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TMD's Creatively Named Blog



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DID TMD JUST POST AN MOC!?

Posted by Ta-metru_defender , Aug 24 2014 · 137 views

Summer was good to me, man.


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(Click for topic)




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TMD, elsewhere.

Posted by Ta-metru_defender , Jul 25 2013 · 63 views

Now that we can link to, y'know, the whole Web 2.0 thing that happened years ago.
 
So. Me. Elsewhere.
 
Here's my YouTube channel. You can see videos I did for school or even a much older video of my response to getting a mullet.
 
I'll probably post some of them individually.
 
Enjoy reading Essays, Not Rants? Here's the main blog (BZP's just a mirror!)
 
There ya have it. Or me, as the case may be.


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Voya Nui sucks, man

Posted by Ta-metru_defender , Jul 22 2013 · 114 views

Especially when you're forced into a macabre game against your fellow staff members. Hopefully we won't resort to cannibalism this time.


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TMD VS Heart Disease: Three Years Later

Posted by Ta-metru_defender , Jul 13 2013 · 139 views

Three years ago to the day I was hospitalized for the first time on account of my heart trying to kill me.

What's happened in the last three years? Here's the quick timeline:
  • July 13 2010, Josh goes for a cardiac stress test, his heart goes into Ventricular Tachycardia and hits 255 BPM. Is subsequently hospitalized and diagnosed with ARVC: his heart is turning to fat.
  • Plans emerge to implant an ICD (defibrillator), however an MRI discovers water near his heart and the surgery is postponed and Josh is sent home to recover.
  • Josh's Dad speaks at a relative's church, after someone offers to see Josh for free.
  • After much consultation, it's decided that Josh probably doesn't have ARVC, tests are done to try and figure out what exactly it is.
  • After stuff keeps coming back negative, it is theorized that Josh's pectus excavatum (sunken chest) is rubbing on his heart and causing trouble. CT Scans show that, yeah, his sternum and ribs are pushing on his heart. It looks almost heart-shaped from above.
  • Nuss Procedure is performed on November 8 2010 to correct his chest.
  • Normal procedure entails a bar being inserted and turned, breaking the sternum out and the ribs along with it. Josh's doctor has the idea to nick the cartilage between the sternum and ribs, causing nothing to break and reducing recovery time. Due to some plotting on the doctors' part, this is all done through the public system and paid for by the Singapore Army.
  • Everything seems normal.
  • In December 2011 Josh temporarily goes off his medication and another stress test is performed. No VT. However, ECG still shows an anomaly.
  • Late October 2012, Josh stops taking his medication again because, y'know, Hurricane Sandy. Never gets back into the habit. Terrible.
  • March 21 2013, date is booked for Josh to have bar removed on June 24.
  • May 3 2013, Iron Man 3 is released, in which Tony Stark has his Arc Reactor removed. Josh checks over his shoulder.
  • June 12 2013, Josh does another stress test (still off medication). No VT. ECG appears normal. Prior anomaly is gone.
  • June 24 2013, the exact same team that put the bar in take it out, at a different hospital, and, due to more plotting on the doctors' part, all covered by Josh's insurance. Now with no metal bar in the way, an MRI is done
  • July 5th 2013, Josh's cardiologist informs him that everything checks out. No more scarring on the heart. Heart is no longer weirdly shaped. ECG is normal. Josh doesn't have heart disease.
So yeah. As that last sentence says: I don't have heart disease anymore. I'm fine. Healthy. Normal. Or at least as normal as I'm gonna get. Bad news is I can't use heart disease as an excuse anymore.

Frankly, it's been a heck of a time. No one likes being told their heart tried to kill them when they're 19 and no one knows why. Yet every twist and turn since has fallen so perfectly into step (doctors accommodating financially, timing being perfect, not dying at any other point along the way, etc) that, well, it's hard for me not to see a plan in all this. This could have gone very differently. I could have had the ICD in me and needed my batteries changed every few years (and the whole thing replaced every so often too) and been unable to do a lot of things I do. I could have died at any point along the way. This could have all gone down at a point when neither army nor insurance could help pay. And yet it all happened when it did and how it did.

