Book Review: Tragedy in the Commons

Book Review: Tragedy in the Commons

The Canadian Federal Election is coming up in a few weeks, so I thought it would be a good idea to cover the one Political Science book that I have read.

I want to read more books about politics, but they’re usually on the back of my mind so I don’t often look for them when I go book shopping.

This one however was very insightful, and got me interested in the genre.

This really isn’t a book about one party’s politics, or a certain political viewpoint. This was more about how the Canadian political system works as a whole, and the different aspects of the system.

It’s written and includes stories about former Members of Parliament. It’s that first hand account that really drive the point home in my opinion.

It’s one thing to write about something you never really experienced. You can get all the facts, get the first hand accounts, but there is nothing quite like experiencing it for yourself.

I read this book while I was taking a Political Science class and it was a nice education in the field.

I had a basic understanding of how Canada’s democratic system worked, but I didn’t really understand the intricate workings of it until I read this book.

I wouldn’t call myself an expert in any shape or form, but this sort of made me realize how important it is to have an understanding of your country’s government.


I don’t know what country you are reading this in, but one of the best parts of a democracy is that you get a voice. Whether you like this person or that person, this ideal or that, this party or the other, you have a chance to vote.

It’s important to vote. I mean it is literally the fundamental component of the democratic system.

It’s only been a handful of elections, but I have voted in every single election I have had the chance to vote in because I have the right.

Many people across the world don’t have that chance, and so I take advantage of the opportunity when I can.

I won’t share my political views, that’s not the point of the post. The point is to understand how your government works. People will argue that they don’t vote for a handful of reasons, but I promise you they are all crap. There is no reason not to vote.


Overall Tragedy in the Commons is a good book. I was a bit worried because I thought it would be difficult to follow along, but it’s not.

It’s a really easy read, and any confusing concepts are explained in detail that you don’t need to be a political nut to understand it all.

I don’t think a lot of my readers are in Canada, so this book won’t really do much for you.

What I am hoping for then, is that you get some sort of inspiration from it. You feel some inner need to vote, even if you think it’s pointless or a waste of time, do it anyways. Especially you young folk. Let your voice be heard.

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Mistborn Review: A Hero’s Struggle

Mistborn Review: A Hero’s Struggle

My Rating:  ★★★ ★ ☆

Author: Brandon Sanderson

Before I opened this book I wasn’t too sure about whether I’d like it. I love Brandon Sanderson and all the books of his that I have read so far have been amazing, but I read a few iffy reviews of Mistborn and was a bit nervous.

Those nerves quickly subsided when I started reading it though, cause I was hooked by the end of the first few chapters.

What really got me interested, which isn’t usually something I find in books, is that the entire plot of the book was laid out very early on.

The premise of the book is that there is a group of thieves and criminals, and they plan on overthrowing the government.

What’s beautiful about it though, is that their entire plan is spoken about. We know exactly what steps need to be taken in order for this all to work.

Some might think it’s annoying because there is less suspense, but I firmly disagree with that. I think there is so much opportunity for suspense and potential failure that the story benefits from it.

There are some cheesy moments that all books fall prey to. Two people falling in love after meeting one night, ruining the plans you’d have to kill them is the first one that comes to mind.

In knowing the overall story, we just know that something will go wrong. There’s no way that the story can go perfectly as planned right? There’s no way our heroes can do exactly what they need to, cause where’s the fun in seeing them succeed so easily?

There is a sort of joy in seeing heroes struggle, even though we want them to win.

It’s sort of weird if you think about it. We all want the hero to win, so why do we want him to suffer and struggle? Why shouldn’t he win easily? Why do we want the hero to get beaten, battered, bloody and bruised.

We should want him to complete his goals with ease.

But that’s boring.

A story wouldn’t be much fun if we didn’t overcome some obstacles. That’s what makes them a hero though. They are a hero because they overcome great adversity and triumph in the face of defeat and despair.

A hero that struggles and goes through pain is a hero because of it. Because all that pain and hardship is what relates us to the words on a page, or the character on the screen.

Mistborn gives us two main heroes. Two characters that are the same in so many ways, but so different too.


My one big complaint about Mistborn and the world it is in is the “magic” system. What’s cool about it, Allomancy as it’s called, is that it uses metals that are absorbed into your body.

What isn’t so cool is that you sort of forget what each power does over time. Some of the powers are used enough, or are written in a certain way that the meaning comes across in a memorable way, but there are just about as many that you confuse.

