More Like a DREKtop, Right?

Someone on Twitter said, “Who even has icons on their desktop anymore?” So I showed him my desktop:

I knew what would happen and sure enough, within moments my Twitter feed erupted into spasms of “OH GOD!”, “HOW CAN YOU…?”, “YOU MONSTER!” Several broke out in shakes and aneurysms.

People hate desktops like mine.

They don’t understand how I can work like that. How it doesn’t make me crazy. How I can find anything. The answer is: I hardly ever look at my desktop. I always have apps running. Stuff that I reference frequently is right there. Sitting right there is “digital_comics.txt”, my list of comics I want to buy digitally when they’re available. Yeah, it’s among other icons, but it’s also not buried in a sub-folder somewhere.

My desktop is a giant temp directory. Stuff goes there and sits there until I clean it out, and if I’m not done with something, it doesn’t get cleaned. When stuff gets removed from there it’s either deleted or thrown into archival directories somewhere. This system bother me in the least, and in fact seems more intuitive then for some reason having your main screen be a blank wall between me and my stuff.

Do the clean desktop folks have one of those rooms in their house where the furniture is all covered in plastic and no one’s ever allowed in, like Grandma had? Or separate fridge that no food can go in because it would drive them crazy to look there and see food everywhere? This is a working computer, and my desktop is where work is done, even if that work is creating a picture for Barney Miller Day.

But don’t worry, I’m not a total e-slob. Why, just this morning I tidied up the place:

Isn’t that much better? You could eat off that!

Posted in Misc | Tagged ,

The Movies-to-Watch List: Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)

I should have more westerns under my belt. Not only do I like things that are derived from them (such as post-apocalyptic narratives that build off of westerns instead of science fiction or horror) but the few I have seen I’ve genuinely liked. No one was more surprised than me when I started reading Lonesome Dove and really enjoyed it. Yet I’ve never really gone out of my way to see more westerns, and I tend to not think of it as a genre of interest to me.

And then there’s the fact that I saw The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly not too long ago and it just did nothing for me. I found it slow and dull and it was tough to get to the end of it. So cueing up another Sergio Leone film wasn’t too appealing to me but hey, that’s what this project is all about.

I enjoyed Once Upon a Time in the West. I wasn’t sure at first; it also has a very slow pace in which we linger and linger and linger on scenes to the point where I assume Jack Webb is somehow involved. The opening scene goes on forever, and did not convince me that I’d made a good choice here. The characters, however, won me over. Henry Fonda is just amazing at being rotten, and Jason Robards is a hoot. Even Charles Bronson, who I think has the charisma of one of your less-charismatic logs brings a kind of charm to his role.

It’s a good thing, too, because the deliberate pace really did irritate me. I don’t need to have action going on at all times, or non-stop witty banter, but there were plenty of “OKAY WE GET IT” moments. Sometimes holding on to the scene resulted in some subtleties being teased out, but more often I didn’t feel any payoff. I’m not that kind of a movie fan, I guess.

So I’d say yes to more westerns, but I might still shy away from Leone.

(Incidentally, the soundtrack by Ennio Morricone is pretty good, but I think I think I liked it better the first time, when it was called “New Order”.)

Posted in Movies | Tagged

Ex-STREAM Dog Walking!

If you recall, last year we got Cappy a pool that we thought he might enjoy goofing around in when it got hot. He was not particularly enthusiastic about it.

Yesterday we took him for a walk in Forest Park. We met up with some friends, who had their dog with them. Cappy was fairly well behaved around William, a poodle pup who kept barking at him and wanting him to play. We walked with them and got to a small creek that apparently William loves to jump into. Becky led Cappy down to it and let him off his leash and lo:

He jumped right in and splashed around! He loved it! (The brown blob in the first pic is William.) In fact, he barely stood still, as you can see. (That second pic was fantastic until he moved his head at the last second.)

We continued on for much further than we anticipated. Cappy also saw geese but showed absolutely no interest in them (nor they him). After a break

We found our way back to the car. We passed by the stream again and once more he jumped in and trucked around. Hooda thunk it?

We thought he’d be wiped out (he’s so easy-to-please that he’d walk until he dropped dead if that’s what we asked him to) by all this excitement, but around 4:00 he was all, “Hey, did we talk a walk today? I’m thinking we haven’t taken a walk yet. I could sure go for a walk!”

Posted in Misc | Tagged

I Played That! #12: Archon (C64)

Something you’re going to have to get used to in this series is thinking of Electronic Arts as a good company, putting out exciting, innovative games. I know what I’m asking here, but trust me, they weren’t always like they are now.

