Monday, January 31, 2005

007 in Tomorrow Never Comes.

Recent events have sown the seeds for the latest in my series of stories set in someone else's world: Bond in Buffalo.

James Bond, after having many adventures in exotic locales, finally tracks his quarry to Buffalo, NY. Q makes him take the BMW, because he won't let the Vanquish anywhere near the Rust Belt. Bond shows up on a Sunday afternoon in December, dying for a drink after the endlessly boring drive of the 90. At first, he is under the impression that a neutron bomb has gone off, due to the utter lack of people or traffic. M informs him there's a Bills game on.

He heads straight for the restaurant at which he is supposed to meet his escort for the night. He walks to the bar and lights up a smoke, much to the surprise and dismay of everyone around him. A woman walks up and asks that he extinguish it, slipping something into his jacket pocket.
It's an invitation to a party being held by the evil mastermind, as per the plan. James downs his martini and heads back to his car, which is now covered with snow. As he brushes it off, getting salt and snow all over his suit, somebody asks him for thirty-seven cents to get to Niagara Falls. James declines and drives off.

A few hours later, and the party begins. James is on the prowl for someone to close the movie with, but can't help noticing that all of the women are middle-aged and short. He asks the bartender where all the girls are, and receives the answer that everyone of eligible age has moved away. The bartender is clearly disappointed that James is straight.
Bond sneaks around until he is face to face with the bad guy, whose henchman captures him. As Bond is slowly lowered to a painful death, the mastermind reveals his plan to buy land to the west of every major city in the world. He will make man-made lakes, causing lake effect weather across the globe.

The mastermind would have been happy hijacking the signature bridge to get the bingo monies, or even opening a Mighty Taco at the new waterfront, but these were just pipe dreams, and now, scarred and disappointed, he is bent on world domination.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Everybody relax.

After the flood of complaints I have received about my lack of posts, I bring you Alex's Week at a Glance. Imagine a man going to work and being really pissed off. Now imagine a man sleeping. Anything not listed below can be assumed to be one of the above.

M - TW 2003 and BSG. We all know Tiger Woods is grand fun, but most of us are sadly unaware that Battlestar Galactica defies all sensibility and is good. Like good good. Get off your high horse and give it a watch. We know you liked Next Generation, try as you might to hide it.

T - AVP. Good? No. Awesome? Yes. Now, the debate has certainly earned the title "age-old" by this point, but I'll rehash it once again. The Predator would beat the Aliens. It would beat a single alien, it would beat a hive of aliens, it would beat the queen alien. It would beat a face-hugger. The aliens are only nasty because they hide in the dark all the time. The Predator can see in the dark. Conversation over.

W - Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. This movie set out to recreate the style of old adventure serials. It did a great, great job at this. The problem is, old adventure serials suck.

H - Go out drinking.

F - Work event, at which I further alienate myself from my coworkers. There was a limbo contest, in which I did not participate.

And there you have it.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

High altitude, low sportsmanship.

Where I be at indeed.

Since it appears to have been far, far too long since last I posted, here's something untimely ripped from webshite to tide you over:

Had some lads by to play some Halo 2. Played Oddball. Liked Oddball. Frustrated the hell out of my compatriots with the following strategy: when you're about to die with the ball, jump off a cliff. He who chases you must then go all the way back to the ball's spawn point. I suggest throwing the ball back towards them as you fall to your doom, just to mess with 'em. If ever there was justification for building a "give the finger" command in to a game, this is it. Imagine the joy of taking the ball into the bottomless chasm, leaving your enemy staring down at the bird.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Cabin fever (cont.)

Snow and cold means no leaving the house. And that means the History Channel. Every US President from Rutherford B Hayes to George W Bush. The French Revolution. The war of 1812. My field of vision now has a little "H" burned into its lower right corner.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Cabin fever

God damn cold out there. Our plans of running various errands have been thwarted by one Mister John Frost. So now we sit inside, waiting for nothing to happen. This is one of those days where having two computers looks better and better.

I tell you a tale of a young man, a man in his prime, and an idiot. Once, I took a class on Greek language. The professor was wise and friendly, but had little patience for dimwittedness. I enjoyed this class quite a bit, and ended up taking many of his courses throughout my college career.

