Short Story Sunday – Garen, The Might of Demacia

The cold air chilled all around him but it did not affect him.  It would take more than a cold breeze to take his gaze away from the battlefield.  It was a small battle to be had, nothing more than a small insurgency, but it still took all of his focus.  He did recall himself for a moment when he heard the sound of a footman running to where he stood.

“My Lord Garen!”

At the sound of his name, Garen turned and saw the soldier, out of breath and kneeling a few steps away.  He spoke clearly with power emanating from his voice, “Speak freely soldier.”

The footman collected himself and spoke, “Sir, the Vanguard is ready to move out on your command.”  Garen nodded to the soldier and dismissed him as his gaze returned to the snowy field before him.  Demacia was beautiful this time of year and he would hate to see it soiled by those who would raise arms against his great nation.  He brushed a small pile of snow off of his spaulders before making his way toward his men.

As he walked through the camp, he took the time to inspect his gear one final time before the battle commenced.  His golden armor, shining brightly, was neither too lose nor too tight.  His enormous build would need the mobility during the fight.  His gloves kept his hands warm but were not so full that he could not grip his sword.  His breastplate was resting strongly against the torso that equaled the armor’s might.  And finally, his sword gleamed with such purity that one could not believe it had been brought into so many battles before.  He was nearing the edge of the camp where his elite fighting force was waiting for him.  Fifty of Demacia’s strongest, battle hardened soldiers stood in formation waiting for the order.  Garen couldn’t help but grin at the sight of each one of them as he recalled some miraculous feat they had performed in order to earn a spot amongst the ranks of the Dauntless Vanguard.

Garen came to a halt in front of his men.  He was about to open his mouth to speak when the sound of a horn came echoing from the other side of the field.  Garen, along with his men, turned their heads to see an endless horde of barbarians emerge over a hilltop, charging towards their position.  Garen smiled at the sight and returned to his men.

“Gentlemen!”  He spoke with such confidence and power that the men were more interested in him than the army of the enemy bearing down on them.  “My brothers of Demacia!  We have come here today to defend our home from these ruffians who seek to dismantle our great nation.”  The Vanguard grunted in unison at the idea of defending their home.  He seized their attention and pointed his sword towards the enemy, “Look at them.  The enemy outnumbers us five to one.” Garen shook his head and spoke through a slight chuckle, “A shame that the odds could not be in their favor.”  The men laughed themselves as they looked, almost feeling pity, at the enemy that drew closer.  “We have a home to defend today.  We know how to defend her and above all we know why we defend her.  But the real task,” he paused for dramatic effect, “is to give them a reason to fear her!”  The men howled with anticipation, “Let us go and show them the Might of Demacia!”

The men let out an intense, unified battle cry and began to charge behind Garen.  The enemy had nearly reached their camp by the end of Garen’s speech that if it were a different commanding officer, he may have been worried.  But not Garen.  He saw the enemy and he did not tremble nor did he not fear.  He knew he was strong and he was ready.

Garen, “the Might of Demacia,” leaped into the air and brought his sword down to the ground.

The Battle had begun.

Short Story Sunday – Modern Hero

There is a man that walks this Earth that fears nothing. Not because he is brave, but because he has all he needs. He has his beliefs and what he believes allows him to obtain what he needs. Nothing more, nothing less. He is not constrained by what other men tell him nor is he held back by economic stability. He finds his way through the world by living each day to its fullest and never looking back. He knows his life lies in front of him yet he dares not look past what he currently sees and what he sees in his eyes is pure beauty. He sees his world of a free man. A world where he can tell his story and no one will judge him for it. A world where he can roam free and not be told where to go. A world where natural beauty trumps the adjusted truth. And above all, a world that would see past petty squabbles and instead looks at what needs to be done today.

But this world is not ready for him and he knows that. He knows that it is not ready for him nor is he ready to help it. One day this man will be called upon and he will aid however he can, but today he travels to learn and as he learns he continues to grow and prepare himself for that day. The day where he is finally heard, seen, and above all, understood.