Without spoiling anything, there are 8 different “powers” and each sort of has an opposite. Some of the powers are easy to understand, and the names for them give away their meaning.

Some of them aren’t really used often enough, so when they are mentioned it takes you a second to remember what power is being used.

Overall, fantastic book. I have the other two books in this trilogy and can’t wait to get my hands on them, but I promised myself I’d take a crack at IT before going back to The Wheel of Time, which I need to read before coming back again to Mistborn.


My question to you is simple, what is your favourite magic system that you’ve read. Harry Potter’s straight up wand use, or maybe Twilight’s magical creatures? Is it Game of Thrones subtle magical world, or something else entirely? Let me know in the comments.

Supernatural Season 4

Supernatural Season 4

I apologize now for the late review of Season 4. I opened up my laptop yesterday, that was plugged in all night, and found it dead and not charging.

Eventually I went to Apple and bought a new cord, but that didn’t really fit into my schedule so I had to forgo posting yesterday unfortunately.

Season 4 sees Supernatural coming to an end of what was the original intended length, and the story clearly points to it.

Dean unknowingly broke open the first of 66 seals, and the boys and their new angel “allies” are working to prevent the other 65 from breaking and releasing Lucifer.

The brothers let some seals break and stop some from breaking. They work with these angels to stop the demons, but slowly we learn that more and more seals are being broken.

Dean is told that he will be the one to stop all of this, but Sam is the one that is actively working on his demon powers to get strong enough to stop Lilith, to the chagrin of all his allies and loved ones.

We get to meet Castiel for the first time this season (FINALLY!) and we also get Chuck near the end of it.

Overall the season is pretty good. I still prefer Season 3, but I would rank this one above Season 1 and 2.

This season was back to it’s full length of 22 ish episodes, and we get a nice variety again between main story enemies and random ones along the way.

Even some of the ones we thought were random turned out to be related to the overall story.

If you’re a fan of folklore and history like I am though, this show never seems to disappoint in terms of teaching you something. It’s fascinating to see the different culture’s ghosts and ghouls be brought to light in a more modern setting.

There are two interesting ideas that kept coming to mind whenever I would see Sam using his powers and Dean not liking a moment of it.

Family, and Responsibility.


Let’s get into the what I mean by responsibility.

Now Sam is a hunter, and we learn he has some pretty extraordinary powers–he is immune to the demon push thing and he can kill/exercise demons with his mind. Pretty sweet when your big enemy is a demon and they can’t touch you.

Unfortunately, Sam needs to drink demon blood to get stronger, and it slowly gets him addicted to it, and at the beck and call to Ruby.

I kept thinking back to the classic Spider-Man line: “With great power comes great responsibility,” and how it related to Sam.

Sam could defeat Lilith and potentially stop the war, but does he have to? Should he sacrifice his sanity and potentially his life just because he is maybe the only thing that could stop Lilith?

It would be possible to stop her without Sam’s powers. It wouldn’t be easy but it would be possible. Should Sam sacrifice himself for the greater good? It’s a problem heroes face all the time in storytelling.

Thinking logically, what if there was a bigger threat than Lilith and Sam could stop that one too. He could stop the enemy that would cause the more damage. But what if he sacrificed himself for Lilith instead, making him never able to sacrifice himself for what came next.

What do you think? Is Sam responsible to sacrifice himself for the threat at hand?


I also wanted to talk about what the word “family” means for a bit.

Sam and Dean are obviously blood brothers, and they feel responsible for each other’s actions.

Family is a big theme in Season 4, because Dean sees Sam slowly slip into darkness the more demon blood he consumes.

Eventually Dean can no longer handle it, and tries to give up on Sam. He tries to forget his responsibility to Sam because to him, Sam is hopeless. Sam can’t be saved any more.

But we all know Dean, and after a great line from Bobby “You think family is supposed to make you warm and happy? That’s why they’re family. They’re supposed to make you miserable,” Dean caves and reaches out to Sam.

Now to the question I wanted to ask.

Can and should you give up on family?

I know everyone will have a different idea on the matter, but I think its a worthwhile debate. Assume you’ve done all you can for your family. You’ve helped them out of scrape after scrape, yet they keep doing whatever they think is best, even though it’s so clearly wrong.

Dean gave up on his brother for a moment, and I’m sure he hates himself for it and won’t forget it till the day he dies, but that’s who Dean is.


I hope everyone enjoyed the review. Look out for Season 5, hopefully next Saturday because there won’t be any issues that come up (fingers crossed).

