Mine was pretty good. On Friday night I joined some friends for the Monsters of Folk show at Stubb's (to the right is a blurry picture of Jim James- normally of My Morning Jacket- doing some singin'). The show was good.
Monsters of Folk came through and played at the Paramount some years back, and I couldn't help thinking during some of the stretches that involved a number of slower, mellower songs that MOF might be a little better suited to play at a place which might have slightly better acoustics, seats to sit in, and a theater environment which might keep the drunk people around you from wanting to talk through the songs (Stubbs was sold out on Friday night). But the music was good, and I really enjoyed the show (and although there were a fair number of quieter, slower songs, they played a mix of different material).
Saturday I got up, put on my burnt orange, and went over to watch the UT-Baylor game with Jamie. Ryan was out of town, so it was just Jamie and I watching the game, and by halftime it was clear that Baylor was getting steamrolled. We went out to lunch at the half and watched the rest of the game at Waterloo Icehouse.
Saturday night I hung out with Chris Griego, and we ate burritos and watched Army of Darkness. I've seen that movie a bunch of times, but it had been awhile, and it's a classic.
Sunday I took Cassidy to the park, and somehow just sort of goofed off, I guess (well, I ran a couple of errands, but mostly goofed off). Still reading Blood Meridian, watched some DVR'ed TV, played some XBox, and went out to dinner at Maudie's with Jamie. Ryan got back from Vegas last night, so I look forward to hearing how his trip went.
One of the things I frittered away my Sunday on was a bit of Batman: Arkham Asylum on my XBox. It's a pretty cool game. I haven't really been regularly reading comic books for a while (although in high school I was more into them, and Ryan still keeps me somewhat updated on major developments), but it seems like this video game is based pretty solidly upon the comics as opposed to the movies or the cartoons or whatever. Paul Dini, a regular writer of the Batman comics, helped to write the dialogue and plotlines for the video game, and as a result, the game does a good job of retaining the feel of the Batman from the comic books.
The artwork, gameplay, dialogue, and voice acting in the game are all really solid. Early in the game there were occasional moments when I would feel like my character in the game didn't seem to have all of the resources and abilities that the Batman of the comics might have, but these instances started to subside once I started unlocking various gadgets and moves.
Anyway, it's a cool game. Probably one of the better superhero games that I've played. The fighting scenes, in particular, are really well done, with the action sometimes shifting into slow motion or switching to cut scenes in order to highlight a particularly well executed attack or defense (plus, there's a lot of cool creeping and climbing around and attacking from the shadows, as well there should be in a good Batman game).
Arkham Asylum is just another big step forward in the ability of game designers and programmers to not only provide an entertaining game in terms of playability, but to tell a well crafted story at the same time. Arkham Asylum is fun to play, but I can't help but think that it would be almost as much fun to watch- just to see how the story plays out.
So that was the weekend.
Before going to bed last night I watched a bit of live coverage of a speech that President Obama was giving to students in China. The president gave what was, in my opinion, an extremely good speech. He did a good job of striking a delicate balance between challenging China on policies affecting human rights (including freedom of religion and freedom of speech-specifically calling for free, unrestricted access to and use of the internet), while at the time striking a fairly conciliatory tone (stating, for instance, that the U.S. welcomes China as a robust economic partner in the world community, and that the two countries need not become adversaries or rivals). Obama also pointed out the need for cooperation between the U.S. and China in a number of areas, including, but not limited to, the need to reduce carbon gas emissions and control global warming.
Anyway, it's always hard to tell how well the president's speech translates when he's having to communicate through interpreters, but I thought he did a really job of addressing some of the issues that U.S. has with the Chinese in terms of their human rights policies while actually managing to retain a fairly collegial tone. In essence, he kind of spoke over the shoulders of Chinese political leaders and directly to the Chinese people, trying to convey a message that the U.S. isn't so much interested in judging or criticizing China as it is concerned with the welfare and well being of its people (and that we will only really feel like the Chinese are living in a healthy society if we know that its people have the freedom to do things like freely speak their minds and freely practice their religions). Obama combined this message with an admission that the U.S. has historically had its own serious problems in granting civil liberties, but that it had made great strides forward in this area over the decades (with the president holding up his own presidency as a measure of proof that progress has been made). In short (and this is going to come off as more patronizing than our charismatic president made it sound), he gave them a variation on the old "we're not angry- we're concerned" speech that parents give to teenagers who are running with the wrong crowd. Knowing that the Chinese government typically responds to criticism of its human rights policies by decrying the U.S. as arrogant, hypocritical meddlers, I thought Obama's speech was kind of brilliant.
Anyway, we've all learned by now that Obama isn't going to turn out to be the perfect president, but it's also become quite undeniable that he does certain things extremely well. One of the areas where he excels is in speaking to people in a way wins them over, motivates, and energizes them. It may not be the most important quality that a president can have, but it is clearly an important skill, and even moreso at a time when we're struggling to win back international trust after 8 years of very unpopular foreign policy.
So I watched Obama's speech last night right before I went to bed, and I went to sleep happy with the face that our current president is presenting to the rest of the world on our behalf. That was kind of a nice thing.