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3:28 PM on 03.04.2009

Watchmen: The End is...?

<NOTE: after reading my first posted result, I did some revisions & additions. it's my hope that they help clarify the article>

Soooooo. Watchmen: The End is Nigh. Up for 1600 MS Points on Xbox Live. What are my thoughts on it?

First--forgive me for going into "cranky old man" mode, but I have yet to get this off my chest in any form, and this seems as good a place to do so as any.

Second--a disclaimer, so no one feels the need to think they're being hoodwinked: this is not a review of the game.

I consider Watchmen (the movie) to be a viable endeavour, as it provides an alternate means of expressing the story told in Watchmen (the graphic novel) and a means of bringing it to people who would have otherwise not experienced this incredible story.

However, the idea of "merchandising" Watchmen is COMLETELY antithetical to the work’s central intent.

In the story, there is a small section illustrating this same kind of commodification of its "superheroes". This illustration, in contrast to the presentation of the relentless and often ugly truths behind the actual characters being commodified, is almost naked in its meaning--i.e, satirical commentary on the commercialization of people whose actions & intents have no business being held up as something to be bought & sold.

It seemed fitting that this lesson would have filtered into reality when the graphic novel was interpreted into a movie. It strikes me as appropriate for the movie to have little to no merchandising...unless said merchandising is being done in some ironic, postmodern metatextual way.

Unfortunately, I somehow doubt that "postmodern metatextual irony" is the angle the powers-that-be are taking. Watchmen T-shirts? Posters? Action figures? And finally, a video game? all of which appears to be the exact same soulless grab for cash that the story lampooned?


Does this idea “offend” me? No. Outside of this post, I will certainly not rant & rave about the issue of "commercializing the ANTI-COMMERCIAL"--there are far better fanboys than me who are no doubt willing to take up that flag.

I have, however, decided that I will NOT be getting any of the attendant movie swag. to do so is to miss the point of the's akin to watching Trainspotting, then deciding that shooting heroin is a great idea.

So no action figures. No posters. no T-shirts.

And no video game.   read

10:52 AM on 02.27.2009

Far Cry 2 -- a "different" kind of review (Part 3)

(from the personal notes of Quarbani Singh)

Day 37

In my line of work, you naturally meet colleagues from all walks of (prior) life, with all kinds of quirks and qualities. Here, having someone to watch your back is virtually a requirement...though you have to be careful who you’re trusting. I remember one “comrade”--an ex-Warsaw Pact Albanian, Josip Idromeno. We worked together for a few weeks. It didn’t take long for him to prove his credentials; he was a black-op vet from the old school. He also proved himself quite familiar with the art of graft & corruption, as there was almost never a job we worked that he didn’t come out with more than the “employer” had promised him. One thing he WASN’T good at was hiding the fact that our business agreement was, to him, a means of lining his pockets twice as quick with half the effort.

Eventually it all came to a head. I was asked by the APR to locate a shipment of gold which was being paid to the UFLL by <NAME OMITTED>, <NAME OMITTED>’s expatriate king, to assist in his return to power. Soon after taking the job, Josip caught wind and got in touch with me. Apparently Prince <NAME OMITTED> had different plans for the money, so he contacted Josip to A) arrange for his father’s (ahem) timely demise and B) confirm to HIM the location of the shipment. Idromeno thus called me, offering me the “once in a lifetime opportunity” to “kill a king”. He also wanted me to find the gold drop-off point, notify him, then meet him to “secure” it for the Prince.

Throwing me to the wolves to do work he either hadn’t the stomach or capability to handle was one thing; what twisted me was the off-handed, “what are you going to do about it, errand boy?” attitude that underscored our exchanges. Never mind the fact that it was certain some of that gold was going to end up missing, and I’d be the one pinned to the theft.

In the end, everything came off smoothly. I pulled off an impressive night-raid--sneaking into a secure, highly guarded stronghold and assassinating the King (with none of his security the wiser until i was long gone). I passed the rendezvous info to Idromeno, then met him at the site—a remote oasis in the northern desert. We were even able to stave off a last minute overrun by faction mercs. However, it was once the last militia men were dead that Josip’s and my plan deviated. First, I quietly called Prince <NAME OMITTED>, informed him of both the location and amount of gold at the rendezvous, then told him to wait until he’d gotten a second call from me. Second, while Josip was policing his gear after the firefight, I placed the barrel of a shotgun to the base of his skull and pulled the trigger.

I’d like to think that the Prince was puzzled to arrive after my call to find A) all of his gold, B) a platoon’s worth of dead guns-for-hire, and C) the body (and a few feet away, half the head) of his primary contact. However, I’m guessing that the only thing he actually did was load up his “inheritance” and go back to his sumptuous south-of-France villa. After all, why would he concern himself about some old, ex-Eastern Bloc self-serving mercenary son of a bitch? Who would?   read

11:21 AM on 02.20.2009

Far Cry 2 -- a "different" kind of review (part 2)

(from the personal notes of Quarbani Singh)

Day 28

You can always spot someone new to our world based on their gear. As long as you’re kitted out with the largest, most powerful & intimidating firepower around, these Rambos think, they’ll always come out on top. Fortunately, a firefight always sorts this misapprehension out—either they just make it out alive, no thanks to their portable WMD arsenal & lesson learned, or they die.