Archon was an early EA release and it was incredible. It was something completely different, and yet easy to pick up. It presents itself as chess, only with asymmetric sides. Light and Dark have different pieces, but they seem like they’re fairly well balanced. The goal of Archon was to either eliminate the opponent’s pieces or control five power spots on the board (a/k/a, the lame way to win).

The difference came when attacking a piece. At that point the game would shift into an action game, where the two pieces would run around attacking each other to the death. The different battle abilities of the pieces came into play here and it was possible for a weak piece, in the hands of a gamer good with reflex action, to take out a strong piece. In addition, the other part of the game still mattered here. Some squares were light and some dark, and some cycled between the two. Whichever color the square was when the battle took place gave an edge to the player of that color.

The whole thing is brilliantly done, was fun to play, and had one of those super memorable themes:

There was a sequel, Archon II: Adept, which I also had, but I didn’t like it as much. It removed some of the simplicity of Archon in favor of a lot of extra hoo-hah. Other iterations of Archon came and went, but the original was the one for me.

After I sold my C64 to my friend Charlyn, and when I was briefly sort of dating her, we were playing Archon one day and I was doing pretty well, when suddenly I realized, “hang on, I need to be losing this game”. Ah, youth.

Posted in Videogames | Tagged

My Tweek on Twitter

Some of what I did this week on Twitter. I’m still working on how to make this look good.


* Nerds need to have Sturgeon’s Law taken away from them

* More on me vs. “geek culture”

* (RT) This is hilarious and has spoilers

* This should have gotten more heat, imo

* (RT) This killed me

* (RT) Amazing how my shopping experiences often mirror David Bowie’s

* But I’d have to be in Northampton

* I crack me up

* Speaking of Northampton

* My eternal nemeses

Posted in Twitter | Tagged ,

I Played That! Now Has a Table of Contents

Just click on the above image to LOAD “$”, 8, 1.

Posted in Site | Tagged

Mad Max: Fury Road

Confession: I’ve never seen all of a Mad Max movie. I started watching the original, but ten slow minutes of unintelligible mumbling nixed that. Not having seen it, I didn’t go for The Road Warrior, presented as a sequel. Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome was an HBO staple when I was growing up, and I’ve certainly seen parts of it over and over (the Master Blaster fight scene must take place on a half-hour because I think I’ve seen that bit like 30 times) but never the whole thing.

I haven’t seen a lot of 80s staples, but I’m not sure how I never got around to this one, given my interest in videogames like Fallout and Borderlands and in boardgames like The New Era. When I heard that Fury Road required no previous knowledge and was getting great reviews, I decided to jump on board.

I liked the movie a lot. It’s a tense action movie with incredible design and set-pieces. Essentially one long chase scene, it’s hard to imagine them being able to constantly raise the tension and over-the-topness, yet George Miller continually does so. That the majority of it was practical effects and stunts makes it even more incredible.

I thought it was a lot of fun, but it has been a bit oversold. While there’s enough plot to tie the chase to, it’s not a particularly novel one. Also the claim of how incredibly feminist it is overstates the case. It’s certainly got more of a feminist angle than what’s usually out there for Summer, but so does a pile of hams. It’s difficult to gauge how high a movie jumps when the bar is sitting on the ground.

This isn’t to say that there’s no real feminism in the movie. There are definitely a lot of moves in that direction. The end, I think, kind of muddles the message, but there’s clearly an attempt to break from tradition here. Charlize Theron’s character is no “man with breasts”. Changing that character to a man would result in a very different movie. Yet she’s also not there to be rescued by Max, have sex with Max, or be a prize for Max at the end. In addition, the character of Nux could be argued to show the benefits that feminism offers to men. It’s not a difficult read to make.

The movie actually does away with a lot of the usual tropes, which is great. Max is not the baddest badass in the world (though the bits from Thunderdome I’ve seen indicate that this was a constant theme.) There are a lot of moments that you don’t usually see in these kinds of movies. And unlike a lot of current action films, the characters do things between the “fuck yeah” moments other than engage in witty banter.

Mad Max: Fury Road genuinely offers more than the usual junk. How much more, it’s difficult to say, but if you’re even slightly curious, check it out. I’m glad I did, and I’ve added more Max to the Netflix queue.

Posted in Movies | Tagged ,

Spoilers for Alien (1979), If You Can Call Them That

I was recently re-watching Alien, and something is bugging me. I know, I know, benefit of hindsight and all that, but how did the crew of the Nostromo (and the audience) not know that Ash was an android? In nearly every scene he appears in up until the big reveal, there are obvious clues dropped about his real identity. I can understand not picking them up on the first view or so, but even now people act as though it’s some shocking surprise.

Really? Even after all this?

You’re kicking yourself for not noticing before, huh? Well if you’re me, now you won’t be able to watch Alien and NOT see it.

Posted in Movies | Tagged ,