The REZ party last weekend was a great success. The event was attended by matt_william, phil_bond, seanorange, sacredspud, tcdohl, miang, crabmoon & the_tick27. It would appear that everyone that came has a Live Journal; most likely due to the fact that the invite was sent via LJ, but I did invite others that are non-journalists. I wasn't that exclusive.
Matt was the first to arrive & about an hour early. I'm still borrowing Shadow of Rome so we worked on that for a bit. The first chapter is heavy with Octavianus' adventures which are more stealth than action based. It isn't until chapter II that the combat aspect of the game rears its ugly head & bashes you over yours. I invited him to play through the combat training rounds & he kicked some butt until Caleb knocked & it was officially time for REZ.
REZ is an artistic, mind-altering, music based, action rail-shooter. But it can be difficult to describe once you've experienced the game. It's easy to be drawn in even if you're a spectator. The game world is entirely artificial & created mainly in multicoloured 3-D wire frames flowing toward you from the mysterious blackness of computerized space. The sounds the cursor makes when you lock-onto & destroy targets are subtly timed so they match not only your actions on-screen but the beat of the music as well. The aftershock controller vibrates in response to all this & the ASCII Trance vibrator adds to the effect by providing its own throbs to the beat & transitions between layer levels. It's surprising how subtly the intensity of the vibrations can change & adds significantly to the synesthesia.
To misquote Patrick & MacHall, "Any arguments on whether video games are art will be settled by playing REZ for 15 minutes & then going out for cookies."
The game went over well & I made sure that everyone who wanted to got a chance at playing. There were only two who didn't & both by personal choice. Caleb took the pilot's chair whenever someone else wasn't clawing for their turn at the controller & he got us through Level 5 as a grand finale to the evening. I didn't watch because I was working on unlocking other options in the game before proceeding onward & didn't want spoilers but from the reactions I heard in the other room I could tell everyone enjoyed it.
I bought two pizzas form Papa Murphy's earlier that day in preparation for the event. I thought I might have overdone it since they were both huge but there were only a couple slices left over when everyone was done. Papa Murphy's is agreeably priced as far as pizzas go & since they don't cook them there there's no sales tax. Bonus! As for dessert, Lindsay was sweet enough to bring the guys tomo choco; heart shaped chocolate cookies inscribed with a personal V-day greeting. Now I won't have to eat wheat noodles on March 14th... whatever that means.
The night concluded with a round of rhythm based games like Amplitude, Samba & Guitar Hero. People eventually started migrating home after two. Caleb left for work around four & Sean crashed on my couch for the night. I'm still wondering how we managed to fit six cars in my driveway.
Sunday I made breakfast for Sean, Lindsay & Tick & we parted ways midday; Sean to see Dr. Who in Janesville & the rest of us to the East side for a bit of shopping. I got some great deals at the Toys "are" Us sale including a dirt-cheap strategy guide for From Russia With Love & my very own Game Boy Micro. Someone smack me before I spend again!
The rest of the week wasn't so bad. -- Holy carp, it's been a week already! -- We had our last class with OPI on Monday which concluded with interviewing skills. These classes have really improved my overall self confidence in this situation & I'm certain it won't be too long until I'm slogging away again at another job wondering what I'm going to do with the rest of my life while thanking my stars that I can still pay the bills.
Ever since the news last month just about everyone I know has been asking me if I've started looking for a new job yet. The answer has always been no because I intend to work until the very last day in order to get my full severance payout. That's five weeks of pay plus two more for any unused vacation time. Now that the classes are over I need to put some serious work into my resume, something I've never done before. My last two jobs required nothing of the sort & both lasted five years each so I have no practice writing such things. It's challenge sorting & defining each skill I've learned throughout the course of my employment & refining them into a capsulized, easy-to-digest format. My tendency with work like this is to either summarize too sparsely or include a glut of unnecessary details. Just look at my journal! But Dave, our OPI rep, has provided a number of worksheets to fill out with such information & help each one of us on an individual basis to distill that information into a working resume. His company has even set up an office of sorts in our HR building where they will be stationed for the next few weeks. They have already contacted many factories & distribution centers within a 30 mile radius of the city to inform them that 240 people will soon be needing jobs. Plus, they're searching job prospects for us & are posting them in their office for us to peruse. I've spoken harshly about Newell/Rubbermaid/Eldon/Sanford in the past, but hiring OPI is probably one of the best things they could have done for us right now. Of course, none of this will do me any good until I actually MAKE AN EFFORT TO PUT IT TO USE.
Things are a little more lax at work these days. We're still collecting & shipping orders but a lot of work has already gone into the transition of moving all our products to the Maryville facility in Tennessee. Days can be pretty slow, Tim doesn't scold us for taking 20 minute breaks & the past two Fridays our shift has been allowed to go home an hour early because all our work was done. With pay, even! Today the D.C. was closed due to snow & we're still getting paid eight hours for that. I guess there's no reason to be stingy anymore when all of us are going to be out in the cold together.
Speaking of cold, I knew the storm was coming, but I was still a little surprised at the speed of which the snow fell today. I thought my post warning of the weather might seem a little paranoid but I see it was well placed as there were some that may not have been prepared otherwise. Inside I spent a lot of time working through Shadow of Rome & have now logged over 12 hours. Much of today's time was spent on the edge of my seat as gladiatorial combat levels have gained in frequency, exactly what I had originally expected of the game when I first started. 12 hours and not a single chariot race. What more do they have left to throw at me?!
No more video games for me tonight, tho'. The past two I've been working on a special gift for a friend of mine. Well, actually it's for her mother. I really, really wish I could say it was a get-well present but... (sigh) All the more impetus to get it done NOW. I've already had too many setbacks by not buying the correct size paper the first time I was to the Mitsuwa book store & having to wait until the next to get the rest. -- It's my favoruite origami model, which involves 60 sheets of paper, a steady hand & hours of patience; a compound cube & regular octahedron. I assembled a truanced cube last night before my hands were too dry & cold to work. All that remains are are the corner tips of the cube & octahedron. Something like 14 sheets of paper left. Perhaps one more extended folding session and I'll be done. I should thank Mom again for the bone folder she gave me for Christmas.
All this time folding has left me a great opportunity to get in some serious quality time with Mindwebs since only my eyes & hands are occupied leaving me with ample opportunity for recreational listening. I'm getting in four or five episodes at a sitting and I've probably ploughed through to most of the episodes now. I've heard all of the stories I remember from the early 90's except one & I'm beginning to wonder if I even have it. I'll find out eventually. My obsession with this series is unlikely to end even after all resources have been exhausted.
As a side note: every episode uses appropriate music behind the narration, most of which likely taken from records of the day. I have heard ELP, Pink Floyd & now possibly Frank Zappa. There is lots of great music I wish I could identify but it is never credited. I may be forcing a few of these on Tick in an effort to find some of the songs. If he doesn't mind, I think he'll like it, if only for the music.
To conclude, there is a Mindwebs story I would like to share. It's very appropriate for Valentine's Day, but as I only heard it for the first time last night it's going to be a little late. No matter. The original broadcast date is the 25th of February, 1979 so it's more than a week early for its 17th anniversary. It is a 27 minute long mp3 at 6.21 megabytes. I present to you, Saucer of Lonliness.
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