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Archive for November, 2007



Winning the War and Other Things

Finished Call of Duty 4. Which is to say that I finished the single-player campaign on wussy mode. I am now (again, in my copious free time) playing through on You Will Die A Lot mode, which is a great example of truth in advertising, as that is exactly what I’m doing.

Some wonderful things in this game, in my opinion. The ad campaign, which I’m sure many of y’all have seen, runs on a riff of “times change, weapons change, nations change, soldiers stay the same,” and it’s actually a fairly clear mission statement of Infinity Ward’s approach to the game. Once again, they did a terrific job of creating a game that is fun to play without abandoning at least a token nod to reality. Those who’ve played it and reached then end of the Force Recon string will understand what I’m talking about; those who haven’t and are going to, let’s just say that they spent time and energy programming a section of gameplay that is entirely about not being able to do a damn thing, and not only does it work, but it works quite effectively.

I’m a little torn about the ending, but that’s just my sentimental side, I think. The biggest problem — and in CoD 4′s case, it’s truly minor, though casting back to thoughts of Medal of Honor: Airborne, far moreso — is the apparent need to make games in this genre feel like war movies, a genre entirely defined, at this point, by cliché. CoD4 managed to avoid this, for the most part, though the ending was depressingly reminiscent of Bad Boys. Thankfully nowhere as stupid.

Crime Bible #2 hits tomorrow, “The Lesson of Lust”, and you just know with a title like that, someone is going to be offended, which, I suppose, means I’m doing my job.

In honor of the Coming of The Second Issue, then, I post the following preview art.

By Matthew Clark, from #3, “The Lesson of Greed”:

By Manuel Garcia, from #5, “The Parable of the Faceless”:

See? Who says I can’t share the love?

Happy belated birthday, jonlaw!!! Good Lord, we’ve known each other a long time, haven’t we?

Right…that makes it ALL better

I’m really going to get off this hobby horse at some point, really I am.

But this latest excuse for the inexcusable….

So she was having an affair. And that justifies what, exactly?

My friend gabbicus was relating to me last night how someone had cited my post to her, arguing that it’s the Saudi’s land, the Saudi’s law, the Saudi’s right to do as they please.

Once again, I call bullshit. Think that one through. Really think it through, and if you can still stand by it, think it through again. Because it is, honesty, the same as excusing the decapitation of Daniel Pearl because of some lunatic fringe’s radical interpretation of Islam; it’s the same as saying, well, it was perfectly fine to take land from fill_in_the_blank ethnic minority’s land, or to deny rights to people on the basis of race and religion.

Yes, it’s the law of the land in Saudi Arabia.

Doesn’t mean it’s a good law. Doesn’t mean it’s a just law. And those who claim that, “well, it’s the law,” ignore the possibility that some laws, maybe, just maybe, might be bad ones, or even — gasp! — vile, reprehensible, and evil laws.

Not like there’s ever been any (make sure you actually READ this one, it’s a PEACH. Bastards.) of those.

Happier post to come later today, I’m sure.

Well, reasonably sure. It’s early yet.

Stoking Rage

posted this update from CNN about the Saudi rape case.

I’ve seen comments around the web from people arguing that the rule of law is the rule of law, and that while we may not like how Saudi Arabia does business, its their country and they’ve got a right to do as they please.


She was raped. And she’s being punished for it. She is being flogged 200 times because she had the audacity to go out without a male relative accompanying her. And that’s the excuse for it, because that’s her wearing a short skirt, innit? She was asking for it, right?

Except, this little thing, this tiny little thing, that says that a human being shouldn’t have to move in fear in the world. That a society that equates and unescorted woman with a viable target is a broken one (and yes, I’m aware I’m talking about more than Saudi Arabia, here).

I will say it again. She was raped. Specifically, she was gang-raped by 7 men. And she’s going to spend 6 months in a Saudi prison (and anyone who can weigh in on what that stay is going to be like, I’m sure we’d all love to hear it.) She’s going to be flogged 200 times, and then she’s going to prison for months.

And saying they — meaning the Saudi Government — has the right to do as they please is the same as saying that what’s happening in Darfur is cool, because, y’know, that’s their thing, we don’t have anything to do with it.


Universal rights. Inherent rights.

But Saudi Arabia has never really been big on those. Not when a society is built upon a caste-system of dehumanization and hatred. No, Saudi Arabia has never been big on those basic human rights.

And to all you NeoCons out there — nice fucking job, assholes. You sure as hell have done a bang-up job showing Saudi the way towards Democratic Enlightenment. You dumbfucks.

The fact that, time and again, the Saudi government is excused for its reprehensible, vile, horrific behavior, makes me want to projectile vomit. Our government’s continued kowtowing to their regime is shameful.

Some things need to be indefensible, must remain inexcusable.

To Any Of You Intel/Security/Policy Types out there

I share Mr. Winer’s curiosity about this sudden change in policy.

Anyone out there who can enlighten me?

Hannah Arendt Had It Right

I’m at a loss for words.

No, that’s not quite true.

