Mur Murs

Nov. 21st, 2013 07:09 pm
tablesaw: An indigenous American crucified on a cross crowned by a bald eagle. In the background stands a Mesoamerican temple. (América Tropical)
I saw Mur Murs at the Aero last week, and had mixed feelings about it. It's a documentary by Agnès Varda about the murals of Los Angeles at the beginning of the '80s. Varda films murals of around Los Angeles talks with many of the artists. I came mostly looking for the aspects of Los Angeles history—and it was great to see some of the murals that have since been destroyed or covered up—but the film overall had a syrupy "artsiness" that left a bad taste in my mouth.

I grew up in Los Angeles in the '80s (though I was only a toddler when this movie was filmed), and there were so many twinges of memory while watching the movie. I don't know how much I've internalized the way film looked at the time as an indicator of what life looked at the time, but everything looked like something out of my vague memory. And judging by the occasional murmuring of the mostly boomer audience, others who were older then felt the same.

Because Varda always seems to have at least one mural in every shot, it leaves you feeling like Los Angeles is a is a city where very wall is filled with color, an art gallery on every street. It's not that way, and it wasn't then, and I was craving the chance to leave the frame to see the mundane spaces that I was more familiar with. But seeing those sometimes out-of-the way places knit into a dream geography is wonderful.

Some of the best moments of the movie involved the members of ASCO, an influential Chicano performance-art group. Members like Willie Herrón and Gronk talk about their early murals, which leads into their discussion of current work, culminating in the filming of an ASCO happening that is part mural, part theater, and, ultimately, part film. It's this kind of artistic synthesis that Varda seems to be chasing throughout the film, though in many places it falls terribly flat.

Where I was looking for the art to speak for itself, Varda seemed to want to comment on the art herself. She stages shots in painfully precious ways. A line of people practice Tai Chi in front of Two Blue Whales. People are provided with props to match the images of the murals they walk past. And most egregiously, while showing the entirety of the Farmer John Packing Plant mural, someone (presumably Varda) makes derisive pig sounds for a few minutes before the narrator (definitely Varda) chastises Farmer John for not showing the artists of the mural the appropriate respect. (Though, to her credit, Varda does make it a point to announce the artist credits whenever their work appears on screen.)

Maybe it's a generational thing; the older audience seemed to be eating those segments up. During the Q&A with Varda, even terrible puns were treated with absurd reverence. But the movie was made for a different audience and a different time. ASCO, who tagged LACMA in protest of Chicano exclusion from the at world, had a retrospective in LACMA recently. I can see how a film like this would be an argument for the art establishment to respect murals, but then I don't care much for that establishment anyway, then or now.
tablesaw: "Tablesaw Techniques" (Techniques)
As you would expect, zombie stories show up fairly regularly on Pseudopod. Two that stood out pretty clearly for me are "The Skull-Faced Boy" and "Association." I'm not a big fun of zombie stories (or movies or TV shows), but these two are some of my favorites, and were the first ones I wanted to tell people about when I started thinking about recommendations.

"The Skull-Faced Boy" aired in 2008 and I still remember it pretty clearly. A story of the risen dead who still retain a great deal of humanity, for better or for worse. It's a pretty wide-ranging story, with a cinematic feel to it: a nice variety of well-drawn characters and a slowly building plot. It was my favorite zombie story for a while.

It was supplanted in the top spot by "Association," which has a similar idea, but is definitely more to my taste. "Association" has the narrator tell the story of watching a zombie virus take over his body, watching himself die even though his mind remains lucid and alive. It's very disturbing, inspired by the author seeing people fail to communicate during the last moments of their life.

