Saturday, April 29, 2006

No Silent Hill For Me!

I just read on Kapreles's blog that he saw Silent Hill. I wrote in an earlier post that this movie was coming out this month here, April 24 or something, but it's not. It didn't. The website I happened to see had incorrect release schedule. I now learn that Silent Hill will not be in cinemas here until August 31. That is FOUR WHOLE MONTHS AWAY! Do you realise how depressing that is? You probably do if you read my blog. You know how depressing that is for me, don't you? Kapreles lives in Belgium. Why does Europe and the US get some movies and we here on the other side of the planet have to wait four months sometimes to see those movies? This is not the Stone Age, or even the Medieval times. It really sucks, man, because with the internet everything is as though it happens at the same time no matter what part of the world except for those stupid dumb retarded idiot Stone Age movie release schedules. And video game release schedules! That's depressing too!

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Chips And Dips

He's fucked up on codeine again. The problem is it's so easy to get and you can buy big fat packs of 48 for $9.95. These are PAINKILLERS. You take them when you want to kill the pain. Take a few, some of the pain is killed. Take a few more, and more of the pain is killed. Take a few more after that and the pain becomes a different kind of pain. Keep taking them more and more day after day and before you know it it's like the old smack days, only milder, and much cheaper. But what the hell does this stuff in large and prolonged doses do to your guts? Whenever he walks into the pharmacist and asks for a big fat pack of panas they ask him,
You ever had these before?
You know you gotta eat before you take 'em?
Yep yep, I know that.
But that's where it gets tricky. You gotta make sure you have stuff to eat so when you pop another handfull you can do it without worrying that they gonna eat your guts like termites. So, he's got plenty of chips and dips. Oh yeah, he makes sure of that.

Everything You Need To Know?

Something I forgot but meant to note about Slaughterhouse Five was that Vonnegut mentioned The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky and how that book contained everything one needs to know about life. It's a pretty good quote, and I've been meaning to read The Brothers Karamazov, but in the last year I saw that book in the library about seven times and every single time I picked it up and saw once again how massive it was, and how small the words on every page were. Crime and Punishment was a tenth the size! I'm not Terry Goodkind, I don't have *The Magic*, sometimes I get intimidated by things. Yet what Mr Vonnegut wrote gave me a mad burst of confidence, so the next day I burst through the library doors windmilling my arms and went right up to that big fat Brothers Karamazov with the tiny writing, heaved it into my wheelbarrow and pushed it up to the desk sweating like a maniac, and borrowed it. Now, 223 pages in, I wonder what the hell I was worried about after all. What a great, great book. I'll try to write something about it when I'm finished.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Slaughterhouse Five

I read a book called Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut. It's set during World War II and the main character is a guy called Billy Pilgrim. He isn't a very good soldier, he doesn't even have a gun for some reason, he is very awkward and stumbles through the war in a kind of daze. He gets shoved around from unit to unit because he is a poor soldier, and then he gets put with a unit where one of them, a real psycho, bullies him and pushes him around, but then that guy gets shot, and then Billy gets captured by the Germans and put on a freight train with a lot of other prisoners of war. They go off to a prison camp. War is horrifying but the book doesn't depict much horror, it does it in very subtle ways though, I guess - something horrifying every fifty pages or so. But what happens is that it is revealed that Billy was abducted by aliens who told him that there is no past or present or future, that it is all visible at the same time. Billy then travels around to various scenes in his life. There is much made of the impending bombing of Dresden, and the statement that it was much more horrifying than the bombing of Hiroshima. Vonnegut should know because he was actually there. Anyway, the book doesn't really say anything about the bombing of Dresden after all - if I want to know about the bombing of Dresden, I will have to look elsewhere. There was one excellent passage in the book that depicted a bombing in reverse - the fires going out and the shells being sucked back in to the big artillery guns, and the planes sucking up the bombs and putting them back into the planes and flying them back to the base, where the bombs were sent back to the factory and taken apart and the chemicals and minerals removed and put back into the ground. That part was brilliantly done. But something not so brilliant was that every time somebody was said to have died, Vonnegut put the words "And so it goes." Bah! I got sick of that pretty soon, let me tell you. Apparently that's what the aliens who abducted Billy would say whenever they mentioned the death of somebody, but who cares, it was very annoying and went right through the book from beginning to end, and you know that many people die in a war, so this happened a lot. It was a drag and it spoiled the book, if you ask me.
But that passage with the bombing in reverse was excellent, and it was worth reading just for that.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Something I Learned Today

