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Sunday, May 13, 2012

Feeling Lucky... You damn well should!

There are billions upon billions of stars in the universe.  No one knows if there is life on other worlds or not.  But of the unfathomable countless planets we find ourselves on Earth.  Life, if you believe the latest scientific theory, began millions upon millions of years ago here from single celled organisms.  Over time, some of those organisms, deep in the primordial sea, evolved at odds unimaginable, into primitive lifeforms, with brains and nervous systems.  Further still some of those organisms evolved skeletal structures.  Then some of those life forms developed limbs, first as fins and tails, then limbs... and the organisms left the sea behind.

Time passed, life changed further.  As some of those organisms adapted to best survive environments, the brains grew larger, the nervous system became more complex, appendages changed and so did the blood.  Down through time the changes kept occurring, tails were lost, apes and monkeys emerged... then miraculously man.

Over the course of millions of years, against or in spite of, the insurmountable odds against such a thing happening, Man evolved further, to become the dominant species of this planet.  To develop the ability to communicate, to become self aware, to create, to desire more than basic survival.

But the miracle does not end there, no, that is only beginning, it is the way point where we can measure just how truly lucky we, all of us, individually truly are.

You are the product of your mother and father, and they the products of their own parents, who in turn again were the products of their descendent drifting back through the centuries, through the millennia, through the eons... 

A woman is born with between 1 and 2 million eggs in her ovaries.  Each of which is similar but unique, and roughly once a month after puberty an egg matures enough for fertilization, where pregnancy becomes viable. If no fertilization occurs the egg is flushed from her system, and a new egg matures.  This happens until menopause.  Of the 1 to 2 million eggs a woman is born with, only 400 will ever reach maturity, and become viable for fertilization.  Of those 400, only one was fertilized to become you...  From your mother you had a 1 in 2 million shot of becoming you.

A post pubescent male will produce around 12 billion sperm a month.  Over the course of his life a man is said to produce about 400 billion sperm.  Each sperm is similar but slightly unique.  Every ejaculate contains about 300 million sperm.  Of which only about 200 will reach  the egg, and only one will fertilize it to become you.  From your father you had a one in 400 billion chance of becoming you

You had a 1  in 400 quintillion (that's 18 zeroes) chance that the child born of your mother and father would be you.

But it doesn't end there.  Your mother had the same chances of being born, as did your father... and their parents before them, falling back through time to the beginnings of modern man, roughly 5,300 generations ago, and before them the early man variations stretching all the way back as estimated 83,000 generations into the past.  Before that, the numbers lose any meaning...

From the dawn of mankind, if you are alive today, if you exist and are reading this, it means you beat the odds at 33,200,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 to 1.

Remember this the next time you feel unlucky.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Netrunner is back.  It seems Fantasy Flight games is releasing a revamp of Netrunner as part of their Android line.  The original CCG had a huge following, not quite as big as Magic, but I think at the time it ran a pretty healthy second place, or not... I gotta admit I was never into the CCG scene... but I do remember it being hugely popular with extremely loyal fans, and remember Pyramid praising it to the rafters.  If the art we have seen so far is any indication, the game is georgeous.  I am not familiar with Android, other than the premise, it being a cyberpunk boardgame borrowing heavily from Bladerunner, but the whole line seems to be incredibly polished with fantastic art and layout.

It appears that when licensing the game from Wizards Of The Coast, they neglected or didn't bother to license the setting from R. Talsorian, which is disappointing.  The game instead drops the Cyberpunk 2020 universe for the Android universe.  Honestly, I am not sure how they managed to keep the name Netrunner, since that was a core Role name of Cyberpunk 2020, and I am pretty sure R. Tal still owns it, but maybe R.Tal never got around to trademarking it, or maybe they sold the trademark to WOTC.  I really don't know.

What I do know is that the beauty of the original Netrunner is that with the release of the Cyberpunk 2020 supplement Rache Bartmos's Brainware Blowout, you could use the orginal netrunner CCG as netrunning rules for you Cyberpunk 2020 game.  It was a brilliant move, and an incredibly fun replacement for the actual games horrific netrunning rules.  I don't know if the new game is going to retain any semblance of compatibility, but perhaps someone out there can find a way to make it work.  Honestly, from the looks of it, the new game won;t even be compatible with the old one, and I know that under the new setting many cards will have been dropped or renamed.

None the less, the new Netrunner looks amazing, the art is astonishing, and the whole android line now has me intrigued.  The price tags are a little on the steep side though.  The core Netrunner set is 39.95, and contains 252 cards.  I don't know what the boosters will run, or if their will be boosters, but that's a pretty large investment to make for a card game...

I will definitely be keeping my eyes out for this. 

These Things I Know

This I know.  Between every moment, the universe rebuilds itself, when you have lost your keys, or your cigarette lighter, or the remote, that YOU KNOW WAS JUST FUCKING THERE.... you lost it because the Universe forgot it, like a typo, when it rebuilt the reality. That's why you never find it until you kick and scream and curse and ask everyone you know, even people who weren't even there if they have seen the item... that's how you remind the universe to correct its mistake... but the Universe does not want you to catch on to it, so when it puts the item back it does so only in a different room, one you have already searched... but sometimes, the universe REALLY wants to fuck with you... so you leave the room, and it puts it back, in EXACTLY the place you remember it being... Or worse... If it really wants to fuck with you, the universe slips it in your pocket... just to make you think you are stupid and or crazy...