Pseudopod is one of my favorite podcasts, and it's currently going through some difficult financial times (it pays all of its authors for the stories it produces). If you enjoy these stories, please consider donating through the links on the website.
tablesaw: Two yellow roses against a bright blue sky. (Family Roses)
This past weekend was a lazy one, like the New Year weekend before. (The Xmas weekend was stressful, with most of my Christmas Day trivia written on Christmas Eve.) [personal profile] temptingcuriosity and I went to LACMA on Saturday, avoiding the bigger events (Kubrick and Caravaggio) and indulging our own personal preferences (Surrealist Drawings and Maya artifacts). On Sunday we stayed in, made bacon pancakes, and lounged around because it was cold outside.

I asked her what she was looking for from the new year, but I already knew what her year looked like, when I thought about it. Really, I wanted her to ask me the question. I know I want to get hired permanently at this new job, but past that I wasn't sure. Talking about it, I realized that I wanted to create more in 2013. Not a particular thing, or a big thing, just lots of things.

Recently, I say a lot that I'm too much in my head. I talk to folks a bit more on Twitter, and I'm talking to people in person, but I'm not getting things out in non-conversational settings anymore. As a true geek, I worry about the narrow bandwidth of talking to people one-on-one; I just don't have enough time to tell things to everyone I would like to. Blog posts allow you, my friends and readers, to time-shift the Tablesaw experience to fit your schedule (something I know I appreciate).

But while blog posts are always things I need to do more often, to get into the habit of writing long things (or just short things that aren't twitter), what I want to do is just create more things that I can share. And saying it the other day made me excited and happy. A good sign, I think.

This year I don't just want to do things I love, I want to make new things to send out into the world with them, so that my experiences can travel beyond the horizon of my personal bubble. I want to write about at least one thing a week, TV, movie, game, what have you. I want to make some more puzzles, definitely at least one thing I can bring to the NPL convention in Austin. I want to finally hide a geocache in LA. I want to make some games, eventually, somewhere. There's a pre-Companions DW/AW game knocking around in my head that mostly needs a lot of research (that TemptingCuriosity is eager to help with).

My birthday is on Thursday, and I turn 35, a number that is a multiple of the amount of fingers on one hand, which means that I'll probably freak out sometime this year, though I'm successfully blocking it out for now. It's a good time to have a plan, and it's a good time to have a plan that focuses so much on simple joys. Last year was not a good one, this one will be better.
tablesaw: The Maple Street streetlight blinks on and off and on. (Monsters Are Due)
Lots of new shows. Here's what I've been thinking . . .
  • The Playboy Club: A show about the Playboy Club. Gone and goner, and good riddance. It wanted to be Mad Men so hard, mostly so that it could be horrible to its women characters while trying to say that they were totally equal. Disgusting, and I'm glad it's gone. (See also, "Final Insult to Injury: Before Cancellation Playboy Club Rewrites Steinem History.")
  • Revenge: The Count of Monte Cristo with a female protagonist. I was only able to watch about ten minutes before I got the same "my eyes glaze over" feeling of rich white people I can't tell apart that I got from Gossip Girl. Though I do see [tumblr.com profile] mswyrr covering it. Recommended?
  • Hart of Dixie: City doctor goes south to learn humility from "real folks." I think I lasted about three minutes before clawing my eyes out.
  • Terra Nova: People in the future travel to dinosaur world because the future sucks; also kill dinosaurs. It looks pretty, but it really has no idea what there is to the show other than people looking at dinosaurs. Somebody apparently decided it should be focused on a family, but the family dynamic is really uninteresting and generates no drama. So the plots are all about dinosaurs being dinosaurs.
  • Ringer: Sarah Michelle Gellar plays a former drug addict who takes over the twin's high-society life when the twin dies except the actually faked her own death. This show is terrible, but moves into the perfect place for a trainwreck by virtue of a decent cast and absurdly melodramatic story.
  • Unforgettable: A cop with perfect recall solves crimes. Forgettable.
  • Person of Interest: A computer genius, who built a near-omniscient Orwellian nightmare of a computer for the government, hires a hitman to be Batman on the side. This is a very slick show, but the political aspects just squick me out more than usual. Add to that the main characters are deliberately ciphers, and the whole thing feels hollow.
  • The Secret Circle: A retread of The Craft where the children of a secret witch circle form their own secret witch circle in a small town full of mysteries and secrets. This from the same team as one of my current favorites, The Vampire Diaries, so I'm going to give the show a little time to get up to speed. They seem to have the style and the components in place, but it hasn't quite gotten a story going yet. <Smallville>Start challenging your relationships, PCs!</Smallville>
  • Prime Suspect: A New York cop solves crimes while dealing with sexism from coworkers and others. Supposedly based on the original BBC series, though it doesn't show much relation other than a general concept. It doesn't hold a candle to the original, but it still holds its own as a solid U.S. cop drama. I think it's nailing its concept square on the head that other shows like like The Closer have shied away from, except in the margins.
  • A Gifted Man: A high-powered, narcissistic neurosurgeon becomes a Ghost Whisperer. Didn't make it through the pilot of this one, either.
  • Pan Am: A Pan-American Airlines flight crew experience the upheavals of the '60s from both sides of the Atlantic. This one definitely benefited from being watched after trying to watch The Playboy Club. While the show oversells the empowerment of women working at Pan-Am, it does understand that the way to show empowerment is to show women actually doing things. In the teaser of the pilot, we see our various heroines dealing with newfound fame from the cover of Life magazine, working as an activist in Greenwich Village, discussing romantic encounters with different men, and receiving instructions for an espionage mission. I don't know if I'll stick with it, because it lacks an edge at the moment, but it has a lot of promise.
  • American Horror Story: A dysfunctional family moves into a haunted house. Not really a great show for synopsis, since it's a all about the horror. I watched the pilot on Hulu while working, and realized I needed to watch it again. It's very much a show about the filming and presentation. I hope it can keep the pace set by the pilot, since it was my favorite pilot this year.


