Welcome to Pages of Fun!

This is the personal Web site of Robert Wm. Gomez. I am an artist, musician and nerd living in Chicago, Illinois who has been maintaining this site (in one form or another) since 1996. Enjoy your visit!

Drupal, Pathologic and Corrupted URLs

I've been having some technincal issues with this site lately. Strange links to content within the site have been appearing at random. I would insert a hyperlink to an archived post and then, days later, I would come back to see that the URL has been rewritten with a random sub-domain prefix. My domain would appear as www.wqw.robertgomez.org or similar.

Deadlier Than the Male (8/10)

Besides maybe Danger Diabolik, I haven't seen many "Eurospy" movies—cheap, Bond knock-offs produced in Europe in the sixties. Surprising, this movie was rather good. It's funny, exciting and looks great. This is not just a spoof of Bond, but takes itself rather seriously despite the lighthearted tone. How can you complain about a movie in which the main baddie is a cigar-based assassination happy Elke Sommer.

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (9/10)

The final film in of The Hobbit trilogy is an improvement over the second movie. While it is still a bit heavy-handed with the CGI, there are fewer eye-rolling, physics-defying action sequences. It may have also helped that I watched this one in 3-D. The 3-D really gives the digital characters an added bit of weight and presence when sharing the screen with flesh-and-prosthetic actors. The first third of the movie is really just tying up plot lines from Smaug (the whole Gandalf vs.

Gemini Rue on PC (8/10)

Gemini Rue - Rainy Street

Gemini Rue is another enjoyable point-and-click adventure from Wadjet Eye that has a sci-fi noir theme. Having gotten used to the click for any action mechanism of other Wadjet games, I was a little thrown off by the strange "actions" pop-up interface. You click on a hot-spot and then have to chose whether to use your eyes, hands, mouth or foot. I eventually got used to it, but the few times I was stuck in the game, it was because I forgot I had a "foot" action that I could use.

Cold Sweat (6/10)

This is an hour and a half of Charles Bronson being an unflinching tough guy. Seems Charles' old war-prison buddies caught up with him as he was trying to make a new life for himself as a boat captain in the South of France. Besides a long car chase near the end, this isn't the most action-packed action movie. I think it is most noteworthy for James Mason's horrible American accent. Still, I do love watching Bronson do his thing. (Watch it online)

The Three Languages of Politics by Arnold Kling (9/10)

Essential reading for understanding that people who might disagree with politically are not evil or stupid, they are just speaking a different political language. This is the guidebook for engaging in civil political discourse without the silly hyperbole and hatred that permeates political discourse within new media. In the book, Kling separates political ideology into three different axes: "oppressors vs. oppressed" progressives, "barbarians vs. civilization" conservatives, and "coercion vs. freedom" libertarians.

Read & Burn 03 by Wire (10/10)

Format: CD

The third Read & Burn EP is the best of the lot. The band has moved beyond simply revisiting their punk roots. Now that they have that out of their system, synthesizers are beginning to creep back into the mix and there is far less yelling. These are good things.

Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons (9/10)

This is a Stephen Chow kung-fu film through and through. There's the standard wire-fu action and stunts, lots of humor, a couple of song and dance numbers and lots of terrible CGI. Although it's not quite as good as Kung-Fu Hustle or Shaolin Soccer, I'm rating it pretty high for its amazing opening set piece. If you can ignore the fake-looking digital effects, it's an unrivaled heart-stopping twenty minutes of excitement and energy.

Something in the Shadows by Vin Packer (8/10)

I really do like Vin Packer's pulp thrillers. This book continues her knack for creating conflicted and dark characters who never seem to be able to catch a break. A brainy writer seeks revenge after his cat is killed by a motorist. The suspected motorist is the new doctor in town who has a past he wants to forget. These stories always are are a little lacking in terms of plotting and resolution but they do a great job in showing the depths to which people will sink.

Send by Wire (9/10)

Format: CD

Send compiles seven of its eleven tracks from the first two Read & Burn EPs. Of the remaining four new songs, only "Mr. Marx's Table" stands out. While I really liked these first few 2000s releases when they came out, I think they have been eclipsed by later recordings as the band began to rediscover themselves.

Primordia on PC (9/10)

Primordia

Primordia is an absolutely beautiful point and click adventure from Wadjet Eye Games. Besides the graphics, it has a lot going for it: a unique sci-fi setting, fun and interesting characters, great ambient music and a some nice voice acting performances.

The story is essentially an object quest that slowly reveals the back story of the world and the main character. This one is a bit more puzzle-centric than other Wadjet games I have played. That's mostly a good thing, but there are a few moments that didn't seem fair.

Read & Burn 02 by Wire (9/10)

The second in Wire's 2000's comeback EPs is slightly better than the first but generally it's really just a continuation of the first EP. Send, their full-length from this period, compiles most of the best tracks from the first two Read & Burns.

The Shivah on PC (8/10)

The Shivah

Having finished the wonderful Blackwell series, I wanted to try some of Wadjet Eye's other offerings. The Shivah was the company's first foray into commercial games, but this isn't the original version. This graphical overhaul was from 2013 and it visually matches the quality of the final Blackwell games.

The Shivah is most noteworthy for its unusual subject matter. How many other games have the player assuming the role of a mystery solving rabbi? Well, besides Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortext Strikes Back.

Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions on PC (10/10)

Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions

The original Geometry Wars was one of the purest, most exhilarating gaming experiences of the post-arcade era. It combined the visuals of Tempest with the frantic, twin-stick shooting of Robotron 2084 to form a thoroughly modern point-driven shooter. The Wii exclusive sequel Galaxies added level variety and the great risk/reward mechanic of collecting geoms to increase your point multiplier. It's still the game that I play the most on my Wii.

The third game in the series builds on the Galaxies formula but with the mind-blowing twist of moving the game grid onto curving non-euclidean surfaces. The result is nothing short of spectacular.

Read & Burn 01 by Wire (9/10)

Format: CD

In 2002 Wire returned after over a decade of dormancy and once again they have changed their musical focus. They had largely dropped the emphasis on dance-floor beats and synths and returned to a song writing style that is not unlike the punk rock of Pink Flag. It's a less minimal, solid-state version of 1977 Wire with a touch of their 80's synths dribbled in here and there. Some would say it's a return to form, but I never though Wire ever really "lost it."

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