Saturday, November 30, 2002
But it was quite an impressive Titanic installation. I especially liked the reproductions of the rooms, including the stately First Class hallway you walked through when you began the tour, and the life sized Grand Staircase (which, by the way, didn't look grey. It was brown like wood should look).
Friday, November 29, 2002
Future Possible Celebrity Sighting
I'm sad to say that it seems that Ali Davis of True Porn Clerk Stories has made her final entry. If you haven't made it a point to read her saga yet, you might want to do so now. It's long, but well worth the read.
On one hand, I'm really upset that I won't have her intelligent, witty, and humorous writings to entertain me while I'm waiting for files to load at work. On the other hand, I'm really happy that someone as intelligent, witty, and humorous as her has been able to find a calling more suited for her than say...cataloging porn.
Hopefully, due to her current digs as a writer/producer at Jellyvision (makers of the now famous You Don't Know Jack), I might have a run-in with her at the Chipotle I eat at weekly, since we seem to see the Jellyvision gang in there having lunch on occassion.
If I were a funnier writer, or at least one who was somewhat awake, this is the part where I would make some wild and humorous narrative comparison about how when our two game companies have a run-in at Chipotle and make eye contact like that we then break out into West Side Story songs, with the Midway gang staking its turf against its rivals: Jellyvision.
Christ, it's late.
I was wondering if it would have seemed boring and trite to write about just how farkin' stuffed I felt today after making the rounds to three different Thanksgiving gatherings today, eating no less than three large servings of Thanksgiving dinners and two deserts (not to mention the constant flow of chips, dips, and other appetizers), until I realized the ironic pangs I'm feeling in my gut.
It's two in the morning, and I'm starving.
No, I wouldn't care for any turkey, thankyouverymuch.
Wednesday, November 27, 2002
Mary Qian, Portrait of Bowler, c. 2002 AD
I may have mentioned earlier that I was sitting for a painting here at work. It's finished now, and if you don't see it in the upper-left hand corner of the site, just hit your refresh button and it should pop up.
Hats off to Mary Qian who painted me (who, by the way, desperately needs a website to show off her amazing talent). She was even generous to throw in the painting for free, in thanks for me sitting as a study for her to paint.
I love my job sometimes.
On a side note, the painting is going to stay up in that corner as long as it takes to inspire me to lose this weight. Then I'm going to have her paint me again, and we can have a fun before and after weight-loss commercial gag with it.
Acting for Animators
I got to attend a fairly cool class last night, hosted by Ed Hooks.
I guess this guy has taught at a lot of cool places, like London, Germany, and Disney.
While it was interesting in that I always enjoy a good, healthy discussion about the basics of acting and how it applies to animation, the class could have been tailored a lot more towards game animation and physical acting. Since 3d game animation doesn't do facial at the same time as the actual game animation, you can't really "act" or "emote" in the face, and have to convey all of your emotion through physical gestures and poses.
But the highlight of the class was getting to talk about Paul Ekman's studies on facial movement and what it tells about the human being. It's called FACS (Facial Action Coding System). I recall seeing a documentary on Discovery or TLC that had the FBI talking about his system of recording "micro expressions" on videotape during an interview with someone, and using those micro expressions to show when someone's lying.
Very cool stuff.
Monday, November 25, 2002
Why is it that whenever I get to see a celebrity, it's one that I really really really hate? I suppose it's better that way, since if I don't care much for the person I'm a lot less likely to go pester them while they're standing in line at Chipotle just three people in front of me.
However, when the celebrity is Mancow, I'm more apt to find a small firearm and do the world a small favor by discharging it in his back.
I'm just sayin', yo.
Thursday, November 21, 2002
What Would Bo Jackson Do?
So now Christians have teamed up with advertising corporations (or vice versa) in an attempt to get people to stop driving SUVs to save the environment by giving us the ad campaign What Would Jesus Drive.**
Answer: A CAMEL.. Jesus couldn't even speak Latin, let alone drive a car. You think Christ would have a driver's license? He was poor, people. If anything, he'd ride the bus like the rest of the poor people who can't afford even an economy car. I swear, these people don't know Jack. Or Christ. Or Bo Christ. Or whatever.
