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4/30/2014

An Abundance Of Katherine's Review

  John Green"s book, An Abundance of Katherine's is many things. It is first and foremost a story. It's made up but it's also very true. It's about love, and fame, expectation and reality. This is a very human book.

 While this may not be my favorite of John Green's books none of his fans should have the audacity to consider An Abundance of Katherine's a letdown. It's a great book for John Green fans and for others; it might just help them make the jump from nerd to nerd fighter. DFTBA!


Post by: Matthew J. Gleason

4/29/2014

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder In A Nutshell

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (or OCD) is a mental disorder characterized by unwanted feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. With OCD the sufferer will experience an obsession and then perform some kind of ritual such as checking the stove to make sure that it is turned off over and over again to relieve their anxiety. 

The exact cause of OCD is not known, though it seems to be biological. 

A famous example of someone who suffered from OCD was Howard Hughes. Hughes got so bad that he wouldn't see anyone. He would just sit around naked and watch movies. For more information on Howard Hughes, visit Wikipedia

One man had OCD so bad his rolls of toilet paper had to be fixed just right. 

Let's look at some of the most common symptoms of OCD: 

Repetitive thoughts. 

Frequent hand washing. 

Fear of germs. 

Getting upset when things are out of order. 

Recurring sexual thoughts that you don't want or like. 

Hoarding. 

4/25/2014

Versus Series: Galen Marek VS Obi-Wan Kenobi

VERSUS SERIES
Fight One:
Obi-Wan Kenobi
Vs.
Galen Marek "Starkiller"
Hello Everyone, I'm Jedi Master Ryan Vickers, and this is my first of many post on the versus series. Today I will be deciding who would win in a fight? Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi or Sith Assassin Galen Marek. Now I will go over biography to give you a basic understanding of the characters.
Biography:
Obi-Wan Kenobi, later known as Ben Kenobi during his exile, was a legendary Jedi Master who played a significant role in the fate of the galaxy during the waning days of the Galactic Republic. He was the mentor of both Anakin and Luke Skywalker, training both in the ways of the Force. He had a long and tumultuous career that helped shape the fate of the entire galaxy.
Born in 57 BBY on Stewjon, Kenobi was taken as the Jedi apprentice of Qui-Gon Jinn and traveled on many missions with him. During the Invasion of Naboo in 32 BBY, Kenobi became the first Jedi in approximately 1,000 years to defeat a Sith Lord in combat when he defeated Darth Maul during the Second Battle of Theed, yet lost his master in the same duel. In 22 BBY, Kenobi found the Clone army on Kamino, and he was captured and almost executed in the Petranaki arena on Geonosis, along with Skywalker and Senator Padmé Amidala. The newly arrived clone troopers rescued them, but the following battle began the galaxy-wide Clone Wars.
Kenobi fought during many battles of the Clone Wars, and was one of the last members of the Jedi High Council. Even after his apprentice became a Jedi Knight, Kenobi and Skywalker fought together many times, becoming a widely renowned pair. Kenobi earned the sobriquet "The Negotiator" through his charm and calm demeanor as well as the quiet threat of his abilities with a lightsaber. During the war, an old enemy returned to haunt Kenobi: Darth Maul, the murderer of Qui-Gon Jinn. With aid of his brother, Savage Opress, the revived Sith Lord went to create a criminal empire, all the while plotting revenge on his most despised adversary. Kenobi clashed blades with Maul on occasion across the galaxy. He was devastated as Maul slew the Jedi's past love interest, Duchess Satine Kryze of Mandalore, in cold blood, yet remained strong throughout the conflict. Later in the war, Skywalker saved his life in a battle fought over Coruscant, after which Kenobi killed General Grievous on Utapau. However, he was soon betrayed, as Commander Cody, following Order 66, opened fire on him.
Kenobi met up with his old mentor Grand Master Yoda, and the two realized that not many Jedi had survived the attacks. The two returned to the Jedi Temple, where they learned the agonizing truth: Skywalker, now lost to the dark side of the Force, had led an attack to kill all Jedi remaining in the Jedi Temple, following orders from Chancellor Palpatine, the ruler of the successor of the Republic, the Galactic Empire. Kenobi traveled to Mustafar in order to duel his former apprentice and friend, now the Sith Lord Darth Vader. Finally, Vader was taken in by a storm of lava, and Kenobi remorsefully left him to die. While Yoda, one of the few other Jedi to survive the Great Jedi Purge, went into exile, Kenobi took the son of Skywalker and Amidala, Luke Skywalker, to live with the Lars family on Tatooine. He became a friend of the young Skywalker as he grew up, but he did not tell Skywalker his actual identity.
Kenobi re-emerged in 0 BBY, shortly before the Battle of Yavin. After Leia Organa, Vader's daughter and Luke Skywalker's twin sister, was captured by the Empire, she contacted him desperately. Kenobi gave Luke his father's lightsaber and traveled with him to Alderaan in Han Solo's Millennium Falcon, only to realize that the Death Star had destroyed the planet. Kenobi entered the Death Star with Luke, Han, Chewbacca, C-3PO, and R2-D2, in order to rescue Organa, but Darth Vader sensed his presence. In a duel with his former apprentice, Kenobi gave up his life to allow Luke to escape, vanishing into the Force the moment Vader struck him down with his weapon. Three years later, his spirit returned to Luke to lead him to Dagobah in order to learn from Master Yoda. He even carried out his role as a mentor to the younger Jedi beyond his natural life through use of the Force, remaining a significant influence on Luke Skywalker's foundation of the New Jedi Order.

