Painting With Shotguns #53
The One-Two Halo Hell-Punch
Once upon a time, I was pretty good at this game called Halo.
No, really. I mean, I wasn’t going to win any awards or anything (do they give out awards for that?), but I could go through the single-player on legendary (er, with help), and I when hopping onto Xbox Live I was able to hold my own against the multiplayer leagues of racist 13-year-old whippersnappers (translation of “whippersnapper” = “dickless wonder”).
I wasn’t King Shit, but I wasn’t a squalling baby with poop in his hair, either.
I have since become said squalling baby.
I mean, hot damn. I got Halo: Reach and finally popped it in last night, and the single player on Heroic was so hard, I had to change my diaper and switch to Normal difficulty. And even then — damn, some of those Covenant move fast. And I can’t seem to move fast enough with them. I want to blame the controls — they feel a little herkier and jerkier than what I get with Modern Warfare — but then I popped onto multiplayer and got, as you might say, face-raped. I played two rounds of Rumble Pit, and failed miserably both times. I’d appear, and a sniper bullet would peel my scalp. I’d run somewhere, and some dude would be jumping all around me like a monkey whose ass is stuffed with habanero peppers, and then — death.
Death, death, death.
So, I want to say — hey, this game is harder. Hey, these controls have gotten wonky. Hey, someone is breeding these 13-year-old dickless wonders in a lab to be perfect video game killing machines.
But I think — I think — it’s maybe just me.
I think maybe I’m getting older.
I think I’ve lost the stuff. The magic. The deathmatch glory.
Oh, And Speaking Of Halo: Reach…
This isn’t a formal review or anything (nor is it any kind of fascinating cultural critique), but the game is definitely good times. Prettier than earlier Halo iterations. I also like that from the get-go you are encouraged to customize Noble Six as you see fit (and you can be a female Spartan). It’s definitely Modern Warfare by way of Halo — you can buy upgrades (“level up”), which feels very CoD. You also run around with an AI squad, which also feels pretty darn CoD. They’re pretty smart, your AI team, which is great and all, but I gotta say –
I really dug the “lone wolf” approach of the earlier Halo games. One lone bad mofo Spartan — the last of your breed — running around Die Hard-style, a persistent thorn in the side (or sticky grenade up the ass) of the Covenant war-machine. With an AI crew, you can sometimes just rest on your laurels: “I’ll just hang out here behind this wobbly bit of space junk, let my undying computer friend whittle ‘em down while I read Field and Stream, or do a little scrapbooking.”
A Septic Tide Of Existential Dread
Man alive, there’s a man alive here.
Damn, damn yesterday I went through a fifteen-minute… well, I wouldn’t call it a panic attack, because I’ve had those? This wasn’t a physiological reaction so much as it was a spiritual, emotional, existential one, but suddenly my chitinous armor, my ink-smeared carapace, was wrenched away and I felt horribly exposed as a terrible writerly fraud. I thought, Gott Im Himmel, I am super-fucked. I’m not good at this. I have no future. I have no options. I’m on the downward slide, the final leg of the race, my hopes and dreams of being a real boy, Pinocchio a real writer were like an infant chimp dashed against the rocks by a tribe of dominant fang-face chimps hooting and screaming –
There I sat, in the living room, dinner cooking away, and it felt like the universe was a pyramid and it had turned upside-down and its apex was now its nadir and was pressing down on the top of my head.
It felt like — my whole writing career was a sucking chest wound.
It was troubling. It rattled me, boy. Whoo.
It’s rare, because normally I’m pretty bulletproof about that one aspect of my life. Doubt doesn’t usually enter into the equation. But last week’s loss of the TV pilot coupled with the still-no-news-on-the-novel front is, I think, startling my once stalwart confidence. Once, my confidence was a hulking bear, and now it’s a knock-kneed fawn who spooks with every cracking branch or orbiting moth.
I weathered the weird internal mind-storm and my nerve is back, and once more the bucket is on my head and I’m again trying to knock down a wall with it, but I still feel a little raw. Like the day or two after you had food poisoning — the feel lingers, that sensation of sourness and being run ragged.
I believe I really need some good news.
Need your help if you’re willing to offer it.
a) Got a grill (finally). Weber Genesis on a crazy end-of-summer sale. Side-burner, too.
I know “recipes” and “grill” don’t always go together — but I will beseech you for any recipes or tips or tricks you have on grilling. It’s been a while, and our last grill was nothing outta-this-world, so: techniques for cooking? Cleaning? Recipes for spice rubs and marinades? It’s late in the summer, but I plan on grilling my ass off until Old Man Winter freezes my balls to my thighs. (Too much?)
b) I’m pondering Classic Recipes Everyone Should Know. The kitchen classics — pizza, spaghetti sauce, roasted chicken, beef stew, scrambled eggs, chili, whatever. I’m thinking that it’d be kind of interesting to start cementing “my version” of those recipes, and I believe I’ll start with beef stew. Beef stew is awesome — versatile and goes a long way. What that means, though, is I could use your stew recipes. To start.
You make stew? I’d love to hear how you do it.
Play The Links
Once again, I gotcher links right here.
Think you’ve got a handle on soda-pop diversity? So many options? This uber-chart will show you how few players really play the field in the sody-pop game.
“America Is A Joke” — long, but compelling article about Jon Stewart.
Oooooh. Chocolate recipes over at Dying For Chocolate.
Listen, just click here — just click “The Ugly Dancer.” Have fun. Waste time. Crank your speakers.
John “Secret Tom Green” Hornor once again blows our minds with Synaptic Misfires.
John McFetridge talks up whether or not writers “see” a book as a film as they write it, or whether they instead put forth the voice of the book (my response: can’t it be both?). At Do Some Damage.
Finally, Rick writes up a post I forgot to link, a great post called “Marriage And Shit.”