essentialsaltes: (internet Disease)
Life is Strange is a choose your own adventure style video game, with the added bonus that your protagonist has a rewind power so that some mistakes can be undone. There are also some puzzles and meddling kids detection to be done. What starts with classroom bullies ends up in much deeper and darker territory. The game quite intentionally jerks you around, but it does so pretty effectively. The load screen talks about how the choices you make effect the past, present and future, and I remember mocking the idea that the game allows you to tinker with much more than five seconds of the past. Then 15 minutes later, I was gibbering in remorse at what I'd done to the timeline.

Ultimately, the game builds to a crescendo that it just can't support well in the last episode, which I didn't find very satisfying. But the middle was pretty strong. I'm curious to see what different choices and actions would do to the story, but like Until Dawn, I'm not sure I can stand to sit through that much teen dialogue again.

Apparently there will be a prequel soon, and later a 'sequel' with different characters and setting.
essentialsaltes: (dead)
LJ is 18. Guess it's time for it to get outta my house. har har.

#mylivejournal #lj18 #happybirthday

essentialsaltes: (skeleton)
The Bone Clocks is a new(ish) novel by the author of Cloud Atlas.

Although the two are very different works, The Bone Clocks does borrow some of its structure from Cloud Atlas. Six stories set at some chronological distance from each other. But instead of ranging across centuries, The Bone Clocks limits itself to roughly the span of one human life, jumping a decade or so each time. The whole spans the late 20th to mid-21st century.

Most of the sections are novelistic slices of life that are somewhat ordinary, except that there are a few very clear hints that something is going on. Something 'magical' or psychic or something. This is all kept rather vague for quite some time. Enough so, that one gets (okay, I got) frustrated with the author for deliberately concealing information about just what exactly is going on. He is slightly forgiven, because it's mostly very well-written, and possibly the longest section has very little information at all about WTF is going on, but is still an enjoyable mini-not-quite-love story with well-drawn characters.

When the mystery is (largely) revealed, what is going on is the sort of thing that might have made the nucleus of a B-list table-top RPG 20 years ago. This group of special people is at war with that group of special people, and they all live behind the scenes and manipulate ordinary people. I know what you're thinking, but these special people are totally not vampires (PS some of them are totally vampires). That's a little unfair, but I'm glad I enjoyed the writing and the journey enough that the disappointing reveal was not too disappointing.

Now that the reader has a grasp of just what the heck is going on, section 5 provides the exciting climax, full of derring-do and goings-on. Section 6 (and last) provides a rather dismal look at our eco-nightmare future. Unfortunately, the dystopia is drawn a bit heavy handedly even for a granola-munching polar bear-hugger like me. But the section wraps up with a fitting conclusion to the overall novel.

I'd like to think that the character of Dr. Marinus is related to Dr. Marinus Bicknell Willett of HP Lovecraft's The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, who also had to deal with... Er, spoiler alert.
essentialsaltes: (Patriotic)
TIME magazine has a little section with infobits about the different income segments of the US. The different income tiers are:

Households earning $200K+ ("The 5%")
$100K-$199K (The 17%)
$60K-$99K (The 22%)
$30K-$59K (The 26%)
<$30K (The 30%)

So there's little factoids like the percent of each group that smokes:

12% (<-- I assume the bump is for big fat Cuban cigars lit by flaming $100 bills.)

But I was most struck by the data about the children of these different households.
Average SAT scores of the kids of those households


(Before you go all Social Darwinist on this, the 5% can afford pretty good tutors. I remember when I was trying to finally weed off that last client. I couldn't raise my prices enough to make them stop calling me.)

Perhaps the more surprising one was Percent of their children who have had sex by age 16.



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