Galen Marek, codenamed Starkiller, was a male Human apprentice of the Sith Lord Darth Vader. A powerful Force-user who lived during the era of the Galactic Empire, Marek originated from the Wookiee home planet of Kashyyyk as the sole offspring of two Jedi Knights—Mallie and Kento Marek—who deserted the Jedi Order during the Clone Wars. Following the death of his mother, the young Marek's father was killed in battle by Darth Vader. Though only a child, Marek possessed an exceptionally strong connection to the Force that the Dark Lord of the Sith sought to exploit.
Thus, Darth Vader abducted Marek in order to train the orphan in the ways of the Sith Order. Although the Sith were limited to only two members at any given time, Vader nonetheless trained Marek as a secret apprentice during his own apprenticeship to Darth Sidious, the Sith Lord who ruled the galaxy as Emperor Palpatine. The physical and psychological trauma of Vader's unforgiving training regimen resulted in Marek's immersion within the dark side of the Force as his Master intended. With his childhood memories suppressed and his original identity forgotten, Marek only knew himself as the Dark Lord's apprentice; a Sith assassin who operated under the codename "Starkiller" and a living weapon to be deployed against the enemies of Darth Vader.
In addition to the assassination of numerous targets that included Vader's many rivals, the apprentice trained for years in preparation for the day when he would be ready to aid his Master in a confrontation with Darth Sidious. This singular goal became Starkiller's obsession as he longed to become a true Sith Lord. The pinnacle of Starkiller's training saw him deployed against Jedi targets for the first time in his life in 3 BBY and culminated in victories against the fugitive Jedi Masters Rahm Kota, Kazdan Paratus and Shaak Ti. With the death of Ti, one of the few members of the Jedi High Council who survived Order 66, Darth Vader declared that the time had come to execute their plan to overthrow the Emperor. Elated at the prospect of finally fulfilling his sole purpose in life, Starkiller rendezvoused with Vader on the Executor only to be betrayed and severely wounded by his Master who claimed that Sidious's spies had discovered the existence of the secret apprentice. Pressured by the Emperor, Vader demonstrated his loyalty by seemingly killing Starkiller. In truth, the betrayal was a ruse that allowed Vader to save his apprentice's life.
Upon Starkiller's full recovery in 2 BBY, Vader revealed his contingency plan: the creation of a full-scale rebellion against the Galactic Empire. The apprentice was instructed by his Master to assemble an army of rebels and dissidents in order to distract the Emperor's attention with a civil war, hence allowing them both another opportunity to assassinate Sidious. Though bitter and resentful toward Vader, Starkiller complied and searched several parts of the galaxy for influential contacts that would be crucial to the formation of an insurrection on a galactic-scale. Through Starkiller's efforts, three disillusioned members of the Imperial Senate—Bail Organa, Garm Bel Iblis and Mon Mothma—convened on the planet Corellia where they agreed to join their resources together in opposition to the Emperor's rule. However, the mission proved to be another deception on Vader's part; the Dark Lord betrayed Starkiller once more and captured the senators. Outraged by the discovery that his Master was unwilling to challenge Darth Sidious with Starkiller's aid, the former apprentice journeyed to the incomplete Death Star and intended to rescue his new-found allies from execution. Abandoning the persona of Starkiller, he re-embraced his Jedi heritage as Galen Marek through the partial recovery of his suppressed memories.
During the apprentice's infiltration of the nearly-complete battlestation, Galen Marek confronted and defeated his former Master in battle. Sidious hoped to claim Marek as his new apprentice and goaded him to kill Vader. Instead, Marek attacked the Emperor in a move to provide the senators with enough time to escape the Death Star. His plan succeeded, but ultimately cost the apprentice his life. Nevertheless, his sacrifice facilitated the formation of the Alliance to Restore the Republic and the outbreak of the Galactic Civil War. The early founders of the Rebellion remembered the apprentice as Galen Marek, the original architect of the Rebel Alliance, and honored his memory by adopting the Marek family crest as the official emblem of the Alliance.
Unknown to the Rebels, Darth Vader preserved his former apprentice's corpse as a genetic template for the creation of a more powerful and obedient version of the original Starkiller. But due to the inherent difficulties of cloning Force-wielders, coupled with the flaws of a modified version of the Kaminoan technique, the initial results were less than satisfactory. Vader was forced to replicate his fallen disciple on multiple occasions in a bid to gradually correct the imperfect procedure. Approximately six months after Marek's death, the Dark Lord's experiment—conducted in secret within the Timira City Cloning Facility—produced hundreds of abject failures and a rogue clone who escaped from Kamino. Despite such setbacks, Darth Vader ultimately succeeded in his goal to engineer the perfect clone of his former apprentice. A far more powerful version of Marek, the clone successfully purged himself of the emotional imprints that undermined his precursors.

Now that we have that out of the way, lets get to the challenge. We will start off by defining their physical capabilities.

Obi-Wan Kenobi was a 38 year old Human male. He has no overwhelming physical attributes due to him being a human, but he is not limited by his body. He has a high tolerance for pain, which has assisted his great defensive capabilities.

Galen Marek was a 17 year old Human male. He is in perfect condition, as he was trained to be an assassin for Darth Vader. Marek was trained by fighting training simulations of Master Jedi, including Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Edge goes to Obi-Wan Kenobi due to his training and development during the clone wars. Also he is fully developed and therefore has better thought processing skills than the 17 year old Marek.

Now we will cover their lightsaber combat skills:

Obi-Wan Kenobi: A master of Soresu, Obi-Wan Kenobi has more defense than offense. He has a notorious skill with this, giving him a perfect endurance in battle. Obi-Wan can battle a duelist who outclasses him completely, and still get away or even win due to his mastery of this style. He isn't limited by this style, as he is proficient in Ataru and Niman. You would be hard pressed to find something Obi-Wan's skills are weak against.

Galen Marek: Rasied as a Sith apprentice of Darth Vader, Galen Marek learned his skills to compliment his master's lack of mobility. Marek learned and became a master of Juyo and Shien. He used an unorthodox reversed hand grip which led to him relying more on agility than strength due to the almost unwieldy grip. He was also proficient, but not a master, at Soresu due to training simulations with a droid who imitated Obi-Wan himself!

