Los Angeles – Almost a Week Now…

The other night, I took my camera and walked around “the Marina”  (Marina Del Rey) and then out to the pier.  Picture a moon above you, warm wind coming at you, waves below, the Pacific.  The pier goes on and on like an arm reaching over the waters.  You reach the end and there’s this circular patio.  You turn around, facing the beach and beyond, the quiet neighborhoods and beyond that: a thousand stars of the city of Los Angeles twinkling.  Stars of Santa Monica, Marina Del Rey, Venice.  Someplace beyond that is Burbank and Hollywood and all those other mythical places.  To your right is the airport, LAX.  There are other stars, larger stars, coming down from the sky toward that place.  Jets coming in bring people to and from the world in which you’ve stepped.

But, now I’m about to fall asleep in a town outside Santa Barbara, and again, I can hear those waves not too far off, rolling.  It’s intoxicating.  I grew up in such a silent place that I know and love, and here my sleep is surrounded with these lush sounds.  To me, it’s otherworldly.

 

 

View from my Office

I took this photo last Thursday.  It has not been doctored in any way.  As I was leaving my office, there was this very strange light over Stamford.  It had been very windy the past two days.  This was the end of the winds and with it came this blue sky above mixed with clouds to the south and west (we’re looking toward NYC).

ClockTower 3

I recently completed Clocktower 3 by Capcom.  My feelings?  Interesting story told in a very heavy-handed manner.  Gameplay was fairly straightforward and enjoyable albeit linear.  Graphic environments were well executed, however background music / sound did not live up to the task.  Cutscenes were excellent.  The overall experience was fun, though brief.  With the exception of the final boss, the game took me less than 6 total hours of gameplay.  

On a scale of 1 – 10? 

Graphics = 8

BG Music / Sound = 4

Sound FX = 7

Story = 8

Fun Factor = 7

Replayability = 4

 

Overall Rating = 6.3

 

The major opportunities for improvement, in my mind, would be music first.  The loops were way too short and simple.  They actually distracted from gameplay. The issue with “replayability” is really a matter of the linear nature of the game.  Now that I know the puzzles, the only real challenge is surviving the bosses when their difficulty is increased.  The linear construction particularly conflicts with replaying the game, in this case, because the game is focused on avoiding conflict (unlike Resident Evil), therefore, the player doesn’t have that action experience moment to moment to relive.  Clocktower is really about solving puzzles and beating one boss per stage which just doesn’t provide a decent incentive to replay the game when the puzzles have been solved.  A problem like this, though, can’t be solved after the fact.  This is something that had to be addressed way back during the initial design of the gameplay.

The final boss was a wicked pain, but once I figured out the rhythm, he’s wasn’t that bad.  (It just took me a long time to figure out the rhythm!)  One of my apartment mates took this video of my victorious moment.

{flv}Seth_Rocking_Clocktower_3{/flv} 

Percussion Ensemble

Music has been a significant part of my life since I was 12.  I left the boyscouts and joined the highschool band as a drummer.  Overtime, I gravitated to timpani as my particular instrument of choice.  I also began studying piano at 16.  Throughout highschool, I was in every music ensemble possible and this carried into undergrad.  
 
At Alfred, I was in Orchestra, Band, Chorus, and I started a percussion ensemble.  I came across this recording while sifting through some junk in my dresser.  It’s a piece called “Stinkin’ Garbage” by Stomp.  I hope to find some other pieces soon, maybe even Carmina Burana, which was the most exciting performance I took part in.  Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy this.  BTW, this was during my ponytail years, and just to show I don’t edit myself, yes, I do drop my left stick towards the end:) (I’m the second guy from the left).
{mp4-flv width=”600″ height=”480″}Stinkin_Garbage{/mp4-flv} 

Neighborhood Shots – The Burning Tree

The past few weeks, I’ve been trying to go out at night, when the streets are wet, to take photos around my neighborhood (see the “photos” link under the Main Menu).  The past few nights I’ve been particularly anxious to get some shots as the leaves have passed their peak and are falling quick, making some really interesting splashes of color.

I spent last evening with my friends, the Daures, down in Stamford.  When we took a walk, I seriously regretted not bring my tripod as their neighborhood has some interesting turns and windy paths.  Needless to say, when I got home (ca 1:00) I was too psyched to go to sleep.  I grabbed my tripod and walked the neighborhood until 3 or so.  Here are some of the shots I’ve pulled off the cards so far.  More are on the way.

Norwalk, CT - Burning Tree - by Seth Perkins

Reach out and make a friend