Novelty is the name of the game

Everything is composed of systems; interconnected and interacting. And each of this systems are designed and governed by specific set of rules. If you know the rules, you know the system. Sometimes rule-set can be exhaustively large and complex which will, in turn, increase the complexity of the system itself. Break it down to small chunk of systems and you find out more specific relevant rule-set for smaller systems. Our mind is evolved to understand such systems in peculiar way of creating the model of the system rather than actually solving rules by which it is governed. Let’s take example. Lionel Messi’s brain not always go into resolving friction equations or movement of round object in curvature to have quick pass or amazing goal; Or Federer’s mind won’t do all force formulas to quickly come up with number to use in back-end shot, nor their, or in such case anyone else, minds capable of finishing calculations on the fly. Minds just do what they supposed to do “as per learned model” which in turn needs regressive learn pattern.

Why I have elaborated so much was the phenomenon gamers worldwide face in their day-to-day gaming sessions. Games are most prolific “systems” which gamers learn to play. Each new game present new set of rules to learn. Game designers face most daunting task of devising the system driven by elaborated rule-set, make users learn them fast, mold their minds to think with provided rules and along with all;most sought accomplishment; make it all fun and enjoyable. Some games fail due to one or other of above. And some excel with the same. Let’s explore few of the games in my gaming life which has garnered the awe-inspiring amazement along with joy due to their unique appealing trait: novelty (in no particular order).

1. Braid ( Creator: Jonathan Blow, Artist: David Hellman )

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There are puzzle platformer. There are excellent puzzle platformers. And there is Braid. Uniqueness of the Braid was not time-manupulation, but the way each level introduces new aspect based on time. Starting with fairly straightforward time reversal, Braid just pulled all kind of time-trickery in the each advancing level. One level adds time-unaffacted objects, while other introduces “time-ring”. And my favorite one where time moves when protagonist moves. Without spoiling much novelty (especially the last absolutely genius level), Braid has achieved cult status with its underlying deep philosophy which was fan-favorite discussion topic amongst various forums.

Also Braid had been the flagstone of revolution which has moved gamers focus on indie development like never before.

2. Her Story ( Creator & designer: Sam Barlow, Actress: Viva Seifert )

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Gaming industry is always fascinated with idea of merging movies with gameplay from initiation of digital interactivity. FMV ( Full Motion Video) games were at some point considered as major step ahead while era was mostly composed of low res sprites and environments. Tex Murphy adventures or Phantasmagoria were few series which got attention for their novel FMV interactivity. Most recent Late Shift or partial FMV AAA title Quantum Break are testimony of gaming industry’s unabated love for integration of full motion video in games. But nothing has succeeded so profoundly as Her Story which has changed the idea of FMV gameplay. Best part of Her Story is that FMV seems the inevitable design aspect rather than just another “back of the box bullet-point”. Brainchild of sole person; Sam Barlow and exquisitely acted by Viva Seifert, Her Story puts you in shoes of investigator trying to glean the connection out of disjointed interrogation videos of old case. Not spoiling much, Her Story is addictive short campaign.

3. Untold Stories ( Developer: No Code, Publisher: Devolver Digital )

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Most ancient genre of gaming which is again getting traction due to most innovative take like Untold stories on them; text adventures. Untold stories has coat of new graphic processing power but core element is text adventure. Short, precise and genuine ; Untold stories is pinnacle presenting “New wine in old bottle”.

4. Portal/Portal 2 ( Valve corporation )

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In 2007, at the most ripening time to reap the popularity benefit, Valve released most audacious game bundle of all time called ” The Orange Box”. Riding high with Half-Life 2 and preceding episodic instalments, Orange Box was going to provide most value for money playtime to gamers. Valve Corporation knew it was going to be hit. But what it never gleaned was that the small title thrown in; almost like Santa’s small free present, along with other biggies in the Orange Box, called Portal, was going to steal the show and going to force Valve to cash in with its follow-up, Portal 2.

To say that Portal was ingenious first person puzzler is disservice to the game as whole. It was cleverly designed to incorporate Portal rules and way of overcoming them. Concept was simple enough to have ability to generate two portals on any (not all though) flat surfaces so as player passing through one emerges out of other. Throw in exemplary physics engine to take care of gravity and hence velocity out of other portal and you have sandbox rule set to play around.

