Arts 166

Published on September 5th, 2006 | by Greg


Labor Day Trio

In celebration of Labor Day (and the birthday of our editor), we bring you a trio of entertaining diversions.

OK, so our first look isn’t exactly play- it’s Only Revolutions by Mark Danielewski, and it makes your average calculus textbook seem like Tom Clancy. Alright, we admit a real weakness for the author, whose first book House of Leaves was insanely good. And he has taken the cleverness and post-modernism a few more steps- and a few too far- with his latest work, which seems purposely designed to distance any potential readers. If you can get by the gimmick (you flip the book around to read it, each page being written in at least two directions), then you find… a reasonable story. Unpacking it, like many great books, is much of the fun. But it isn’t a great read- it doesn’t make you want to turn the page (in any sense of the word) and so much of it is dialogue of sorts that the method serves to distract instead of enhance. The book is out in about a week, on the 12th ($26 MSRP).

Our second look fares a bit better: a nice way to scream your way through the last days of summer is listening to Ladyfinger (ne). OK, they suffer from some of the same flaws that other Saddle Creek bands fall to (Cursive, Bright Eyes, et al)- great build-ups that don’t always go anywhere, great lyrics that don’t always have the vocals to match. But Ladyfinger gets plenty right and the Omaha band has emotion to match the energy. It’s indie rock/punk, definitely harder than the average emo, closer to Cursive. They will be touring this fall, and their debut album is released on the 26th of this month- check their Myspace page out for a quick listen, and decide is screech-rock is right for you.

Finally, we had to review Ninety-Nine Nights, the new Dynasty Warriors-inspired Xbox 360 game. It’s beautiful, shiny, easy to pick up, and fun to play. It also gets quite boring, is frustrating in about 5 directions, and is unfortunately not as good as several of the iterations of the game that it is descended from. The mediocre voice acting and music aside, the game starts out with promises of several varied characters, plenty of powerups and future weapons, and some interesting boss battles. But the story gets lost in the massive battles, and the enemies all blur together in combo after combo. There is little strategy, making this essentially a beat-em-up. Some parts are insanely difficult (try keeping your bodyguards alive), while other parts are far too easy, and there is no reason to vary much from the same repetitive attack ad infinitum. Even with all that, it is great fun for a while, and there is plenty to do just in the main quest. Not a great deal at $60, but definitely worth a rental, and worth playing for almost any age group.

About the Author

Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Apple’s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.

Back to Top ↑