Decoration Day

          Please take this moment to think about those who's lives ended while they were wearing a uniform.  It doesn't matter if you believe the conflict they were a part of was justified...or even if they did.

          It doesn't matter if they were defending the North or the South (Korea, Vietnam, the's always north and south); or if they were searching-for or not-hiding weapons of mass destruction; or if they were the victorious or the massacred (at the Little Big Horn, Twin Towers, or Pearl Harbor).  All that matters is they died serving their respective countries or belief-systems, following their orders and protecting others.

LA NOIRE - Review (☆☆☆☆☆)

          After I was about 24-hours deep into L.A. Noire the 17-year-old son of my fiancée (who'd not yet played) asked, "Do you find your former experience as a cop helps?"

          "No."  I said, keeping the hop-headed juvenile delinquent in my peripheral vision while still focusing on the baby booming post-war city of angels (where none are depicted).  "In fact, I find the opposite to be true."

          If you're a fan of any or all of the games made by Rockstar, you'll like this one and will be in familiar territory.  Here, instead of being a gangster (like in all the GTA's) or an outlaw (Red Dead Redemption) you're a good cop in a world of corruption.  Just like previous Rockstar's, you still drive any and every vehicle—but in 1947 L.A. you ask politely or 'emergency commandeer' them—but, different from previous games, you must drive carefully; hitting citizens or damaging property ruins your score.

          The map of Los Angeles is huge and there are more puzzles than ever before.  Players must find 50 golden film reels (hard—I've only found 2); discover and photograph all the 1947 landmarks; drive 95 different cars (not too hard—I've already found 83); and solve a few dozen crimes by locating evidence and interviewing people.

          Here's where being a former cop is a detriment:  You choose from truth, doubt, or lie after they answer every interview question.  No going back.  No do-overs.  No interrogations.  No repeating yourself.  And, if you don't have hard, tangible, evidence in-hand you can't accuse them of lying.  But...just like in real life...everyone rarely tells the truth.  So far, I'm the worst at determining who's telling the truth and who to doubt (there's a built-in work-around using "intuition points," but I've not resorted to that quasi-cheat—obviously, my downfall).

          All the missions in the game could probably reach 'case closed' status in less than 25 total-hours.  However, with all the side missions, puzzles, and the occasional case do-over (because your outcome changes depending on the quantity of evidence you compile, confessions you obtain, and collateral damage you avoid) I believe the game will/could take a minimum of 75-100 hours before boredom sets in.

          Although I think LA NOIRE deserves my highest rating, it's not for children.  Not because it's rife with the stereotypical misogyny, racism, and hyper-nationalism often depicted in films and TV, which show us post-WWII America through a dark and gritty lens, (e.g. Dragnet, The Killers, The Two Jakes) nor because it contains violence, nudity, and profanity (albeit that's not a bad reason) but because it requires an adult's reasoning and sensibility.  If you're old enough to enjoy a black-and-white police procedural you'll understand and appreciate this game.       

Sour Beer

A first.

I enjoy each and every "first" (as one should at my age).

Today it was sour beer.

It has sip-ability.  It's not a drink one can consume in quantity or at speed.  Think: SweeTarts or Sour Patch candy in a dark beer.    

World Bellydance Day Flashmob

          Portland's Pioneer Courthouse Square, 14 May 2001.  World Belly Dance Day.  Belly dance flashmob (choreographed, directed and produced by my fiancée).

Thought We Had 594 Days? Now It's 14.

          Yuuup...there's always going to be someone out there more bizarre and unstable than normal-weird.  I say normal-weird because (as far as I can tell) there's always been a constant median of weirdness everywhere you look.  I've come to expect it.  If I took a downtown-stroll and didn't see at least a couple normal weirdos, I'd feel deprived—like an 'every-predator-asleep' visit to the zoo.  With the population constantly rising, I expect there to gradually be more and more normal weirdos plying their brand of loony in my vicinity; not less....nooope.

          But, these two über-weirdos say that starting on the 21st of May (in two weeks) the earth's going to begin being earthquaked to smithereens.  Then, according to their interpretation of an ancient allegorical anthology, over the next 153 days the universe crumbles and finally extinguishes on Friday, 21 October 2011.

