Am Playing: Magicka and Am Reading: Sherlock Holmes
I kicked today off with a customer telling me that I had ruined her day — her phone, I explained, was in recovery mode and although I could go through the recovery process, if she didn’t have a physical PC backup or an iCloud backup she’d probably lose her data. She wasn’t mean, but she was clearly upset. Luckily, I’ve been doing this for long enough that I don’t let it get to me anymore: iOS failures are not on my shoulders.
Speaking of failures, the last time we played Magicka I was perhaps a bit rusty, and it’s possible that we died a lot more than we should have. Also, there was a dragon with the title the Burninator and can I just… the BURNINATOR. I had an immediate and very strong fit of nostalgia, leading me to sing fhwqugads under my breath for the rest of the night (I know that’s not the Trogdor song but it IS my favorite Homestar song).
Magicka was a pretty great experience overall. All of our game nights have been bitterly cold winter (hence Frozen Thursday) and I’ve been playing in front of a window that isn’t simply drafty, it’s practically open, so my fingers go freezing, then frozen, then red and slow. There’s a reason this part one video ends on our defeat: what is cut out is about eighteen more ignoble deaths, caused mostly by me, but carried out via Yeti. Yeti teeth. I’ll conveniently start part two on our success.
I like to blame the window of doom as the main reason I’m so clumsy at mashing buttons, but playing only every couple of weeks probably didn’t help. My honed video game senses did tell me early on that Vlad was an ass, so I was smug when he turned out to be just exactly that. Not…that it wasn’t telegraphed. But still! Perhaps I’m just distrustful in video games in general. I’m trying to think of one that has an enormous betrayal that you don’t see coming. Something must have made me this way, since I didn’t trust Atlas and I still don’t trust the Prophet in ESO. There’s Wheatley in Portal 2, and I can’t remember if I saw that betrayal coming but I think I might have (he’s a MORON and the game would have been too short otherwise). (Remember when he’s so proud at the test chamber he’s redone, and you arrive to find that his changes amount to the word TEST spelled out on the wall? And GlaDOS says: “I think we’re in trouble.” Wheats. My favorite moron in all games ever). It must have been on an early NES game, but I can’t think of what. It niggles at me, because I remember something shocking as a video game player, but it’s buried deep now.
It’s almost 40 degrees out which is downright NORMAL for March, which means its ABNORMAL for this year. Last night I went out to get a glass of water and I glanced out the kitchen window and gasped. The moon was rising low and yellow, and it was reflected perfectly in the river, like some sort of invitation to another world. It made me think of the Narnia book where the pools of water led to different worlds. See also Lev Grossman’s The Magician, and also also Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell:
Each puddle became a silver mirror…He felt as if he might pass through any of those mirror doors and find himself in one of the other worlds which once bordered England.
Meanwhile, I’m knee deep in Sherlock Holmes and loving it. Every once in a while I run into an issue with the language — there was the moment when a villain pulled a life preserver out of his sleeve, which was not the first time a life preserver was mentioned in these stories but which WAS the first time I realized it might not be a personal flotation device. Holmes, already described by Watson as fastidious in dress (though slovenly in household hygiene) also makes a note upon his shirt cuff, another phrase I suspect means other than obvious.
Throughout the first half of this book, Holmes is relatively mild. He’s not the asshole I’ve come to know and love through so many adaptations. But then there’s the Empty House, where within the first three pages he says:
“In your picturesque account of the matter, which I read with great interest some months later…”
when talking about Watson’s heartfelt and heartbroken account of The Final Problem. Watson opens that by saying:
“It was my intention…to have said nothing of that event which has created a void in my life which the lapse of two years has done little to fill,”
so Holmes’ dismissal of it as picturesque is the first bit of harshness. He follows that up practically within the same breath by relating how he sat in perfect comfort on some moss while nearby:
“…you, my dear Watson, and all your following were investigating in the most sympathetic and inefficient manner the circumstances of my death.”
And then, smugly:
“At last, when you had all formed your inevitable and totally erroneous conclusions…”
So, Watson professes he’s overjoyed to see Holmes back, and of course I’m sure he is, but watching the BBC John beat the crap out of the BBC Sherlock goes a long way to soothe my soul. Surely even this original Watson must have been sitting there thinking “what a perfect horse’s ass.”
To be fair, he then goes on to say how deeply he missed Watson and to apologize for letting him think that he’s dead, but this Holmes, never one to let a compliment go by without a barb in deep.
March is halfway over and I swear I’ve only just turned the calendar over and WHAT IS HAPPENING this year, time’s never moved so fast. Help!