Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Monday, November 23, 2009
You can just play Future Pinball on a regular PC, but some people have used large LCD panels and the platform's dual-screen support to create pinball table emulators like the one shown below:
I just came across a post on Pinnacle Game Profiler by a user who has adapted the Future Pinball controls to work with an XBox 360 controller. He did an awesome job of illustrating the walk-through, so if you're interested, you should be able to follow the instructions.
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Special When Lit is the definitive story of the rise and fall of pinball as told by the fans, collectors, designers and champion players from across the globe. Shot all over the world, though predominantly in America, by London-based Australian filmmakers Brett O'Sullivan, Clayton Jacobsen and Emily Rickard, and edited in the UK with the final sound mix completed in Australia, the film truly is an international production with worldwide appeal.TILT: The Battle to Save Pinball set the bar pretty high, but I'm happy to see another contender, and look forward to watching this movie. That's the nice thing about documentaries; there can be 2, 3, 4 of them on the exact same topic, and all covering sufficiently different angles and with different approaches such that they don't exclude one another. That's why I don't mind when I hear rumblings that other people are working on designer board game documentaries, and in fact, welcome it.
Friday, November 13, 2009
I went through all the aisles and couldn't find anything, so I went up to a stock clerk and said, "If you DID have zhu zhu pets...where would they be?" She pointed me to the large section of empty space in the right aisle and I asked, "when do you usually get them?"
"We had some this morning."
"Oh really? Well, thanks."
I turned my attention to the empty wall, and the woman next to me said to her husband, "Was she asking about zhu zhu pets?" I told her I was, and all of a sudden every single parent in that aisle was chatting about the cyber rodents. They told me everywhere they go it's the same story. "We had some this morning." Even when they showed up at 5 minutes after store opening. Such an elusive quarry we stalk, but what an instant bond of common understanding we share.
I had an idea as I left the store. This toy stalking is fun for me, but I'm the exception to the rule I'm sure. All you frustrated parents of the world, unite! We don't have to be the victims of trend. We should take control and make Littlest Petshop the "it" toy this year! There were TONS of those on the shelves everywhere I've been. Or do we parents secretly embrace this challenge, and the competition it brings? Even after countless wasted hours checking stores and making phonecalls, there's a distinct feeling of triumph when one does score the goods.
All I know for sure is, here comes the weekend, and you can bet I'll be on the trail! The habitrail, that is...
Thursday, November 12, 2009
I was not perturbed by the new signs on the door, I knew we had secret knowledge of the inner inventory workings and shipment schedules of this place.
There were 7 of us out there, and not long after I arrived, a sales associate came out to let everyone know that the shipment had come in, and there were 9 accessory packs for the zhu zhus on the truck, and nothing else. None of those elusive little battery eaters, just their cozy habitrail homes. But since we'd gotten the hampsters, and no accessories, I took my #5 ticket gladly, and continued to wait for the store to open.
It was a friendly group, and we chatted about the history of parental torture known as the "it" toy, from Furbies to Cabbage Patch kids, and now Zhu Zhu pets. Which, not surprisingly for an $8 toy, have a tendency to break. Which is fine. When it was an $8 toy. Now it's a $40 toy built like an $8 toy.
The 9 tickets were spoken for, and a few other people arrived and left empty-handed. The conventional wisdom of the group was that you just have to hit Walmart or Target at the right time. And then the doors opened, and we got our boxes, and proceeded through the maze of aisles to the checkout counter on the other side of the store. As we did so, I realized something. I turned to one of my new friends and exclaimed,
"WE are the hampsters!"
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
The zhu zhu pets are pretend hampsters, and they run around their own habitrail-type environments. They're supposedly smart about their environments. So I figured hey, that's kind of cool, let's get those for them, honey...
And then this week, hampster hell broke loose. It was the week we randomly decided to get the zhu zhus, and, it would seem, so did the rest of the human race. Last night, we ordered the set of 4 for about $80, including shipping. That seemed stupid expensive to me, but hey, we did it. I ran to the toy store at lunchtime to pick up a My Little Pony baby, and noticed this sign on the door:
Weird (bear with them, it seems they made this sign in a panic, in fear of their very lives). I guess I don't mind so much now that my husband snagged the set last night for the price he did. Then I get a text from him that the same set of 4 is now going for like $150...
WTH just happened? They're cute, but come on, they're not THAT amazing, are they? I'm hearing reports of people lining up for Toys R Us and Wal-Mart shipment trucks in the hopes of getting one. Word on this blog that Wal-Mart put a freeze on zhu zhu sales to ensure product in stock for their big weekend sale.
