Quo vadis?

In case anyone was wondering what I’ve been up to. Did you know Red Dead Redemption lets you hog-tie an innocent woman and leave her on some train tracks to get run over? And you can also capture the entire population of a small town and leave them wriggling in impotent desperation while a train comes bearing down the tracks at them?

The return of Tarantino

Did Django Unchained really have a 2h 45min running time? Because damn, I didn’t notice. In case you were wondering, that haunting Italian song in the middle of the movie was Ancora Qui by Ennio Morricone and Elisa (some Italian singer). The movie and the song are much recommended by yours truly.

Turn, turn

What the hell? One day it was warm, the next day it was actually fall. I’m pretty sure last weekend was the last time I could have worn shorts but I foolishly didn’t take the opportunity. The Toronto International Film Festival really marks the end of the summer movie season, doesn’t it?

And by the bye, The Bourne Legacy wasn’t a pile of crap. Kind of weird pacing in the start but it was okay enough.

This is my rifle, this is my gun

I’m kind of obsessed with playing Dust 514 right now. It’s a multiplayer game set in a distant science fictional future where you get to shoot other people. It’s also got aspects of role-playing games in it and I’m a complete sucker for the Skinner box reward structure of the genre, what with all the numbers and flashy virtual items you get awarded for doing stuff. I cannot say more than that, since the game is still in closed beta and I’m bound by the pesky Non-Disclosure Agreement.

I can say that I’ve discovered a second level to the game beyond mere violence and statistics. On the game’s online forums I’ve now started dropping as much homoerotic innuendo as possible into my posts. All the misspellings and competitive posturing can get rather tiresome so now I’m seeing how many times I can insert phallic imagery into my replies.

For level 2 of this meta-game I think I’ll see how well I can make subtle connections between fighting other players and having sex with their avatars. “Have you ever been penetrated by another player’s hot lead injection and been disappointed that you couldn’t return the favour?”

Well, we’ll see how it goes.

The results are in

The first month of my project is over. It seems that for the month of August I’ve read 2 books and 61 comic books while watching 8 movies and 6 episodes of different TV shows.

I’d say it’s been a light month for books since I remember at least one week in recent memory where I started and finished three in between Sunday and Saturday. Believe it or not, August has also been below average for me in terms of comic books read. They’re quick and easy to read so you can easily get through a bunch in just an hour, plus they’re bite-sized so you can finish one while boiling an egg or something. I’m not watching as much TV since dramas tend to be my main genre and there aren’t as many of them during the summer. As for movies, I think it’s been pretty normal for me.

Anyway, only time will reveal any larger trends in my habits. Still, I rather like this business of keeping track and may continue past the end of my experiment.

See below if you really want to know exactly what media I consumed.

Books Movies Comic Books TV Shows
2 8 61 6
Red Mars (Kim Stanley Robinson) Warrior Gokuko no Brynhildr 21 Suits s2 e8
Detective (Arthur Hailey) Cabin in the Woods Sket Dance 204 True Blood s5 e10
The Avengers (rewatch) Otogi no Machi no Rena 49 Futurama s8 e9
The Lion in Winter The World God Only Knows 197 Doctor Who s3 e6
Cleanskin Nickelodeon Red (reread) Doctor Who s3 e7
Bedevilled Legion of Super-Villains 1 Futurama s8 e10
A History of Violence (rewatch) X-Factor 241
Premium Rush Avenging Spider-Man 10
Fallen Angel: Return of the Son 3
Fallen Angel: Return of the Son 4
Dark Avengers 178
Seigi no Mikata v2 c6
Seigi no Mikata v2 c7
Seigi no Mikata v2 c8
Seigi no Mikata v2 c9
Seigi no Mikata v2 c10
Godland 32
Godland 33
Godland 34
Godland 35
Godland 36
Courtney Crumrin 3
Courtney Crumrin 4
The Unwritten 38
The Unwritten 39
Btooom! V8 c47
Btooom! V8 c48
Btooom! V8 c49
Gokuko no Brynhildr 22
Sankarea 31
Fairest 6
Saucer Country 6
Scarlet Spider 7
Scarlet Spider 8
Fables 120
I, Vampire 1
I, Vampire 2
I, Vampire 3
I, Vampire 4
I, Vampire 5
I, Vampire 6
I, Vampire 7
I, Vampire 8
I, Vampire 9
I, Vampire 10
I, Vampire 11
Justice League Dark 1
Justice League Dark 2
Justice League Dark 3
Justice League Dark 4
Justice League Dark 5
Justice League Dark 6
Justice League Dark 7
Justice League Dark 8
Justice League Dark 9
Justice League Dark 10
Justice League Dark 11
World’s Finest 3
World’s Finest 4
Demon Knights 12
I, Vampire 12

Where have you been, Billy boy, Billy boy?

Where have you been, darling Billy?

Dear god, I practiced that tune more times than I can remember on the piano. With the span of years separating me from those times, however, I’ve come to reconsider my grudging resignation to playing the piano and wouldn’t mind messing around on one again. However, now I don’t have a piano to practice on.  Isn’t that just how it goes?

