I’m reading Adventures of Huckleberry Finn for my Major American Authors class, and I sincerely enjoy the text. Technically I had read Finn at some point in high school, but I couldn’t tell you what grade it was in nor what class it was for nor whom the professor was, and that’s because my grade school experience was truly a wash. Back somewhere between 2003 and 2007, I even expressed displeasure with Finn’s vernacular. I argued that just because the denizens of the Mississippi river valley had thick accents did not mean they were not speaking language in “proper form.” My argument was based on a lazy decision to not even attempt to decipher the dialect. Now I realize that Huck Finn is a success not just because it uses vernacular, but because so much of the work is about vernacular. If the misplaced “that”s and extra “a”s were removed from the body of work, the story would be lopsided and lacking. Reading Huck Finn is like reading a decidedly anti-grammar textbook.
Mark Twain’s life is like Nikola Tesla’s in that it appears to me in 2013 as stuff of myth and legend. I find it difficult to believe that one man could do so much in such a short amount of time, and have so much output be of such high caliber. The breadth of topics the 19th century thinkers discussed and had intimate familiarity with absolutely slays me, the 21st century man who knows primarily about the fictitious canons of The Muppets and Star Wars. Huckleberry Finn has no overarching plot twenty-five chapters in, but I doubt it incessantly rambles. A complete aside like the Grangerford vs. Shepherdson feud, which only lasts for a couple of chapters, may not lead to any story beat directly, but it surely has important context that I’m missing when reading for the sheer pleasure. The book is full of minute detail that begs to be written about in a senior thesis. I am reading the story and enjoying it, but I’m not rooting for the good guys to “win” as I would in other work. I am reading to inhabit the world and to read more afterwards, which will consist of literary theories and Wikipedia pages. Take it as a compliment.
On the gaming front I’ve failed at my one-at-a-time rule, and am now interested in completing the Halo 3: ODST campaign I restarted in December. I’ve gone through the game once, fully, before, and it’s certainly my favorite of the franchise (if we exclude 4 and the remake of 1, which I’ve yet to play). While the rest of the Halo games are exciting little romps, ODST is the only one that puts me in a mood. The other entries in the series are background detail for LAN parties rife with Chex Mix and Mountain Dew. I had goosebumps when the opening tune to Halo 2 began, and back in 2007 I left Richardson Hall to get 3 at midnight. So those games were important cultural touchstones that I needed to play and could rally behind. However, they were just means to an end, and that end would be hanging out with friends. ODST’s candor soothes me. Bungie’s B-team put in some real S-rank work. Other shooters make very concerted efforts with reaching the widest bases possible, which means they’re either modern-military kill-the-brown-guys Linkin Park murderfests or they’re brightly-colored explosion tech demos that liberally borrow from Aliens.
ODST turns the lights off and plays jazz. You shoot aliens a lot, but the impetus for a grand, very “video gamey” epic has been taken away.
I still can’t recommend Chikara enough. I’m still hovering about half-way through 2012, and so far 2012 hasn’t been quite the banner year for them that 2011 was, but its quality is far, far ahead of anything else on television. To me, right now, it plays second fiddle only to New Japan Pro Wrestling, which has experienced a renaissance in the past few years and is big enough to be name-dropped on Raw sometimes. WWE is good, too, but its most consistently good programs are the ones hidden away, the least touched by McMahon hands. They simply rest on their laurels with a lack of serious competition, and I wonder and fantasy book my favorite promotions joining forces to create a heated rivalry. Surely if you put Hiroshi Tanahashi and Eddie Kingston on the same program, that would have to equal one Randy Orton backstage promo, right?
By contrast, Ring of Honor, the company who put independent wrestling on the map in a post-WCW world, had their 11th anniversary show tonight. At some point they fumbled the ball, and I had forgot the event even happened.