Edge goes to Obi-Wan Kenobi: Obi-Wan is a perfect lightsaber duelist, and even if he is overwhelmed by Galen Marek's Juyo frenzy, his master of Soresu would lead him to outlast the young apprentice. If this battle went down to just lightsaber combat, the fight would go very similar to Darth Vader and Obi-Wan's fight from Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. However this is a slight edge due to Galen Marek's skill being only a bit behind the Great Negotiator himself.

Now to force abilities:

Obi-Wan Kenobi: Obi-wan was a very proficient Jedi Master who focused more on lightsaber dueling than force abilities. However he was skilled at telekinesis and the Jedi Mind Trick. He integrated all of his force abilities into his attacks, making him a worthy opponent in any situation.

Galen Marek: Marek was from the video game The Force Unleashed where he was the main protagonist. Obviously, Marek has some amazing force powers and he was even able to overwhelm Darth Vader with these abilities. He is very proficient in Force Lightening, Force Telekinesis, Force Repulse, and Force Speed/Dash. He is a jack of all trades and is very threatening, especially when he goes into a dark force rage. He can integrate all of his lightsaber combat skills with these force abilities to create unique moves such as the lightening imbued lightsaber strike. Galen Marek truly is the Force Unleashed.

The  Edge goes to Galen Marek for obvious reasons. Obi-Wan, however, has developed a skill of defeating force wielding opponents, so some of these skills would have no use against the Jedi Master, but this was the same with Darth Vader.

Now I will discuss their Armament and Weapons:

Obi-Wan Kenobi: He used a blue hued adegan crystal in his lightsaber, which led to a more efficient and proper design of his blade. Being broken several times, Kenobi keeps extra parts for his blade so he can fix it in a moments notice. He has used his force abilities to stun his foe and fix his blade at the same moment. Kenobi wore clone armor along with his Jedi robes to prevent damage like he sustained during the early years of the Clone Wars.

Galen Marek: Marek used a synthetic red hued crystal in his lightsaber, which had an exposed crystal chamber. This crystal led to more power but less maneuverability. He wore a plethora of armors and clothing. He mostly wore his training armor which had mandalorian iron embedded on his shoulders. This would have been a good choice except his fighting style demands maneuverability, and his armor and weapon nearly prevents that.

The Edge goes to Obi-Wan Kenobi due to his tactical choice of armor, unlike Marek's choice of weaponry limiting him. Kenobi's armor and wepons suit him and his styles perfectly.

Now for tactical ingenuity and brilliance:

Obi-Wan Kenobi: Due to his time as a general in the Clone Wars, Obi-Wan Kenobi has a strong tactical and militarization mind set. However, his Jedi ideals lead him to see a fight as "never a goal in itself" and that "there are always alternatives to fighting." He used his surrounding to his advantage, which in Jedi terms is called Sokan. He was dubbed the Great Negotiator due to these skills. Kenobi wasnt afraid to use any weaponry he could find, as he killed General Greivous using a blaster.

Galen Marek: Due to his betrayal at the hands of Darth Vader and his Father's death when he was young, Marek has some issues. He is also a 17 year old boy who doesn't believe he is what he is, which is a Sith Assassin turned Jedi. Galen Marek uses his rage and this usually gives his opponent an advantage over him as he becomes sloppy, but he usually overcomes this with his force abilities. When he isn't in a rage, he usually is a force to be reckoned with. This is why he was able to defeat Vader and Sidious when he needed too. However, it is believed that Sidious threw the fight, as he did the same with Mace Windu.

Edge goes to Obi-Wan Kenobi due to his maturity and tactical ingenuity. Kenobi is great against rage filled fighters, as he was able to defeat Darth Vader before he was severely crippled by Kenobi. He was able to defeat all of his opponents, until he threw the fight against Vader and died.

And Now For The Verdict:

 I believe that these two duelist are the greatest duelists in the history of lightsaber battleing, as they both never truely lost a fair fight. However, a battle between these two would be similar to the battle between Vader and Kenobi on Mustafar. Being the more agile duelist, Marek would fly into a frenzy that Kenbi would ward off like any other attack. Once he noticed that his lightsaber skilsl werent working, his force abiliites would come into play. Kenobi would use the taciacal advantage as he normally did and outlast his opponent as his youthful energy would not last as long as Kenobi and after that, Marek would be left brutally defeated by Kenobi.
  The Winner is Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi!

This is just my opinion, so don't be upset if Galen Marek is your favorite Jedi. In my next post I will give you a battle between two great lightsaber duelists: Exar Kun VERSUS Mace Windu Until then, I am Jedi Master Ryan, May The Force Be With You!






4/16/2014

Lightsaber Combat: Form VII: Juyo/Vaapad

FORM VII: JUYO/VAAPAD

Form VII: Juyo / Vaapad, also known as The Way of the Vornskr, or The Ferocity Form, was the seventh of seven forms recognized as canon for lightsaber combat by the last Jedi Council of the Old Jedi Order. In use millennia prior to the Battle of Yavin, the Juyo incarnation of Form VII was described as the most vicious form of lightsaber combat and was said to involve significant internal focus on the part of the user. Juyo had many practitioners throughout the years, including Jedi Masters Kavar, Zez-Kai Ell, and Vrook Lamar. As time passed, knowledge of Form VII became restricted among the Jedi Order, whose members were worried that its precepts would lead practitioners toward the dark side. In contrast, members of the Sith, such as Darth Maul, employed Juyo without reservation, as did Dark Jedi such as Galen Marek. In the later days of the Old Republic, a new variation of Form VII, dubbed Vaapad after a creature native to the planet Sarapin, was created by Jedi Masters Mace Windu and Sora Bulq. Vaapad was explained as being a state of mind rather than just a fighting style, allowing the wielder to channel his own inner darkness into the duel, and accept the fury of the opponent. Windu, Bulq, and Windu's Padawan Depa Billaba were three notable practitioners of the Vaapad variant. Records of both Juyo and Vaapad survived the Great Jedi Purge and were recovered by the New Jedi Order, who preserved the records of Form VII into the Sith–Imperial War.