To sum up:

Eagerly watching: American Horror Story
Watching: Ringer, The Secret Circle, Prime Suspect
Mostly Watching: Terra Nova, Pan Am
Not Watching: Unforgettable, Person of Interest
Didn't finish one episode: Revenge, Hart of Dixie, A Gifted Man
Canceled: The Playboy Club

I'll do returning series in a separate post, soon.
tablesaw: "This sounds like Waiting for Spy Godot" (Hunt)
Last night, I went out drinking with Artistry, Bartok, and the former Mr. Goodluck Bear. Our first stop was The Edison, but because Bartok didn't meet the dress code, only Mr. GLB went in. I arrived a little bit late on the Metro (all the better to drink alcohol). And we headed down to The Association. Since I hadn't eaten yet, I stuck to a beer while we talked. When we were done, we headed next door to The Varnish.

The Varnish is hidden in the back of (but apparently a separate entity from) Cole's, one of two historic Los Angeles eateries that claims to have invented the French Dip sandwich. I'm still partial to Philippe's (the price difference is not an insignificant factor), but the pastrami sandwich I ordered was magnificent. The Varnish allows you to bring in Cole's take-out.

Where The Association aims for the early eighties, The Varnish is clearly aiming at Prohibition. Its hiding place in the back room of a respectable restaurant kicks off the speakeasy ambience continued by the antique decor and the hand-carved block ice in the drinks. The cocktail menu has a "bartender's choice" option, which seemed ideal for someone like me who usually forgets which interesting cocktails might be available. As I was finishing up my sandwich, the waitress brought back a "sloe gin bomb," which was (if I heard correctly) something like a sloe gin fizz with ginger ale and a candied ginger garnish. (Now aren't you sad you missed it, [livejournal.com profile] ojouchan?)

There was lots of catching up all round, of Vegas and Boston and the Mystery Hunt and All My Sons. A little after eleven, they all went back to their cars, and I hopped over to the Metro for a trip home. The rest of the evening was spent drunkenly embarrassing Ojou in front of her Internet friends.
tablesaw: -- (Default)
Let's get these out while I'm in a reviewing mood.