I just found out I don't like ratatouille.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Street Art

I saw an excellent documentary on TV this afternoon. It was called Rash and explored Melbourne's 'street art' scene - graffiti art, stencil art, homemade posters, all that kind of stuff. The artists have names like HaHa, Psalm, Prism, and Sync, and many of them wore masks while they were being interviewed since their art is technically illegal.
Apparently Melbourne is one of the world's leading cities for street art and street artists from interstate as well as from all over the world visit the city (often even moving there) especially for this reason.
Because of its illegal status, the people who create this art mostly do it at night time and they have to be ready to get the hell out of there fast if police or security guards spot them.
When you think of graffiti art, you might think of small, ugly, incomprehensible signatures kids write on walls or the sides of trains, but the stuff in this documentary was nothing like that. Most of it was very creative and appealing, at least to me, but obviously to many other people who would no doubt rather see that kind of stuff in the street than yet another advertisement for a car or a hamburger or a pair of shoes.
Besides more traditional forms of street art like that created on the spot with spraycans, there are more recent developments like stencil art and posters. The doco showed these street artists cutting out very fiddly-looking stencils, and some of them are created in such a way that there are four or five layers of colour. Amazing stuff. Also, posters are created at home along with buckets of homemade glue which they take out late at night and quickly paste up on the sides of buildings.
It was revealed that most people who are against this street art are the people who own a building that this stuff appears on. In second place, of people who don't like it, are some people who walk by and see it. Maybe those people would rather look at advertisements for cars or hamburgers or shoes.
I'm trying to understand how people can be against this stuff when our cities are being increasingly saturated with advertising. Do you want to know how ridiculous it has gotten? You probably know already. But since about three years ago, in Sydney, there have been these mechanical ad boxes right on the footpath, right there at eye level. And it's not enough that you see one ad, these boxes have a mechanism inside that rolls two ads back and forth behind a perspex window. Each ad is visible for a few seconds before it rolls up or down and you see the other stupid ad. Advertising agencies are always finding more and more ways to put these dumb ads in front of our tormented eyeballs all the time, and there are people against 'street art'?
Anyway, the documentary was excellent, and inspired me so much that I decided that it would be a great idea to, from now on, take photos of this stuff when I see it here in Sydney. I have seen some of it, like that stencil stuff, but now I want to take photos of it and put them up here on my blog. Will I really do it? Probably not. But this doco made me want to.

Image taken from Psalm website.

Thursday, April 20, 2006


Holy crap, it's been a week since I wrote anything here! If I don't do something dramatic I'm gonna turn into one of those Blog Slackers. No sir, I can't let that happen!

I've been meaning to write something about David Langford's excellent Ansible newsletter. You can subscribe to it and it will be emailed to yourself every month. It's great for work too because you can get it sent as a plain text document, so it looks like a work email. Ansible is a science-fiction/fantasy newsletter. My favourite bits are 'As Others See Us' and 'Thogs Masterclass'. Here are some samples:

As Others See Us. Andrew Motion, Poet Laureate, made a traditional Nice Distinction when defining `Landscapes of the Mind' on BBC Radio 4's A Map of British Poetry (6 Mar): `I don't mean science fiction poems. I mean poems which establish a manifestly invented world in order to advance recognisable truths about human nature.' Not like science fiction at all, then. [HS]
• Michael Jackson, of all people, has grasped the essential point that sf is fiction: he compares press coverage of his legal entanglements to `watching science fiction. It's not true.' [NG]