It's zhu zhu mania, the perfect storm of furry cuteness and engineered demand! Stay indoors, folks, this could get ugly like we haven't seen since the cabbage patch years.
When he's not saving Geocities and computer history itself, he's making documentaries. And when he's not making documentaries, he's making videos for MC Frontalot. If we, the people, "hire" him, he will make us stuff that will be good to have.
To put it another way, before I'd ask you to fund MY project, I would ask you to contribute to Jason's work. Without his mentoring, advice, and generosity, I wouldn't even be DOING my movie.
And, I'd really like to watch Get Lamp, his second documentary about Infocom text adventures. His time is much better spent working on that then some silly day job.
Oh, and...if you don't help, @sockington will probably starve to death.
Monday, November 9, 2009
Friday, November 6, 2009
The creator of this twist, Dan Walsh, describes the mission as:
"Garfield Minus Garfield is a site dedicated to removing Garfield from the Garfield comic strips in order to reveal the existential angst of a certain young Mr. Jon Arbuckle. It is a journey deep into the mind of an isolated young everyman as he fights a losing battle against loneliness and depression in a quiet American suburb."
And...it comes in book form. That just hit my Christmas list big-time.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
(Now, while they had to go and use the Monopoly tie-in as usual, one thing we have to keep in mind is that as designer board game fans, it's hugely old and cliche at this point, but to a newbie, that's an important frame of reference to draw them in. Just saying. :)
This was a really good and lengthy read which captured some of the flavor of the Essen fair. This was one of my favorite parts:
By the third day of the fair, games lovers are sprawled across the floors and into the aisles, playing card games, war games, party games, puzzle games, family games; two-player games, four-player games, six-player games; games set in the Wild West, games set in the Far East, games set in the Caribbean; games set in the Industrial Revolution, games set in the Bronze Age, games set in the Middle Ages (games fans are especially fond of the Middle Ages); games about hospitals and police stations and factories; abstract games, about nothing but the game itself. There's a game that involves one player trying to build a Jenga-like structure from wooden blocks, while their opponent bashes them over the head with an inflatable club. It's called Argh!Tect.
They mentioned how all the local hotels, like the Jung, open up banquet and meeting-type areas during the convention, so that players can come back from a long day of gaming and buying new games and continue to play all night long. I experienced this, and it was one more thing that caused me to think, "This couldn't happen in America in a million years." I was hanging out unsupervised in the hotel's kitchen with Martin Wallace and his wife, Eric Martin, Anthony Gallela, and some other great people just chatting, fine German beers in hand. In the room next door, designers and gamers were playing their new games on into the night. So cool. If there were any strangers in the group, I'm sure they didn't feel like strangers for long.
The article also does a dynamite job of summing up the designer board gaming hobby itself, both the designer's side, and the collector/player's side. BOTH sides are wonderful worlds, and there's a lot of cross-over, not surprisingly, as game enthusiasts hatch ideas for games they haven't seen yet, and go on to be designers themselves. This industry is one of the few where, at least currently, such a dream can be realized.
Monday, November 2, 2009
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
There are a growing number if board games making the jump over to the iPhone. As a development platform, it sort of mirrors the indie element of the current designer board gaming scene, because an independent designer can learn the ropes of iPhone development, submit an app, and almost instantly be selling it on the App Store.
There's a version of Werewolf designed by Kory Heath, as well as 3 Reiner Knizia apps - Poison, Robot Master, and Knights of Charlemagne. Poison is one I really like as a board game, so it'll be interesting to see how it makes the translation over to iPhone.
Friday, September 25, 2009
The Wired interview paired with a shout-out on the Double Down Film Show (/highfive to the Down and Dirty DV MAN, Anthony!) got me focused back on my documentary efforts in a big way. I'm nailing down some interviews I've put off for far too long, and getting my Essen plans as solidified as possible....
...while sealing gates by night in Oblivion! Even if they are the WRONG gates. OK, so there was a closer gate to Anvil than the one I sealed. It was still a threat, and those ingrates could repay me by sending a few troops to Bruma. Not until I close the other "gate right outside Anvil?" Very well, but it's not like you'll be needing them for that; I'll close this gate single-handedly, as I always do, like the hero I am. :)
My saddest recent moment was discovering that Bethesda doesn't apparently sell Oblivion shirts and merchandise anymore. Or at least, the store link wasn't working. So sad. I'll have to make my own shirt, I guess. I brake for clouded funnel-caps would be nice.
And speaking of Monopoly, my empire in Monopoly City Streets is going alright. I managed to snag Broad Street, but some knave built a prison on my E. Dunstable Road. The nerve! I retaliated with a sewage treatment plant for their Royal Crest Drive. But as it turned out, I was able to neutralize the rent-sucking powers of the prison by...building a school on the same road. hmmm. There's just something deeply wrong about that, but now I'm collecting rent on E. Dunstable Road again, so I guess all's well that ends well.
