Morrowind Revisted + the Possible Death of GomTV.

September 15, 2009

With the onset of the fall semester, there’s been a definite decrease in my gaming hours. Nevertheless, having just recently conquered Half-Life 2 (and its various episodes) and Oblivion (for a second time), I’ve decided to step a few years back in RPG history to replay a classic: Morrowind. I’m stoked for another chance to explore the outskirts of Balmora, rob helpless Bosmer for skooma at knifepoint, and fend off hordes of vicious mud crabs. Updates to follow.

Also, I don’t know if anyone else follows SuperDanielMan (the professional Starcraft commentator), but he recently predicted the demise of GomTV via Twitter. If he’s telling the truth (which I assume he is), it’s a sad day for the pro SC scene. Here’s the speculation thread on Team Liquid:

http://www.teamliquid.net/forum/viewmessage.php?topic_id=101934.


Going away.

August 20, 2009

Claude Debussy wrote Clair de lune at age 26.

Watch Tokyo Sonata immediately.


An End-of-July Update, of Sorts.

July 29, 2009

Reading: A book of Dostoevsky’s stories from Barnes and Noble (“Notes From Underground, The Double, And Other Stories“), Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra, and Haruki Murakami’s Sputnik Sweetheart.

I’m actually enjoying all of it, although Dostoevsky and Nietzsche aren’t nearly as hard to put down as Sputnik Sweetheart. (That being said, I’m obviously biased towards Murakami – my favorite author.)

Watching: In the last few weeks or so, I’ve watched a bunch of Criterion Collection stuff – Ang Lee’s The Ice Storm, Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless (À bout de souffle), and an early Wes Anderson film, Bottle Rocket.  Apparently, I have an affinity for French New Wave. Speaking of which, I recently acquired a few more Truffaut films, which I’m definitely looking forward to checking out. Of the aforementioned three, Breathless was the best, but I would watch any of them a second (third, fourth, etc.) time.

Playing: I’ve been playing a ton of Starcraft on the iCCup (International Cyber Cup) servers. In other words, I’ve been getting my ass handed to me by an ever-growing list of players from around the world (mostly Korea, for obvious reasons). I *did* however manage to make it up to D+ (the second rank) in my first week of playing. I just reset my stats, so I’ll give it another go sometime soon.

Besides sc, I finally got around to picking up The Orange Box. When I went to install it originally, I was informed that the CD-key of my brand-new, unopened game was already in use. In other words, the game(s) I had just purchased were useless. In order to get the situation fixed, I had to write my Steam account name and support ticket number on the CD-key reference card and scan it, as well as scan my receipt, and file a ticket on the Steam support site. To their credit, they were really great in getting back to me – I had all the games added to my account less than 24 hours later.  I expected it to take a week or two longer..

So, what this means is that I’m finally getting to play through Half-Life 2, which I’ve been meaning to do for forever. Team Fortress 2 is interesting as well. I thought it would be much more similar to Counter-Strike (having never played the original), but its gameplay is unique (as far as fps games go) and is complemented nicely by the really cool cartoonish art style. Haven’t tried Portal yet, but from all of the fanboyism running rampant amongst the internets, I can tell it’s going to be a winner.


disjointed ramblings.

July 12, 2009

why am I listening to Grizzly Bear,

at 2:49 a.m.?

(why did I just lose a wc3 ffa, despite my solid ne build?)

I recently finished Heart of Darkness (which is the basis for Apocalypse Now, surprise, surprise) and now I’m working my way through Thus Spoke Zarathustra and some Dostoevsky stories/novellas.

I think it’s time for more Haruki Murakami..

maybe I’ll start Sputnik Sweetheart this week.

I’m considering reading that, as well as Norwegian Wood and After Dark, in the next month and a week or so.

That’s not long.

At all.

anticipation is killer.


Léon and the Slumdog.

June 17, 2009

I’m going to make this brief:

Yesterday: Slumdog Millonaire

-a decent movie, but didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I was going to after hearing so much praise about it (and winning so many Academy Awards!)

-interesting plot, loved the anecdotal past-to-present point of view

-didn’t care much  for the soundtrack (composed by A. R. Rahman), despite its critical acclaim

Today: Léon

-loved it, especially some of the early/middle development scenes

-the psychotic DEA boss (played by Gary Oldman) proved to be one of the most fascinating villians I’ve seen in a long time

-the acting was phenomenal, particularly Jean Reno and young Natalie Portman (as well as the aforementioned Gary Oldman)


Akira.

