Monday, February 28, 2005

A blissfully brain-free weekend. Emily left for New York yesterday, so Bogie and I were bachelors. Did a certain amount of lying around listening to public radio, then rewarded myself for being so good by finally picking up Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (a steal at $19.99—sometimes it pays to wait). I wasn't sure I would like this game: whereas a lot of people enjoy letting their ids loose in video and role-playing games that give you a choice between good and evil, my overdeveloped superego or maybe just an old-fashioned sense that derring-do must be backed up by a veneer of righteousness (Pres. Bush can surely relate) invariably has me rescuing maidens, slaying dragons, petting puppies, etc. Now Vice City has been praised for its open-endedness, but in actual fact your destiny has been predetermined: you're the bad guy, plain and simple. Another push toward evil comes in the fact that simply getting used to the controls means running over dozens of pedestrians, soemtimes twice. (Oddly, running people over rarely attracts the attention of the police, even if it's a cop you've run over. Gunplay is another story.) And when you're on a mission with a deadline? God help you if you're crossing the street while Tommy Vercetti and his stolen Stinger (all your vehicles are necessarily and routinely carjacked) are going somewhere in a hurry. I find I'm trying to improve my driving skills less out of concern for the digital pedestrians than for the fact that my cars keep getting banged to pieces. It's a shame to scratch the paint on some of these vintage jobs, let alone shatter the windshield, tear off the doors, and drive around with the hood flapping in the wind. Anyway, all this means is that after watching the Oscars long enough to determine that they were going to be incredibly, criminally boring (even Emily, who was watching from New York with a gaggle of her wittiest friends, was bored), it was my pleasure to spend the rest of the evening robbing, killing, and committing an appalling number of moving violations.

If you're in the Ithaca area this evening, why not come out to the West End Reading Series at Juna's Cafe? Here's the scoop:
On MONDAY, February 28, 2005
6:00pm at Juna's Cafe on the Commons


Tim Fitzmaurice and Ilya Kaminsky


Tim Fitzmaurice has been writing for twelve years. Raised in the Saratoga region, and received his BA in English Literature from Saint Michael's College in Vermont. Fitzmaurice now lives in the Hudson Valley.

Ilya Kaminsky was born in Odessa, former Soviet Union, and in 1993, his family received asylum from the American government and came to the United States. Ilya received his BA from Georgetown University and served as George Bennet Fellow Writer in Residence at Phillips Exeter Academy. He has won the Ruth LIlly Fellowship, and has received numerous other awards and prizes. Dancing in Odessa is his first full lenght book. In 2004, he graduated from law school and currently works as a Law Clerk for Bay Area Legal Aid in San Francisco.

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*The West End Reading Series is made possible in part by public funds from the Community Arts Partnership/NYS Council on the Arts Decentralization program and the support of the Constance Saltonstall
Foundation for the Arts.
I'm looking forward to meeting Ilya, whose book Dancing in Odessa has good buzz around it. As it happens, we'll both be reading at the New School on Wednesday and Thursday (him Thursday, me Wednesday). Should be an interesting time. I'm only sorry that I won't actually technically be sharing the stage with Dorothea Tanning—though there will be a group photo of the lot of us. I'll slip her my very last unspoken-for copy of Aubergine if I get the chance.

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