And let's not even get me started on the whole marketing-merchandise-using-Christ's-name thing again.
Aw screw it. Let's just cut to the chase. First, we had the marketing of popular media with Christ's name for profit, such as the Left Behind books or the Veggie Tales* videos. Then, we got the brazen bumper stickers that ripped off other commercial ventures, such as my favorite: "Got Jesus?" And now, we have advertisements from "environmentally concerned" people who are trying to use Christ's name to get you to park your behemoth SUV at home and drive a smaller vehicle.
I swear to God, you're going to start seeing Jesus endorsing Coca-Cola next.
Just you wait. It's coming.
* Just for the nit-pickers out there such as myself, I'm well aware that the Veggie Tales tapes do not feature Christ or any new testament stories; preferring to avoid possibly blaspheming Christ by turning him into a vegetable by instead focusing on old testament stories. For the record, the vote in my house for the Christ vegetable is Egg Plant.
** I'd give Jack credit for finding this story, but I saw it on a forum board before he posted it. If only I were faster on the trigger!
Tuesday, November 19, 2002
I've been in a total writing/situational slump the past week, where it seemed nothing really noteworthy or interesting was happening that I felt was worth writing about.
I was about to start making stuff up just to keep you people entertained, when nature intervened, and delivered unto me the hawk that appeared in my backyard today. I almost got a picture of it, but it was so far away and had its back turned. I was waiting for it to turn around and give me a profile or frontal shot so that it was more identifiable, when it got spooked by the neighbor's dog and flew off.
I can't begin to tell you how stoked I am that a hawk graced our backyard. Liz and I love hawks, and are constantly on the lookout for them when we're out driving. You can usually find one sitting on one of the 3 story tall lamp-posts on the highways looking at the ground on the side of the highway for a meal. The only other time I've seen one closer than this that wasn't in a zoo was when one flew just outside of Liz's old apartment window. That one was hovering on a stiff wind just ten feet off the ground about 12 feet away from her living room window.
So It seems that the circle of life is now finally complete in our backyard wildlife sanctuary. First we discovered rabbits living under the back deck (and birthing nests burrowed in the front yard), then mice and moles hiding behind the air conditioner, the occassional visits from raccoons, and now finally, the hawk. I'd mention all of the squirrels and birds, but really, whose yard doesn't have those occassional visitors?
Liz had to wake me up so I'd come verify that it was indeed a hawk, and as it turns out, the hawk was having breakfast underneath the willow tree. And it wasn't a bowl of fruit loops.
The sad irony is that the whole reason we could even see the hawk eating what was probably one of our rabbits was because the rabbits have grown hungry and eaten the bottom two feet of the willow branches that hang down; creating a sort of hemmed skirt effect that we could see under.
If I have the stomach, I'll venture out in the yard tonight after work with a flashlight and see if I can identify whatever it was eating.
Thursday, November 14, 2002
Ye Gods Doth Smile Upon Me
I don't know why, but they did.
I was late for work again this morning (what else is new), and was doing about 80 northbound on 294. At one point I tried to get around this mini-van and black Pontiac Grand Prix (not the demon worshiping kind, by the way) that I had noticed was driving with me the entire time. They were in the left lane; I was in the center lane. I made my move around a large 18 wheeler in the center lane (passing it on the right), and returned back to the center lane, trying to get in front of the mini-van in the left lane before I came upon the larger van in front of me in the center lane. The gap was too narrow, and the mini-van noticed my move and didn't get off the gas to let me in (fair is fair).
I had to slow down pretty hard since I noticed the gap had shrunk down to the minimum car-length passing gap which I don't like to exploit. The mini-van pulled up alongside me since I had to slow down to avoid rear-ending the slower full sized van in the middle lane. I dropped back to a respectable distance behind this larger van, and then passed it on the right and returned to doing 80 (at least 5 mph faster than any other car on the highway, and a good 25 mph over the speed limit).
