Hey. I'm a 27-year-old guy from New Jersey with a BA in Communications that I'm totally not using because 3 years of working in radio made me realize that I didn't really want to be involved that industry after all. Getting laid off didn't help, either. Instead, I'm currently working full-time at a convenience store. I'm not ashamed of it. It's harder and more honest work. I'm still trying to figure out what I want to do with the rest of my life, though. I enjoy listening to music, playing guitar, working with computers, reading, and writing. I'm generally a very optimistic and easy-going person. At the same time, I have no real friends. I went to religious schools all my life, and I was always too "worldly" for the hardcore Christian kids but too conservative and reserved for the "cool" kids. I'm still like that, pretty much.
Also, I'm proudly 100% drug-and-alcohol-free. You might call me Straight Edge, but I don't really identify with that subculture. I do believe strongly in the lifestyle, though.
Religious beliefs: I was raised as a Seventh-Day Adventist Christian. Today I identify with many aspects of agnosticism, apatheism, and deism, though. In spite of my relative skepticism, though, I still think Richard Dawkins-type outspoken atheists are obnoxious, pretentious douche bags, and while I admit that they are Vocal Minority in real life, I hate how they seem to be everywhere on the internet.
Political beliefs: moderate to liberal, for the most part. Pro-choice, pro-gay rights, pro-animal rights, pro-gun control, pro-internet piracy. I'm not registered to vote (I'm cynical about the idea of one person's opinion being able to really change anything in the world), but if I was, I'd be independent (I don't like the idea of some party outlining my beliefs for me).
Tropes I like:
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot
- Affably Evil / Faux Affably Evil / Anti-Villain (my favorite types of bad guys)
- Epileptic Trees
- Gainax Ending (It boggles my mind that people seem to think this trope is invariably a bad thing. As far as I'm concerned, it's just another tool that can be used well or poorly. The opening words of Alan Wake pretty much sum up my feelings perfectly.)
- Genius Bonus / Viewers Are Geniuses (I know some people think this stuff is really pretentious, but I think of it as a good way to learn new things.)
- Loads and Loads of Characters
- Mind Screw
- Morality Kitchen Sink
- Mysterious Watcher
- Nothing Is Scarier
- Ontological Mystery
- True Art Is Incomprehensible
- What Do You Mean, It Wasn't Made on Drugs?
- Wild Mass Guessing
Tropes I hate:
- 10-Minute Retirement, at least in its more extreme cases: Why bother having your hero give up when he's just going to come back literally minutes later? Bad writing, in my opinion. If you're going to try something like this, you need to really explore how it affects the character, or else it feels like padding to me.
- Abuse Is Okay When It's Female on Male
- Anyone Can Die: Admittedly, I liked the way Twenty Four and Lost used this trope, but I'm not a big fan of it in general. Nowadays, I pretty much expect every character in a work like this to be dead before long. I think this trope has run its course, and writers need to get back to the tried-and-true method of continual Character Development centered around a core group of characters, rather than trying (and usually failing) to shock me by killing them off.
- The Walking Dead TV show is especially bad about this, in my opinion. I don't feel like I truly know any of the characters, let alone care about them, so when they die, I don't feel the surprise or sadness I'm supposed to feel. I watched the first 2 1/2 seasons before finally giving up on the show.
- Basement-Dweller (Answer me this: if this kind of thing is getting more and more acceptable and less stigmatized in real life, then why does it continue to be portrayed in fiction as the most loser-ish thing a person can do? I still live with my parents, and I'm nothing like the type of character in that article.)
- Godwin's Law / Hitler Ate Sugar
- No True Scotsman, especially in regards to whether or not someone is a "true fan" of something (e.g., "If you don't like every album this band has made, you're not a true fan"). I really hate that bullshit. It's entirely possible to like an artist/entertainer and yet not like everything they do. It's called thinking for yourself.
- Quality by Popular Vote
- Rated M for Manly
- Sturgeon's Law (I agree with the general idea, but I think the 90% margin is way too cynical to be true)
- The Man Is Sticking It to the Man (AKA the "Be a non-conformist, just like all your friends" mentality. Tropes Are Not Bad my ass.)
- True Art Is Angsty: I like my fair share of angsty stuff, but I hate the idea that something has to be dark to be deep. For me, it's all about balance; too much angst starts to feel gimmicky after a while, just like too much optimism.
