Author Archives: solemmanuel

A Clash Of Opinions

So I’m back again to bring you another Season review for Game of Thrones, as that was my first real blog near a year ago.  I’ve broken my New year’s resolution to write at least a blog a month, but I didn’t really have anything to say for May. Season two was based off of A Clash Of Kings, which to be honest; is my 2nd least favourite of the 5 books in the series that have been released. If you’re curious I’d rate them 3>1>5>2>4. I’m going to try and keep my book-walker knowledge out of this review for the most part, at least when it comes to the storyline. If you haven’t finished the 2nd season yet I suggest you bookmark this blog, and then come back once you have.

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2012: End Of The World As I Know It

So as most of you are probably aware for the last 3 years or so my mom has been trying to sell our house down in Okanagan Centre. We’ve had plenty of showings, a few offers including one we accepted, but fell through as they couldn’t sell their place, which was one of the subjects on the deal, and my mom was tired of extending it. But now it looks like sit’s finally sold.  Early this month/late in March, a couple, who had seen the house in the fall and really liked it, but it wasn’t a good time for them, came back.

For the first 3 months of this year my mom and I started doing some updates on the house, stripping wallpaper, painting rooms and the ceiling, stripping out carpet and having new carpet and flooring installed. Fortunately, the people liked what we had done, after a little bit of worrying that they’d go “Oh, we liked how it was before’, we reached a deal

I don’t remember the place my parent’s rented out in the Mission where I was brought home to, nor living with my grand-parents up on the Rutland bench, while Dad (with help from friend’s and family) built this house. So it’s fitting that this is where he took his last breath. For me, my life began December 28th, 1993 my third birthday and 2 days after we had moved in, as that party my mom manged to get together is my first real memory, though it is admittedly somewhat fuzzy as memory doesn’t really develop until the age of 5, or so the doctors say.

The house has never been perfect, I’ve always been reluctant to have people over because it’s kind-of small, since we never got further than pouring the footings for the addition which had always been planned. But it’s literally a two-minute walk down to the lake, the view is hard to beat.

Born and raised in the Okanagan, this has been and always will be, my home.But I’ve been getting almost restless stuck, and am really feeling like it’s time to make some new memories and explore the world and myself more. Thats why I looked into going to Australia for Law School and am hoping to go to Queen’s or somewhere out east, so Chai and I can get a new start. 2012 will be a year of change for me, which is one of the reasons I wanted on the trip to Romania. I should hopefully finally have a new job, new place to live, and one last year of school here to go.

This has been a little bit, of a rough blog, not entirely happy with it, but hey, I’m still keeping my resolution of at least one blog a month, a quarter through the year. I didn’t need that Mass Effect 3 or Cabin in the Woods review after all.

My final word on Kony 2012

I’ve spent a good part of a day and night arguing about Kony 2012. I love arguing, it’s one of the reasons why I’m going into politics and law. But, it can be exhausting. As such I thought I’d just post my thoughts in one easy accessible place, besides it’ll get me more hits.

I’m sure most people reading this are aware of the situation., for those who may not be, here’s a quickish summary. In 1986 in the central African state of Uganda, a man named Joseph Kony formed a rebel group called the Lord’s resistance Army. This group wanted to form a government and laws as set down by the Ten Commandments. The LRA promptly proceeded to ignore the whole ‘Thou shalt not kill’ aspect of said laws. But that’s not the worse part, the LRA has a policy of abducting children and turning them into soldiers or sex slaves depending on their gender. they’ve also spread from Uganda to The Congo and other countries in central Africa. These practises led the International Criminal Court to make Kony their first indictment post founding, as an aside as an aspiring human rights lawyer anything involving the ICC has me wanting to be involved at least superficially. Now I fully admit that this a massively simplified version of events, the Ugandan government is far from innocent for one thing.

Fastforwording to March 2012, a charity organization known as the Invisible Children, which was founded years earlier to showcase this conflict, launched it’s newest promotional campaign. A couple of days ago invisible children published a 30 minute video titled Kony 2012, and today as of this writing it has 19,986,084 views! The video explains who Kony is and whats he has done, though it honestly doesn’t go more in-depth than I did really. It’s a noted experiment in social media encouraging people to share the video and on the night of April 20th, poster your local city. This is to try to create pressure on the governments of the world, with an US focused bent, to help the Ugandan government and arrest Kony.

Invisible Children has since received some criticism about some financial irregularities about how much money actually goes to the cause vs salaries, travel costs etc. Also they’ve come under fire a bit for supporting the Ugandan military and militias, which aren’t that much better than the Lord’s Resistance Army in some cases, and being in favour of military intervention. There are some claims that the LRA has virtually abandoned North Uganda, where IC is focused. The organization has posted a response to the critiques, which I’d take with a grain of salt. However, it’s better than mos responses we see come from companies or governments under fire, so kudos to them for that.

