Monday, April 21, 2008

Played Lately: World of Warcraft

  • I'm splitting this post in two, because it's already way too long. Look for more World of Warcraft blogging (imagine that!) in a day or two. On with the news.

  • I joined my guild, Chaotic, for our guild-first kill of Nalorakk, the bear boss of Zul'Aman. We wiped six times trying to take him down and had to reclear trash once in the middle of that. In spite of all that, the seventh try saw us take him down pretty handily. A lot of things have to go just right to get through that fight, so it won't be an easy feat to repeat. But it was a great moment to revel in. It's not often you get to enjoy real raid progression. If only we could have taken down a second boss that night.

  • This is the place where I would normally say that I'm looking forward to future raid progression. Only it turns out that the guild blew up over the weekend and was disbanded. It turns out the guild leader thought the guild had hit a brick wall on progression and that the best thing to do was to set everyone free. At least that's the happy face on what happened. I got whispers from both factions of the fight immediately upon logging in Sunday. The former guild leader told me I was a shoe in to be invited to the raiding guild he just joined. I was also quickly invited to join a guild by my two good friends in their unfortunately named guild "Show Us Your Crits." /sigh. I went with my friends because that is the real reason I play the game, but the whole business has soured me on playing my mage.

  • On the Alliance side, my shadow priest finally won the Stranglethorn Vale Fishing Extravaganza after four weeks of trying. I was literally shaking in my chair in anticipation as I counted up toward 40 Tastyfish. A quick hearth to Booty Bay and a frantic run to the finish line later and I was announced the winner, with my brand new Arcanite Fishing Pole in hand. It is pretty silly how worked up I can get over a video games, especially a weak simulation of fishing. But the competitiveness and need to excel hit me in weird places. I may not be good at much, but by goodness, I can win an online fishing tournament.

  • I've also been playing my paladin a lot more. It feels a little strange since I'd pretty much given up on the poor girl for newer, flashier characters. But Mesia, my friend from the days when I was exclusively Alliance, convinced me to join his guild and so we could hang out more. I'm on a two week trial with The Venerated and not entirely sure it's a good idea. But with all the guild drama for my mage, this might just be the in-game home I need.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Read Lately: Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson

  • I'm several years behind the times, but I finally got around to reading Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash. And thank goodness I did because if I waited another five or ten years, it would be too late.
  • Stephenson's book, like any great work of speculative fiction, is a fascinating portrait of our potential future. Snow Crash shows us an American ruled by the classic megacorporations of cyberpunk, but this time organized on the franchise model of today's disposable culture. We follow the exploits of two primary characters, the eccentrically named hacker Hiro Protagonist and a courier known only as Y.T, as they uncover a conspiracy to spread an informational virus. I never was actually sure why as the story is quite complex and I have very little brain.
  • The best features of this novel come from updating the old cyberpunk to relate with our current relationship to the future and how far we've come already. It's also one heck of a fascinating read. Although this book will become dated like all speculative fiction, Snow Crash is a clever and evocative novel that any fan of the genre can enjoy.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Comic Roundup: April 9, 2008

  • Late again, but moving fast.

  • Criminal volume 2 issue 2: Wow. It has been implied throughout Criminal that Teeg Lawless, the star of this issue, was a straight-up bastard. What this issue shows is that he was so much more and so much less. Once again, Brubaker and Phillips craft a great story, this time of a broken man who can't help but break everything around him too. My highest recommendations for this series continue unabated.

  • Echo issue 2: Terry Moore's tale of technological terror (couldn't resist) continues on in this equally strong second issue. We get his usually blend of humor, despair, oddity, and the mundane in one attractive package. The story has started to focus and I'm very interested in seeing where this is going.

  • Serenity: Better Days issue 2: I wish I could say this was getting better. There were some little bits that I enjoyed about this comic, but it is just not the same. At least there is only one more issue to read before I can tuck my Firefly nostalgia safely away.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Comic Roundup: April 2, 2008

  • Another slight week at the comic shop. But any week I can find something new to read is a little holiday.

  • Anna Mercury issue 1: Warren Ellis's new series from Avatar is out and once again his brain is spewing the crazy all over. It seems like a straight forward sci-fi actioner until you get to the last page that explains what is really going on. It's a little like the big reveal in The Matrix. Sometimes this goes well and sometimes it feels like you wasted an issue for the sake of set up. I can't give a verdict on that for another couple issues, so I'll be buying into Ellis's madness for at least a little while longer.

  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season Eight issue 13: More good stuff from Drew Goddard and Georges Jeanty. As part two of a four issue story, there is a decidedly middle-of-the-story feel here. However the great bits between Xander, Renee, and Dracula really standout, if in a vaguely disturbing way. All good and funny and I'm looking forward to more.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Comic Roundup: March 26, 2008

  • The date up there is a little misleading, but does represent that I bought all these comics on the 26th. I just so happens that only one of those books shipped that day. Of course if they published better comics, I'd be more tempted to go to the store every week. Well, enough griping. On with the comics.

  • Ex Machina issue 35: Has this really been going on this long? Crazy. Thankfully, although the audaciousness of the series has faded, Ex Machina continues to be a book I look forward to every month. This is the part where I fit in a one line synopsis, but I am drawing a blank. That can't be a good sign. Hmmm.... Oh yeah, this was the one-shot issue about the ghost of a black man haunting Mayor Hundred and also his relationship with the deputy mayor. I liked it. It was a pretty good issue, but the wow isn't there any more.

  • Justice League: The New Frontier Special issue 1: I'm listing this as issue 1 as there was a big "First Issue!" logo on the cover. That this will be the only issue doesn't seem to be a concern to whoever put this together. Someone probably hoped that this would sell more copies. The selling point should not be the number, though, but the story inside and this was a lot of fun. We get three stories in the vein of Darwyn Cooke's amazing DC: The New Frontier, here retitled for the matching DVD release. The first story is an effective continuation of the original series, wrapping up and focusing on the arc of DC's heroic trinity. The other two stories are lighter in every sense of the word, but no less enjoyable. Anyone who read the original series should enjoy this.

  • World of Warcraft issue 5: Yes, I'm still buying this, primarily on the basis of the property. Yes, I'm still enjoying the grand tour of the game world and the over-the-top fantasy adventure. Yes, the art and writing hold up. No, I'm not apologizing for my taste in comics.