I’ve got a lot of words, but I won’t share them here, because they’re mostly expletives, and the ones that aren’t will most likely offend the delicate sensibilities of several people I know.

But this is EVIL, plain and simple.

Shooting Fake People in Realistic Ways

I was going to include my XBox 360 gamercard, but 1) I couldn’t get it to embed right, and 2) I thought better of it at the last minute. I may, in future, reconsider my decision — it’s not like I actually go on live to multiplay, anyway.

And no, I don’t have enough free time to justify having cracked open Call of Duty 4 yesterday. And I rather proudly managed to keep myself to about 30 minutes of playing before shutting it down for the night, but…damn!

Call of Duty 2 was the first game on the 360 I got into (though I tried, how I tried, to love this one, and apologies in advance for those who follow the link and are assaulted by the music). I loved it. It chewed me up and spat me out, and still I loved it. Tears would stream down my cheeks when I played this game because I was afraid to blink for fear of missing something (Stalingrad, winter, snowing, visibility for crap, and let me just say the smoke effects? outstanding). I died early and often. It was great.

This was the fault of mercuryeric, as he was the one who turned me onto this particular dose of crack. I emailed him after playing the first level and consistently failing to, uh, survive, asking for advice. He wrote back: “1) ditch crappy Russian weaponry for not-crappy German weaponry ASAP. 2) Shoot. 3) Don’t get shot. 4) repeat 2 and 3.”

Funny guy. Funny, funny guy.

Thing about CoD2 was that it managed to — at least to me — be an FPS set during WWII, to be a game, and a truly enjoyable one, and yet to somehow not diminish the horror of the truth. Somehow, and I don’t know how the folks at Infinity Ward managed this, they created a game that was at once incredibly fun, and yet never once allowed me to believe that I would, for one moment, have survived the real thing. It’s a peculiar compliment, I suppose, but it impressed the hell out of me, and the efforts to remain at least nominally historically accurate were appreciated (unlike in Medal of Honor Airborne with it’s addition of, I shit you not, super Nazis).

It’s not that MoHA was a bad game — it looked good, it had some fun gameplay. But it somehow didn’t reach that same level of tactile, visceral “reality” (yes, yes, I know, it’s a VIDEO GAME) that CoD2 seemed to do with such (apparent) ease, and it certainly, at the end, failed to leave me with the sense of satisfaction and accomplishment that COD2 did. To whit: I’m not replaying MoHA; I still play CoD2.

And the less said about the bitter, bitter disappointment that was CoD3, the better (though, it should be noted, CoD3 was not, repeat, not, made by Infinity Ward).

This new one, “Modern Warfare,” I’m not far enough into it to pass any sort of judgment (and frankly, I’m probably not one to be passing that sort of judgment anyway, other than to say that “I liked it” or “I didn’t”, which throws this whole post into question, certainly), but thus far, the franchise’s promise seems to be upheld.

And you start the game as a member of the 22 SAS, which has its own cool, in my opinion.

iPhoto Clients

I upgraded to Leopard, and I’m digging it. I updated to iPhoto ’08, and I’m digging that, too.

What I am not diggin’ is the fact that none of the available clients for uploading to ScrapBook seem to work for me. Either I am a) doing something wrong, or b) they’re not working. While “a” is very possible, and even likely, I suspect that “b” is the culprit.

Anyone out there in the same boat? Anyone have a solution (aside from the obvious, “use the ScrapBook/don’t use ScrapBook, use Insert-Name-Of-Other-Picture-Hosting-Service-Here.”

In Support

Using new icons, as you can see, one of which was made by rainbow, the other made by rebeccama, who has made others, all of which can be found here.

Regular posting will return as soon as I have time.

As you were.

On Writing, Wonderfulness, and the Strike

So I’m wasted.

Spent the day at the Muskego Public Library, having a wonderful time with fellow scribes like Laura Lippman, Chris Mooney, Brian Azzarello, Bob Crais, and Sean Doolittle, just to name a few. The event was put on by the library and CrimeSpree Magazine, the baby of Jon and Ruth Jordan, who are two of the more terrific people you’re ever likely to meet. I snapped some photos, and may post ‘em in the next few days or so.

Really was a wonderful experience — great turnout, great questions, great fans, just, y’know, great.

So I’m back in the room, and I’m bushed, and not only because I was trying to match Azzarello beer-for-beer at the bar. But figured I’d check my email and the blog, etc.

The strike has been a subject of conversation, as you might imagine, amongst us writerly types, even those of us (like myself) who are not members of the guild. I repeat, I’m not a member of the WGA.

But I am 100% behind the strike, and I am %100 behind the writers who are striking, and though I’m sure people are already quickly approaching the sick-to-death level of hearing about it, I think it’s important that people understand the Why.

And this little video, by the folks at, explains it quite succinctly:

Those of you who are hoping for a quick resolution to the strike…I don’t think that’s going to happen. This is about more than residuals for writers; ultimately, this strike is about trying to destroy the WGA, and in so doing, breaking the other unions in Hollywood, DGA (perhaps) excepted.

I firmly believe this is a just fight, and there aren’t many of those around these days, it seems.