And now I'm just getting word that Moscow has opened up on Mafia Wars. Oh great, that's just what I needed...
Sunday, September 20, 2009
The allure is in pretending to own areas you're familiar with, and the first launch attempt had 1.7 million players from all over the world swamping the servers. The relaunch seems to be much more stable, and right now I'm impatiently awaiting midnight GMT to see my coffers replenished and make my next move.
I could envision this as the next leap in the MMO genre. Initial problems mostly have to do with people making duplicate accounts and cheating, something that a monthly or even just a purchase fee would reduce. The game would have to get a lot more complex to warrant a subscription fee, but I'll bet they're thinking about how to pull that off right now.
If they charged, say, $10 to create an account, then yes, a lot of that initial 1.7 million people would have stayed away (I wouldn't have; I'd easily pay that). Say just 500,000 of them were up for a $10 entry fee. That's still $5 million dollars. Or maybe they take the Zynga route and make most of the game free, with an option for micro-transactions via virtual currency. Who knows where that would go, but the track record on those models so far is excellent.
It's quite possible the game in its current state is too rife with cheating to be fun; I don't know yet, because I've barely just started, but so far it's fun. I think many of the problems a free game suffers from would be reduced with almost any sort of pay model and account validation controls. I'm very interested to see where it all goes.
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Thursday, August 27, 2009
I do sort of which I had...
The Documentary Channel just put up a documentary about Second Life. I just started watching, so whether or not it answers the ultimate Second Life question of, "WTH????" remains to be seen. I'll let you know...
Friday, July 31, 2009
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Honestly, I already said everything I need to say. They won't let me embed the trailer, so go see it here. NOW!
There's a Comic Con discussion panel on it over at Geeks of Doom, too.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
From Geeks of Doom:
Harry over at Ain’t It Cool News has himself a scoop of epic proportions: Sam Raimi will direct the feature film adaptation of the virtual cult online multiplayer phenomenon that is World of Warcraft. Mr. Knowles not only sounds confident in this huge news, he sounds downright positive, and expects the trades to announce it within a week or so....
I'm totally out of the World of Warcraft scene, but this is HUGE news! A Raimi movie based in that setting could be loads of fun.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Sometimes, of course, they don't suck. Sometimes somebody cares, and makes a really GOOD game to go along with a really good license. Fantasy Flight does a great job with licensed IPs, and because I interviewed one of their designers, and because they made the Battlestar Galactica board game I really like, and because in my former life I worked on The Lord of the Rings Online and Dungeons & Dragons Online, this is an interesting topic for me.
However, what really got me excited about this blog entry was ZOMBIES. Bloggers, if your content is rich in zombie references, you will rise to the top of the geek SEO pile. Within their list of good board games based on movies was my all-time favorite movie...Dawn of the Dead (the original, though the remake wasn't bad). Are you kidding me? There's a Dawn of the Dead board game and I didn't even know it? And it's GOOD?
This classic ’70s game proves that sometimes the best things in life involve nothing more than a maps and some pieces of cardboard — things like pretending to be a murderous zombie terrorizing humans in a mall. Ah, sweet childhood.
Wait, this gets better...
you can download it free.
Oh yeah. This day just got off to a great start. Not to mention, the large Dunkin Donuts coffee on my right, and the NOS my "friend" Justin just dropped off to my left. Hang on, this could get rocky...
Saturday, July 11, 2009
I just finished watching it, and it was quite good. There were scenes that were distractingly parallel to Fellowship scenes, but overall, a very nice job and well worth watching.
I do recommend you go watch it full-screen.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
It doesn't matter if you are a pinball fan or not; I wasn't a big pinball person when I first saw the film. The story told by TILT has got everything a documentary is supposed to have; interesting facts and beautifully illustrated background history, interviews with key contributors (like the guy who invented putting flippers at the bottom of the play field), and a story with an endearing human element to tie everything together.
If you use Netflix or iTunes, go check it out IMMEDIATELY, and don't forget to add the bonus DVD to your Netflix queue. It's got some really great extras. Just do it, have I ever steered you wrong before? Swing by here and let me know what you think afterwards, and if you'd like to buy a copy to own after that, you can get it on the official website.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Watch live video from G4TV - Steve Wiebe Donkey Kong Cam on Justin.tv
You can see the live chat that goes along with it here.
Update: 6:32 PM EST - OH SNAP! He's on his 3rd (and possibly final) try, somewhere under 200k I think, and the power just went out! You can hear them though. This is epic, I tell you, it's a SAGA...
