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Snow Day - Blather, Rinse, Repeat
December 19th, 2008
11:42 am


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Snow Day
I woke early today for no good reason and checked my work email. Yesterday, the rule was "don't take any chances coming in to work, and get home safely". By the end of the day, the boss had extended that to today, but even stronger: "stay home on Friday".

Hm. I could stay home, I've got all manner of things to entertain myself, any number of projects that I've started (and more that I haven't), and a list of chores to take care of. Still, I might leave the house a bit. I'm thinking that lunch out might be nice, and I had hoped to catch some improv and an indie movie tonight. We'll see how my enthusiasm shapes up as the day wears on.

So far, I've:

  • watched "Sophie's Choice" - I'm running behind on my target of watching a bunch of "good movies" by the end of the year. I've still got 9 to go, and NetFlix won't keep up with me, even if I force myself to watch "Das Boot" on the XBox. "Sophie's Choice" stars Meryl Streep, which you probably knew, but also Kevin Kline and Peter MacNichol. Roger Ebert bubbled about how perfectly cast this movie was, and I suppose it might have been perfect at the time, but for a modern viewer, it's hard to not be remined of "A Fish Called Wanda" and "Ally McBeal" or "Ghostbusters II". Well, for this viewer, anyway.

    If you haven't seen the movie, the less I say about it, the better. Actually, regardless, I think I won't say much. I didn't much care for it - I found the characters unsympathetic, which rarely helps a movie.

  • played a bit of "Rock Band 2" - I really need to decline the offers to play a bunch of random songs with the fate of thousands of fans riding on my ability to pull off a five-star performance. I seem to have lost over 220,000 fans in the past two days. If you find them wandering around in Dubuque, let me know.

  • downloaded a handful of "community" games for XB360 - I find XBox Live's "Community" games to be a strange duck. On the one hand, kudos to Microsoft for recognizing a more "indie" vibe in the consumer base and running out in front of the existing direction of the market. I'm not convinced they know what they're doing, or how to properly serve their customers here. Nor do I, to be clear, but I'm not trying to charge my customers an annual subscription fee yet.

    Of the smattering of games I downloaded, I played three, and I was ready to delete all of them within a few minutes. Not a promising sampling of indie gaming, I'm afraid.

  • Pandemic - this was actually yesterday, amongst the tiny bit of work I got done while I was at the office. I played Pandemic for the first time with some coworkers. It's a cooperative game where the players try to cure diseases without the entire world getting infected. Wasn't there a Michael Crichton movie like this? I suppose it goes without saying. I was initially turned off (to understate my reaction) by the theme of the game. Global infection - bleh. However, enough positive comments piled up to make me reconsider, and it's one of my favorite cooperative games. (Hm, I can't think of a lot of cooperative games, so that's not as strong praise as you might think.)

    The game involves moving your pawns around the map of the Earth to treat outbreaks. While you're doing this, you collect cards that you can put together to form a meld of five cards that will cure one of the four diseases. However, you may be inclined to burn one of the cards to give you a special move. (Each card indicates a city, if you're at that city already, you can use the card to fly anywhere. If not, you can use the card to fly to the city.) There are several systems in the game that effectively act as timers - if any of these (abstract) clocks run out, the players lose. If the players come up with cures for the 4 diseases, they win.

    Of the two games we played yesterday, the first game came awfully close - on the last turn of the game, we could have won (had we been paying attention), but the player card deck ran out, triggering the end of the game. The second time around, we were probably 1 turn from winning when the diseases just cascaded out of control.

    Fun gameplay for 2-4 players. I suppose one person could play solitaire if they were so inclined. Unless I'm an idiot, perhaps starting with 3 epidemic cards instead of 4 would be a good place to start. And definitely work together.

  • done some homemakeryness - I'm trying to get some of the boring stuff done that always seems to slip.

I think I may get in the car and see if anybody's serving food nearby.

(5 comments | Leave a comment)

[User Picture]
Date:December 19th, 2008 09:34 pm (UTC)
My suggestion on the RB2 thing: stay safe on random playlist gigs and go with playing Bass. As long as you have a rudimentary sense of rhythm, you're generally pretty safe. Unless you get that %$#@! System Of A Down song.
[User Picture]
Date:December 19th, 2008 10:35 pm (UTC)
Heh, thanks for the tip - that honestly hadn't occurred to me.

I've been itching to do the "QA Favorites" setlist, which starts out with Aqualung, but it had a bunch of other stuff that I wasn't as interested in, and I wasn't ready to commit to 5 songs just to unlock a Jethro Tull song.

Armed with your suggestion, though, I dove in.

I think you know what song came up fourth in that setlist. Yeesh, I almost got 4 stars on Chop Suey.
[User Picture]
Date:December 19th, 2008 11:21 pm (UTC)
OH MAN. Yeah, that figures.

I went through the Marathon Challenges to open up all the songs, personally, and I've just started going through the individual instrument challenges to get those achievements and see what the ultimate outfits looked like.

Let me know if you want me to sit in on some of your tour gigs tonight!
[User Picture]
Date:December 19th, 2008 11:40 pm (UTC)
Ooof, I just did the "Rock Immortal" 9 song setlist, and I was surprised that "Living on a Prayer" proved so challenging, and that was the first song.

Now I'm wiped out. But I'm a rock Immortal - woo!

Er, Woot?

I'd dig some jamming later on... maybe. Like I say, I'm a little tuckered out. And, depending on the weather, I might go out and see "Let the Right One In" this evening.
[User Picture]
Date:December 20th, 2008 01:44 am (UTC)
Ok, off to see Swedish vampires.

I let the RB2 credits roll, and I realized that the lead singer in "Speck" is Chris Foster, who I reported to at the first game company I worked for.

Oh, and to be clear, I didn't unlock the "Endless Playlist 2" gig yet, much less finish it. I just played the 9-song Rolling Stone challenge that got me into the list of immortal bands.

I thought "Endless Playlist 2" was an exaggeration. Only slightly.
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