I'm at a crossroads right now, with regard to my blog: I sort of feel like I'm living in a hotel here in exile, and I'm doing whatever I can to help the hotel feel more like home while my real house is rebuilt, but the longer I stay here, and the more I try to make it feel home, the more likely it is that it will become home. I even tried to import the old WWdN entries to this blog, but (big surprise) the import failed. I wonder if I am doomed to have my archives in a useless textfile on my machine in my office until I eventually just suck it up and pay someone to fix the stupid fucking thing.
If I sound frustrated, it's because I am.
I spent several hours the other day working on WWdN. With absolutely no progress to show for it when I was done, I was so pissed I slammed some drawers, kicked some things, and realized that I don't give a flying fuck about the technology any more. I just want to write. Yes, it's nice to have the "I did it myself" merit badge, but trying to do it all myself is eating up time I would rather spend on other things, and is rapidly sucking the life (and enthusiasm) out of me. When I started with blogger and geocities way back a thousand years ago, I loved that the technology made it easy for me to scrape things out of my brain and moosh them up on The Internets. Then I got into the technology and had a good time scooping my brains out, and manipulating the technology to make the stuff I scooped out look a little better. But now, I just want it to work. It's the writing that I care about, and time I
spend waste dealing with technical bullshit is time that I can't spend creating things that matter.
Yes, Virginia, I am starting to hate computers.
So I'm working with a friend of mine to completely rebuild WWdN from the ground up. We're still puzzling out the final design, but it's going to be very cool (and very different from the current layout) when it's done. I'm conflicted about sticking with TypePad (and domain mapping) or banging on MT 3.2 until it has the same functionality as TypePad. Right now, I'm leaning toward domain mapping, even though TypePad is having what appears to be the worst technical difficulties in its history (Six Apart has assured TypePad users that these problems are about to go away. I see no reason to doubt that, but it's still annoying in the mean time, and is the best argument so far to stay with my own installation at WWdN.)
I don't know what I'll ultimately end up doing, but it's clear that I'll be in exile for much longer than I originally anticipated.
I've changed the feedburner feed to reflect the WWd:iX xml file, rather than the WWdN xml file. If you're subscribed through feedburner, WWdN:In Exile should start showing up in your RSS reader pretty soon, and we'll all feel . . . at home.
It's 82 degrees and gorgeous today, here in sunny Pasadena. When the little ghouls come trick-or-treating tonight, it should be nice and balmy.
I was going to go as a zombie, but in honor of the beautiful day, I've decided to go as a Palm Tree.
And after you see that link, you'll probably understand why the last place in the world I want to be today is inside. One of the benefits of being self-employed is that I can take the afternoon off to walk my dogs and have a cigar on the patio while I catch up with some podcasts, so that's where I'll be if anyone is looking for me.
My call for the movie today isn't until 4:30, so I watched the documentary disc of Dawn of the Dead: The Ultimate Edition. Here's my quick review:
There are four features on this disc, but the two documentaries, "The Dead Will Walk" and "Document of the Dead" make it required viewing for any serious fan of DotD. The contrast between the two is remarkable, and the result is much greater than the sum of the individual parts.
"The Dead Will Walk" is the obligatory look back at the making of the film, complete with cast and crew interviews, and original behind the scenes footage from the production. It's an enjoyable retrospective, and it's nice to see people look back fondly on this great film.
"Document of the Dead" is a documentary made during the prodction of DotD, and has a decidedly different point of view. Interviews on the set and a narrative examination of Romero's style are woven together to give us a much more in-depth look at the making of this landmark film, which was clearly not an easy production and struggled to find distribution. "Document of the Dead" was made long before Romero was the unquestioned master of the genre, and after watching him discuss his philosopy on filmmaking, it's easy to see how he earned the title.
Sigh. This is always a risk when the cast is made up of working actors, but it still sucks.
The schedule for the movie can not be changed, so I had to take myself out of the ACME shows for the next two weeks. This means that you one and only for reals chance to see me in the show will be on November 19th, our closing night.
I'm really sorry, and feel terrible for the cast, the theatre, and especially the WWdN:iX readers who were planning on coming out to see the show. I hope everyone understands.
Heeding the "it's not real until you're actually on the set" philosophy, I haven't written about this movie that I'm working on tomorrow.
Yeah . . . I booked a movie! I'm have a cameo as a director called "Alan Smith" in this great movie, which has a title I can't disclose. I'll call it The One Where Wil Wheaton's Cameo Kills And Wins Him Some Stupid Award (TOWWWCKAWHSSA, which is actually pronounced "Toe-wik-a-whissa." Which makes me giggle like a product tester in the nitrous oxide factory.)
The thing is . . . I was supposed to work in the morning and make it to the ACME show at night. I just got my call time, and they're bringing me in late in the afternoon. Unless they change the schedule, there is no way I'll be able to make it to the show. I know that several WWdN readers are planning to come to the show tomorrow night, and I reminded the folks at The One Where Wil Wheaton's Cameo Kills And Wins Him Some Stupid Award that they assured me the movie wouldn't conflict with the my show. They're working on it, but I'll be very surprised if they can shuffle around an entire day's work just to accomodate a day player, (even if he name *is* in the title of the movie.)
The cast will survive without me, and the show will still be hilarious, but if you want to see me do my funny, you're probably better off waiting until next week.
Check back here in the next couple of hours, as I'll update when I know for sure whether or not we can make it happen.
I've been watching I Love The 80s 3D for the last 90 minutes or so, and I keep seeing commercials for I Walk The Line.
Huge Johnny Cash fan that I am, I have been really excited about this film . . . but I'm scared to death after seeing the commercials. I really hope the personalities of the lead actors don't overwhelm the characters they are playing.
Ryan and Nolan played basketball in the driveway. I had my PowerBook on the breakfast table, and I caught bits of their conversation through the open window as I worked.
". . . a freshman?" Ryan said.
"Yeah," Nolan said.
"What's her --" A car drove up the street, and drowned Ryan out.
Her? My parental spideysense switched on, but I tried to stay focused on my work.
"That's cool." I thought. "I shouldn't be listening to their conversation, anyway."
For the next several minutes, I couldn't hear anything but the bounce of the ball, and then "Brick!" from Nolan as the ball bounced off the backboard, and landed beneath the kitchen window. Ryan walked over to pick it up.
" . . . is so freakin' hot," Nolan said.
"Yeah," Ryan said as he picked up the ball, "but she's not your type. She's a geek, just like me."
I looked out the window. Did he see me? No. He tossed the ball back to Nolan.
"Your ball," he said.
I closed my Powerbook and watched them play in the fading afternoon sunlight. I saw that Ryan was wearing a Mozilla T-shirt.
. . . just like me.
What went wrong: Nothing, though Baird's offhanded and repeated dismissal of pre-established Star Trek canon—characters, design, relationships, backstory, previous Trek films—strongly implies a fatal contempt for the series. He brightens noticeably when describing the parts of the film he got to design from scratch, or redesign to override previous series installments.