One Piece Arc Review: Whisky Peak

One Piece Arc Review: Whisky Peak

Do you love Zoro just destroying dozens of mercenaries with minimal effort? Perfect, cause Whisky Peak’s best moment is just that.

After leaving Reverse Mountain, the Straw Hat Pirates are on their way to their first island on the Grand Line…Whisky Peak.

It’s a relatively short arc, but it’s full of important events in the Alabasta Arc. After some explanations, Vivi joins the ranks of the Straw Hats, who were given the task of bringing her to Alabasta and stopping Crocodile’s schemes before her country falls to ruin.

We also get to meet Nico Robin, an enemy at the time but an ally when she joins the crew after the Alabasta Arc.

Zoro’s actions on Whisky Peak and later his defeat of Mr. 1 gave him his first bounty.

Another small little bonus is that we get to see Zoro and Luffy fight each other, in a rather serious duel. Luffy assumed Zoro beat up all the mercenaries because he was a bad guy, so Luffy was pretty angry and challenged him to a fight. Zoro, who beat the mercenaries because they were trying to kill the Straw Hats, defends himself and fights back against Luffy.

This is where a theory of mine comes into play. It’s never really stated, other than in their bounties, but I have a hunch that Zoro is actually stronger than Luffy for most of the story.

Now before you get upset and riot, hear me out. Luffy always fights the big bad guys. Yes, that is true, and Zoro usually fights the second best bad guy.

Luffy usually puts himself through a lot of wear and tear before he gets to the final boss, because fighting him at 100% strength would often be too easy. The same can be said with Zoro. Zoro always has some sort of handicap, whether he is previously injured, missing a sword, or he’d already beaten a few dozen bad guys.

So basically this means they often are in similar situations when they fight right? So why is Zoro stronger in my opinion? I think he is stronger because of his weapons of choice.

Obviously he uses katanas, and early on in the series this would have made all the difference in fighting. Zoro could have easily beaten all of Luffy’s enemies with his swords. Luffy obviously relies on fists, so he beats enemies with blunt force. Before haki existed, Zoro could have cut them up with no issue.

Zoro is seen to be able to lift amazingly heavy objects, he is constantly put through tough and excruciating situations, and he can withstand EXTREME amounts of pain (Thriller Bark).

Yes Luffy has done this too, but Luffy goes through a lot more comical moments, and is often assisted by outside parties or external factors to be able to defeat the big bad guy.

Plus up until the time skip, Zorro is never far behind Luffy in terms of bounty, but he isn’t the captain or beating the strongest bad guy so he gets less recognition for his actions.

Book Review: The Dumbest Generation

Book Review: The Dumbest Generation

Can a nation continue to enjoy political and economic predominance if its citizens refuse to grow up?

For decades, concern has been brewing about the dumbed-down popular culture available to young people and the impact it has on their futures. At the dawn of the digital age, many believed they saw a hopeful answer: The Internet, e-mail, blogs, and interactive and hyper-realistic video games promised to yield a generation of sharper, more aware, and intellectually sophisticated children. The terms “information superhighway” and “knowledge economy” entered the lexicon, and we assumed that teens would use their knowledge and understanding of technology to set themselves apart as the vanguards of this new digital era.

That was the promise. But the enlightenment didn’t happen. The technology that was supposed to make young adults more astute, diversify their tastes, and improve their verbal skills has had the opposite effect. According to recent reports, most young people in the United States do not read literature, visit museums, or vote. They cannot explain basic scientific methods, recount basic American history, name their local political representatives, or locate Iraq or Israel on a map. The Dumbest Generation is a startling examination of the intellectual life of young adults and a timely warning of its consequences for American culture and democracy.

Drawing upon exhaustive research, personal anecdotes, and historical and social analysis, Mark Bauerline presents an uncompromisingly realistic portrait of the young American mind at this critical juncture, and lays out a compelling vision of how we might address its deficiencies.

In the five or so minutes it will probably take you to read this, you will have logged roughly half the time the average 15- to 24-year-old now spends reading each day, assuming you even bother reading the entire post.

In a world where books and knowledge are at our fingertips, most people choose to avoid them at all costs, causing Mark Bauerlein, the author of The Dumbest Generation, fear for his country’s future.

The way Bauerlein says it, something disastrous has happened to America’s youth with the arrival of the instant gratification age we are currently in.

The result is a loss of knowledge, plain and simple.

Can we really blame people though? I mean what sounds like more fun, scrolling through Instagram or Facebook and checking out your friends’ newest post, or reading a book about Medieval warfare tactics?