After about a quarter mile, I noticed flashing red and blues in my rearview mirror. They were back quite a bit. In fact, they were behind that mini-van I was trying to get around. The cop was the black Grand Prix*. He had a perfect view of my asstastic semi-aggressive driving the whole time, and did nothing about it. He elected instead to pull over the mini-van that was doing 75 the whole time in the left lane, presumably just driving the speed of traffic.
Why wasn't I pulled over? Why? I was clearly breaking the law. I was driving faster and more aggressively than anyone else relative to that cop. I mean, I'm almost insulted and terrified that he didn't pull me over. It's like the cop was saying to me "I'm not going to punish you...I'm going to make this driver pay for your transgressions."
It's like he's some Catholic cop or something. Or maybe he ran the plates on the mini-van and it turned out to be stolen or a known drug trafficking vehicle or his plates were expired or whatever. Or the cop was the hand of god.
* Just FYI for all of you highway drivers: Evidently cops no longer need those rigid foot long straight metal "hey look I'm a cop" antennas that stick straight up out the back of the trunks of their cruisers. They now use what look like cellular phone antennas attached to the rear-window of the cruiser; little black ones complete with the spring-like coil at the bottom. So be forewarned: If you see a car that might be a pig in a plain brown, white, or black wrapper with some out-dated cel-phone antennas, slow the fuck down. It's either some old geezer or a cop.
Wednesday, November 13, 2002
Me So Sorry
Sorry there hasn't been a whole lotta updating going on. I've been in one of those unwriterly moods, at least as far as personal stuff goes. If you're really really hungry to read something I wrote, I started contributing to a pretty cool gaming website/blog, so you may go here to check it out if you're interested.
I'll have something more interesting soon.
I swear it.
Monday, November 11, 2002
Oh the Pain, the Pain
I didn't think I could make my legs hurt this much playing paintball. I even made sure to not run while I was playing, in order to "save" my legs for my Soccer playoff game tonight. In the end, I managed somehow screw my leg muscles up worse than ever before, because I crouch-walked ala Counter-Strike style for about 15 minutes straight one game. As it turns out, when you walk in a crouching fashion, you use primarily your small "controller" muscles rather than your large prime locomotive muscles.
Now when I walk, I look a lot like those people in rehab who are re-learning to walk while holding onto the parallel bars: my legs are flopping all over the place in a completely out-of-control muppetesque dance. I could probably run if I had to, but I couldn't stop.
Thankfully, tonight's game has been called due to rain and rescheduled for next week.
Friday, November 08, 2002
So I had the most bizarre dream this morning. I know what you're thinking already: holy crap he's going to talk about some dream where the trees are talking to him and then this rabbit turns into a fairy and tells him the secret of the universe. Get me the hell outta here!
It's nothing like that. It was like watching a movie, starring Steve McQueen. My lack of movie history has him associated in my head with the Rat Pack, so the movie took place sometime between the Rat Pack era and say, Kelly's Heroes.
McQueen is dressed kinda like The Transporter, with the black suit and the unbuttoned white shirt, and I'm with him for some reason (although I think I was more of a sentient "camera" than an actual character). He had some sort of selective amnesia caused by a recent car accident, and was having troubling, secretive ::nudge nudge wink wink:: conversations with complete strangers about "the club." He found this odd, since he was a movie super-star, and didn't know why people were talking about this "club" in some secretive fashion. Eventually, we stumble across this giant house in the middle of a sparse rural farming area. As it turns out, we had been looking for this house for some time; it was the main plot-point in the movie, and we had finally found it. This was obviously "the club."