Comments on the cast: Virtually none. Baird devotes a bare word or two of praise to actors Patrick Stewart and Brent Spiner, but mostly seems to regard them as props amid his more interesting sets and computerized cameras. Judging from an awkward reference to "Patrick and Brent and... Worf," he doesn't even necessarily remember their names.
Inevitable dash of pretension: Baird's entire commentary is self-important and affected; his gravelly murmurs make him sound like a beat-poet wannabe at his first open-mic. Suddenly the film's ludicrously weighty tone makes more sense.
I wish someone could explain why the final film in the TNG canon was given over to a man who had such obvious contempt for the legacy and mythos of Star Trek. What a waste.
Just a reminder that The Friday Game at PokerStars is all set up, and taking registrations. We had 152 players last week, and I can't wait to see if we match or exceed that number this week.I've had a great time in the first two games (even though I haven't gotten anywhere near the money) and I'm excited to see what the third week brings. I can honestly say that I've been looking forward to the game all week.
Last week, I live blogged the action at CardSquad, and I plan to do it again, to keep the "TV table" meme alive.
Here are the details. Please share them as you see fit:
What: WWdN: Up4Poker Invitational
When: Friday, October 28th. 9:00 PM EST
Tournament number: 14090593
As always, if you bust me out, you get naming rights for next week's game . . . but I'm feeling lucky this week, so watch out for my raises. Hope to see lots of you there!
For the last month, I've been doing a show at the ACME Comedy Theatre with Shane Nickerson. It's called Now That's What I Call ACME Volume One and it's a "best of" show.
I've got two writing credits in the show, for a poker-related sketch called William's Tell and a a sketch I co-wrote called Living and Dying In DWP, (which CMack and I wanted to call The Tibetan Sketch of Living and Dying, before we were overruled.)
I'm also in the funniest series of sketches I've ever been in, called "Tribute." I love these sketches so much, I will perform them for the rest of my life, if Anne (who wrote them) will let me.
There are four performances left, counting this Saturday night.
This is the last chance you'll have to see me at ACME for a looooong time. I was sick with mono when the last writing session happened, so I won't get a chance to be in any of the shows before mid-2006.
I keep seeing these magnetic ribbons on people's cars that say, "I SUPPORT PRESIDENT BUSH and our troops." I always applaud these brave people, who have taken the extraordinary step of attaching a magnetic ribbon to their car as a reflection of their deeply held convictions.
Personally, I don't think one needs to support the president or the war to support the soldiers, but this is a favorite talking point from the RNC.
Witness the case of Cornell du Houx.
The senior is most well known on the Bowdoin College campus in his role as development director for the College Democrats of America and as co-president of the Maine College Democrats. Under his leadership, the organization in Maine has grown from two chapters to 23.
While Cornell du Houx has actively rallied against many of President Bush's policies, he feels that his involvement in the Marines is not a conflict of interest.
"Regardless of my opinions regarding the war in Iraq, it is my duty as a U.S. Marine to serve and I am ready and willing to do my job to its fullest extent," he said.
Others on campus, particularly his political opponents in the Bowdoin College Republicans, feel differently about his service. Daniel Schuberth, a leader of the Bowdoin College Republicans and College Republican national secretary, said, "I applaud Mr. Houx for his service, just as I applaud any other soldier who is brave enough to take up arms in defense of his country. I find it troubling, however, that one of the most vocal opponents of our president, our country and our mission in Iraq has chosen to fight for a cause he claims is wrong. Mr. Houx's rhetoric against the war on terror places him in agreement with the most radical fringes of the Democratic Party, and I am left to question his logic and motivation."
Boy, it sure is cute how Daniel Schuberth tries real real hard to spit out his Mehlman-ordered talking points, but has he listened to what he's saying? Daniel Schuberth, who should probably earn some sort of award from Operation Yellow Elephant, has the fucking nerve to criticize a brave soldier who is following orders, even though he doesn't believe in the war, when he won't enlist himself. He may claim that Cornell du Houx is a representative of the "most radical fringes of the Democratic Party," but it's pretty clear that chickenhawks like Daniel Schuberth are in direct agreement with the mainstream of George Bush's Republican Party. I'm sure he has "other priorities", just like Dick Cheney did during the Vietnam War. What a brave, brave little fighting keyboardist he is!
Tonight, there are vigils all over the country to mark the death of the 2000th American soldier to be killed in George Bush's Idiotic Adventure. Blondesense has links, and advises people who support the soldiers but oppose the war (a difficult concept for bemagneted car owners to comprehend, but a valid one nonetheless) to Just Go. I agree.
I would like to ask all young and able-bodied war supporters to join me as I mark this tragic milestone: I will do everything I can to end this war, and prevent others like it from happening. You can head to your nearest recruitment center and join up. Dan Schulberth has a spot in the military with his name on it that he's not using.
There is a really cool feature at Forbes.com all about various forms of communication. They've got interviews with some incredible people, like Arthur C. Clarke, Kurt Vonnegut, Jane Goodall. They've also got a discussion about blogging with me. A brief excerpt:
Wil Wheaton is a writer and actor. His Web site, wilwheaton.net, is one of the most popular blogs on the Internet. He has written two books, Just a Geek and Dancing Barefoot, and has a third due later this year. As an actor, he is best known for roles on Star Trek: The Next Generation and in the film Stand By Me.
wil_wheaton: believe it or not, in all these years I've never done an interview over IM
david_ewalt: since we're doing stories about communicating, this will show a whole other way in which people communicate
wil_wheaton: i was talking with my stepson the other day about this
wil_wheaton: he's grown up in a world where IM has always existed
wil_wheaton: he spends time IMing with his friends like I used to sit on the phone with mine
wil_wheaton: and I have iChatAV on my laptop and my desktop, so when I travel for work or whatever, I can stay in touch with my family visually.
david_ewalt: this, in fact is why i wanted to talk to you...you seem to have mastered many of these new forms of communication
david_ewalt: that's the nice way for me to say "you're a geek"
Gabe and Tycho from Penny Arcade drew a funny-because-it's-true comic on blogging, and Bob Jeffery supports my theory that traditional channels of media and distribution just aren't that important anymore. The whole thing is awesome, and it's an easy way to lose several hours filling your brains with thought-provoking Slurm.
In addition to my regular Games of our Lives column, I've got a review in The Onion AV Club this week.
Games of our lives looks back at Thief:
You robbed the bank. That's good! But you dropped the money all over the known universe. That's bad. But you have a spiffy car to drive around and pick it up. That's good! There are cops everywhere. That's bad. But you can occasionally blow them up for big points! That's good! You want to play Pac-Man, but you can only find a cheap imitation! That's Thief!
