Hey there. Back after a stint in LA. It was gorgeous; an autumn heatwave rolled in, and it was 82 degrees poolside by 10 AM. This made all the Christmas decorations seem all the more out of place  - it’s bad enough Minnesotans have to start seeing “THE SEASON” and “JOY” and all the other words they roll out to announce the start of non-secular consumer-goods-exchange time before Thanksgiving, but to see palm trees wrapped with lights while you’re sweating inside a car with the AC cranked really disassociates you from the iconic Christmas imagery. We’re lucky. We have evergreens. We have snow. We have the real thing. In California, it’s just dressing on an empty stage.

TECH A drunk woman tries to operate Windows 8. If you can say “recalcitrant labyrinth” after several shots of tequila, you’re a pro. Not embedded because she swears, and we have rules about these things. It’s not entirely fair, for a few reasons:

1.She is drunk, you know

2.Whether or not an inebriate can figure out the UI isn’t a useful metric, unless you believe that everything should be dumbed down to pretty pictures and captions you stab with your finger and hope you hit the right icon.


VIDEO DU JOUR At first, you think: what a jerk. And then you think: brilliant. Then you’re back to jerk.



The objection seems to be people having public cellphone conversations. Which we all do. And that’s fine. We need to make those calls. It’s just annoying when other people think they need to make a call.


MEIN LEIBEN!: Yes: a Wolfenstein movie is en route! It could be as good as “Doom”! Oh. Right. Hmm. AV Club says:

Sensing that a shared hatred of Nazis is the one thing that could bring this divided nation together again, Pulp Fiction screenwriter Roger Avary is attached to write and direct a big-screen adaptation of Castle Wolfenstein.

Great! What’s the plot? 

. . the action-adventure film centers on a young U.S. Army captain and a British special agent on a top-secret mission to Castle Wolfenstein, where Hitler will be for the unveiling of a new secret weapon. After reaching the Castle, the heroes are confronted with Himmler's SS Paranormal Division and must fight, not only for their survival, but for a mission that could alter the course of the war.

That’s from the Hollywood Reporter, which also notes:

Castle Wolfenstein was an early stealth-based action-adventure shooter arcade game developed by Muse Software for the Apple II. It was first released in 1981.

Let us revisit once more the progression of video games, as seen through various Wolfenstein games. 1981:



The breakthrough iD games version, which knocked everyone out, and paved the way for Doom to redefine how we saw games, as well as the way they were marketed (they gave away the first batch of levels, knowing that everyone who played - and I mean everyone - would buy the game):



The most recent version:




And it’s already been eclipsed by CoD, which will be bested by Halo 4. Glory days indeed.


MST3K was the most significant cultural product to come out of this town since Prince. Certainly funnier. Numberless hours of shows, and never anything less than brilliantly hilarious. It’s nice to catch up with Joel, but’s a bit mystifying to talk about MST3K without mentioning its post-Joel history or its current incarnation at Rifftrax. MPR interview is here.

That's it - back to work on a column. See you around.