Juyo is the form you use if you are a raging psychopath. Juyo was described as the most vicious form of lightsaber combat, and was said to be filled with both fury and "malignant grace." The form was given the title of the most difficult and demanding form in all of saber combat. Skilled combatants with Juyo were said by Jedi Master Vrook Lamar to be able to "eviscerate a lone enemy." According to the Sith Lord Darth Traya, the form was both chaotic and erratic, with a heavy focus on offense.  Juyo's use was controversial among the Jedi Order, as many felt that Juyo violated the "there is no emotion, there is peace" tenet of the Jedi Code due to its requirement to fight under the guidance of controlled passion. The Sith had no such inhibition, and Darth Sidious went so far as to label it a "Sith style".
A variant of Juyo, Vaapad was described as more than a fighting style; it was a state of mind that led through the penumbra of the dark side, requiring the user to enjoy the fight, and relish the satisfaction of winning. The practitioner of Vaapad would accept the fury of their opponent, transforming them into one half of a superconducting loop, with the other half being the power of darkness inherent in the opponent. The form was also mentioned with a cautionary warning by the Jedi that use of Vaapad led the user perilously close to the dark side due to its focus on physical combat. Vaapad required a constant and sizable stream of Force use from the user, with a barely contained explosion of Force power essential to all variations of Form VII as another prerequisite for its use. The form's attacks appeared to be unconnected, its motions seemingly unpolished to an untrained observer. During the latter years of the Republic, Jedi Master Mace Windu developed Vaapad with the aid of fellow master Sora Bulq, by drawing inspiration from the movements of a creature, known as both the Vaapad and the Juyo, native to the planet Sarapin. Vaapad users appeared to wield many lightsabers at once, moving too fast to see, just as the vaapad creature would attack with blindingly fast tentacles that were impossible to count until the vaapad was dead. A Vaapad user's attacks would flow into each other with liquid precision, creating the constant near-invisible weave of energy which was the ready-stance of Vaapad. It was also possible to apply Vaapad in unarmed combat, with the user's arms becoming too fast to see, as well as in the use of dual lightsabers. While observing the duel between Darth Sidious and Mace Windu, Anakin Skywalker considered Windu's Vaapad bladework to be "an oblate sphere of purple fire" which contained dozens of blades attacking from every angle.”

Advantages of Form VII: Great offense that is randomized and furious. Form VII is about giving in to the ferocity of the battle, and getting a thrill from it. Great against any opponent, and is meant to overwhelm your opponent. Vaapad fuels itself off of the fury of the enemy, so endurance is great with Vaapad, but not so much with Juyo.

Disadvantages of Form VII: Juyo is weak against force-based attacks, but Vaapad has no such weakness. However, they both fail at having defence. Form VII duelists usually leave small openings that lead to their destruction.

Notable Master of Form VII: Juyo: Sith Apprentice Darth Maul

Notable Master of Form VII: Vaapad: Jedi Master Mace Windu


I have discussed all of the classic lightsaber combat forms! However, I will not stop here. I am going to start posting VERSES SERIES where i pit two force wielding combatants against each other and determine who would win. Until then, I'm Jedi Master Ryan Vickers,May the Force Be With You!!

4/15/2014

Lightsaber Combat: Form VI: Niman

FORM VI: NIMAN

Form VI: Niman, also known as The Way of the Rancor, The Moderation Form, and the diplomat's form, was the sixth form of the seven forms of lightsaber combat. This fighting style was a hybrid martial art created by effectively combining elements of the preceding lightsaber forms into a single, generalized form. Niman balanced out between the various specializations of the other forms, covering many of the basic moves, but focusing on overall moderation. This resulted in a fighting style that lacked a significant advantage, but also lacking any serious drawbacks, and thereby not leaving adherents as exposed as some of the more aggressive or specialized forms. Overall, Niman had a fairly relaxed focus on bladework, designed as a simple, easily mastered fighting form for Jedi who preferred to devote most of their time to study and diplomacy. Despite this, it could be absolutely deadly in the hands of a skilled practitioner. To compensate for the relaxed focus on bladework and lack of significant specialization, Niman training regimens encouraged the inclusion of Force-based attacks in combat, such as telekinetic pulls and shoves used in sync with lightsaber strikes. Also, as Niman was developed from two pre-existing martial arts fighting forms that both emphasized the use of dual-blades, it provided a firm foundation for duelists looking to study into such practices. Ultimately, Niman's success in combat was dependent on a practitioner's intuition and creativity in combat, rather than the rote responses common to the other forms.

 A hybrid fighting style, Niman incorporated elements from the previous forms, mainly Forms I through V, excluding Form II, but balanced out between their various specializations, in keeping with the Jedi quest to achieve harmony and justice without resorting to the rule of power. Form VI covered many of the various moves of lightsaber combat, but due to its emphasis on overall moderation, its focus on bladework was somewhat relaxed. Thusly, the form was easily mastered by those who preferred to devote a high percentage of their time to study and peacekeeping, which made it the preferred form of Jedi Consulars. While the generalization made it ill-suited for lightsaber dueling or fighting on the open battlefield, it was perfectly adequate for facing down criminals and thugs. Due to its "jack-of-all-trades" nature, the success of this form was largely dependent on the practitioner's intuition, improvisation, and creativity in combat rather than the rote responses derived from other forms. To compensate for this relaxed focus on bladework, Niman training regimens encouraged adherents of the style to incorporate Force powers into combat. Proper management of these tools allowed a Form VI master to control and eliminate an entire group of enemies, though many lower level initiates experienced difficulty attempting this. As Form VI lightsaber combat was derived from the dual-bladed Niman style practiced by the Royale Macheteros of the Kashi Mer, it provided a foundation for the challenging practice. However, while hailed as a practical, all-around fighting form, it was heavily criticized by many for being insufficiently demanding. It should be noted that while Niman provided no decisive edge in battle, it achieved its worth by not leaving its wielder as exposed as some of the more aggressive forms. Due to the relaxed bladework of the form, it was said that most Niman practitioners would find it almost impossible to defeat a Makashi practitioner.

