Archive for March 2008

 
 

Edward Hopper and Life

Recently my wife and I went to the National Gallery of Art in DC and spent the day wandering and looking at the exhibits.  There were a number of fantastic pieces there, but is was a good, yet rather plain, painting that had the most impact on me.

An elderly man was standing in front of a wall on which was hung a single painting (Edward Hopper’s 1941 painting, Route 6, Eastham) that depicted a house and road in a rural setting that looked as if it had come from the 1940’s.  It is a fairly solitary painting with no figures, vehicles or action.  Just some houses and a road that disappears into the distance.

This man was standing, shoulders slumped, staring at the painting and that had a much greater impact on me than any of the art did.  The painting was simple and conveyed a clean, simple world of a rural mid-century home and the life that might have accompanied it.  I’m not old enough to see how life and the world has changed since that scene was commonplace and could not quite grasp the size of loss that his stance in front of the painting conveyed.

Remembering all the laughter, love, heartbreak and experiences that come in the less responsibility-ridden days of youth is already sentimental enough a loss.  Those days are gone and must now stand as they are.  I can scarcely imagine the weight my memories will carry when I reach my elder years and when my experiences to then loom as the only significant experiences I will have and not just ‘the earlier chapters of my life’.  How old will will any of us be when we come to the realization that we have already done the greatest things we will do?  I’m a positive guy, but a realist too.  Eventually age and the cultural limitations that come with it are going to flesh out that bell curve.

It is a nice piece or art but would have never sparked nearly as much in me without the look of loss on that old man’s face as he looked at it.

I suppose we spend our days trying to achieve enough so that when that day comes that we stand in front of the painting and are reminded that we’ve reached that turning point we can smile and walk away from the painting and our achievements without slumping our shoulders.  The clock is ticking, I need to get back to living.

Song Charts

This started with my finding a brilliantly mocking graph that someone had made further poking fun at the Rick-rolling Rick Astley anthem ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’.  From there I was led down a rabbit hole to a group of people that are creating graphical representations of songs.  My first one follows, long live Sammy:

Most are far more inventive and wonderful, here are 2 that you should not miss:

And here is the one that started it:  Rick Astley

Mass Effect

I never got caught up in the hype of BioWare’s Mass Effect, partially because I never felt much passion for the precursor, Knights of the Old Republic.  Even after playing KotOR I thought it OK, but not anything more than that.  That being said I rented Mass Effect one weekend a few weeks ago along with some Wii game that stunk, so badly that I forget what it was.  The verdict on Mass Effect?

Awesome.

It is not of a genre that usually hooks me but the game sucked me right in and when I had to return the game I stopped and bought a copy.  I’d wake up at 5 AM to get some playing in before the family started stirring, I’d stay up much later than I should, I’d squeeze in 1.43 minutes while making toast, I absolutely loved it.  Here is why:

  • The story is a solid, engaging SF tale.
  • The visuals are excellent, I loved that my customized character was in all cut scenes.
  • The conversation/interaction model was fun, I could play as ‘me’
  • The combat system grew on me and though was never as challenging as a straight-FPS required me to play more strategically than I usually do (read charge in with shotgun blazing).
  • I got to hook up with a cute blue alien and I think she totally dug me.  I attribute this fixation to my years of loving Pa’u Zotoh Zhaan on Farscape, behold my penchant for blue ladies.

What I was not wild about:

  • All the driving over mountain ranges (c’mon, I don’t need to shoot crap every second, but c’mon, damn)
  • Not enough blue alien ladies
  • Light instructions, no in game help to speak of and having to hit the forums to get some tips on stuff I don’t expect to have to hit forums for

If you have a 360, try it out, it is on my very short list of favorite games ever.