As Others See Us. Susan Mitchell knows what's fiction and what isn't: `Read any good novels lately? Read any bad novels lately? My guess is that if you've read anything, for pleasure or interest, it hasn't been fiction. Book sales of fiction, particularly literary fiction, are down. By fiction I don't mean fantasy, as in Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings, I mean a story about our lives created from an author's imagination.' (Weekend Australian Financial Review, 19-20 Mar) [DW]
• Mark Lawson, connoisseur of fantasy, reports the news that Ian McKellen will feature in Coronation Street: `The explanation for Sir Ian's soap debut may simply be that he wanted to speak some proper dialogue after appearing in all that Tolkein [sic] trog tosh ...' (Guardian, 12 March)

As Others See Us II. Further reassurance regarding Kazuo Ishiguro's rip-snorting space opera about rogue clones, Never Let Me Go: `This is not a book of science fiction. I doubt that Ishiguro is even particularly interested in the science or ethics of cloning. So don't go to the novel for a Peter Singer workout. What you will find is an intense, but undramatised exploration of the intricacies of human emotion and human interplay.' (Morag Fraser, The Age, Melbourne, 12 March) [MR]
• On-line sexual advice from `[Q] What do the following books say about a person's sexual characteristics: A man currently reading The Da Vinci Code? [A] This guy is going to be awful in bed. This is just one step up from a sci-fi reader, someone who thinks sex can't measure up to masturbation.' [HF]

As Others See Us. Suneel Ratan of Wired knows where to find true sf innovation: `While most sci-fi -- whether on TV, in movies or books -- remains aimed toward science geeks or overgrown adolescents, producer Ronald Moore and the Sci-Fi Channel have essentially reinvented the genre by giving it an edgy, current, broad-based appeal.' [JH]
• Janice Eisen is much amused that `people who dedicate their entire lives to a single movie [The Big Lebowski] should look down on sf fans.' Thus a spokesman explains the regular Lebowski Fest: `People have likened it to a "Star Trek" or science-fiction convention, but we have women and nobody speaks Klingon.' ( article)

As Others Profile Us. N. Lee Wood sends a depressing LA Times report on the work of the Child Exploitation Section of the Toronto Police Service Sex Crimes Unit: `On one wall is a "Star Trek" poster with investigators' faces substituted for the Starship Enterprise crew. But even that alludes to a dark fact of their work: all but one of the offenders they have arrested in the last four years was a hard-core trekkie. / Det. Constable Warren Bulmer slips on a Klingon sash and shield they confiscated in a recent raid. "It has something to do with a fantasy world where mutants and monsters have power and where the usual rules don't apply," Bulmer reflects. "But beyond that, I can't really explain it."' (Staff writer Maggie Farley, 27 April.) This statistic became less impressive when checked by one Ernest Miller. From his weblog: `I called the Child Exploitation Section of the Toronto Sex Crimes Unit and spoke to Det. Ian Lamond, who was familiar with the LA Times article. / He claims they were misquoted, or if that figure was given it was done so jokingly. Of course, even if the figure was given jokingly, shouldn't the Times' reporter have clarified something that seems rather odd? Shouldn't her editors have questioned her sources? / Nevertheless, Detective Lamond does claim that a majority of those arrested show "at least a passing interest in Star Trek, if not a strong interest."' [JN] Not quite the same as `all but one' of the last four years' 100+ offenders.

As Others See Us. Neil Ford reports another maker of ingenious distinctions: `Hal Hartley has made a movie set in the near future, when the US is run by a totalitarian corporation and is visited by an alien -- but of course it's not sf.' From an interview: `But, really, I don't think of "The Girl from Monday" as sci-fi. Not for real. It's more like a song about life now told AS IF it were sci-fi. Sometime copping the postures of a genre can allow you to address a broader range of topics and allow you to be a little more poetic without being too heavy.' No doubt.