Now as to the purpose of this blog. I view on the whole this is this: you can support the Kony 2012 movement, without supporting Invisible Children. Make you’re own posters rather than buying the package advertised by the charity, write your MP or government representative. There are plenty of ways to take part, no matter what your view on the charity behind it. As an aspiring human rights lawyer, this cause appeals to me in many buts besides that, I believe we all have a responsibility to the world and others, even if you don’t agree with that point people should take part because it’s the right thing to do. At the very least they’re bringing this to light and even people my Mother’s age who’d never heard of Joseph Kony before are learning about it. Knowledge is power after all, will free to educate yourself on the issue whole too. Now as Osama, Gaddafi, and others have proven over recent years the strategy of cutting the head off of the snake isn’t as effective as we like to believe. If Kony is captured or killed that just the first step in address the problems in Uganda, and I hope people will stick around not just go ‘Ok, jobs done”. There will be forces left over, the kids will need a lot of help, physically, mentally and socially. As has been mentioned the current Ugandan government has its issues, with reports of looting, rape and abductions of their own, and there has been the “Death penalty for Homosexuality” bill.Howver, in the latter case the government caved to international pressure, at least temporarily, but it shows they’re probably more amiable to negotiation than the Lord’s Resistance Army. As I’ve said a few times to people, sometime’s its about helping the lesser evil. It’ll be a long journey, but with help and their own will power and ability Uganda will be able to make it.

Why I am Team Mulcair

Here we are, just under 3 weeks to go until we New Democrats, who joined prior to Feb 18th,  elect our new Party Leader, who will serve as the head of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition and in 2015 as Prime Minister of Canada, fate willing. This race hasn’t received too much media coverage because, well compared to the entertainment our neighbours to the south are providing in the Republican race, the NDP race has been polite and well to be honest rather vanilla, but hey I’ll take polite minor disagreements in policy any day over the clamour of the Romney/Anybody But Romney race the GOP is having. The race in general reminds of the Liberals 2006 race, with its large slate of candidates but with a couple of frontrunners. Hopefully we won’t see a repeat of the end of that race.

While I’d be satisfied with any of the seven as victors i do have my preference. I’ve considered myself undecided for most of the race but I’ve always been leaning to one candidate in particular, but I was keeping my mind open, however I am ready to finally and firmly declare my support for this person. As the title of this blog spoils: I am going to be voting for Thomas Mulcair on March 24th.

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The Good Wife on Trial

Well, this is the big post number 1-0, its just taken me longer than most to reach.  I thought about making a blog post about the renos we’re doing on the house to prep it for selling, again. But, that would be boring and you wouldn’t want to  read it. So i thought to celebrate this anniversary I would commemorate my first blog post by doing a review. Okay, so my Game of Thrones Review was my second post, but my first was just an intro, not a real blog at all. So I’m going to talk about another of my favorite current series: The Good Wife on CBS, most because episode 3-13 was one of the best hours of Network television I’ve seen in a while, and there is a 3 week break, well more like a week an a half now, so you can rent/download the first 2 seasons on Graboid (one of my personal favorites) or where ever, thats how I started watching it after season was nominated/won a couple of awards.

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On the Internet We Are All Somalis

My name is Sol O’Rielly, and I am an internet pirate.

Though SOPA and PIPA have been stopped, it is just a temporary reprieve, the issue of copyright protection vs. net neutrality will not go away anytime soon, nor should it. Despite my confession I deeply believe something should be done about illegal downloading. I just disagreed with the draconian “Team America : World Police”, “Corporations are People” conditions within the aforementioned bills.

I am more like The Pirates of the Caribbean in that I have my own “Pirates Code”. If there is a movie I really want to see, or a game I really want to play, such as Harry Potter or Skyrim respectively, I am more than happy to dish out the hard earned cash in order to buy it legally. On the other hand if its something I’m not sure of, or only sort of want then I’m likely to go to Demonoid, Pirate’s Bay, or somewhere to torrent it. Sometimes afterwards I may buy, but more often than not it stays on my Harddrive, or if I found it less than satisfactory deleted.  A couple of times I’ve lost a CD, and rather than repurchasing a replacement I download it.

No, I’m talking about the titular Internet Somali Pirates, whose first instinct is to download something, and rarely if ever actually spend money on their entertainment products. Those people I’m sad to say to say are usually males in theirs 20-30s and largely ah, “nerds”. My problem with this is this. It takes months-years of people’s lives to make a movie, video game, TV shows etc etc. Now they still get paid, even with the rampant piracy, but I question who it feels to invest so much of your time, and yourself into a product only to see it taken for granted. I could go at length, iunto how being reduced to a user name and a series of numbers makes us feel secure, but I’m not going to. Though to be honest, I feel a lot of pirates don’t really know what all the work that goes into it, or simply don’t care. Many may point to the prices of tickets as a justification for their kleptomania, well my mother deals with bringing in independent films, and I know some people who work in movies. Theatres don’t make very much on ticket prices, a majority of it goes to paying the distributors and other fees, most of their profits come from that over-priced popcorn and pop.