- Zombie Apocalypse...Ok, I don't hate it, but honestly, I've never gotten into the phenomenon. Every time I watch a zombie-related movie or TV show, I'm interested in questions like where the grotesque disease that turns people into undead creatures came from, or if it can be cured. Unfortunately, these movies and TV shows don't seem interested in answering those questions. (Well, sometimes they answer them briefly, like Twenty Eight Days Later did, but then it's over in 3 minutes.) Instead, they just focus on people trying to survive in the short term with no particular goals beyond that. And that just isn't very interesting to me. If Lost was only about a group of people trying to survive on an island, and there was no Smoke Monster, DHARMA initiave, or button that had to be pushed every 108 minutes, it would have been a lot less interesting. That's how I feel about zombie-related media, except in the case of the latter, that's how it actually is.
Stuff I like:
- AI Artificial Intelligence (I do like the ending, though I can understand why many people don't. I didn't like it either at first, but it grew on me.)
- Back To The Future
- Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (My favorite Batman movie ever)
- Batman Beyond Return Of The Joker (My second favorite)
- Pulp Fiction
- Two Thousand One A Space Odyssey
- EdWood (The Tim Burton movie)
- So Bad, It's Good cinema, including:
- Neal Stephenson, especially Snow Crash
- Alastair Reynolds, especially Chasm City
- The Nights Dawn trilogy by Peter F Hamilton
- The Hyperion Cantos by Dan Simmons
- The Foundation series by Isaac Asimov
- HP Lovecraft
Live Action TV
Tier 1: The closest things to perfection I've ever seen on a TV screen:
Tier 1.5: So, so close, but not quite consistent enough to be the absolute 'best of the best':
- Mystery Science Theater 3000
- Monk (this show has my favorite finale episode of all time besides The Prisoner)
Tier 2: The rest of my favorites:
- Twenty Four: 10 years ago, I was obsessed with this show. Nowadays, I have a much more complicated love/hate relationship with it. In fact, it's probably the most flawed of all the shows I like. (In a nutshell: Shocking Swerves all over the place, every season basically tells the same story, and Jack Bauer is just too freaking powerful.) But...when it does something right, it does it so unbelievably well that I can forget all the problems I have with it for a little while. And it always amazes me again just when I think it has nothing left in the tank.
- Star Trek The Next Generation
- The X Files
I'm mostly a rocker. My tastes generally range from 3 to 7 on Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness.
- Emo...well, "classic" emo, at least; my opinions of so-called "2000s post-hardcore emo" vary wildly depending on which bands you're talking about. I don't like "Emo-pop". In any case, my favorite bands in the genre are Penfold, American Football, and Mineral. It still bothers me whenever anyone uses the term "emo" to describe anything or anyone who's whiny and unhappy over the slightest things, or guys who look like girls. There should be no shame associated with the word "emo" when it's used correctly.
- Alternative Rock
- Fugazi: Used to be my favorite band of all time. Today I think you could say I respect them more than I like them. I won't get into what changed because it's personal (and a long story anyway), but suffice to say that it has to do with disillusionment with one's heroes. I also think they're way too preachy about their political views, to the point of being grating sometimes. But no matter what, I still enjoy a good portion of their music, and the influence they've had over the way I think about music in general is impossible to overstate and will never be revoked. They're still one of the most important bands in the history of my life, and I doubt that will ever change.
- Bloc Party
- Coheed And Cambria (I'm not a die-hard — Sometimes they're too cheesy for my taste — but when they do something I like, I reaaaaaally like it. This, for example, is one of the greatest Ear Worms I've ever heard in my life.)
- Dredg (Up to but not including the Chuckles and Mr. Squeezy album)
- Silversun Pickups
- The Gaslight Anthem: Another hit-and-miss band for me. I like their Springsteen-esque approach to punk rock, but I'm not a big fan of the "nostalgia for the 50s" vibe that's characterized most of their work. I have no nostalgia whatsoever for the 50s, and not just because I wasn't alive then.
- Punk Rock
- Ambient and space music. Some links:
- Stillstream, a web radio station that served as my lifeline when I was first getting into the genre.
- Hearts of Space, a nationally syndicated radio program and online subscription service.
