Sorry for the extended silence over the last several days. The holidays, you know. I was up in Albuquerque with no convenient internet access, and it was nice to take a break from computers for a while. Anyway, here's the fun relevant bits from the hiatus:
(Edit: Earlier, I said we saw King Kong in Albuquerque at the good theaters. I misremembered. We saw The Producers in Albuquerque, and saw King Kong here in Cruces. Luckily, King Kong was good enough that it didn't matter. But I still wish Allen Theaters would spend some money upgrading their facilities, and start doing customer-friendly things like having "Mommy showings" where you can bring your young kids without worrying about annoying other viewers.)
Saw King Kong. Ah, the movie about the eighth wonder of the world. When I was a kid, I loved the classic horror and sci-fi movies, and King Kong was definitely one of my faves. I still have the little plastic model of the giant of Skull Island that I sloppily put together with glue as a child. I remember lying in bed at night afraid of its glow-in-the-dark head; never mind that it made entirely no sense that King Kong's head would glow, and even less sense why none of the rest of his body would glow - that enraged simian face with the big teeth was the stuff of nightmares.
Despite being afraid of Kong, I still grokked the whole tragedy of the story. And I'm glad to see that Peter Jackson managed to retain and magnify the depth of that aspect. The CG work on Kong was utterly fantastic and believable, with a stunning range of nuanced emotion which has raised the bar on CG character animation.
My wife didn't care for the show because of the drawn-out action sequences, and to be honest, yes, they were a little long and gratuitous. But that falls into the "something for everyone" category in my book, because I suspect there are many people who went to the movie and thought "enough with the talking, let's see the gorilla open a can of whoop-ass on some T-Rexi!" This is a testosterone movie with enough "chick flick" moments to be a truly satisfying date movie.
But of course, the best part of the movie was the crate in the ship's hold marked "Sumatran Rat Monkey." Heh.
Xmas booty. I picked up some good Xmas booty this year. I finally have Neverwinter Nights for Mac (now I just need a computer that will push it, since my long-in-the-tooth laptop ain't up to the task), and I scored a Dremel tool which will make short work of some new tombstones for Carnival of Souls 2006. My wife gave me Jason Surrell's fantastic book about the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, the companion to the similar book about the Haunted Mansion. And there are several other great presents I haven't really delved into yet, like some DVD's, some CD's (including two different Cthulhu-themed albums from two different friends), etc.
Guitar Hero. We took Guitar Hero up to Albuquerque with us, and I have to say that it's even more of a must-have game than Shadow of the Colossus was. The cool factor in this game is unprecedented; the more you play it, the more you appreciate the detail work in the game. We introduced this to my wife's mother, sister, sister-in-law, and nieces, and everyone seemed to enjoy it, despite it's corrupting influence. There's nothing cuter than a little blonde girl in curls, from a family that doesn't say the words "stupid" or "butt" no less, singing Black Sabbath songs, like a cute little version of Ozzy.
Even cooler, we did some research on the company that makes the guitar controllers, Red Octane, and discovered that they've partnered with Disney to tour some dance mat fitness games around the country, which is right in line with some of the stuff we're looking to do at the NMSU Game Lab. This is one cool company.
New Year's Eve. We had a New Year's Eve party at our place to ring in 2006, and it was quite fun. I spent all day making sushi rice, chopping sushi fixins, cleaning the kitchen, and only got done moments before the doorbell rang. We then rolled a lot of sushi, made miso soup, played games, and had fun. We even hooked up our party with one in Tucson that was being thrown by my buddy Rich via iSight cameras and iChat so that people in two states could wish each other "Happy New Years."
Other trivia. There were many other small fun points. We got to eat some Indian food, saw the "River of Lights" at the Albuquerque Botanical Gardens, saw "Sue" the T-Rex at the Albuquerque Natural History Museum, played with my son and his cousins, played some D&D with my old high school buds, hung out with a pair of friends who had recently moved to Albuquerque from the Grand Canyon, and generally had a great break.
Happy New Year, everyone!