Monday, February 8, 2016

The Truth, The Whole Truth Or Just A Really Good Lie?

"So, did Popalov add anyhting else? Or was it just the bombshell?"  Mack asked.

"Just that one bit.  And you know what?  It still doesn't make me care."  Miles said.

"What, Hitler escaping and you don't care?

"Not at all.  There's no way he'd be alive now, and it doesn't make a damn bit of difference".  Miles sighed.  "It's all just and evasion.  After WWII ended, we tried so hard to put it all on the Germans in general and the Nazis in particular - as if such a horror couldn't happen unless Nazis were involved.  It helped the US and the West turn a blind eye towards what our pals the Soviets were doing in their own borders and it made us feel smugly morally superior, that "oh we'd never do that ourselves"."

"Okay, Miles, cool it."  Mack said.  "so you're basically saying that Hitler's one monster out of many and there's no point in looking for him if he did survive."

"Something like that.  There's no true way for justice to be done here so just pretending that the history we know is the real history is good enough for me.  Even if it may have done some good 30 years ago it makes no difference now."

As Mack tried to respond, his phone rang.  "Hi!...yeah...yeah, he's right here...yeah...20 minutes?  Sure...yeah...okay.  Bye."  That was Ursula.  She says she's been given clearance to tell us what's in the package."  Mack paused.  "Did you tell her what Popolov told you?"

"No.  I told the station chief that I talked to his, as per protocol, but I didn't tell him what about.  The beauty of classification, eh?"

"Why didn't you say anything?"  Mack asked.  "Might have saved her the trouble - or don't you believe Popolov?"

"I believe nothing."  Miles said.  "Besides, I'm curious to see if Ursula and Popolov say the same thing."

"If I didn't know better, Miles, I might think you're actually starting to care about this."


***

Mack led the way to a small conference room in the hotel.  Ursula waited until the door was closed by an associate to start.  "Gentlemen, what you are about to hear is top secret.  I am telling you this to explain why I am retaining you further and am hoping for your full cooperation.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Starman

I'm not sure just yet how to feel about the death of David Bowie.  Not only does it come so close on the heels of Lemmy's passing, but I'm not quite sure that he ever really existed.  Oh, of course he was a person who was born, lived and died, but because of his countless re-inventions and personae it's hard to get a feeling that what you saw was a real, tangible being.  Lemmy?  I'm sure there was some exaggeration for the cameras but there was no doubt that he was a real rock-and-roll badass. 

And, I suppose that being a tranny myself means I'm somehow obligated to claim he inspired me in some way, but I really wasn't.  At the time I started coming to grips with myself Bowie himself had put a firm end to the glam-rock era (even doing a video to make the point clear) and joined the skinny-tie set.  Before that, there was little else but regular airplay of bits and pieces of his earlier stuff - but that was radio.  I had 3 of his albums, none of which I have never heard all the way through (technically not the case with Ziggy Stardust but it was a special release with bonus tracks - only two of which I'd played).  I'd be lying if I said there was absolutely no influence but it was fairly minimal.

Still, I'm still kind of selfishly moved that another 70's/80's celebrity is gone.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The Force Awakens: A Review

I would say "Spoiler Warning" but I'm pretty sure anyone with a web connection has seen it already.

The Good:
1)  Excellent new cast members.  As good as it was to see the old faces, I never felt like I was passing time waiting for them to show up.  Ridley, Boyega and Isaac are good performers who can carry a story and stake out screen space from Harrison Ford and Max von Sydow.  If they're the new core for the next two installments then I'm really looking forward to it.

2)  The story was good.  I'm sure the film's gotten some shit over this, but the Star Wars Universe runs on serendipity - or, at least, massively unlikely coincidences.  I'm at peace with that and there's no way you can really be a Star Wars fan and not be, so I give those headscratchers and plot holes you can chuck a wet cow through a pass.  And with that, there's nothing much to complain about.  Superficially, the story resembles that of Star Wars but only due to both following the Heroes Journey template.  The villains are nice and villainy - save for a little ambivalence needed to move the story - the heroes are scrappy underdogs in the Rogue, Rebel and Idealist mold.  It's all nicely same-but-different.

The Bad:
1)  Since I've given it a pass on nitpicking, there's only one thing I really have to pick on and that's Han Solo's death.  I imagined this might happen in a post a few months before, and I'm cool with it.  Watching a Han Solo that can get into the Senior Buffet at Milliways just doesn't feel right, anyway.  Is there some rule in Hollywood that a major badass has to die in the most insignificant way possible - preferably on or near a bridge?  After Star Trek fans went bananas over Kirk dying in a bridge crash, you'd think that JJ "New Trekverse" Abrams of all people would have taken notice.

The Ugly:
1)  The biggest nit that I think is fair game is that while the overall story was good, the particulars of the script had too much of a "Fan Fiction" air to them.  As anyone who has seen or read FanFic can attest, even the best stuff is often less a story and more just references strung together in a vaguely coherent order.  STTFA wasn't actually that, but it came too damn close many times.

Overall:  Good story, good actors and good pacing. 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The Art of The Game

Despite my low opinion of Fallout 4, I've been playing it anyway.  The criticisms I have still annoy me but 60 bucks is 60 bucks and I'll get my money's worth if it kills me.  Something happened that made it almost worthwhile. 

I was battling a Protectron robot in a parking garage.  The game decided that the rifle which just gibbed three Raiders now could only take off a few pixels of health of the robot.  Thinking fast, I ducked out and chucked a grenade at the robot.  I ducked back and heard the explosion.  The robot lost it's legs but could still fire, so...another grenade then.  Boom.  What happened next was surprising.

The robot lost it's weapons and legs.  And yet it was still moving around with it's still-working arms.  It had gone from mortal enemy to Marvin the Paranoid Android at the end of So Long And Thanks For All The Fish.  I actually felt kind of bad at how it happened and of finishing it off.  Something that wouldn't have been real even if it had been real created a spontaneous moment of pathos.  Rather than being an attempt to manipulate emotion and yank on the ol' heartstrings with a tightly scripted set-piece it was an emergent moment.

This is the art of games.  Those moments that you create yourself.