Advantages of Form VI: As a jack-of-all-trades style, Form VI has no advantages

Disadvantages of Form VI: As a jack-of-all-trades style, Form VI has no disadvantages

Notable Master of Form VI: Jedi Knight turned Dark Lord of the Sith, Exar Kun

In the next segment, I will discus the form created due to the hatred of this form, dubbed the psychopath form: Form VII: Juyo/Vaapad. I'm Jedi Master Ryan Vickers, May The Force Be With You!


4/14/2014

Lightsaber Combat: Form V: Shien/Djem-So

Form V: Shien/Djem-So
Form V: Shien / Djem So, also known as The Way of the Krayt Dragon, or The Perseverance Form, was the fifth of seven forms recognized as canon by the last Jedi Council for lightsaber combat. It was developed by practitioners of Form III: Soresu who felt that the defensively-minded form would unnecessarily extend time spent in combat by forcing its users to wait for an opportunity to strike rather than create their own openings. Form V combat was characterized by power attacks and defense immediately followed by a counter-strike. Shien, considered the classical Form V, was more adept at blocking blaster bolts, whereas Djem So was developed later and intended for lightsaber combat. Both Shien and Djem So were designed to use an opponent's attack against them, as evidenced by Shien's focus on returning blaster bolts to their origin and Djem So's emphasis on immediately striking back after a blow. Although some Jedi felt that Form V encouraged aggression and domination, that sentiment did not stop many Jedi from practicing the form. Form V was developed sometime prior to the Great Sith War, which began in 3996 BBY, and it continued to be used for millennia, during the Jedi Civil War, New Sith Wars, Clone Wars, and beyond. Like the other lightsaber forms, it saw use among both the Sith and Jedi. Knowledge of the form survived the Great Jedi Purge initiated in 19 BBY and into the era of the New Jedi Order. Probably the most popular form of lightsaber combat next to Ataru, Shien/Djem-So has been used by the two central figures of the Star Wars Saga: Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker. It is the preferred form for wielders of large statures, due to  the use of brute strength over agility. 

Advantages of Form V: It is great for defense, as it was built off of Soresu. It is basically Soresu applied with a countering Makashi mentality. It is great for overpowering your opponent and is completely reliant on brute strength.

Disadvantages of Form V: It is horrible for fighting agile and quick opponents, as it is reliant on brute strength. It can be outmaneuvered easily, but Form V covers this with its defense. Foot work is not very good with this form unless you are a perfect master of the form.

Notable Master of Form V: Shien: Sith Apprentice turned Jedi Galen Marek "Starkiller"

Notable Master of Form V: Djem-So: Jedi Master Luke Skywalker

In my next segment, I will cover the sixth form of lightsaber combat devised due to the dark side tendencies of Form V: Form VI: Niman. Until then, I'm Jedi Master Ryan Vickers, May the Force be with you!


4/10/2014

Lightsaber Combat: Form IV: Ataru

Form IV: Ataru
Form IV: Ataru, also known as the Way of the Hawk-Bat, or The Aggression Form, was the fourth of the seven forms of lightsaber combat. The history of Ataru stretched back through the Old Republic, to at least as early as the Mandalorian Wars, where it was commonly employed by Jedi of that day. Ataru continued to be a common form among the Jedi in the latter stages of the Republic, and was also known to be employed by the Sith. An aggressive style, Form IV was fast-paced and effective against single opponents, though weaker in prolonged combat and confined spaces. Also, it was not recommended for use against opponents wielding blasters. Ataru was characterized by Force-assisted acrobatics, such as somersaults and leaping strikes, both for attack and defense. Another characteristic of the form was its fast, powerful strikes from multiple directions. Practitioners of Ataru were always on the offensive, attacking with wide, fast, and powerful swings. Form IV practitioners constantly called upon the Force to aid in their movements and attacks. By allowing the Force to flow throughout their body, they could overcome their physical limitations—including old age, as was the case with Master Yoda—and perform amazing feats of acrobatics, such as somersaults and backflips, not only for attack, but also to evade the slashes and strikes of their opponents. Jedi utilizing Ataru needed to incorporate all the Force powers that involved surpassing normal physical ranges of motion, speed, and agility in order to be successful. Running, jumping, and spinning were all emphasized in learning the elaborate kinetics of the form. Those who used Form IV could move at high speeds and could rain strong blows, jumping and attacking through the air. Powerful and quick spinning attacks could be utilized from all angles, either from ground or air. A master in Ataru combat could appear like a blur to their opponents, attacking from all directions—the front, the sides, overhead, or behind. The Force not only allowed them to perform athletic feats not possible otherwise, but it also helped guide their actions and movements in combat. The opening stance for Ataru was a balanced two-handed guard: holding the lightsaber vertically with both palms, either on the right or left side of the body. One technique employed with greater effect by Ataru users was the Hawk-Bat Swoop. When utilized by Ataru practitioners, it was intended to allow a combatant to quickly strike their opponent without giving them a chance to react, and then escape before they had a chance to retaliate. Another move that Ataru users could use effectively was dubbed the Saber Swarm, where numerous short strikes were aimed at the adversary to force a defensive posture. Ataru wielders were able to execute this combination with particular skill. Both the Hawk-Bat Swoop and the Saber Swarm were related to the Falling Leaf technique, and they gained in popularity during the New Sith Wars.