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Portal 2 has high expectations given the popularity of the first. But so rare the event in this world in any media has happened here also; second part surpassing the first. Once Portal 2 introduces the varying gels, rules got more complex and playful.

However intelligent gamers felt by solving the puzzles in Portal and Portal 2, one fact was appreciated by all that at the end game designers of both were true genius of all. After completing the game, if you look back you’ll realize how much complexity your brain has gone through and that also in very simple and fun way.

Kudos to games.

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Little wanderings

As onset of summer has kicked the mercury into 80s and 90s like a solid front going for full attack, however lucrative it sound to stay at home, it was equally improbable to not utilize the hot weather after freezing winter in Indianapolis. No longer trips in sight, I have to settle with little wanderings to nearby places in and around Indiana. Each doesn’t deserve full length writing but at the same time doesn’t qualify for complete ignorance. Hence, presenting collage of short trips in one delectable blog as below.

1. Marengo cave

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There are 4 show caves in Indiana. Marengo is one of them. Its situated in Crawford county, about 2.5 hours drive from Indianapolis city. There were multiple variation in circulation for the discovery of Marengo cave and all are equally enticing. But eventually all agree to point that cave has been discovered accidentally by two Hiestand children while playing in the woods.

First sensible effect of entering the cave was drastic temperature drop, especially in hot summer. Our tour guide said that cave was maintaining constant temperature no matter outside atmosphere. Dimly lit corridors and large areas were covered from long years of stalactites and stalagmites formation from floor to ceiling. At some locations, they were so bizarre and oddly formed that whole scene was looked like part of HP Lovecraft’s Chulthu mythos and bizarre imagination from H. R. Giger’s paintings. Human mind will always try to attach some shape and semblance of meaning to chaos and hence you might see with guide’s directional observation the likes of great wall of China (in miniature format), Elephant heads, swinging girls in shadows of torchlight and whatever your mind can comprehend (chulthu older ones for me).

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2. Indiana Dunes

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It is basically shoreline of lake Michigan. Beaches dotted along the line don’t have the seashore level playfulness of waves and spread, but still vastness of lake won’t allow your mind to latch onto such thoughts either. So basically you have few sandy trails where you climb and trudge through send hills and after that, cool off at nearby beach. Hotter the day, double the fun. Don’t forget your tanning apparatus and good camera. As late evening summer sunset over lake might present wonderful vista of red spectrum colors with usually beautiful scattering effect found in northern hemisphere.

3. Chicago (again)

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Next Chicago tour was more of architectural. We had river tour of famous Chicago architectures along with ample dose of its history mostly centered around destruction of Chicago in great fire of 1871 and its Phoenix-esq rise from the ashes.

 

Sin City: A hard goodbye

Last day in Vegas. It was a bit of charting away from “symbolic” Vegas attractions. No more betting or bar-hoping. No more slot machines or roulette. Like we want to reshuffle the  impression of Vegas as amazing visiting spot for “sins” it was known for in our mind.

First we visited the unique museum, not only from Vegas standard but world around, having real human body on display with view to its innards in a way which can make doctors go crazy and ogling all over. Pun asides, it was something which you could not experience in such presentable manner. From birth to last stage of life (the death itself), passing corridors would give glimpses of various biological systems with all its participating organs.

Next spot was very famous (and now available at lot many popular visiting spots) Madam Tussaud’s wax museum with very limited “celebrities” (I am gravely offended that they have not included my favorite A Jolie).

As I already pronounced early in this blog that we were specifically looking forward to something which was not “signature” Vegas on our last day. MARVEL’s superhero experience was something like that and beyond expectation. Staff role-plating to visitors as SHIELD agents who wants to recruit new members (that is you) to their secretive group and in turn make you visit various rooms propped with original and “almost-original” replicas of various MARVEL studios designs was believe-it-or-not experience for any superhero (and Marvel) fan. There was captain America’s WW2 motorbike. There were shields and large-scale machine (used in Captain America’s movie also) where  Steve Rogers transformed into superhero. There were full size costumes of Ant-man, black-widow, Nick Fury and various others. And at last whole collection of Iron-man suits;all the versions included along with Hulk-buster armor in its real size. Have I mentioned that there was free demo of very cool VR game to play. In short, it was MARVELous.

