who defeat Giygas. …I will tell you more later. Go now! And do not be anxious about the future. You have much work to do, Ness.“
On the outset, Earthbound is an Role Playing Game for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. It was released in 1995 to very poor sales and uninterested consumers. The game is basic, allowing you to fight with normal attacks and some psychic abilities. You can gain experience, level up, equip weapons, and pick up items, just like any standard RPG’s of the time. Where this game differs is that unlike any RPGs of the time, the game takes place in modern America and features enemies such as hippies, taxis, railroad signs, and scolding hot cups of coffee. The game is quirky and original, which is why it has gathered a cult following.
Earthbound in the one of the most influential anythings that I have come across in my life. It is difficult to explain just why this is, but it is. The world of Earthbound is one that parallels my own in some ways. It is the inspiration behind this blog. The values that I have obtained from this game keep me hopeful, keep me happy, and keep me thinking.
Growing up the Super Nintendo Entertainment System was the console of choice. It was the only console we had, and my family loved playing the classics, such as Mario and Kirby. When I was around, I want to say five or six, my father brought home a copy of Earthbound in box with the strategy guide like you see above. I’m not sure where he found it, or what led him to bring it home, but he did. If I had known at the time how lauded it would become in the future, I would have made sure to keep everything in tact. But I didn’t. I was six.
The interesting thing is that I never really played the game at all when I was young. I do remember playing it some, but always getting stuck and giving it up. I also never understood the save mechanic, which is done by calling your in-game father on the telephone (this is just one of the many quirky things that I have later come to love about the game), so I would always have to start from the beginning.
The thing I most remember about this game growing up is actually the strategy guide that came in the packaging. It was just as quirky as the game itself, featuring claymation images meshed with pictures of real-life locations like a California beach and a temple in India. The guide also came with scratch and sniff cards that contained images of the main bosses in the game. I can remember always bringing it with me on long car trips along with some tracing paper with which I would draw my favorite enemies and characters contained within the book. Sometime while in the stages of growing older, I lost the guide. I’m not sure where, and I don’t think I’ll ever find it again, considering how many times I’ve moved.
As I say, growing up I never really understood the game. I didn’t know how to play it, so I didn’t. But my interest in the world of earthbound peaked early. Luckily, I never lost the game itself, which stayed with my collection of SNES games.
Sometime during the Summer halfway through my high school years I brought out my SNES, which I did randomly as teen, and decided to play through the entire game. It took some time, but eventually the hype for Earthbound began to spread and I had been hearing alot about it. So I blew the dust of of the old cartridge, clicked it into place, made sure the power adapter cord was placed in a way that combated the shorted wire, and booted up Earthbound.
It took a while to get the hang of, as I had to finally figure out how to actually save the thing. I also came to learn that dying is easy. The game was designed in a way that keeps you on your toes for every fight. Even the most basic of enemies have the capacity to kill you if you aren’t paying attention. After some easy leveling up, I cleared the first boss that had always been a nuisance and was on my way from Onett, to Twoson, Threed, Fourside, Saturn Valley, Winters, Summers, Scaraba, and Dalaam.
I remember having to use walkthroughs often, as I repeat again, the game is difficult. Battles are tricky and some elements are not self-explanatory. In a way though, I do enjoy this about the game. Many games these days are very guided, and Earthbound does not feel this way.
The entire game took me probably close to 30 hours. The world is large and detailed, with extra goodies to pick up and tons of enemies to battle. Leveling up is also necessary often, and that took up some of my time. I also spent extra time talking to everyone and reading signs, as the dialogue is addictingly witty. Eventually however, the game started to hit its climax, and that is where the game truly shines, in those last minutes of the last battle.
I can remember vividly the moment in which I finished the game. I can say with complete honesty that I was almost in tears. Without spoiling anything for those who wish to play, the ending is nothing short of satisfying, and does more to tie in the actual player, as in you, “That’s right, you–the one holding the controller,” than any game I have ever played. By the end I felt as if I really had a stake in the lives of the characters by my side.
In hindsight what makes this game so special stems from the dialogue, the characters, and the plot. The translation team for this game did an absolutely stellar job, keeping all of the heart and wit from the original japanese release and adding content that would make sense to an American audience. From lines like ”We won because of our brains, guts, and togetherness. Wow! What a rush!” to “”I have no patience for people who interrupt me when I’m busy doing nothing!” to surprisingly heartfelt and emotionally charged lines like “”You created Magicant, the realm of your mind. In Magicant, there’s beauty, kindness, sorrow, and hatred. Of course, there’s an evil and violent side to you.” While the dialogue remains mostly lighthearted and humorous, notes of urgency and seriousness do appear and almost out of nowhere. It’s a formula that works surprisingly well.