Gameplay: Using a joystick, you drive your little car around the ugliest maze in the world. Your goal is to pick up all the dollar bills so you can advance to the next level. Opposing you are four little police cars. They don't have names, but you could safely call them something like, oh... let's randomly say Inky, Pinky, Blinky, and Clyde. If they touch you, you'll blow up in a magnificent fireworks display. However, if you pick up one of the dollar signs scattered around the maze, a siren will sound and your enemies will become ghost cars that you can run into for bonus points.
[. . .]
It's a little embarrassing to watch Thief try to be as cool as Pac-Man, but it's still a really fun game that works extra-hard to keep players happy. The game plays a super-cool police-scanner soundtrack right out of a '40s movie, and when you're down to your final life, Thief helpfully says "This is your last chance!" Can you remember the last time Pac-Man said as much as "Hello" to you? Didn't think so.
And I reviewed X-Men Legends 2: Rise of Apocalypse:
Whether to get out of homework, exact revenge on a bully, or just impress a potential date, every kid wants to be a superhero. But the Earth's yellow sun gives its native population sunburns instead of superpowers, and radiation is likely to make you a cancer patient rather than a mutant. So what's a wannabe to do? Retreat to the basement with X-Men Legends II, of course! In this follow-up to 2004's X-Men Legends, Apocalypse threatens to destroy Earth. In the face of this mighty adversary, the X-Men team up with their arch-rivals from Magneto's Brotherhood to defeat him, presumably so they can get back to fighting each other.
Final judgment: X-Men Legends II is more of an action-based button-masher than a sandbox RPG, but there's nothing wrong with that. The few limitations are easily offset by just how enjoyable it is to play this game.
I realyl liked both of these games. In fact, Legends 2 is so much fun to play, I got a copy of it for PSP so I could play it when I wasn't at home . . . which brought to mind an interesting idea: wouldn't it be cool if you could have some sort of online place to save your games, so you could play them on different platforms and keep your progress in synch?
If I had to pick one way to change the world, if there was only one thing I could do, I would eliminate prejudice and bigotry, and ensure equal rights for all people. Period. That people are so ignorant, and so stupid that they can judge others based on factors which are randomly assigned by the universe, rather than the quality of one's character, just baffles me.
When I heard yesterday that Rosa Parks died, I wanted to write something about it, but I couldn't find the words. It's hard to imagine what her world was like way back in 1955, especially since 99% of the people who have the ability to read this blog will probably never know a life a billionth as challenging as hers -- and none of us are going to make one tenth of the difference she made. So what could I say that would matter?
Try to imagine yourself as Rosa Parks did when she left work that day in 1955. Exhausted from working long hours in the department store, she looked to take a seat like always; but making sure she sat in the right section of that bus at the risk of being handcuffed. You can't-can you? It took this incredible woman to refuse to give up her seat to a white man on that bus to change the course of American history.
Think about that, and honor her legacy whenever you can. I challenge you all to make a difference, in some positive way, in someone's life today. And tomorrow. And the day after that . . .
I can't believe I forgot about this: I'm all over VH1's I Love The 80s 3D. I wasn't in much of 1980 or 1981, but I did about 9 hours of interviews with them, mostly focused on 1985-1989, if I recall correctly. Check local listings for maximum Uncle Willie Snark and your USRDA of funky giant post-Walter sideburns.
There has been a lot of fun poker in the last few days for me. The Friday WWdN Invitational has been a huge success two weeks in a row, and seems to be growing, I had a BLAST at IGN live, and the PokerStars Blogger Championship yesterday was a whole lot of fun.
I posted a live blog of the Friday Game at CardSquad:
5:04 PM - We're at the first break. This is incredibly fun. What a great group of people! I have 3105, and I am third at my table (leader has 5400). Average is 2533. Our chipleader is the poker princess herself, with 7285. There are 90 players left.
5:05 PM - First hand after the break, I get KK in the cutoff. I raise it up 3x, no callers. It's funny to me that I get nervous when I see cowboys now. :)
5:27 PM - CJ from UpForPoker just got moved to my table. He's REALLY good, and has position on me.
5:34 PM - wwdnposse just got moved to my table. His avatar is the image from "Wil has a posse." That is too weird.
5:35 PM - I'm all-in UTG with pocket eights. One caller, plus CJ who also pushes. I hope I'm in for a race here. Oh. No I'm not. CJ called me with KK. Can I crack Kings? No, there's a King on the flop. I go home in 54th. What a disappointing finish. I really wish I hadn't donked off those chips like a dipshit, but I had a LOT of fun, and now there's only one "wil" avatar at the table.
5:37 PM - Join us next week for the WWdN: Up4Poker Invitational! (Tournament number 14090593, for you early registration types.)
The whole thing is at CardSquad, includng the final table, and the cash game I played with a bunch of other poker bloggers after I busted out. While you're there, you may want to check out the recap of the Blogger Championship:
I was playing from IGN Live in Anaheim, where I was signing autographs and playing in SNGs for PokerStars. (Note: IGN Live was really cool. If you get a chance to attend one, GO!) I was seriously multi-tasking at one point, when a reporter from Area51 radio sat down and talked with me about my books, poker, Star Trek, gaming, voice overs, and all that other crap I do.
I moved up to almost 3000 chips early, but I missed some draws, got pushed off some hands by GRob, and slowly dropped back down. I went into a shell as the blinds came up, and with just over 900 left, and the blinds at 75/150 I was way behind par. I pushed from early position with a A-8o. It was folded to ohthen, who called with pocket nines. The flop came ace, ace . . . nine, giving ohthen a full house against my set. The turn was a queen, and I caught the case ace on the river to make quads and double up! Dems quads, beetches!
I'm working on a couple of posts for the next few days over there, that I think will be of interest to beginning players.
I love the impermanence of WWdN: In Exile. It's given me a lot of freedom to experiment with designs, content, and the Typepad experience.
So far, I really like all of it, and I'm even considering sticking with Typepad once I get WWdN up and running again. The WYSISYG editor is outstanding, and the most important factor for me in deciding what blogging tools to use is: how easy is it for me to get my ideas out of my head and onto the screen? I've noticed that since I moved to Exile, I've actually been able to blog a whole lot more than the last few weeks at WWdN: BE, just because it is so easy to use.
I also get to try things out here to see if I'm comfortable with them or not, before I integrate them into WWdN:2.0. That's why there is that Google AdSense thing over on the right side of the screen. For a long time, I've resisted putting ads on WWdN, and I even scaled back, then ultimately took a hiatus from BlogAds (which are great, by the way. It wasn't them, it was me. We're still friends.)
But the fact is, I love to write. I love to write for CardSquad, I love to write for The Onion, I love to write for Suicide Girls, and I love to write for WWdN:IE (yuck! IE! Gross! Maybe I should call it WWdN:ix) I would like to earn my primary living as a writer, and if AdSense means my blog helps pay some bills, I can put more time into writing good content, and publishing books. (This is especially important since O'Reilly sent me my "royalty" statement for the last quarter, which was all negative numbers. Thanks for all that great promotion and support, guys!)