This article shows one of the effects of online piracy. I bet if the people who downloaded HP8, The Dark Knight, Transformers or the others in the first 5 days, or even earlier as there are usually leaked online copies, had actually seen them in theatre they would be way higher, as those top 5 movies I believe have a significant population overlap with those most likely to download their films. Looking at the Box office numbers for Scott Pilgrim vs the World, which was a good film, buts its problem was its target demographic. While I’m not entirely sure how reliable these numbers are, they show that the movie was more popular than its earnings indicate, but it made the mistake to aiming at the nerdy demographic alone, and people reward Edgar Wright with… not much.

Indeed, it is not just the traditional media of movies, music and even books that have been negatively impacted by the epidemic of torrenting, but even the new media, Gaming. Some of you may look at that aforementioned article about Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and ask me how has the game industry been scathed.  A breakdown of those sales figures, was harder to track down then I thought, but I would bet anything a majority of those sales figures were for the console versions of the game. Why? Because console games have such protection that it is virtually impossible to get and use an illegal copy on an Xbox360 or a Playstation 3. In contrast many within the player base and the industry have commented on the decline of PC Gaming. In order to protect their product many Game producers place DRM, Digital Rights Management software, which is often intrusive on your computer, leading to public outcry. Also its often not that hard to work around, so in some ways companies encourage what they’re trying to fight against. Also the price requirements for a good quality gaming machine prevent a barrier for some in the public to get into computer gaming. Though there have been a few good quality PC Exclusives, or intended for PC Games over the past few years like Starcraft 2, and Dragon Age: Origins, PC gamers often find themselves getting the short end of the stick from companies in order to combat piracy. Often a PC version, if there even is one, will come out weeks to months after its console counterparts. Steam has helped by providing a cheap downloading portal, and social media area.

Now, I regret to say I don’t have an answer on how we can keep both the Companies, and Public happy, but I’m sure there is one as the status quo as is isn’t working, nor can we swing too far as SOPA/PIPA demonstrated.

Blogging for the Sake of Blogging

My Mom always says that the New Year starts on her birthday, which is today. So Happy New Year!, again and once again Happy birthday. We finally got the snow I’ve been wanting, just 2 weeks late. I guess Calvin just stayed on his toboggan long enough to appease the Snow Demons. Hope everyones had a good first week to their new year, even if most of us happen to be back in the drudgerous dolodrums of school.

I did resolve to write more blogs, so all 5 of you who read this will have to content yourselves with reading what I write when I write it, but I do want to write more both for this and just for me. Though I have a few courses with fair amounts of writing so we’ll see how it goes. However unlike a “resolution” of quitting smoking, going to the gym or whatever, this won’t hurt me if I fail

I was going to go on about 2012, and it being the year of change, 1 ½ years till I’m in Law Schoool blah, blah blad. but like most of my plans, thats not gonna happen, mostly due to laziness and having no idea what to say. But giving the bang I had to end 2011, I don’t know if it was a bad omen or a sign that things will get better. For those not in the know; for my 21st birthday after a night of dinner, breakin even at the casino, and a movie I was going home to grab my bathing suit and then on to Drew’s and his hottub. I had decided to take Glenmore home. It had been raining for the last few hours so I was being cautious with my driving. Another vehicle passed me, and after a while of me driving behind them they hit black ice and skidded over the ditch. Now to be honest I would have checked it up to their Karma for passing me, made sure they, and their dog, were alright and then continued on. But I, perhaps punished for my thought, also hit the ice and went spinning into the other ditch, luckily my car was only half way off the side of the road, but since I hadn’t put on my Snows, I could not manage to reverse out. But perhaps 5 minutes later who should arrive behind me but a Car with Jalene, brooke and Olivia. Through the power of estrogen they managed to push my front end oud from the ditch. yay girl power! My Heroes *swoons*. They then went on to try and help the woman in the other car, wanting to appear chivalrous I did aswell. The other vehicle despite being a heavier four wheel drive Kia than Lafayette, my Hyundai Accent, she was in more dire straights, having fallen further to the side of the road getting tangled up with the barbed wire fence.

The other driver didn’t have BCAA, so being Gentlemanly I offered the use of my card. A few other woman driver actually slowed down and stopped, one even having wire cutters. Seemingly all the men, particularly the ones with big trucks drove by. We cleared her car so no tires would get popped by the wire, and then with the clever you of car mats, manveouring and brute strength attempted to free the car from it’s predicament. Unfortunately all we accomplished were ripped pants and tichts, a few inches of movement maybe, and a showing of my complete mechincal and technical inepitute and removal of my Man Car. After 45 minutes- an hour, the tow truck arrived and managed to free her. My good semitarian deed done for the year, only promptly to expire a few days later. The next day I heard about a couple of other accidents on Glenmore, so we managed to get away scott free, Lafayette was fine, I was fine everyone was happy. Yay.