A Million Little Pieces, A Few Big Lies

A Million Little Pieces
The year was 2006 and Oprah Winfrey had selected James Frey’s memoir about his stint in rehab, A Million Little Pieces, as her book of the month. I cannot recall if that was the first I had heard or seen of the book, but I do remember wanting to read it: it had a neat cover. You’re not supposed to judge a book by it’s cover but we all know we do anyway. But then it was revealed that this bestseller was less biography and more fantasy, and although I maintained an interest in the book, it was far more muted and other works took precedence.

Flash forward to the present and I have finally read this controversial piece of fiction. My verdict? I still like the cover. My opinion on the insides are less positive.

It starts off okay, once you get used to Frey’s stylistic choices, specifically the utter lack of quotation marks and run-on sentences. But around page 150 or 200 the constant repetition starts to feel less artistic choice and more akin to someone trying very hard to be artistic. The further along the story goes the more ridiculous it gets.

Jimmy is a Tough Guy™. He beat a priest (maybe to death!), had multiple root canals done at the same time with no drugs, got in a billy club fight with a bunch of cops, had a hooker snort a line off his neither region, etc. He is smarter than the rehab counselors and doctors, too. Twelve Steps? Phaw! Jimmy is stronger than those puny programs. Don’t think too hard about if willpower is enough to over come addiction why he never did it before; just focus on his being super Tough™.

Far too many pages of this nonsense unfolds until finally, without any real warning, a light bulb goes off and he “gets it”. He is cured from his ills, his past is behind him, everything is starting to look bright. Most of his rehab buddies do not get a the same sunny afterlife, having instead rather dramatic deaths. The latter part of the book felt like really bad fanfiction: that’s how melodramatic their deaths are written. Of course the reason almost everyone dies is because then there are no witnesses to confirm or deny everything you just read!

Even so, I find myself curious to read the follow-up novel.

First Impressions of Lightning Returns and Sackboy

I finally got around to finishing my finals so I haven’t actually had much time to play Lightning Returns or Little Big Planet 2, which I received as a gift (thanks again!). I have dabbled a bit in both, however, although more so with my favorite emo than cute Sackboy.

After running around and replaying various parts and getting a wee bit frustrated, I realized that Lightning Returns reminds me of Final Fantasy VIII. I enjoyed the eighth entry in the series, perhaps even more than the hallowed seventh, but it could be a very annoying game at times. Specifically all the bosses and enemies leveled up with you. This was an attempt, I’m sure, to force players to actually think and use strategy of some sorts instead of just grinding to become all-powerful. I find I rather just grind sometimes. Only sometimes, though. In the same vein you do not get higher stats in Lightning Returns from battling, but instead by completing quests. Which would be fine if stupid monsters didn’t still appear to chase you down and force you to fight pointless battles. Also, I’ve yet to encounter Fang, not that I know she’s in here, but if Vanille is her better half should be too!

Anyway, on the other side of the spectrum is Little Big Planet 2, whose predecessor I never finished because I got stuck near the beginning. I don’t remember which level or how I got stuck, I just remember giving up and not touching it since. I am hopeful thattumblr_mzs1ms2CTK1rn9i9fo1_250 number two will be a different experience, and I may even try my hand at making me own levels. I had forgotten I had Mass Effect costumes, I must have received them before I went Shepard crazy, so that’s cool and instantly will make playing that much better.

Amazon Doesn’t Like Lightning Returns

I preordered the latest Final Fantasy because I like emo Lightning and awesome Fang. No real clue if Fang is even in the game, don’t care, I bought it anyway. tumblr_mo045tqLKy1s69mplo1_400

Amazon was my retailer of choice despite my Best Buy giftcard (of $6..but $6 is still money) because of their preorder bonus of the Yuna outfit. I have never been a Yuna fan, but all things being equal I figured, hey, why not get it for free.

Welp. Neither I or a bunch of other unhappy folks received the codes (get ready for low star reviews!). No biggie, they’ll send them in 48 hours or whatever. Except some customers are being told the promotion never existed. We are all just imagining it I suppose. Others are directed to call Square Enix, who in turn tells everyone to stop calling them and to call Amazon. One person even had a CS rep insist on sending a replacement game because surely the codes must be inside!

My own experience resulted in a month’s extension to my Prime membership, and an offer to refund or replace should the codes not arrive. I have no idea why Amazon’s reps keep offering to replace the games. That does nothing.

On the plus side, people appear to be enjoying the game. So when I do get around to playing it (this weekend, I hope) I should have a grand ol’ time.

Update: I sent a follow-up email and that seemed to do the trick, and I received the codes finally. They redeemed, downloaded, and installed, so hopefully when I boot up the game everything is cheery.

Hello Again, Sims 3

New computer, new Sims install. I am going to try, for the third time, to do a Legacy Challenge from beginning to end. The issue I began having with the last attempt, besides slow loading and all that jazz, was incest. EA might not think of kissing cousins as an issue, but it creeped me out.

sims
SIMS!

This time I’m going to try and actually follow the rules. Which will be hard. I really enjoy creating pretty Sims for the legacy heirs to breed with, but alas that defeats the purpose of the challenge. But if the only options are cousins down the line I’m cheating, sorry. Also, going to try and limit each generation to two kids tops.

(As an aside, I have decided to wait until EA releases a Sims 4 Plus version or whatever, instead of doing what I usually do and buy the latest Sims ASAP. Because of reasons.)

I have to say that I am really enjoying Seasons. Although it seems to rain a bit too much but then again maybe my Sims live in Seattle and I just don’t know it. One thing I really don’t like are the aliens. I was never a huge fan of them in the Sims 2 either but the Sims 3 versions are a little too uncanny valley for me and give me the hebejebes.