Carla Bruni, Pool Parties, and an Injection of Jade.

I never thought that Christiane Amanpour would be the one to introduce me to new music I would enjoy, but that’s exactly what she did when she had Nicolas Sarkozy’s wife Carla Bruni on to discuss her musical life and the duties of a First Lady. I’m listening to Carla Bruni’s 2013 release “Little French Songs” and I’m thoroughly enjoying it so far, it’s been a pleasant and catchy listen. A far departure from my only previous experience with French solo artists; Charlotte Gainsbourg, Carla Bruni sings light, carefree songs – a welcome reminder that the French language isn’t just for dour songs.

I don’t want to spend too much time writing about how great it is to be back home, but last night’s shenanigans deserve to be written about in some capacity. Just being with friends I haven’t seen in a long, long time, having great long discussions and getting things off our chests – just relaxing as much as humanly possible, it’s what I need. Thanks to all for coming, hosting is its own reward.

Finally, I’m happy to announce that a full year after I started writing 1990’s music reviews I will come back full-time from  my hiatus. The Jade Decade is back and every Tuesday and Thursday I’m going to be writing reviews of 1990’s albums, with the intention of exploring a decade of music – not mining nostalgia and writing about albums I listened to while growing up. This week in honor of Game of Thrones Season Three: I’m doing a double dose of House Bolton. That’s right, I’m reviewing Michael Bolton’s 1991 release “Time, Love & Tenderness”  followed by his 1993 release “The One Thing” in honor of the house with the sharpest blades, House Bolton.

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X-COM: Enemy Unknown (A Song of Ice and Gunfire)

I am now twelve hours deep into X-COM: Enemy Unknown. Here are a few things I’ve learned about the game since the last time I wrote about it: It’s totally sucks to lose one or two dudes on a mission, but if you lose two of your best guys you might consider reloading a game. You don’t always have to take on a mission as soon as it’s available, as in, you might not want to take on an alien base without a few laser rifles. Watch out for Chryssalids, and when in doubt start dumping rockets at what you want dead.

My squad consists of six soldiers now, I can’t recall all of their names but I do know their nicknames at least. There’s Maria “Ice” Buskirk from France, and she’s an assault unit – she’s the most hardcore soldier on the squad and she just gets up close and kills EVERYTHING with her laser shotgun. Then there’s “Rattlesnake” a Japanese sniper, who probably has the least amount of kills on the squad but comes through when you need him. Brock “Whiskey” Sesay is a medic from Nigeria, and a second medic from Mexico “Doc” Gonzalez make up the support unit of the squad. Emile “Werewolf” Roux is another assault unit from France, but I sometimes equip him with a laser rifle instead of a laser shotgun, so he can deal damage from afar. And finally, new to the team but rising fast in kills – is Lauren “Knife” Brown, a heavy weapons unit from Australia. She’s the newest to the team but undoubtedly one of my favorites, with a mohawk cut and a laser minigun / rocket launcher combo she looks like one bad-ass motherfucker.

Of course A Song of Ice and Gunfire is incomplete without it’s casualties. Victor “Pointman” Garza; a heavy unit from Mexico who managed to survive 20-something missions after the tutorial mission, was killed by a Chryssalid, turned into a zombie and put down by his own former squad. A pair of seasoned Ukrainian soldiers met their untimely demise in another operation, and of course there are many, many rookies who don’t make it past their first mission.

As X-COM enters the July of 2015 there are a few things of note: North and South America have fallen into utter chaos and have withdrawn from the council, while Africa, Asia, and Europe are doing a-okay. Better than okay, actually – winning the war against the alien threat for the most part! We have satellites over The United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia, Japan, India, and South America. By August 2015 we should have satellites over Nigeria, Egypt, Australia, and China – effectively giving X-COM complete coverage over the eastern hemisphere.