“Second Skin” is a
documentary focusing on gamers who play Massively Multiplayer Online
Roleplaying Games (MMORPGs). It follows a few small groups of gamers
distributed around the country, all playing either World of Warcraft (WoW)
or Everquest II (EQ2). All are rather committed to their games, some
consider themselves addicted, with one entering himself into a 12-step
program to try and break is addiction
Given how easily these subjects could have been played for laughs, I felt
this movie was surprisingly even-handed. There were clearly some moments
where humor was at the expense of the subjects, but they were few and far
between. It was suprising in the Q&A with the filmmakers after the
screening that the first question was basically a complaint that the film
showed gamers in a negative light. It seemed clear to me that this person
was just bringing their own baggage to the event.
That’s not to say that the movie didn’t have it’s flaws. The
“storylines” of the various sets of subjects were intercut, and at times it
was difficult to keep track of the relationships and who the various players
were. I also would have liked to see more information about the rehab
facility. The woman who ran the facility seemed to have a very negative
opinion of gamers, accusing them of feigned helplessness and laziness. She
didn’t strike me as emitting the kind of energy that someone in recovery
really needs. And as far as I can tell from the film, her only
accreditation is that her son was an addicted gamer. The film presented her
as a very negative character, and I wonder how true that is.
Online gamers are often dismissed as anti-social losers, but this look
into the lives of gamers and the relationships built between them is an
interesting counterpoint to conventional wisdom.
My birthday was bad-ass, really went above-and-beyond to make me feel like my birthday lasted forever. She had already gotten me Rock Band earlier in the month, which we’ve been playing the hell out of. She also threw me a killer birthday party, where a bunch of people joined us for a bit of the game as well as the final “Greatest Action Movie Showdown of All Time” between “Die Hard” and “The Bourne Identity”. Coco has maintained for quite some time that Bourne was superior, but we all know the truth. I think everyone had a blast.
On my birthday, Corinna got me yet another birthday present, a Japanese Peace Lily. Admittedly, I was unable to identify the plant on my own, but as soon as she clued me in I started dying. I got a bunch of other gifts as well, including a meat manual and a few more seasons of South Park from the fam.
Other than that, the baseball season has finally fired up. The Sox opened the season in Tokyo a week ago, which meant for very early games here in the States, 6am. To help celebrate the Great Day, I woke up at 4:45am and whipped up 40-sum pancakes (from scratch) and 3.5 lbs of delicious bacon. 10-12 people joined us in watching the Sox win. Afterwards there was Rock Band to be played and we took a trip to Kelly’s Roast Beef for the goodness. Sorry if I wasn’t able to invite you, but our living room is only so big and it was tough enough managing three electric griddles…. I was pretty much at the limit of my pancake fabrication abilities (18 pancakes at a time).
Tomorrow I’m heading out to Austin for the nuptials of Nate and Lilly. I’ve never been to Austin before, and I’m expecting it will be more enjoyable than that of my other trips to Texas.
My life over the past two days has been consumed with Portal and watching baseball. Portal is the bomb. I walk to work now and think about how it would be awesome to shoot a portal there and there… I even had portal dreams last night; It has reached the Tetris level of puzzle greatness where it consumes most of my thoughts during the day. I haven’t even played Half-Life: Episode Two yet.
The Sox game last night was awesome, Hopefully they’ll keep up the good work and win through game 7. Our new couch is apparently being delivered tonight, which will hopefully increase guest comfort.
This weekend was the Brainwaves Festival over in Arlington, which was a ton of fun. Jon really did a great job pulling the whole thing together, and while I wasn’t in to every artist, it was great seeing so many different bands. The highlight for me was The Dresden Dolls turning out a great set (even if they seemed out of place in the midst of the other bands on the lineup). Amanda and Brian brought out Edward Ka-Spel (from The Legendary Pink Dots and The Tear Garden) for “Missed Me”. I’m not the biggest Ka-Spel fan (I actually left before his set, closing out Friday, was over, but I was mostly just exhausted).
After a Kelly’s brunch, I made it back to the theatre on time on Saturday Afternoon. This daytime lineup seemed to be mostly noise artists, which can always be hit-or-miss. Fortunately, none of them seemed to take themselves too seriously, which made it more palatable. came out Saturday night to join me, and it was great seeing him again and catching up. Saturday night was definitely my favorite overall night of the show. It was dedicated to Steven Stapleton, who did a “DJ” set playing some of his favorite records. All of the artists Saturday night were enjoyable, but the stand-out band were also the headliners, Volcano the Bear. They had great energy, and while at times they seemed to be in Schtick Coma, they really rocked it out.
I missed the final day of the festival as I had previously committed to heading over to ‘s place for some Nintendo Wii love. He has preordered his and was having a big party to celebrate (and play). We mostly played Wii Sports, Tennis and Baseball are the standout games, but Bowling is pretty cool too. Golf and Boxing were a bit spottier though. Boxing definitely felt like your actions with the remote had the least correspondence to what happened on screen. That, and Corinna kicked my ass at Boxing, so I can’t like it. :P
We played from like noon until 6pm, when and I had to run off to see “Casino Royale”. I really, really enjoyed it, as did seemingly everyone who showed up to the club this week (17 people!). Definitely removed the crappier aspects of Bond for the past however-many years and stuck to spying and action (Parkour FTW).
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