We go inside, and there was no one there. It's almost like a museum inside. There's signs that it was intended for someone to live there: furniture, pots and pans, etc., but obviously, no one's home. Oddly, we can't seem to find any way to access the second floor. McQueen seems to remember a secret elevator in the back of a closet somewhere, and we both manage to squeeze inside of it. It's not an ordinary elevator; it's made out of plywood, and it's apparent that it's home-made. The elevator arrives at the second floor, and it looks like we're staring at a wall, only it's not a wall; it's a hallway that's only a foot wide, running perpendicular to the opening of the "elevator." As we make our way down this narrow hallway, it opens up into a receiving room, which is hand-painted in that primitive southern art style, much like House of Blues is. On the wall among the primitive artwork is written the following in ominous hand painted letters:
Are you one of these seven people?:
[four other names I can't remember]
If not, you shouldn't be here.
We hear the commotion of a party coming from the room off of the receiving room, and upon entering, it has become obvious to us that we've found "The Club." It's a sex and drugs club. There's people having sex on beds everywhere. Hetero, Homo, Pedo. It was extremely disgusting and debaucherous. Steve and I both look around the room, and share a knowing thought: there's more than seven people in this room. These people aren't any of the seven written on the wall. There must be more to the club.
Then I woke up as we were heading outside and a pilot in a biplane/cropduster (it As I became awake, it dawned on me what the end of the story is: a bunch of movie super-star buddies had made this club back when they were all friends in high school. It was built on the property of someone's Grandparents, who were long since dead. As time wore on, the kids did more and more outrageous things at the farm, and after they had all grown up and become famous movie stars, they used it as a retreat to go do depraved things at, far away from the eyes of the media. Drugs, sex, and eventually, murder. We find that all of the people upstairs are "guests" of the members, and are going to be unwittingly killed rather than allowed to return to the world with their secrets. I'm sure that we would have found the other members of the club in the basement, along with the secrets the club held.
The members would have addressed Steve as Nostramos, the founder of the club, and then McQueen in his shocked horror would have been forced to kill them all in his newfound, amnesia induced moral rage.
As I became awake, it dawned on me what the end of the story is: a bunch of movie super-star buddies had made this club back when they were all friends in high school. It was built on the property of someone's Grandparents, who were long since dead. As time wore on, the kids did more and more outrageous things at the farm, and after they had all grown up and become famous movie stars, they used it as a retreat to go do depraved things at, far away from the eyes of the media. Drugs, sex, and eventually, murder. We find that all of the people upstairs are "guests" of the members, and are going to be unwittingly killed rather than allowed to return to the world with their secrets. I'm sure that we would have found the other members of the club in the basement, along with the secrets the club held.
The members would have addressed Steve as Nostramos, the founder of the club, and then McQueen in his shocked horror would have been forced to kill them all in his newfound, amnesia induced moral rage.
Wednesday, November 06, 2002
I think I've found the perfect heating solution for the future.
In an unintentional experiment, I accidentally left my heat fan running when I left work in a hurry last night to catch 24. I opened the door to my office today, and was assaulted by a wave of heat, not unlike opening an oven door. Only a lot less scalding.
It was so warm in my office ("how warm was it?") that when I put my hand on my mouse, it was as if it had a built-in hand-warmer. The whole room was warm. The desk, my computer monitor; everything radiated heat. This tiny little fan had worked all night to actually raise the core temperature of every object in the room. It was truly amazing.
Thank god I didn't burn the whole building down. Sheesh.
Tuesday, November 05, 2002
I meant to blog this awhile back, but I don't think I did. Or if I did, and am reposting it, at least I have an addendum to it.
About a month ago, g4 TV (the Video Gaming Channel) was here doing some interviews with the Producers of our various sports titles. The first thing I saw when I walked in the door of the building was a sign that read:
Your presence in this building constitutes your permission to allow the G4 network to use your likeness, name, and/or voice in any G4 programs, commercials, or promotionals.
Now, I fail to see how showing up for work on time somehow makes for a legally binding contract with a company that I am in no way involved with. Somehow, as if by magic, they felt that all they had to do was put some words on a sheet of paper and hang it in the hall, and presto!: legally binding contract. I was this close to printing up a sign that read:
Your presence outside my office constitutes a willingness on your part to kiss my ass.