I don't know if I'm going to keep the AdSense around or not. I understand that Google is hardcore about the way bloggers talk about the ads, so all I will say is that if they don't earn me a certain amount of revenue each month, I'll get rid of them. Oh, and Mesothel -- Ha. Just kidding.
I'm interested in knowing what you other bloggers think, especially bloggers who use AdSense, TextAds, BlogAds, IndieClicks, etc. Is it worth it? Do you have any trouble with content, sponsors, or readers?
A lot of the blogs I read use Haloscan for their comments. Many of them are reporting problems with Haloscan in the last 24 hours or so.
Haloscan Fix it guide
Bloggers, go into Beta features in Haloscan and in the middle of the column it says Spam filters. Just say "no" and your comments will come back up. Hat tip Jane for the info.
I'm not a Haloscan user, so this doesn't affect me at all, but I know a lot of bloggers are, so I hope this workaround helps you out.
I listened to some of his other music, and liked enough of it to add him to bloglines. Each week, he releases a new song to The Internets, and this week, he gives us a terriffic little ditty called Someone Is Crazy.
This one comes from a verse that’s been floating around in my head for about 10 years. I think that originally it came from an argument with some girl about something, but I can’t remember anymore. I can still find the disdain in my heart though, that hasn’t left me. The amazing Cynthia Hopkins stuff on Wednesday night inspired me to dust off the old accordion and give it a whirl. Man that thing is hard to play. But that’s what Thing a Week is about. Dusting off old accordions. Hard to play. Rough weeks.
Here is the song: link
If you share my musical tastes, or just want to spend a moment with something new, check it out.
WWdN reader beccaelizabeth e-mailed me this morning:
Recently, at the Galactica One convention, Sam Witwer, who plays Crashdown on Battlestar Galactica, said he got into acting because of meeting you when he was 11 or 12 and a Next Gen fan. He was getting a tour and the guy said something like 'Next Gen is filming over there. We can't go there.' But then you were in your trailer and you talked to him. He was really enthusiastic, saying how at the time of course Wesley was his favourite character, and he got to meet you and youtalked and were nice to him.
Someone else in the audience mentioned your website and your books and told him (and the other 100+ people in the hall) how good your books were, and that no he didn't work for you in any capacity.
Your fans get everywhere. Including good TV shows.
She has a full report on the con in her livejournal (which, she disclaims, is not her best writing. Seems fine to me, but what do I know?)
I love it that lots of people got to hear about my books and website (*wave* to any of you who are dropping by for the first time) and I love it that Sam not only remembers this interaction with me, but still tells the story! It's a wonderful example of why it's imporant to treat people the way you want to be treated. It's also an example, when compared to my experience with WFS, of how lasting an effect these encounters have on people.
In other words, use whatever you have for good. That's your lesson of the day.
[After much waiting and confusion] the Screamfest people show up. Lots of hustling and mix ups and craziness and we finally get out tickets and head to the theater. Since we were one of the first 25 people there we get a free DVD of Land of the Dead: The Directors Cut which is pretty cool. Did I say first 25 people? I meant only 25 people. Anyway, we find seats and are excited when the first trailer is for a Land of the Dead
XBox game. Caryn and I decide we must own an XBox just to play this game. The trailers end and rather than the movie starting, the main menu of the DVD shows up on the screen. So I guess we're watching the DVD. Which doesn't fit on the projected screen. And no one is pressing play. So the menu loop is just looping. for about 5 minutes. Finally someone hits play and the movie starts, it's about 7:20 at this point.
As a bonus we don't just get the movie opening credits, we get subtitles too! The movie starts to play and there's no vocal track. Background sounds yes, no people talking. This goes on for 10 minutes or so before they finally stop it and bring back up the house lights. Someone apologizes and says they are working on it. Lights go down and the movie starts again, from the beginning, with subtitles. This time the subtitles are in spanish. And there's still no vocal track. There's obviously people in the projector room messing with something but nothing is working. Light come back up, then go dark and it starts from the beginning again, with the same problems. It's now almost 8PM and the next movie is supposed to start at 9:30 so we're wondering how they are going to deal with this. After the fourth false start they give up and say we will all get refunds and they are sorry but they don't know what the hell is wrong. I hear someone with a Screamfest badge say something about "they must have given us one of those boxes of messed up promo DVDs or something" - I look and yep, the free DVD we were handed on the way in is promo stamped. Fun! He then goes on to say that "with all these different formats and versions today there's no way to know what will work and what won't, so what can people expect?" What can people expect? I paid $75 I expect someone to spend 10 seconds and make sure the movie actually plays PRIOR to me sitting there waiting to see it!
According to one of the organizers, "They refused to give us a print and we'd already sold tickets so we were lucky the DVD came out on Tuesday..." so they used the DVD for a public exhibition, which I think is illegal. Sounds real professional, doesn't it? It gets better, when they try to get a refund:
Things start getting really cool here because no one bothered to tell the kids at the box office they were to refund anyone so they are refusing and telling people to step to the side so they can deal with the next customer, completely ignorant to the fact that the next customer was also there for Screamfest and wants their money back. We demand the manager. He shows up and starts apologizing and handing out refunds. I give him my receipts and he hands be a refund receipt... for $22 bucks. Hold your fucking horses. I point out that I paid $75 for 6 tickets so $22 doesn't quite cut it. He looks and says "Oh! You bought tickets from Screamfest directly not from us, I can't give you anything back" and rips up the $22 credit. He says I have to take it up with the Screamfest people directly because he and the theater have nothing to do with it.
It's logical to wonder if this blogger is just pissed for one
reason or another. He could be exaggerating or misrepresenting the
situation or whatver . . . but this blogger is Sean Bonner, who has a
spotless reputation (and is a close personal friend of mine, so I trust
him even more.) Therefore, Occam's Razor
says that these promoters really screwed the pooch. There could be a
good explanation, because shit happens with these things, but as of
2:17 PM on October 21st, there is nothing on their blog that even
mentions the problems last night. There are, however, announcements
about other events taking place this weekend. Hmmm. I hope that they'll
make good on their promise to provide full refunds to the people who
couldn't get them at the theatre . . . if they care at all about
their reputation, I'm sure that they will.
There are a ton of events scheduled for the rest of the weekend -- events that I'd really dig, like a screening of Friday the 13th -- but there is no way they're getting any of my money until those refunds go out.
So we have another example of the importance of the reputation economy. If I just read their website, I'd be totally into Screamfest. But now? Until they give me a good reason to change my mind, Not so much.
Sean Bonner has a great post at the SBdC about the power of blogging.
[This] was just e-mailed to my by Dana in NYC. It's pretty amazing...
