Weekly Updates: Colum McCann Transatlantic + Video Game Nostalgia

Weekly Updates: Colum McCann Transatlantic + Video Game Nostalgia


Life: Video Game Nostalgia

Playing Animal Crossing for Gamecube for the first time in 7 years
Playing Animal Crossing for Gamecube for the first time in 7 years

I’m only slightly embarrassed to say that I’ve began playing the original Animal Crossing for Nintendo’s Game Cube – copyright 2001.

If you’ve never played, the gist of the game is… life. You don’t really do anything. There isn’t a villain. But there is money in the currency of bells. A store run by Nook (the crook) who buys/sells various items. Loans that need to be paid off before you can progress. A bank account that collects interest. You don’t have a job but you can do favors for your animal neighbors. Or pick fruit from trees and sell them.

Because of it’s lack of plot, the game can get monotonous. Nintendo livens it up by having the weather change, the in-game time matches your timezone, and holidays get celebrated. Even with these interruptions. I can’t play more than about 30 minutes a day. Which is just about the time it takes to cook dinner. Not the worse use of half an hour.

Aspects of the game that aren’t in life but I wish they were: Digging up money bags out of the ground. Shaking trees and having money fall from them. Planting a money tree. Ah, if only it were so easy.

Television: 30 for 30: Price of Gold

Tonya Harding + Nancy Kerrigan re-enactment via 90's revue
Tonya Harding + Nancy Kerrigan re-enactment via 90’s revue

I love these ESPN programs. This one was about the Tonya Harding Nancy Kerrigan scandal. I was 12 at the time, so a little young to understand everything. The ESPN show focused exclusively on Tonya Harding, since Nancy Kerrigan wouldn’t be interviewed. It’s interesting that still, to this day, Harding denies any prior knowledge of the event.

Learning about Harding’s background makes it a little bit easier to understand her intentions. Sympathy still can’t be had since the attack was so unsportsman-like. But hearing about her childhood also makes the story much more sad.

She grew up in a low-income family (‘trailer trash’ was used at one point) with an abusive mother and neglectful father. No one was supportive. No surprise, she ended up marrying someone who was abusive. When explaining that she got married to flee from her parents, she said this in the interview, “He [her husband] beat me, but she [her mother] also beat me, so…”. When people ask why children of abusive parents marry abusive partners – that’s why.

The truly saddest part of all this, is Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan were both really talented skaters. After this fiasco, their careers were ruined.

Topically related: Nancy Kerrigan will be part of the broadcast team for this year’s Sochi Winter Olympics. She will also be part of a documentary about this scandal.

Books: Transatlantic by Colum McCann

Colum McCann
Colum McCann “Transatlantic”

I loved Let the Great World Spin. That was the first book I’ve read by McCann. The multiple-story lines were intriguing and the story was interesting. The one event tied everything together. It was very well done.

I just can’t say the same for Transatlantic. I didn’t like the fictional history of it. I didn’t like the story line that tied it together. I didn’t care for any of the characters. It was also more difficult to see how each character fit into each part.

With that said, I love his writing. It’s beautiful. I could read a technical manual written by him. His prose flows naturally. Descriptions aren’t over-done. For this reason, I didn’t like the more historical-fiction stories as it just sounded too ‘pretty’ for the material it was. While reading “Transatlantic”, I was reminded of E. L. Doctorow’s novel “Ragtime”, which is also historical fiction told in a roundabout way. For what it’s worth, I recommend Ragtime over this one.

I give Colum McCann’s “Transatlantic” 3 out of 5 stars because his writing is wonderful to read. But I can’t recommend it as an interesting story.

Internet Best Of: Links

Real-Life Depression
The Fart Party’s Over – Julia Wertz

Grantland Dictionary: NHL Edition – Grantland

15 Alternative 24-Hour Locations in NYC – Untapped Cities

The 3 Steps That’ll Get You Meetings With High Value People – Dumb Little Man

Proof that practice is more important than talent – Cash Rebel

Plastic-free produce – Tropical Vegan

Basic Red (Tomato) Sauce – Kara Cooks

Nikki tells us why she’s invincible – Nikki DeSautelle


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