June 12, 2009

Tonight, (or should I say this morning?) I watched Akira, a legendary anime film (at least in the States; from what I understand, it’s not all that popular in Japan) from the 80’s based off of the manga series of the same name. I read through the first couple manga books several years ago, but never bothered to check out the anime. A friend recommended it to me, so I thought I would watch it. Akira is set in a post-apocalyptic (a favorite genre of mine) Tokyo and follows a somewhat-complicated (and perhaps confusing, for some viewers) plot involving a biker gang, psionic powers, revolution, the military, and the big bang, not to mention a plethora of explosions, implosions, energy fields, bullets, and blood. What a mix…

Nevertheless, it works, and the animation is stunning. I was instantly drawn in, plot holes and unexplained elements aside. I assume that the manga fills in all of the details the anime doesn’t. How they managed to condense a 2,182 page manga into a fluid 125 minute epic is beyond me. It’s not for everyone, but if your tastes range into the areas of anime or science fiction, definitely check Akira out.


Late Bloomer

June 11, 2009

I just finished watching Late Bloomer (or it’s non-translated form, Osoi Hito), a 2004 Japanese film by indie director Go Shibata. I came across the film while checking out the Wikipedia page of one of my favorite electronic/experimental artists, World’s End Girlfriend. Late Bloomer is a real trip, to put it mildly. Take every socially-imposed taboo and stereotype associated with the handicapped and throw them out the window.

The film depicts the life of a handicapped man, Sumida.  Sumida, who has cerebral palsy, enjoys drinking, attending the gigs of a caretaker’s hardcore band, and rolling through the streets in his electric wheelchair. After he falls in love with a young caretaker, Late Bloomer shows Sumida’s descent from frustration to utter misanthropy.

Late Bloomer is shot almost entirely in greyscale, which both adds to and detracts from the film. The cinematography isn’t extremely noteworthy, but I found it to be effective in its portrayal of Sumida-san and company. There are lots of interesting fast/slow-motion and lighting techniques used, adding to the chaos. The soundtrack, provided by the aforementioned World’s End Girlfriend, is phenomenal. The dialogue is supported by a cavalcade of sounds, ranging from walls of ambient, droning sounds to subtle hums and buzzes.  The opening song, “Caroling Hellwalker,” and closing song, “Singing Under The Rainbow,” are both pulled from the 2002 album Dream’s End Come True (which is also worth checking out).

A more thorough review: http://www.midnighteye.com/reviews/latebloomer.shtml


Dash & Blast.

June 9, 2009

Good morning. Here I am, sitting in my living room, attempting to study for my CCNA1 exam (640-822). The breakfast is Pop Tarts and coffee. What a combo, no? I purchased a MacBook Pro last week (can you say 2.93 ghz Intel dual-core?), so I’ve spent the past few days figuring out the intricacies of OS X.

^ironically enough, I’m dual-booting in XP at the moment.

I still haven’t bought a mouse yet. Somehow, I don’t think a touch pad is going to cut it for Starcraft, Warcraft 3, Counter-Strike: Source, etc.

I’m thinking: http://www.razerzone.com/gaming-mice/razer-salmosa/

and I’m going to throw in the mini version of this http://www.steelseries.com/int/products/surfaces/qck/information just for kicks.

Can’t wait for Starcraft II.


Good Bye, Lenin!

May 2, 2009

-2003 German “tragicomedy” film.

-Set in East Berlin, in the early 90’s.

-Focus on cosmonauts, German reunification, capitalism, and more importantly, family and love.

The things we will do for relationships…

^Anyways, I highly, highly, highly, recommend watching it. It’s worth your time and/or money. I promise.

On a side note, I recently started reading Jean-Paul Sartre’s Nausea. So far, it’s pretty interesting (despite the fact that I haven’t gotten too into it yet). Stay tuned.

Other recent reads worth your time:

1. The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini (Afghanistan, immigration to the U.S., importance of family)

-Note: Somewhere, I came across a review saying that this book was racist and unfaithful in its depiction of the Afghan culture (almost to the extent of propaganda). As I have no experience with aforementioned culture, I can’t really comment on that one way or another. I can tell you, however, that it is a well-written, captivating novel whose themes should resonate with everyone – no matter what culture they’re depicted in. Check it out.

2. Microserfs – Douglas Coupland (early 90’s programming scene/dot-com explosion, working for The Man (aka “Bill”, in this case), Legos, awkward friendships/relationships).

-quirky, humorous, Lego references, highly original. what more could you ask for?


Our mother shoulda just named you Laika! Oh, and Gregor Samsa.

April 29, 2009

Gregor Samsa is pure awesomesauce.

pick up 55:12, Rest, or even one of their early EPs, like 27:13.

I promise you won’t regret it.

I’ve also been listening to a lot of Arcade Fire recently; specifically Funeral.

^couldn’t you tell?

No?

well, I suggest listening to “Neighborhood #2 (Laika).”

It’ll all make sense.