So what now? Well, tonight, a beer or two and video games and movies, as is tradition. After that I've got another stress test coming up (because the insurance is paying for it, so let's go for it again, yeah?) but in the couple weeks since the surgery I've worked up enough of a sweat/pulse that it's certain nothing will happen. I'm fine. The bar that used to be in my chest is sitting on my desk next to my phone.

Thanks to all of you; thanks for listening to my late night ranting, thanks for the prayers, thanks for the hugs, thanks for putting up with my endless barrage of heart disease jokes. Seems like this heart disease thing is finally over.

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WE ARE CANCELING THE APOCALYPSE

Posted by Ta-metru_defender , Jul 12 2013 · 135 views

It's everything we wanted. A movie that's unashamed about giant robots beating the freaking stuffing out of giant monsters.


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Borneo, BRB

Posted by Ta-metru_defender , Jul 07 2013 · 95 views

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Off to Borneo on a family vacation for a few days. Will let you know if I find the remnants of some of Marco Polo's ships.


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Barless Wonder

Posted by Ta-metru_defender , Jun 26 2013 · 137 views

tl;dr: I no longer have a bar in my chest.
 
Longer version:
Got into Singapore on the 10th. Spent the intervening time playing video games and eating, Monday morning local time went into surgery to have my bar removed. Since, y'know, it's time. Everything went well; the bar's sitting on a shelf here in the hospital room (along with some chips of bone [my bones]); I can walk and move and stuff. Useful abilities, those. Current signs point to heart being alright.
 
So yes. I did just pull an Iron Man 3.
 


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Thoughts on The Last of Us

Posted by Ta-metru_defender , Jun 20 2013 · 90 views

I stayed up 'till 2am Tuesday night finishing the game, stayed up another two hours mulling it over, and two days later I'm still processing the game. Here's some initial thoughts I scribbled out:
 
It's just a very different video game.

For starters, it's not exactly a terribly 'fun' game. Not that it's not good or a great play, but that it's like Zero Dark Thirty, an incredibly well put together thing that's not easy to watch. Look at the Infected, the zombie-like creatures. Y'know what a couple differences are between zombies and Infected? Zombies are all men, and zombies don't scream and moan. Killing them is both terrifying and crushing.

As a game, it's exceptional. The thing is, it doesn't stop at being a game; The Last of Us is a narrative. Sure, graphics are exceptional (in an early scene you can see your reflection), but the graphics all serve the story. Gameplay; the item scarcity, the brutality of every kill, it all advances the feeling of the story. You're desperate: you've got a dozen bullets left between all your guns, one medkit, a molotov cocktail, and a brick. Gameplay is phenomenal.

But the way it intersects with the narrative is where it shines, and ultimately, horrifies. I found myself not wanting another fight, simply because fights were so violent and brutal. This isn't Army of Two or Assassin's Creed where you get a sort of glee out of slaughtering someone, every kill in The Last of Us is painful. Just when you're starting to think "yeah, I'm bad" you find yourself shooting someone right as he begins to plead for his life. Or you'll get swarmed and die. You're not playing a baddonkey, you're playing a heartless man with a singular goal. Gameplay has you doing things as Joel that you, as a player, would rather not do.

Again, it all comes down to the narrative. Neil Druckmann's script is exceptional. It's ruthless yet so full of emotion you WILL cry at least once. Character motivations are so clear and, in a page ripped from Game of Thrones, characters want something so bad they will stop at nothing to get it (once they know what it is). Moments between characters, especially between Joel and Ellie, build it up to where it's headed, to the ending. The game discards the usual pulpy fiction that accompanies games in favor of something that can only be described as literary.

