Monday Mind-dump

I’ve been lax on posting for no real reason.  It’s almost too easy for me to do, but then I don’t.  Here’s why:

Tropico 4:

In some respects, it’s a good thing Larry is back in NYC, as I wouldn’t have been very communicative as if I play video games on my PC, 9 times out of 10, I’m going to play Tropico 4.  It’s a game that lets you play as a dictator of a tropical island, and it’s up to you to satisfy your Tropicans’ religious, entertainment, housing, etc needs.  You can also stripmine your island for its resources and start up lucrative industries, like jewelry, chemicals, weapons, canned goods…  I can’t imagine watching someone play is at all interesting, but when you guide your island to success and watch what just was a dock and a palace into some megalopolis, it’s hypnotic.  I’m on the last mission of the campaign, and shit just got real.  All of a sudden, it’s a much more challenging mission.  I guess that’s good.


Game of Thrones:

Both the HBO series and the books have made me their bitch.  This weekend, I was feeling blah and stayed in for the most part.  On Sunday, I ended up watching the remainder of the season – that comprised of the last six episodes.  That’s six hours – six REAL hours – of television.  I couldn’t stop myself.  I even forgot that I had been doing laundry.  I even knew what was going to happen, as my plan was to read the book first and then watch the series (I was successful).  Yet under the liberating non-constraints of HBO as well as working with the author as an executive producer, you get pure medieval fantasy bliss.  Tons of political intrigue, LOTS of gore, lots of nudity (female AND male) and sex, and quite a bit of wit and cynicism from everyone’s favorite dwarf, Tyrion, a viewer become spellbound.  It definitely is hard to get into during that first episode, because just like the book, a ton of characters are thrown at you.  Yet you slowly figure out who is who and most of their motivations (Littlefinger and Varys notwithstanding) and now you simply HAVE to know what’s going to happen next.

Similarly, the second book, A Clash of Kings, has got me in its grasp.  Book 1, Game of Thrones, ended with quite a bit up in the air, which Book 2 picks right up on.  BOOKLOG notes (spoilers abound now, so feel free to jump ahead to the next paragraph if you don’t want to know what’s happening about 1/4 of the way through the book):  First, the Theon Greyjoy stuff.  It took me forever to remember who he was and why I was supposed to care.  Thankfully I just watched the HBO series of book one, so I got a good reminder.  He goes back to his homeland, the Iron Islands, where his father awaits, but instead of at most a “welcome back”, it’s derision and accusations of being a Stark.  Plus, Balon implies that he won’t be helping Robb defeat the Lannisters…he has his eye on something else.  I’m not sure what that something else, although Theon knows.  Is it Winterfell, since only Bran is there now?  Speaking of Bran, he just finished greeting some of the many lords who are coming to Winterfell to be heard and one of them mentions the decree from Stannis concerning his allegations about Cersei’s incest with Jamie.  That knowledge, combined with his dreams of crows, finally illuminates for him what happened that fateful day on the tower when Jamie pushed him out the window after seeing Jamie and Cersei screwing.  There has been no proof, up till possibly now, that Jamie and Cersei are incestuous, and the current plan by Cersei and Tyrion (who knows full well that it’s true) is to let a similar story float up about Stannis and his wife, although implying the wife and the Fool had an affair that resulted in his grotesque daughter.  Arya’s fate is also unclear as she and Yorick’s boys (all headed to the Wall for the Night’s Watch) settled in an abandoned courtyard and were promptly attacked, getting burned to the ground by a Lannister army.  Arya and Gendry (who was quite attractive, as I had imagined, in the HBO series when Ned found him) escaped through a secret tunnel but what the hell is going to happen now?  And I still can’t imagine if Arya and Gendry are “meant to be”, as there is such a big age difference there.  I like my Arya fierce and independent.  I’m sure other stuff is happening, as in these books, the many threads are all in motion.


11/22/63, by Stephen King:

You don’t think the intricacies of Game of Thrones is enough to keep me occupied, do you?  P’shaw.  I did want to finish Book 1 first before starting this book, as it is huge.  I then started this one, but then I was stuck at the airport waiting for Larry’s flight to arrive so I started reading Book 2 of GoT, so now I am reading these both simultaneously.  Luckily they have nothing to do with each other or are even in the same vein and it’s easy to keep them sorted.  This book is a whole lot of wow too.  The main conceit of this story is that the protagonist, Jake Epping, is made aware of a rip in the time-space continuum that will take you from present-day 2011 to the same day in 1958 every time you go through it.  It’s a real 1958, and any major things you do back then WILL impact your real present, which you’ll be able to see when you come back through the rip.  And oh yeah, no matter how much time you spend in the past, when you go back through the timerip, it’ll only be 2 minutes later in 2011.  The other hitch?  If you come back to 2011 and then decide to return to 1958, it’s as if you pressed RESET.  Everything you did in your previous time trip is undone, so anything good you did that last trip would have to be redone.  BOOKLOG time (Spoilers ahead, so jump ahead to the next paragraph to avoid them):  Alright, so as you can see from the title 11/22/63, this book also deals with Kennedy’s assassination in Dallas.  Jake is tasked with this duty from the guy who first found the time rip in his restaurant pantry, but he was unsuccessful in stopping Lee Harvey Oswald.  Jake is pretty much unattached and decides to go for it.  He tests out the whole mechanics of it all by first trying to prevent a dramatic murder in one of his friend’s childhood which happened in DERRY!!!  Derry, the city from Stephen King’s IT, a huge novel I actually just re-read during the Med cruise.  So yay for fortunate timing!  1958 is also the year that IT’s first cycle of terry ends, so Jake gets to see a Derry as it was right after IT was silenced the first time.  It’s a fascinating look back at things in the 1950s, but what was most amusing was that after all the work he does to stop the murder, he is only able to half-stop things from going shitty.  So he leaves 1958, goes back to 2011, sees what happened with his interference, and gets ready to go back in for the long haul, all the way to 1963.  He decides to do Derry in a much more efficient manner this time, and quickly takes out the killer long before the time of the original murder, and then heads off to Texas.  Oswald apparently was in Russia for most of the time leading up to 1963, so Jake ends up biding his time in  a small Texas town.  He takes up teaching English at the high school (just like he did in 2011) and has also met a nice fellow teacher named Sadie.  It’s still only 1960 though, so a couple years left to go.  There are some threads in the story about Jake’s gambling (using Back to the Future methods of knowing how the games end up) that feel unresolved, so I’m expecting that to impact his life.  Plus, you just know that the conceit of the timeline RESET will come back somehow after he’s taken care of the Kennedy thing.  I know it!!!!


I’ve been doing other things too, but those are big timesucks right there.  Happy news:  my sciatica pains are almost all gone.  Did I already write this?  Well, it looks like my doctor was correct about waiting this out.  I was beginning to give up as the pain, over the past 4 months, continued to get worse, move around, change, get better, get worse again, and move around yet again.  At the very beginning of this month, right before Larry left for NYC, the pain really started moving again and seemingly back to where it originated from.  It was weird, and I was oddly hopeful that it was a sign things were getting better.  Yet the pain was just as agonizing.  But then the days came where sitting didn’t bother me that much.  I could get into bed without wincing.  I realized that the pain indeed was going away.  It is still 95% gone and for that I’m grateful.  Now I just have to do my best to try and protect my spine from such injuries.  And for God’s sake, when I have a ton of luggage – take a fucking taxi.  Trains are for when you have one bag.  Not 3 heavy bags each.

Okay, enough for now. I’m going to continue with the BookLOGs and other posts on a more frequent basis, hopefully.  That is, if Tropico 4 doesn’t get me first.

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