- Bing Satellites, one of my favorite ambient artists, or perhaps even my very favorite. Most of his music is available as free or name-your-price downloads.
- Altus, another really good one. Again, all of his music is available for free.
- Redshift, a Berlin-school electronic group from the UK. Similar to Tangerine Dream but more accessible to my ears. Ether is their best album.
- For a more in-depth look at what I like, I have this list on Amazon.com.
- Bio Shock Infinite (I had mixed feelings about the original Bio Shock, and BS2 was a competent but less-than-memorable sequel of questionable canonicity, but Infinite is awesome in virtually all departments.)
- Marathon: Best video game storyline and mythology ever, and a good candidate for my favorite fictional story of all time, in any medium. I don't think the gameplay holds up well by today's standards, but from a storytelling standpoint, this game trilogy literally means as much to me as Lord Of The Rings means to a lot of other people. Marathon introduced me to the entire concepts of Mind Screw, Wild Mass Guessing, and Epileptic Trees, and set my standard for what cryptic and trippy storytelling should be like. I judge every Mind Screwey movie, TV show, or video game by either these games or the series finale of The Prisoner. I also judge every example of A.I. Is a Crapshoot by the rampancy of Durandal. I still have yet to find a more fascinating or believable "insane computer" character. I also love that, despite being an asshole, he can't be pinned down definitively as an ally or a villain. He just is what he is, he doesn't care what you think of him, and he knows how to stay 2 steps ahead of anyone who tries to stop him. He might just be my favorite fictional character ever created.
- Alan Wake
- Mass Effect
- Half Life
- Dear Esther
- The Swapper
- Killing Floor (My favorite multiplayer game of all time, even if it is co-op and not competitive; I honestly like it better than Left 4 Dead. This is also the one directly zombie-related production in any medium that I really do like.)
- The Elder Scrolls
- Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
- Batman Arkham Asylum: believe it or not, I actually like this game better than Arkham City. Despite all the hyperbole showered on it by the press, I never got into the sequel. I just think Asylum was tighter and more focused, plus it had Scarecrow. I haven't even decided if I'm going to play Arkham Origins yet.
- Super Mario 64 - not much of an old-school Nintendo guy, but this game truly is timeless.
- Marble Hornets
- Red Vs Blue (Seasons 1-8 mainly; I've lost interest since season 9 because of all the CGI action, which isn't the kind of stuff I like to watch. Also, I don't really care about the Freelancer backstory enough to see it play out on-screen. That being said, I think the first 8 seasons are masterpieces — especially Season 6: Reconstruction, which is quite possibly my favorite complete season of any TV *OR* web series of all time. It's probably one of the best-known cases of Cerebus Syndrome on the internet, but with good reason: it's the highest possible example of that trope done correctly.)
- The Nostalgia Critic: I tend to prefer his older reviews, though; I'm one of those people who think the revival is too sketch-heavy, over-ambitious, and full of filler. There's nothing wrong with just having a guy sit in front of a camera and rant about stuff he doesn't like.
- That being said, I'm not a part of the Fan Dumb and I think Doug Walker can do whatever he wants with his own character. That's just my own personal opinion.
- Todd In The Shadows
- Batman The Animated Series
- Justice League and Justice League Unlimited. I'm a pretty big fan of the DCAU in general, even though I don't actually read comics.
I have major Hype Aversions to the following:
- The Sopranos
- Mad Men
- Game Of Thrones
- Call Of Duty, for pretty much all the obvious reasons I'm sure you've heard before. I can't stand people who play one game all the time and nothing else, and it seems like people do that more with COD than any other game/games. I played COD 3 way back in the day, but all I learned from it was that I didn't much care for real-world military shooters. I also played the first Black Ops for a few hours but never got into it.
- Juno. It wreaks too much of Hipsterness for me to go anywhere near. I don't get how people can like a movie with the kind of dialogue Diablo Cody writes. People do not talk like that.
- Family Guy, and, to a lesser extent, most other "mature", irreverent animated comedy shows.
- The type of comedy movies created by Judd Apatow and his ilk.
- The Matrix (Or as one Cracked.com user alternatively titled it, I Once Skimmed Through a Philosophy Book.)
- Pretty much any show at all on CBS. It seems like they all have the same style. And that style looks boring as shit.
