Friday, October 16, 2015

These Are Some of My Favorite Things

RPG: Burning Wheel
People struggling to become something more in a dark, but hopeful, world. The mechanics are complicated and deep.Consequences really hurt. There's a million skills that could be all put down to thirty. Fight! is long and painful And characters will be changed.

Oh dear sweet Lord I love this game. Where was this game my whole life? I've been playing this game for awhile, and I've written several reviews on it, but I keep finding something new to love. Even character creation is starting to become something  I look forward to. And the rest of the games based off this one are amazing as well. I could probably just play this family of games and be happy for the rest of my life, no joke.

Movie: Schindler's List 
This movie has the distinct honor of being one of the very few movies to reduce me to tears (Toy Story 3 also has that honor). Watching Schindler's reaction to saving all the people that he did was one of the most genuinely humbling events of my life, to say nothing about the rest of that movie, which is a tour-de-force on everything that could be said about mankind.

There are very few movies I would say constitute real and actual art. Ostrov is one of them, and deserves an honorable mention on this list for being so amazing. Children of Men is another movie that I can say is without peer. But this movie is, without a doubt, the best movie I have ever seen. You don't get better than Schindler's List. You just don't. The journey from being a sinner to a righteous man has never been better expressed.

Smash Character: Red Link

You see a slow but powerful character with projectile attacks? I see someone with a bunch of different ways to give you hell. Bombs stun you, that bloody boomerang messes with your plans, and the arrows can kill you when you least expect it. And that's before we meet the mighty Foot of Destiny and the jump attack that kills at 90%, not to mention an up smash that's really come into it's own. While this sometimes makes me a turtle if I'm feeling lazy (those arrows with the sniping...) I find I have the most fun if I'm running right at you, bomb in hand. That lovely stun...

Oh, why red Link? It's my favorite tunic from Ocarina of Time. That and the red makes me a better fighter. No, really. Faster, too. Yup.

Nostalgic Series: The Chronicles of Narnia
No, not the awful modern series that spits on Lewis's work. No, I mean that other cheesy series that's faithful to Lewis, but not much else. But man, how children eat up cheese, myself particularly. I loved the heck out of these movies, particularly The Silver Chair, The effects were awful, although you have to admire them for trying.

Like I said, The Silver Chair was my favorite movie in the series. I loved the ending challenge of making the protagonists doubt reality itself. That and the effects were less obtrusive than the other movies, stupid snake at the end nonwithstanding. I also found Puddleglum pretty endearing and well acted. Great, that makes me afraid to watch it and find out he doesn't hold up. So glad the Nostalgia Critic probably won't review it, that would be earth shattering. Now if only I could find the series so I can indoctrinate Micah and drive my poor wife even more insane. Long as we don't find the film adaptation of Little House on the Prairie...

Alright, nevermind! We'll find it!
Iconography Book: Iconostasis
If you ever get a hankering to understand Orthodox sacred art and are ready for a trip down the rabbit hole, Iconostasis is perfect. Starting off as a philosophical treatise on dreaming Iconostasis segues through it's topics with a meandering but direct method. The book builds the case that icons are essentially the dreams of the faithful as they progress toward God, with the iconostasis, a screen separating the sanctuary and nave in and Orthodox church, being the prime example. The iconostasis hides the sanctuary and yet reveals who is in it and what goes on in there, revealing it and concealing it in a logic that can only work if one is obeying dream logic. The book effortlessly weaves between all the topics without a seeming rhyme or reason until the end of the book, sorta like how a dream really doesn't make all that much sense until you get to the end and realize what you've been doing all along.

I learned a lot from this book, but if I had to pick one thing at gun point it would be that church is the place to go and dream about being God and that the icons are us dreaming of being like God. Which is totally different from sleeping through the service, by the way. Nowhere in this blog post do I condone that, so please don't try referencing this thing to your pastor as proof as to why you should be sleeping during services!

Star Wars Movie: Return of the Jedi
Yeah yeah yeah, this is the worst of the original trilogy as far as standalone movies go. The Ewoks are annoying and the extended scenes add absolutely nothing to the movie. But this has the most of what I liked about the Star Wars trilogy: internal struggle leading to outer victory. Luke's enlightenment tied into the Galactic Civil War and he contributed without being directly involved.

Another contributing factor to me loving this movie was my childhood fear of Darth Vader. I ain't kidding, Darth Vader scared the holy crap out of me. Just hearing that breathing creeped me out. So seeing Darth Vader's mask being taken off to see an old and dying man brought closure to my shattered child psyche.

Death Battle: Solid Snake vs. Sam Fisher

Just 'cause Solid Snake is awesome.

Prince of Persia Game: Warrior Within
Oh man. this game... is it glitchy? Yup. Is it unfair? Yup. And does it feature an awesome open world dungeon with amazing platforming? Oh hell yes. Yes, the original game has a charm that is most definitely not in it's successors and the third game really is the best game of the previous two, but I can't help but love the hell out of it anyway. If you haven't played it give it a shot. You just might like it.

Russian Circles Song: Schiphol
This was one of the songs I never stopped listening to my year in Atchison. I would listen to this, the album This Will Destroy You by This Will Destroy You, and the album The Earth Is Not a Cold Dead Place by Explosions in the Sky, on repeat and as loud as I could get my headphones to allow. I'm surprised I'm not half deaf by the experience. I probably am and never noticed.

Seriously, though, this song has an amazing build up. I showed it to my sister Anna who, after listening to the song, declared that if all rock was like this song she'd be happy. I'm inclined to agree with her, but then again I hate most lyrics these days. Not only can I not shut them out, no matter how hard I try, but the lyrics are usually so banal and poorly thought out that I really would wish they would stop polluting the air and my mind with their trash. Which is why instrumental is so good. I don't have to put up with that crap and just listen to what I wanted to in the first place: the music...

Favorite Switchfoot Album: Nothing is Sound
This album was senior year of highschool. When this sucker came out my best friend's parents were going through a horrific divorce and I was starting to come down with Lyme's Disease, which left me in a haze for the next four or five years of my life. Throughout it all I kept coming back to these songs and leaning on them for support and comfort. Yes, life sucked, but there was hope at the end of the tunnel, even if I couldn't see it. We Are One Tonight, the second to last song on the album, is a song that I appreciate more and more each time I hear it. Which actually reflects my experiences with the album itself, come to think of it. The older I get the more this album becomes understandable. Instead of liking it for the angst and "life sucks" angle, I find that I appreciate it more for it's honest commentary on life: sex is nice and easy but love is hard, hoping is the only way to stay sane, and while life is hard it's achingly beautiful, so who could want anything different?

That wasn't too bad of a Favorite Things post, was it? I might make more, we'll see.

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