Advantages of Form IV: It has a great and unpredictable offense, letting the force guide you movements. This form allowed any duelist to seem as if they were a master and any age can use it.

Disadvantages of Form IV: NO DEFENSE WHATSOEVER. Usless against multiple foes, Ataru was made for intricate movements against single opponents. It is also useless against blaster fire, and should be coupled with a more defensive lightsaber form, such as Soresu. This is what Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi did with this form and he made it more effective than it had ever been. However, he prefered to simply use Soresu.

                                   Notable Master of Form IV: Jedi Grandmaster Yoda
                                                                            

In my next segement, I will discuss the other form created to cope with soresu's lack of offense: The Popular Form V: Shien/Djem-So. I am Jedi Master Ryan Vickers, May the Force be with you!


4/09/2014

Karoshi

 Karoshi is basically when you drop dead after working really hard. It's really common in Japan, but also in American high schools. People in Japan have been known to have strokes, heart attacks, and even brain aneurysm's from working so hard. Some of these workers weren't even paid any overtime. Some were working 12 hours a day. This is unheard of in polite society. Japan finally placed a limit on how much work is too much after World War II. It was also common for business executives to drop like flies from all the stress and "work" that they performed (Golfing really gets to a man).





http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kar%C5%8Dshi 




4/08/2014

Goat Simulator

Goat Simulator Review

  Goat Simulator is a game on steam made by Coffee Stain Studios a game company known for such games as Sanctum and its sequel Sanctum 2. If I needed to sum goat simulator up in one word, that word would be fun. It's really hard to regret buying this game and it's even harder to dislike a game that allows you to sacrifice people to Satan in order to achieve satanic goat powers and other crazy antics. So without further adieu, I present to you my review on goat simulator.
  
  When I first bought this game I was chilling with my friend. We were playing some Battlefield 4 and talking on Skype when I went over to steam to check the store. I browsed through the catalog and noticed one recurring game title "Goat Simulator" so I bought it, installed it, and then launched it. I honestly didn't know what to expect from such a game, but I'll tell you right now, expect nothing but fun and laughter. Within the first 10 minutes of the game I managed to blow up several cars and other explosive objects such as gas tanks, red fuel barrels, and fuel tankers. Aside from blowing things up I also achieved flight head butted people into the sky and also sacrificed five people and became Goat Satan.
   
   Now that I'm done yammering on about how fun the game is let's talk about the game mechanics. They're  very simple and well done. For the most part the movement is fluid. The ragdoll physics are rampant and are there to ensure the maximum lols. The ramming/headbutting is also very well done, allowing you to head butt cars into oblivion and also headbutt pretty much everything else into oblivion as well. One thing I will say does need work would be the camera controls they're a bit clunky and can make the game a little bit frustrating especially when you're in high debris areas. Aside from that slight problem the game executes goat simulation to its fullest.

    If you still aren't convinced as to how fun Goat Simulator is I should probably bring up the Steam workshop and user made mods. Now a lot of games have mods, but I personally think that no game has mods that are as fun as these. The software for the game is very open and easy to mod increasing the replay value of the game with fun user made courses and also some very interesting mutators (things that change your abilities/appearance in a game). There are countless mods for this game, but I think my personal favorite one would be the Shrek mod be sure to check it out.

  Now I've said all the good things about the game here are some of the bad things about the game it's incredibly buggy and super unpolished. Now the bugs if anything only add to the fun, but they can still be super difficult to put up with because of the game breaking ones. Graphics the game's graphics are mediocre at best it can sometimes be hard to look at and the graphics could be a lot better. The main problem comes from the super unpolished textures and the grainy look that some areas have. Aside from those two things the base game is fun for about 2-4 hours.

   Goat Simulator is a pretty solid game jam packed with hours worth of fun (as long as you get the mods and addons). From the extensive amount of mods to the never ending explosions, it's guaranteed to give you a good time. Now one thing before I give a final score on this game, it should be noted that this game is something to be played for laughs and you should go in expecting that. It is incredibly unpolished and super buggy, but this if anything only increases the fun there is to be had. With that said I give Goat Simulator a 6/10 it's worth it, but because of some annoying bugs and camera/graphical issues I give it a 6 because the presented problems can be very annoying, but usually just make you laugh even harder.

4/07/2014

Lightsaber Combat: Form III: Soresu

Form III: Soresu

Form III: Soresu, also known as the Way of the Mynock, or The Resilience Form, was the third of the seven classic forms of lightsaber combat that was recognized by the Jedi Council prior to and during the Clone Wars. Soresu was developed during the widespread emergence of blasters as an offensive weapon. Essentially a development on Form I blast-deflect training, Soresu relied on tight bladework and subtle dodges to provide maximum defensive coverage, minimizing exposure to ranged weaponry. Over time, Soresu transcended this basic origin, and came to be considered the ultimate expression of non-aggressive Jedi philosophy. Like Makashi, Soresu relied on economy of motion and energy efficiency, keeping up constant blade-movement to build up momentum and minimize energy-expenditure. Form III focused on strong defensive technique to essentially outlast an opponent, waiting until he began making mistakes due to frustration or fatigue, before taking advantage of these lapses and countering. A master of Soresu was considered invincible, and the focus on long-term survival allowed such duelists to take stock of and control of their situation, choosing to kill, disarm, or even reason with enemies. However, despite its effectiveness, Soresu would receive heavy criticism due to its lack of offensive capabilities, as it merely facilitated survival rather than victory. As an answer to these weaknesses, the highly aggressive Ataru and Shien forms would be developed side-by-side.