The Last of Us is a beautiful, beautiful game. One that I'm still processing, much the same way I did with a certain episode of Game of Thrones or the ending of Chuck. It's such a finely woven piece of literature that leaves you in awe and emotionally drained. It dares to be a game that's not just 'fun' but deep and interesting too.

 
Also: It bears mentioning that The Last of Us doesn't have a morality system, there's no decision making. You're playing a story, you CANNOT opt out of doing some things as much as you want. YOU don't have a choice because YOU are Joel and you are doing what he would do. Joel is not you, you are Joel. Again: it serves the story.


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Twenty Two

Posted by Ta-metru_defender , Jun 07 2013 · 108 views

So I turned 22 today (er, yesterday). Was fun here in South Carolina, shenanigans, dinner with Mom, that sort of thing. Hanging out with some friends playing Smash till 2am. Yeah.

Now I'm enjoying a couple beers and some writing before I have to wake up and start preparing stuff for my trip to Singapore for the rest of the summer.

Friends, I am an adult.



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TMD's Fifth Annual Movie Awards Part Two

Posted by Ta-metru_defender , Jun 04 2013 · 99 views

Part Two of TMDs Fifth Annual Movie Awards
 
Alright guys. Time for the individual awards. As you should expect (if you've been following my awards [which you totally should be]), we've got my… unique categories. Which are the categories you should care about.
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Worst Movie
Basically, what sucks. These movies are not so-bad-they're-good, but are so-bad-they're-worse.
 
Nominees:
October Baby
A movie so heavy handed with its message the story barely gets told.
Rock of Ages
Great soundtrack! Too bad everything else sucks.
 
Winner: The Watch
This movie's main redeeming quality is Richard Ayoade. Sadly, he's not enough of a factor to save this lousymovie that had so much potential but just crashed and burned right out the gate.
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Baddonkey of the Year
Every good action movie's got him. You can throw an army and the kitchen sink at him, and he still prevails. And for that, he is awesome.
 
Nominees:
Abraham Lincoln, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
The 16th President uses a silver axe to kill vampires. That is all.
Judge Dredd, Dredd
Karl Urban's chin has never looked quite so manly and intimidating.
Black Widow, The Avengers
Proof that a Baddonkey doesn't have to be pure muscle or a man, Natascha Romanov earns her nomination due to fighting not just smart but hard too.
 
Winner: James Bond, Skyfall
James Bond really shines in this reconstruction of the James Bond mythos.
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Best Dialogue:
Is it stilted or awkward or does it roll of the tongue?
 
The Avengers
Joss Whedon. 'nuff said.
 
But if not, here's more: Y'see, Joss Whedon is a fantastically economical writer. He uses dialogue to quickly establish exposition without it ever seeming outright and can also establish characters with just a few lines. It's impressive (and something I am very jealous of). Then of course his dialogue is just brimming with wit. This man is one of the best writers of dialogue today.
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Best Comedy
Did it make you laugh? And more importantly, did it make you laugh well?
 
Ted
It's a foulmouthed teddy bear. if that's not your cup of humor, fine. But if it is you'll spend the movie's duration laughing incessantly. The humor's twisted and dark (due in no small part to, again, the incongruity of a foulmouthed teddy bear). It's hilarious, and you'll text your friend the thunder buddy song when it rains.
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Best Soundtrack
Music carries a film. Duh. Here's the best:
 
Nominees:
Rock of Ages
Lousy movie, epic 80's music.
The Avengers
This soundtrack is epic. Leaving the BluRay's menu on while getting ready to watch it yields the most epic walks down a hallway. You want a soundtrack that captures the heroism of this movie? Alan Silvestri delivered.
Django Unchained
Why? Because mixing Rap/HipHop into a Western about a black man is awesome.
 
Winner: Paperman
Just listen to Christophe Beck's score for this and try to disagree with me.
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Coolest Movie
This is the movie that makes you think "Holy snap that's frickin' awesome"
 
Nominees:
John Carter
This movie gets an oddly bad rap despite being a slick, really really cool piece of science fiction.
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
It's a relatively historically accurate biography of the 16th president except he hunts vampires. And. It. Is. Awesome.
Skyfall
It's James Bond being James Bond, only better.
 