Also, I am positive that Bag Fries (the fries that fall out of the container and into the bottom of the bag) are the best tasting fries of the the batch... they have escaped the tiny confines of their cardboard cages, only to be confined again... their brief sense of hope, suddenly overcome by abject dismay over their impending doom sends endorphins throughout the french fry body and saturates them with deliciousness...

Oddly, this effect is exactly the opposite for tater tots, who become disgusting and stale at their hint of freedom... I think they are agorophobic, and suffer isolation anxiety when away from the safety of the herd for too long... Bag Tots are sad little things...

Onion rings who get a taste of freedom will secrete a corrosive oil, that weakens an opens the bag, freeing not only themselves, but everything else in the bag as well... Bag Rings have spirit, and yearn to be free.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

MCA...

While I loved License to Ill, when it came out it was pretty simple musically, Paul's Boutique hit the streets and everyone realized that the B-Boys were not one-hit wonders, they brought the FUNK, and they did it at a time when funk was almost forgotten...



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yr1Qe2m8oOA

Their flow, their choice of extremely obscure songs to sample from, all done masterfully...  The references they made, spanning everything from personal histories, burgeoning pop culture, and philosophical and spiritual concepts, it was unlike anything that had ever been heard before.

When Check Your Head was released, I flipped out, no way could any band understand music this well... So Whatcha Want became my theme song for a year, I would answer the damn phone with "So Whatcha Whatcha Whatcha want?  I played it so much that my friends would bitch at me because the tape was always in the car stereo, the CD was always blaring when they showed up to my house...  It is without a doubt my second favorite Beastie Album...



When Ill Communications hit, it felt like such a natural progression from the previous albums, it was smooth, it was hard, and it was a statement... a statement provlaiming loudly, we are the fucking B-BOYS, and we don't miss a step...

Everyone raves about Sabotage, but its not my favorite song on the album, I love the song, its hard frenzied beat is anthem to every cyberpunk game I have ever payed... but its not my favorite...  My favorite song on the album, perhaps my favorite Beastie Song of all time, is Get It Together, featuring Q-Tip, from Tribe Called Quest, my favorite hip-hop group after the Beasties... The song is 4 absolute masters of rhyme and vocabulary at the absolute top of their game, the pinnacle of their skills, and they are just having fun with it... and its fucking magic...




Hello Nasty was them taking to the next level, they continued to experiment voraciously, and each song on the album seems to be coming from a different place.  It was too studio for some, but to me that was just taking the next logical step in honing their craft.  The songs were polished and perfected, and goddamn they were fun... The album hit right as Yauch was forefront with his Milrepa work, but they didn;t ever let the serious messages they were putting into their music override the joy of listening to them.  It remains the perfect party album...

I think what really made the album special, what really set it apart, is it came at the twilight of the golden age of hip-hop... where it seemed to me at least, that widely distributed hip hop was in its last days of lyrically intricate, sophisticated, message laden works of art, be they silly or serious, and the genre was making the transition to catch phrases repeated ad nauseum by illiterate thugs.  There were some holdovers, and I am assured lyrical mastery and vocabulary are making a comeback in the underground scene, but Hello Nasty was one of the last really great hip=hop albums... Like all the B-Boys albums before it, you could listen to every song on the album, and every-time you heard it, you picked up on something you missed the first go around.




To the 5 Burroughs was my least favorite album by the Beastie Boys... I understand what they were doing, getting back to their roots, taking their sound back to the basics... but it always sounded to me like they were underutilizing the talents of Mixmaster Mike, and the lyrics seemed kind of rushed, a little too simple for what I had come to expect, especially after the long hiatus... but its still a Beastie Album, and I still love it... the worst Boys album is still head and tails over anything that was coming out at the time...  And Check It Out remains an amazing song...


The Hot Sauce Committee pt 2 was the Beasties back on top of the game... and a high note that Yauch should feel no shame going out on... They were a band of 3 kids who understood hip-hop, who transformed hip-hop, and who never once took themselves too seriously, while at the same time never once forgot that they had a message, and they had a venue that could change the world.  Adam Horovitz replaced John Berry in 1983 while the group was still a primarily a punk rock garage band... and the core three members of the Beasties remained unchanged for almost 30 years... They don't have the volume of albums some bands have who haven't been around half as long, but all of them were of top quality... there was never a case of buying an album for one song and the rest was garbage, every song on every album is known by heart to its fans... You can't leave behind a better legacy than that...  It is a sad coincidence that his death came a year and a day after their last album, Hot Sauce Committee Part 2, was released...



Of course none of this mentions how musically brilliant they were from a technical standpoint... Their instrumental albums, The In Sounds From Way Out, and The Mix-Up, say all that needs to be said, and rank among my favorite jazz/funk albums of all time...


Goddamn I am going to miss that sound... The sound of 3 Jews From Brooklyn... Three Wise Men... spreading their message of love, respect, and good times to us all...