Day (along with that Vegas trip also) was concluded with few shopping sprees and lovely sea-food along with local beer.

 

Sin City: Booze, Broads & Burgers

In Vegas, you count your stay in nights. On second night of our visit to Vegas, we choose milder “approach” to experience women’s company; most popular and high-profile night pub: Omnia. After queuing amidst scantily adorned beautiful ladies for almost an hour, entry to pub was more like entering the darkest dungeon for “surprising catch”. All the tropes of night pub was merrily present and if something required to be criticized then it was not registered by our alcohol incapacitated minds.

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As the night wore on, heat increased as well the party-goers. Leaving around mid-night, we ventured more in vicinity till decided to retire in company of roulette and Jack. Offering more of “hard-earned” money on the altar of betting God, we decided to call it night. Next day we had already planned to cater our taste buds rather than giving all the pleasure to intoxicated mind and liver.

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Next morning we queued up for famous Gordon Ramsey’s Burgers. There were other Gordon Ramsay’s variant also present in Vegas such as Fish & chips and Steakhouse. Burger was delicious and nothing like I had tested before. After satiating the sweet tooth at Hershey’s chocolate factory, day was accomplished without much fanfare till late evening when we decided to take cab and indulge Vegas in old ways at Fremont street.

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Fremont experience mainly composed of light show via covered ceiling, old cheap souvenir shops and casinos, live cabaret, a hard rock show, a very weirdly themed but hilarious restaurant (see photos at last), zip line stretching the whole street and lots of old style pubs and bars. Beautiful, nostalgic and unique.

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Live show at Fremont

At night, we have secured seats for famous show Mystic, the Cirque du Soleil presentation of jaw dropping live stunts, enchanting music, kaleidoscopic colors, alien costumes and creatures and some of very humorous live pranks with audience.

Sin City: Family Values

Considering Vegas reputation, day started off sluggish and late on the next day of our arrival. Sunlight glinting off with golden hue from glass facade of Trump tower poured in as soon as marvelous strip view emerged from our Treasure Island hotel room window once curtains were aside. At other side of the strip two identical structures corresponding to hotels Encore and Wynn were showing off their best attractions on large size digital billboards. Day was just starting for Vegas at 10:00 in the morning.

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Trump Tower at Las Vegas
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Identical designs of Wynn and Encore
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Shining Venezia

Due to coming Christmas festive time, all hotels on the strip were decorated with various Xmas fairy themes. Apart from that, all hotels also bear their own theme. Lynn was heavy on blossoming Xmas theme where flowers were main ingredient along with quaint little dreamy miniaturized towns. Dings of the slot machines and cacophony of roulette and blackjack tables intermixed with jingle tunes were doing spectacular effects of uplifting the mood for festivity and fun. Life-size carousal entirely made of flowers was taken straight out of the Disney’s fantastical movies.

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Carousal made of Flowers at Wynn

Next on the list (and on the strip) was Venezia, residing beside Lynn. One of the striking feature of Vegas strip is all hotels were interconnected via cross-bridge or passages so that visitors can only leave when they really spent out, whether money or energy. Apart from imitating Venetian architecture adorning the outside of enormous hotel, inside was also furnished with famous canals and gondolas. Most striking feature was the false dome with eternal diffused blue sky with scattering of scarlet giving off the impression of setting sun.

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Venice in Vegas

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After capturing Caesars Palace’s in digital format from outside, we went ahead with flying visit to Flamingo’s famous food street.

During evening we had already planned to secure place in front of signature Vegas symbol, the famous Bellagio fountain. What time we had before fountain show starts was utilized to marvel at Christmas themes of the Bellagio hotel. Colorful Shogan warrior was adorning the foyer. In the back, impressionistic north pole created in wide area where polar bears made of white flowers frolicking around massive Christmas tree. Sky created in the dome was inspired from some of Van Gogh’s paintings (la starry nights).