Friday, May 29, 2009
I'm not ENTIRELY sure what to make of this, some of it is very funny, some of it is flat-out stupid. Are they serious about trying to help teach people good money habits? This clip would not lead you to believe that necessarily, but the WalletPop article sounds promising:
Green and the rest of his cast are here to help. "The whole goal of the show is to offer kids financial education, without something stale or boring, but super-informative about the basics," he says. In Unbroke, he goes off on the importance of a healthy mortgage. Samuel L. Jackson plays the bestselling author of Broke as Hell and Not Going to Take it Anymore. Will Smith takes on a boardroom of corporate-finance executives (which should be cathartic for all of us). Among other stars demystifying personal finance: Cedric the Entertainer, Christian Slater, Rosario Dawson, and -- in the program's showstopper -- the Jonas Brothers, who teach the secrets of stock-trading to an audience of screaming girls.
It kicks off tonight on ABC, and I think I'll check it out.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
I've got the Documentary Channel's sling website bookmarked, and have watched a lot of wonderful items since doing that. There was the documentary by Johnny Knoxville about an old moonshiner, and Johnny Berlin, a character-centric film about a porter on a luxury train. Both were FANTASTIC.
The most recent find, though, was even better. Their most recent blog featured a documentary called 10 MPH.
In this documentary, two guys give up their corporate jobs to trek from Seattle to Boston on the two-wheeled gyroscope contraption (a Segway), crossing some of the same paths as the Oregon Trail and the Lewis and Clark expedition all while traveling about the same speed as the Pony Express did way back when.
There is nothing geekier than a Segway, so welcome to the geekumentary club, guys! I really enjoyed this film, to the point that after watching it, I went straight to their website to purchase it. And there found that they are all about indie distribution. In fact, they even let you name your price for the film.
My copy arrived in the mail yesterday, and my husband and I watched it that night. At first, he was lukewarm about the whole thing, but I could see him get drawn in. He's a big fan of Into the Wild, and 10 MPH shares some strong elements with that story, including a soundtrack with a very similar sound. Its biggest strengths are in the people met on the journey, and their stories. It also didn't hurt that the end goal was Boston and Bedford, NH, about 20 minutes north of us.
As a documentary, they had all the right elements going for them. A storyline with a specific goal that the audience could easily grasp from the beginning but the achievement of which is not known straight away. Adversity, challenge, and a high degree of "I can relate" factor (who wouldn't want to quit their day job and pursue their dreams?). There were some technical facts I wondered about that weren't covered in the film, like how long a Segway battery lasts, how many they brought, and other trivia that would have been fun to know (may find that on the commentary). The chasing your dreams part was laid on a bit thick, but was nonetheless inspiring and heartwarming, and the medly of quotes at the end was a nice touch.
They've got a second film, Ten Yards, which is about fantasy football. I don't partake, but it's obviously a topic in my genre and I can see the potential for it to be entertaining (check out the trailer on that site). Josh and Hunter's real dream is clearly to make documentaries, and they're certainly doing it, with the third film they're working on, "Ride the Divide - a documentary about the world's toughest mountain bike race. The race spans 2711 miles from Banff, Alberta to Antelope Wells, New Mexico, and is fully self-supported."
I don't own a lot of geekumentaries, and many I do own I bought only because that was the ONLY way to see them. In this case, I saw the whole thing, and still wanted 10 MPH for my collection. I'm really looking forward to the director commentary, and to reading their take on indie distribution, because I know it can be quite an undertaking, even in the current self-publishing web 2.0 environment where one would assume such things are now easy. Which reminds me, I've been meaning to get a copy of BBS: The Documentary to review - that's another one you can watch online, but when you're talking about a 5 hour film...it's just better to own.
Friday, May 15, 2009
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Friday, May 8, 2009
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Friday, May 1, 2009
I heard on the radio at lunch that you are twice as likely to win a mega-millions jackpot as to die of swine flu. Everybody just calm the @#$% down!
LAS VEGAS—The buzz at this month's Consumer Electronics Show was all about a new breakthrough in the field of high-resolution 3-D graphics that has made it possible to render average-sized breasts on female video game characters. "For too long, game designers have been creatively stymied by a mammary-imaging technology only capable of rendering one type of breast—a heaving pair of massive, gravity-defying, torpedo-shaped bosoms," said Warren Hood, developer of the new Vex9 graphics card, which has finally enabled video game wire-frame artists to digitally sculpt breasts as small as B-cups. "At long last, we can give die-hard gamers the level of realism they've been looking for." Hood added that researchers are currently exploring technologies that would allow the shamans and clerics in World Of Warcraft to practice modern medicine instead of depending on unrealistic magical healing spells.
