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Showing posts from March, 2013

The Layoff Dirge

Bullshit, that travels 'round
Business too lame for song;
Hopeful dreams, quickly drowned
No cubicle to belong;
To the worker, a rejection,
Severance, a poor compensation,
This unwelcome vacation--
Wail, or play along?

*Adapted from "A Dirge" by Percy Bysshe Shelley

Game Review: Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation (PS Vita)

Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation (ACIII:L) is the PS Vita entry in the popular Assassin’s Creed series. Players control Aveline, Tyra Banks lookalike and daughter of a successful businessman and his placeé (informal wife). Aveline joins the Assassin Brotherhood after her mother vanishes, and her would-be mentor, Agaté, saves her at the docks of New Orleans. She works with Gerald Blanc, an information officer for the Brotherhood, and with the blessing of her loving father.

ACIII:L feeds into the mythology of the other games in the series, although it usually plays more like a standalone game. That is, until the screen flashes and a distorted voice informs players that “the truth is out there,” and that there’s a “Citizen E” who must be slain to find out what really happened. As I understand, players experience Aveline’s life through an interface that has been tampered with by the Templars. The Knight Templars are the Assassin Brotherhood’s ancient archenemies, with each group constantly…

Movie Review: Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2

Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2 is AWFUL. The "plot" barely existed, the "dialogue" and "acting" consisted entirely of meaningful glances shared between cast members, and the music was almost as overblown as Michael Sheen's scenery-chewing. Yet this wreck of a film made $829,224,737 worldwide. Yes, over eight hundred MILLION dollars. Inconceivable!

The story, such as it is, goes like this: blank slate with hair Bella Swan finally becomes a vampire after her vampire husband Edward injects her with his venom to save her life after he extracted their half-vampire baby from her body via C-section using his teeth. You'd think that they would cherish the little monster, what with all the agony they went through to bring her into the world. No. Instead they go hunting all day, then go into their new home and make the beast with two backs all night. Ah, the carefree life of teenage parents!

Then some blonde with a grudge catches sight of the freakish CGI c…

Adventures in Brideland, Part II

Welcome back to the exciting, once-in-a-lifetime series, Adventures in Brideland! Here's Part I if you need a refresher. This latest installment discusses the finer details of wedding planning. I challenge you to count the puns in this post. Begin!

On Friday, I took the day off from shamelessly job hunting at work so Fiancé and I could drive down to beautiful Cape Cod. Our agenda: meet with the florist and the venue coordinator.

This would be our second face-to-face with the florist. At our initial meeting, we looked through magazines and wedding photos and I pointed out which flowers I liked. Then we talked on the phone, and she instructed me to Pinterest flower arrangements so we could finalize the details at our next meeting. I didn't want to create yet another online account, so I prepared a folder with magazine clippings and printouts of bouquets and arrangements that looked nice.

Naturally, I remembered about the folder as we sped down the highway.

"Can we go back?…

Happy International Women's Day! Now Get Out.

International Women's Day dawned dark and ominous. Snow and slush marred Boston's cityscape. My office opened late that day, but the announcement did not reach me in time. I trudged resolutely to my cubicle, prepared to face another day of writing or research, or at the very least, a lot of news reading.

Alas, 'twas not to be. My boss called me into her office and explained that my position would be eliminated at the end of the month. I sat in stunned, stoic silence. I had the presence of mind to murmur that I understood and wished the company well. I even added that I would miss having her as a supervisor. All true, dear readers.

And then, the walk of shame to HR. The contract saying I must be nice and not say nasty things about the company that both giveth and taketh away. The puppy dog eyes of Fiancé when I told him over lunch.

I went home and joined LinkedIn at Fiancé's suggestion. My word, is it ever so aggressive! It nagged me with three pages of names and faces…

Film Review: Oz the Great and Powerful (2013)

Oz the Great and Powerful is a birthday cake: it's sweet, goes down easy, and kids will love it. The writing keeps everything to a strictly PG level of plot and character development. And I don't know how they managed it, but the graphics were awful. The Oz landscape looks like an eighties diorama dreamed up by seventies cocaine addicts. In fact, now that I think about it, the poster on the left looks like it was borrowed from The Land Before Time. If only the story were as good as that of Ducky and Littlefoot's.