Familiarities in Wall Street Protest

There are some very interesting things going on in these United States.  Protests are starting up in more and more places around the nation that are following the message of one movement; Occupy Wall Street.  This movement was originally launched by the group AdBusters and is quickly growing amongst Americans throughout the country.  The movement started in the financial district of New York City on Wall Street, for which it was named.  Their message is to bring the Democracy back to the “99%” who are struggling in this nation.  The basis of their argument is that those who are making the decisions for the nation and who “know” what is right for America only represents the richer 1% of Americans.  Their goal is to bring back the democratic process and stability back to all people of the United States. 

The group’s message quickly spread and is now influencing others in cities all over the country.  What started as an ‘occupation’ of Wall Street has grown into occupations of Chicago, Denver, and other major cities.  People are joining together in the message of “for the people, by the people.”

I understand and admire the message that these protestors are trying to do but I have an eerie feeling about it.  One picture definitely furthers my superstitions.

The Guy Fawkes mask that is found on one of these protestors has me worrying about the future of these demonstrations.  Guy Fawkes was a member of the failed assassination of King James I of England and IV of Scotland in 1605.  Since then, reproductions of his face have appeared on masks in two main sources.  These sources are the 2006 movie V for Vendetta, and the hacker group called Anonymous.  In the movie, the mask represented a symbol of rebellion against a power that was out of control.  It was used to conceal the identity of the man leading the cause against the system to restore its lost balance.  The group Anonymous seeks the same goals but through hacking into corporate and government systems in order to further their cause.  They group adopted the mask as their logo in 2008 and has since been a symbol of unity amongst all protestors who wear it together. 

Now I’m not saying that wearing a symbol to show your unity is such a bad thing.  What I am worried about is the message the mask has had in the past.  The message the mask, and the person who the masked is derived from, tells is rebellion.  Could these mask’s appearance be giving clues to a full on rebellion?  It is not unheard of for a nation to undergo an enormous change in power due to an uprising from its people.  Libya is the most recent example of a successful revolution created by the people.  It happened once in our nation’s history, what is keeping it from happening again.  If these people are truly 99% of America, they have the numbers with them to take back what they believe is theirs if it comes down to it.

Although it may not seem like it, these protestors are organized and unified behind the same message.  It may seem a little far-fetched, or even extreme, to think of this as the start of a revolution but we have seen many governments changed by these same ideals since the start of the new millennium.  The United States stands as, “One nation, …indivisible, with liberty and justice for all,” but these protests could show that those words could be flawed. 

The pieces are there, they just aren’t all in the right spots.

Zombies: A Fear and Smell That Lingers

In today’s culture, zombies have become a horror icon.  From George Romero’s classic Dawn of the Dead (1968) to video games like Dead Island, zombies have implanted a fear in people’s hearts that resonates when the lights are off and no one is home.  There are things that go bump in the night.

Let’s face it, zombies are very creepy, freaky, and scary.  But what is it about them that is so frightening?  UGO.com explains it best.  It is their simplicity and familiarity that frightens the hell out of people.  Zombies could be anybody you have ever known and all it takes is a bite.  Your dad, your best friend, even the one you had a crush on in high school, the fact that you knew them once in life and they have now become this ‘villain’ is quite frightening.  Compared to vampires, another classic fright, you knew when they would attack and who the leader is.  For zombies, they are constantly banging at your boarded windows and you can’t survive unless you kill them all.  An entire continent could be overrun and killing one could mean absolutely nothing when confronted with a big group.  Their movements and purpose is not complicated at all and this concept of simplicity, along familiarity of the enemy, is what makes them so frightening.

There is another part to them that, on a personal level, will keep me up all night if I think about it.  Their taste for human flesh.  Zombies thrive off of eating other beings, human or animal, and when they see a group of unarmed humans you can bet that they will move as fast as they can to get them.  This cannibalistic aspect of zombies gives me a sickening feeling and I could never stomach the thought.  Any scene in any zombie movie where it shows a person being torn open by zombies makes me want to go to a bathroom and lose my lunch.  Plain and simple, it’s frightening and sickening at the same time.

Zombies, like the media they are portrayed in, have evolved.  Their concepts and functions have changed from slow-moving masses to rage filled track star.  Their appetite hasn’t changed but their appearance, more skin and limbs bloodied or missing, and their mechanics, running instead of walking, have molded a new type of horror film icon that continues to spread more fear than ever before. 

