A Whole New Year

You'll never guess what I'm finally getting to play...

You'll never guess what I'm finally getting to play...

First post of the New Year. Just boning it in.

Raziel4707 has a new blog, the Vampiric Chicken. I’ve updated his link.

I started my diet and work out regime. Just a mixture of eating better and cutting back on calories, as well as jogging and lifting weights at home. My timing was either great or terrible to start this however. I had just one more huge meal to get through for the holidays, as I was drawn into another Thanksgiving sized meal to celebrate someone’s brief return to the states.

But I had seen my sides growing and felt the fat all around me and finally said, “Enough.” So I substituted fruits and Greek yogurt in place of my usual morning pastry, switched to lighter soups instead of my lunch sandwich and have been versatile about dinner. My new iPod Shuffle has made running a joy, even in the cold. I pulled some Kanye West, 50 Cent, Linkin Park and the Yoshida Brothers to keep my mind from getting bored mid-run.

Oh, guess what my brother lent me.

Now that I have an XBox 360, I ran out to the mall yesterday and purchased both Gears of War and Gears of War 2 for $16. I tried the hardcore difficulty and almost tore my hair out of my head because the damn Drones kept shooting me down. One of the things that annoy me about games is that increased difficulty only improves enemy stats. They shoot more accurately and/or powerfully and possess more health, not increased intellect or teamwork. It’s more a test of hanging-in-there endurance than of strategy and/or skill. So I restarted it in casual.

But I’m starting to enjoy the game. The story and characters didn’t start to resonate with me until Marcus Fenix was in charge, and the quips and rib poking became the norm. I think the developers suffered from what I guess you could call stereotyped start up. It’s  a problem very common in books and television, when the writers and actors aren’t entirely certain about the direction of their characters. So they try some clichés to get started and then they develop and grow. It’s not a bad thing, but it usually makes for some slow starts.

Bad news is that I’m working away at my brother’s gift. His computer, the same I built him two years ago, has errors upon problems upon flaws. It was fine when I gave it to him, but then he got creative. A few different OSes were installed, something went wrong with the hardware, then bam. It stopped working. I shook my head out of frustration, and have decided to get Windows 7 for him after I return the spare Motherboard I got for repairs just in case I needed it. He will need it soon. Heck, I still stick with Windows XP SP3 since it’s so reliable, but sooner or later I will have to update.

Also, I’m 20 pages into The Gildar Rift. Where does the time go…

Fulgrim

Not enough coffee for a witty remark this morning...

Not enough coffee for witty remarks just yet.

I’m not going to lie. I was a little adverse to reading this book for a short while. Let’s just say it’s an American thing many of us picked up in the 80s and 90s, when our heroes weren’t supposed to be beautiful. Guys like Bruce Willis and Kurt Russell played these bad ass roles where their characters were injured and made unattractive in the course of their conflict.

Oddly, if this book had come to me about 10 years ago and I had been into Warhammer 40k back then, I would have been all over it. In the past I was more into Japanese animation with heroes so gorgeous, the line between masculine and feminine disappears. I’m long over my pretty boy phase.

Another thing to discuss came up when I was talking to a friend. Also a Warhammer fan, he asked me what the real danger of Slaanesh was. The problems of Nurgle and Khorne were obvious, the threat of Tzeentch was more subtle but still there.

What is the threat Slaanesh really imposes? It’s a problem every parent faces for their pubescent teenage children. There is the threat of STDs and pregnancy. Obsessions too are an aspect, like a relationship where one side is far more possessive than what is reasonable. And then there are those whose limitations are so small, it’s dangerous. Like David Carradine.

And not just sex, since he is the lord of excess. It’s an issue when someone drinks themselves to death on alcohol, or eats their way to a heart attack. And I think anyone who has met a serious artist has seen some antics that worry them, such as the artist not eating or sleeping to finish their workload. There are drug users as well, some of whom push themselves into over dosing at times. Slaanesh is a god you don’t see coming because he is in the most mundane of activities we take for granted as being human.

I write all this because it’s what I gathered from reading Fulgrim by Graham McNeill. It’s a perspective changer. My rantings above were not a digression from the review. They are the point. McNeill takes the reader on a wild ride that blows several stereotypes and misconceptions out of the water. And the story that unfolds from the pages is disturbing and sobering enough that even non-Warhammer 40k fans will find something of value here, as McNeill succeeds in making the line between fan and casual book reader thinner than ever before.