The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Multimedia Hijinkery

Posted on | July 25, 2014 | 20 Comments

— by Wombat-socho

The reading has been slack this week because I’ve gotten sucked into Ingress, a vile plot by Niantic Labs (a startup within Google) to get slack, nerdy sorts such as myself out from behind their desks and encourage us to tromp around the landscape to various “portals” and either capture them for your faction – after which you can install “resonators” and other equipment, build links to other portals, and establish Control Fields, all to accumulate more Action Points and rise in levels. If the portal is already held by the enemy faction, you can hack it to get equipment (and AP) and/or attack it to destroy enemy resonators, force links to drop, destroy control fields, all of which generate AP for you and frustration for the enemy. After downloading the software to your Android phone/tablet or iDevice, a player can either sign up with The Enlightened faction, a bunch of alien-sucking commie pinko transhumanist sorts, or the Resistance, a noble band of fighters for individual freedom and humanity, but one can just as easily ignore the backstory (reminiscent of the X-Files) and just call the factions Greens and Blues, or Froggies and Smurfs. At any rate, it’s cheap fun – the app is free to download – and as I mentioned before, it gets you out and walking around. I’ve logged a little less than 22 miles in the ten days since I started playing, and have already reached Level 5. Recommended, especially if the weather where you are allows you to get some walking in without sweating to death.

I’ve been a fan of “Weird Al” Yankovic from the beginning, when just about the only place you could hear him was on the Dr. Demento radio show. So it was very cool indeed to see him finally hit #1 on the Billboard charts with his latest (and possibly last) album, Mandatory Fun This is eleven tracks worth of weapons-grade parodistic hilarity (12 if you get the references in “Jackson Park Express”, which I didn’t) and Lord knows we all need some humor in these trying times.

What reading time I have had this week has been mostly spent on Jerry Pournelle’s The Prince, which for those of you not familiar with it is an omnibus made up of Falkenberg’s Legion and the three Helot War novels Pournelle co-wrote with S.M. Stirling, Prince of Mercenaries, Go Tell the Spartans and Prince of Sparta. Good, solid classic combat SF; oddly, while The Prince is not available through Amazon in e-book form, you can get it directly from Baen.

Finally, a plug for Sarah Hoyt’s The Big Ship and the Wise Old Owl a novella about three young people on a generation ship whose leadership has apparently decided to avoid this colonizing nonsense and just stay in space – and in control – forever. But one of the friends finds out that the Builders had a contingency plan for that, and that’s when things get interesting. I wish she’d done more with the idea, but it’s an entertaining novelette and you can’t argue with the price.

Want something less fluffy? The Last Falangist is still out there, and three other folks besides Stacy enjoyed it enough to leave very positive reviews. How about you?


20 Responses to “Multimedia Hijinkery”

  1. Charles G. Hill
    July 25th, 2014 @ 10:57 pm

    The particular brilliance of “Jackson Park Express” is that you can never be sure if any given line is a reference or simply an effort to keep the story going; it left me cold, but most of Weird Al’s extended pieces — “Genius in France” notably excepted — do that.

  2. Zohydro
    July 26th, 2014 @ 12:25 am

    The dread Margaret Cho was featured in one of Weird Al’s new vids (“Handy”)… He’s off my list now!

  3. Good Stuff
    July 26th, 2014 @ 12:29 am

    LOL “can either sign up with The Enlightened faction, a bunch of alien-sucking commie pinko transhumanist sorts, or the Resistance, a noble band of fighters for individual freedom and humanity”

    Stats indicate that folks play computer games in their underwears. Please remember to don appropriate attire

  4. Dustin
    July 26th, 2014 @ 1:30 am

    Ingress is an awesome game!

    I’ve used it to walk all over the place for a little extra exercise.

  5. Wombat_socho
    July 26th, 2014 @ 8:22 am

    This is a game that encourages you to get out and walk around, so it’s T-shirts and jeans for me.

  6. Wombat_socho
    July 26th, 2014 @ 8:23 am

    Missed that. Not letting it get in the way of enjoying the album, though.

  7. Multimedia Hijinkery | That Mr. G Guy's Blog
    July 26th, 2014 @ 10:13 am

    […] Multimedia Hijinkery. […]

  8. JeffWeimer
    July 26th, 2014 @ 10:14 am

    I wish there were more Falkenberg stories. The time between his Navy time and his Colonelcy could be interesting….

    In fact the whole backstory hints at a lot more and could be mined endlessly.

  9. Evi L. Bloggerlady
    July 26th, 2014 @ 10:42 am

    I like the good doctor, despite Cho.

  10. Quartermaster
    July 26th, 2014 @ 4:22 pm

    Back when he and I were swapping emails (around 2000) I tried to get him to write some about that period. He has done a bit, but not much. He did fill in the hole a bit in “The Prince.” Given his age, it’s very likely that’s all we’re going to get. He’s had some stuff underway, but he gets diverted more easily now that he’s in his dottage, and I don’t look for anything major from him.

  11. Quartermaster
    July 26th, 2014 @ 4:23 pm

    I read all of Pournelle’s Mercenary series when they were separate novels. They were all a good read. I’ve got the omnibus and that’s a good read as well as it fills in a few holes.

    Given his age, I doubt we will see anything major from him again. Sad to contemplate, but gravity gets us all.

  12. Quartermaster
    July 26th, 2014 @ 4:26 pm

    My youngest brother, an Engineering School classmate, and I used to get together, play war games (Avalon Hill and SPi being the favorite publishers) and listen to Dr. Dimento all at the same time. Add in a mass purchase from a Dolly Madison thrift Store, and things didn’t get any better.

  13. Finrod Felagund
    July 26th, 2014 @ 5:42 pm

    Weird Al fan here since 1981.

  14. Finrod Felagund
    July 26th, 2014 @ 5:42 pm

    Agreed; the one winner for me was the Jim Steinman style parody on the previous album, Stop Forwarding That Crap To Me.

  15. Matt_SE
    July 26th, 2014 @ 7:34 pm

    Your synopsis of Sarah Hoyt’s novella sound like America…In Space!

  16. Wombat_socho
    July 26th, 2014 @ 10:19 pm

    Yeah, the whole Kennicott episode sounds like it would be good for a novel or three. Where’s an up-and-coming author to fill the role S.M. Stirling played with the Helot War novels?

  17. Wombat_socho
    July 26th, 2014 @ 10:19 pm

    On the other hand, he is getting back into doing computer gear reviews. While there is life, there is hope.

  18. Wombat_socho
    July 26th, 2014 @ 10:20 pm

    Portugal’s loss is our gain. 🙂

  19. DarkstarSF
    July 26th, 2014 @ 10:34 pm

    This is probably some idiot spammer from China.

    PJ Media has a Flag button to alert the Mods about BS like this. Maybe you an get one here?

  20. Quartermaster
    July 27th, 2014 @ 7:58 am

    We’ll see what happens. I’d really like to be wrong.