Grim Fandango Extras

This is a random post, but I feel compelled to post it, because I find it cool. I stumbled upon a .pdf of behind-the-scenes Grim Fandango documents, including original concept art, puzzle structures (including some that were not included in the game) and snarky comments by Tim Schafer. 
What is Grim Fandango, you ask? Only the greatest adventure game ever! If you haven't played this epic tale of crime and corruption in the Land of the Dead, you ought to, right away. Beautiful art, an engrossing story, and characters you can't get out of your head. Probably my favorite game of all time.


Where the Wild Things Are

The trailer for Where the Wild Things Are is out on the Apple website. It's a beautiful piece of work (I especially like the Arcade Fire soundtrack) and I'm astounded at the creativity on display. It's my most looked-forward-to movie of the year so far. Trailer And if you haven't read the picture book yet (and if so, for shame) download and read it from here.


The Graveyard Book

I'm on a Neil Gaiman kick, so here's a series of videos of him reading the entirety of his wonderful new novel "The Graveyard Book." It's not many authors that are as good at reading their works as they are at writing them...


The Dweller in High Places

For fans of Susanna Clarke, here's a hard-to-find audio short story of hers. The Dweller in High Places


the last full measure

Today at the end of class Dr. Birzer took us out to the Civil War memorial in between Lane and Kendall. Despite the sunshine, it seemed very solemn; Dr. Birzer's voice reverberated between the two buildings. He told us about the volunteers on both sides, that they made up the majorities of both the armies. And then he told us about Hillsdale's role in the war. We'd already heard about the faculty and administration of Hillsdale storming up to Jackson in 1854 and effectively forming the Republican Party. But I hadn't heard what happened here, on this very campus in April of 1861. The college wasn't much smaller back then, with a student body of about 1000. When Lincoln issued the call for troops in mid April, Hillsdale responded like no other college in the country. 500 of her boys signed up then and there. Half the student body, nearly every male student on campus, was gone within days. Not even West Point had a comparable percentage of volunteers. Those Hillsdale Students made their impact. At the battle of Gettysburg our regiment, the 24th Michigan, deliberately put themselves in harm's way at the low ground, braving the lines of Confederate soldiers to give the Union army time to take the high ground. In the first twenty minutes of that famed battle, that regiment had suffered over 80% casualties, and 400 Hillsdale men were dead. They had secured the high ground. Dr Birzer told us that no matter how long he taught at Hillsdale, he would never have the connection to those dead men that we did. We, as students at this institution, share an unbreakable bond with them. "That's your tradition. That's your legacy. Think about that when you decide what you're going to major in or what career you'll pursue. Ask yourself why they volunteered and what they sacrificed themselves for. And then ask yourself what you're living for." After ten days of spring break, I can't imagine a more intense "welcome back to Hillsdale".


Fleet Foxes and Bon Iver

Thanks to Sophie at The Store Stump for this. La Blogotheque has an astounding collection of beautifully shot live performances of great new bands, all shot specifically for the web, and set in natural, often on-the-street settings. Amazing stuff. It great to watch The Shins wander the streets of Paris, and start playing their stuff for a random group of people at an open-air cafe. Check it out, especially the videos of two of my favorite new bands, Fleet Foxes and Bon Iver. Take-Away Shows



There are moments in life where I am so absolutely, giddily ecstatic that I can't help but run around with a huge silly grin on my face. For instance: I am working on my paper about de Tocqueville and Andrew Jackson, about the spirit of democracy as opposed to, shall we say, responsible republicanism, and I think something snapped inside. But in a good way! I mean, there's the Western Heritage Reader lying in front of me, there's the American Heritage Reader next to it, and everything Russell Kirk wrote about America being the culmination of Jerusalem, Athens, Rome, and London bowled me over. I had just reread the passages from Plato's Republic and Aristotle's Politics, and then immersed myself in de Tocqueville. The more I read him, the cooler he gets. And now I'm seeing all sorts of parallels between republicanism and Catholicism and democracy and Protestantism. So before I burst a blood vessel or started dancing around the room, I grabbed the music I had wisely stashed in my backpack and took off running to Howard. I burst out the doors of Kendall and almost immediately started laughing, full of what I think Dr. Birzer calls the "fire that animates". It was cold and clear, snow was falling in the most picturesque manner possible, and the clouds were "half revealing, half concealing" a full and luminous moon. I think it helped that I was listening to Radiohead; or at least, it leant even more atmosphere to the situation. I spent some energy singing plainsong and slamming out Chopin Nocturnes, and then danced back up the hill. (Literally, I kid you not) This is the best I can do to explain it all. I once heard that the Japanese had no way to say "I love you." I don't know what they said instead, but "I love you" didn't enter their language until after considerable contact with Westerners. Since coming to Hillsdale, I feel like I'm learning more and more about what makes this country what it is, and de Tocqueville, the Federalist Papers, the Declaration of Independence, coupled with everything we covered in Western Hertiage, provided a new rush of understanding. I have always been one to feel deeply and am intensely emotional; but finding the words to express those feelings can be a challenge. Hillsdale is supplying the vocabulary. It is as if after years of stretching out my arms to America with shining arms and a full heart I have learned how to say "I love you." Now I have a paper to write.