"One of our authors Tessa posted last week about having a delivery man force his way into her apartment and demand all of her money as a tip. The delivery man was with the extremely popular internet based NYC grocery service Fresh Direct—everyone I know and everyone they know uses this service (which incidentally has a strict no tipping policy) so there was a lot of shock, dismay, outrage over this incident. Tessa’s posts were linked to on Gothamist and Gawker although she chose not to go to the newspapers about this incident. She went right to Fresh Direct who told her that the delivery man would be re-assigned. Many of our readers were upset that this man could deliver to them next so yesterday I posted information on how to contact Fresh Direct and demand a better resolution from them. A lot of people told me that they followed my suggestion and wrote to Fresh Direct about this too. And just now I just got a mail from Fresh Direct management assuring me that after an internal investigation that the offending driver has indeed been fired.
Imagine this same thing happening as recently as five years ago. Based upon their initial reaction to the complaint, it is likely that without the flood of concerns from other customers, this company would not fire an allegedly dangerous employee. (How irresponsible to even consider reassigning him!) Without the blogs, how could she get the word out far and wide? The mainstream media? Unlikely. And even if the victim had been able to get attention from some mainstream news media, it would never have the immediacy and wide reach of communicating it on a blog. Who knows how many other doors this guy would have kicked down before he was stopped!
Whenever I am interviewed about my blog, or blogging in general, I always try to get the interviewer to grok that the real power in this medium is that anyone can communicate their opinions, fears, outrage, silliness, or whatever is important to them with a large, self-policing peer network. There is such overwhelming power in communication, if that power is treated responsibly.
That is why blogging is important. That is why it's exciting, empowering, and cool. For better and for worse, the rules of communication have changed. So far, I don't see a whole lot of evidence that the mainstream media or current corporate masters of the universe understand that. I wonder when they'll get a clue(train).
Just a quick reminder that tomorrow's WWdN Friday Game at PokerStars is set to go at 7:00 EDT.
What: WWdN: Decker711 Invitational
When: Friday, October 21st. 7:00 PM EDT
Tournament number: 13788952
I hope that the later starting time can accomodate a few more players than last week. Remember that this is a semi-private affair, open to anyone who knows the password is monkey.
Apparently, I am John Sheridan.
An experienced survivor who has maneuvered around many obstacles, you are looked up to by those who rely on your good judgment.
In the last few years, we've stumbled. We stumbled at the death of the president, the war, and on and on. When you stumble a lot you tend to look at your feet. Now we have to make people lift their eyes back to the horizon and see the line of ancestors behind us saying, "Make my life have meaning," and to our inheritors before us saying, "create the world we will live in."
I know it's a silly online survey, but I was surprised at how much I identified with those words, and I was very grateful that I wasn't Wesley Crusher (not that there's anything wrong with that.) So if you've got a few minutes to waste, head on over and tell us who you are.
If you're in Anaheim this weekend, you can come out to IGN Live and play poker with me and Greg Raymer.
There are a lot of poker tournaments, but none offer the big chance the PokerStars.com All-In Tournament is offering. Play your cards right and you’ll get a chance to ante up against 2004 World Series of Poker Champion Greg Raymer. That’s right, the Fossil Man himself. Will you take down the champ or will you fall under the spell of his multi-colored glasses?
As if that wasn’t exciting enough, you can also win a chance to play against former Star Trek: The Next Generation star turned poker pro Wil Wheaton. In addition to playing cards, Wil is a big gaming enthusiast. Maybe try to chat up his gaming habits to take him off his poker game.
Hey! How about some advice on knocking Greg off of his game? Thanks, guys. While it's a little much to say that I'm a poker pro, they nailed the "gaming enthusiast" part. I'll be there early on Sunday just so I can play the XBox 360.
What PokerStars has set up for this weekend is very cool: there will be a series of free sit-n-go tournaments throughout the day on Saturday and Sunday. The winner of each tournament will win a seat at the final game of the day. Saturday's winner will play with Greg, and Sunday's winner will play with me. We'll also be in the PokerStars booth signing autographs during the afternoon on our respective days.
If you can't make it to The Los Angeles Anaheim Convention Center of Anaheim, but you still want to play poker with me, don't forget tomorrow's WWdN Invitational!
I'm a bit of a zombie geek. In fact, one of the first real stories I wrote was for English class in middle school, called Land of the Zombies. I wrote a little bit about it in Just A Geek:
"You were always such a wonderful writer, Wil." She said, wagging her finger at me. "We all thought that you'd end up as a screenwriter or novelist."
Something started to slowly turn in the back of my mind.
"Yeah, I always enjoyed it."
"Remember your Land of the Zombies story? All the students loved that."
I smiled and nodded. As a creative writing assignment around Halloween in 1985, all the seventh graders wrote horror stories. Inspired by "Night of the Living Dead," D&D, and a family trip to San Francisco, I wrote a story about a man and his wife, fleeing from the terror of zombies who had escaped an army research base, and were slowly taking over the country. They discover that water can force the zombie-causing chemicals out of the living dead, so they end up on Alcatraz island, which I had decided was the only safe place left in America. I remember the story ended with something like, "Alcatraz was once a federal prison for killers. Now it's the prison that's saving our lives. We even sleep in the Birdman's old cell.
"As the sun set over the Golden Gate Bridge, I looked out onto America: once, the land of the free. Now, the land of the zombies."
It's not Hemmingway, but it's pretty good for a 12 year old. It was voted scariest and goriest story by the seventh and eighth graders, and I proudly photocopied it, and sent it to all my relatives. They were all horrified and told my parents that I should get professional help.
If I can ever find that story, which I think is somewhere in my mother's Infinite Bag of Childhood Relics, I'll reprint it. Better yet, I'll scan it so you can read it in all its Applewriter glory, complete with judicious use of bolding, outlining, and shadowing. Mmmm yeah. It's good stuff.
As I grew older, so did my fascination with zombies. When I was a teenager, I was a total geek for Dawn of the Dead (not so much, Day of the Dead, though) and rented it regularly on VHS tape from a video rental store (ask your parents, kids.) While I appreciated the humor of Return of the Living Dead, I watched that one less frequently (and then mostly for the boobies) because it just didn't please the purist in me. Because, you know, one is capable of being a zombie purist, especially when one is a huge fucking nerd.
For example, Darin and I saw the remake of Dawn of the Dead when it was in theatres, and we enjoyed it, but I was left a little wanting. There were plenty of scares, and the gore factor was nicely balanced by the suspense factor, but I like my zombies to be slow moving menaces, rather than lightening fast maniacs. It's what separates the Zombies from the Tasmanian Devils. Again, me=zombie purist.
I still haven't seen 28 Days Later, or Land of the Dead (the former because I hear it's not exactly zombies, and they are of the Tasmanian Devil variety, anyway, and the latter just because I haven't had time -- hey, even zombie purists have work to do, you know) but Anne and I finally got around to watching Shaun of the Dead last night.
Holy shit. What a fucking brilliant movie! I kept hearing about how great it was, but I was reluctant to believe all the hype. (Purist, remember? Okay! Fine! Not Purist! Snob! There! I admitted it! Are you happy now? I AM A ZOMBIE SNOB AND I DON'T CARE WHO KNOWS IT!!!!11) Not only is it a brilliant zombie movie, it's a wonderful story about friendship, love, the importance of a good pint, and how there is greatness in just about everyone, even if it takes a zombie invasion to bring it out. I gave it five severed heads and nine out of nine chainsaws, for those of you who like to score this sort of thing.
