Tuesday, December 09, 2003

I haven't posted much because I haven't had much to say. It's finals week, so I should spend my time studying. I don't, but the knowledge that I should keeps me from doing anything else productive.

I have been running fairly regularly. I haven't been as vigilant as I should be, with the San Diego Half-Marathon coming up next month, but overall I'm feeling strong going into the final weeks of training. Ran 7 miles on Saturday in 57:48, an 8'15" pace, and felt good. Seeing as this will be my first half-marathon, and my goals are therefore modest, I have high hopes that the race will go swimmingly. Then I can make a decision about a full marathon in June.

Despite the looming finals (I'll be done with everything tomorrow afternoon), I have got to play my new game systems, the GameCube and GameBoy. As frequent readers will no doubt recall, I purchased the GameCube largely due to the Zelda bonus disc. I've sucessfully completed The Legend of Zelda and Zelda II: The Adventure of Link. I must say I was a bit underwhelmed, especially with Zelda II. It is fun to revisit them, but in comparison to the recent Final Fantasy: Origins for the Playstation, it's harder to appreciate them now. The original Zelda, however, is still obviously a trend-setter, with its story and its wide-open game play (I believe at least 80% of the world map is accessible from the beginning, even before obtaining the raft and ladder). A sidequest based on three-card monte teaches kids the folly of gambling, and you are allowed to attack (though not kill) kindly old men in caves (only to be attacked by flames when you do so). I assume I must have used a player's guide, an old issue of Nintendo Power, perhaps, to beat this game initially, since it is not at all obvious where exactly one sould head next. But its amazing after 15 years how many secret passageways and shortcuts I could remember, including which exact tree to scorch to find stairs. Overall, I didn't find the nostalgia enough to make it a fun game to play, and both were quite easy to beat in relatively little time (the final boss in the first Zelda was far too easy, though beating the Dark Link in Zelda II, and in fact the entire final temple, was quite difficult, compared to the rest of the game). I have yet to try the two Super-NES Zelda games on the bonus disc, which I've never played before. The demo of the new GameCube Zelda game was impressive, though I get the feeling the game is a bit too complex for me. But the capabilities of the system are shown off quite well, and I am impressed by the power of the machine for the price.

My GameBoy has also gotten some play. Donkey Kong Country is fun, but mostly I've been playing Wario Ware, Inc.: Mega Microgames. It's very addictive, at least at first, though the novelty has worn off. Basically, it consists of a vast collection of games, each of which can be played in five seconds. The game bumps you from one game to the other, usually with one-word instructions ("climb!" "dodge!" "sniff!"). The difficult part isn't so much the games themselves, as figuring out what it is you're trying to do. Which hurts the replay value a bit. Once you figure out that the object of the game is, say, to hit the a-button to make the cartoon woman sniff up the snot bubble, it's not difficult to do. It's still fun, though, and I must say it's a nice way to kill a half-hour or so, which is, I think, the reason an adult would play with a GameBoy.

What else have I been filling my time with when not studying? I watched Miller's Crossing, which I think means I've now seen every Coen Brothers movie. As enjoyable as any of their films. I've been listening a lot to the two Tiger Lillies CDs I purchased after seeing them in Los Angeles, The Gorey End and Shockheaded Peter. I need to pick up some of their non-theatrical recordings, but I hate paying for international shipping, and the only ones I've been able to find from American sources are so expensive. I just got Paris Combo's Living Room, and what I've heard of that is enjoyable. Triumph the Insult Comic Dog's album still makes me laugh. On the TV front, I've been enjoying Arrested Development, as well as the new Season Two DVD of Strangers With Candy. I haven't been to the movies lately, since for some reason I feel better about staying home and wasting time than leaving the house to do something enriching rather than studying.

I can't help but think that something exciting happened this week that's at least as worthy of note as what I've been listening to. A friend quit his job as a teacher to deliver pizzas. I won about $200 at Viejas. Nothing else of note to share.

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