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In middle of 8.5 acre water body, thousands of spritzers shooting water jets to maximum of 460 feet in tune with Frank Sinatra or Jackson was sight to behold. Most calming and at the same time most energetic.

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Bellagio Hotel at Las Vegas

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Once the show finished, you turn back to marvelous re-creation of Eiffel Tower and arc de triomphe in all its glory at night-time accompanied by hot air balloon to complete the Paris world fair picture at and around Paris hotel. Though we had visited the real monuments in Paris it was the deja-vu of reminiscing past. Inside the Paris hotel, Casino floor was all bathed in Parisian vista of eye-catching props of small apartments  showcasing various stark black silhouetted couples against yellow light engaging in various activities. In one corner, theater stage was created mimicking opera style grandeur.

 

After witnessing the fire show at the Mirage, We had good north-Indian food at Tabla restaurant to get ready for long poisonous night.

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Sin city: Hell and back

I am not good at numbers. Never was. I had barely the sense and mental prowess due to intoxication to solve the probability function which could have been not much beneficial anyhow considering how feeble human mind is when to choose between prayer and numbers displaying the probability. All I had was few seconds to decide; to envision the pattern and bet. I realized that bobbing of small roulette ball is most “adrenaline injecting” moment while you sip through Jack Denials. And getting what you predicted was elicit force to put more risk in next round.

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Vegas at last. It was dream of me to be there. Not sure why. Might be due to that Bellagio fountain scene in “Ocean’s Eleven”. Might be due to fond memories of illuminating strip even in post-apocalyptic Nevada in “Fallout:New Vegas”. Might be due to impression from all entrainment media outlets promoting Vegas as kind of “pilgrimage” for the inebriated souls. Holy power center of all the probable sins humankind think of. And mostly due to the fun way you can take risk and get rewards. Trinity of money, girls and booze. If temples are created to search gods residing within human soul, purify it with prayers and faith to get ready for salvation and in the end heaven; places like Vegas might just want to find your inner demon, purify the body through most potent “alcohols”, satiating deepest wild desires burning your soul and mark it ready for hell. If you had will (and money), Vegas has the way.

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So I had four nights and three days planned in Vegas during first week of December. Thought to accommodate other nearby places, mostly Hoover dam and Grand Canyon, but Vegas strip was more than exhausting enough for all days.

We arrived at the Vegas at early night on Friday; the initiation of blooming weekend. Nevada was devoid of any human presence from the air. Not a single twinkle of light. Sea of blackness and dark matter where still no star formation had started yet. In this vast black space, Vegas was illuminating like life supporting galaxy with thousands and thousands of heavenly bodies. Vegas is all about light and grandeur.

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Hotel Treasure Island on the strip was our new home for Vegas stay. Travelling to the hotel gives flying night overview of the strip at night. Check inn was smooth. Rooms were comfy. And to relive the tiredness, my friend decided “to draw the first blood” at hotel’s casino.

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Beginner’s luck on the high point of “pendulum” swing, roulette draw few lucky numbers on multiple occasions on which I choose to bet. Here it goes the vicious cycle of money, reward and luck. Economics or not but there is simple rule with money; more the reward, more the risk and more human greed.

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Cashing out my first “earn” and again spending it on either alcohols or slot-machines or more roulette rounds was the recurring activity on the first night. Dings of rows of slot machines churning out “digital coins”, floating numbers everywhere, royal decor, kaleidoscopic view of drinks on the bar table, and alluring tune to invite people to bet, were the prime aspects of the dreams I had with whatever meager hours of sleep I managed to have.

Next day was planned to have trip of the strip in day to get hold of the lay and Christmas spirit and embrace the nightlife to wear off all the tiredness.

PS: This meant to be introductory blog to my three-day sojourn at Vegas. More coming up in parts with lots of amazing captured memoirs.

 

One more year passed by in blink and here we stood again at same conjecture to review gone year, wearing reading glasses with courtesy of goodreads.com.  Passed year in terms of reading could be summarized in short as “the year in prose”. Where I still clung to tried-n-tested authors for modern literature; number of classics raised in significance.

