Friday, October 04, 2002

I've been writing here for a few months now, and it's fairly boring stuff, I admit. I don't link to many sites or express controversial viewpoints, so I'm not surprised that I haven't attracted much attention with this blog. That's OK by me. But today I feel like stirring the waters a little.

One of my wife's best friends is a playwright here in New York. She's written several one-act and ten-minute plays and had them produced at various New York drama festivals as well as elsewhere in the US. Last night, she had one of her short plays produced as part of the 2002 Chip Deffaa Invitational Theatre Festival. Her play was well done and extremely entertaining; I'd seen it several times before but I think this may be the best production of it yet. Unfortunately, her play was third on the program, and before hers, I had to sit through one of the worst pieces of theater I've ever seen (and with the many drama festivals I've attended, I've seen some bad things). The first play on the program was something called "Three Clowns on a Journey," which for me too closely resembled Samuel Beckett's masterpiece Waiting for Godot. If you read the play (found here) it almost (to me, anyway) reads like a cheap imitation of Godot. On his web site, the playwright describes his work as an absurdist piece he wrote in 1968, when he was in a graduate theater program. Maybe it played better 34 years ago, or maybe better actors would have made it watchable, but last night it brought the entire event to a crawl. No one in the audience seemed interested, the house had no energy at all, and I thought I was going to fall asleep. If it had gone on five minutes longer, I was ready to pull out my Palm and start playing games, breach of etiquette be damned. When it was finally over, there was a long pause before the applause started. Liz and I both wondered if anyone was actually going to clap for this waste of time. Mercifully, the audience did, the actors came out for bows, and it was over.

Usually, in situations like that, where I have such a strong negative reaction to something, I'm afraid to share my opinion, fearing that I'm the only one who didn't like it and that I'll be branded a Philistine. Luckily for me, Liz agreed with me that this play was a complete waste of time and energy. Our playwright friend said that she was thinking of asking the producers to change the order of the program, to move this show away from the beginning of the evening, where it's just bringing the whole event down. The other three plays in the first half of the show (we left at intermission), including our friend's, were engaging and entertaining, and the first one just didn't work at the beginning.

Anyway, I've gone on about this long enough.

I've agonized for a few days about my next computer game purchase. While the Empire Earth expansion pack keeps me entertained, I like to balance my strategy gaming with some good old-fashioned ultraviolence, first-person shooter style. I played the demo of Battlefield 1942 for a few weeks and decided to buy it when the full version came out. But the Unreal Tournament 2003 demo came out a few weeks ago and the resulting hype had me thinking I should get that instead. I played the original UT for most of 2000, only stopping when my old PC's hard drive got corrupted and couldn't read the game files anymore. But the UT2003 demo made the game seem just like the original version, only with better graphics and a new gameplay mode, the football-style "Bombing Run," which was the only part of the demo I found worth playing. On the other hand, BF1942 is team-based, set in WWII, and lets you drive vehicles as well as run around on foot shooting things. I'm drawn more to the original concept of BF1942, rather than UT2003 mostly rehashing the last version of the game. But UT2003 is going to be more popular over the long run, given the draw the previous version had. (This is the argument I've been having with myself for the past few days.) This afternoon, I bought BF1942, figuring that I'll get UT2003 at holiday time. If I'm right, by December there will be a huge UT2003 community up and running, and BF1942's hard-core players will still be out there. So tonight I'll be busy fragging the smacktards online again. And in a few short weeks, I'll frag them again in UT2003.

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