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[PUBLIC] I Guess You Could Call It a Bank Shot - The Cover Story
October 2013
Sun, Mar. 29th, 2009 08:08 pm
[PUBLIC] I Guess You Could Call It a Bank Shot

Last night I used the extreme power of QUARTZ to play a game that was released in 1993. UFO: Enemy Unknown (better known as X-COM) is one of those games I keep coming back to. The creepiness of the night missions, the tension of moving troops with no undo, the sudden and extreme risks of reactive fire; the game just keeps the pressure on despite being isometric and 20 MB in its now-emulated form from Steam (it was an order of magnitude smaller the last time I played it.) Definitely one of those games that will stand the test of time.

Today I got up at the lazy hour of 1000, showered, played a bit more X-COM, and wandered off to get brunch with a very truncated crew. lucasthegray and a couple others were there, but despite the small crowd, we spent an hour in continuous high-energy conversation, laughing and eating and generally having a great time until it was time to go.

Then I got home, packed my bags, and jumped in my car to drive to Pennsylvania. The first two hours are always the most boring -- the run from Worcester to the Tappan Zee is dull and I have done it too many times. I left at 1415, and crossed into New York at 1640. I swapped out almost all my CD's, and listened to Nobuo Uematsu's greatest until about Greenwich. Much of the music is very good, but suboptimal if you're trying to stay awake driving down a repetitive section of road you've driven down often before. When the two discs of Final Fantasy ran out, I decided it was time to switch gears; I dropped in Aqua's first album.

Aqua is one of my favorite bands, and their bombastic music always makes me feel better. It also makes me feel grateful for cruise control, without which I surely would've started unconsciously speeding. Aquarium lasted me halfway through New Jersey, and I began the long and interesting trek down US-202 into Pennsylvania.

Southeastern Pennsylvania is a truly beautiful area, and as I drove higher and higher into the mountains, a great bloody thunderstorm came over the ridge in the other direction. It was one of those jarring changes in the weather, where out the windshield is a violent thunderstorm throwing long purple forks of lightning over the landscape, the kind of storm that might feel at home in Mordor, and out the rear view mirror, there's blue skies and peaceful mountain scenery.

As it happens, the first drops of rain hit my windshield as I was taking a ramp onto a more Interstate-like part of US-202. I merged onto the highway at the head of a line of traffic, and seconds later, the skies opened up and my visibility dropped from hundreds of meters to barely inside my reaction distance, let alone my braking distance. With the white headlamps in my mirrors not falling back at all, I plunged on through the wall of water at 55 mph, totally oblivious to what the configuration of the road ahead of me was. I drove by squinting through the rain, and by the moving map on my GPS. After perhaps a minute (or perhaps 10 seconds -- time is hard to judge under those circumstances), the rain slacked a bit, and the road forked for me to get off at my exit. Heading down the ramp, I emerged almost completely from the storm, only to be redirected onto another road that took me right back in. By this time, the scent of the outside had crept through the car's filters, and the smell of fresh spring rain filled the cabin. With just a little more effort, my car and I burst through the storm a second time, and I was safely on my way to my destination again. Even now, I can look out my hotel window and see the great finger of stormclouds passing south of us.

I managed to thread my way through the small towns on US-202 and find my hotel, tucked along a commuter rail line. After checking in, I stepped out to TGI Friday's for some ribs, and now I think I'll finish the night with yet more X-COM before sleep.

Yes, I've had a good day.

Tags: , , , , ,
Current Location: Lansdale, PA
Current Mood: happy happy


Mon, Mar. 30th, 2009 06:17 pm (UTC)

the kind of storm that might feel at home in Mordor
Or in Albuquerque, only in Albuquerque you'd be able to see it coming for 20 miles.

I'm glad you had such a good day, what are you in PA for?

Robert Bronzite
Wed, Apr. 1st, 2009 09:25 pm (UTC)

Just work. Always work.

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