September 30, 2005

7 Habits of Highly Successful People

7 Habits of Highly Successful People

Posted by aarondf at 04:52 PM | Links | Comments (0)

September 27, 2005

Movie: Brothers

This is a Danish movie and got quite good critical reviews but I'm really not sure it makes a lot of sense. I found the early part pretty boring up until Michael's horrible choice. After that, the movie completely changes dynamics but things don't make sense to me. Why is Michael not looked at by a psychotherapist after such an ordeal - even not knowing the specifics, I would think this would be standard operating procedure. And then, even if not earlier, why doesn't his wife or military superior suggest it? It is incredibly obvious to his wife that something has radically changed with him and that he won't tell her what happens and yet she doesn't suggest therapy? I just found myself incredibly distracted from the movie's strong points by the constant question of - why doesn't Michael seek or be forced into therapy? The movie almost seems to be an add for therapy, showing what happens when you undergo a horrible ordeal and refuse to deal with it.

I am also curious what the military reaction in most countries would be if it came out exactly what happened and the full circumstances around it? Would he be court-martialled and with what expected punishment? Or is this most horrible of things possibly acceptable (in a horribly tragic way) in this most extreme of situations, resulting possibly in an honorable discharge and therapy.

Oh, I gave the movie a somewhat random ***. Some parts deserve better and some worse.

Posted by aarondf at 11:56 AM | Movies | Comments (0)

September 14, 2005

Why the poor response to Katrina, especially after 9/11?

Bruce Schneier with another excellent article on security and cost-benefit choices in the wake of Katrina. This feels repetitive to me by this point but it certainly seems that many don't yet get this, at the highest levels where they need to.

Posted by aarondf at 03:26 PM | Links | Comments (0)

September 12, 2005

TV on DVD: The Wire

Have out now from Netflix the second disk of the first season of HBO's The Wire which I expected to be good but turns out to be great. Absolutely riveting and great writing and acting; probably even better than The Sopranos. ****1/2

Posted by aarondf at 02:54 PM | Television | Comments (0)

A bunch of new games

Played a bunch of games new to me over the weekend and several were good or interesting enough to mention.

The best game I played was the new release in the Kosmos 2-player series Jambo, which I only played once but might be my favorite 2-player game (caveat needed because I really like Rosenkonig played with the not-included Texas rules for a 4-player partnership game) in the series. The decisions in the game are very interesting and really nice artwork to go along with that. A couple of people there have already played it in the short time its been released like 40-50 times and it is not a super-short game. Definite buy and initial rating of 8.5.

Second best was Ars Mysteriorum which is the first Alan Ernstein game I've liked. It is basically an economic game with players as alchemists learning alchemical recipes. It uses a blind card placement mechanic to acquire resources similar to that in Aladdin's Dragons but somehow here it seemed to work better and rarely did one get an amount significantly different than one expected to. The recipes chart was also interesting where some recipes pay out much better early while others pay out poorly in the early game (but are also a bit cheaper to acquire) but can give a big bonus at the end. I ended up going for the latter group and amazingly won the endgame bonus in the top 3 of 5 categories in a 4 player game to let me run away with the game at the end. I probably won't make an effort to get this one (and it is rare) but would definitely happily play again - 7.5.

The only other of the new games that I'd have any interest in playing again is the new Hasbro Avalon Hill game Nexus Ops which is a light wargame. Players get income to buy units which they use to take over more income-producing spaces and to kill other players and gain victory points. Has some of the usual multi-player wargame problems but the reward for winning battles helps. In our game Brian got a lucky turn order enabling him to take the Monolith first and then got lucky (as well as taking advantage of the Energize cards rewarded for being first to the Monolith) to beat me when I attacked. This basically took me out of the game and then Matt decided to fight with the 4th player in the game rather than attacking Brian, basically letting Brian just cruise to victory by controlling the monolith the whole game. Rating 6. The components of this one are very nice and apparently it is currently available for $16 somewhere online which is an excellent deal but I don't want to own it.

On the poor side of games were Bedlam, a mediocre Pit variant, and the very random and just not very interesting die-rolling game Lucky Loop. Neither are worth playing again.

The final game which I hadn't played before was the very odd dexterity game Polarity which involves placing magnetic pieces on a board in a manner so that, because of magnetic repulsion a piece is leaning but not touching into another piece (follow the link to see a picture - hard to explain). I not at all surprisingly was terrible at this game and got absolutely crushed by Brian who I don't think made any mistakes.

Ended the night with the excellent The Great Dalmutti and quite good old Dirk Henn game Spekulation

Posted by aarondf at 12:59 PM | Games | Comments (0)

Movies: All About Eve

All About Eve is the 1950 Best Picture winner and #58 on the IMDB list of all movies and really is a very good movie but I didn't like it very much, and honestly like almost no old movies very much. Somehow, most of these old movies feel very stilted and slow to me. This movie in particular felt like something of a cross between real theatre (on a stage live) and what I think of as a (modern) movie and not as enjoyable as either. It lacks the in the moment emotional power of live theatre but also the (gritty) realism of modern dramas. Pretty much the only movies on the IMDB Top 250 prior to 1965 that I really like are foreign (mostly Kurosawa) or action films There are of course some exceptions ("The General" for instance) but it is surprising to me how little most old movies do for me.

Posted by aarondf at 12:48 PM | | Comments (0)

September 07, 2005

World of Warcraft article in NYT

The New York Times has an article on World of Warcraft today. I think they correctly note Warcraft's strongest point of being both accessible and deep. Yes, it also has a cool world and great graphics and all but as always the gameplay is the thing and Blizzard is incredibly good at getting it right.

Posted by aarondf at 05:36 PM | Links | Comments (0)