Letters to Holly

Friday, July 22

Star Wars Blu-Ray Preview

We'll get the first three films for sure, probably not the prequels.

Thursday, July 21

System Addendum

I popped into Gamestop during lunch and spotted this, a Wii controller designed like the XBox/PS3 versions:

I suppose this means you needn't disqualify Wii as an option. However, this contraption looks flimsy, and I can't vouch for the number of games it might work with. I'd still look to the other systems.

A used PS3 starts at $249; a used XBox runs $149. Depending on what comparable video services you get through your laptop, the PS3 price may be worth it.

Wednesday, July 20


"Oh, just traipse down to Blockbuster and rent a game system."

Or maybe you live in a town, as I do, that just lost its Blockbuster. I'm saddened. I relied on the Buster of Blocks weekly in my high-school days (for movies my parents would/will never approve), and it served me well through my 20s and even after I married into your family. We hadn't stepped foot in our local store in maybe two years as we took advantage of the satellite dish's recorder and on-demand movie service, but still, it was a comforting presence. If the internets collapsed, we could always rent a DVD. No longer.

Just last week, I bought my first DVD in a year. Barnes & Noble had a Criterion DVD sale, and I got a copy of Naked Lunch for $20. I talked it up back in January. I specifically got it for the director/actor commentary, and it may be months before I can crack it open. It'll play in the background as I work on the next comic.

And on my lunch break, I noticed the Tunnel Road Blockbuster is also closed.

Hey, if there's a GameStop in town, you might be able to buy a used system for a song. They can also hook you up with all the equipment you might need.

Picture of the Day
Here's Entertainment Weekly's first look at the new Spider-Man and Gwen Stacy. They look the part, gotta say. Not sure we need another origin retelling for Spidey though.

Tuesday, July 19

Let's Talk Game Systems

If you're looking for a game system to build eye-hand coordination, X-Box or PlayStation are your options. The Nintendo Wii is a motion controller with some buttons. It's a wand. Both X-Box and PlayStation offer body-motion control systems, but they also have the multi-button controllers too.

There are 12 buttons and two control sticks on their current controllers. You can swivel the sticks with your thumbs, and they also depress as a control option. There are wireless versions that provide vibrating feedback which parallels game action. The controllers recharge via USB connections to the systems. Here, the systems are equal.

So let's say you buy the system I have, the PS3. In addition to the eye-hand development, the system will connect online to allow Internet browsing and Netflix streaming. The PS3 is designed to be an all-in-one, providing photo, audio, and video playback on your TV. You can jack your laptop to it and stream your files. It's swank.

But to take advantage of the eye/hand development, you'll need to pick the big games, the biggest franchises in a variety of genres: sports, first-person shootes, role-playing, etc.

I recommend three games right now: Red Dead Redemption (a cowboy game), Uncharted 2 (an Indiana Jones adventure type, and I recommend this one for the humor and variety) and InFamous2 (a superhero game). These games make you use as many as four buttons at one time, meaning your thumbs and index fingers will be in play in various combinations within seconds of each other. This builds up your skills the most.

Almost any game offers a control tutorial to get you started so you could walk into any game with no previous controller experience and be fine. You'll go from random button-mashing to specific finger combinations within minutes, and you won't even look at your hands within half an hour. We had fun with Katamari Damacy, and that game also offers multi-button control but not on the split-second control change like the three games I mentioned above. You can download free demos through the PS3 and rent games from local outlets including, probably, the closest grocery store.

So, you gots options. Let's start from here.

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The boy is back at daycare, and his extended time away did him no favors. He was quiet and nervous as we walked in the door and a crying wreck before I left. It's not easy, but I think I honestly can weather this better than Your Sister. She's still new at leaving him, and she hasn't dropped him off at daycare. She's at work today for a full-day school meeting.

Picture of the Day
My Buddy.
My Buddy.
My Buddy and me!

Monday, July 18

We Said No. No, We Said.

The boy has taken a decidedly obstinate turn, and we're playing the heavies. As a symptom of his daycare experience, he know think everything of interest can be grabbed and clutched. Getting a valuable item back from him is like yanking it from a lion's jaw, and he melts down when it's taken away. We try to distract him by pointing out the half-dozen geegaws he can play with, but the shrieking continues. This is pouting, and I'll only tolerate the silent version. Shrieking is verboten. Your Sister administered her first spanking last night when he stood up in the tub. I think I spanked him some months back to shock him out of a crying fit.

I missed the bath smack as I was watching Transformers 3, a film that exists for one technically astounding siege of Chicago that lasts one hour. Unfortunately, you have to sit through almost 90 minutes of inexcusable mugging and mindless plots to get there. The kid liked it, and I might have a movie date for Captain America. There's a cool revision of the Apollo moon missions involving talking robots, and I wondered what the Apollo astronauts might think of this. About an hour later, onto the screen walks Buzz Aldrin, the second moon walker. Good for him for getting a movie paycheck and a shout-out from Optimus Prime. That may have done more for NASA's cool factor than the last three shuttle launches.

Your Sis took the sidekick back to the doctor to confirm the hallelujah rash is just that. And he did. This means she can go back to daycare. Also, he isn't going to keel over at any moment, which is also good.

My eyes feel better, not so tender at the periphery. My stomach is a ruin after two consecutive nights of event food.

Picture of the Day
We're Facebook famous in a unidentified, regional, sport-specific manner. I mentioned derby to the movie buddy, and he said he was dying to go. I want to encourage his interest, but I don't want to expand our partnership much farther. I can be his friend, but I can't be his best friend.