Oz follows magician Oscar Diggs, who ends up in Oz. He meets and charms Theodora the Good (Mila Kunis), who takes him to her sister, Evanora the Glam (Rachel Weisz). They tell him that a wicked witch, Glinda the Blonde (Michelle Williams), killed the king. They promise Oscar/Oz the throne if he but breaks Glinda's wand. Dazzled by the prospect of kingly riches, Oz embarks on a quest out of Emerald City on the yellow brick road.

The actors do their best with the…

Game Review: Zero no Kiseki Evolution (PS Vita) - updated

Eiyuu Densetsu: Zero no Kiseki Evolution (Legend of Heroes: Zero Trails Evolution) takes players to a world with an unseen goddess, shadowy groups, geopolitical intrigues, straight and overturned stereotypes, and explosive new technologies. Zero no Kiseki continues from the Sora no Kiseki (Trails in the Sky) games, which introduced “orbment” technology, composed of quartz forged from sepith (mineral) fragments. High-tech advancements include cars, cell phones, planes, guns, and trains, all with an elegant retro/steam punk design. 
In Zero no Kiseki, the latest in orbment tech becomes key as players take on the role of Lloyd Bannings, who leads a team of rookie police officers tasked with maintaining order and upholding the law in Crossbell City. The city is the capital of Crossbell, an independent state located between the Erebonian Empire and the Calvard Republic, who both want to conquer their smaller neighbor. 
Early in the game, the mafia moves into the city and stirs up trouble w…

Book Review: Cause Celeb (1994)

Helen Fielding’s debut novel offers an unflinching social commentary about our unequal world through its protagonist, Rosie Richardson, a publicist who becomes an aid worker in war-stricken Nambula to escape a toxic relationship in her native London. When locust swarms destroy crops and threaten to overwhelm her camp with refugees, Rosie returns home to enlist celebrities in her cause. Her aim: an ad campaign that can pull in enough funds for emergency airlifts of food and medicine. Her time frame: three weeks.

Her move raises ethical and practical questions. The first questions are simple: how to convince famous people to support her project, and how to organize an advertising spot so quickly? Then come the complex issues: how to get a satellite dish and broadcast crews into an unstable region, how to do photo ops without trampling the dignity of the refugees, how to make sure that the positive effects of the campaign last beyond the presence of the Famous Club, how to make sense of…

Lasers Will Make Me Beautiful

A year ago, I underwent laser eye surgery, or Lasik. A battery of eye tests proved my candidacy for treatment, and an impromptu laser repair procedure for a hole in my right cornea rendered me able to receive the surgery.

I emerged as a doe-eyed butterfly from the tyrannical cocoon of eyeglasses. Sources confirm that I am now 1.75% prettier than when stylish brown/pink frames obscured the windows of my soul.

More importantly, I can now easily perform activities for which I used to have to put on or take off my glasses, including:

Rolling directly out of bed in the morning Taking off a shirt/sweater/tight tank top Smooshing my face against other people’s Wearing sunglasses Swimming et cetera 
In other words, Lasik vastly improved my quality of life.

Now I embark upon the next step: laser hair removal. According to my calculations, having hairless underarms shall enhance my beauty, and thus my societal approval rating and self-esteem, by at least 0.89%. I will also be able to wear sleev…

Miffed to Melancholic in Ten Minutes

This morning I congratulated myself for already having achieved the worst idea of the week: affixing my thigh-highs to my undies via safety pins. I won't go into detail, but let's just say that gravity overwhelmed my civil engineering efforts.

Then I went from miffed to melancholic in about ten minutes. The transition began when I sat down at my desk and checked in on the latest in Health & Human Services news, because that's part of my job. Usually I read articles about state budgets for deinstitutionalization, or studies about co-morbidity rates, or opinion pieces on healthcare. Pretty dry stuff, usually. Sometimes I get inspiring stories where children with disabilities get intervention early enough to make significant improvements in the quality of their lives. Those are great.

However, the news items this morning were neither great nor dry. A colleague sent me a link to an article about the new guy heading the L.A. County's Department of Children and Family S…