And though it goes without saying, I'm going to say it anyway: if you have even the tiniest bit of affection for the living dead, you will positively love Twilight Creations' Zombies!!!
Zombies!!! puts you in the middle of the action as you try to escape the ever advancing zombie horde. Players must use a combination of wits and brawn to be the first to the heliport and certain escape. The only problem is, the zombies are everywhere, they appear to be very hungry and your opponents would really prefer if you didn't escape.
The basic set puts you in Small Town USA, and they've got several expansions, which add military bases (complete with glow in the dark zombies! for reals!) shopping malls, and even a cabin which is susipciously similar to Evil Dead 2. It's more fun than eating a skullfull of brains, dontchaknow.
Last Friday's WWdN poker tourney at PokerStars was an epic success . . . I even went out bluffing with the hammer!
96 people showed up to play, and as far as I can tell everyone had a great time, especially my CardSquad cohorts Derek and Joanne, who both made the final table, which included some of the greatest poker bloggers on the Internets.
Joanne eventually ran over everyone to get heads up with whoisspain, before she won the tourney. Congratulations, Joanne! The general consensus in pokerblogistan is that Joanne knows what the hell she is doing, and April and Iggy encouraged her to blog about it, so we can steal all her great ideas and kick her out of the band. Luckily for us, Joanne wrote a fantastic series of posts at CardSquad discussing her tournament strategy, and how she arrived at it. The boobies is here, and it's up to part six as I write this today. I highly recommend it for anyone who is thinking about playing in any tournaments, including our weekly WWdN affairs.
Speaking of! I've made a couple of changes to the tourney this week: the starting time is a bit later, and the tourney is named in honor of Decker711 who busted me out when my hammer bluff ran into his AK. (I had outs until he flopped two pair. Yeah.) I think that I'll use that criteria to name the tourneys, at least for the near future, unless someone can come up with something better (like giving me piles of cash for the naming rights, for instance)
Here are all the details. Feel free to pass them around to your friends and neighbors!
What: WWdN: Decker711 Invitational
When: Friday, October 21st. 7:00 PM EST
Tournament number: 13788952
I hope that the later starting time and longer notice can accomodate a few more players than last week. Remember that this is a semi-private affair, open to anyone who knows the password is "monkey."
"The right-wing talk-merchants who, until Air American Radio came along had the AM dial pretty much to themselves, complain constantly that the mainstream media has a left-wing, anti-Bush bias. So too the cable news chatterers. Much of the public believes this myth because it is repeated so often – not, to be sure, on the strength of the evidence which clearly proves otherwise.
"On CNN's "Crossfire, Paul Begala reported the following results of a Nexis-Lexis Search:
"There were exactly 704 stories in the  campaign about this flap of Gore inventing the Internet. There were only 13 stories about Bush failing to show up for his National Guard duty for a year. There were well over 1,000 stories - Nexus stopped at 1,000 - about Gore and the Buddhist temple. Only 12 about Bush being accused of insider trading at Harken Energy. There were 347 about Al Gore wearing earth tones, but only 10 about the fact that Dick Cheney did business with Iran and Iraq and Libya."
"The advantage of the myth of the liberal media to Bush and the Republicans is enormous. To those who believe it, if a story favorable to Bush and the GOP appears, the response is "it must be true, since even the liberal media reports it." And critical stories? "Don't believe it, it's just the liberal media dissing our President again."
The "Liberal Media" myth is a laughable farce, but it's a tribute to the tenacity of the Right Wing Noise Machine that it's become accepted fact by so many otherwise intelligent people.
Link to full post, at spun and spinning.
The earthquake in Pakistan was really hard for me to wrap my head around. I mean, I've lived with earthquakes my entire life, and I've lived through some really huge and terrifying ones, but nothing that even begins to approach the magnitude (pardon the pun) of the Pakistan quake earlier this month. Coming on the heels of Katrina and Rita, I have to admit that I was suffering from a major case of tragedy overload, and I didn't really know what to say or do about it.
Just now, I read a story at Yahoo! News about natural disasters that brought the catastrophic enormity of the disaster into sharp, horrifying focus.
Of the estimated 61,000 people who have died this year due to natural disasters, about 50,000 (according to today's estimate) were victims of the 7.6 earthquake that struck Pakistan Oct. 7. In 2004, by contrast, more than 60 percent of the total natural disaster deaths were caused by the tsunami in the Indian Ocean.
The whole story talks about how it's not Mother Nature who is changing, as much as we who scurry about the planet are. "Earth might seem like a more active and dangerous place than ever, given the constant media reports of multiple natural disasters recently. But a broader view reveals that it's not Mother Nature who's changed, but we humans." It goes on to say "Drawn by undeveloped land and fertile soil, people are flocking to disaster-prone regions.
This creates a situation in which ordinary events like earthquakes and hurricanes become increasingly elevated to the level of natural disasters that reap heavy losses in human life and property."
Environmentalists have been succesfully demonized by the Right Wing Noise Machine, and some of the loonies out there don't exactly help the cause, but we've only got one planet to live on right now, and it's clear that we who scurry about on her surface are having an impact on how well she handles us. It's something to think about, at least.
He also writes an absolutely fantastic blog, called Whatever, which I highly recommend to everyone who reads and enjoys any of the crap I write. I read it daily, and John has inspired me to make some major changes when I return to blogging at WWdN (more on that in a future post.)
As you might expect from the title, the book is a guide to science fiction film, from the very first SF film in 1902, to this summer's biggest science fiction extravaganzas. That's 103 years of science fiction film in 325 pages, including the index (lovingly indexed, I'll note, by the super-competent and generally awesome Susan Marie Groppi). But -- of course -- it does some scene setting as well, putting SF films into context. The book is arranged in the following chapters:
The Origins: The history of science fiction and other speculative fiction, reaching back to ancient Greece and then following through with written science fiction through the 21st Century.
The History: A quick jaunt through the eras of science fiction film from 1902 to 2005, not only in the US but worldwide.
The Canon: Reviews and commentary on the 50 science fiction films you have to see before you die (more on this in a minute)
The Icons: The people and characters of enduring significance in science fiction film.
Crossovers: Film genres that mix and match with science fiction, including fantasy, thrillers, horror and animation.
The Science: A look at the science (or lack thereof) in science fiction films.
The Locations: Significant studios and locations where science fiction is filmed, and places (real and otherwise) made famous by science fiction.
Global: Snapshots of science fiction films from all over the world, from Canada to South Korea.
Information: Past and present science fiction in other media.
There's much more information about the book in John's blog, so if you're interested at all, you should head over there and check it out right now, then you should buy it today. Then you should buy a copy for a friend, and while you're at the store, ask them why they don't carry Just A Geek. Be sure to mention that it's a Star Trek book that's all about Star Trek, and you have to love Star Trek to enjoy reading it. That's always good for a laugh.
