What I’m Reading/Watching
I have started filling in the void on my Geek Card that is occupied by “A Game of Thrones.” I picked up the hardcover trade of the first half-dozen issues of the comic series and read through that; I read the first couple of chapters of the novel; and I’ve watched the first two episodes of the HBO series (which essentially mirrors the events of that comic trade).

The comic was a tough read; I bought it for Tommy Patterson’s art, because I’ve been following him on Twitter for awhile and he’s a great guy. But it suffers from the same thing a lot of modern comics suffer from, in that it never telegraphs scene changes. You are on one page with one set of characters in one location, and you turn the page and find another set of characters in another location with no warning that the setting has changed. All it would take is a narrator’s box in the upper left-hand corner of the first panel that says “Name of New Location,” and you’re off to the races. But a lot of comic books today ignore this.

The show’s OK — I don’t love it, but I don’t dislike it enough to quit on it after only two episodes. Peter Dinklage, who plays a dwarf named Tyrion Lannister, is really the highlight of the series, and he doesn’t get nearly enough screen time as the show bounces around between the myriad settings and sets of characters.

I’m maybe 20 pages into the book only; not enough to have an opinion on it yet.

What I’m Touring
I got a chance to go check out Northwest Technical College’s Sustainable Environment Technology Center today; they have combined elements of their home construction, plumbing/HVAC and metalworking programs to teach students how to install things like residential solar panels, small wind, geothermal heating systems and other high-efficiency, sustainable home energy sources. It was pretty awesome, and it briefly resurrected the part of me that long ago thought it was going to make me into a mechanical engineer. I took a bunch of pictures on Twitter; you can check those out. Really fun tour.

What I’m Playing
Diablo III came out Tuesday. I’ve put about four hours into it already; servers weren’t cooperative last night, so I didn’t play as much as I kinda wanted to. It’s fun – run around and explode things. I’m looking forward to playing more with Mel.

I’ve also been playing the Avengers game on Facebook, but I think I’m out. They added what they call a “special operation” that you could farm mercilessly and eventually earn the right to unlock Mockingbird; on the surface that seems awesome, and I was going to try it. But they added a ridiculous fifth kind of currency to the game, and require that currency to do each of the fights in a mission. Basically, it seems almost impossible to contemplate having enough of that currency available for the fights in the operation, and be able to repeat those fights enough times to earn “mastery” on each level, within the timeframe allowed without using actual dollars to buy the currency. There’s no way that’s happening. So the game now seems pretty pointless.

Andy Bartlett

By day, I am the executive director of communications and marketing at Bemidji State University. The rest of the time, I'm a husband, father of three, and proponent of super heroes, lasers, space ships and explosions.

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