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Also discovered today that you can go to the footer on Facebook and change your language from English (US) to English (Pirate). It really is like learning a second language, trying to navigate in pirate ("T' spy on all th' parrots scrabblin' at th' door, stab the link below," for example). Which brings me to a recent musing, "Will pirates be out of fashion this Halloween, due to all the goings-on in Somalia?"
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Or at least, the first one is brilliant enough to make up for any shortcomings in the next 6. I haven't made it that far yet, but the first one is so excellent, I couldn't wait to share:
The article is called 7 Great Documentary "Characters" and it's one more reason I wish I got The Documentary Channel.
One thing I have to say: Billy Mitchell may not be quite the villain he was edited/portrayed as in The King of Kong, but he IS undeniably an interesting character, so I think it's OK that he's included here.
Friday, April 17, 2009
You can find more information on their official website, The Hunt for Gollum:
Welcome to the website for The Hunt For Gollum; a 40 minute independent film inspired by The Lord of the Rings which is to be released to the internet for free on May 3 2009.
I for one certainly look forward to seeing this film!
Thursday, April 16, 2009
I loved the original Land of the Lost series, but the film's not really on my radar (most films aren't these days, until they hit Netflix). However, I'll definitely make a point to catch this episode of Man vs. Wild, for pure curiosity factor. It's supposed to air around June 5.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Monday, April 13, 2009
I am SO sorry I just got the iced coffee at McD's! I'm going to make a point of hitting the local Burger King next time to show my appreciation. The only thing that could have made that better would have been a shot of Beavis & Butthead dancing.
Kanadani...thanks for that! =^)
Thursday, April 9, 2009
Hard to believe the series has been around for 20 years! Check out the USPS site for more details or to pre-order.
*insert cliche Simpsons exclaimation*
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
It’s being reported that former geek, present directing god — Ron Howard may be finally bringing H.P. Lovecraft to the big screen; though it won’t be quite how we expected to first see the master horror writer appear in film. Howard would be making the movie based on the Image Comics’ graphic novel, The Strange Adventures of H.P. Lovecraft.I would personally prefer Guillermo, and it was reported that he WAS doing something Lovecraft, but I guess maybe right now he's busy getting ready to start shooting the 2-or-more-part The Hobbit next year. I really REALLY hope that doesn't wind up shelving the plans for At the Mountains of Madness, which Guillermo referred to as his "Lord of the Rings."
Previous Lovecraft movies aren't PURE awful, mind you, not like the attempts at bringing Dungeons & Dragons to the screen, but they just haven't really captured the essence of Lovecraft, at least not for me.
This morning, @debasispradhan tweeted about a Lovecraftian short film on IMDb based on The Book. The short is 10 minutes or so, and the pacing is slow. That's true to the literature, but I don't know if it makes for good film. Bear with it though, it does start to pick up steam in the second half. What I like most is that the mood is very serious. The teeth scene on is pretty good.
So now that I had Lovecraft on the brain, I did a Twitter search, and found this, from @ironmammoth:
YES! THAT was sufficiently creepy (please please don't be an April fool's joke.)
This'll tide me over, but it just serves as a reminder that we NEED a good treatment of this brilliant source material, and it seems that the geek community is in overall agreement on that:
Something I just realized I need, though:
Now that I think about it, my life is severely lacking in Lovecraft paraphenailia...
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
After lunch my students led them in a guided design exercise to make virtual pinball machines based on several of the other Girl Scout badge requirements using Future Pinball. During part of this Tobi, Tory, Jessica and I led a Q and A session for the leaders and parents about all things game from careers to college degrees and everything in-between.Back in high school, when I was taking computer classes (BASIC and COBOL), I asked the teacher how I could learn more about computer animation. He vaguely suggested local colleges, but in truth, he had no idea where to go for that. Today, I'd have a wealth of resources to explore, and I think that's great.
They also mentioned Kodu in this article, and randomly, I just came across a video about Microsoft's Kodu Game Creator. It's a game programming interface designed for kids.
If the embed isn't loading, check it out here.
Very interesting trend, and very neat! Watching the Kodu demo, I couldn't help but be reminded of Spore. Is this the next stage of evolution for that sort of user-generated content concept? I'm thinking it looks like something adults and kids would have fun with.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Check the video below to see both it and Maui's "Sky Ball" which, now that I see them...I think I need several of.
Especially if they come in glow-in-the-dark. I'm planning a UFO sighting over New Hampshire, and this would really help...
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
T-Mobile Dance from Jef Eckart on Vimeo.
