I’m about to go traveling again and realised I’ve been remiss about finishing off the posts from the last lot of travels… now almost 18 months ago… Quelle Horreur… so slack… but to redress the balance… here are images from a lovely (cold) week in NYC. Where most of the time was spent hanging out, spending time with a lovely friend (for the first time, in person) and where we did at least venture into the city once or twice… to see a show and visit a museum/gallery that’s been on my bucket list… for like, forever…
I got into two arguments this morning. Two. With car drivers.
This was not so much a road-rage situation as a road-bemusement one… Bemusement because I was the pedestrian, crossing roads with an island in the middle… the kind of island that was there so I may stop and give way to the cars turning into the street in front of me. Argument because in both cases, as I stood in that island and waved the cars through while they were pausing to let me finish crossing – they, in turn resolutely staying stationary waving at at me, so that I would cross… and while they did this the cars banked up behind them so that I had no choice but to cross so that there didn’t end up being a traffic jam.
I have to laugh at the picture that remains in my mind of us people both determinedly waving at each other… neither of us moving. It puts me in mind of that old KFC ad… “I said now you go.. and Hugo said you go…”
I was completing my walk down the main road of my suburb and the tram went past… the poor tram driver got stuck behind a driver who was reversing into a parking space… I feel sure he just wanted to ding the hell out of his bell to hurry that driver up… but these things rarely serve to do more than fluster people so there he sat, this rhinoceros on wheels and waited… I gave it no further thought..
until the phone rang… “Hey Dee! I just went past you on the tram… how’s things?” and so we chatted… my neighbour and I and she told me that my DVD, the one I’d lent to the waitress at the restaurant across the street had been returned while I was out… so now we have a plan for a catchup this afternoon and the return of the DVD…
*HONK HONK* “HEY DEE!
They yell out the window… the chef and the waitress, yelling to say Hi as I’m walking up that same main road while they’re driving past… this isn’t the first time I’ve been honked at because I’ve been recognised. It seems somehow friendlier, if a little more embarrassing than the quiet acknowledgement that happens much later when someone says “hey, I saw you walking up the street yesterday” … Don’t you think there’s something creepy about that?
It’s also funnier if you have your headphones on and only just make the connection and turn to wave in return as they fly past.
BRIIIING!! Crash… OUCH… OOOPS, Sorry!!
Hit by a marauding scooting 2 year old on the Anniversary Trail, her papa hot on her heels but not quite quick enough to avoid the collision… her mother and 8month old sister following along behind…. How do I know? Dad is my osteopath…
The moral of the story.. is … if you’re going to get run over… might was well be in the company of the person who sees you in your underwear more often than anyone else…
Hey Dee!!! Again… a drive by greeting!! This time, the publican at that crazy pub across the road… “When are you coming in for a drink??!!!”
This is my neighbourhood… I won’t lie… it feels good to know and be known.
I love it here.
Over the years I’ve made my peace with those quirks in my nature that out me completely as a ‘nerd’, or if you prefer a ‘geek’. The funny thing is, those qualities were dormant for years, rearing their heads on occasion, but never firmly pushing me over the edge into that [previously scary] territory wherein being a geek/nerd/gamer was completely socially unacceptable.
I’m kinda glad that geek is chic these days. I feel less weird about the fact that I spent all day yesterday afternoon watching end to end episodes of ‘The Guild‘ while my nose was completely buried in ‘The Room‘.**
It’s on the basis that it’s the top game for iPad in 2012 that I downloaded the Room yesterday. And it’s worthy of the title. So worthy I played it all the way through over a number of hours yesterday afternoon, and loved it so much I reset it and played it all the way through again this morning.