The main characters in the game are earnest. They don’t speak much, but when they do, it is important. And they stick with you almost entirely through the game. The main character, the one you control, is a boy named Ness and is the only character that has any broader relativity to other gamers, seeing as he appears in the Super Smash Brothers series. The other characters include a girl names Paula who has telepathy, and boy named Jeff who is a mechanic, and a boy named Poo who is a warrior from a distant land. By the end of the game you will recognize the benefit of their silent, but persistent presence in the game.
The plot is a basic defeat-the-evil-power-and-save-the-land type of story which is nice because it keeps everything familiar, considering how off-beat the game can be. You are tasked with traveling through different towns, defeating the evil powers there, and recording the melodies of the places on within a stone that is given to you. These melodies help keep you grounded on your journey and eventually lead you to defeat the ultimate evil power known only as Giygas.
At the end of the day the one word that i can describe Earthbound with is “honest”. The game never tries to be more than it is. It offers huge, thoughtful ideas and diatribes alongside oddly omniscient characters who actually comment on the fact that they only exist within a video game. It is all extremely refreshing, even almost 15 years later.
I am truly happy that my father decided to pick up the distractingly large and odd looking box off the shelf in the store and bring it home to me. I may have not known the importance of that act when I was young, but now I realize just how much it has affected me. I will always think back to that Summer when I finished this underappreciated gemstone of a game, and when I do, it will help me to remember it might not be so hard to save the world, as long as I act myself, am kind to others, and make a solid group of friends.
If you enjoyed this post, I strongly recommend that you find a way to experience Earthbound for yourself. I highly recommend tracking down an original copy and playing it on a console, but if not, I am overjoyed to see that Earthbound is now available on the Wii U Virtual Console.
Feel free to contact me at Austinwhitlock@live.com if you need help finding a way to play the game.
I came across this video today on my Facebook news feed. The thoughts I had upon the conclusion of this video were these: Why have we created such stigma behind mental illness? Why are we scared to help those around us who are struggling? Why don’t we ask those around us how they’re doing more often? I ask these questions not because I am free of fault, but because I feel like these are questions we should all ask ourselves.
What I can say is that if someone came to me and told me they were struggling with depression, the last thing I would do is turn away. But can I say that I have asked my closest friends how they are feeling lately? To be honest, I haven’t. The unfortunate thing, like the man in this video so aptly puts it, is that we are so accepting of the breaking down of a body part, but not of a problem with the brain. Depression is a common issue. It isn’t feeling sad because something bad happens in your life, it’s feeling sad constantly, even when everything is going right. It’s an issue that so many people struggle with, so why is it something that we push away? The quicker that we are honest with ourselves and honest with each other, than the quicker we will come to happiness in this world.
Give this video a watch:
TED talks are global conferences that are based around the simple slogan, “ideas worth spreading”. “
Created in the spirit of TED’s mission [and keeping with this slogan] the TEDx program is designed to give communities, organizations and individuals the opportunity to stimulate dialogue through TED-like experiences at the local level. TEDx events are fully planned and coordinated independently, on a community-by-community basis.” (Wikipedia)
If anyone reading this is struggling with depression and needs someone to talk to, feel free to email me at email@example.com.
Savant is an artist from Norway whose real name is Aleksander Vinter. He produces a lot of complextro stuff, but really he is known for bending genres. The production value behind what he does is unmatched. He’s put out an entire full-length album about every three months and has amassed a library of over 1000 tracks. I am blown away by how he does it every single time.
I feel like he is doing some of the best work in electronic music. Each track is something brand new and original. I am also a big fan of the heavy video game influences in his tracks. Often they come out in very subtle ways and sometimes they are pretty obvious. Whether you think you’ll like his stuff or not check it out because it is pretty damn awesome.
Recently I was honored to go to an event where he was playing on press. I got to take some awesome pictures and listen to him live for a second time. In my opinion the venue and the atmosphere was so much better in the second go round. This was my first time shooting in a club so I had some interesting lighting issues, but otherwise it went off without a hitch.
I met a dude there who was taking a video of the event. He handed me his card and said he put out videos under the name BunnyBoi Productions. The after movie he made for this is insane. Give it a watch. http://youtu.be/HV2vtrGNTkg