Seriously, the pretty ladies are nice and all, but there's a whole lot more going on at SG, too. We put some great stories on the newswire, and the interviews are just outstanding, like this one with Danny Elfman that I read this afternoon.
DRE: Do you have any desire to play live music anymore?
ELFMAN: Not really. Let me put it this way, I have no desire ever to be on an Oingo Boingo stage again.
DRE: Why not?
ELFMAN: I can’t get in front of a stage that loud again. I spent 17 years in a band in front of monitors and it fucked up my ears. It was insanely loud. I was standing in front of four monitors blasting my own voice into my head which has to be louder than the band to be able to sing and hear yourself during these fucking two and a half, three hour shows. Then it all has to be louder than 6000 screaming audience members. Believe me when I say this, it was louder than anything you can imagine. I really got to the point where if I stayed in that environment any longer I would be deaf right now.
DRE: Obviously, that would be highly detrimental to you.
ELFMAN: Yeah and as a result I’ve gotten some pretty shitty hearing levels. Which is a big problem and it’s gotten to be a worse problem as I go. So the thought of getting out into that level, I mean I can’t even take really loud clubs anymore. If I walk into a restaurant or a club where it’s loud it physically hurts. It feels like I’m getting daggers in my head.
The Halloween concert at Irvine Meadows, then at the Universal Ampitheatre, were as much a Los Angeles tradition as anything else here, right up until the farewell show back in 1995. I was holding out hope that there may be some sort of reunion show, but I guess that won't ever happen. Which is fine with me, because I have tremendous respect and affection for Danny Elfman, and hearing is sort of important and stuff.
If you're a fan of Boingo, or any of Danny Elfman's other work, you should seriously check it out. There's a lot of stuff in there about not scoring Spiderman 3, scoring Ed Wood, and how (not) crazy the Boingo days were.
Note: All the SG links in this post are technically safe for work, but it may be a little borderline for some people. You've been warned, so don't bitch at me if your [husband | boss | mother | bartender] bitches at you about it.
This is the best Photoshop contest in history. I can't remember the last time something on the Internets made me laugh so hard, tears rolled down my face and my stomach hurt.
Start at the top, and just scroll down.
Bravo, Farkers. I am in awe of your skills.
I don't care about rankings at all, because that sort of thing really only matters for marketing and ad sales, neither of which are particularly important to me right now.
But I laugh out loud whenever The Chicago Sun-Times mentions me, and whatever my Technorati rank currently is, in their Sunday paper.
News Item: Wil Wheaton Dot Net www.wilwheaton.net, ranked by the number of sources that link to it, falls from the 16th most important blog in the world to an all-time-low 37th most important blog in the world.
News Item: Approval rating for President Bush falls to an all-time-low 39 percent.
I think I read somewhere that Technorati has some new ranking algorithm that includes frequency of posts, in addition to the number of sources that link a particular site, so it's no surprise that WWdN has dropped so much, since I haven't been posting there for the last twenty days or so.
But now I have a real incentive to get WWdN fixed, so I can put as much distance as possible between myself and Commander Kookoo Bananas!
As I noted earlier this week at the SG Newswire, Apple has updated just about everything, including a new version of iTunes, where they're offering sales of ABC shows like Lost and Desperate Housewives.
Since I upgraded to iTunes 6, I've noticed lots of problems with the iTunes Music Store. I've purchased three albums this week, and on two of them, I got an error that "We could not complete your request. An unknown error occurred (502)" (thanks for that useful error message, guys!) which stopped my download. Earlier this week, I waited a few minutes, checked for purchased music, and the download picked up where it left off.
However,today I purchased The Mirror Conspiracy from Thievery Corporation (holy shit is it a great album) and the same thing happened . . . but this time, when I checked for purchased music, it said I had everything I'd paid for, which is wrong, because one of the songs is nowhere to be found on my machine. It's probably due to the insane load on their servers right now, and I'm going to contact customer support and see if they can help me.
After playing tournaments every day for almost a month, and then hitting a terrible losing streak, I just wanted to walk away from poker for a bit. It's been a nice break, but I've recently started to get the itch to play again.
Anne and I went to Vegas yesterday for the opening of the new Blue Man Group show at Venetian (full review is coming soon -- short review: it's awesome). We stayed at Mirage, and though I was more interested in sitting with my wife than sitting at a poker table, walking past the poker room reminded me of how much I miss the damn game.
So, I think I'll get back on the horse with a WWdN semi-private tournament, this Friday afternoon. It's just a $10+1 buy-in, so it's affordable for most people. To come and play with me and other WWdN readers, sign up for PokerStars and then when you log in, go to Tourneys -> Private -> WWdN: Where's My Burrito? Invitational, or you can just search for tournament number 13722477. The tournament will happen on Friday the 14th at 4:00PM EST. I know this is a little early for West Coast players, but it should make it easier for international players to join us. The password is "monkey."
In easy-to-cut-and-paste-into-your-own-blog form:
What: WWdN Where's My Burrito? Invitational
When: Friday, October 14th. 4:00 PM EST
Tournament number: 13722477
This tournament is open to anyone who reads WWdN or WWdN:IE, or who happens to know that the password is monkey. :)
It should be fun, a nice warm-up to the PokerStars Blogger Tourney, and if enough people show up (and enjoy it, of course) I will make it a weekly event, with the time (and buy-in) rotating to accomodate everyone who wants to play. As an added incentive, I'll name the next tournament after the player who knocks me out.
I know two days is short notice, but I hope lots of you can make it. I'll be sure to give more notice for future tourneys.
I hope to see you there!
Pandora.com is an incredible site that helps you discover new music. You tell it the title of a song or name of an artist, and it will create a station for you, starting from that selection. Pandora then plays a song from a similar artist that it thinks you'll like, as it builds a custom net.radio station for you. The Long Tail Blog says,
"[T]hey determine similarity not by what other people listen to but what their small army of musicologists identify as related traits in the music itself. You'll get delightful stuff you never would have thought of."
I started with Soul coughing, discovered a band called Gerling, heard an old TMBG song I'd somehow managed to never hear over the years, and eventually heard a new band called The One AM Radio (which I LOVE, and never would have found on my own, which is the whole point of Pandora.) If you really like a band, there are links to Amazon or iTunes so you can buy the album, or explore more of their stuff on your own.
Pandora gives you ten hours of free listening to try it out, and offers a year of service for thirty-six bucks. If pandora can stay honest, and keep the music industry's pay-for-play agenda out of the way, it could be an amazing service.
Via Slashdot, I saw that the British Library has an online exhibit of some amazing works of literature, including manuscripts in the authors' original hand, like Leonardo DaVinci, and Lewis Carroll. There are flash and non-flash interfaces, to serve users of varying bandwidths and preferences, and the images are simply amazing.