I love it because it takes me right back to those early days of computer gaming that first pegged me as a nerd/geek/gamer way back in the early 90s. It has puzzles, teasers and all the tricks that are completely absorbing (not to mention stunningly beautiful graphics that blow you away on the retina iPad) and is absolutely my favourite kind of computer game. Which leads me to reminisce for a minute or two about those other computer games that have captured me over the years…
Initially it was those early DOS games… such 8bit goodness in video and sound!! Aaaah, the memories…
The first one I came across (read fell in love with was) Hugo’s House of Horrors, followed by Hugo 3 Jungle of Doom (Suzy, I remember playing that with you for some reason…). It wasn’t until much later that I found Hugo 2:Whodunnit and played it on some DOS emulator… well and truly after its first release… still very clever even when it was long passed over as archaic!
Where in the World is Carmen San Diego was one of the first games I played on Windows. Very early Windows and it was the highlight of one of my babysitting gigs… the kids I looked after owned it so it was a great day when I got to go over and hang out with them… playing Carmen well and truly into the night hours after they’d gone to bed! My favourite things.. mystery and international travel… all in one wee game. I’ve never seen it in the years since.. is it still out there??
Somewhere in the middle of all this, I was introduced to the Neverhood (I think it was my brother-in-law who found it). Gosh, whenever I pull this disc out I get nostalgic for all the kids I’ve introduced it to over the years, it’s another game that could use an outing on the iPad. It’s just so flipping awesome… if only because it’s completely built in claymation and follows an everyman hero through a journey to save his world. It’s perfect for adults and children and if you have a chance, and the right equipment, you should definitely try and get your hands on it.
I think I hit a bit of a lull after that, I moved north, didn’t have access to games or a computer other than in the context of work so I didn’t pick up any kind of games again until 2000 when I was introduced to the LucasArts games by the geek I was nannying for. He hooked me up with some great games that his kids and I played through (not sure who was the bigger kid at that point) and through them I fell in love with the Myst, the Monkey Island Series and with Grim Fandango (see below). They introduced me to this whole genre of adventure games and I was hooked and for as long as I have had a computer… (which he generously hooked me up with as well (nerd, built one for me from spare parts. Genius)) these have been my games of choice. None of this First Person Shooter malarkey, just good old fashioned brain bending puzzles!!!
Once I had a machine of my own I picked up the early Monkey Island games, Secret of Monkey Island, Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s revenge, The Curse of Monkey Island, the aforementioned kids and I played Monkey Island 4: Escape from Monkey Island together, and my nephews and I are slowly working our way through Monkey Island 5: Tales of Monkey Island whenever I go back to NZ.
I’m doing my best to turn them into game nerds too… much to their parent’s chagrin.
[as an aside… I also got into SimCity and Caesar IV – but only lasted as long as it took to build a city that would then need strategic defense… Then it got boring.]
Grim Fandango would pretty much be my hands down favourite of that era, as much as the Monkeys are cool, Grim just tickled my sense of humour and my style. It’s another adventure game but one whose look and feel is straight out of film noir though is set with themes, figures and motifs from Aztec belief in the afterlife (underworld, day of the dead… sounds dreadful… really is awesome – geek much?). The game play is set around Manny Calavera, a courier who shuttles people from death into the afterlife, the class of the journey determined by the deeds of the deceased while in the land of the living. You kinda have to be there, but I have an old windows machine and a copy of Grim that I pull out every couple of years, just for the hell of it. It really is a great game!! Wonder if it, like the monkeys, will get another life on the iPad… (fingers crossed).
The other game series I was introduced to in those nannying years was MYST, an absolute classic of the genre and still really highly regarded as one of the better puzzle adventure series out there.
I played MYST 1 with those aforementioned kids and went on to play Riven, Exile, Revelation and End of Ages (still haven’t finished that one). They’re incredibly challenging and these days, due to time constraints I never really can sit down and just play through, even with a walkthrough to speed things up. But they are beautiful to look at and so, so cleverly put together.
There are elements of the Room that remind me of playing that first MYST game, the puzzles are challenging but accessible, there is no need to be jumping back and forth to guides to get where you need to go, just a bit of patience and some lateral thinking.