See? Does that sound legally binding to anyone?
Then, on the way into work this morning (thus the reason why I remembered to post this), I saw a rock truck with a hand-stenciled sign on the back that read:
Not responsible for property damage caused by following to close.
First off, nice improper use of the word "too." Second, I found it amusing that they liked to claim that negligence on their part in no way constitutes responsibility for any accidents that might happen due to said negligence. As if merely stating this makes it legally binding, and somehow overturns existing law to the contrary.
I've decided I'm going to go buy a gun, and put a sign on it so that I can't be arrested when I shoot the assholes who keep making these signs:
Not responsible for personal injury caused by standing too close to muzzle of gun.
"No, I didn't mean to shoot him. I was merely discharging my weapon and he was standing in the way. It can't possibly be my fault, officer. You see, he didn't read the sign."
Sunday, November 03, 2002
Exorcist: The Christening
Today was my little niece Emma's christening. Emma's from my wife's side of the family, and none of them really ever had a lot to do with the church growing up, and we all joke about them being "heathens," and how "if the world ends today, we're sorry, because the whole family will be in church at the same time."
Well, it was nice to see that little Emma's taking after her Dad, and her Aunt and Uncles, because right about the time when the Priest was saying "Do you reject Satan, and all of his teachings," little Emma projectile vomited in front of the entire congregation. We're talking straight out of her mouth and past her feet, and onto the floor of the church. It ran all down her christening gown, too. I started laughing hysterically, because all I could think of was that this was the beginning of the next Rosemary's Baby or The Exorcist Part VIII or something. Then, she starts grunting and bearing down, and proceeds to loudly fill her diaper. Eventually, this diaper load would seep out and make its way onto my Mother-in-Law's nice white blouse.
If only she had crapped on the Priest instead of her Grandmother, it would have made the Rosemary moment complete ;).
My answering machine is not a soap-box for your fucking campaign for public-office elections. My phone is not some television, radio, newspaper or magazine which you can lease out for a subsidized rate to shill your mud-slinging message. Don't think for a second that you're smarter or wiser than your competitor who hasn't yet figured out that one can call every home in Illinois and run an "ad" for your campaign on their answering machine, because you had my vote, and you just lost it because you called my house and had a robot leave your previously seen TV ad on my answering machine.
So, let's recap: don't call me, and don't leave automated messages on my answering machine that sound exactly like the commercial that was just on the air.
After all, you don't want me calling your house and leaving automated messages on your answering machine. Trust me. You really don't.
Saturday, November 02, 2002
The Lone Wolf Club
Have you ever been drawn into a serial story where the author/director drags you along, unwillingly, by using amazing cliffhangers at the end of every single book/episode?
Well, not only does 24 do that to me on the TV side of thigs, but my most recent and ongoing manga addiction, Lone Wolf and Cub, has me hooked like a junkie looking for his next fix.
At $10 a pop, I've collected roughly 20 of the 24 books in the series. Recently, I've been staying up 'till 1:30 in the morning trying to finish a book a night (I just bought numbers 19-23), because the story is that gripping.
The last time I picked up a handful of LWaC books at Borders, I thought for sure issue 23 was the final in the series (based on the cover art and the fact that there were no more issues on the shelves that came after 23). I get to the end, and after a four year quest for revenge that spanned 23 books, what seems like a fairly definitive end to the series after a massive and epic showdown of swords, I read the words "to be continued." What?!?! There's more, you say? So I scour the comic shops (Borders is now sold out, thanks to me), and manage to find an issue 24. I read it immediately. Want to know how it ends?
TO BE CONTINUED.
Friday, November 01, 2002
I can feel it coursing through my veins. I can move near the speed of light itself. The world is mine to command! Indeed, am I not unlike a Pagan God?!?
The IDSL installation went swimmingly. I'm trying not to let all of this near-instant page loading stuff go to my head.