Everything Takes Time…

The Montreal Mirror has always had great horoscopes. I have cut out a few over the years – stuck them up on my bulletin board for future readings. While I am (no longer) a big astrological gal, this one is a great reminder of how long things really take to succeed:

To create a pearl, an oyster needs an aggravating parasite inside its shell. It builds layers of calcium carbonate around the invader, gradually fabricating the treasure. How long does it actually take from the initial provocation to the finished product? Five years for a pearl of average size, and as many as ten years for a big one. Hope that puts into perspective the tenacious work you’re doing on your own master project, Libra. It may seem sometimes as if you’ve been striving to transform your irritant for an eternity, but you’re actually right on schedule.

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Playable Future

As I wait for my committee to sift through my comp papers, I have been thinking about the days that I will have free from academic writing (for a brief while anyways) that I can fill with a bit of game playing. Top on my list is Machinarium

Machinarium is independent puzzle / adventure game developed by the makers of popular web-games Samorost and Samorost2.
A little robot who’s been thrown out to the scrap yard behind the city must return and confront the Black Cap Brotherhood and save his robot-girl friend

Another game I am eager to get my hands on is Brutal Legend, due out today I believe (will pick it up this week if I can).

When ex-roadie Eddie Riggs is drawn back to an ancient world of heavy metal by a mysterious power, he lands in a world where humans are subjugated by demons and he is the only one who can save them. Legendary game designer Tim Schafer strikes again with a story featuring Jack Black as Eddie Riggs. Filled with humor, awesome characters, and melted faces, you will be on the edge of their seats.

I love the mix between rpg/adventure games and guitar hero. Although I haven’t played it yet, it is a refreshing premise that might coast on many a’rock cliché, but will no doubt offer hours of pure entertainment.

Another aesthetically ‘out of the box’  game that I am looking forward to is Borderlands. While I am not usually a fan of shooters (mostly based on my lack of skill as opposed to lack of  ‘liking’), Borderlands looks amazing, with its animated feel and wide use of colors, not to mention the innumerable weapon combinations which should keep things interesting for a while. Boasting 4-player online co-op, I am looking forward to getting my heels (or thumbs) deep into the action.

A sci-fi / action RPG from acclaimed developer Gearbox, Borderlands combines the best in first-person action with player customization and vehicular combat for incredible layers of gameplay depth. The game features a groundbreaking content generation system allowing for near-endless variety in missions, environments, enemies, weapons, item drops and character customization. Borderlands allows for multiple players to share the same game experience simultaneously online in co-op gameplay. Players can freely join or leave each other’s games at anytime, or choose to play in the full single-player mode. The game also boasts lifelike character animations, impressive real-time physics, and customizable vehicles. (http://ps3.ign.com/objects/957/957207.html)

Saying I am not a fan of shooters isn’t quite true. I have recently been inspired to play Army of Two (and subsequently Gears of War 2) and have been having a blast. I must admit, while GoW2 has loads of narrative, a much boasted art style and the almighty chainsaw machine gun, I have to say, I prefer Ao2’s control and aiming scheme – as well as the overall lighter feel to the game’s aesthetic. That being said, I have been eagerly awaiting Ao2: The 40th Day – while not set to release till 01/10 – I am thinking it might be a great post-holiday game to start my year (and gameplay research) off on the right foot.

The wild boys of the SSC face hell again in this sequel to the hit third-person teamwork-based shooter. Army of Two: The 40th Day reunites Salem and Rios as they’re forced to survive in a city under siege. The sequel includes more co-op moves for players to use at any time, which will allow for completely different strategies and options in battle, adding up to a bigger, more organic and immersive co-op experience. (http://ps3.ign.com/objects/142/14293275.html)

Moving Forward: Comprehensive Exams Finally Slated

I hate looking at my calendar and having the same feeling every time I notice that the month has passed me by… “wow – October already!?” … soon it will be November – Christmas… 2010! … Sometimes I get so wrapped up in thinking about how fast time is going by, I cannot imagine making plans that don’t feel are done already. That changed last week when I (finally) confirmed the dates for my comprehensive exams. I submit my papers (Proposal and secondary field of research paper) on Monday – tomorrow. Then I have a month and a half of painstaking waiting while my committee (whom I have never met) reads my work and conjures up questions to challenge my text. November 20th, I receive said questions on my proposal and have 7 days to write 20 pages of a clear, hopefully concise rebuttal/response. I get 3 days grace, then on December 1st, and handed my second set of questions on my secondary research paper and have 48 hours to write a response. All this to be followed by a 2 hour oral defense slated for December 10th. Giving these dates – I am both paralyzed with how fast I know it will all pass, and how far away it all seems. If all goes well, I will be a PhD Candidate by the time my annual Holiday party rolls around (unofficially slated for the 12th of Dec. this year).