Finally, I was outed as a gamer to one of the pastors in my old church, also an unashamed PC gamer who loves Adventure Games like I do… he handed me down a bunch of his old favourites, some I’m still yet to get through but among them are Schizm, Mysterious Journey 1&2, and Riddle of the Sphinx (aah, Egypt and adventures, what’s not to love!).
I never got into consoles, have never owned a Nintendo DS or any of those other ‘gaming only’ type devices, I suspect that what would happen if I did is that I’d lose myself in games never to be found again, or, if my iPhone habits are to be believed, I’d spend a fair bit of cash on games that I get sick of before I complete them leaving it like my iPhone, cluttered with unused apps that will likely never see the light of day again and no small amount of money wasted…
As it is, if companies keep cooking up games as good as the Room then I’m satisfied the genre isn’t going anywhere yet, and if we’re lucky Adventure Gaming will have a whole new renaissance and a whole new crop of young adventurous geeky followers… stuff it, let’s just say ‘young at heart’ adventurous geeky followers…
I shall unashamedly name myself among them.
**As an aside, for those who are uninitiated, ‘The Guild’ is a web tv series made by uber chick geek Felica Day which has run for 6 seasons and which celebrates all things MMORPG (massive multi-player online role playing game – think World of Warcraft).
Across the Road
One of the lovely things about the old digs in Sydney is that across the road there was a corner store; such a convenient thing to have within easy reach when you’re in need of an afternoon Coke Zero or a bag of chips. (I know, shocking habit, but OMG Yum, right?) The other lovely thing about that corner store was that it is an Asian grocery, so I had immediately to hand, wonderful things like fried tofu, tamarind paste (mmm, Pad Thai) and real authentic green curry paste.
Gosh, just talking about that store has me missing it already.
These new digs don’t have a corner store across the road. There’s a servo, so I can buy petrol and (at a pinch) overpriced milk etc. but by and large I’ll be doing my shopping at the Coles or Woolies down in Camberwell which is an easy walk or tram ride. Heck I might even get myself one of those nanna trolleys to get stuff home with. Because, if I’m honest, it isn’t so unusual for me to go and do my whole week’s shopping, forgetting I don’t have the car with me, and then find myself having to struggle getting home with more groceries than I can manage. [Adds nanna trolley to the mental shopping list].
The venue of interest across the road in these parts (which I believe is going to be rather a popular) is a watering hole, a drinking establishment, a pub of sorts.
This place is noteworthy more for its quaint charm than for the fact that it’s across the road from me. Truth is, it’s half bottleshop (bottle-o to the locals) and half ‘pub/winebar’. So you can pop in and pick up a six pack to take home and get completely sidetracked by the fact there’s a friendly face at the bar, a few tables dotted around and a lovely black replica (presumably) van der Rohe Barcelona sofa lining one wall.
There’s something uniquely Australian about the decor. The corrugated iron cladding on the wall is reminiscent of an old shearing shed, framed prints of patrons and some other slightly more arty prints almost lend an air of sophistication. There’s no pub grub here but you can bring in your burger and fries, or fish and chips from next door and scoff them down as you quaff your brew; heck you can even call Crust up the road and have them deliver you a pizza, (that’s ingenuity for you).
Finally, and most importantly there’s only one beer on tap, thankfully it’s Blue Tongue*, a nice inoffensive drop and a regular feature in my beer drinking repertoire.
Frankly, I can see a quick pot across the road at the end of the day could become a habit, it certainly is for at least two of my neighbours. But, best of all, when I walk in the door? If Brad’s behind the bar he will call out ‘Dee!’ as if I was a local already…
I’m ridiculously grateful that it’s not VB, this is Victoria, after all. Also, in an unrelated note, drinking Blue Tongue beer will not give you a blue tongue, to my mind this is false advertising… but, still, it tastes like quite nice beer, so, there’s that.