Wednesday, September 28, 2011

COMPLETED! Drood & Gears of War 2

I feel a sense of accomplishment lately when I finish a book and especially when I finish a video game (see yesterday's post).

I've always been a slow reader.  Sometimes words popping in and out that aren't really there.  There are times when I have to stop, go back and read a whole page or paragraph again cause I just had no idea what was going on. The past year or two I've been reading a lot more lately and I'm enjoying it.  When I finish a book, I get happy because it feels like a big feat to me (especially when it's a 1,000+ page book) and I also get to start a new journey!

Yesterday I finished Dan Simmons' Drood.  The Washington Post review of this book is SPOT on; this book is pretty much the literary version of the movie Amadeus.  The book's narrator, Wilkie Collins, is the Salieri to Charles Dickens' Mozart; always feeling just one step behind Dickens, in his shadow.

While I found this book in the horror section, I don't feel that it was the correct genre for it.  It definitely had some tense moments and graphic scenes, but this had more of a historical fiction feel a la Caleb Carr's The Alienist.  Unfortunately, this book seems to lean heavily on the history and facts of Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins.  Many times, Simmons will go off on tangents about past books that Collins has written, or the history of the different places Dickens has lived; so much that it feels as if it's a book report on Dickens.

If you look past this though, the story is interesting.  You begin to wonder about Drood.  Is he real? You start to notice things as the book goes on like, who really see's Drood? I don't want to give away a lot, but if you can get past the book report like facts that are given to you, you'll enjoy the book.

In the same day as I finished Drood, only a few hours later I finished Gears of War 2!  As an adult gamer, you come to the realization that you won't finish most of the games that you own, so finishing a game will be a big rarity for you.  In the past year, I've finished 2 games (Batman: Arkham Asylum and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2) and the only reason I've finished those was because I made it a point to finish them (although, Batman was just too much fun to put down).

Normally I try to play 2 main games at a time.  One game being a really long game (for example, right now i'm playing Oblivion) and the other being a mindless game such as a button masher like the Spiderman games.  This past weekend I figured I might as well finish Gears 2.  Of course, I don't remember much of the story, but I pop it in and I'm in the middle of some huge firefight.  Played for about an hour till I got to a frustrating part and put it down till last night.  Started up my 360, got past the frustrating part....30 minutes later the game ends surprisingly.  The final boss didn't even make me frustrated at all.  It just...ended!  Weren't end boss battles supposed to be tough?  Wasn't too impressed but glad that I was able to finish the game.

Needless to say, I got the bunch of gamerpoints, watched the credits, saw the teaser to Gears of War 3 and then popped in Oblivion.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Lament of the Adult Gamer

I'm sure there are blog posts every Monday that will start off by saying something to the effect of:

Where did the weekend go? I need one more day just to myself!

For us adult gamers, that's very true.  As I get older, I see my gaming time grow less, but my social life getting busier.  That's not a bad thing though because I always find being around friends/family better than sitting on my chair in front of the TV for a few hours battling goblins in Oblivion.  Going out for friend's birthdays, family get togethers plus on top of that, now that i'm getting married, there's the prep for that and a whole new family & the integration into that.  All of it is just mind blowing sometimes to think how i'm juggling all of this.

So where's the time for video games?

As I get older, I notice that my time to play a video game goes on a downward slope.  Casual games on my phone or 10 minute spurts on my DS or PSP is all I get recently.  Sure, I could bring my PSP on the train to play on the way to work, but that's my reading time.  I can play in between commercials on TV but that really doesn't make me feel like i'm paying attention.

Why not after work? Well after eating dinner, gym, showering after the gym, hanging out with the future Mrs., bed time creeps up on ya pretty fast.  Weekends are spent with friends, family and where's the time!!!

There really is no solution to this though.  You just have to take advantage of the time you have to sit down and explore the games that you have.  You need to accept that you're not going to play every new game that comes out or even finish any of the games you have.  That new Call of Duty coming'll get it maybe a few months down the line when it's cheaper.  Patience is a big factor with this...patience and acceptance are the key with being an adult gamer.