In conclusion, zombies have been a staple in the movie industry since the early 1970’s and will continue to be in our minds even when all have finished talking about them. In reality, it is one of the few horror threats that could have some scientific evidence to it.  Will they rise? Will they annihilate us? Only time will tell…

Jurassic Park: The Missing Plot

Last night, I was watching the 1997 classic, Jurassic Park: The Lost World and I was still blown away by the storyline, graphics, and the characters.  It does not compare to the 1993 original but it is still an amazing sequel to it.  I have almost no complaints about this movie.  The one complaint I do have revolves around one scene later in the movie that has sparked curiosity and debates between fans since the movie first released.

The scene in question is later in the movie when a ship, tasked with the job of transporting a live T-Rex to San Francisco from the island it inhabited.  The ship makes its destination but it crashes into the dock uncontrollably.  After the dust clears those on looking the ship’s arrival go on board to see what has happened.  They examined the ship’s deck to find a couple of crewmen dismembered.  They travelled into the wheel house to find a dismembered hand still clutched to the helm.  Those on board continue to search and eventually open the cargo hold on the ship to reveal the released T-Rex.  The dinosaur begins his rampage on the city shortly after his release.

Everything that occured in this scene is explained a few minutes after the T-Rex becomes loose.  The dinosaur was trapped in a small containment cage and was heavily drugged with Tranquilizers.  There was, however, too much drugs in the dinosaur’s system which caused it to go into a coma.  In order to keep the ‘prize’ alive, the crew that helped load the dinosaur, but was not on the ship, injected a steroid into the Rex to keep it alive.  This gave the dinosaur the essence of a ‘locomotive’, as character Sarah Harding suggested, in which it could not be stopped.  This gave the Rex enough strength to escape from its cage and begin devouring the crew of the ship.

The details of this endeavor, however, still seemed unclear.  I had to search online for it and I came across a site, Jurassic Park legacy, which helped explain the occurences based on the storyline and screenplay.  Based on this, the T-Rex managed to get out of the cage and started massacreing the crew while it was on deck.  It began to devour some of the crew and wounded others.  One of the mortally wounded workers managed to open the door to the cargo hold which, in panic, some crew members took as an option for safety and ran down there.  The T-Rex followed and then became trapped down there as the doors closed behind him. 

Everything checks out except for one crucial element to it that has fans raging.  How did the man in the wheel house get killed.  In the film, the investigators that go into the wheel house are shown going into a perfectly made compartment.  No windows missing or broken, no dents in walls or doors, and no holes big enough for a T-Rex to have made its way inside.  There was even a shot of the compartment from the outside which still showed no signs of distress.  The building was not what gave away this flaw though.  The hand in question was attached to the helm of the ship which was located in the rear of the cabin.  The hand had the skin texture to it implying that the grip was so tight that the body it was attached to moved while leaving it behind.  So the body is completely eaten, the hand is left as evedince, but the wheel house is left undamaged.  How does this happen?

There has been a lot of speculation with fans but there are two that dominate the arguments.  One is that there was a scene involving the ship where some Velociraptors managed to climb aboard and massacre the crew along with the T-Rex.  The other argument is that it was just a ‘flub’ on Steven Spielberg’s part.  These two both make perfect sense of the situation but the Velociraptors seem like the most logical.  My reasoning is that Steven Spielberg, even in 1997, is a top caliber director.  I find it very hard to believe that someone with his amount of skill in his profession is able to overlook such a big detail.  I may be wrong but it seems to me that he would not mess something like that up.  Now the Velociraptors are a different explanation.  According to IMDB.com, there was a scene that was cut from the final print which showed a group of Velociraptors boarding the ship and attacking crew members.  If this was the case, it would fully explain how the crew inside the ship was killed while the T-Rex devoured the rest in the cargo hold.  Yet this is still unclear if that was truly the cause or if it was a rumored scene that never made it to the table at all.  If it was a true scene, then that should have been mentioned in the explanation after the attack occured.  If that had happened, there would be no debate right now.  Unfortunately, there are more questions than answers.

My own opinion is that there was something else on board that ship.  Yet the reason for it not being revealled was meant to give Spielberg a base for another sequel if he ever needed it.  Now this theory could be disproven by the fact that Jurassic Park 3 came out in 2001 had nothing to do with any hidden dinosaurs from the ship attack.  While this brings back my theory, it still could hold true as Spielberg could still be holding onto that for a basis for a fourth movie which has been revealed is in the works right now.  No matter if the next movie or any other movie about Jurassic Park is made without reference to those mysterious deaths, he can hold onto that for as long as he wants if he ever feels a need to use it later.

