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Things I like

I have a whole bunch of things that I've tried or discovered recently that I meant to mention, but didn't have the time and/or attention span to deal with individually. So here they are, en masse.

Batman: Arkham Asylum. You are the Goddamn Batman. I mean, that's basically the biggest triumph of this game - that you stalk the night and terrify baddies with an arsenal of gadgets and slick bat-moves. You're stuck behind the walls of Arkham Asylum subject to the plans of the Joker. Or maybe Joker is stuck behind the walls with the goddamn Batman. At any rate, its visual are stark, gothic and utterly overdone in a perfect way - the action rewards smooth and seamless play, and most of all the mechanics very much enforce the fact that you. are. the. goddamn. Batman. Best game I've played in a long time.

"Sandman Slim" by Richard Kadrey So this guy is such a promising magician in the sub rosa world of esoteric Los Angeles that his fellow magicians make a deal to have him dragged to Hell. After years of fighting in "Downtown" (or Hell)'s gladiatorial pits, and working as an assassin for the dukes of Hell, Stark uses the Key to the Room of Thirteen Doors to return to earth and wreak his bloody revenge. And that's page one. This is the most badass book I've read since "Snow Crash" - it's a grind-house revenge drama with a linear but rewarding plot wrapped up in punk rock and H.P. Lovecraft with a dash of Rob Zombie.

Kogi BBQ There's this secret truck that wanders Los Angeles with Korean BBQ tacos. It's sort of a Brigadoon like thing, and when it's spotted, people wait in line for hours for a taste of the short rib tacos, kimchee fries, and kobe beef sliders. And it turns out they serve it at the Alibi Room, a few miles from my place. Absolutely amazing, cheap - and if you get there early you don't have to wait for hours.

QB's Little cubes of Rice Krispie's treats (qb's, cubies, get it?) stuffed with ice cream. Yes, it's every bit as good as you're imagining in your mouth right now. Get them at Whole Foods.

Mad Men Season Three is just as sizzling as the first two, if not more so. Zingers wrapped in amazing suits abound. "Joanie, I don't want to fight." "That's easy darling, stop talking." The odious ick-factor of the unenlightened conservative culture of the 60's collides with the seismic shifts in American culture in a show that makes drinking at work and chain-smoking (especially while pregnant) seem like a good idea. Beautifully shot, superbly acted and sparklingly written.

Windows 7 A lot of the stuff that was an impossible, stupid hassle in Vista is now in the "it just works" category. Slick visual improvements, snappy performance boosts, and ease of installation make Win7 the best Microsoft OS in many a long year. A few quirks remain - the system notifications are still a huge pain in the butt that bring everything to a crashing halt, and since I'm using a beta, it isn't as stable as I might hope. Never the less, much of what was once opaque is now intuitive.


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 1st, 2009 07:44 pm (UTC)
You're the third source from whom I've heard good things about Sandman Slim - That's enough for me. Downloading from Audible tonight.
Sep. 1st, 2009 08:57 pm (UTC)
On Batman: Absolutely. The fact they put in panic ratings that go from "calm" and talking smack to "terrified" and panic firing was awesome.

Sep. 1st, 2009 09:36 pm (UTC)
Yah. I do wish those panic ratings were a little more important - making it more rewarding to terrify baddies before you take them out. I also wish "detective mode" were a little less obligatory in all situations. But these are minor quibbles in the face of a big pile of awesome.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )


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