Years later, I was approached by a friend who had only just recently graduated. He told me that one day, the said same professor was giving a lecture, came to a certain point and asked the class some questions about it. After not receiving the answers he was hoping for, he stated "Don't worry about it. In all my years of teaching this course, only one student ever really understood this concept." The person, my friend claimed, was me. He then went on to tell me that he told the professor he knew me, to which I replied "So? What was it?!?!".

"Oh, I don't remember."

Much screaming ensued. Now, this guy may very well have been pulling my leg, but I must know. Now, years later yet again, I have made a contact through work who may give me a reason to get back in touch with the prof and see what's up. I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Zoom zoom.

One year left on the lease. I drive this. ($19K) I've been considering this, (low $20K's) but we'll see how it looks in real life come October. The other day, Her Worshipfulness saw a commercial which offered a low price, and thought we should get this ($17 K). My boss seems to think he pays me enough to suggest I look at this ($30K), but he clearly hasn't looked at a budget report recently. So, anyone got any recommendations?

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Dzzt. Dzzzzzt. Dzzt dzzt.

I got to play with the robot today. They had an open house for the thing and they let employees give it a go -- not bad for the new bazillion dollar surgical tool. I gave it a whirl, sticking my face in the camera hole, reaching tentatively towards the controls. They had what I assume were custom training materials set up for demo purposes, and I spent a few minutes moving tiny rubber bands around through a series of colorful rubber polyps the surgeon affectionately referred to as "Whoville". I was well-prepared for the inevitable, that my vast experience in the world of videogaming would give me apparently preternatural skills with the thing and the doctors would all crowd around in awe of the rookie's mad robot skills. Fortunately for their egos, they were occupied with something else and did not see my magnificent display.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

So similar, and yet...

Watched a whole football game yesterday. Went to a friend's house with the intent of watching a football game, watched said football game, enjoyed the aforementioned football game.

My friend became embarrassed several times after screaming at the television quite loudly. I told him not to worry about it, that he had no reason to be embarrassed, that it's his place after all, etc.

Still he felt shame, until this commercial for the highly-anticipated Gran Turismo 4 for the PS2 came on, at which I point I began screaming at the television. A look of surprise and barely-concealed bemusement came over his face as he politely asked about the upcoming title.

After that, the TV began to whimper in anticipation of the no-holds-barred tongue-lashing it was going to receive for the next three quarters. The TV was last seen rocking itself to sleep in a corner, telling itself everything would be alright.

Friday, January 14, 2005

I was so close.

A clutch of my amigos (all of whom write for webshite, I believe) have
been sucked into a black vortex known as World of Warcraft. I do not
play Massively Multiplayer Online Role-playing Games for a variety of
reasons, nor do I have any interest in high fantasy games, or mayhaps
I might have joined them. Fortunately for my sanity and carpal
tunnel, I did not.

I tried to explain MMORPG's to Her Worship the other day. It went
along these lines:

A: So, it's a videogame, but it's not linear or plot-driven. You walk
around and do whatever.

HW: And you can do whatever you want?

A: Just about. If you do anything too nuts, an admin shows up as a
god and smacks you around a bit.

HW: Yeah, yeah. But you can just wander around in the world?

A: If you want. Usually there's some kind of over-arching plot, but you can...

HW: Like Pern?

At this point, our hero starts to get grandiose ideas of getting Her
Worshipfullness into MMORPGs, of needing to buy a gaming rig to handle
the games, one of those hot Alienware PCs, and we'd spend nights
together in the gameroom, me on the Xbox, her on the ALX. And it
would be joyous.

A: Sure. So you would be a merchant or a dragonrider or whatever you
want. Just existing in the Pern universe.

HW: Can you imagine the time it must have taken to program all that?
Every person in every town?

A: Well, the people are other players.

HW: What?

A: Yeah, you know. People from all over, just like you, playing the game.

HW: Well, fuck that.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Worst big brother ever.

The tag came off the back of my tie today, but I really can't bitch too much. You see, I went back to my home town of Merrimack, NH for a wedding several months ago. My mom no longer lives in Merrimack, but my brothers do, so I crashed with one of them. Had the suit, the shoes, the handkerchief, but forgot the tie. By some miracle, my brother had a few ties. I picked the most conservative. I packed the most conservative. Unintentionally.