As Others See Some Of Us. `Very much the Moonies of television cults, Doctor Who is second only to Star Trek in its ability to attract sociopaths, hobbyists, theorists, collectors, role-playing gamers, fanatics and, frankly, experts. There is little this encyclopaedia can put forward which has not already been the subject of a keynote address at some high-priced, stale-smelling conference in Leicester, called something like SADCON or TOTALCON.' (Richard Lewis, The Encyclopaedia of Children's Cult TV, 2002)

Thog's Masterclass. Revisionist Paleontology Dept. `The megatherium, the ichthyosaurus have paced the earth with seven-league steps and hidden the day with cloud fast wings.' (George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman, 1903) [ECL]
Genealogy Dept Revisited: `I died to keep you alive, and one day you will die to feed my ancestors.' (Larry Niven and Steve Barnes, The Barsoom Project, 1989) [PM]
Strangulation Dept. `Shock throttled a sob half spent in her throat.' (Jacqueline Lichtenberg, Farfetch, 1985)
Dept of Heavy Lifting. `He swung his white smile around the room like a lighthouse.' (Susan Cooper, Over Sea, Under Stone, 1965) [MMW]
Astronomy/Cosmology Dept. `If his calculations and instruments were correct, he was now outside the home galaxy of the Milky Way and in an entirely new universe, the universe known to him as the Crab Nebula.'
Dept of Preternatural Rigidity. `He raged and shouted at them from behind the bars which, as she shook them, held as firm as though a fly's feet were touching them.' (both from David Whitaker, The Dr Who Annual, 1965) [LC]

Thog's Masterclass. Biothermics Dept, or Why Polar Bears Do Not Exist. `It was evidently cold-blooded or nearly so, for no warm-blooded animal could have withstood that more than glacial cold.' (George Griffith, `Stories of Other Worlds', 1900) [AR]
Limits of Vision Dept. `"That," he said impressively, "is the blackest black you or any other mortal ever looked upon ... so black that no mortal man will be able to look upon it -- and see it!"' (Jack London, `The Shadow and the Flash', 1903) [AR]
• `Xavier closed his eyes, then forced himself to watch the terrible solution.' (Brian Herbert & Kevin J. Anderson, The Butlerian Jihad, 2002) [DL]
Dept of Motherhood and Stale Apple Pie. `He took an instant to gulp water from a dipper, stale and welcome as a mother's love.' (S.M. Stirling & David Drake, The Sword, 1995) [TMcD]

Thog's Masterclass. Dept of Hot Bosom Action. `Her tits were like smoke detectors and it looked like the little red lights were flashing.' (Paul Meloy, `Dying in the Arms of Jean Harlow (The Coming of the Autoscopes)', The 3rd Alternative, Summer 2005) [MMW]
Ornamentation Dept. `Lan's own helmet was open in the style of dead Malkier, supporting a steel crescent moon above his forehead [...] The rider drew rein in front of Lan and Bukama. Remaining in his saddle, he eyed them uncertainly, no doubt because their armor was unadorned.' (Robert Jordan, New Spring, 2004) [TW]
Dept of In Space No One Can Hear Your Castrophony. 'Then there came a sound, distant at first, that grew into a castrophony so immense it could be heard far away in space.' (Gorillaz, Demon Days, 'Fire Coming out of a Monkey's Head' lyrics) [AR]
Spare Parts Dept. `Botha slipped out of his chair. It rocked briefly in his absence, then steadied to await the next set of perambulating buttocks.' (Alan Dean Foster, Diuturnity's Dawn, 2002) [GS]

Thog's Masterclass. Earth Is The Alien Planet Dept. `Driving north toward Albany on the Taconic Parkway, Parker watched both dawn and a heavy cloud cover move in from the west.' (Richard Stark [Donald E. Westlake], Backflash, 1998) [TMcD]
Colour Perception Dept. `Two incense sticks burned in a little brass holder in front of her, sending wisps of thin blue smoke upwards which were indistinguishable in colour from the rat's nest of gray hair ...' (Eugene Byrne, ThiGMOO, 1999) [CH]
Gastric Beyond Belief Dept. `Norman felt his stomach tighten, in a different direction than it had at the sight of Dr. Mitchell.' (Jay Lake and Ruth Nestvold, `The Rivers of Eden', 2005) [DB]
Neat Tricks Dept. `The animal seemed to have no face until it twisted its head round. Then it opened two enormous lidless eyes.' (Paul Park, A Princess of Roumania, 2005) [TC]

