For those keeping track of my gaming habits, I bought Empire Earth: The Art of Conquest on Saturday, and I've been playing random maps with it since then. The new space age is fun, though it shares many of the gameplay traits of sea warfare in the game. I haven't played with any of the new units, but I have tried a few of the civilization improvements. The United States civ gets a market building (which everyone in the Age of Empires series gets) but in EE I've learned to play without the balancing effect of the market, so it's not as necessary. I'm still planning to buy Battlefield 1942, perhaps as soon as this week. I'm trying to strike a balance between when I think the servers will be filled with lamewads shooting teammates and when the game will no longer be popular. I also tried the demo of No One Lives Forever 2, and while I'm impressed with the graphics (there's a water effect that is so good, it's unbelievable), the gameplay and story seem like it's just a sequel to the original NOLF. I suppose that's the point, but I don't need to invest in the full game right away. I waited over a year to get the first game, and I think I can wait on this one too. Especially since I'll probably want a faster video card to play it anyway, and I'm not getting one for a few months.
I think that I'm being kicked out of the tribe. Apparently I don't look Jewish, because several times in the past few months, I've been ignored by other Jews approaching strangers in public places. Here's the first story: back in June, Liz and I were in Las Vegas. On the way back, we were waiting in the airport for our flight to board. There had been a jewelry convention in town, and a number of Orthodox and Chasidic Jews were on our flight. They gathered in one corner of the terminal for evening prayers about 30 minutes before the flight boarded. A few of them were asking other male passengers waiting for the flight if they were Jewish, obviously (to me, as a Jew) because they needed at least 10 men to have a minyan (a quorum for the prayer service). But they didn't ask me to join them. The same thing happened again a few weeks ago on the street, though I can't remember the exact circumstances. It might have been around Rosh Hashanah. I probably didn't help my cause during my century ride, when I saw all the other Jews in Brooklyn on their way to the synagogue and I was out enjoying my bike ride. Or by eating delicious barbequed pork for my Rosh Hashanah meal. Finally, on Monday evening, I was on my way from my office building to the subway when I saw a pair of Chasidim standing by the entrance to the N-R-W train on Church Street. One of them had a lulav and etrog in his hands, which reminded me that it was Sukkot, the harvest festival holiday. The other guy was asking something of passersby, so I assumed it was whether they were Jewish. I'm not sure what was going on, actually. Maybe it was some sort of roundup, or they were just looking for people to whom they could wish a happy Sukkot. But again, they didn't ask me! So I can only conclude that I'm not wanted, or that my choice of a mostly secular, non-practicing Jewish lifestyle is OK with the vast majority of devout Jews out there.