  • No. 31. "Colin and Ishmael in the Dark" by William Shunn (read by "MarBell"). A guard, a prisoner, and the dark. I really loved both the story and performance. My only disappointment was that the story, which was (or at least felt as though it were) almost entirely dialogue should have gone all the way and been performed more as an audio play than as a reading. The action in the story gets very tense, and as amazing as MarBelle's reading was, he still couldn't overcome the limitations of the interposed narration, or the physical difficulties of portraying a heated, interrupting argument between two people using only his own voice. Still, an excellent read.
  • Miniature 19. "The Cask of Amontillado" by Edgar Allen Poe (read by Cheyenne Wright). "Amontillado" is, I think, the most worthy of Poe's stories to be read aloud. It's short and simple, and yet there's far more room for interpretation of motives and circumstances than, say, "Tell-Tale Heart." Wright gives a good performance, but he gets tripped up a bit over his attempt at an accent, which had him adding a mysterious L sound before the d of "Amontillado." On the other hand, his coughing was exquisite, and I highly recommend the perfomance for that portion alone.
  • No. 32. "Senator Bilbo" by Andy Duncan (read by Frank Key). Bilbo Baggins meets Theodore G. Bilbo. No, really. A descendent of Bilbo Baggins (with the same name) acts in the Senate of the Shire in much the way that wihte-supremacist Bilbo did in Mississippi and the U.S. Senate. When I listened to the story, I was not aware of the connection to American history, and many elements seemed odd, overdone, or overly caricatured. Yup, those were the ones that turned out to be taken from the history of American politics. There isn't much plot to speak of, but it's an effective commentary on how history is written by the victors, and how that perspective needs to be taken into account even in imagined histories. Key's reading was uniformly excellent, here.
  • Miniature 20. "Okra, Sorghum, Yam" by Bruce Holland Rogers (read by An Owomoyela). The story of the second princess of three. After it was done, my only thought was that I still much prefer to hear the tale of the third princess to those of her elder sisters.
  • No. 33. "The Girl with the Sun in her Head" by Jeremiah Tolbert (read by Ann Leckie). A while back, I'd noticed that Leckie had an infuriating ability, when reading the final quotation of the podcast, to make the listener feel that what was clearly intended to be the last word, was actually the middle of a sentence, and that more was coming in just a bit. Her reading of the fiction, here, had similar mixed messages for the listener. The performance felt overly rushed (and perhaps overly anxious) to the point that I was actually made more tense and angry, my teeth clenching, merely trying to listen to the story being read. I skipped.
  • Miniature 21. "The Princess and the . . ." by Marie Brennan (read by Ann Leckie). THE LAST WORD IS PENIS LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL! Ugh. Far too much time dedicated to only half of a dirty joke that wasn't funny to begin with.
  • No. 34. "Clad in Gossamer" by Nancy Kress (read by Paul S. Jenkins). The Emperor's New Clothes, retold with an eye to court intrigue. I can't actually remember much of my reaction to this one, but I enjoyed it while I did the dishes.
  • Miniature 22. "The Kissing of Frogs" by Bruce Boston (read by Mur Lafferty). Don't really remember this one either. Those must have been some dishes.
  • Miniature 23. "Bury the Dead" by Ann Leckie (read by Tina Connolly). Family politics, gender politics, zombie politics, and turkey. I feel like I had deep thoughts about this one, but they've all melted away in the months since. I really enjoyed it, though, and I recall listening to it twice, and reading it online. So I liked it, yeah.