I'm not sure this makes me any more likely to buy from T-Mobile, but it was Ferris Bueller-grade awesome, and I wish I'd been there!
Thanks, Casey, for the find! Wait, what, another? The intarweb force appears to be strong with you, today...
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Note, it's St. Paddy's Day, not St. Patty's Day, who knew, right?
Second, I need to point out a fine bit of exposure journalism by the illustrious Pseudodigm. It seems that the SciFi channel in a spontaneous moment of brilliance has decided to rename itself SyFy:
“The name Sci Fi has been associated with geeks and dysfunctional, antisocial boys in their basements with video games and stuff like that, as opposed to the general public and the female audience in particular,” said TV historian Tim Brooks…
You really need to go read Pseudodigm's thoughts on the matter, because it'll save me having to type out the EXACT same thoughts. In a nutshell: WTF?
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Now, I don't know that it's entirely fair to call this an "original tale" when so many of the preview scenes were reminiscent of The Ring, Thinner, Unborn, etc. I call that more of a re-visiting of existing horror themes, but what's wrong with that? When done well, nothing! And props for the gross-out fly scene. GROSS!
Thursday, March 5, 2009
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
We had an awesome time filming at Unity Games XV, and ever since then I've had this burning desire to put together a tribute video of the event, a little souvenir for attendees, something for potential attendees to look at and say, "Wow, I've got to go to this next time!"
We shot a decent amount of B-roll/outtake footage there, but half the day we were cloistered away in a lobby side room doing the individual interviews. If I'd had this montage in mind to begin with, I would have taken more footage of specific games being played, more genre-representative games like Catan and Agricola, and replaced those choppy pan shots with that. Still, I am quite happy with what I was able to throw together:
Stereo MCs said they were cool with letting me include their song, and that's just another reason I can't recommend them highly enough.
To all who organized this convention and provided the essential services to make it run smoothly, thanks and KUDOS! Every last minute was a great experience and it was obvious everyone was having a wonderful time.
Can't wait for the next one!
Monday, February 23, 2009
"Always be prepared."
You may dismiss it as the stuff of movies, but experts agree that a zombie apocalypse is a very real possibility.
Where would you go? Don't pretend like you haven't actually thought about this, I know I'm not the only one who has. Right now I'm leaning towards the laundry room, though that cat door is a potential issue. This room's got the garage as an escape route/fallback, though, and shelf space for canned goods. Plus, I could move the washer and dryer to barricade the door.
There's really no ideal location, they always get you in the end, but all you can do is your best, and hope your best is good enough. (It won't be, though.) There are many factors to take into consideration:
- Know your foe. How attentive do you expect the zombies to be? Will they see you walk by a window, or only if you run right past them? If you pick a place that's too fortressy, you can find yourself cornered if those buggers are strong and smart enough to get in. A pub, on the other hand, works great, if they don't figure out you're in there and aren't smart enough to break the windows. And that's another thing. Don't stay somewhere just because it's familiar and you've got sentimental attachments to it. Try to be objective.
- Group or solo? Do you want other people around for support, or is there danger in numbers? For example, hiding out in a mall is a GREAT idea, but not if you go with friends and one gets zombified and is JUUUUUST smart enough to remember where your hidden base entrance is.
- Rural or urban? It might be a good idea to go "Red Dawn" and head off into the mountains. You don't see that setting in zombie film often, and it's because it doesn't lead to a lot of exciting zombie confrontation, which is exactly what you don't want if shit just got real. (Note: secluded farm house? NO, not a good idea historically, in either Night of the Living Dead or The Walking Dead graphic novels)
- Onset of apocalypse. Where you go has a lot to do with how much time you've got to get there. If you're taken by surprise and have to hole up in your house, know the best section to do that in. If you have time to get to a mall, Wal-mart, or military bunker, definitely hit that shizznit for free supplies, but don't assume it's the best place to stay (see below).
- Duration of apocalypse. Have you only got to hold out for 28 days? Till dawn? Till you're rescued? Which leads me to...
- Potential for rescue. Don't bet on it, especially not from the military (see Return of the Living Dead, 28 Days Later, and Day of the Dead...and Monster Squad for that matter). Because rescue probably isn't coming, don't let it factor in TOO much on your choice of location.
- Resources. Weapons, food, lots of boards and nails...generators, coffee, blankets, twinkies...unless you're Bear Grylls, you'll need this stuff, regardless of where you hide out. Carefully consider the pros and cons of holing up in such a location, though, because roving biker gangs are also looking for these resource gold mines.
"Whatchya gonna do when they come for you?"