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Videogame Mailbag

Boss is on recreation leave for two weeks so everything is cool in the office. Don't have to worry about any fits or tantrums for two weeks. It's just me and Colleague. We get along pretty well. I got two videogames in the mail today so it was a very good morning. Since I am the King of the Mailroom, I am the one who brings the big fat mailbag upstairs and gets to pour out the contents onto the long bench in front of the pigeonholes. If I ordered something and got it sent to my work I find out quickly whether or not it arrived that day, and today there were two parcels for me. I knew what they were - two videogames - Silent Hill 3 and Dragon Quest VIII. That's what I call a Good Mail Day, and since it put me in such a good mood, naturally I showed them to Colleague. First I showed her the Dragon Quest box and she said Uh, that looks like a kid's game. I didn't know what to say to that. She saw the cartoon-like characters on the box, and the bright primary colours, no wonder she thought it looked like a kid's game. But Silent Hill isn't a kid's game, that's for sure, and it could never be mistaken for one, so when I showed her the box she looked at it for a few seconds and shivered and said Ugh. That looks horrible! She must have seen one of the sick freakish creatures on the back of the box. I wanted to say more about these games to Colleague, I always want to say more, but I know it's pointless. So I just laughed and we started opening the mail.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Surstromming and Lutefisk

This morning I heard an interesting story on the radio. It was about Surstromming (sour Herring), Sweden's national dish, a very stinky fish that just got banned from international passenger flights because of the possibility that the cans could explode. The story is here.

Read more about stinky surstromming.

Surströmming is sold in cans, which when opened release a strong, foul smell. It is for this particular smell, which is similar to fish gone bad or garbage left out in the sun for a couple of days, that surströmming is infamous in popular culture, and it is often held that people who try surströmming can be confident that they will never forget it. Because of the smell, the dish is often eaten outdoors. However, the smell can be avoided if the can is opened under water. The Finnish word is hapansilakka.

How about another stinky fish? Well, how about some Norwegian Lutefisk!

Quote from Garrison Keillor's book Lake Wobegon Days:

"Every Advent we entered the purgatory of lutefisk, a repulsive gelatinous fishlike dish that tasted of soap and gave off an odor that would gag a goat. We did this in honor of Norwegian ancestors, much as if survivors of a famine might celebrate their deliverance by feasting on elm bark. I always felt the cold creeps as Advent approached, knowing that this dread delicacy would be put before me and I’d be told, "Just have a little." Eating a little was like vomiting a little, just as bad as a lot."

Monday, April 10, 2006

Familiar Hell

There are times when everything familiar depresses the hell out of you and you want to get as far away from it all as you possibly can.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Beat SH4 But Got Worst Ending

Tonight I beat Silent Hill 4: The Room. There are four endings and I got the worst one because I didn't take enough care of Eileen, and I let her walk into the machinery in the pool of blood during the final battle with Walter, so she got sliced up. But what the hell, I was busy fighting Walter, and he was such a stubborn bastard that it took about six charged-up Rusty Axe attacks and a dozen revolver bullets to finally kill him (I beat him on the third attempt). Plus Eileen was walking pretty fast into the machinery anyway. Why was she doing that? Well, because she was possessed because I didn't take enough care of her, and she probably got bitten too many times by those skinned dogs with the three-foot-long tongues. Oh well. I hate babysitting in videogames anyway, so who cares.
The other reason I got the worst ending was because I didn't clear at least 80% of the hauntings in my room. But was it my fault that there weren't enough Holy Candles in the game? No. And was it my fault that I didn't know you could also clear the hauntings using Sacred Medallions? No. I thought they were only for warding off those annoying ghosts (because you couldn't kill the damn things). Anyway, the hauntings were definitely one of the coolest and scariest parts of the game. I experienced the following hauntings:
+ Big evil-looking cracks in the wall that started moving when you got close to them along with a scary sound;
+ Walking back into the living room to find the windows rattling like crazy, opening a quarter way and closing again real fast. Very scary;
+ Hearing the TV blasting loud static and walking near it to see horrifying indistinct faces trying to come out of the screen;
+ Seeing bloody footprints in the kitchen made by the slippers that were always next to the front door, the slippers now in the middle of the kitchen floor and when I got near them the screen flashed red and I started taking damage (you take damage if you move too close to these *hauntings*);
+ Waking up in my bedroom to hear a young boy sobbing, and seeing a silhouette of that young boy in the closet;
+ Hearing a surging sound from the kitchen and walking up to find the kitchen sink tap pouring a constant jet of blood;
+ Hideous purple baby faces coming out of the wall in the living room, making horrible wailing and sobbing sounds;
+ The wall clock hands spinning fast.