I deliberately set reading challenge to one book per month so not to include short, anything on the way to reading list, just to complete the challenge. I had inclination of devoting time for classics. And reading classics can take time. Still I was ahead by 3 books at end of the year 2017.

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Let’s see what was hit and what was miss among these.

Book with most pages I read (Frankly speaking completed) in current year was “The complete collection of Sherlock Holmes”. It was long reading project. The book contains all the four novellas and almost entire collection of stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Though started reading long time back, I could only conjure up enough time to return the salutation to Holmes “Last Bow” in the year of 2017.

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There are two candidates for “most surprising and enlightening read”. One is old world Russian literary classic “Lolita” by Vladimir Nabokov and the other modern world literary supreme “The Voice of Fire” by Alan Moore. Let me clear one thing. Lolita is controversial. But there is not a single word, prose or snippet which could be classified as vulgar or titillating. It is masterfully crafted in monologues. And served with one of the best prose writing competing to Charles Dickens. I had never had such eliciting experience of reading the word-formation in such delight.

 

When we are talking about prose writing, then let’s not forget only modern era master class in prose writing or any kind of writing; Alan Moore. “Voice of Fire” was his first novel after very successful writing history in Graphic Novels (From Hell, Watchmen, V for Vendetta are just few gems). Moore experimented heavily with first novel in terms of writing were interconnected stories’ timelines vary from initiation of mankind to Alan Moore himself; incorporating various historical events in process. He had started something called Geo-psychology where he traces the history and events of particular place and put it in more weird, contextual, and sometimes magical view. Not spending much time as it will take forever to discuss Alan Moore.

“You can always count on a murderer for fancy prose style” – Back cover of Lolita

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Other notable reads are “1984” from George Orwell (Again classic) and more Russian literary classic “Anna Karenina” by Leo Tolstoy. One short, depressing Orwellian account of dystopian world  which has started “All seeing Big Brother” concept; while other was sprawling storytelling covering Russian aristocracy and class divide intermixed with love, family values, relationships and marriages (along with issues).

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In terms of Graphic Novels, it was dominated by well-knowns. Great was the wine soaked narrative of Eddie Campbell on existence of Greek gods in modern times in “Bacchus”. At the same, though I’m crazy of such stuff, to-much-meta references has killed my interest in Grant Morrison in ” The Multiversity”. While Alan Moore’s “Top 10” was pleasingly light read, “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Black Dossier” (again by Alan Moore) was fun take on his own brilliantly conceived original TLEG.

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In modern novels, “Metro 2035″ was satisfying but not as much as the previous two installments of Metro universe. ” “The Girl in the Spider’s Web”  was unnecessary addition to Lisbeth’s (Novel’s protagonist) journey. Dan Simmons “The Fifth Heart” was as I expected but still nowhere near Holmes magic created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Most disappointing read for me was “Black Water Lilies”. Though it might be good for others but I had somehow “guessed” whole crux of the twist and story arc from very beginning and hence just dragged myself to complete it.

That’s it for gone year of 2017. While I am slowly but progressively sucked into more of literary classics, getting into more prose reading, once a while I’ll get my hands on modern popular. With few more Russian classics in-line along with “most diverse read I had ever done”, coming year is going to be really sensuous and enthralling.

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Happy Reading. (And also new Year 🙂

PS: Ready player One was not meant to be present on “to read” list in near future, even after promising trailer of upcoming movie by none other than Steven Spielberg. But rifling through its pages in one of the book outlet at Las Vegas airport, I came across something which couldn’t be ignored. A statement; defining all geeks and nerds  and book itself a love letter to all grownups like me who spent their childhood in 80s (and 90s and 00s ….)with videogames. It was instant buy. And more rapid read. So this last-minute update changed above stat by +1 book.
Being human totally sucks most of the time. Videogames are the only thing that make life bearable – Ready Player One.

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Chicago Blues

Only three and half hours drive away, Chicago was neglected like a rotting flower which was never meant to be visited when whole lot of other places flashing their most beautiful visage to attract visitors like me till one weekend I reservedly complied to forceful request of my friend to accompany him in touring Chicago.