There are books available about this stuff, and lots of source material to help you study what works and what doesn't work. I may check out The Zombie Survival Guide at some point, but I'm sort of an expert in this field, I have been studying zombie apocalypse since I was a teenager, and could probably WRITE such a book. However, I'm altruistic when it comes to humanity, and as long as you stay out of MY mall, Wal-mart, and military bunker, I'd rather just give you all this advice, free of charge.
Don't rely entirely on the movies, though. The military doesn't want you to know this stuff, and there's a coverup going on, the extent of which is unknown. As Freddy so eloquently noted in The Return of the Living Dead, "Didn't the movie LIE?!?!!"
Friday, February 20, 2009
Though it doesn't mention Zoolander (David Duchovny, Lance Bass, David Bowie, Billy Zane, Tyson...), I have to give them props. This was a great list, and just fun to read through.
HA, and then check this out!
I also am floored to find out that Peter Jackson was in Hot Fuzz. I had NO IDEA! Will have to go back and watch that.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
I certainly fall on the "I hate you for Jar-jar" side of things, but not only that, if the new Star Wars hadn't mucked it up for Pinball 2000's launch, that project might have been a success.
Anyway, this looks like an EXCELLENT documentary, and I can't wait to watch it!
PS - I'm also working my way through "His Name Was Jason," the new Friday the 13th documentary. It's quite good too.
Friday, February 13, 2009
If you go to that www.byki.com/love link, you get a VERY PINK page with all the translations for "I love you" in 16 languages, with audio.
Some people like to be more serious, and we covered that too, with free eCards that are GORGEOUS if I do say so myself, and come in 8 languages (Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish).
That one's for you, Marcello!
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
We don't usually watch sit-coms anymore. Our tv diet consists mainly of Hell's Kitchen, Scream Queens, Battlestar, Dexter, and a smattering of Supernatural and Fringe. We have a couple of really good friends that like the same things we like (well, except they are still into Lost, but whatever). They have been insistent that we watch this series, Big Bang Theory. "It's really funny, you guys!" They told us. "It's all about all the stuff we're into! They were playing TALISMAN the other night!"
Sounded promising, but we watched a couple episodes when they brought it over one night. How do you politely ask your good friends for a bottle of mind bleach after watching a show they are into? They watch Battlestar and Dexter with us, so there's a certain obligation to like what they want to show us, right? Not to sound snobbish, but what we introduced them to was GOOD.
Supernatural isn't my favorite show, but it doesn't have a laugh track. Know why? Doesn't need one (it relies on the Arena Rock music channel for one thing). Because it's funny. We repeated the attempt to find some grain of savvy in this show last weekend, to no avail. I swear that the writers for Big Bang Theory just have google alerts set up for "geek" "dork" and "nerdy" and write their stuff based on whatever shows up there. Or perhaps...spend half an hour on the WoW forums:
It's painfully obvious that they're not writing what they know. Maybe these writers were outcasts of some kind in high school (drama club?), but they DAMN SURE weren't geeks.
Maybe I should lighten up, but this show actually does a disservice to nerdcore. The stereotype of nerds not being able to talk to girls is so played out, and the way they mash the buttons while "playing" Halo is nauseating. Newsflash, Walter Cronkite...nerds get the girls nowadays. Nerds ARE the girls nowadays. There are plenty of ways Big Bang Theory could have been truly funny with this rich subject matter, instead of throwing it so blatantly in your face that they leave funny far behind. Overkill, guys. Overkill.
This show is not for nerds. It's for all those x-jocks and x-cheerleaders out there who are feeling bummed because after high school, the power balance shifts in favor of the nerd, and we're inheriting the earth (those of you x-jocks and x-cheerleaders who loathe Big Bang Theory are cool to join us). Real nerds are watching South Park. Which doesn't have a laugh track. Because it's funny.
I really hope those two friends don't read the blog today.
Friday, February 6, 2009
One day I'm either going to look back at that entry and say, "Yup, right there, that's where it all began." or...actually, there is no "or." This is happening.
The board is set, and the pieces are in motion on the board game documentary project. I've created a second blog dedicated to it, and a Facebook group to help coordinate information and discussion. Feel free to join up.
The first big filming opportunity is Unity Games XV, a board game gathering in Woburn, MA, and it's THIS SATURDAY, February 7. Yeah, that would be tomorrow. Game on!
Thursday, February 5, 2009
By the power of Greyskull! I was so bummed when this project got stalled last year, and it seemed like SUCH a no-brainer in a post-Transformers movie landscape. I'm glad they saw reason.