In conclusion, Silent Hill 4 was very good although not as good as Silent Hill 2 where James Sunderland got a letter from his wife who died three years ago. If you want to play a Silent Hill game, that's the one you want to play first.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Girls Gone Wild

from The Onion (

Girls Gone Wild Released Back Into Civilization

SOUTH PADRE ISLAND, TX — In what wildlifestyle reformation volunteers are calling a "positive step," the first group of rehabilitated Girls Gone Wild were released back into the civilized world Monday, and early signs indicate that they are adjusting smoothly, according to the director of the group responsible for their rescue.

Two Girls Gone Wild in their natural habitat, just before capture at the height of molting season.
"At first, the girls were disoriented," said Janet Ottley, director of the South Padre Island Wild Life Rescue Foundation. "They were frightened by the absence of familiar comforts such as overt male attention, binge drinking, and camcorders. But over time, we've seen improvement: so far, no reports of nipple exposure, so we're very hopeful."

The 11 girls were captured nearly one month ago during their annual spring migration to the area and then put through an intensive rehabilitation program. "They have come a very long way," Ottley said. "When we first brought them into our clinic, they could barely function beyond baring their breasts, and they communicated solely through loud, sustained hoots."

As their subspecies does every year, the Girls Gone Wild, roaming in packs, flocked to bars and clubs during the spring break migratory season. Lured by drink specials, promotional merchandise, and the chance to "go wild," they were discovered at Señor Chug Chug's, a nightspot where the girls gathered to perform a mating ritual in which brief nudity is exchanged for Jell-O shots and Smirnoff Ice trucker hats.

Rescue volunteers identified the Girls Gone Wild by their torn tank tops, threadbare Daisy Duke-style cutoff shorts, hair extension plumage, and bright orange skin with patterned lower-back markings.

Park ranger Jeff Macken, who assisted in the rescue effort, said they attracted the girls with bright lights similar to those of camera crews. "We had planned to catch them with a net, then sedate them," Macken said. "But we found that shooting them with tranquilizer darts was not as effective as taking a page from nature and putting Rohypnol in their exotic drinks."

The girls were put through an intensive recovery program and, over several weeks, slowly phased back into civilized behavior. Trainers gently conditioned them not only to reduce breast baring, but also to shower alone instead of in pairs or threesomes, and to drink from glasses rather than from each other's navels.

Captured Girls Gone Wild in a simulated classroom setting, where tracking collars that emit a slight shock are used to curb the girls' instinct to jump up on desks and remove their tops.
Despite the girls' early positive response, Ottley said that there is still a risk that they could revert to their wild state, so she continued to severely restrict their exposure to the outside world. "Any proximity to a D-list celebrity, a song by Poison, or a neon beer bong could set reintegration back to square one," Ottley said.

In later stages, long-sleeved shirts and full-bottomed panties were reintroduced into their wardrobes. Finally, they were taught to engage in basic economic exchanges, rather than breast-jiggling for plastic beads.

Critics of the program argue that girls, after they've gone wild, can never function at the same level as girls who remain tame, and, once reintroduced into society, pose a threat to non-wild girls.

"Let's face it, they were in the wild too long," said Fort Lauderdale car-show organizer Daryl Dykstra. "At best, they might become spokesmodels, but only through hard work and constant validation." Dykstra reluctantly conceded that they might have some use as Hooters waitresses or tanning-salon clerks.

Ottley disagreed, saying that Girls Gone Wild are "entirely capable" of rejoining society.

"They will be tagged with radio-equipped belly-button rings to alert us of any sign of G-strings or wet T-shirts," Ottley said. "Continual monitoring is essential, because you never really know just how wild these girls could get."