There is one simple rule on this matter which, once internalized, will take you far. (which is to say, will keep you alive)

ALWAYS CHOOSE RELIABILITY FIRST. I recently went to one of my field safehouses which I maintain outside the city. I leave them available for my professional colleagues to also use; in return, they’ll often store equipment (which they understand may be used by me as needed). On this occasion, I discovered a rarity: an AS-50 .50 BMG sniper/anti-materiel rifle. Despite its less-than-pristine condition, I decided to trade off my well-maintained G3KA4 assault rifle for the AS-50’s superior range and stopping power.

Two hours later, I found myself on the south ridge of the Pala police precinct, lining up a long-range kill shot on the northern sniper tower. I pull the trigger…only for the blowback to crack the rusty upper receiver. Suddenly, this “super weapon”, able to put a fist-sized hole in a man from half a mile away, was nothing more than a lump of scrap whose parting gift was to mark my location with its final gasp. I was in the middle of a hostile situation with only a .45 pistol to defend myself. The mark was now secondary; survival took precedence.

It was a hard and very harrowing trek back to the safehouse. Trying to sneak past guards who seemed to hear every rustle in the trees, spotted you out of the middle of a bush, & never missed their marks. Running like hell when you were inevitably discovered. Scavenging “firearms” (which, more often than not, jammed & fell apart before the first clip was spent) to be used just to cover my retreat over miles of territory, covered with firebases housing infinite manpower.

As I dragged myself back into the safehouse hours later, threw myself onto the bed and patched my bleeding body up, I realized that I was lucky… but I’d also just learned that a big bad cannon is only as good as its ability to stay in firing shape under very harsh conditions.   read

4:37 PM on 02.13.2009

Far Cry 2 --a "different" kind of review (part 1)

(recovered from personal notes found in Hotel <NAME OMITTED>, Pala, Republic of <COUNTRY OMITTED>...redacted as necessary to protect confidentiality)

Day 1

Today I arrived in Pala, <COUNTRY OMITTED>. I remember once upon a time reading about this place—back in the 70’s; Time Magazine called it “the jewel of Africa” and a “must-visit location for all lovers of timeless primordial beauty”. Of course, time changes all things, and (as they say at the altar) for better or for worse. It’d be interesting to see what those people would think of the place now.

To be sure, the “timeless primordial beauty” is intact. The mountains, the deserts, the waterfalls, the majestic sweep of the sun’s rise & set over the savannah…it is truly breathtaking. Everything else, though, has been changed by war—endless, incessant war. Clan fighting clan, brothers killing brothers, ostensibly to protect “the good of the people”.

The irony is apparent, even to me. The ‘people’? The years of fighting have distilled the population here to a stark purity--there are no more villages, only armed checkpoints; there are no more civilians, only hostiles. Factions don’t even have the manpower sufficient to fight their own battles anymore; there are more mercenaries now in-country than native inhabitants.

It would be noble to say that I’m here is to make a difference, to help my fellow man and make this world a better place. Given my purpose, some may say that my actions WILL make a difference & make this world a better place. However, this would not be true.

My name is Quarbani Singh, and I’m here to kill an arms dealer. His name is the Jackal. And once dead, I expect to be well-paid.   read

7:49 PM on 02.11.2009

Intro Part 2 -- electric boogaloo

because HERE, we breakdance to save the community from whitey.

Part 1 began in the forums. since i'm not a big fan of repetition today, feel free to go here to find out things like name and primary interests--though honestly, if you're looking at this, you probably got my name, and my presence on this website should give some broad strokes as to what i'm into. (if you had to cheat & look at the forum, it's okay...we'll let it slide this time).

so, other things i like (in no particular order):

1) FASHION. i like to wear nice, well-fitted clothes. i like to be presentably groomed. i like to keep myself in good shape. my wife is pretty sure i'm the gayest straight guy she knows. i'm self-conscious enough to be somewhat embarassed at this assessment, yet egotistical enough to behave sufficiently to maintain it. the only thing stopping from spending a million bucks to look a million bucks? (hint--see "primary interest")

2) LITERATURE. i earned an english degree in college due to me discovering an abiding love for the expression possible in the written word. i'm primarily a prose man. personal favorites are everything a growing boy needs--melville, kafka, dostoyevksi, faulkner...shakespeare, homer, goethe, joyce...cormac mccarthy...

3) COMICS. back in the day (read high school & the 90's), i got into marvel comics stuff like x-men and punisher. after a particularly enjoyable story arc that ended in an apparent character death, my brother & i promised to stop collecting if said character ever came back. silly rabbits--who ever stays dead in comics? so now i don't collect em...i just read em. i like DC comics, and LOVE stuff by grant morrison (it takes effort to get a handle on, but it's immensely he seems to think like i do).

4) MUSIC. i love honest, sincere, well-crafted music of all kinds. my collection primarily reflects a loooong love affair with industrial/noise/experimental breakbeat music (a love that will probably ever go away). you can also find little bits of everything from johnny cash (the man i want to be when i grow up) to radiohead (like kafka, but to music) to kylie minogue (she's a sexy tramp who writes pretty gay music. see #1 for why this is good).

... ...

... ...

are you still here? i'm impressed. unfortunately for you, your patience for reading is now neck & neck with my patience for writing. i salute you for your fortitude.

here, have a piece of ca--ldakruadLKAUDRUADRLVME......<zzzzzzzKKKTtttt>   read

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