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End of the World of Warcraft Era

World of Warcraft. It’s geeky as hell, obviously, but it’s been a big part of my life for a lot of years. The last 5 of those years, I’ve done a lot of raiding, often at a decent-to-fairly-high level. Yesterday was my last raid. Allow me to wax nostalgic for a bit.

WoW raiding is probably the most enjoyment I’ve ever gotten out of playing video games. The team effort. The hours you spend with your fellow raiders in voice chat every week for months at a time. The necessity for everyone to perform their role. Having to count on others to do it well, and knowing they’re counting on you. The researching your class and role, and practicing in dungeons and raid finder and even on practice dummies. The wiping. The sometimes endless wiping! And, of course, the thrill of defeating a difficult boss after all that wiping. Read more…

2018 Update

Whew, it’s been a while. Life, amirite? These 5+ months have been absolutely nuts. Huge changes. Huge new things going on. Let me update y’all.

First. Holy moly, I have lost a ton of weight. Like, 75 pounds. Check it: Read more…

The Beguiled

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What’s there to like?

The Beguiled is a dark, sometimes mysterious story. What drew me in was the detailed world of Civil War-era Southern manners and customs. The way they talked, the propriety of how men and women interact with each other, and so on. And most of all, the restraint. But all that wasn’t just a historical curiosity or part of the art direction–it really drove the plot forward. You’ve got this soldier (Colin Farrell), a representation of brutality and power, of masculine brutality and power, entering a secluded girl’s school (led by Nicole Kidman’s headmistress, Kirsten Dunst playing a teacher, and Elle Fanning as one of the students)–this bastion of only women. He’s injured and he needs their care. But the restraint and the polarization between masculine and feminine highlight the sexuality in the air. So you’ve got a blurring of the lines between danger and sexual attraction, at least from the point of view of all these women towards this unknown, scary soldier. Read more…

The Big Sick

What’s there to like?

It’s been a little while–a few months at least–since I’ve seen a nice little indie comedy. In The Big Sick, Kamail Nanjiani plays a Pakistani man in Chicago who falls in love with an American woman played by Zoe Kazan. Cultural obstacles present themselves, and then a serious illness sends everything sideways. Read more…

Tournament: 2017 Utah Nifty Under Fifty

Last Saturday I attended my first tournament since my recent re-interest in chess: Utah Nifty Under Fifty in Salt Lake City as part of the Utah Senior Championship festivities. It was both a slap in the face and an incredibly fun, encouraging day.

My estimate of my strength back in high school is somewhere around 1200 USCF. Nothing amazing, by any means. After playing and studying quite a bit for the last 6 weeks or so, I was secretly hoping I might perform that well or even better at my first rated tournament, despite the decade+ since I’ve been remotely serious about chess. There was an Under-1400 section, so I signed up for that, optimistically thinking I might even be one of the stronger players in that group. Read more…

Minimum Wages and Lefty Science Denying

My default stance is to say only a small fraction of what I think when it comes to politics. There’s usually no way to come out ahead. But this is my blog, designed for me to write about what I want to write about. So eff it. Of course I’m really not altogether qualified to evaluate the research first-hand, but I’ve had enough economics training to talk out of my ass in a vaguely informed-sounding way. Read more…

Recursing History

It occurs to me, my newly rediscovered (and still going strong!) interest in chess is the latest in a string of returns to activities I’d let lapse in recent years. Musical theater, bodybuilding, using a handgun, riding a motorcycle, actually considering the remote possibility of not necessarily returning to New York to live (I mean, maybe), are all things that remind me of my life before moving away from Utah. Or at least they could have flowed directly from those days without much influence from my decade-plus away. Read more…