Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The true purpose of Twitter

Do you follow sockington? You should BE so lucky! @sockington really cuts through the meaningless observations and pointless musings that tend to clutter up Twitter.

Thanks for classing up the joint, sockington! /pet /pet

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Geekumentary: Classic Game Room

This is the story of one of those "I wish I'D done that" ideas that you wish you'd done because it's basically something you DID do - if you've sat around with your friends talking and joking about video games, the only part you forgot was taping it and making it a weekly show.

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.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

SpongeBob documentary announced

Are ya ready, kids??
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.

Geekumentary: Uber Goober

Uber Goober is about gamers, primarily miniatures gaming and role-playing (pen n' paper, LARP). It includes viewpoints from both gamers and detractors, and a trip to Origins, a large gaming convention in Ohio where, in 1996, I had what was technically my "first date" with my husband, a tournament Magic: the Gathering player with a #2 world ranking in Type 2 back then. I still remember sitting on the steps there with him, sipping coffee and watching the vampires LARP. So romantic.

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.

Monday, January 19, 2009

All up in the PvP hizzouse

So my husband and I are actually playing WoW again. Honestly The Lord of the Rings Online is a MUCH prettier game, and we'd rather be playing that, but our problem is time, or the lack thereof. We have no business playing an MMO right now to begin with, but last week there was a fateful moment of reminiscing that went something like this:
Me: Remember when we used to stay up till 2 AM in Colin's room? Back when it was our computer room?

Him: OMG, I forgot that even used to BE the computer room. Yeah, that was fun...Sunken Temple...

Me: Remember when we'd all lay in the road near Booty Bay and wait for Alliance to happen by?

Him: LOL, yeah, that was comedy.

Me: We should fire that back up and just play it casual, for fun.

Him: OK, let's do it.

And so began an epic journey...of downloading. We only had the original launch CDs, and instead of being clever and hitting up Fileplanet or something, we just installed and started patching.

Two days later, we decided to go buy the Battle Chest, cuz we were still patching. That took care of the problem. We headed for the nearest open PvP server, and two new Blood Elves were born. After about half an hour on the random name generator. Which kept suggesting names that we couldn't take, as well as "Line." It really really seemed to want one of us to name our character "Line."

Now, while I'm very much a socializer/explorer when it comes to the Bartle playstyles, my closest friends know that I'm also a closet griefer. I used to get up on the rooftops of Gadgetzan and gank Alliance, not even remotely entertaining the idea that it might be an exploit, I just did it because it was funny. What makes me PvPing amusing is that I'm not especially skilled at it. I'm no Dread Og...

I'll see you all up in the PvP hizzouse, yo! Alliance beware!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Watchmen case settled

The Fox Watchmen lawsuit has been settled at last, and with that nasty bit of business out of the way, can we finally get back to what's really important? Seeing cool movies? I mean seriously.

Now I'm in a mellow Friday mooooood...

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Repo! The Genetic Opera

This jaw-dropping I WANT TO SEE THAT movie featuring Giles from Buffy somehow stealthed its way almost to video release before I caught the trailer on the My Bloody Valentine DVD this week:

DVD street date January 20. All y'all just hold off adding it to your Netflix queue until after I've seen it, OK?

Cloak of Invisibility IRL

Invisibility Cloak Closer Than Ever to Reality
Jan. 15, 2009 -- An invisibility cloak for visible light could be made within six months, say scientists from Duke University, who, in a new paper published today in Science, explain how to hide objects from a dramatically extended range of wave lengths.
Really? Really really? I want one for my Wii ComBot!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Geekumentary Database

What the internet really needs is a master list of geekumentaries! The only criteria for inclusion here is that it's a documentary about something geeky. Please add comments if you know of any I've missed.


10 MPH (2007)
Two friends embark on a cross-country journey from Seattle to Boston on a Segway.Full review.

An Adventurer is You! (200-something)
The origins of Kingdom of Loathing: From the frozen wastes of Canadia rode filmmaker Chris Ciosk, on a trusty steed made of video cameras and boom microphones. He interviewed us, explored our offices, and cut together a 27-minute documentary that you can show to your non-KoL-playing friends by way of explanation or apology. Heck, your mother would probably like it. Lord knows she's easy enough to please. It's got loads of special features -- lengthy audio interviews with all of the staff (all of the staff as of early 2007, at least,) a behind-the-scenes look at our development process, and a really cool title animation. A must-have for anybody who must have it.

Avatars Offline (2002)
All about people who meet online, and then in real life.

Ball Saved

BBS: The Documentary (2005)
A five and a half-hour epic that chronicles the history of BBS (bulletin board systems), and, by nature, much of the rise of home computing. Full review.

Candyman: The David Klein Story (2010)
The bittersweet tale of David Klein, the man who invented Jelly Belly jellybeans. Featuring Weird Al, so you know it's a geekumentary. This is one I recommend.

Chasing Ghosts (2008)
A look at the classic arcade gaming scene that focuses on Twin Galaxies and the people involved in the LIFE magazine shoot in Ottumna, Iowa.

Classic Game Room (2007)
The rise and fall of a 1999 video game review show. Classic Game Room is also back on the internet as of 2008. Full review.

Darkon (2006)
Darkon documents a group of weekend warriors in Maryland...literally, weekend warriors, as these guys are taking part in an honored geek tradition (oft considered geeky even among geeks), the LARP (Live-Action Roleplay).