Oh, and in answer to the question, I’ve been playing Red Dead Redemption. Yes, I know it’s two years old. I don’t care. It’s new to me and it was a lot cheaper than when it was new to everyone else, plus it’s way more fun because a lot of the bugs have been fixed by now. The breadth of actions you can do in this game are astonishing. For example, you can tie a woman to some train tracks, but there won’t be any snivelling heroes to interfere and you can pretend to twirl your moustache while you watch a train run her over. You can also do that to anyone who tries to steal your horse, though it’s not as satisfying, but if you punish the no-good horse rustler more appropriately by lassoing them and dragging them to their death as you gallop over the plains you end up losing honour points. I think my favourite thing right now is to hogtie everyone in a saloon and stand around listening to them shout impotent threats at you, then calmly walking away to hunt some deer or something.

Also, when I’m not playing that I’m playing the beta for Dust 514. Also fun, but in a different, kill-other-players-who-are-trying-to-kill-you way. I’m not sure how much leeway the beta’s Non-Disclosure Agreement allows me to say so I’ll just leave it at that.

So yeah, video games. Yeehaw.

Grammar fascism and Toronto’s free tabloids

I usually grab the free tabloid Metro for the morning subway ride since for some reason I like green more than orange but today I picked up 24 Hours for the first time in months. Thus I was shocked to discover seven different typos, one egregious enough to turn a sentence into gibberish. I only skimmed through the daily and didn’t look through every article so I can only assume there were more flubs than what I spotted.

This is really quite unprofessional, being a free daily doesn’t absolve the tabloid’s copyeditor of the responsibility of producing a daily newspaper that won’t make certain readers feel like they’re being stabbed in the eyeballs.

Yes, call me a grammar Nazi if you wish, but now I’m sticking with Metro especially since they stopped being so Americo-centric with their crossword clues and have gone perhaps overboard with the Canadiana – I’m now having to dredge up half-remembered historical trivia from Grade 9 History.

Though let it be noted that I would prefer to be known as a Grammar Stalinist.

Public humiliation and the schadenfreude of nationalism

I had to go to work today. Nothing ever happens on Sunday, especially on Canada Day, so my coworkers and I talked about movies and watched the Euro Cup championship online. No one was cheering for Italy mostly because if Italy won then Toronto’s Italian contingent would come out and block the streets in celebration, making it hard to get home after work. Yes, we cheer for countries based on what would inconvenience us less. That’s what happens when you divorce nationalism from international sporting championships, though some people just cheer for the country with the weaker economy.

3:07 PM: Spain just scored, yeehaw! Suck on that, Italian-Canadians.

3:31 PM: Spain scored again. How’s that taste, Italy?

Against all odds, someone called and signed up with my company, and as it happens Spain scored twice more while I had to do the thing I was being paid to do. Curses. But 4-0, there’s no arguing with that score. Ha ha, eat that Little Italy, that’s what you get for blocking the streetcar home and making me take the Dufferin bus after Italy beat Germany. A happy Canada Day to all!

On joining the Snooty Book Readers Club

I’m not sure of the number of books I read in a year, but it’s definitely in the dozens and perhaps in the neighbourhood of fifty or more. Don’t be impressed, though, since the majority of those books had a picture of either a dragon or a spaceship on the cover (sadly, I don’t think any had both). However, I’ve pretty much read all of the books in my house right now and am reduced to the last book I own that I still haven’t finished reading – The Tempest, by none other than William Shakespeare.

Theoretically, I’ve been reading that book for over a year now. I originally bought it, used, because I needed something to read at the laundromat for the days when I was just too lazy to go to the library beforehand. However, that plan pretty much fell apart not too long after I put it into effect, which meant that as far as I was concerned, Prospero remained eternally stuck in the prologue of the play describing how he ended up stuck on the same island as the cast of Lost.

However, riding the subway regularly has reminded me forcefully of how much I hate riding the subway, so I’m forced to find ways to pretend that I’m not on the subway, and some days Metro is just too insipid for me to stomach. I was surprised by several things. First, I was surprised by how easy it was for me to follow the story despite the Elizabethan poetic dialogue. It shouldn’t have been as much of a surprise as all that, since technically Shakespearean language counts as Early Modern English, but I was able to make sense of the dialogue without even having to look up too many definitions (the edition I have has notes and explanations on the facing page). I remember having more trouble with Shakespeare in high school, but then again, that was before I got used to reading dense theoretical works regularly, so all that time spent deciphering Judith Butler’s gibberish was actually good for something.

The second surprise was that the funny scenes were actually funny to me. Not uproariously funny, but certainly good for a chuckle. Humour is something that can be iffy in a cross-cultural context, and the past definitely counts as a different culture – heck, it’s already a foreign country. But the tale of the drunken douchebags travelling around and snarking at things with their pet cave troll could make a pretty decent road trip movie today. Heck, you could insert some of their shenanigans into The Hangover without much rejiggering.

Also, I finally get why this play is so beloved in postcolonial studies. That was pretty much the reason why I got a copy from the used bookstore, after all.

Anyway, I can now rest easy in finally getting my high brow credentials. Expect me to write exclusively about Glenlivet and cork taint from now on.

High Rolling

The other day I bought a coffee with a $100 bill – it was the only cash I had. I felt bad about it so I added a donut. I got $97.14 back in change.