Most people would choose Instagram or Facebook.

When Bauerlein told an audience of college students, “You are six times more likely to know who the latest American Idol is than you are to know who the speaker of the U.S. House is,” a voice in the crowd tells him: “ ‘American Idol’ IS more important.”

Young people are a melting pot of “unimportant” knowledge. The important stuff that affects our day to day life, is information we probably don’t know. A celebrities birthday and what their favourite gemstone is? Information we probably know.

And all this feeds on itself. Increasingly disconnected from the “adult” world of tradition, culture, history, context and the ability to sit down for more than five minutes with a book, today’s digital generation is becoming insulated in its own cocoon of bad spelling, civic illiteracy and endless postings. Two-thirds of U.S. undergraduates now score above average on the Narcissistic Personality Inventory, up 30% since 1982, he reports.

Now don’t get me wrong. It’s pretty well known that with each new generation, there will be some sort of inevitable change, and with that change will come complaints from the older generation, with reminiscence from the past, and so on, repeating in a never ending cycle.

This is not necessarily a bad thing, for many reasons. When cultural norms change, art, literature, and other creative outlets become more fluid, and people respond to the spirit of the age with an intelligent and relevant civic discourse.

Within Bauerlein’s collected research, some interesting information has come to light.The fact-based, multiple-choice approach to education has hampered our ability to “think historically,” meaning young Americans have difficulties placing current events in relation to their historical contexts.

Equally, our ability to do basic math and our reading proficiency continues to drop. In a 2005 survey cited in the book, respondents aged 15-to-24 only read anything for eight minutes on a weekday and nine minutes on the weekend, while clocking hours and hours watching TV or surfing the Internet. These are just a few shockers that Bauerlein reveals, but not all of his statistical evidence points toward depressing trends.

At the same time, technology is making our IQ’s go up, and Bauerlein reveals how IQ tests have become more complex to meet our growing intelligence.

If you’re reading this blog post, you probably don’t apply to this book as much as others, but it is never the less something that worries me. How can I trust my future to a bunch of people who ate tide pods and can’t go without their phones for more than five minutes?

TV Review: Supernatural Season 1

TV Review: Supernatural Season 1

Usually my Saturday posts consist of a review of some movie. Today I decided I would mix it up a little bit. There are a few movies that I could review, for example Hobbs & Shaw. I saw it last night and overall, it wasn’t that bad.

Today however, I wanted to talk about one of my favourite TV shows that is coming to an end this year. That’s right…Supernatural is finally coming to an end after its 15th season on air.

I started following the show during its 10th season, and it took me about a month to watch seasons 1-9 to catch up to what was on air.

I decided to give each season its own review because this will be my one and only chance to really talk about the show.

Each Saturday will get its own season review. The final season will air on television before I get to finish all of the reviews, but I’ll also be throwing a predictions post when it is closer to the air date of the show.

Without further adieu ladies and gentlemen, my first of many Supernatural season reviews.

Season 1 of the show is a little rough, I’m not going to lie. That doesn’t make it a bad thing though, cause who expects pure gold from a TV show in its first season?

We get introduced to Sam and Dean, the two Winchester brothers and the main characters of the show, and we follow them along their path to find their dad who has been missing on a hunting trip.

Not a regular hunting trip though, more like a supernatural creature hunting trip.

Yep, we find out that Sam and Dean and their dad hunt those things that go bump in the night.

We get introduced to wendigos, demons, and dozens of other creepy and crawly things.

What do I like the most about this first season though? The fact that it’s basically just another CSI or other Detective type TV show, this one just has a twist to it.

I’ve always kind of wondered if this show would be as succesful as it was if it started this year, and I’m not really sure.

I know it’s not the best season of television to ever air, but I think it’s got a unique enough spin to it that I think it would do okay. At least from what I know, there are no other shows quite like Supernatural, where we have two brothers driving across the country hunting down ghosts and ghouls.

The first season helps build up the limitless potential though. Since we are introduced to a bunch of different creatures, we know that there are countless other things we can be introduced to along the way. We get monsters from different countries, cultures, religions and beliefs, and Season 1 does a good job of showing us these monster.

I have to tip my hat to the writers and researchers for this show though, because some of my favourite episodes are the ones that feature common myths or urban legends like Bloody Mary. I think its the subtle connections to things I am familiar with that helps cement Supernatural as one of my favourite shows.

