Monthly Archives: July 2014

Oh, Wildstar

Me: This giant voodoo head has a quest for us.

E4: Sure, seems legit.

Me: This mushroom has a quest for us.

E4: Credible.

E4: Can you not see this giant floating gun attacking me?

Me: No. How’s your sanity?

E4: Below 40%…

Me: We’re being attacked by a vending machine with legs, E4.

Oh, Wildstar.

Me: This giant voodoo head has a quest for us.

E4: Sure, seems legit.

Me: This mushroom has a quest for us.

E4: Credible.

E4: Can you not see this giant floating gun attacking me?

Me: No. How’s your sanity?

E4: Below 40%…

Me: We’re being attacked by a vending machine with legs, E4.


I have nothing profound to say. I love you, aunt Helen, and I wish peace for all of us who are grieving your loss.

More Bioshock:Infinite and more sundry

Am Reading:

Nearly finished with Death of a Hornet. I really liked this line:

How lucky are we who live in proximity to such a landscape, that has such easy powers to lift us out of our narrow lives, to strip away our self-made blinders, and so seduce us into being who we really are.

Am Doing:

On yesterday’s walk, Baxter stepped right over a well camouflaged frog without even knowing it. So much for dogs and their vaunted sense of smell (or perhaps his nose is just not interested in frogs). I walked past it before my brain caught up to my eyes, but as I turned back to get a look at him he was gone. I hear them calling in the bogs, though, all elastic band snaps.

I’m nearly done with my media backlog — finishing an impulse audio book purchase from ages ago when I still had very nasty insomnia. Unforunately for me, it’s a 24 hour long recording of The Prime Minister by Anthony Trollop, which is not terrible but also not terribly captivating. I wish I was still listening to Cabin Pressure.

Ladies and gentlemen, can I have your attention please? This is the airport speaking. Listen to the Airport. Flight 2020202 is now ready for boarding at gate….eight. It isn’t late. It will not wait. If you want to be on that aeroplane … it’s time to get on the aeroplane now. If you have young children…put them on the airplane. If you have any hand baggage … put it on the aeroplane. If you have any bombs…they’re not allowed on the aeroplane. Please put them…in the bin. Ok, bye! Love…the airport!

But I made myself a promise and I’m (sort of) keeping it — I haven’t bought new tv, movies or audio books since the start of the year, and I’ve rewatched and/or listened to everything I already owned. I’m so close to being able to start new shows and finally watch Lord of the Rings and not feel guilty when I don’t listen to an audiobook on a walk…

Am Playing:

Having been traumatized by the white robe founding father fetishists, we ventured into Columbia proper, where Booker was promptly and expertly treated like a side of beef by these upstanding ladies.

frank appreciation


Excuse me, madam, but I’m right here, so if you could stop with the risqué comments please and thank you!


risqueIn fact, life on Columbia’s fine clouds appears to be full of innuendoes and flirting. It’s a heady feeling, walking around and eavesdropping without the fear of being shot at by, well, anyone. So unbioshock like, and thus, sure not to last. We make the most of it, watching a couple of kinescope videos and warily sizing up this poster:

i am the false shepherd arent i

Booker lacks my finely tuned video game sense, as he has nothing to say about this particular poster, whereas I thought, “Oh shit, that’s us.”

In the meantime, we’ve been told via telegram from R. Lutece to seek the girl (Elizabeth) by going to the statue of Columbia. All right! Booker seems relieved to have some sense of purpose again, and I note the direction I’m supposed to go and merrily go off the other way. Bioshock rewards exploration.

It’s a holiday in Columbia, and a lot of store keepers have left their stores open and on the honor system, more fools they. (Well, I SAY that, except for the fact that I actually would have left some of my silver eagles had the game given me the opportunity. Seriously. Worst gamer). Booker watches a lovely floating parade, and then we hear a familiar song coming through the air…


this was so great

This was so great, seriously. Barbershop quartet belting out God Only Knows from a floating airship above a freakish city. This game.

more plasmids plasmids

Booker and I take the opportunity to go visit the sideshow area of the fair, where you can see various plasm…sorry, vigors, being shown off. (Side note: for the entire game, I basically only ever used Devil’s Kiss and Murder of Crows. I forgot about possessing vending machines, mother f. On the other hand, I also ended the game very rich, so I guess it doesn’t matter much). (Wait. Could I have freaking possessed the horses? SON OF A BITCH I was so disappointed I didn’t get A HORSE). (Again, worst gamer).

oh hi new big daddy

We also meet the Handyman (a little girl nearby says, “he looks so sad!” which leaves me ever after feeling for these poor monsters). Obviously there are no big daddies up here in the sky, but there needs to be some sort of horrific killer that’s very hard to end, otherwise Booker might get lazy! Hence, the Handyman and his exposed heart.

rightI’m alarmed at these wee ones, singing an awful song about a songbird killing people. Booker, as always, is stoic, but dude. Creepy kids singing creepy songs! Why.

i loved these twoThe bickering brits! Poor sir cannot seem to win a simple game of heads or tails. Suspicious, that — Madame’s choice of heads is breaking all laws of probability, and also, what the hell are they doing here? Booker has no comment on this new layer of madness. I begin to wonder if he’s broken in the head.

Good things cannot last. We’ll shortly be robbed of our eavesdropping opportunities and actually have to fight. FINE.




Some part of my brain has still been fretting about the quality of my writing, which is just counterproductive. So screw it. Here’s a roundup.