Though adorning one of the most memorable skyline and one of the tallest structure in the world, I was skeptical about liking it altogether. It was never meant to have blog on it.Continuing above analogy of rotting flower, sometimes you need a different pair of glasses like UV spectrum used by some of the insects and birds to visualize the true nature of it ( Some birds and insects use UV spectrum to choose flower for visitation which is not visibly evident to us as our eyes evolved only to be useful in visible spectrum).

Visiting the Willis Tower (Formerly known as Sears Tower) and witnessing spectacular night vista of the Chicago from its 103rd floor glass boxes was just tipping my “interest measure” above 5 on the scale of 10 till I observed something which I shamefully ignorant of. Having donuts as pre-dinner energy food at roadside deli late evening, Chicago downtown looked bit familiar. Imitating sodium vapor lamp, lampposts were feverishly illuminating underway which was surrounded by buildings with metro tracks passing overhead. Not at much height but just looming there as ominous steel serpent ready to devour anything in the way; crisscrossing the city with “rattle” of passing tram periodically. I imagined drive under it (which was not possible at all considering my under-driving skills). It had that deja-vu moment but if I had not experienced it then it means it had to be from my active imagination fueled by movie scene. And if I remember it so soundly it means it has to be from The Dark Knight.

The movie I so adorned and in love of that I have seen it so many times that I left counting after counter reached to double figure. How could I be so ignorant about its shooting locations? Chicago was there on my “liking chart” almost approaching 10, just after that particular moment.

So we visited other places like Shedd aquarium, Navy Pier, had experienced beautiful Chicago skyline, tried to be creative at Cloud Gate structure at Millennium park, had Chicago’s famous deep dish pizza and also lost in countless “Diwali” like illumination of city itself at night from Willis Tower which is evident from photos herewith.

But still for me the moment which instilled the “that’s what I want” moment was the self-realization that city which I was visiting was no other than Gotham city itself.

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Navy Pier

Travelog: Niagara Falls

Just arriving to the land of abundant traveling spots and having 4th of July falling on Tuesday with Monday happily sacrificed in the name of long weekend had its merits in the name of prospects of long travel as well as demerits of stressful selection of the traveling destination. Though I didn’t have to go through such painful ordeal as group of colleagues were already looking for couple of companions to join their travel “crusade” to Niagara Falls. And hence when presented with proposal, I delightfully accepted the invitation.

So the 3 day plan was laid out like this: Start from Indianapolis early towards Buffalo (Where we secured the night out option), have brief on-the-fly visit of Cleveland, OH in transit to Buffalo, Visit the massive water fall in the morning for a day, visit Putin bay island while returning back (With one more night stay somewhere nearby) and get back to routine again next day. Plan was good and workable. And we almost stuck to it exhaustively except few pleasant changes of the visiting locations.

So here’s breezy travel commentary day by day.

Day 1

(Positive take away: First long travel within USA, Niagara at night)

(Negative put down: “Early in the morning” has most varied interpretation. That’s why humankind introduced numbers and clock)

Most of the day was spent travelling by rented car which was grand caravan by Dodge. It was comfortable and smooth on road. Apart from meagre coffee breaks, we managed to have our prolonged break only while reached Cleveland.

Plan was to have glimpse of Cleveland downtown which we did. Spent some time to skim through Cleveland civil war memorial towards fountain of eternal life. Had a glimpse of NASA science center from afar resting at Cleveland’s beautiful shoreline which is formed by Lake Erie.

From Cleveland to Buffalo was almost 190 miles run (around 3 hours). We reached there somewhere during late evening. It was ripe time to experience Niagara at night. So after having hefty Indian dinner we went to Niagara fall. Cacophony of the massive water body (flow rate: 2400m3/s) falling 50m was more of a guiding star without any directional instruction. Vista at night was more profound. Rainbow lights illuminating the fall, enhanced by equally intimidating roar was sight to behold; showing the tantamount power of nature while mocking the meagre existence of human life trying to capture the sight in ridiculous digital still frames and puny videos to post on cyber world.