One thing that Season 1 has a bit of a hard time doing though is setting up the tone of the show. This is the first season, so it’s not going to live or die by all the rules set in these episodes, but it does play a pretty big part in what comes after. Some episodes are funny, some scary, Some are action packed and some are more light hearted, while others overly dramatic.

It’s not a bad thing, and having watched the rest of the show I think Supernatural sort of blends them all together in a nice way, showing audiences it can do a bit of everything, but in the first season its just tough to get a proper feeling for what the show will be.

Luckily for the first season, they figured out the brotherly banter between Sam and Dean and showed it perfectly.

Brothers fight, brothers argue, and brothers get along. If you have a sibling you now how it is. One minute you want to knock them over the head with a chair, and the next minute you are best friends.

The two of them fit this dynamic perfectly, which grows in strength and interest as the series continues.

This plays nicely into the overall season arc, with the brothers hunting the demon that killed their Mother. Being joined by their hunter Dad, who is teased well throughout the series and plays a shadowy figure to the regular characters, the series begins to find direction and has a decent enough finale. The cliffhanger is slightly poor but there is enough interest to keep you watching.

Arc Review: Logue Town & Reverse Mountain

Arc Review: Logue Town & Reverse Mountain

I figured it would be best to review both of these arcs at the same time. Not because they are that heavily related, but more so because they are both really short and there wouldn’t be much to say about just one of them.

This is the point of the story where the Straw Hats are going to this “Grand Line”. This terrifying part of the world where the strongest pirates sail free. The part of the ocean where storms can hit in an instant, and be gone the next. The part of the world that the Pirate King, the worlds strongest swordsman, and a brave warrior of the sea need to conquer.

This was the real start of the Straw Hat’s journey, and this ocean would be the place where many of their dreams would come true, or be crushed.

Logue Town is the last city before the Grand Line, so the Straw Hats decide to stop there and get some supplies. Zoro is in need of a few swords since Mihawk destroyed his, Sanji needs some food for the ship, and Luffy wants to see the town where Gol D. Roger, the king of the pirates was born and was executed.

Not much happens for Usopp and Nami other than regular shenanigans, and Sanji just gets some food for the Going Merry.

Zoro and Luffy have the interesting moments in this arc, and they’re pretty interesting because of what they show for those characters.

Luffy wants to see the spot where Gol D. Roger was killed, and eventually gets nearly killed by Buggy. The moment before his death, Luffy smiles and a lightning bolt saves him from getting his head chopped off.

This was the first instance where we got to experience the Will of D. Not much is known about it, but one thing we do know is that everyone with the name D. dies with a smile on their face. Luffy was smiling the moment before his death, and Smoker (a captain in the Marines chasing Luffy) notices this and notices the similarities of Roger and Luffy.

We know Luffy is destined to do great things because he is the main character, but this was the first chance we got to notice Luffy’s connection to Roger.

On the other hand there is Zoro. He’s going sword shopping, and is rather poor. Luckily he comes across Tashigi, a near-blind Marine when she doesn’t have her glasses on, who helps him find a rather good and rare sword basically for pennies.

The other sword he is looking for he gets by throwing it in the air, and betting the sword salesman that if it cuts his hand off, then he doesn’t get it, but if the sword spins over his arm and doesn’t cut him, then Zoro gets it for free…and guess what happens.

Yes, the sword spins over Zoro’s arm and doesn’t hurt him, and the swordsman, believing that the cursed blade belongs in Zoro’s lucky hands, gives him the sword for free. As it turned out, this sword was even more rare than the sword he got for cheap.

Another big part of this arc is the occurrence of Smoker and Dragon. Smoker, who ate a logia devil fruit, gives Luffy some trouble because nobody can actually hit him. Thanks to Dragon, who we discover is Luffy’s dad later on, stops Smoker and helps Luffy et. al. escape.

This sort of sets up Smoker as the “rival” of Luffy in the Marines. Coby is supposed to be I think, but I like the idea of Smoker being the rival like Gard was for Roger.

Reverse Mountain Arc doesn’t offer much in terms of story. Basically the only thing that happens is that the Straw Hats make it over Reverse Mountain and into the Grand Line, where they meet a man named Crocus, who they learn worked on Roger’s ship.

They also meet Laboon, which becomes a pretty important whale later on in the story.

There is a brief moment of camaraderie when they all pledge to achieve their dreams and conquer this ocean.

In terms of the overall story, these two arcs don’t offer much. I think together they take up less than 10 chapters, but their impacts are huge for the rest of the story.

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