Thursday, March 25, 2010

"Intriguing Duality?!"

Had an incident with a dog when I got home. It's not what you're thinking, though I can hardly blame you for thinking it. My run-ins with dogs a matter of public record. Some of the Mexican children who live next door (it's okay, they have parents--it's not some "Lord of the Flies" thing) were scampering about in the parking lot, as Californian youngsters are known to do. They spend their lives in cars, so it's natural. I pulled in, and they started running towards my car. This was unsettling; running children should be increasing their distance from oncoming traffic, not the other way around. But then I heard the yelp of their dog, and hit the brakes in a panic reaction.

Let's understand before I go on that this dog is an asshole. It is a black chihuahua--I was going to call it a "small black chihuahua" but that's just a waste--and it never stops barking. I should clarify; it never stops barking except when it's in lethal danger because you're about to hit it with your car. Then it drops into silent running like it was aboard the Red October. Being a tiny little creature, it is naturally adapted to stealth. When you're not about to kill it with a motor vehicle, it yaps and snarls and hops around your ankles in what it imagines is a menacing fashion. It has no affection whatsoever for any human being who is not a Mexican child--the little shit even seems to hate the adults in that household. It possesses no redeeming qualities. It's not even cute in the way that most small furry animals manage to be cute in spite of themselves. It resides comfortably in the Ferret Zone: the taxonomic region populated by animals whose odor and viciousness preclude all but the most fleeting illusions of cuteness. But somehow, the convenience of such a tiny dog (tiny poops!) became more important than the animal actually being appealing. You see the same thing with parents--even the ones with ugly babies still seem to like them. It's a conundrum.

Once I'd stopped the car I started to look around for the dog. I figured I hadn't hit it because if I had, the kids would be screaming and crying. But at the same time, I couldn't figure out where the little fucker was because it's a goddamn chihuahua. Another reason to despise the breed. Not only are real dogs much easier to see and avoid, but they're actually noticeable if you do hit them. If I killed a Golden Retriever, I'd feel it. Chihuahua? You don't feel anything. Not even inside your heart. The kids reached my car and spirited the little guy off to safety. I hadn't killed him after all. But I kinda wish I had. I take that back--I don't wish I'd killed that stupid dog. I wish somebody else had done it.

After the initial tears, would it really have been so bad? It's not like anyone can blame you for inadvertently greasing a tiny little animal like that. You can't see it, can't hear it, can't feel it. And what the hell is this tiny creature doing romping around the wheels of a car anyway? I know the answer, actually: it's an twitchy overbred abomination and it doesn't know any better. If anything, it would have been the kids' fault for letting it run loose. Damn, the more I discuss this the more it feels like a squandered opportunity. C'est la vie. That's French for "fuck little obnoxious dogs."


God of War 3 has been on the edge of my periphery lately. That's the edge of an edge, for those of you educated in the words of Science. Rob has been plowing through it and I hope to enjoy the experience once he's done. The controller might be a little sticky, but beggars can't be choosers. In any case, the game is a remarkable achievement. Remember all the means things I've said about Dante's Inferno? While Kratos' latest adventure falls into some of the same traps (the pull of Shitty Dialogue on the writers of video games must resemble that of a singularity), I can't bring myself to say a word against it. It's though somebody ground up pure uncut Awesome and rubbed it into my eyelids. It's also one of the most metal games ever made.

My co-workers hate it when I describe anything as "metal." Clods that they are, they insist the adjective is meaningless. I will concede it is nebulous, but the concept is similar to pornography: I know it when I see it, and I would like to see as much of it as possible. During the opening sequence, you battle a snake with spider legs and a horse's head that Poseidon summoned from the sea. This Uberhorse has impaled a mighty stone giant, and you fight it as a speck on the surface of the giant's body. The giant itself is merely landscape, and you ultimately finish the battle by tearing the Uberhorse's lower jaw off in spectacular fashion as you fly through the air. Later, you kill Poseidon using the creative tactic of punching him in the face over and over until he is dead dead dead. I'm not sure what you think of when you hear the word "metal," but that is fucking metal. It could be more metal, but that would involve Kratos beating his foes to death with the severed head of a unicorn while the mountains catch fire behind him. Ever hear of Hermes? Well, not anymore you haven't because Kratos pulled his head clean off (bare hands, again) and is using it as a lamp. It projects light from its mouth and eye sockets, you see. Kratos is nothing if not practical. Like the Native Americans, he uses every part of the proverbial buffalo.

The game really must be seen to be believed. The animation, the style and the sense of scale make other games look foolish. In God of War 3, you can see Hades slaughter a Titan (as in, Clash of the Titans) in spectacular fashion as it attempts to climb the slopes of Mount Olympus. That happens in the background of the first level. This is the kind of gauntlet-throwing that happens once in a decade for gamers, and every weekend for the passionate, devoted workers of your local Renaissance Faire.

P.S. I'm watching the Xavier-Kansas State overtime as I write this, and the Kansas State coach looks like he's about to burst into flames. Not since Redman dropped Cheetos on Dean Cain's rug have I seen such incandescent rage. On the one hand, he's right to be angry because K State got completely hosed at the end of regulation. On the other, the subsequent overtime has allowed Gus Johnson to rev up to fifth gear. I bet if the K State coach could hear Gus' play-by-play he'd feel sunnier.

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