Now, one might think I would remember to bring the tie to Thanksgiving to return it to him. One would be wrong. One would be correct, though, if one thought that I would accidentally abscond with the same brother's snow-scraper.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Finally found me

Chew on this. I'm a classics nerd, and therefore will ofttimes cite Homer as my favorite author. My favorite artist? Winslow Homer. Nickname of close friend? Homer*. Unfortunately, my favorite Simpson's character is Moe and my best sports moment was making a save in gym class floor hockey, so it's not enough to be a full obsession. More of a streak, I guess. Still -- weird. I like stuff called Homer.

*Why not "favorite"? Grown men don't have favorite friends.

Monday, January 10, 2005

There is a priest, after all.

You know what sucks? Aspiring to write and watching Carnevale. I've got some catching up to do.

A co-worker asked what I did this weekend. When I told her I watched Carnevale last night, she asked what kind of show it is. Being far too pavloved to say "well, I guess it would be classfied as urban fantasy, even though it's not in a city, but that seems to be the term used for anything fantasy that isn't high fantasy with like elves and stuff, and it's definitely not sci-fi, so I guess I'd say urban fantasy / alternate history" to a normal person, I found myself at a loss. I ended up saying "almost like spiritual, I guess" then trying to back-pedal forthwith. Just what I need: the "jesus-freak" moniker in the workplace. Spiritual... what was I thinking?

Saturday, January 08, 2005

I lost track of what I was talking about.

Went to work for a bit today. The office is weird on the weekends. An hour feels like half a shift. This means that you get all kinds of work done, but also that you look at the clock every two minutes. I've got a deadline on Friday and lots to do before then, so I figured I'd give the old Xbox a well-deserved break this afternoon.

Does anyone know the Seven Habits of Highly Effective people? Is one of them "plays a lot of videogames"? If it weren't so cold, maybe I'd be doing something in real life (like sitting on the porch), but until then the digital realm will likely be by residence.

Friday, January 07, 2005

What beautiful music they make.

Weird dream last night. I was in an office building with a couple of teenagers. The floor we were on was flooded with black water. We assumed the elevator was out so I suggested we take the stairs. Just as one of the teens asked "the stairs to where?", the corner I was turning became a dark back hallway with peeling paint on the doors. A 6-year-old version of the teen ran past me in terror, and I turned the corner to go up to what I knew was the attic. To face what, you ask? Just at the climax, I could no longer see and my head was forced to the swiftly side by cold, thin fingers. A fingernail lightly grazed the jugular on my exposed neck. Vampires! I lashed out against the arms, only to find that my wife was trying to wake me up so I would stop screaming. Oops.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Everyone knows your name.

Sorry 'bout the dearth of posts recently. Been playing way. too. much. Ninja Gaiden. It's horribly embarrassing to even bring up the title. I mean, playing videogames is geeky enough, but play games with ninjas? Geez. If you need me, I'll be getting my lunch money stolen.

Monday, January 03, 2005

Stranger than truth.

As I imagine is the case for many blogwrights, for a long time there as been a part of me that wants to be a writer. Of the various genres I've tried over the years, the essay is my strongest, but there really isn't much call for essays written by people what don't do anything or know anything. I mean, if I wrote magazine articles on my travels in the Yucatan, people might be interested, but I've never been to the Yucatan.

This brings me to reflection on the purpose of published writing. We write to communicate information, to make points, and to entertain. I have no information to impart, few well-backed opinions, and my fiction has consistently been terrible. Thus, I have no right to write. Thus, also, this blog. I enjoy writing, but can't keep up with all the work involved in doing it in a meaningful fashion, so I spill my thoughts here for you all.

Writing is about the only productive thing I have consistently enjoyed or taken any pride in. That means I'm supposed to go for it, right? Aren't I somehow less of a person if I don't follow whatever foolhardy dreams I may come up with? Problem is, aside from the dreams of sitting quietly at a desk and finding the notes that resonate, I also have dreams of being able to consistently pay my rent. So, I guess I should pursue it as a hobby and plug away at ye olde grind.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Should old acquaintance be forgot?

What will future generations say about New Year's Eve? When the History Channel geeks write up a special on the ancient traditions, what will they have to write about? A a big ball was lowered in New York, everyone counted the last few seconds, they sang an old song no one knew. Lovers kissed, resolutions were made for the coming year, and the whole country got really drunk.

What I like about New Year's is its secular and non-family nature. If you don't do New Year's with family, it doesn't make you a terrible person. Finally a holiday where the obligation doesn't overshadow the celebration. While I certainly enjoy the but-you-have-to-come holidays, the back-to-back nature of Turkey Day and Christmas make New Year's a nice break.