Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

What a fantastic spy movie!
The film and its protagonist are slow, thoughtful and quiet, in sharp contrast to the flashy( and, nowadays, somewhat angsty) style of James Bond; similar to what the novel( by an actual ex-spy) did for the genre in print in 1974.
Gary Oldman gives a stunning performance as George Smiley, somehow making less into quite a bit more as the character’s reserved style & mannerisms all speak volumes to an audience which is increasingly drawn into the intrigue & the subtle looming danger while he follows twists & turns on his way to tracking down a mole at the highest levels of British intelligence.
See this film – but be warned, it’s not a casual romp. To keep track of what’s going on, you’ll need your wits about you almost as much as the intelligence agents onscreen.
4.5 stars out of 5, and an Oscar wish for Mr. Oldman.

Also, here’s a neat article about an easily overlooked aspect of film creation: George Smiley’s glasses are key to ‘Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy’.

Monday Fun Day

Having a great day yesterday with Bj Kirk, my houseguest from Seattle. We’d known each other for 8-9 years before he first visited in 2007(?).( Hooray for the Internet & the information/communication age!)
First we went to Sorella's for brunch, I had a Spinach & Feta Croissant Breakfast Sandwich, & BJ had Crêpes de Xebrissa. Yum!
Then we went to the brewery tour at The Samuel Adams Boston Brewery, home of the Best Beer in America. Free tour, free beer, what’s not to love? I hadn’t tried their Winter Lager before, now a fan.
Afterward, we stopped back here, then we headed out for a little shopping. Ran into Kimeo Carr’s friend Frank at Jackson Square... from there we took the T to Mass Ave. & then walked up, as the #1 Bus was nowhere in sight. Apparently, I walk too fast? :-p
I popped into Best Buy Back Bay quickly, but no StreetPass luck, no BIT.Trip SAGA, & nothing good I don’t already have :-( Sad NintendoGaymer. Then we walked up Newbury Street to find some nice clothes for dinner. Ultimately went to H&M Newbury St.. BJ refused to try anything on at the store... so of course the pants he bought didn’t fit later & he had to borrow some of mine, which he says is because “[He] forgot [H&M] cater[s] to extra-skinny white people.”. :-p Aside from those, we *both* bought a cute black shirt in a size slightly too small for us. I look great in it anyway. I haven’t seen him attempt to wear it. & I got a cute jacket marked down to $35. Should be great this winter. When we finished there, we backtracked to ALDO Shoes. We browsed & some of the neat designs with straps & zippers almost me wish I wore shoes. BJ got a cute pair of these tennis/dress shoe things, which he insists fit great even though they’re 10s & he takes a 10½ or 11.( When pressed, he noted that “Sometimes being pretty hurts.”. :-p)
By that time, our dinner reservation was coming up, so I cut us over to the Prudential Center. Of course, being me, I couldn’t resist ducking into Barnes & Noble before heading downstairs. Got some Pokémon manga I’d been meaning to buy. We got on the Green Line while I explained to a resistant BJ why we use “CharlieCards” & “CharlieTickets”, but the transit service is “The T”.
We made it back to JP, I called my mother as we walked but my phone died. Seems that when my dad threw his back out Sunday, he refused to let her call an ambulance to take him to the hospital, & lay on the floor for 4 hours before he relented. Seriously? And people call ME stubborn, oy!
On the way back, we JUST missed an E Line train, so I decided to put us on the #39 Bus. Was a bit nauseated from my meds(. I’m in a study, taking Truvada as a preventative medication. It’s been shown to reduce HIV infection risk – in practical terms, none of the men taking the actual pills became infected during the double-blind portion – & now they’re in an open-label extension studying our habits & patterns with regards to taking it). :-( It was a good decision, the bus let us off right where we needed to be, only a few minutes late. We hurried upstairs & got in the high-speed elevator. Bronnie wanted to jump & feel weightless, but it’s a VERY smooth ride( although your ears do pop).
We had an amazing dinner at Top Of The Hub. Fine dining’s expensive, but at the right place it’s worth every ¢. And I’d never been up there at night before, the view of Boston from above & all lit up was breathtaking.
The headache I’d had issues with last week did return while we were there, I think it was because of the high altitude pressure change. Still worth it. So we got a cab home.
All in all I’ve been having a great time with him here. It’s been a long time since I had one of my best friends easily accessible. Now, Museum Day!( If I can wake him up. Cross your fingers.)


