Doris Lessing died today

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The date on this post will probably say November 18, but that will be a lie as far as the day Doris Lessing died, which is actually today, the 17th, here in America. I want to point this out first because Doris Lessing is among the greatest writers I’ve ever read, and I want to do her justice by getting the date right; and I also think it’s appropriate to start out a blog post about her by pointing out the arbitrary nature of language and its inherent inability to achieve its own ideal of absolute, clear, effective communication exactly because the whole thing is made up and only exists because we all pretend it does.. If you didn’t know, Lessing was a postmodern novelist. More

Which Mass Effect is the best? Mass Effect 2?

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It took me a super long time to finally get to Mass Effect 2–I only finished it last year. And I got some serious flack, involving repurposed Rick Perry memes, from friends for initially saying that I was pretty sure the original Mass Effect was better. More

I finally finished the Mass Effect series. So, which one is the best?

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The Mass Effect video game series has been another source of guilt for me. The original Mass Effect came out during the brief console golden age of 2007 to 2009 when AAA (industry term for huge, top-tier) game developers and publishers started taking risks on a whole gaggle of fresh intellectual properties that fueled the creation of big-budget games, and these games are the same that have given us five years of nothing but sequels thanks to their success. Assassin’s Creed, Gears of War, Modern Warfare, Mirror’s Edge, Dragon Age, the long-awaited reemergence of Fallout, and Mass Effect are all children of this era, and I did my best to get into all of them, since this was probably an era that will be remembered by the gaming world forever. But I just didn’t have time to devote to all of them. I’ve played the original game in each series, all of which are fantastic in their own ways, but I haven’t been able to get any further with any of them for years.

I knew that if I had to choose one series to complete, it had to be Mass Effect. I mean, a galaxy-spanning, Star Trek inspired, sci-fi action roll-playing epic trilogy flavored with some pulpy space opera? Nothing like this has ever existed anywhere near this scale in the game industry, and the fact that it’s as huge a commercial success as it is, living in a somewhat niche genre, makes it probably the most interesting 2007-2009 golden age specimen to get into.

There’s an endless list of things I could talk about with these games, and most of it comes out when I try to answer the most interesting question of all: Which Mass Effect game is the best? More

Review of William Shakespeare’s Star Wars: Verily, a New Hope, by Ian Doescher, and my first chance to talk about Shakespeare

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This is the kind of thing for which I’ve been waiting a long time but just never realized the fact until I saw it on a bookstore shelf about a week ago.

See, I used to be a drastically different person back in high school. As a little kid, I was painfully shy, and I had about two friends at any given time. Around middle school, I came out of my shell a little too much and actually got myself involved with lots of acting sorts of things. I was never very good at it, but it was what my friends were doing, and I have to admit it was pretty fun. It was especially fun when I got my first big break playing Oberon in our production of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream my sophomore year–a production commonly considered among the best if not the best show my high school ever put on. I didn’t know much about Shakespeare before then, but this left a good taste in my mouth and an appetite for a lot more. More

Review of Elysium, and a bit about obviousness in narrative agenda

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One of the first movie reviews I ever wrote for The Argus was of District 9, which was probably a pretty nice one to get started on. It was a well-made and thoughtful movie with a unique story behind its creation giving me tons of material with which to fill a 500-word space, including an attention-grabbing warning that it was probably the most brutally violent movie I’d ever seen. Now director and screenwriter Niell Blomkamp has a second thoughtful and intense sci-fi action movie for me to review, Elysium. And, again, I had no problem thinking of lots of things to say even as the movie was making me cringe with disgust or freeze with tension. More

How The Catcher in the Rye is so good it starts out good, becomes terrible, and then loops back to being wonderful again

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After having just christened my blog with my impassioned championing of English, I’ll let you know that I’m kind of a bad English major. Before this week, I had never read The Catcher in the Rye (also before this spring I had never read The Great Gatsby, and the list of books I haven’t read yet and feel endless guilt over is longer than I would ever have the nerve to tell you). But now it is finished. I won’t ever again have to sheepishly admit that I haven’t read Salinger whenever I’m talking with other bookish types, and I’ll finally be able to talk about this horribly irritating but beautifully soul-crushing book. More