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Journal of No. 118


November 16th, 2009

Mixed Media @ 03:58 pm


I've played a little more multiplayer Uncharted 2. It has it's pluses and minuses. There are 'boosts' that add bonuses to your character, but they are only available once you've reached a certain level of multiplayer play. So while I have the boost that allows me to carry more ammo, someone else may have the boost that lets you see enemies through walls. Arg. But on the positive side, you can only have 2 boosts enabled at a time, so that hopefully limits the unfairness to some extent.

On the definite plus side, the multiplayer is still really fun. There is a 'plunder' game-mode in which the two teams try to pick up golden idols and return them to their home base. But when you're carrying a treasure, you're really slow and the other team is blasting away at you.

And the other bizarrely addictive thing about multiplayer mode is that the game stores the games as 'video' files, so you can rewatch your exploits. But it's not just a movie of what you saw in the game; you can detach the camera from your character and just roam around watching the action from wherever you like. If you're of an artistic bent, you can add fog and lighting effects, go sepia-toned and tilt the camera a few degrees for that artsy look. About the only thing I'd tweak on it is that, although the movie highlights your teammates with a username halo over their head, the enemy players don't have them and more infuriating... your own character doesn't have one. So if you wander off with the camera and want to find yourself again, it's not easy.


The Hunger by Whitley Strieber

I wonder what the PG-13 Twilight crowd would make of NC-17 hot bisexual vampires. Strieber's book isn't particularly well written, but I hear the same of Twilight and Anne Rice really wasn't all that great shakes. I think a Twilight fan who needed to go straight for the hard stuff would find The Hunger hits the spot, so I wonder if the Hunger is due for a reprint.

It's also an interesting read since there are many differences between the novel and Tony Scott's film. On the whole, I think the film is better, though both film and book have sucky endings. Oh and get this, from page 1 of the book: "Over it all a blue haze of smoke ..." And thus were the Scotts' early careers born from half a sentence written by Whitley Strieber.

Also interesting for how (pseudo)scientific Strieber makes his vampirism. Probably not very many 'sexy' vampire novels involve the phrases "gas chromatograph" or "erythrocytes". Bottom line: a must for the vampire fetishist, a mild thumbs up for more normally socialized people who still like to read.

Losing My Religion by William Lobdell

This is the book by the LA Times religion journalist who, through covering the religion beat, lost his faith. I've mentioned him a couple times.

It's an interesting an honest look at his life, as he takes a big rainbow arc through faith. As an adult, he turns his life around by gaining an evangelical faith, grows in his faith and knowledge, and eventually aspires to become Catholic, taking months of indoctrination classes. Due primarily to the sexual scandals in the Church, he chickens out from converting, and then slides back down the other side of faith toward "skeptical deism" or "reluctant atheism", his current position.

It's a little creepy as he recounts covering his first sexual scandal in the Church, shortly before the avalanche of cases exploded onto the national scene. His article involved Father Harris, the principal of the OC's Mater Dei High School from the mid 70s to the mid 90s. I find it particularly creepy since I had a friend who went to Mater Dei in that time period. (Yuck, seems like Mater Dei has continued to have problems.)
Lobdell covered similar stories, including the bizarre story of a Jesuit missionary to Alaska who "molested nearly every boy in St. Michael and the neighboring settlement of Stebbins". And of course, in these cases it's not just about the abuse, but the Church's coverup and apparent lack of concern for the victims of abuse.

Of course, it's not just Catholicism... Lobdell also saw the lies and hypocrisy among the Bennie Hinns of the world. On the flip side, he saw the very upright nature of Mormons while simultaneously considering their foundation of Mormonism to be totally false. Good people believe false things. Bad people believe true things. This was at the center, it seems, of Lobdell's loss of faith.

It's not precisely a logical argument, but neither was his adoption of Christianity due to a logical argument. Neither did he 'choose' to become Christian, nor 'choose' to ultimately reject it. I think, like me, he came to a realization or a self-discovery that he no longer believed. And he was honest enough with himself to acknowledge that discovery.

It will be easy for some to say, "Well, he was never a REAL Christian, anyway." or "Why should I care what a guy who cheated on his pregnant girlfriend thinks about God?" To the first, I say fuck you. To the second, I say, "Why should I care what a guy who molested every child in an Alaskan village thinks about God?"

Bottom Line: not fascinating, but an interesting and honest look at his spiritual journey, peppered with the good and evil stories he uncovered on the religion beat.
 
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Journal of No. 118