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GLenwood 6

I don’t know what got me thinking of this, but my fellow old farts will remember these things…

Ring me.

Get off the line!

Dial the number.

Hang up.

I wonder how puzzling these phrases are to younger folks? The phones of the mid-20th century were so different from what we have now, when having a “land line” is starting to be considered quaint. Continue Reading »

Because A.J. wanted a follow-up…

KRAG’s Law of Hype Lensing:

The Perception of an Object is distorted by the sum of the object’s anticipatory Hype and the engagement level of the observer’s Imagination.

The hype for No Man’s Sky was intense. As if three years of visionary promises and a truly groundbreaking approach weren’t enough, when Sony opened up its gargantuan wallet and bet its money on Hello Games — a tiny, 15+ person development company with only a cheesy little platformer app to its credit — all speculation was punched into warp-drive.

Usually, in such situations, I see the hype for what it is (i.e., marketing) and my Imagination compensates, essentially canceling out the effects of Hype. This way, when the game is released, it’s pretty much as I expected and disappointment levels are kept to a minimum.

In the case of No Man’s Sky, however, I made a tactical error. I figured that a small, independent company like Hello Games, run by a plucky band of earnest boys and girls from Surrey, would not yet be infected by the callous, avaricious cancer of corporate greed. I took them to be sincere lovers of games who were trying to be transparent about plans and features.

My bad.  Continue Reading »

Bumper Crop

PlumsKnife in hand, I begin my work.

The plums are warm from their rest in the summer sun. I select one. Its dark skin, freshly washed, stretches taut over soft flesh. I slice down its back, then prize it open like a clam, revealing the yellow-green flesh and the hard, brown stone within. With a twist, I free the pit and toss it aside; the split flesh I keep.

Next.

Bees bumble by, drawn by the honeyed scent of open fruit. They helicopter down into the basket to sip at the fruit-flavored dewdrops. I take care not to disturb them as I select my next victim.

The hummingbirds zip in with a buzz, grouse at me for being too close to their feeder. I move with deliberate slowness, encouraging them not to fear.

In the spruce above me, a dove mourns. She weeps until her boo-hoo-hooing annoys her neighbors and the ravens chase her off with a flap of feathers.

My hands grow sticky with juice; my fingernails are stained by the blood of slashed skins.

The drying racks fill.

Split plums, dark-winged butterflies, packets filled with long afternoons and the sun of summer, they will warm my soul come winter.

k

On Release Day, I spent a few hours playing No Man’s Sky.

It’s not perfect, but damn, it’s close. Continue Reading »

Tomorrow’s the day.

No Man’s Sky, the game that tipped the scales and convinced me to buy a PS4 console delivers tomorrow.

The hype for this game — in my little world, anyway — has been intense, and with good reason. It’s truly unlike any other game, both in construction and in scope. Nothing exists until you (or someone else) discovers it. Planets, environments, flora, fauna, it’s all built on the fly, procedurally, the moment you encounter it. Once a gamer has discovered it and uploads her findings to the “atlas,” it becomes permanent and available to all other gamers.

It’s been a long wait — more than a year, for me — but as usual, some spoonhead decided to spoil it for others.

Continue Reading »

I spent the week in San Francisco.

I spent the week in 1949. Continue Reading »

Godfather G

Thanks to those who’ve taken the time to follow these posts. It’s been a bittersweet journey, but a valuable one for me.

This week, I went down to help my close up shop on my father’s life. For a poor kid from the backwoods of western Marin, grandson of an Italian immigrant, a high-school dropout who left home at thirteen and slept above the lanes when he worked as a pin-setter at the local bowling alley, he did pretty well.

His life was filled with love and grief. He had four talented children, but saw one of them succumb to addiction. He loved two wives, but saw them both die before him. He did not have a great number of friends, but those he had he treasured deeply.

I will miss him. I already do.

But all his troubles are now become as smoke, leaving him once more free of pain and worry.

Ciao, Papa. And thanks.

k

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