Wednesday, November 17, 2010

An Iraqi conversation, Tennant Pleases, Game Chat, and Sex Toys  


Please forgive the lack of updates lately. The drought of content is due to a combination of things… primarily it's that there's not a lot happening with videogames at the moment in addition to my hitting a big between-project pause in the writing and a severe lack of sleep due to several too-early morning appointments that put a crimp in this night owl’s rhythm. If I can get at least one or two good nights to catch up on my Z’s, all will be well.

In the meantime...


Misc: Earlier today, I met a man from Iraq and had the opportunity to sit down with him and chat for a little while. He was a hell of a nice guy, about my age, had a wife and a small child. As we were talking, he shared a few stories about how his family left the home country due to the Gulf War, and the roundabout way they had arrived in the United States.

It was fascinating stuff, and while there's no end to the number of online sources, television programs and news articles that someone can read about this particular bit of history, there's definitely something immediate and gripping about talking to someone who was actually there and lived through it. Doubly so, because rather than being a politician, diplomat or soldier, he was just an average person. He could have been me.

As the conversation went on, it struck me more and more how incredibly normal he was. I don't mean to sound surprised, but he was so open and willing to talk about himself and his situation that even after all the hardships and trials he had endured, I found it amazing that he was able to sit down and just be. As cliché as it sounds, there was real value in being able to recognize that beside his clothing choices, his religious preference, or the times that he lapsed into Arabic, he was just a man like any other. His affection for his wife and kids, his desire for a better job and more income, his preference in coffee… this is stuff that anyone can relate to.

Afterwards, I was thinking (and not for the first time, honestly) that it’s really too bad the United States is so isolated from the rest of the world. Despite having Canada above and Mexico beneath, it's as though we are a lonely, introverted island that has no contact with anyone else. After all, there’s really no need for anyone to learn a second language, or to even be be aware of anything that happens on the other side of the ocean, and that's a shame.

It seems to me that this country and its people would benefit from having a few more neighbors, the way most other countries do. The exchange of ideas, the contrast of cultures, and the exposure to different viewpoints would only be a positive, let alone the fact that there are few better ways of remembering someone is a human being worthy of respect -- regardless of where they're from or how different they may seem -- than to look them in the eye and shake their hand.


TV: Caught a great Dr. Who double feature tonight. While I'm still not a big David Tennant fan, I thought his work in Season 3’s “The Family of Blood” (second half of a two-parter) was really great, and something of a breakthrough moment for me.

I think my biggest issue with Tennant is that he never seems to act like a thousand-year-old alien who's seen the birth and death of the universe. Instead, he usually comes off like some spastic dude who mumbles too much and doesn't take anything seriously. At the end of Blood, he finally delivers a moment that felt incredibly alien, and totally apart from what one would expect from an average human man. It did not endear him to me, but I deeply appreciated that I finally got this small glimpse of what I’ve felt has been lacking.

The second episode, “Blink”, didn't feature the same character work, but it was tightly scripted and incredibly suspenseful. I won't spoil it for anyone who hasn't seen it yet, but the way time travel was interwoven with the characters introduced for this particular plot was great, and I do enjoy when the show portrays the Doctor from the perspective of someone who's not familiar with him.

Great, great stuff.


Games: Can’t do an entry without talking about games for at least a moment or two. As a quick recap, I finished Faery: Legends of Avalon (XBLA) and enjoyed it immensely. The reviews I've read for it were disappointingly unfavorable, so I will be crafting my own as a counter.

Also finished the main portion of Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker (PSP) and had a fantastic time with it. Not sure if I will review, but in the event that I don't, be clear in knowing that I give it two thumbs up. While I don't usually stick around for extra stuff that games sometimes offer after credits roll, there's quite a bit of content to be discovered here, so I will be staying with it for the next few days, at least.

One final games bit… I usually pride myself on being aware of just about everything that's coming out. Big stuff, small stuff, fringe stuff, but I have to admit that I had never even heard of Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors, (a.k.a 999) until just tonight. I've got no clue at all how this game managed to avoid every single sweep of my radar, but it’s got my attention now.


Sex: This link has been making the rounds so it probably won't be new to many, but just in case you haven't seen it, the Toy With Me blog reviews 8 Amazing and Bizarre Sex Toys. I think that pretty much says everything you need to know. Probably NSFW for some, so be warned.


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2 comments: to “ An Iraqi conversation, Tennant Pleases, Game Chat, and Sex Toys


    "Blink" was brilliant, wasn't it? Occasionally the writers really harness the potential of the premise instead of merely contriving a way to strand the Doctor somewhere with a mystery to solve.

    When I taught high school English in a former life, I tutored a pair of Iraqi sisters whose family had fled the country in the middle of the night, crossing the border into Jordan on the back of a truck. Apparently their uncle or cousin was a filmmaker whose symbolic silent movie about a rose was interpreted by Saddam's government as treasonous. The entire extended family was to be rounded up, and presumably tortured or killed, as a consequence. So their father, a physicist and engineer, collected his wife and the girls and made for the border. Once they settled in the U.S., he was reduced to driving a cab 14-18 hours a day to provide for his family.

    What struck me the most about this incredible story was the nonchalant way in which the girls recounted it. This was their teenage experience. While the rest of my students bitched about having their cellphones confiscated after being caught texting in class or how unfair the no-dry-humping-at-the-prom policy was, these girls quietly went about their studies, Kurdish-English dictionaries in hand. They were bright and funny kids, and consistently amazing in their ability to navigate this completely alien world they'd found themselves in.


    Exactly the same sort of thing that struck me about this fellow I met. Exactly.

    Thanks for the comment. = )