Winner: The Avengers
It's Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, The Hulk, Black Widow, and Hawkeye on screen together fighting Loki. What more do you want?!
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Who needs character/plot development when you've got booms?
 
Nominee:
The Expendables 2
Sure, it's not as beautifully gruesome as the first, but it's still a wonderful action movie.
 
Winner: Dredd
It's not quite as mindless as my usual nominees for this category, but the slomo action scenes are just gorgeous. Who knew a skull exploding could be so beautiful?
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Most Innovative
This is the movie that did something new, something cool, or just special.
 
Nominees:
Dredd
It played with 3D and slow motion, using it as a narrative device as much as for spectacle
The Avengers
Proved that a superhero team-up not only works, but can be amazing.
Blue Like Jazz
Wait, a movie by Christians about a Christian that's not hawking dogma? Impossible!
 
Winner: Cloud Atlas
No, it's not an amazing movie, but it tried something new and kinda pulled it off. So props to them.
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Best Special Effects
If I need to explain this, then, well, stop reading.
 
Nominees:
Ted
The bear, man. Of special note is the fight between Mark Wahlberg and Ted. That's all around impressive.
Life of Pi
No bear, but the composite work with the animals deserves a mention.
 
Winner: The Avengers
ILM made a CGI model of a chunk of Manhattan. That alone would be enough for a spot on the list, but the Hulk just notches them up here.
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Best Actor:
Daniel Day-Lewis, Abraham Lincoln, Lincoln
I get the feeling this is the image of Lincoln everyone will think of from now on out (which is a shame; I wish everyone thought of him hunting vampires). But Day-Lewis' performance is so amazing no one else can even enter this list.
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Best Actress:
Jennifer Lawrence, Tiffany Maxwell, Silver Linings Playbook
For the record, she was my pick before the Oscars. She was fantastic in 2011's X-Men: First Class and really took off in The Hunger Games, but it's in Silver Linings Playbook where we really see her shine.
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Movies That I Really Like For Reasons That I'm Not Quite Sure
These aren't the best movies of 2012, but they're up there.
 
Blue Like Jazz
It's not the most amazing movie, but it gets points for its honesty and dedication to telling the story it wants to tell.
 
The Cabin In The Woods
I'm a big fan of deconstruction and post-modern storytelling. This film takes that and applies it to a genre I usually avoid and creates masterful results.
 
The Amazing Spider-Man
Yes, I liked this one more than the old ones. Maybe it's casting Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, and Martin Sheen, maybe it's the closer focus on telling a story about Peter Parker, maybe it's because freakin' Marc Webb's directing, or maybe it's because Till Kingdom Come is in it.
Probably all of the above.
 
Skyfall
There's just so much going for this masterpiece of a movie. It's a reconstruction that serves as a brilliant, fun movie that's able to capture both highs and lows.
 
Silver Lining's Playbook
I don't even know where to begin with this movie, just that I really really loved it.
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Best Animated Film:
Paperman
This is probably my favorite non-Pixar piece of animation Disney's produced since Tangled (and before that, The Lion King). It's magical, something that suddenly makes the world outside the animation seem more real. Coupled with the phenomenal soundtrack and, it's beautiful. Just beautiful.
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Best Moving Picture:
The Avengers
Look, you knew this was coming. I wrote too many Essays, Not Rants about it, but let me list the reasons why this is unquestionably the best movie of 2012:
  • Incredibly deft screenplay that balances exposition and action
  • The team dynamic hits the appropriate speed bumps
  • Every main character has an arc
  • Joss Whedon's banter is in full effect
  • Fantastic action that never loses the characters
  • Great special effects
  • That one long shot of each of the six during the final battle
  • It paid off on the last four years of hype
  • Shawarma







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josh

twenty-three

grew up on a ship

studies Storytelling

at New York University

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