On a more somber note, I started watching Sharkwater, a serious, heart-breaking, and stunningly beautiful documentary about the plight of the world's shark population:
Documentarian Rob Stewart dives into shark-filled seas to disprove fear-based stereotypes and raise awareness of the world's dwindling shark population. But he ventures into dangerous waters when he battles shark poachers in this award-winning film. With renegade conservationist Paul Watson, Stewart exposes the criminal and highly profitable harvesting of shark fins, risking his life and facing a corrupt court system for his efforts.
If you don't think things like whale hunting, seal clubbing, and activist face-offs happen anymore just because they've fallen off the radar of public consciousness, this will be graphic and illuminating. I highly recommend it.
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Fossils Reveal Bus-Sized 2,500-Pound Snake
Feb. 4, 2009 -- Never mind the 40-foot snake that menaced Jennifer Lopez in the 1997 movie "Anaconda." Not even Hollywood could match a new discovery from the ancient world.
Fossils from northeastern Colombia reveal the biggest snake ever discovered: a behemoth that stretched 42 to 45 feet long, reaching more than 2,500 pounds.
Yeah, about that movie (which I had the unfortunate luck of having seen in the theaters)...you know that part where Jon Voigt gets eaten by the anaconda, then later on he gets regurgitated and WINKS? (oh sorry...SPOILER ALERT). Now, such a scenario is actually possible, and that's just not cool. Plus, snakes smell. I'm not completely anti-snake, but they do, the gardner snakes near my house growing up smelled gross!
And when they're the size of a bus? Yeah, then I'm completely anti-snake.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Thanks for classing up the joint, sockington! /pet /pet
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Classic Game Room is a bit of a mix of actual Classic Game Room episodes with a story about the "rise and fall" of the show intertwined. If you want to revel in the memories of your Atari, Genesis, or NES, it's definitely worth a turn in your Netflix queue.
The hosts are likeable, and the reviews are funny, but not hysterical. The forumula's since been perfected by X-Play's Adam Sessler and Morgan Webb, though they were almost certainly influenced by this 1999 predecessor (which has also returned in 2008 with new reviews).
What kind of bugs me is that, while I respect the effort that went into making this documentary, and recognize its value as a bit of history of the game review industry, you can get Classic Game Room (or, for that matter, Gamers) on Netflix, while you cannot get my favorite geekumentaries like TILT or Uber Goober (or Pizza! the Movie; I'd like to see that one). Come ON, Netflix! Give the geekumentary genre a chance to shine! I'm discovering an awful lot of good material out there that's rather difficult to come by. I really hope Get Lamp and Second Skin will be available.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
PARK CITY, Utah -- The duo behind the docs “Wordplay” and “I.O.U.S.A.” are tackling a lighter topic: SpongeBob SquarePants.
Patrick Creadon and Christine O’Malley will write, direct and produce a one-hour doc about Nickelodeon’s hit toon series as it marks 10 years on the air.
SpongeBob SquarePants, if you don't watch, is one of those kids cartoons out there that throws in a little something for the grown-ups. Not a Family Guy level of something, but definitely something. As a Marine Biology major in college, I guess I'm biased, but I love this show! Which is why it's one of the things I made sure to hook my kids on, that and TMNT.
The kids are doomed.
Uber Goober covers the gaming scene of 4-5 years ago, when female game geeks were less common, and gaming was far less en vogue than it is now. One guy comments on his choice of appearing in sillouette (i.e., anonymous) in his interviews. He said he comes from a very conservative work environment (law enforcement), and he doesn't want any of his co-workers to know he's a role-player.
DUUUUDE! If they're ultra-conservatives who would take a dim view on this stuff, they're probably not going to be watching a geek documentary about gamers. Be proud of your heritage! Of course, that's easier said now than it was when this doc was made, but it made me a little sad that he felt he needed to hide the fact.
Gamers, in fact, are normal. Religious fanatics, NOT religious people in general, but the ones that believe that a D&D GM is actually masquerading as God and can project their image into movie theaters to see movies for free...THOSE guys are the freaks.
There's a lot of interesting information about the hobby in general, and some really great comments from D&D creator Gary Gygax:
"The modern hobby gaming industry is not going much of any place because of the severe competition from electronic games. Home computer games are going to be like the feature film industry in their popularity. Even more popular are going to be online games; that's the television of gaming. And then I'm afraid that the broadway theater is the in-person paper and pencil gaming. The finest experience, but relatively small."
- Gary Gygax
Now there's a prophetic statement. This movie came out in 2004, before the gaming industry surpassed the film industry in revenue and before World of Warcraft...did what it did to the MMO gaming landscape. If you ARE an uber goober, this movie is worth watching PURELY for the Gygax footage, including the additional interview material found in the bonus section where he talks about the origins of Dungeons & Dragons, TSR, and GenCon. Wow.
Well, that and the songs. They're great.