Thursday, January 24, 2008

Played Lately: World of Warcraft

  • I haven't had much cause to post about World of Warcraft lately. That is because my gaming has settled into a little groove that, though comfortable, is pretty slow in producing the quick progression I've been used to.

  • My guild, C H A O T I C (I swear it's spelled like that), essentially has the first half of Karazhan on farm status. We can run from Attumen to Curator now in relative comfort. From there it's a trash fest to the Chess event and more free epics. Last night we one shotted each boss, only wiping on a bad trash pull in the Grand Ballroom.

  • The hard part is everything after Curator. Although we've downed the Shade of Aran (and I have the Mantle of the Mind Flayer to prove it), each fight has been a skin-of-the-teeth affair. Netherspite has proven unkillable by us as we haven't learned the fight. One random attempt on Nightbane ended in a quick, flaming disaster. And we haven't even tried Illhoof or the Prince.

  • Other than that, I've been contenting myself with daily quests and leveling my alts. Other games are starting to look good too. I reinstalled Diablo II once again (never did play the expansion act), but I'm not ready to give up on WoW yet.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Read Lately: T Is For Trespass by Sue Grafton

  • Whenever a new Sue Grafton book shows up, it's like an unexpected holiday has arrived. My mood is automatically brighter and all is right with the world. That all lasts until I finish the book and I have to wait for the next.

  • T Is For Trespass is another exemplary addition to the Kinsey Millhone detective series. A direct decendant of the Philip Marlowes and Lew Archers of earlier decades, Kinsey is the model for the modern detective. Here she squares off against Solana Rojas, a sociopath of such understated depravity that she is far more chilling than the average serial killer that stalks the average thriller.

  • One of the things I love about the series is that Grafton does more than tell a detective story, though she does that well. Her books also bring to life an entire world that has its own motion and is as real as our own. As a reader, you are invited to experience the life of Kinsey Millhone in such detail that it is easy to imagine driving up to Santa Teresa and watching Kinsey jog down the beach in the early morning, home key firmly tied to her shoe.

  • If you are a fan of detective fiction, I can't recommend Sue Grafton's series enough, and this book in particular. Do yourself a favor though, start at A and work forward. It is a literary trip well worth the distance.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Read Lately: My Boring-Ass Life by Kevin Smith

  • I love my wife. I'm pretty sure she loves me too or I wouldn't come home to find books like this waiting on my desk for me. Especially since it was a book almost perfectly formed for my tastes and yet never once was I aware of its existence.

  • My Boring-Ass Life is one of those books that I can't even tell if it is good or not when it shows up like this. I read it, I enjoyed it a lot, but I have no idea if I can recommend it. You like Kevin Smith? You'll probably like this book. Did the donkey-show scene in Clerks 2 turn your stomach? Then you might want to stay away.

  • One thing I wanted to comment on the great arc this diary took. It starts as a day-to-day look at what Smith is doing with his life, as he moves from project to project, filming Catch And Release and directing Clerks 2, then finally to his acting role in Live Free Or Die Hard. And for what started as an online diary ends up as an interesting narrative of personal and professional growth. He calls the book My Boring-Ass Life, but by the end you come to understand that all those boring moments add up to something good.

  • Also, read the index. It is hilarious, in a Kevin Smith way.

Watched Lately: Juno

  • On New Year's Day, my beautiful wife and I went to the movie theater which has become a bit of a tradition for us. This has nothing to do with the festive nature of the mall movieplex. It's just that all the good movies come out this time of year and holidays offer lots of opportunities to catch a matinee.

  • For those of you who don't read blog headers, the movie we saw was Juno. Yes, everything you've heard about it is probably true. The language tries to be a little more clever that it actually is and the emotions are a little too forced. But for all that, the movie still works. I liked the cleverness and I liked the emotional upheaval these characters went through. A movie doesn't have to be perfect to be good. This was not a perfect movie, but don't mistake it for a bad one.

  • The only thing I had a hard time with was the soundtrack music. Not that it was bad, though it wasn't to my taste. Music played a big role in the plot of the film. Juno goes to great lengths to express her love for the hard rock of the 1970s, but the soundtrack is entirely composed of confectionary folk tracks. It certainly sets a folkish tone for the film, but it was so at odds with the girl/woman she was portraying.

  • The end of the film made me think, though. The last shot is of Juno and the boy boy who knocked her up (I'm not checking IMDB for a name) singing one of these tunes together. Is that the kind of music he likes and she's forcing herself to sing it out of love for him? Was there a fundamental change in her that drove the punk out of her and turned her into a folk music lover? Is there any subtext at all? I was confused, as you might understand from this, and they don't give an answer. I'm going to go with there was a reason and I just don't see it rather than they just used the music they had. The movie at least deserves the benefit of the doubt.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

News Filter: Glamourpuss

  • I know this is a completely whacked out way to make my first post of the year, but there is no way I can pass this up. Dave Sim of Cerebus fame (yes, that Dave Sim) is writing a new comic book. And not just any comic book, this comic is about fashion. Fashion of all things! Is the man crazy?

  • There are those who think he's bad-shit insane, what with the misogyny and the erratic behavior, but that's not what I'm talking about. I mean, who in the world is the audience for this besides Dave Sim?

  • Strangely enough, it could be me. As strange as the beliefs of Dave Sim are, I actually liked Cerebus right up to the end. I admit that couldn't read all the text bits in Reads and there was no way I was reading his updated Bible in Latter Days if I can't get through the real thing. But I really liked it.

  • So I'm going to go out on a limb and pick up a copy of Glamourpuss, goofy-ass name or not. It might end up being a train wreck, but I want to be there when it happens.