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Showing posts from April, 2014

Game Review: Assassin's Creed II (PS3)

I was in Gamestop with the original Assassin's Creed in hand, determined to make a proper go of the series because the latest one has pirates (pirates!). The sales rep, bless his heart, stopped me right in my tracks.

"That one sucks," he said, plucking another game off a shelf. "If you're going to start, start with this."

And so it begins.

I've played Assassin's Creed IV (review here) and enjoyed its straightforward gameplay. Assassin's Creed II has a denser plot and ends with a cliffhanger, but it has all of the same elements that make the whole series so diverting: sneaking-heavy side quests, collecting challenges, and entire cities with buildings to climb using your character's improbable upper body strength. Bits of actual history are sprinkled into the gameplay, which is always fun, because history is fun. Also: assassinations.

Assassin's Creed II follows Ezio, a young nobleman-turned-Assassin in Renaissance Italy. His journey of re…

Wedding Tips for the Chill Bride

There are women out there who have no cherished dream weddings, who like the idea of the ceremony because of the food follows that after, but are averse to the work that goes into the whole event. I was one such. And, per Nature's Law of Compensation, I ended up with a meng who had a vision for his wedding. Humans with vision are wonderful because they are driven and do stuff. Long story short: I got to chill and have the wedding happen to me.

Even if you're lucky enough to be a Chill Bride, you still need to pitch in. Like marriage, wedding planning is a two-person effort.

Here's a list the things you should do, in recommended order. Note that this presumes a timeline of at least six months from the actual wedding date.

1) Draw up your own guest list.

And remember: this is your wedding, so feel free to skip right over the peeps you barely hang out with or talk to. If all you want at your special day is your parents, the family dog, and that woman you met on the train one…

Book Review: Dumb Witness (1937)

The dog did it!
Just kidding. Agatha Christie’s Dumb Witness tells the story of a wealthy person surrounded by money-strapped relatives, as per formula. Emily Arundell, a no-nonsense Victorian lady, falls down the stairs while said relations are visiting, and then a few weeks later dies of “natural causes.”
But—twist!—she writes a letter to the mustachioed Belgian, Hercule Poirot, vaguely hinting at her suspicions, and naturally Poirot must investigate. Alas, the client is deceased, and so Poirot must make his inquiries directly to the suspects: (1) Charles, the amoral yet charming nephew; (2) his sister Theresa, the beautiful and self-indulgent socialite, (3) her dry and precise fiancé, Dr. Rex Donaldson, (4) cousin Bella, a devoted mother who desperately tries to copy Theresa’s style, (5) her genial Greek (omg! foreigner!) husband, Dr. Jacob Tanios, and (6) Minnie Lawson, Emily’s companion who inherited the bulk of the estate.
Or, perhaps the dog, Bob, is secretly taking orders …

PAX East 2014

Gamers unite!

Spring in Boston brings sunshine (!), warmth (!!), and 70,000 nerds in one spot (!!!). Yes, it's already time for the annual Penny Arcade Expo!
Here are pictures from Day 1.
And here is Day 2:


PAX splits the enormous Boston Convention and Exhibit Center essentially in two: PC/video games, and table top games. 
The former attracts more people, which means you can walk around in a bikini top, a microskirt, and flip-flops thanks to all the body heat and, alas, the wanton farting. The smell of the unwashed is much stronger in this area, too, but statistically speaking that is extremely predictable. 


The good part is, the video games area also contains the highest concentration of people who are really into their costumes, see above. 
Meanwhile, the table top area is a bunch of grown men and women using their imaginations (and miniatures or cards) to play games:

We started off with a Star Wars game (my team, the Imperials, won without my firing a shot because I'm a p…

Movie Review: Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

Captain America: The Winter Soldier is the lovechild of The Avengers and The Bourne trilogy. It's got intense action, impossibly enormous things blowing up, and beautiful people running around being perplexed. At one point, it even felt like a Michael Bay movie, but thankfully it only lasted for two seconds. Otherwise, Cap's second outing as the leading man is a terrific sequel and a fine action/thriller movie.

The movie benefits from good writing. After a mission alongside fellow SHIELD Agent Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson), Captain America/Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) has some pointed questions for his boss, Director Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), especially after he's let in on the intelligence agency's latest project. Cap's attempts to uncover the truth behind Project Insight underline the movie's major themes: what is freedom and who deserves it? When is the line crossed in its defense?

But if you're not in the mood for contemporary political comme…

The Improper Bostonian Fashion Show

Last night Crispy and I went to see The Improper Bostonian Fashion Show at a posh spot in Chinatown. I know that pairing "posh" and "Chinatown" seems odd, given its history as the infamous Combat Zone (Porn! Strip clubs! Murder!). But changes, they are in the air, and on the streets in the form of new luxury high-rise buildings for young professionals seeking an overpriced domicile while they rat race away.

The event was full of promises, encapsulated first and foremost by the three blonde goddesses who were standing in the lobby to indicate via their beauty that, yes, there is a Beautiful People Event occurring in the premises, are you lost, ma'am?

Once on the proper floor, the two of us zeroed in immediately on the food offerings, which were plentiful, if in microscopic amounts. Imagine a large man's hand. Now imagine his pinkie fingernail. That was the size of the foodstuffs proffered.

There was the requisite buffet table, and there were also servers wh…