Thank goodness. It really couldn't get here soon enough. I'm not sure if I have a whole lot to show, physically, for my first three months at EA, but mentally and emotionally, coming after the end of my 17 years at Ziff Davis, I'm tired, and ready for a break. EA is the kind of enlightened company that doesn't actually pretend that anyone really works between Xmas and New Years, so they dispense with the charade and just close the offices for a week. To which I say: Yay!
The travel part of my vacation is already out of the way: This past weekend's visit to LA is it for us this time. And I don't know about you, but sometimes just being at home, with no plans, is the best kind of vacation there is.
I do have some chore-like items on the agenda, which I will put off as long as possible without raising the ire of Nagzilla (just kidding, dear!). For the most part, though, it is going to be Chillax Central chez moi. I'm determined to finally finish this goddang Erikson book, and then need to decide whether to immediately torment myself with the next phone-book sized tome in the series, or take a break with that nonsense for a bit. On deck are three possibilities: Dave Egger's What is the What, Richard Morgan's Altered Carbon, or possibly The Book Thief, by whoever the hell wrote it. All three have been sitting on my nightstand, taunting me, as I've struggled with the "light entertainment" of this fantasy book, which I swear I like even though all I do is complain about it.
Games I will be playing:
Prince of Persia: I downloaded this over the weekend and am about 4 hours into it and loving it. This is how you do a reboot. (Though some better dialog and voice actors would have been nice--hi, this series isn't set in the San Fernando Valley OMIGOD). But the art style is beautiful, the non-linear structure is a surprising and welcome change of pace, and the re-emphasis on platform and environmental gameplay over combat is a huge relief. Also, I gotta say--and I know opinions are divided on this--I am in love with the "do-over" mechanism in place here, which lets you instantly get back to the action after a failed jump or whatever, without having to needlessly replay sections you'd already finished, or, worse, going through menus and load screens. Yes, I know some folks find this "too easy," but to you I humbly and respectfully request that you go forth and get bent. Look, you *still* can't advance in the game until you do the part you've blown. It's not like you're cheating. It's just not punishing you with replay of stuff you *did* accomplish. Mirror's Edge is more punishing this way, and that's why, for now, I've stopped playing it. I was loving it, in theory, but in practice I found certain sections just too hard and too frustrating. I revise my earlier assessment that the game was generous with the checkpoints. Actually, no, it's not. I still think it's a cool game, and a great achievement overall, and I will get back to it. But after having a minor tantrum the other night--complete with hitting the 360's Eject button and whizzing the CD across the room---I decided I needed a break. And Prince of Persia is giving me the same kind of gaming experience, minus the frustration.
Dead Space Yeah, I'm gonna finish this one finally. And I have nothing bad at all to say about it. Great game.
Lich King: Duh. I'm level 74 and climbing. Just got an achievement for finishing 110 quests in Dragonblight. Yay?
Sacred 2: Also downloaded off Steam but not played yet. I'm a sucker for hack-and-slash, though, and the reviews have been good. So I'm in. (My favorite, by the way, other than the Diablo series of course, is Titan Quest. In case you wondered.)
Lost Cities-: the real card game. Got this for Hanukkah--woot!--and have been engaged in a battle royale with my daughter, who is just too dang smart for me, as the current won/loss record indicates. Apparently she got the wife's brains. This means, of course, that I need to move to Plan B: Cheat.
Movies I plan to see: Milk, Slumdog Millionaire, The Wrestler. and maybe Frost/Nixon if I can get over my aversion to Ron Howard.
Yes, folks, it is going to be a lazy, pop culture orgy for this worn-out dork. I also, of course, will be spending lots of quality time with my loved ones, and will be exercising, and blogging, and maybe even doing some "real" writing.
Here's hoping your vacation gets off to a nice start as well. Merry New Year to you all!