The Mayans, well known for their devotion to Zoroastrianism.
A few weeks ago I got an email telling me that Civilization V had gone on sale in the Steam store. I was broke; both the rent and my student loans came due in the same paycheck, and I was at the most difficult part of the pay-cycle, four days before payday.
I realize that the usual wheelhouse of this blog is "popular" culture - comics, video games, stuff like that. The peculiar artistry of nerds. Today, however, I need to talk about something a little closer to "literary" culture (which, ironically, has far less mainstream exposure than any artifact of the geek fraternity.)
I stole Gore Vidal's 1964 novel Julian from a friend back in 2010. ("Stole" is the proper verb. I borrowed it from her and then moved away without giving it back.) I intended to read it as research for a novella I was writing. I never got through it back then, partially because squeezing yet another 500 page novel into one's final semester of graduate school is quite difficult, and partially because I knew the ending would break me in half. But I knew I would have to finish it someday. I picked the book up again this fall, incited by Vidal's death earlier this year, and finished it this morning.
Although I was an early adopter of Facebook - way back in the days of legend, when one needed to be a student at an approved college and we spelled Facebook with a The - I had managed to avoid the time sucking vortex of Facebook games for many years. They were, after all, Skinner boxes, one and all, designed to slowly but persistently separate dollars and time from those gullible enough to fall into their traps. In terms of sophistication, Facebook games are little better than the puzzle in the polar bear cage on LOST, except Facebook games don't even have the courtesy to reward you with a fish biscuit.
...and then my girlfriend started playing Marvel Avengers Alliance, which is a Skinner box abomination like all the rest, except clad in the bright spandex of my beloved superheroes.