  • No. 35. "Winter Solstice" by Mike Resnick (read by Chris Furst). Merlin = Alzheimer's disease. I liked this story when I heard it, but it didn't hold up as well when thinking about it later. Ultimately what stays with me is Merlin's perspective on the fall of Camelot. If Merlin truly ages backwards, then the fall is something that happens to people he barely knows, but who've known and trusted him all their lives. His first meetings with them are at moments of pain and betrayal, and Merlin will have to go on to watch them as hopeful youths knowing (or possibly not knowing?) to what ends they will come.
  • No. 36. "Ancestor Money" by Maureen McHugh (read by Diane Severson). An woman travels from her quiet American afterlife into the bustling afterlife of Hong Kong. There's a lot going on in this story, and I don't know how I feel about it. I think the focus is on the way American and Chinese people think about their ancestors, and taken apart the views are interesting. McHugh's view of "ancestor worship" is that it keeps one's ancestors constantly tied to the temporal world of their descendants. So the dead of Hong Kong, no matter how old, live in a world that is much like the Hong Kong of the present of their descendants. While the American dead drift off into their own singular worlds, cut off from most everyone else. Their descendants may see pictures of them and wonder how they lived, possibly making mistakes in their imaginings ("Did they have phones, then? They must've had phones, then."), but for the most part they stay where they are temporally. When American Rachel makes the trip from one to the other, though, the values get complicated in strange ways that I haven't fully puzzled out. It's certainly very exotic. Also, Severson uses accents in portraying the many Hong Kong voices in her reading, and they sounded off to my ears (though I'm certainly not an expert). On the other hand, the English spoken by the Hong Kong spirits was meant to be oddly translated, I think, so I don't know how much Severson could have done.
  • Miniature 24. "Intelligent Design" by Ellen Klages (read by M.K. Hobson). Can't remember a thing.
  • No. 37. "Gordon, the Self-Made Cat" by Peter S. Beagle (read by Barry Deutsch). I mentioned this story earlier. I turned it off after it started to sound less like a story about a mouse named Gordon and more like a cat owner telling me all of the absolutely adorable things their pets do.
  • Miniature 25."Through the Cooking Glass" by Vylar Kaftan (read by Julie Davis). Also nothing remembered.
  • No. 38. "In the House of the Seven Librarians" by Ellen Klages (read by Rachel Swirsky). Like "Gordon," but with libraries instead of cats. Tried to listen twice; got bored and turned it off twice.
  • No. 39. "Honest Man" by Naomi Kritzer (read by Ann Leckie). This story starts out with a dragged-out retelling of a hoary scam. I held on for a while, until I looked at my iPod and saw how much time was left in the episode. I decided I couldn't take another half-hour of whatever was going to follow.
  • No. 40. "Hell Is the Absence of God" by Ted Chiang (read by James Trimarco). As I lay them all out like this, I notice that I've been pretty hard on the last few months of PodCastle, and this episode was no exception. I really liked the text of the beginning of the story, but Trimarco's performance was so incredibly boring it hurt. If this hadn't been a "Giant" episode, I might have stuck with it, but since I knew going in that I was going to have to listen to that voice for an hour, I couldn't bear to go on.
tablesaw: -- (Default)
So, I love Long Beach, now. To be specific, I love the Long Beach Airport.