Am Reading: Death of a Hornet by Robert Finch

I picked this up at Bart’s Books in Ojai (the world’s largest outdoor bookstore!) mostly because I was delighted to find a piece of home so far away. I also listen to Robert Finch’s Cape Cod Notebook on our local NPR station and have enjoyed his take on the details of life on this strange little spit of land.

Look, it’s no secret that I’m ambivalent about living on the cape. In the high and low seasons, I tend to dread it — it’s either extremely crowded or devastatingly empty, and I guess I don’t like either state. But then fall and spring come along — fall mellow and long, spring subtle and slow — and I’m reluctantly charmed all over again.

This book shares that effect, making me like our little world down here a little bit more than I normally would in July.

Now it rains, whipping and thumping on the roof, an earnest drumming and splattering, a real Cape Cod “tempest” that tests the snugness of our hiding places, mine and the crickets. Just before I fall asleep I still hear their calls through the rain and wind, dampened at last, but not silenced. Nothing will do that but the frost.

Am Doing: Daily woods

IMG_0503 IMG_0516 IMG_0542

I walk the same woods every day, which means I’m more and more in tune with the changes summer brings. The late June flowers have shed their petals and the green is deepening. I like recognizing trees by their leaves. I like watching the dragonflies dart. I dislike the deer flies buzzing and biting, but it is deep summer. I let Baxter swim every night and daydream on the sand.

Am Playing: Bioshock Infinte

I picked up Bioshock Infinite immediately following Bioshock 2, having a vague notion that muscle memory would serve me well. Well, they are very different games. I suppose you could have played Bioshock the way you play Infinite — relying on cover, aiming, etc — but I found it clunky in the original games. After all, in order to use a plasmid you’d have to hit the key command to exit aim, and for someone uncoordinated in panic, it just didn’t work well.

I loved Infinite. I played 90% of it this weekend in a day and a half, because a) I enjoyed almost every fight and b) I really wanted to see the end of the story. I also picked up Episode 1 of Burial at Sea as soon as I finished, desperate for more.

gun good thanks

Infinite starts with a rainy rowboat ride (powered by a couple of bickering brits) to a lighthouse in the middle of the ocean. The bickering brits hand over a box with a couple of essential items (a key, a gun, a picture) and then row off merrily, leaving Booker to his own devices on the steps of the lighthouse. Hmm, I thought, this lighthouse SURE LOOKS FAMILIAR (although, of course, there is no Bathysphere to Rapture in this one, since you are going to the clouds).

uh oh blood

Nothing about the opening minutes of the game fills me with confidence for a world free of nutjobs. For one thing, there are these needlepoint signs on the wall. For another, the lighthouse keeper has met a rather unfortunate demise…

booker says oh hell

and, Booker’s an unsavory protagonist (it doesn’t help that in the loading screens you can see that he’s a Pinkerton detective — those were tough men who were responsible for some pretty horrific union busting during labor strikes). He talks like something out of a 1920s detective mystery, too — emotionless and rough edged.


Sidenote: speaking of unfortunate demise, it sure looks like the town on the shores of this lighthouse is completely on fire. Worrying!

Naturally our strange little hero here has no problem sitting in a chair at the top of a lighthouse where someone’s been murdered. Video game characters have the same decision making process as horror movie characters, which appears to be “…” I wasn’t even surprised to find the chair locked Booker in and our seat turn into a rocket shop TO THE CLOUDS. Because this is Bioshock logic.

first view

It’s alright, though — look at how beautiful Columbia is! Just look at it.

pretty game oh but lamb

Booker doesn’t seem too alarmed at being transported to the skies, but I am. The entrance terminal for Columbia is a temple filled with references to being led to a new Eden, Lambs (which just throws me back to Bioshock 2 anyhow), and other such overtly religious symbols. I find this nearly as alarming as the whole rocket to the clouds thing, but Booker seems remarkably relaxed. Man’s seen a whole lot of the world to be so unfazed about all of this.

In order to enter Columbia proper, you have to be pure of heart. The preacher is operating under the the mindset of many deeply religious groups: no one is pure of heart until they are reborn by baptism. I guess I’m just glad that it’s a water baptism and not a baptism by fire, although the preacher rightly sense that Booker’s really just going through the motions here and thus needs an Extra-Strength baptism by near drowning. Ok.

dont shoot jefferson

Booker wakes up still spluttering and being loomed over by Jefferson with a gun. Ok, fine, it’s a scroll, but tell me you wouldn’t be alarmed to see Thomas Jefferson looming over you with ANYTHING. Despite his great credentials as a patriot, Jefferson was a bit of an ass (what with the whole ‘oh I hate slavery but I have hundreds of slaves but also I had children with one’). Looking around there’s also Washington with a sword and Benjamin Franklin with a key. American politics being what they are these days, I’m immediately distrustful of anyone with such a fetish for the original founders, especially those considered patriots, ESPECIALLY when they are being more or less defied. Look, Benjamin Franklin was a great, intelligent man and well worth studying, but he also was (or pretended to be) a womanizer, and also he married a 15 year old girl? And also had an illegitimate son? All of which may have been common at the time, but none of which help his sainthood, you know?

holy moly beautiful

At any rate, here we are in Columbia! It’s the first time in a Bioshock game that I’ve been able to wander without people trying to kill me, so I send Booker around to eavesdrop on folks. Here in the garden of the church/entry terminal, some disciples are praying to the founders:

We worship the sword, so we might avenge you. We worship the raven, so we may cover the city with eyes. We worship the coffin, because it symbolizes the weight of our failure.

Yikes. Ok. I think I need a breather before Booker and I venture out into the wider world.

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