Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Specs

A month ago, I attended my biannual appointment with the ophthalmologist. And as luck would have it, my prescription changed -- albeit it a very miniscule amount -- so I needed new glasses. Rather than try to sell me on a new set of frames to complement the new lenses, the tech immediately suggested simply ordering new lenses and having them sized to fit my current frames. I'd never thought of that, but I do like the current frames (and the clip on sunglasses that are custom to them) and immediately said yes.

I stopped by the optic lab this afternoon, and 15 minutes later, I'm sporting new lenses in old frames. For anyone who's ever suffered through new frames -- the constant adjusting over the ears, the fiddling with how they sit on the nose, the occasional bleeding from something not adjusted properly -- you can understand my happiness at not having to go through all that. My frames are a little over a year old. I'm accustomed to how they fit, how they look. And I'm so excited that I can see even better through them now!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Zombies in Savannah

Last night I finally finished The Walking Dead: Season One from Telltale Games, and I must say that I understand why it earned so many "Game of the Year" accolades. The game tells an incredible story set within the same world as the TV show. You don't play as any of those characters, though; instead, you're Lee Everett who stumbles across a young girl named Clementine during the first days of the zombie apocalypse. His mission is to keep her safe while trying to find her parents in Savannah. However, during the first episode you do meet Glenn and Herschel, and some of the interaction with them reflects upon certain points within the TV show.

The game itself looks great, with the graphics being a mix of graphic novel and 3D. Very stylized, but it allows for some surprisingly gruesome zombie effects. As for game play, it's not the typical shoot 'em up or mission-based play. Instead, it's very story driven, and the actions you take or things you say directly impact how the entire story evolves. At some points, I had to quickly decide which character to save, or whether to lie. So I can replay the game, make different decisions, and experience a different story.

What surprised me the most, though, was how emotional the last episode was...just like when I played The Last of Us. You don't think that a game would make you cry, but this one sure as heck did.

So now, I'm waiting for all the episodes of Season Two to be released. I don't think I can handle playing an episode then waiting a month or two for the next....

Saturday, July 19, 2014

iTunes Saturday - Jam

Usually, I have some kind of idea in mind when selecting which song to use for my iTunes Saturday. Today is not one of those days. So...here's A Town Called Malice by The Jam:

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Quickie Book Review: Allison Hewitt Is Trapped

by Madeleine Roux

100 years have passed since the initial Outbreak back in 2009. With society slowly rebuilding, a small University press is assembling a collection of biographical essays to outline the hardships and successes occurring once the Outbreak was brought under control. To this end, Professor Michael Stockton, Jr., believes the story he uncovered may be of interest to the editor of the collection and sends him one blogger's account of the first months of people trying to survive in a world suddenly turned upside down by the dead who've somehow reanimated.

The posts begin with Allison Hewitt trapped in a Brooks & Peabody shop on the night of September 15, 2009, when the infected first attacked the store. She and a few employees barricade themselves in a back room, and after a few days, Allison manages to find a signal connecting her laptop to the military's emergency wireless network. She begins a record of the events of the past days and what life is like, being stuck in the back room, not knowing what's happening to the rest of the world. A sudden disaster changes people, and Allison retells these changes and the relationships of the group as they try to find a way out of the shop before their meager food rations run out.

She finds other survivors out there, thanks to the comments on her posts, filled with words of encouragement as well as bits and pieces of news. And through her chronicle of events, of the other survivors she meets, and the constant threat of the undead lurking in the background, she creates a snapshot of the new world as it adjusts and evolves.

What I like about Allison Hewitt Is Trapped is the focus on the relationships and group dynamics, how people react when forced into difficult situations, even falling in love with someone unexpected. The undead still exist, keeping everyone on their guard, and they make their presence known in many a gruesome way, but the struggle to be alive comes first and foremost. Maybe it's a preference of mine. All the blood and guts and gore can get boring after a while, so allowing it to take a backseat or even to cause a delay in posting allows for the characters and the story to take shape. I've read epistolary novels before -- The Color Purple, e, even Griffin and Sabine -- but this is the first told solely through blog posts, and it worked for me, adding tertiary characters acting my thoughts out or creating tension when, as I mentioned before, no posts appear for days and the concern in her readers' comments made me continue on to find out what happened.

Allison Hewitt Is Trapped is a fine novel of the undead, and being a blogger myself, I enjoy the idea of using that medium to tell a complete story. Definitely worth a read.

Allison Hewitt Is Trapped
by Madeleine Roux
St. Martin's Griffin
trade paperback, 340 pgs.

purchased book

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Oh, My Word!

A co-worker directed me to this, and I must say that it's the Best Song of the Year so far, in my book....

If you can't see the video, try this link: http://vevo.ly/yRwiKB The song is called Word Crimes by "Weird Al" Yankovic.

Update: switched the video to YouTube. Some folks couldn't see the other embedded video.

Monday, July 14, 2014

A Greek Tragedy ... with Music

Last night we trekked to Burbank to meet a friend for dinner at Umami Burger before heading across the street to the Falcon Theatre for a Greek tragedy -- Agamemnon from Aeschylus. But this wouldn't be a typical version of the play, thanks to the Troubadors. This version came with a special twist:

Yes, the music of ABBA punctuated the tragic events of Agamemnon as he returns home to wife Clytemnestra, transforming Ancient Greece into a Swedish pop fantasy. We laughed ourselves silly and enjoyed every single minute of the music and the improvisation and the outright silliness of it all.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

iTunes Saturday - Ventura Highway Remixed

Yes, I thought well ahead for this week's tune. After America's Ventura Highway, my next song already played out in my head, and I purposely purchased it the next day just so that I could post it today. Good thing I like the song, too, because that would have made for a messy post. SO here it is...this week's selection: Someone to Call My Lover by Janet Jackson....