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Lost In The Fog

Why is it so hard to think of something to write? Do you ever find it hard to think of something to write? It occurs to me that when you run into times like these, you can look back on stuff you did manage to write, and wonder at it, knowing you wrote it and that nobody else could have written it, but at the same time feeling that somebody else did write it, after all, because it seems to have been written by somebody who had ideas. It's depressing to have no ideas. Or, to have ideas, but when they are written down they don't seem like very good ones. It's depressing to have not very good ideas of things to write about.
I keep hitting the keys, hoping to come up with something. There must be some kind of chance I will come up with something, so I try again, but when I look back at it, I'm disappointed. It's not a good feeling, disappointment. It feels bad to be disappointed. Disappointment is a negative feeling. Despair is another negative feeling. In fact, despair could definitely be said to be even worse than disappointment. I'm sure of that. Well, at least I'm sure of something. It feels good to be sure of something...

Monday, April 03, 2006

Hard Quest?

Well, I'd better finish Silent Hill 4 this weekend because next week Dragon Quest VIII is released in Australia (we get everything late here - it came out in North America last November). I pre-ordered this game about three months ago. It's a big deal, this game. Why is it a big deal? Well, it's the first Dragon Quest game to be released in the West. In Japan it's a National Treasure and whenever a new Dragon Quest game comes out, there are lines of people going around the block three or four times, queueing up to get a copy. Every new DQ sells around 250 million copies [may be a slight exaggeration].
But let me tell you something. I am now apprehensive about this game! Apprehensive, I say!
OK, allow me to set the scene... I recently saw the first episode of the Hare + Guu anime and the first scene was very funny. There was a kid playing a video game, sweating like crazy. The game was an RPG and his team were getting totally hammered by a big green dragon Boss. His three team members ran up to the dragon and tap-tap-tapped it with their little swords, causing 5 Hit Points damage, then the dragon unleashed a napalm-like blast of screen-filling fire at them, causing 500 Hit Points damage to the entire party, killing one of them. The surviving two of the party ran up to the dragon and tap-tap-tapped it once more, inflicting a (not) awesome 3 Hit Points damage, then ran back again only to feel the mighty force of the dragon's wrath, a bone-rattling swipe of its mighty tail, and 500 Hit Points, thus eliminating another member of the brave party. The camera switches to the kid playing, now sweating more than ever.
Well, when I saw this I thought it was very funny. Anybody who has played an RPG would find it funny. But what I didn't know, but later learned, was that this scene was based on a real game - Dragon Quest VIII. Apparently, the game is HARD, man. The game has been called a "traditional style RPG", and I'm not exactly sure what that means, since I don't think I've ever played a "traditional style RPG", but maybe that simply means that it is HARD AS HELL. What does that mean? Maybe that means that you can't spend an extra hour or two running around fighting random battles to level-up enough to beat the Boss easily. Maybe that means there is NO WAY to beat the Bosses easily. Indeed, it could mean that the game is so damned HARD that a non-HARDcore player like myself may end up smashing the controller into millions of tiny pieces long before he gets the chance to see the rest of this *totally awesome* game.
But, I really hope not.
Oh well. I'll find out next week, and make a report SUBSEQUENTLY.

Frozen: The Endless Saga

Q: How can you tell that you still have writer's block?
A: It takes you one hour to come up with a handful of sentences in reply to two people who made comments in your blog.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Bathroom Hole

You are in your room and it's late at night. You hear weird scraping sounds coming from your bathroom. You live alone, so there's not supposed to be anybody in your bathroom, much less somebody making weird scraping sounds. What the hell is it? You feel the skin on your scalp tighten and hear a low buzzing in your ears. The bathroom door is closed and you take a hesitant step toward it. The sounds get louder. They are definitely coming from your bathroom. There's somebody in there, somebody who shouldn't be there. You don't seem to be in control of yourself any more as you take the final step to the bathroom door and shove it open. There's nobody in there after all. But there's a big, roughly made hole in the wall, just large enough for a body to crawl through. And from its depths you hear the echoes of a woman sobbing.