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Odds and Ends

It’s been a few days since my last post, so I thought I’d stop in and give you a quick update. My wife has this week off for the holidays, so we’re spending a lot of time together, not leaving much for gaming or blogging. That doesn’t mean nothing’s been happening, however. For example, we got out to the theater today to see a little movie called…

Avatar

This movie was awesome. At two hours and forty-one minutes, I was a little concerned going in. I hate movies that drag on. I’m looking at you, Funny People. My wife and I both agree, though, this is not one of those movies. I was hooked the whole way through.

The acting was great and the story was well done. Some people have criticized the film because they main bad guy is predictable. And he is, but it didn’t bother me. There’s a certain purity about the character archetypes here that heralds back to the pre-CGI days, when monsters were made in studios and not on a computer. There’s a definite, “the nineties meet modern day” vibe going on, when you consider how much of the movie is done with special effects.

Which are incredible. In the beginning, I took note of what was computer animated but after a few minutes, that visibility faded away into the periphery. It became hard to tell what was real and what wasn’t, and that says a lot for how well done this movie is.

If you can, watch it in digital 3D. It takes the experience to a whole new level and isn’t distracting like it was prone to be in the past.

Oh, and it’s a definite homage to Aliens. 100%. You can’t tell me that the helicopter and mech-warrior models aren’t meant to be a throw back.

Under the Dome

I finished this book a couple of days ago. It’s a slow starter and, honestly, I found the character dialogue fairly clunk for the first three hundred pages. Even though it’s set in Maine, lots of characters seemed to have this country bumpkin way of speaking that drove me a little crazy (didn’t becomes “dint,” and other phonetic spellings). It was bad enough where I considered putting the book down. I’m glad I didn’t though.

After the three hundred mark, the dialect became noticeably better and the book seemed to pick up steam too. By the end, I found myself both surprised and surprisingly attached to the characters. Like little Ollie Dinsmore. He played a very small part in novel, but I was touched by him in the end.

Like you would expect in King novel over a thousand pages, there are some dry spots. They’re short, however, and the rest of the novel more than makes up for them. There are also some spots of truly exquisite prose where I found myself taking pause.

I recommend this novel for anyone used to reading books that are more than a thousand pages or that doesn’t mind phonetic spelling. If you’re used to shorter books, those first 300 pages will probably seem exceptionally long. Give it a shot though. What have you got to lose?

Thanks to Professor Beej for the encouragement to read this book. His enthusiasm was infectious, especially since I was a big fan of The Stand.

Gaming

I’ve been playing a lot of Modern Warfare 2 lately. I got myself into a bit of a stride, I think, where I’m consistently in the top few players. The level progression is excellent and I love that each map seems to have it’s own little trick that will really help you dominate. I didn’t like the first game too much but, I can safely say, I was totally wrong in my previous post. If you’re a fan of shooters, you should own this game.

I also traded in my DSi for a new PSP. Gamestop had a sale going on, so I was able to restock on games too without spending any money out of pocket. The reason, though? They put Final Fantasy 8 on the PSN Store. FF7-9 are my favorite Final Fantasy games ever, titles I know I’ll play and love, and more than justified switching up. They’re really fleshing out their download store. I’m much more impressed than when I traded my last PSP in for the DSi.

In the MMO realm, I got things sorted out with my Fallen Earth account. After a couple quick emails (they responded at 11PM EST!), they thanked me for my honesty and took care of the problem. I’ll be re-upping tomorrow. There’s something about that game, maybe the wide-openness of it, that’s hard to let go of. It seems to get better as you go too.

I’ve also been playing WoW quite a bit. I got into ToC 25-man the other night, which was my first 25-player raid ever. It was fun and I only died once. I was also able to trade the belt I won for a new set of robes and gloves to another player, on top of winning a roll on a Crusader Trophy. My brother-in-law was also kind enough to hook me up with the trophy he won, since he didn’t need it. Now, I just need 150 emblems and I’ll be up to 4 great upgrades for the one hour run.

I’ve also been working on a little Death Knight to run with another friend of mine. I went Frost, for tanking, and have found it to be very easy once you get the rotation down and learn to manage your cooldowns. Far easier than I ever remember it being on my warrior, anyways.

In the LotRO realm, my transfer was resubmitted this past Sunday so I should have my transfer back to Landroval done soon. Hopefully, nothing will go wrong this time and I can get back in the swing of things. I haven’t had much heart to log on since I submitted my first transfer request (a month ago), since I know my experience will pick up so much when I join with my new guild. I’m really itching to get that move done and over with, so I can enjoy playing again. I really like LotRO, I just seem to fall into slumps when things happen and get in the way. I guess I’m prone to mental blockages with that game more than the others.

Anyways, that’s the news. Hopefully, I’ll get some MMO time in tomorrow.

After the museum trip.

Until then!


4 comments

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  1. Professor Beej

    Glad to see you liked Under the Dome. I just finished it up a few days ago myself and posted up my review to my blog. I thought it was fantastic, too, but hated the ending (but King hates writing endings, so what should I have expected?). It was intense and graphic and intelligent enough to make me sit and contemplated it once it was done. I can’t really ask for more out of a novel. Not quite up to The Stand or It, but epic and worth reading.

    Also, Avatar really was fantastic. Going in underwhelmed and hating the trailers probably helped me get blown away. While I didn’t think the narrative was anything special, Cameron’s presentation and use of technology made Avatar the most fun I had in a theater this year.

    1. Chris

      I agree about the ending. I was really impressed with the final big turn before things resolved and the ending came about. I wasn’t expecting it and I thought it was well done. The explanation for it all was lacking though. I can accept it but I found myself wanting a little more out of it. Like you said though, it’s a King thing, so I’m used to it as a long time fan. Overall though, it turned out to be excellent. King fans and newcomers both should be very satisfied with it.

  2. We Fly Spitfires

    I thought Under the Dome was quite fast paced right from the start. I love King though so maybe that influenced me a bit :)

    1. Chris

      Well, yeah. It did move quickly. I guess it took me longer to accept the supporting cast of characters. I’ve never really cared for when King would spell dialogue out in the way that words would sound. For me, those passages tended to take me out of the novel, especially when they were coming so frequently as in the first 300 pages. It always seemed to convey ignorance and a drawl in speech that I didn’t think served the characters well. I’m all for having dimwitted characters but I think those character traits can be conveyed in description and action better than speech. But that’s just me. This comment makes it sound worse than what it was too.

      The actual events of the novel went smoothly and quickly, especially compared to come of his other books (I’m a long time King fan too). After I finished and read the Author’s Note, I had to agree with him. He succeeded in writing a novel with the pedal to the floor the whole time. It’s a good read.

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