Friday, August 31, 2007

More mewling fluff


Thursday, August 30, 2007

Cloakroom and Dagger

Back in 1975 or thereabouts, then-U.S. Representative Larry Craig got all up in then-U.S. Representative Tom Harkin's face and promised Tom that a "right wing revolution" would be coming his way very shortly. Maybe he was prescient; Karl Rove, FOX News and radio thugs like Rush Limbaugh certainly made public life uncomfortably bitter for awhile.

Personally, I think Craig was never more than a lightweight, and probably had little, if anything, to do with the pendulum swing to the Right that's just now slogging down in the congealed wake of bloody Iraq, but it was the kind of memorable snarkiness that you don't expect from grownups.

I haven't had so much fun watching a nabob sputter in his own grease since Spiro Agnew. Deeeeelightful.



Star Ocean (the original, and yes, I bought my cartridge on eBay a couple years ago ;-) kind of defines non-linear game play, meaning the time comes when the plot is so unconstrained, you're not really sure what to do next. For example, I've got all four kingdom emblems and... now what? Tried a quick foray into the Mt. Metox ruins, and sure enough, it's still too hard. Hmmmmmmmm...

Congratulations to John and Kelli (my niece) on their new baby girl. What's her name [UPDATE: Emma Marie], and where are the PHOTOS?! :-)))


Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Star Ocean 4 rumors!

Wikipedia has a link dated May, 2007 with rumors about three (count 'em, 3!) new Star Ocean games in the works.

The hugely overpriced Play Station Portable is slated to get remakes of the original Star Ocean (Super Famicon) and Star Ocean: The Second Story (PS1), whispers almost good enuff to make me covet a PSP.

On top of that, the long-awaited Star Ocean 4 is supposed to be in development for some platform unannounced, but presumably either (or both) XBox 360 or Wii, since PS3 is such a grindheart.


Sunday, August 26, 2007

The Narrow Gate

I try to avoid Bible study in this blog, for obvious reasons (it tends to put people off, including myself a day later ;-) but this verse is kind of fun and was the subject of today's homily at All Saints (and every other Catholic church in the world, evidently; we all share the same missal). This is the verse that admonishes one to "strive to enter through the narrow gate" — and apparently, pastors leap onto that word strive as the key to understanding a text difficult almost to the point of distraction. Father Dave gives it a nice athletic spin, a conservative view shared by a lot of web sites (not all Catholic); in other words, "try hard."

Of course, entry through the narrow gate, the primordial Ur-gate, is the labor of childbirth, and thank you, Doctor Freud for pointing that out. There's an almost literal echo of that idea in Pure Land Buddhism, which teaches that everyone will be reborn inside a lotus blossom into the Pure Land (Heaven), if only they have uttered Namu amida butsu! (roughly, "Help me Lord Buddha!") once in their broken, unkempt, despairing and ravelled lives — to which the skeptical naturally point out that it hardly seems fair to allow, say, Adolf Hitler into heaven just for reciting a half-understood, mostly incomprehensible verbal formula. But the Buddha replies, "True, he is reborn in the Pure Land, formed like everyone else within the bud of a lotus blossom. But the bud does not open!"

You have to ask yourself which direction you're trying to go through that narrow gate. Is Heaven a fortress? Are you entering Hell, or escaping from it? Have you found your gate, yet? Dare we ask, are you born again?

The only "fortress" Dante Alighieri identifies is the overheated brazen walls of Dis, that is Hell itself. C. S. Lewis was more subtle; in The Great Divorce his guide (Dante had Virgil, Lewis was content with the forgettable George MacDonald) points out a barely perceptible crack in the dirt containing the entire abyss of Hell with the laser-like green tip of a blade of grass. It's all a matter of scale.


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Skittles... >>Blechch!<<

Yup, that obscenely sour taste in your mouth is brought to you by Skittles. You may think it's just another hoot like the Addams Family dark chocolate M&Ms ads, but it's snot.

Labels: , ,

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Bahamut... and beyond

Actually, there is no beyond; Penelo's denoument is all too short. All you get is a movie and several screenfuls of memorable names (Final Fantasy XII fans will memorize these, of course), followed by a plain old English-language owari.

Some of the cheat sheets to the contrary, it is not foreordained that Ktjn will become, wants to become, or must become "a warrior like her sister." Far from it. In my version, she becomes a shopkeeper apprentice at Migelo's and seems happy about it. The Japanese have a name (or is it a verb?) for this nascent, "just watching" stage, but it eludes me at the moment.

Also, I never got the whoop-de-do "Zodiac Spear" or "Zodiac Escutcheon", nor did I need that stuff. In fact, I never even found a shop that sells Ether, for that matter. Apparently, I got the Syphon spell instead, and that plus walking around and Save crystals seems to be all you need.

Oh, well. I missed about half the beasties list, the whole Bangaa hunter killer subquest, the Archades Hunt Club payoffs, the entire (but beckoning) Barheim Passage sidequest, a good chunk of the Zertinan Caverns, and roughly all the optional junk in Giruvegan and Pharos. Maybe I'll go back and have a little fun before essaying Bahamut again. Later.

Vayne is a cupcake at level 65 with six (mostly) useless espers plus a levelled-up B Team. A couple of points on that:
  • Gambits are a programming language roughly as sophisticated as some of the table-driven industrial process controllers I've seen (or written).
  • Also, as Nebraska well knew in its Big Red glory days, it pays to have a little thunder in your second string.
Yarr, maties, the wise, they be lavish with they lucre.


Sunday, August 12, 2007

The Road to Giruvegan

Dorothy Lamour with bunny ears? Now that's what I call eldritch!

Labels: ,

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Judge Bergan

Piece of cake, oddly enough. I've been wiping out on Rocktoise, Ring Wyrm, the thing in the Wyrm Nest, Orthros and White Mousse (not to mention the plague of flans on the ceiling in the Dying Soldier switch room in Henne Mines) for days on obdurate end. This evening, by dint of sheer fleetfootedness, I've made it to the Tchita Highlands crystal. That's a long itinerary for teleports. How much longer does it get, I wonder?


Thursday, August 02, 2007

Funny how these things turn out

The Elder Wyrm saga, in my case, ended with my next-to-last man standing — Berserked and unresponsive, slowly dying from Poison. And he lost the countdown, and died, after finishing off E.W. I thought I'd lost, then the message came up to reform the party from reserve players... Groan, they all died, except...??!

Every one of my other players were Valhalla-bound, except my last reserve — Baasch, level 11, my most underdeveloped character. All he had to do was walk back and touch the orange save crystal... and all was well.

Got the Barheim key. Met Orthros and White Mousse (and died, died, died). Met the Ring Wyrm (and ditto, ditto, ditto). Got the Windvane and found the monster in the sandstorm. Too many options, not enough interest. Time to come up for air.