In the end, the only person who knows for sure what ‘happened’ to the crew of the SS Venture is Steven Spielberg.  Wether it was just a fluke on his part or if it was a hidden gem to be used for a later movie, the population will never know.  All we can do is speculate.  I love this movie, don’t take this whole piece as bashing a great film.  My intention is only to bring to light one great mystery that is hidden in a great storyline.  I myself have seen this movie a lot of times and it took me this long to realize the issue with this scene.  My eyes never spotted it until now and I find it interesting that there is such an illogical view of a situation in a blockbuster hit.  It is something not everybody sees and that is why I wish to share it with you.  To show something peculiar that can be found in the amazing.

Gentlemen: A Dying Breed

It is all too common now a days. Men not respecting others, most of all women, in the manner that they used to. I see it everyday; not holding doors open, calling women curses to their face, and even only talking to a lady to just get into her pants. What happened to respect? What has happened to honor?

I was walking back to my room from my car in the pouring rain today when I was walking past a young lady that had no umbrella, sweatshirt, or jacket. She was walking down the sidewalk with no protection from the rain except for the trees. As she came even with me I stopped her and offered her my umbrella. The first thing she asked me was, “How much do I owe you?” I shook my head and explained to her that I was only a short walk from my destination and that the umbrella was easily replaceable. Still confused, she asked me why I would give away an umbrella to somebody I have never met. I returned saying only, “You can use it more than I can.” She finally shrugged, took the umbrella, offered her thanks, and then continued on her path. I walked away smiling that I had helped her out but it still sat in my mind that she thought I was only doing that for something in return. Is it such a rare thing for someone to go out of their way to help?

This is just one of many situations I have encountered that have proved the fact that Gentlemen are a rare and dying breed. I have helped out many friends with issues of their own without judgements and only advice that would help them. After each discussion has ended, the person I was talking to has ended saying, “Thanks for being a nice guy. It’s nice to know I have one person I can talk to.” The compliment is nice but the use of the term, ‘one’, is what strikes me as an issue.  Why is it, people only have that one person to talk to? 

I take no shame in how I treat people nor will I change my ways.  The only thing I will try to change, however, is people’s perception of manners and chivalry.  Neither are dead nor are they lost terms, it is just a matter of getting people re-acquainted with both of them.

The Appalachian Trail: My Greatest Goal

I have many goals I want to accomplish before my life comes to a close. Graduate college, have a family, and making those around me happy are just a few of those goals.  Yet these are all second to the achievement I wish to accomplish: Hiking the entire length of the Appalachian trail.

For those who aren’t familiar with the trail, it is a 2,180 mile hiking trail that starts in Springer Mountain, Georgia and stretches all the way to Katahdin, Maine.  This trail is visited by millions each year and a couple of thousand attempt to ‘thru-hike’ it, hike from start to finish  (ATC.org).  It is a beautiful walk through nature that takes you away from everything but yourself and the path in front of you.  That is why I want to take this endevor of thru-hiking the trail.  I love nature and a vacation with just nature sounds absolutely perfect to me.

This feat, however, is no matter to be taken lightly.  As Tucker Burton discusses in his blog ERO, the things he went through during it can be daunting but worth it in the end.  It takes quite a lot of planning to take on this hike seeing that it will take a lot of time to complete.  The record for the fastest hiker to go through it still took 43 days to complete from start to finish.  A whole month of hiking could take quite a while to plan but when all is said and done, this trip will be entirely worth while.

The trail itself is maintained through volunteers of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC).  Formed in 1925, the conservancy has been fighting to keep the trail in its natural form.  As their work progresses, so does people’s attempts to shed light on their work.  Blogs such as Dartmouth Outing Club and Filanthropy are trying to bring attention to the ATC to help them volunteer and receive donations to keep the program running.  If you wish to find more information or find some ways you can help, please go to the ATC’s homepage and look around.  Who knows what you will find?

All in all, the Appalachian trail will remain my ultimate goal until I am able to traverse it from start to finish.  It’s beauty and majesty is something that I can not pass up.