          Shit!  I was hoping to get my golf game consistently under 90 this summer.  It was already going to be tough—I just got a new putter—but now, with constant earthquakes, it's going to be nearly impossible.  And here I was counting on the 594 more days the Mayan's promised and voting in next year's election as well.

Irishwind: An Amazing Artist

          I have admired Irishwind as an artist for six years.  She lives in Singapore and draws like I wish I could.  Similar to my work, much of her art relies on pareidolia and apophenia, (which happens to be one of my 2009 titles).

          Recently, I learned that some people are either unable or less-prone to seeing "things which aren't there" and, I surmise, that's a primary reason why some don't like abstract art.  When someone says they "don't understand" a work of art—what they mean is they are unable to look at (hear, watch) something that relies upon the "abilities" of pareidolia-apophenia (either or both) to appreciate it.

          Irishwind's art can be seen here.  Go appreciate it!  (Even if you are pareapop-blind.)

MySoLiMo - My Song List Month

          In March-April I participated in a month-of-songs.  I began by following someone.  Once I learned it was a meme, *wards evil-claw while hissing* I began creating my own categories.
  1. Your Favorite Song.  Starship Trooper, YES
  2. A Song You Fucking Hate.  Fade To Black, METALLICA
  3. A Song That Makes You Happy.  Ooh Aah Just a Little Bit, GINA G
  4. A Song That Makes You Sad.  Beautiful, CHRISTINA AGUILERA
  5. A Song That Reminds You of Someone.  Canadian Sunset, HUGO WINTERHALTER
  6. A Song That Reminds You of Someplace.  Knock Three Times, TONY ORLANDO & DAWN
  7. A Song That Reminds You of an Event.  Vincent, DON McLEAN
  8. A Song You Know All the Words To.  Man of Constant Sorrow, SOGGY BOTTOM BOYS
  9. A Song That Makes You Laugh.  No Children, THE MOUNTAIN GOATS
  10. A Song That Describes You.  Poor Boy, SUPERTRAMP
  11. A Song You Can Dance To.  Block Rockin Beats, THE CHEMICAL BROTHERS
  12. A Song That Makes You Fall Asleep.  Surf Sounds, NATURE
  13. A Favorite Song From (Random Year).  True, SPANDAU BALLET (1983)
  14. A Song That Reminds You of Elementary School.  Winchester Cathedral, NEW VAUDEVILLE BAND
  15. A Song Which Reminds You of a Sport or Job.  D'yer Ma'ker (Jamaica), LED ZEPPELIN
  16. The Oldest Song You Enjoy.  Boléro, RAVEL
  17. A Fucking Song.  Mia Culpa, ENIGMA
  18. Your Favorite Duet.  Under Pressure, FREDDIE MERCURY, DAVID BOWIE & QUEEN
  19. Your Paragon of Protest Songs.  Why Can't We Live Together, TIMMY THOMAS
  20. Your Favorite Instrumental.  The Box, ORBITAL
  21. Your Favorite Foreign Song.  Cose Della Vita, EROS RAMAZZOTTI
  22. A Song Which the Color (Random) Reminds You Of.  And She Was, TALKING HEADS (green)
  23. Your Favorite Spiritual-or-Secular Song.  The Weight, THE BAND & THE STAPLE SINGERS
  24. A Favorite From Your First Compilation Album.  Lucky Man, EMERSON, LAKE & PALMER
  25. A Song You Enjoy From Your Least-Listened-To Genre.  From A Distance, NANCI GRIFFITH
  26. A Quirky Song You Admire, But Can't Put Your Finger On Why.  The Sun King et al., THE BEATLES
  27. A Song That Reminds You of a Favorite Film.  Monsters, CHI-AD
  28. A Song Which Reflects Your Opinion On The Weather.  Feels Like Heaven, URBAN COOKIE COLLECTIVE
  29. A Favorite Talk Song.  Somewhere Down The Crazy River, ROBBIE ROBERTSON
  30. The Newest Song You Enjoy.  Wishery, POGO