This is one of the greatest advantages of living in these times: I would almost certainly never get a chance to see any of these works in person, but The Internets bring them right into my home.
This is crossposted to blogging.la.
In addition to countless lies, denying basic civil rights to gays and lesbians, and calling an unnecessary special election with powergrabs that masquerade as "reform," I present yet another reason Arnold Schwarzenegger makes me want to puke. Last week, while firefighters were battling the Topanga fire, the Governor flew in for a George Bush-esque photo-op, and several firemen say they were ordered to stand with him for the cameras. It's an outrageous insult to firefighters to force them to pose for a photo-op with this idiot, who is doing everything he can to silence their union with prop 75.
A few firefighters were bold enough to complain they were ordered to stand behind the governor against their will on the day of the news conference, KCAL 9’s Linda Breakstone reported. Seven more came forward Wednesday. “We did not want to do it,” Los Angeles County firefighter Greg Alldredge said. “Then it came down as an order directly from above.” Firefighters were "ordered and forced" to participate, Alldredge said. Rank-and-file firefighters were very displeased with "having to shake hands with somebody who really doesn't support us.” Schwarzenegger's press secretary says "No one from the governor's office ordered anyone to do anything.
Could it have come from his campaign office, and not his Sacramento office? I guess it could depend on what your definition of "office" is.
Updated: via comments, I see the Governor's incredibly compassionate, thoughtful, appreciative response to the firefighters' criticism:
Schwarzenegger later brushed off criticism of the stunt. He says everybody is ordered to do things at one point or another. He also pointed out that "as a matter of fact, in one of my movies, I played a firefighter."
It's almost like the word "asshole" was invented specifically for him. He played a firefighter once in a movie, and we're supposed to believe that fact is somehow relevant to anything. Well, actually, it is. It shows how arrogant, out of touch, and clueless this coddled celebrity who's playing governor actually is.
I don't usually care about things like this, because they're so subjective, and it's too easy to obsess over what lists I'm on or not on, and what my ranking is or isn't, but the blogs on this list are all really fantstic. It's a real honor to be included with them.
. . . I guess I'd better hurry up and get WWdN working again, huh?
Several WWdN readers who have temporarily joined us here in exile (*wave*), wrote in this morning to inform me that I've earned a spot in another Joy Of Tech comic.
I haven't had time to see Serenity, yet. I was too busy to attend both of the screenings I was invited to, but I hope to see it before the end of next week. I hear it's fantastic.
Since the release of Haughty Melodic, I've been on a major Doughty kick. Go listen to The Only Answer, and then read the lyrics. Jeebus H. Menendez, man. I read things like this and wonder how I can call myself a writer. I've got a long way to go before I truly believe I've earned it. Skittish and Rockity Roll have totally fucked up the rating curve in my iTunes library. Mike Doughty writes and plays music that I don't just hear; it's music that I feel.
True story: years ago, Mike Doughty mentioned me on his message board. Somehow, word got back to him that I was a fan. He sent me a really cool e-mail, and I was so star struck, and so afraid that I would come off like a drooling fanboy dipshit, I never got the courage to reply. I wonder if he remembers . . . maybe I'll finally send him an e-mail of my own, and save all my drooling fanboy dipshittery for a nice public forum like my blog.
In Games of our Lives this week, I took a big risk and tackled an incredibly popular coin-op game: Moon Patrol. I sent my editor about 45000 words, which he skillfully cut down into 300-ish good ones.
Gameplay: The moon isn't very safe, and thanks to budget cuts, your buggy explodes as readily as a 1972 Pinto. Luckily, you've tricked it out with a dashboard Jesus, lasers, and hydraulic shocks, so you can blast the rocks and jump over the bottomless craters that get in your way.
Kids today might not like it because: They can't pick up a hooker, nail her in the back of their moon buggy, then kick her out, run her over, and take her money.
Kids today might like it because: Moon Patrol is much more realistic than the car-racing games they're used to playing.
It's easier to do games that people may not have crystal clear memories of, and passionate attachements to, because if I don't cover that game exactly the way they want me to, people can get really worked up. When I poked fun at Midnight Magic, some Atari Nerds wished that I would die. Because I wrote a humorous column about a game that is over 20 years old. Uhh . . . yeah.
So I'm a little nervous about the reaction to Moon Patrol, but no matter what happens, I got to sneak in a Futurama joke, (which made me almost as happy as my Obscurity Hall of Fame reference to Jon Byner in Anteater), so I am TEH WINNAR!!11
I've written a post at Card Squad which may be of interest to WWdN:iE poker readers.
If I adhere to the "it's just one long session" philosophy, I am still way in the black . . . but for the last thirty days, I am seriously in the red, and poker just isn't very much fun. In fact, I haven't picked up a deck of cards, or logged into PokerStars in almost two weeks, because I am so sick to death of losing. It's frustrating, it feels like a waste of time, and it's hard to go into a game with a positive attitude.
The experience is uncomfortably similar to the long streaks of fruitless auditions I've experienced the last several years. Attitude is an incredibly important part of success, and it is sofaking hard to let past defeats go, and face each new deal hoping for the best, ready to play to the best of my ability. It's easy to fear that I'm a lousy player who got lucky, or even worse, just another mediocre player who isn't able to realize that he just isn't that good.
Wow, that's a perfect metaphor for auditions, too, I just realized. I have to go think about that for as long as it takes to smoke a cigar.
If you're interested, my post is called Riding Out the Bad Times.
My friend and fellow ACME-ite Greg Benson is one of the funniest people I've ever had the pleasure of knowing. If you saw ACME Love Machine, Greg played Dave in my William's Tell sketch, and he also wrote and played the title character in Let's Gab with Saul Bernstein.
He has a production company called Mediocre Films ("They're better than they sound"), and one of his super-short films (1:39) is a finalist in the Amazon.com Tribecca Film Festival. It's called Coming Home. I don't want to tell you anything else about it, but I will tell you that I didn't rate it five stars because Greg is my friend. I rated it five stars because it's that good — it made it to the top five out of 297 films for a reason, after all.
So if you've got a minute and thirty-nine seconds . . . well, plus the time it takes to click the link and sign in, then you watch the film and vote on it . . . okay, so if you've got two minutes and ten seconds, I don't think you'll regret taking a look at Coming Home.
Harvey Danger, who had a hit song in the mid-90s with Flagpole Sitta, have a new album out, called Little by Little. It's their first studio album in five years, and boy is it worth the wait! I've been listening to it all morning, and I really like it. If you've read WWdN for any amount of time, and you like the same kind of music that I do, you should pick it up.
. . . which you can do right now, for free, because Harvey Danger has released the entire album using Bittorrent:
We're not streaming, or offering 30-second song samples, or annoying you with digital rights management software; we're putting up the whole record, for free, forever. Full stop. Please help yourself; if you like it, please share with friends.
Well, I like it, so I'm doing my little part to share it. If you like it, you can order the album from their website.
I think this is a great idea. Thanks, Harvey Danger!