Dungeon Masters
about pen-and-paper gaming.

The Dungeons & Dragons Experience (2004)

About the world of pro video gaming.

Get Lamp (2010)
A documentary about early 80's text adventures (the Infocom-style games like Zork).

Gold Farmers

High Score

His Name Was Jason: 30 Years of Friday the 13th (2009)

The History of Pinball

The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters (2007)
Two classic arcade gamers battle for the world record Donkey Kong score. Full review.

LARP: The Movie (2008)

Life with a Dice Bag (2005)

Monster Camp (2007)

Monster Camp is about a group of LARPers who belong to the Seattle chapter of NERO (New England Roleplaying Organization). Full review.

Nerdcore for Life (2010)

Nerdcore Rising (2008)
Nerdcore Rising tells the tale of nerd rapper MC Frontalot and his first big tour, leading up to an appearance at the Penny Arcade Expo in Seattle. Full review.

The People vs. George Lucas

Pinball Passion

Pizza! The Movie

The Planet of the Doctor
A free online multi-part documentary on Dr. Who.

Six Days in Roswell
A feature film docu-comedy about UFOs, Aliens, Sightings, Abductions, Other Worldly Visitors, Extra Terrestrials, UFO Researchers, Government Cover-ups, Close Encounters, Flying Saucers, Alien Spacecraft, an Impact Site, Alien Bodies, an Alien Autopsy, the 509th Bomb Group...

Special When Lit: A Pinball Documentary
This 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.

Ten Yards: Fantasy Football
A film by 10 MPH's Josh Caldwell and Hunter Weeks, about fantasy football.

TILT: The Battle to Save Pinball (2007)
TILT tells the story of a last-ditch effort to reinvent pinball when one of the biggest manufacturers, Williams, had their pinball division on the chopping block in favor of the slot machine business. Full review.

Trekkies/Trekkies 2 (1997)
Trekkies documents the Star Trek phenomenon, and its devotees.

Second Skin (in development)
A film covering MMOs and the people who play them, including a look into the life of a gold farmer.

Spellbound (2002)
Spellbound is "the story of eight American children who set out to win the National Spelling Bee."

Uber Goober 2004
Uber Goober is about gamers, primarily miniatures gaming and role-playing (pen n' paper, LARP). Full review.

Wordplay (2006)
Wordplay explores the secret world of crossword puzzles. Several celebrities talk about their love of crossword puzzles, including Ken Burns.

Word Wars (2004)
Word Wars is all about Scrabble. Competitive Scrabble.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Dexter, noooOOOOOO!!

Dexter marries his sister

It's a good thing I just discovered chocolate Skittles...

*eats entire bag*

*...and a pint of Ben & Jerry's*

One suggestion, Skittles people...add peanut butter Skittles to this bag. Then your journey to the dark side will be complete.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

More movie stuff

Geeks of Doom just informed me that Simon Pegg and Nick Frost (from Shaun of the Dead/Hot Fuzz) are going to be starring in the 3-movie Tintin project that Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson are working on.

Whoah. That's a lot of info to soak in! I love Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, and am always up for a Peter Jackson film. My husband owns the cartoon box set of Tintin, which is a fun little series. So this looks to be cool all around.

PS - Netflixed Trailer Park Boys last night, and I'm trying to remember what blog I read about it on, because I want to say thank you! It was a clever and fun comedy, filmed in Canada (check out the Rush shout-outs on the movie marquee!). The cast and subject matter were great. I loved that the main character's goal is to "get his life back on track" by getting back to growing marijuana...

Not only that, there was a trailer for a movie from the Napoleon Dynamite people called The Sasquatch Gang that looked promising and I'd also never heard of and have just added to the Netflix queue.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

BBS: The Documentary

(Part 1)

Started watching BBS: The Documentary today. I say started because the full documentary is five and a half hours long. Now, I really wasn't involved in the whole BBS scene. The closest I got was playing a MUCK called Delusions back in 1994 or so, using dial-up, and owning a baud-speed modem. So while BBS certainly qualifies for geekumentary territory, I didn't think I was going to be quite as into this one as some of the others I've seen.

One of the things that has made this a good viewing experience so far is that history repeats itself. There's enough content I can relate to in this documentary to keep it interesting, and an engaging level of "yeah, it's just like that now, only instead of BBS boards, it's happening on MMO boards." Instead of "twelveyearoldswhogotamodemforChristmas" you've got "twelveyearoldswhogotWoWforChristmas." Flame wars? power-happy moderators? It's all been done before, and I'm enjoying seeing a prior incarnation.

"My first computer came in a kit, cost me $3000 and took 6 months to put together."

- C.E. "Satan" Rawles

Can you imagine the inflation-adjusted price there? As they say in the film, it was often literally a choice between owning a car and owning a computer. Some of these modems were clocking in at 9600 baud, but well over $600. It really does give one pause, to think that nowadays you expect to get the top of the line wireless router for about $100, or a tricked-out gaming machine for under $3000 (LOADS less if you build it yourself).

So even if you didn't have direct experience with the BBS era, if you're interested in the history of it all, or that the first modem was created by Bell in should check this thing out! It's a modern-day history lesson.

PS - Jeff Keegan, you GO, I have that Rush t-shirt too! I hate you for apparently owning Theater of Magic, though, almost as much as I hate PLAYING White Water (the two pinball machines in the background during Jeff's interviews).