Stuff I really want to check out but am too lazy to do so:
- Babylon Five
- Battlestar Galactica Reimagined
- Star Trek Voyager (Everyone says it sucks compared to DS9 and TNG, but I'd like to find out for myself)
- Everyman HYBRID
- Nowhere Man
- Breaking Bad (used to be one of my many hype aversions, but I've softened up to it)
- The Forty Four Hundred
- David Lynch, full stop.
And now to complain about stuff I don't like (most of these are pretty obvious, but what the hell. It's my space):
- Hipster rock in general and Arcade Fire in particular. I think this kind of music is just incredibly boring. I like the way L.A. Weekly put it. (There's not a single band on that list that I disagree with, by the way.)
- Halo, for its boring, repetitive point-and-shoot singleplayer campaigns. Gameplay-wise, it's basically just Half-Life without the nuance or the immersive atmosphere (i.e., I didn't feel like I was "in a world", I just felt like I was fighting through rooms to get to the next cut scene). What I did like about the series originally was the sense of awe in the alien environments as well as the mysterious nature of the story. However, by the end of the trilogy, it had all become pretty mundane, the sense of awe had faded, and there were no surprises left. Whereas the Marathon trilogy worked its way up to a finale that was literally larger than space/time itself, the Halo trilogy put all its good ideas in the beginning and then ran out of gas. The only reason anyone else seemed to care about it was the multiplayer, which I was never interested in. I doubt I'll be playing the new trilogy.
- Gears Of War, for many of the same reasons as Halo, except that unlike Halo, I never understood Gears' appeal. My best guess is that it's sort of a power-fulfillment fantasy for wannabe-macho guys, but I have no use for shit like that.
- Modern metal and all its various subgenres. Music can only get so heavy before it just starts sounding silly and/or overdone to me. I like passionate screaming, but metal screaming doesn't sound passionate to me, just macho. And for the record, I'm including metalcore in this category.
- Grunge in general. It wasn't as revolutionary as people think it was; all it did was bring alternative music to the mainstream — which I actually don't have a problem with, believe it or not. (In fact, I like the fact that grunge gave MTV and radio stations something to play other than Hair Metal.) My problem is that grunge just didn't add anything to that, except maybe some angst that I was never really into. I simply find the college rock, post-hardcore, and emocore movements of that era much more interesting, and grunge just kind of generic and samey by comparison.
- Coldplay. I owned their A Rush of Blood to the Head album way back in the day, and they really are as boring as their reputation indicates. They may have a few memorable tunes, but if any of the bands I actually like played them, they would easily be those bands' weakest songs.
- U2. I like some of their early post-punk-ish material (for example, I think this and this are awesome), but almost everything from The Unforgettable Fire on is too hopped up on self-conscious, calculated superiority. They can create some pretty interesting atmospheres (though that may be more because of Brian Eno when he works with them), but that big, self-important attitude gets in the way of everything they do. And I especially hate how music critics try to compare every single rock band that's come out in the last 25 years to them. They can't be that influential. Can they? I hope not.
- Green Day since American Idiot. They went from being the best pop-punk band of the 90s to being straight-up Hot Topic-core. They fail at being deep or ambitious, and their supposedly anti-establishment image is just The Man Is Sticking It to the Man at its most blatant and annoying.
- Tribe Twelve: Unscary, uninteresting, and full of stupid and unnecessary Cluster F Bombs. This is a Slender Man story as told by a 10-year-old who just discovered the "joys" of profanity, or someone who just got finished playing the video game adaptation of Rogue Warrior.
- Nu Metal, Post-Grunge, and all that other uber-angsty radio rock from the late 90s-early 2000s. This one doesn't seem controversial or daring today, I know. But you have to understand one thing: when I was 12 years old, it seemed like every single person in the world loved this music....except me. I couldn't stand it. I've heard there were other haters, too, but I sure couldn't find any. Dead serious, I didn't even find out that I wasn't alone until my 20s. At least now people in general are more up-front about how crappy it all was. I feel my opinion has been Vindicated by History. Only Weird Al can make this genre listenable to me.
- American Idol and the horribly overwrought vocal calisthenics it tries to pass off as singing. To put it more diplomatically, I'm really uncomfortable with the amount of influence shows like these have over people's perceptions of what "good" and "bad" singing are.