Wouldn't It Be Cool If...?

When I was a kid, maybe nine or ten, I watched a nature documentary following a team of scientists in Antarctica. I don’t remember much about it other than some shots of ice and penguins, and also that I cried.

Let me stop right there to clarify your portrait of young-me. Yes, I was a ten-year-old kid who watched documentaries ON PURPOSE. And YES I think it was during a bright summer day when I could have been outside riding my bike or whatever it is kids without a lot of Star Trek action figures do. But! The crying part was out of character. I don’t cry often, and I don’t have any other memories of crying as a kid. It’s just that something really got to me about this show.

Like most kids, I had a sense of wonder about this huge, unknowable world we live in. In school, I learned about Christopher Columbus, Ferdinand Magellan, Lewis and Clark… brave men who tore through the dark corners of the earth in search of fame and adventure! (Also slaves and gold, etc...) The frontier, you know? …

Top 10 Music of 2012

I know I said movies would be next, but I figured since I can't fnish that till this weekend anyway, I'd go ahead and do this one.

So this list is going to be a little different. Since college, I've tended to be a bit...behind when it comes to music. Therefore, a couple of my favorite songs from 2012 were actually released in 2011. To be fair, they came out at the end of 2011, so, come on. Just let me have this. I'm not friggin Pitchfork or anything.

Okay, so I told you this list was going to be weird. Besides some of the music technically being from 2011, I'm often not even listing full albums. Some will be soundtracks, some are just songs. What can I say? It's a brave new world of music acquisition. If it's a full album, I'll put a little * next to the name.

10) *Bhiman, Bhi Bhiman
Saw this guy before a Rosie Thomas show. I had no idea what I was listening to, but I knew I liked it. I... can't explain. Just watch the video…

Top 10 Games of 2012

So I've decided I want to list my favorite things from this year. Games, movies, and music. (Maybe books if I don't burn out.) Now, these may not be the best things ever to happen in their respective mediums, but they're all going to be something that entertained me, made me think, or really stood out among the crowded field of entertainment options we're increasingly exposed to. Anyway, it's fun to think back on the previous year, right? Alright, I'm starting things off with:

Remember, these aren't necessarily the best games of the year. I don't play 'em all or anything. These were just my personal favorite.

10) Dust: An Elysian Tale This game kinda came out of nowhere for me. It was apparently made almost entirely by one dude, but it doesn't show. It's a deep, fun, Metroidvania-style game with really impressive animation. Look past the furry fan art, and play the thing.

9) Spec-Ops: The Line I'm pretty sick of &…

Supes and Dee

Superman floats 30,000 feet above the ground, listening to the voices of humanity.
 “…taking the dog for a walk…”
“I don’t know, honey, I guess it was a wrong num…” “…is the greatest threat to American…” “…this week on the countdown…”
His hearing is thousands of times better than a human’s, but he still has trouble distinguishing the various voices. He wants to help these people, wants to make their lives safer--better--but there’s so many of them. When Superman first arrived at his adopted home, there were 2 billion Earthlings. Now there are more than twice that many in Asia alone. How can he hear who... “Superman, HELP!”
And the Man of Steel is off. Even within the thunderous noise of humanity’s collective voice, a simple “help” is easily understood. Jetting through the clouds, he stops every few seconds to pinpoint the troubled voice’s source. “Help! Help! Superman!” It’s a woman, and American, judging by the accent. The drawn-out “help” (it sounds like “heyl-puh”) narrows i…

We Cool?

How old are we when we first begin separating into cliques? High School seems to be the apex of this particular paradigm--jock, prep, goth, punk, nerd... the whole Breakfast Club thing--but it must start sooner than that. I can remember junior high being pretty clique-oriented, too. In seventh and eighth grade recess, most of the boys would usually gather to play touch football. I tried to join them once, but after making what I presume was a terrible mistake on the field, I was told by a kid fully a foot shorter than me that "if you can't play with the big dogs, stay on the porch!" I assume he read that off of a t-shirt at some point and it really stuck with him. Anyway, after that I went back to my usual recess activity: "hanging out." I was obviously not a jock.

As an adult, it's hard to look at little kids of eight or nine and think of them in terms of social status within their peer group, but I can remember that even then, there's a kind of hierar…

The Intruder

The morning of my eleventh birthday, I woke up to my dog Scarlett softly growling. Scarlett was a sweet little Irish setter mix. Stupidest dog I ever owned, but sweet and loyal. She slept on the floor in my room, guarding me from all the dangers the suburbs have to offer: squirrels, laughing children, more squirrels. I had never heard her growl in the night, though, and yet here she was: letting loose a constant, low, warning growl. Frightened, I opened my eyes only a little. Silhouetted against the dim, early-morning light was a man. He was standing there, over my bed, watching me sleep. Terrified, I kept myself still, pretending to be asleep so as not to alert the intruder.

As my sleepiness faded a little, I began to reason: why would someone break in to my room just to watch me sleep? I must be imagining things, I reasoned. It’s probably just a trick of the light! I cracked my eyes open just enough- nope! It was a man, alright! And not my father—this man was roughly the same heigh…