tidying up before a brief intermission

Just a note that I’m going to be pretty quiet this week, if I post here at all; the wife is going to be out of town, and so I’m going to be at home, working on music and hanging out with my kid and, yeah, probably just finishing up the various odds and ends in The Division.  If I post at all, it’s going to be elsewhere.*

Regarding The Division:  last week I wrote that I was struggling to stay motivated, and also that I will eventually need this game to end.  I kept assigning various goalposts to reach, just to give myself something to look forward to, and I’ve pretty much ticked off all the items on the to-do list:  I’ve seen where my office is supposed to be (as I expected, it bears absolutely no resemblance to the real thing); I hit level 30; I’m almost done with all the main story missions (I wiped out on the final boss in the final mission a few too many times last night, and it got too frustrating and the hour grew late, and so I turned it off).  All I plan to do now is to get all the wings in my main base up to 100%, which most likely means I just have to finish all the side missions and encounters (since I finished all of the main missions, save that last one).  I might screw around in the Dark Zone, too, but I don’t particularly care for PvP, which is not news to anyone.

I’m about halfway through Matt Ruff’s “Lovecraft Country“.  It’s got an interesting structure; it’s less of a novel and more of a connected set of short stories that are arranged in chronological order and contain the same characters, though each story is from a different POV.  With a title like Lovecraft Country, you’d expect there to be a fair amount of dreadful, otherworldly weirdness – and there certainly is, though it pales in comparison to the real, true horror that is American Racism.  I get far more terrified by that stuff than I do the occult business, and I suppose that’s because (a) the racism stuff is true, and feels very real, and as such (b) it works much better than the Lovecraftian stuff that exists within it.  Again – I’m only halfway through, and so I’m still not quite sure where it’s going.  But I’m enjoying it quite a bit.

Finally:  even though we bought the BluRay, we couldn’t help ourselves; and so, because our families were in town this weekend for our son’s 3rd birthday party, we watched the digital download version of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and GODDAMN I will never get tired of that movie.  I don’t care that it’s basically A New Hope retold, because it’s done so goddamned well.  (And if you haven’t already seen this shot-for-shot comparison of Eps 4 and 7, well, you should fix that.)

EDIT:  I knew I was forgetting something:  I played that Final Fantasy XV demo this weekend, and… was it supposed to be totally underwhelming and janky and kinda shitty?  Because it was totally underwhelming and super-janky and definitely kinda shitty.

Also downloaded the Doom beta, and attempted to get into a match (which took about 10 minutes just to find a lobby), but then I remembered I don’t give a shit about multiplayer, and so I deleted it, and that’s that.


* I started a new, personal, private blog last week.  I’m not going out of my way to publicize it, though I suppose even mentioning it here is doing the exact opposite of not publicizing it, but, I mean, look: blogging is weird.  If you want to read it, contact me privately and I’ll email you an invitation; no hard feelings if you’re not interested, though.


Gut Impressions: Star Wars TFA


I am kinda procrastinating at the moment (also a little tipsy, but hey) so here are my quick, hopefully non-spoilery Star Wars Thoughts (and some necessary personal context as a prelude):

  1.  For starters, I’m pretty sure that this was the first time I’ve ever gone to the movies by myself.  That’s weird, right?  I just turned 40, and yet this was my first solo movie experience.  Also: it was a Sunday, 10:00am showing, and the theater was basically empty.  I’m so used to watching movies in NYC where you have to be at the theater at least an hour before showtime in order to get a halfway good seat, but here in the burbs I was the first one at the theater by at least 30 minutes.
  2. I’m not a huge Star Wars nerd, at least not to the extent that my wife and our friends are.  Star Wars was certainly a big part of my childhood’s vocabulary, and the Bespin Freeze Chamber was one of my all-time favorite toys, but I was never, like, obsessed with it, and the prequels left an awful, awful taste in my mouth.  My impatience at seeing this new movie was more about knowing that everyone I know had already seen it , and I was missing out on an important cultural event.  And I did want to watch it before the whole movie got spoiled for me.  Speaking of which…
  3. …I did have at least 2 very significant plot points spoiled for me before watching the film, but as it turned out it wasn’t a big deal; both things were telegraphed pretty early on, and I’m not sure either of them were ever intended to be a head-spinning plot twist.
  4. I do understand George Lucas’s reluctance to embracing the new movie, but I also think he’s a fucking asshole for his selling of the franchise to “white slavers”.  It’s not like he didn’t get paid BILLIONS OF DOLLARS for it.  And let’s be honest, here:  the Lucas prequels are borderline unwatchable at this point.  J.J. Abrams had a near-impossible task at making Star Wars meaningful to people again, and he knocked it out of the goddamned park.
  5. The movie is still too fresh in my mind for me to feel like I can be objective enough to “review” it.  Was it the best movie I’ve ever seen?  Not by a long shot.  But did I giggle and ooh and aah and have a goofy smile on my face and did I feel like an 8-year-old kid all over the goddamned place for the entirety of the film’s running time?  Goddamned right I did.  The casting is perfect – I love Rey and Finn to pieces, and I loved seeing the old gang together again, and I legitimately got chills at the final scene.  The cinematography is fucking epic.  The score is fantastic.  J.J. is maybe the only director alive who could pull this particular task off, and – again – he killed it.
  6. It’s OK that it’s basically a re-make of Episode 4; Episode 4 was an origin story about mythic figures, and it makes sense for this new trilogy to touch on familiar feelings, even if it has the potential to go in wildly different directions.  I don’t know if I trust Disney to allow it to go too far out, but Star Wars isn’t necessarily meant to be avant-garde. I do feel that this movie was made with confidence, and that the creative team felt good about the product they were putting out, and if nothing else the box office more than bears that out, and maybe some of these side stories can be a little more daring and risk-taking as a result.
  7. That said, I do worry about Star Wars overdosing – a new trilogy plus all the side-story stuff might get exhausting.  I’m starting to feel that way about the Avengers movies, at any rate.  BUT:  we’re gonna be taking the kid to some of these movies at some point, and I’ll be happy enough to be his guide for those experiences.
  8. It is weird to see a new Star Wars movie as a parent!  I watched this movie all by myself in the theater – 3D, non-IMAX, which to me is the best way to see it (if only because IMAX gives me vertigo) – and all I could think about was watching it with Henry and wondering how he’s going to react to it; anticipating his excitement; preparing for his hiding his eyes in my arms during tense moments (as I did with my father for Temple of Doom).
  9. I said I won’t get spoilery, and I won’t.  But there is a spoiler-y theory floating around that I really like, which I’ll hide behind a link – I really like this idea, and I hope it’s true.
  10. Bottom line:  I can’t wait for Episode 8.  I can’t wait to see this movie again.