Archive for December, 2005

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Some Things:

December 10, 2005
  • Eggnog’s true destiny is as coffee creamer.
  • James Newton Howard’s score for King Kong is surprisingly mellow. Probably too mellow. His score for Hidalgo was old-fashioned, adventurous and reasonably interested in the local color of the setting. His score for King Kong is subtle, bland and difficult to get a hold on. Still, he’s not Hans Zimmer, so I hope he gets a great deal of work in the future.
  • Even though I quite like my eMac, and do covet a shiny titanium laptop, I feel like I’m not a real Mac cultist because I don’t really understand how BlueTooth works.
  • The heating vents in the home office are in the ceiling. Right in front of the windows. That’s no good. Hot coffee brought into the office stays hot for no more than 15 minutes. These late work nights it gets so cold in here that my feet hurt, even with my boots on. This didn’t happen to me in Minnesota.

Noise:The Eels, “Trouble With Dreams”

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Short Game Telemetry

December 9, 2005

Like blips on the radar screen, here’s some data on the games that’ve passed through my airspace recently.

Gun
Rented it, played it, beat it. Wish I’d bought it, but now I’ve got to wonder if it’s worth it to do that. How many side quests did I really skip, anyway? How many of those just amount to shooting the right fugitive bastards in the right order, anyway? Still, a good time, well told. Also, great title.

Call of Duty (2): The Big Red One
More than anything, this made me think of those lousy Star Wars: Rebel Assault games wherein you ride scripted rails and struggle to shoot at stormtroopers. I bought this game (wish I’d rented it) after coveting Call of Duty 2 for the Xbox 360 so desperately that I bought the next best thing. Alas, you could rent loft space in the gap between best and next-best. The voice acting and scenery here in fine, but at no point in this game did I make a meaningful decision or even fool myself into believing that I had. What’s worse, I bought this game on a Friday night and had it beaten by Saturday afternoon. I even slept somewhere in there.

Far Cry: Instincts
After hearing such great things about the PC game, I watched the shelves for the arrival of this one. Then I got tired of doing that and went on with my life. Then I found the game for something like $30 and picked it up to see what the fuss was about. I figured I’d donate it to the office shooter pile for after-hours killing when I was done with it. Strangely, just after the first driving portion of the game I guess I decided I was done with it, because I dropped it off at work and haven’t missed it since. I want to be excited about this one, but I’ve downloaded episodes of Lost from iTunes instead.

Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones
Bought it, much to the frustration of those who figured I could wait for Christmas. (Sorry about that.) With my traded-in copy of Big Red One and some other junk on credit, it was just $5, which is kind of like renting it, but completely like buying it. Cruised right through this one. It’s an improvement over Warrior Within‘s bitchy, busty angst across the board, but it’s storytelling can’t quite get next to Sands of Time. That’s something I’ll look into with more depth in a future post (I’ve got notes and everything), but I’ll tell you right now that it has to do in part with the dialogue. Attention all writers: Contractions are not 20th-century inventions. Forbidding your characters from using words like they’re and don’t isn’t going to make them sound foreign or ancient or royal. The word you’re thinking of was stilted.

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New Old Shows on iTunes

December 6, 2005

The real brilliance in the new slew of NBC shows available through iTunes is the inclusion of old programs like Alfred Hitchcock Presents and Knight Rider. I don’t have to watch another episode of the Hasslehoff Action Hour to tell you that it’s not going to be good for anything but kitsch today. The fact that I liked it as a kid isn’t enough to get me to buy any episode of that show, ’cause kids are dumb. They like anything that talks but shouldn’t. (Like, for example, kids.) But the new video iPods are being bought up by exactly the kind of ’80s-raised tech geeks that’ll drop a slice of their salaries on nostalgic KITT relics.

That said, I’ve purchased episodes of Lost and checked out Night Stalker using iTunes, and have been very happy with the luxury of doing so. If only NBC had back episodes of Law & Order available (over Ted Turner’s dead body, I imagine). Otherwise, the trouble with this new slew of TV shows on iTunes is that I’d rather get things like Battlestar Galactica‘s sophomore season on DVD, in a format that I can watch on more than just the one single computer I bought it on. Every episode of Lost I buy is, in theory, an exception, “just this once,” ’cause I don’t want to fall behind this season.

Anyway, this trend towards consumable television episodes makes me happy. When Apple releases its inevitable central home entertainment unit — I imagine it’ll be a Mac Mini-sized thing with one ridiculous button on its face and a cute chrome apple — I’ll be a happy boy. I’d rather buy an episode here or there of this show or that than shell out for TiVo and cable TV. The day I bring those seductive demon women into my house is the last day I put on shoes and go to work. I’ll end up with a few glorious days of nonstop television, and then I’ll be fired, homeless and without television of any kind.

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More Holiday Shopping-ness

December 5, 2005

Though not the first time something like this has been tried, I certainly do like this idea. If you’re doing Christmas shopping for me, this is probably a fine idea.

So, too, is this.

And this.

Probably this.

But not this.

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Elvis Lives at the Lantern Inn

December 5, 2005

Elvis and crowd

My write-up of the visit to the Lantern Inn got out of hand. It’s longer than I intended. Check it out at the Atlanta Metroblog.

Update: Link fixed.

Noise: David Bowie, “Golden Years”

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About That Game Crash…

December 2, 2005

Chris Kohler makes some reasonable points over on his Game|Life column that those of us in the low-tech gaming industry might want to think about. Kohler’s goal seems to be to help console-game types get their heads above the high grass and see where the herd is at. It’s a good idea for us on the paper-game Veldt to do that, too. The difference is this: when video game companies check their bearings, they’re doing it relative to the mountain of cash they’ve been trying to reach since the proliferation of Pong. When we check our bearings, we’re just looking for the next meager trickling mud-creek running off that mountain. The video-game trails run in zig-zags from one end of the valley to the other. Our trail runs in an odd little oval on the valley floor.

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Holiday Update

December 1, 2005

Because someone specifically asked, I’ve updated my Amazon wishlist, at right. If you detest Amazon and don’t want to shop with them, that’s fine, but know that the list is a good gauge of what I like in gifts, since you asked.

Dollars are few this year, so aside from airfare I’m afraid the wife and I just don’t have much to give. Some of you who deserve gifts won’t get them. Some of you who get them will fake your smiles and think to yourself, “What the fuck?” Some of you who buy us gifts will feel like you did not receive reciprocal giving. It’s all right to tell us that, so that we can maybe make up for it later.

Real writing coming later.