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Day 2

(Positive take away: Niagara at Day, Maid of the Mist)

(Negative put down: With long summer weekend, comes longer waiting queues)

Amidst disappointing quantity of massive human gathering and long queues, sole relieving factor was to get through them and experience Niagara in its utmost proximity by means of the Maid of the Mist. Droplets of water floating like mist due to sheer force of falling water and wind had created dual rainbows across falls’ wide chasm where the secondary mirroring the primary in color pattern. It was like venturing in some Disney-world. And when you get near the Horseshoe Fall then only you would realize the propensity of madness which had caused those adventures to cross Niagara in name of stunts.

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As for other attractions, not much was as impressive enough as Maid of the Mist. Cave of Winds allows you to get wet in icy cold Niagara water, but nothing special apart from crowing of seagulls and their stinking nests with adorable chicks hanging out besides walking path.

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There were not much time left once we done with Niagara. And hence left in late evening on returning path.

Day 3

(Positive take away: Watkins Glen State Park)

(Negative put down: No time left for Putin Bay)

We changed plan to visit Watkins Glen state park on the third day of our trip. We experienced beautiful glens, lush greenery, pockets of brooks, intermittent canopy churning the sunlight creating golden shafts, slippery, wet stones carved by water having rippling design permanently imprinted upon and wooden bridges to complete the natural setup on our long walking trails.

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In the evening we had brief informative visit to Corning Glass Museum.

Exhausted and satiated to the full; only thing left was to mull over beautiful memories and publish the memoirs like this.

Till next time.

 

PopCon, IN, USA 2017

Being present at two pop culture events 8203 miles apart (miles!!! Yes. I’m in USA now) in the same year; both generating the polar opposite emotional response in a manner representing their geological diversity along with distance quoted above, could also be classified as event itself. While the former was tepid, same, boring with few exceptional burst of joy (check the blog here), other was stuffed to the brim with nostalgic, modern, novel and absolute maddening fan service events to the point of bursting out.

Above para also explained the dormancy of my blog for so long. First event I mentioned was ComicCon 2017, Pune, India while the other is PopCon 2017, Indianapolis, USA. Last week I got chance to visit the same during my probably long future working sojourn in USA.

Before I proceed further, first check out below amazing display of Cosplay culture presented by visitors. Please bear the fact that it was such classic display of geekiness which acts as an energy induced plasma to make the fun event more energetic besides professional Cosplayers.

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Merchandise galore; what was more prominent was the milieu of artists and writers of the pop culture world with their latest and best. With pack line of famous artists and TV stars available for signing events along with chit-chat with their devoted fans to you-tubers and twitch channel artists marketing their prowess in digital world what made the PopCon event true to its name.

If I have to describe the event in single word, I would shout “Nostalgia”. Rows of Arcade machines staked up for young generation to gobble up retro-feeling in large area was one of the prime attraction. Stores selling old Gameboys along with prized old titled cartridges along with comic vendors selling old comic runs 1$ each was meant for collectors and aficionados alike. In one large corner I saw rows of players getting their hands on most primeval way of gaming: Board-games. Hexagonal dice and character sheets of Settlers to D&D to civilization, played equal part role with massive rooms dedicated to competitive gaming on large with CoD, Overwatch and many more to entertain the mass. It was enchanted amalgamation of old and new.

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For me, event reached its nerd peak when I found the store of Troma movies along with none other than Lloyd Kaufman himself (I also picked up two movies personally signed by him). Troma movie is the satirical mixture of overtly used grindhouse, splatter, sex, nudity, violence and other 50’s themes in almost superficially farcical way.

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I bought Gaiman to Teen-Horror “Tomie” to R rated Troma movies

The event regarding to pop culture won’t have Star Wars fans is always unusual and hence a whole Star Wars section was dedicated to their fans to get their universe together. Separate section was having Yo-Yo tricks competition for kids and young ones. Indie game developers also got their chance to showcase upcoming or in-development titles to get instant user feedback.

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Yes, Force wants you to join next time.

I would like to end reporting on such spectacular event on its most prominent note which make it unique; uniqueness itself, whether among people who make them differ to established social norms or artists who made their own niche against usual career approaches. These people are rare and unique. Most of the time hiding their instincts against pressure of outer world and due to aloofness but when come to such event they found out that there is lot many like him/her. Let’s not differ. Let’s celebrate. Kudos to fan’s CosPlay for such boldness.

Till next event……………………….