R.I.P. Stuart Walker

...and suddenly hot tears burn my cheeks and won’t stop. And I’m 15 again, railing against the world as I watch the news; beating our sturdy metal door until my fists and my feet are black & blue. And mom comes down and asks what’s wrong, and I have NO WORDS to express, the pain and the rage inside my chest.
RIP Matthew Shepard, 1976, December 1st – 1998, October 12th.
RIP Stuart Walker, 1982/3, ??? ??th – 2011, October 22nd.


Emulating Nostalgia: Console vs. PC

Today I had an interesting Twitter conversation with @socialmoof( שמואל בן אתא אבא ).( Edited slightly to undo textspeak & consolidate consecutive tweets.)

שמואל בן אתא אבא : I just killed Ganon....on the first try. Was original Zelda really THAT easy?
18:34: Oct 23rd
Me: LOL I have only finished it once. And Zelda II never, now I think about it.
18:39 Oct 23rd
שמואל בן אתא אבא : you never finished Zelda II??
18:41 Oct 23rd
Me: Nope. The whole ‘“everything kills you & you get sent back to the start”’ thing was a bit much for my patience.
18:45 Oct 23rd
שמואל בן אתא אבא : well now that you can emulate, just throw on the right game genie code and you can experience the joy for yourself! :)
18:45 Oct 23rd
Me: Homo PLEASE. I ain’’t no pirate. I’’d play[ Zelda II] on my Wii using Virtual Console or my The Legend of Zelda: Collector’’s Edition GameCube disc. ;-)( & at my parents’’ house I still have my NES & original cartridge.)
18:56 Oct 23rd
שמואל בן אתא אבא : Well if you have the cart then you have a license to play!
18:56 Oct 23rd
Me: ...using the cart. The idea that owning it makes downloading ROMs legal is a big gamer myth. Almost as ridiculous as[ the notion of] possessing software & not being allowed to do any-fucking-thing I want with it( aside from distribute it free to others).
19:01 Oct 23rd
שמואל בן אתא אבא : I do not believe the original license precludes your use in other formats, particularly for backup purposes. But if you don't feel right about it, last thing I would want to you to do is go against that.
19:02-03 Oct 23rd
Me: Well, I don’’t have a law degree, but several people who do disagree with you. More pertinent, however, is the question of why I would WANT to emulate[ the game] on PC when I can hold a controller(/GBA/DS/3DS) in my hand & play on my TV or on the go. ;-p
19:13 Oct 23rd
שמואל בן אתא אבא : Well for me, it's a matter of convenience. I do so much on my computer that an extra device can be cumbersome.
19:15 Oct 23rd
Me: Console gaming is so much more visceral, though. And modern consoles have features that can’’t be emulated in a practical fashion.
19:17 Oct 23rd
שמואל בן אתא אבא : I get a degree of nostalgia out of playing console games I grew up with. Even if the controller isn't the same...
19:19 Oct 23rd
Me: But I play th[os]e[ sa]m[e games] for free( The Legend of Zelda: Collector’’s Edition was free & I’’m a 3DS ambassador, so I get Zelda II free on 3DS too) or low cost with controllers that ARE almost[ the same]. ...I guess my point is that even nostalgia can be more visceral depending on the medium. ;-)
19:25-29 Oct 23rd
שמואל בן אתא אבא : Well, to each their own! Heck, I enjoy playing Pac-Man on my iPhone! :)
19:30 Oct 23rd
Me: And that’’s way cool. But it’’s not the same[ feeling] as holding a joystick; for The Legend of Zelda I want my Nintendo A & B buttons & +Control Pad.
19:33 Oct 23rd

So what do other ga(y)mers think? Does the input device affect your experience when you play classic video games?

This entry also on:
Google+: Ethan Miguel Scott on Google+, Emulating Nostalgia: Console vs. PC
Tumblr: OhThatTumblr, Emulating Nostalgia: Console vs. PC


Welcome, or welcome back!

I finally got sucked into social media last year, & as a result now I have begun to write again.

I have a Tumblr, & with it, the temptation to post long entries full of my opinions again! So for the time being, I will be crossposting here, there & across various social networking sites, plus eventually to a modern blog on one of the popular blogging sites of this decade( sorry, LJ. Sorry, Frank).