For the Soresu opening stance, the duelist held the blade back in a one-handed grip, angled forwards with the left arm held parallel, the off-hand held up in a challenge. The dominant foot was positioned back. The brace-ready stance had much in common with the "Ataru guard," with the hilt held at waist height on the dominant side in a two-handed grip for greater control, extended vertically upwards. The dominant foot was placed back while the other was extended forwards and to the side in a brace-position. A variation on this stance featured the blade held high in a drop-parry position, though the foot positions were the same. Against individual shooters, Form III duelists were encouraged to apply the "deflecting slash". This move served the dual purposes of allowing a Jedi to redirect the momentum generated by deflecting an enemy projectile into a slashing attack at an adjacent target, and allowing the Jedi to advance and close the distance before the attacker could fire off another shot. A careful application can allow a Jedi to redirect the shot back at the attacker, though this skill is more commonly applied by Shien practitioners. Against multiple blaster-wielding attackers, the "circle of shelter" was advised. This technique could allow a Soresu practitioner to hold off as many as twenty shooters by dropping into a moving meditation, relying on the Force to perceive the various positions of the attackers and the necessary movements to evade or deflect their shots. As this maneuver was executed while in a meditative state, prolonged use may open a Force-adepts mind to visions of the future.

Advantages of Form III: Soresu: Soresu is the perfect expression of Jedi philosophy of defense over offense. Sorseu practitioners often are able to fight for long periods of time without running out of energy. They use blocks and defensive slicing to prevent any injury or harm.

Disadvantages of Form III: Soresu: Soresu's strength is also its weakness, as it has no offense what-so-ever. The complete lack of offense means that Soresu is either a beginning form to wear down your opponents stamina, or it is a last resort so you can get out alive. It must be paired with a more agressive form to be used effectively in combat.

Notable Master of this Form: Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi

Personally, this is my favorite form of Lightsaber combat. However, I do note its weakness in having no offense, so in my next segement, I will cover the Form of lightsaber combat meant to cover this weakness: Form IV: Ataru. I'm Jedi Master Ryan Vickers, May the Force be with you!

4/04/2014

Agnostic Atheism



I love being alive. I also really hate it sometimes. The world in which we exist is so beautiful and complex. It is only natural to look for the answers to the big questions about all that is. Many people have very strong religious beliefs which they use to comfort themselves in time of trouble and doubt. A large portion of people from a vast array of religions still hold scientific research to be a worthwhile cause.


  Try as we might we can't know all the answers. As an agnostic atheist I accept that as truth. I also realize that the truth of reality is more likely to be contained within a distant star than some ancient text. Still I respect freedom of belief and try to keep an open mind.

  I think it's a sad reflection of humanity's negative side when we spread hate and ignorance in the name of religion. No matter what we believe we are all still people. It is important that we learn to coexist in this world no matter what we think about the next. All anyone can know for sure is that bowties are cool.


http://www.pinterest.com/pin/133771051404601639/ 

The Elder Scrolls Online Review

Elder Scrolls Online Review


The Elder scrolls online is a new MMORPG (massively multiplayer online roleplaying game) developed by Zenimax Online Studios and published by Bethesda. I’m here to give my personal opinion of the game and maybe save you from that buyers remorse you get from purchasing bad games. With that said is the game bad? no not by any means, but that does not mean it is perfect either.
The game itself has some pretty interesting mechanics combining elements from most MMORPG'S (the hot bar) with roleplaying elements from the Elder scrolls series. It does a pretty good job of keeping the role playing elements interesting, but the combat is average pick your target attack using your mouse and hot bar keys. The story itself is pretty interesting keeping the classic prisoner start with a newer twist on it I'm not gonna spoil anything but it's an interesting spin on it to say the least. The prison escape level serves as an intro explaining core game mechanics and introducing the combat as well as important points in the plot.
After that intro you are essentially thrown out into a city that varies depending on what alliance you choose, which brings us to our next topic character creation. the character creation in this game is very in depth there are hundreds of combinations of physical appearances and voice modulations that you can choose from for your character. One thing I would've liked to have seen though would be a backstory mechanic much like the one in EVE online or Star Trek Online. Aside from that the character Creation is very solid and well done.
You've heard the good aspects of this game now I will discuss some of the not so good ones. The first thing you will notice if you choose to go with the daggerfall covenant as your alliance (this will also eventually happen with any alliance you choose) is a specific problem with group quests. At level 3 or 4 you will receive this quest that will require you to break some objects on a ship… no problem right? Wrong. The main problem with this game is that it does not handle quest like these in the right way instead of giving you a separate story area it makes the quest accessible to all players at the same time.The main problem with this is that someone will always take the quest objective before the next guy can.Then you have to wait 3 hours for it to spawn and then someone else takes it again, because instead of camping the spawn area you're doing other quests. A game that handles it well is Star Wars: The Old Republic, the way they handle quests with story specific objectives is by creating story areas only accessible by one person at a time letting anyone access it at the same time, but creating separate instances. This is something that I do hope they fix soon if not it will cause major problems with quest progression in the game.
Another thing that I would also like to point out is the quest reward instead of doing like most MMORPG’s such as World of Warcraft or Star Wars: The Old Republic it does not provide multiple rewards to choose from and it also does not do a good job of giving you items/ rewards that would help your class. I play a Templar orc in this game I have done quests for NPC’s (Non Playable character’s) that literally give me staves or magic robes instead of Heavy armor or two handed weapons and it happens too often for my liking.
Aside from these two problems I think that the game is pretty solid I want to clarify even though one of the two problems presented are potentially game breaking it is by no means a bad game. The community in the game is very friendly and willing to help if you encounter any problems. Beware though there are a lot of bots that advertise for very suspicious sites in chat. I’d give this game a solid 7.8 out of 10 you should definitely consider buying, but also give some thought to it because like a lot of MMORPG’s out there this game does have a monthly fee of $14.99. I hope this review answered most questions and was some what helpful thank you for reading and I’ll see you online.