So when you get that time to yourself to sit down, don't try to play everything you can in that one sitting.  Just enjoy the time you have because it's not going to be the last time you ever play.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Time Flies...Unlike this Rooster.

This is a rooster.  He was the protector of the swords & armor shop.  The rooster will wreck ya.

Busy weekends come and go just leaving you to ask yourself: Did I even get to relax this weekend?  Those are usually good weekends but come Monday, you ask yourself this question, tally up what you did and realize why time really does fly!

That's not to say I didn't have a good weekend.  From cheap dinner with my fiance to Macy's suit & wedding shopping to the New York Renaissance Faire (see sword & armor rooster above) to just hanging out at a house with a few couples talking over several bottles of wine...I would say it was a great weekend!

While sitting with our friend's on Saturday night over some bottles of wine, we came upon a funny realization.  As children, we were made to go to bed early.  This was torturous especially when there was company over; hearing laughter downstairs as a kid from your parents and their friends, you'd want to stay up and be cool like them.  

That night, with our friend's 1 year old twins sleeping in their cribs in the next room, we realized that we are now those parents and friends that are in the next room laughing and having fun.  The twins, even though they can't really talk yet, must be wondering the same as we did back then.  When they're older, they'll be coming out and asking us if they can stay with the grown ups.  The tables have turned Mr. Rooster.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Nine Eleven

Ten years ago today, while living in Buffalo, I woke up thinking my roommate was watching a movie on TV.  I saw a burning building on screen and immediately thought, "What's this? Die Hard?"  My roommate said, "No...this is real."

I left my apartment that morning not knowing what to think about what I just saw; it didn't register.  The atmosphere outside was what I could only describe as Still.

Everyone in my office was watching the news in the movie theater near our office where they projected the news for everyone.  I tried calling my mom from the office phone but nothing was going through.  I would get some automated message that said something to the effect of: Due to the tornado/hurricane/earthquake, all phone lines are down.

My mom worked just a few blocks from the Twin Towers at Strawberry's, a women's clothing store.  I remembered that she said she was on vacation that week and wasn't working but I had to make sure that she wasn't all of a sudden called in to cover a shift.  It's not right that anyone has to feel that feeling that I had that day.  Luckily, she wasn't working that day and was home with my father in Brooklyn.

Friends, acquaintances...people who I've only hung out with once, who were from NYC and knew I was came up and hugged me without question.  We didn't need to know a lot about each other, we didn't need to have had long conversations in the past...we had the connection that our home was attacked.  Someone out there came into our house and destroyed a part of our home...and all we can do from Buffalo, NY is just hold each other.

They say never forget today and I won't.  What they don't say is move forward and live.

Friday, September 09, 2011

I Guess We'll Try This Again...

I've been reading a lot lately.  Mostly on my train commute to and from work.  In the past, I enjoyed reading but because I read at a slow pace due to words jumbling or new words popping in out of no where, I would always get frustrated.  As of the past few months though, I've noticed an improvement in my speed and just reading in general.  I've been going through books quicker than ever lately; enjoying them and feeling very accomplished if I finish 50 pages a day (generally it's 25 pages to work, 25 on the way home).

I've also found that joining sites like Good Reads and PaperBookSwap give me more incentive to read more.  Tracking my progress on Good Reads, listing books I've read in the past as well as listing books that I want to read in the gives me something to look forward to.

Good Reads also has a bookswap section that's really nice but PaperBookSwap seems to be just a tad better.  PaperBookSwap let's me get rid of books that I don't want anymore in my library to those who request them and in return, I get a book credit for a book that's on my wishlist.  I think it's a fair deal.  Good Reads has the same deal but if someone requests a book from you, they pay the postage and vice versa.  With PaperBookSwap, you pay the postage when someone requests a book from you and vice versa.  I've already sent out 4 books and I have 2 books coming in to me so my library is sort of continuing it's equilibrium.

Anyways, let's see how this little blog goes again.  Sometimes...140 characters is just not enough to get what I want out there.