I have temporarily Friend-locked all my posts prior to 2011, because using this as my main blog means I’m giving the URL to my family, acquaintances & potentially even business contacts. I’ll be unlocking many entries( I hope) as I have a chance to review them & determine which content is suitable for public consumption.
I occasionally post backdated entries too( for real this time as they are already written elsewhere & merely need to be migrated); when I do I add an alert dated at the time of posting.
Hope you enjoy, & if you do tell your friends!

Back dated entries will be listed here, just so I have a list somewhere, but a new blurb post will also go up every time I post one:
   National Coming Out Day: Make It Better

Also, if you want to keep up with me elsewhere on the web, check out these links:
More for friends in a private entry. It will be either directly above or directly below this one, depending on your LJ settings.

            -Ethan Miguel S

P.S.: I edited my bio on here a bit. <LOL>( remember when it was always written like that!‽?) Check it out. tl;dr: I not only got a life, I got a new outlook on it. :-)

National Coming Out Day: Make It Better

Happy National Coming Out Day! It’s rather late in the day, but I thought I would post a short essay/appeal I wrote for my Facebook page last year.
No matter where you are in the coming out process, take a step today; set an example; give hope to someone less fortunate.
& if you are not started/just starting, remember: It Gets Better.
“I’m gay. I suspect you knew this( otherwise, please go to the service center and get your gaydar checked out), but in honor of National Coming Out Day, I thought I’d say it again today.
I encourage everyone, from not gay to completely out, to take a step today:
If you are mostly or completely closeted come out to at least one new person, or a whole social circle; step into the light and breathe the sweet air of freedom.
If you are already largely out, but maybe not entirely, I challenge you to make it official and complete, to set an example for those who will come after you- “But,” you say, “it’s just a part of who I am, and besides, it’s not most people’s business.”; well, maybe it should be: if you think it’s not important, consider how your reluctance looks to those living in fear; after all, if it’s really as unimportant as you claim, if you honestly are not just afraid, then why not mention it, even to those distant coworkers, today[ or this week], when you have an excuse, no, an important REASON to come out, instead of continuing to let it fall by the wayside?
If you are totally out and unashamed, or a non-GLBTQ ally, remind those you know who are closeted that wherever and whenever they come out, today, this week, or in 20 years, there are people like you who have seen or been through it before and will be there to support them and show them unconditional love.
And if you are really stuck in the closet and cannot tell anyone, but you see this… I promise, it gets better. Hang in there. Someday, you will find the place where you can be you, and I know you will be amazing. *hugs*
Know that I am here for all of you. If you have a problem, come to me, always. I will do what I can, & in return I only ask that you pay it forward.”



Gay Pride/Gay Humility

I found an editorial through Google News and replied on the author’s blog.
The original column reads:
At the end of this month, the gay community will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, which began the gay liberation movement. This season, known in gay circles simply as “Pride,” will be particularly emotional because of the gay marriage avalanche. While gays and lesbians have much to be proud of (such as early health organizing around the devastating AIDS epidemic), gay history since Stonewall is unfortunately stained with selfishness and arrogance, traits that ironically were once themselves called pride — back when that wasn’t a compliment.Collapse )

I replied:
Mr. Benkof, I absolutely agree that some gay humility would be a welcome complement to gay pride. Pride should be about our success in overcoming adversity and about having fun, not shoving every little detail of our differences in everyone’s face for a weekend or making accusations and attacks. It should be more about showing them how similar we are and how much all people in this world really have in common( not that we should try to hide the things that make us unique, either, of course).

But I think you have a misunderstanding of human rights and the situation in this country then and now.Collapse )

*The blog is called “GAYS DEFEND MARRIAGE” and the description reads: “A website for LGBT folks who support marriage as the union of husband and wife—and getting the gay leadership to return to more pressing LGBT issues for our community.”

ATTWN reviewed

So the play opened last weekend, and our first semi-major review came out today in EdgeBoston.
...I can’t help but think the generic praise I received was just so as not to be mean by leaving me out or criticizing me in contrast to the rest. I don’t know if the reviewer was there on our wonderful opening night or rockier second, but I can’t help but take it personally. I had no intention of taking on a lead with my first show back, but that’s what I got, and if I’m not performing memorably in such an important roll I need to take serious stock of when I have done so far and what I am going to do from here on...
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