Lightsaber Combat: Form II: Makashi

FORM II: MAKASHI

Form II: Makashi, also known as The Way of the Ysalamiri, or The Contention Form, was the second of the seven classic forms of lightsaber combat. Developed for the purpose of lightsaber-to-lightsaber combat, to address the failings of Form I: Shii-Cho, Makashi was the most dueling-centric of the seven classical forms. Relying on precision and efficiency over Shii-Cho's wild, sweeping motions, Form II allowed an initiate to defend himself against an opponent with minimal effort, while placing a heavy focus on avoiding disarmament. Makashi was described as elegant and focused, and was based on balance and footwork to outmaneuver opponents. Fluidity and economy of motion were relied on, rather than strength, with Form II blade-work heavily utilizing jabs and light cuts rather than hack and slash movements. Though Makashi was superb for one-on-one lightsaber dueling, it was not without its weaknesses, being relatively ineffective against multiple opponents and failing to address the issue of blast-deflection. After the Hundred-Year Darkness, during which a Jedi might encounter enemy duelists on a fairly regular basis, the Great Hyperspace War and the Old Sith Wars began and ended in fits and starts. Due to the rapid cycling of the various Sith Lords responsible for starting these wars, Dark Jedi and Sith began to appear only sporadically. This, combined with the increasing availability of blaster technology, resulted in Jedi encountering mounting numbers of blaster wielding opponents, and very few enemy duelists. As such, Makashi became fairly obsolete in terms of its practical application, and it would eventually be supplanted by Soresu, the most defensive of the seven forms.

Makashi duelists were typically skilled in the application of two Marks of Contact; the Sun djem and the Shiak. In a marked difference from the Shii-Cho "disarming slash" maneuver, which was a power attack designed to rip an opponents weapon from his grasp, the typical Form II applications of the sun djem were precise attacks directed at the weapon itself, often destroying it or even burning through an opponents fingers to disarm them. Applications of the shiak were a natural result of Form II footwork and swordplay, all of which followed a single back and forth line, and was seen as an indication of skill and control. 

Advantages of Form II: It is amazing against single opponents and is fueled by a competitive spirit. This form is also useful for variation, as it needs an altered grip lightsaber to get full use. Unpredictable and meant to disable your weapon, Form II: Makashi is meant to easily defeat your opponent in a one-to-one duel.

Disadvantages of Form II: It is horrible against multiple opponents.Mostly considered an acrobatic-footwork form, it is horrible against brute-strength. Anyone with brute-force will eventually defeat a Makashi duelist. This form is also horrible with blast deflection, and this made Makashi useless and unused due to the rise in blaster wielding opponents.

Notable Master of this Form: Jedi Master turned Sith Lord Count Dooku

In the next segment, I will go over the form that was the answer to Form II's complete lack of defense: 
Form III: Soresu. I am Jedi Master Ryan Vickers. May the Force be with you!


4/03/2014

Looking for Alaska Review














Some books have a kind of magic to them. For me one of those books is Looking for Alaska by John Green. I cried and laughed so hard while reading it and I think I am better as a person because of the experience.  I find the protagonist Miles Halter/Pudge a really relatable character. I have a love of trivia facts and morbid stories and have a naturally obsession prone personality. At this time I can only envy Pudge's peculiar expertise.


  Alska Young is a wonderful and compelling character. She is described as being both very beautiful and intelligent. Still she has enough of a flawed side to come across as interesting and genuine. This book is filled with humor and beauty. Choosing not to read this book is in my opinion a huge mistake. Go and find a copy of Looking for Alaska as soon as humanly possible.

Lightsaber Combat: Form I: Shii-Cho

FORM I: SHII-CHO

Form I: Shii-Cho, also known as The Way of the Sarlacc or The Determination Form, was the first of the seven forms of lightsaber combat. This combat form was developed during the transitional period within the Jedi Order from ancient metal swords to more contemporary lightsabers. Shii-Cho was intended to cater to these new weapons, establishing the basic motions and target zones utilized with a lightsaber. As Shii-Cho was effectively an experimental combat form, and was created prior to the emergence of Dark Jedi and Sith Lords, it did not address the issue of lightsaber-to-lightsaber combat, and was quickly replaced by Form II: Makashi. Despite this, Shii-Cho continued to find a niche as a training form, with almost every Jedi duelist receiving some instruction in it, and including elements in their own combat styles. Shii-Cho was considered an effective fall-back option when no other form or combat style would do. In combat, Form I lightsaber combat was wild and raw, relying on deliberate tactics and being primarily aimed towards disarming rather than injuring foes, in keeping with Jedi philosophy. Basic initiates in the style demonstrated rather clumsy performance, though in the hands of a master, Shii-Cho was fluid but highly randomized and unpredictable. This form focuses on the 6 target zones of the body, presented in the picture below: 

Zone 1: The Head
Zone 2: The Right Side of the Body
Zone 3: The Left Side of the Body
Zone 4: The Back and Chest
Zone 5: The Right Leg
Zone 6: The Left Leg

All basic attacking zones are easy to predict and block as well. Shii-Cho helps a lightsbaer duelist with defense more so than offence. Originally developed by Jedi, Shii-Cho was not intended to wound or kill their opponent. There are such maneuvers as the disarming slash, which threw your opponents lightsaber out of their hand. 

Advantages of Form I: It's basic and anyone can learn it, even master it. It is great against multiple opponents and is intended to confuse your enemies.

Disadvantages of Form I: It is horrible against single opponents, as it is not meant for dueling. Most masters of this form add a more dueling-centric form to their skills before fighting someone one-on-one. It is horribly basic and predictable, as there are 6 main attacks that this form has to offer.

Notable Master of this Form: Jedi Master Kit-Fisto 

In my next segment, I will discuss the answer to Shii-Cho's lack of use against single opponents, the dueling-centralized Form II: Makashi. I am Jedi Master Ryan Vickers, May the Force be with you.