The Long Beach Airport is tiny. Its greatest claim to fame is being the intended endpoint for Douglas "Wrong-Way" Corrigan's famous trans-Atlantic flight. But a while ago, a little East Coast upstart called Jet Blue decided they'd like to expand to the LA market. It found out about this little terminal, leased all of the available space, and made it its West Coast hub, surprising all of its larger competitors, and leaving them no way to get into that airport. And as Jet Blue increases its profile in LA, more people have been driving the extra miles to get to the Long Beach terminal instead of LAX.

The whole thing (sans airstrips, of course) is smaller than most high schools. The main building is ticketing on the bottom floor and a small cafe on the top. There's also a small snack bar and newsstand. The gate areas are attached to bungalow-like buildings, and almost all of the non-secure waiting areas are outside or are shaded under ledges. It would be a horror to fly into or out of if it were raining, but while I was there, like most clichedly perfect SoCal days, it was nice to be able to hang around outside in the sun instead in the suffocation of a massive gray building.

There wasn't much traffic, and there weren't any lines, although both of those may be due to my penchant for getting to the airport early. The plane was late due to winds, and the Jet Blue staff apologized by offering free bottled water to those waiting and, later, by landing in D.C. on time. Getting on the plane was also quicker because we boarded from the front and the back of the plane at the same time. Man, why can't more places do that?

Jet Blue was its own niceness, expecially when seated in the spacious emergency exit aisle. I spent most of the flight watching the Game Show Network, which deserves its own mention elsewhere.

When I returned to that airport, things were again beautiful. I made my way to the long-term parking lot ($6/day), where the shuttle driver dropped people off as close to their cars as he could get. I found my keys, settled into the car, said "Tablesaw, you've survived another vacation," and started the car.

Except that I didn't. Or rather, it didn't. After much key turning, it became clear that, over the previous four days, my battery had died.

I started the long walk toward the opening looking to find a phone, when I saw the shuttle driver outside of his shuttle. I thought he might be willing and able to help. This thought was reinforced by seeing him fill up another parker's flat tire using one of those nifty compressed-air-in-a-can things. He promised to call the main people to get some help. He came back on his shuttle run and stopped the shuttle to tell me that jumper cables were on the way, and soon, a helpful young woman named Paloma came around with jumper cables and a specialized car-jumping battery. It took about twenty minutes to fix the slightly-too-large clamps on my cars slightly-too-small terminals, but Paloma's determination never flagged, and eventually, my car was restarted, to much rejoicing by us both. I thanked her and drove home to unload my belongings at my house and my car at my mechanic's.

To sum up: Yay Long Beach Airport. Lots of sun. Pretty. Don't go when rain. Helpful and cheap parking lot. Will go again soon.
tablesaw: "The Accurate Tablesaw" (Accurate)
Soon, you will either love me or hate me. A fascinating new Minesweeper variant is available in the form of Minesweeper3D. Same Minesweeper gameplay, except that the action takes place on one of a wide selection of polyhedra. These different polyhedra also demand different patterns of tessellation, so one tile can be adjacent a lot more tiles than just eight. The sounds are annoying, but the game itself is solid, even the few levels I've played from the demo. If anyone buys the full version, let me know how it is.

Pissy.

Jun. 17th, 2003 12:18 pm
tablesaw: -- (Default)
I got into a pissy mood today, which made me bad at doing just about everything. I didn manage to go shopping, but not well. Thankfully, I did stock myself up for lunches for the next two weeks, so that won't be a problem. And more postponement for reviews. Hopefully a good rest will set me back on track.
tablesaw: -- (Default)
Earlier, I felt rushed about my in-progress review of Anchorhead for IF-Review. Well, it turns out that my concern was born of misunderstanding; the deadline is for next Friday, which gives me plenty of time to finish (especially since I hurriedly wrote half of it during work last night). Why is it so late? Well, the game was taking much longer to finish than I had anticipated. Frustrated, I checked a guide and discovered that I had neglected to take an action that made the game apparently unwinnable. D'oh! Anyway, to keep up with my personal goal of five reviews in June, I'll need to write two reviews this weekend, which means playing through another game while finishing the Anchorhead review. Any suggestions for something short and sweet?

The Mix-CD poll continues but, I suspect, also draws to a close. Currently, it looks like the winner is going to be Jacob's Ladder, which has not only a slight lead but also several singleton votes (ones where the voter selected it and no other options). Timeline is likely to be a backup, completed later in the year or closer to my next birthday. Supporters of I Love L.A.; Songs About Los Angeles will be pleased to know that the comments of the entry have spawned almost a complete track list in its own.

Oh yeah, and somebody wants props.

SatNYTX: 22. Marvelous theme. I was mostly done by 15, gave up after research failed provide a convincing answer to 44A and related entries. SatLATX: 18.
tablesaw: Sketch of an antique tablesaw (Antigua)
My days are not your days; my times are not your times. When I say late night, you say early afternoon. When you say prime time, I say breakfast. When you say weekend, I say Monday Morning.

I still am never quite sure when a day is supposed to begin. At work, for example, I will work 88% of my eight-hour shift on June 13, but the time will be logged for June 12. And even though the calendar says it's Friday and the company says it's Thursday, for me, since it's my third working day of the week, it's Wednesday.

It's complications like this that lead me into trouble with things like deadlines when I tell IF-Review that, yes, of course I'll have my Anchorhead review finished by Friday, since Friday is the end of the week and the end of the week is Sunday.

Sigh. Back to writing, I guess.

FriNYTX: 20:21. Felt stupid for not getting 17A right away. ThuLATX: 11. FriLATX: 12.

Some goals:

Jun. 5th, 2003 06:52 am
tablesaw: -- (Default)
  • Next IF Review will be Anchorhead, another game I started but neglected to finish.
  • I'm committing a one-act to the Ronin Ensemble, although I'm not clear what the deadline will be.
  • I'd like to submit a crossword puzzle to the New York Times. That'd be nice.
ThuNYTX: 8:15.
tablesaw: -- (Default)
Savoir-Faire, by Emily Short claims to have been published under the aegis of Textfire, which arose five years ago as part of a middle-scale April Fools' Day hoax. The first public announcement of Savoir-Faire was also made on April First, and its inclusion of some rather suspect feelie packages (including a Babbage-esque non-virtual Z machine) led many (myself included) to believe that the game was a joke. Obviously, it was not, and a few weeks later, the game emerged, with a not-so-extravagant feelie package.

But Short draws on the Textfire name for something other than a cheap gag. Since the death of Infocom, there have been a few scattered groups on the rec.*.int-fiction newsgroups and similar venues who try to launch a glorious new fleet of commercial IF. They don't, really, and many become jokes in the process. Textfire, starting as a joke, made outlandish promises and gained a certain cachet among those following IF as the most respected nonexistent Interactive Fiction company around.

That ironic respect is critical to creating the atmosphere of the game. Infocom games are usually referred to as such, not as Meretzky games or Lebling games. As a "Textfire Classic" title, Savoir-Faire is distanced slightly from Short, known for simulationism and complex character interaction, and is situated more closely with what it wants to be: a text adventure (not so much a "work of Interactive Fiction"), generic in structure but engaging in execution, where the story, though interesting, is secondary to solving the puzzles that are present throughout. "Old-school," as Short says.

Old School Is in Session... )

Savoir-Faire doesn't miss a trick and stays enjoyable from beginning to end. Driven by creative puzzles with memorable puzzles. Just as memorable is the story arc, which has, at its centerpiece, two vivid reimaginings of common IF tropes, the acquisitive rogue and the absent inventor. Pierre's sense of entitlement blossoms effortlessly from troubled class issues of his background. Glimpses of Marie's meticulous creation of magical clockwork add a further patina of loneliness to the already abandoned building. And for me, perhaps, both characters live so delightfully because they seem to reflect so strongly the personality of their creatrix, Ms. Short, who roguishly wrote a game containing many of the aspects of IF that many commentators have declared as dead and who meticulously toils over each period-accurate, wax-sealed letter sent out as a feelie. (Also, she wears dashing hats, when available.)

Game Specifications, a la SPAG )

Birthday.

Jan. 11th, 2003 11:22 am
tablesaw: -- (Default)
I came home from work on my birthday to find two birthday cards from my grandparents, one containing a gift certificate to Borders and the message "There must be some Borders in Providence." I hope that is so, because I won't have time to by a vacation book before I leave. I had a bite for dinner and took a shower before heading to bed early and setting my alarm for six p.m.

When I woke up, it was eight p.m. How this happened, I don't know.

Whole lotta concert )

A fine night. A new friend made. A new band found. Now, I must finish my packing.

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