Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Do You Enjoy Irony?

I do! For example: praying to God for safety during a thunderstorm, and then being hit by lightning.

Oiling the Joints, Getting the Rust Out

Four paragraphs. Four good paragraphs. Four good opening paragraphs.

Work on my novel has re-commenced.

Spyware and Pr0nz0r and Viruses, Oh My!

Ever wonder what would happen if you bought a computer exclusively to download all the viruses, spyware, and other crap you could in 18 days? Luckily, the guys at Wired did it for us so we don't have to waste our money on such an awesome experiment.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Quote of the Day

From the SA forums, regarding a news story:

    You know, the more of these sorts of things I see, the more I begin to believe that America isn't actually real and is in fact a complex allegory to show us what might happen if it all went wrong.
Yeah, I feel the same way sometimes.

Clinton in 2008: The Winds of Change are In the Air

There was once a time when I thought Hillary Clinton running for president in 2008 would be just the thing the country needed. Then I, and many other liberals, became a little dismayed about Hillary's pandering to conservatives in an effor to win moderate votes. This is something her husband did and did well: his support of NAFTA appealed to business interests and torqued off the far left, but many of them still voted his way. Hillary, on the other hand, just doesn't seem to get how this works. Her first stumbling steps in this direction were about video game violence of all things, something I blogged about at the time. Recently, she's made more overtures in that direction, and the results are dubious at best. As a leftie, I'm looking her way and wondering why she isn't rallying behind traditionally conservative values that the current administration has completely screwed the pooch on - say, balanced budget and reduced government - and has instead gone the route of government interference in video games of all things.

Andrew Sullivan posted a link this weekend to a Johnathan Chait Op-Ed in the LA Times that examines Hillary's shortcomings vis-a-vis a possible Gore candidacy in 2008. I've been seeing more and more rumblings about this not only in the liberal blogosphere, but all over the 'Net: Gore's movie has put him back in the spotlight, and has done more for his image than a year of campaign ads could have. Frankly, you can't buy that kind of exposure (as Clinton will likely come to find out.)

I'm still on the fence about a Gore candidacy. Whomever runs on the left better have a goddamned solid plan, and not just run on a platform of "I'm not Bush!" because frankly that isn't going to cut it, and it sure as hell won't win the swing states. Even Bush had a plan in 2000 that went beyond an "I'm not Clinton!" even though he got more than a few of those jabs in during the campaign (which is fine: fair game this time around too, in my opinion.) Is Gore that candidate? Maybe. Is he looking better and better? Hell yes. Color me cautiously optimistic.

And why not? It worked for Nixon in 1968, right?

Sunday, May 28, 2006

SIFF 2006: Wordplay

Nine-tenths of making a good documentary film is in how well you edit and construct it. Worldplay was initially Liz's suggestion, but a good one: a documentary that looks at the designers and players of the New York Times crossword puzzle, including the championship crossword competition. It suffered from a couple of overly-indulgent moments, one semi-political statement that really had no bearing whatsoever on the rest of the film, but delivered a tightly-constructed and enjoyable documentary certainly worth checking out.

Friday, May 26, 2006

SIFF 2006 Opening Gala - The Illusionist, or Why The World Needs More Jessica Biel

It's SIFF season! Liz and I kicked off the festival by attending the opening gala last night, a screening of The Illusionist starring Edward Norton and Jessica Biel (and my old pal Rufus Sewell!) The movie was really good; not quite "great," but really good. It follows an illusionist named Eisenheim in turn-of-the-century Vienna, his run-ins with the local Hapsburg nobility (Rufus) and his cross-class love with a dutchess (Biel). The plot seemed very similar to Carter Beats the Devil, so I had guessed the end about halfway into the movie, but it was still an enjoyable ride. My main complaint was the fairly obvious use of CGI on some of the illusions, when all of them could have been performed traditionally.

Afterwards, Liz and I hobnobed for a while at the gala party. We met up with Adam and his girlfriend, and starwatched a little as Jessica Biel mingled with the crowd. I was surprised that she was really pretty normal-looking; unlike most female celebrities, she has an average, healthy body type. Good for her for being a realistic role-model for young women. The party had no real food to speak of, so we cut out relatively early (both of us worked up to the bell last night), and next year we're going to have to bring more friends.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Eulogy: Brisco County Jr.

It must be a morning for odd poetry. When I found out today that one of my all-time favorite TV shows, The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr., will be available on DVD on June 18 (preordered!), I had to go look up the Eulogy that Timothy Leary gave at a funeral in one episode. It was composed entirely of random Beatles lyrics. I finally found it lurking in an old newsgroup:

    When I find myself in times of trouble, I say 'boy, you gotta carry that weight.
    I am he, you are he, you are me, we are all together, speaking words of wisdom.
    Come together, right now.
You could do worse for a eulogy I suppose.

Beowulf, the Limmerick

It seems Beowulf is popping up everywhere these days. SIFF is showing a new Beowulf movie this year (I've got my tickets - do you?) Jeff published a story in an upcoming Beowulf-related anthology. I thought I'd get in on the act, so here's my Beowulf limmerick, composed in approximately 45 seconds:

    There once was a Dane from Herot
    Who took Grendel's arms and tore at
    They popped off with a twist
    And then he made bisque
    But Gren's mother did like much like it.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Quote of the Day

"Vancouver's nice. It's like Seattle with different money."

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Who Goes There?

It's always interesting to look over the records of who's been visiting the Puppet Show. There are two kinds of visitors: regulars, and the one-offs. Regulars are easy to spot: they check around the same time each day, typically once or twice a day. One-offs check from odd places, and for some reason usually poke around my archives (leading me to believe that they got here through links.)

Most of the regulars I recognize, or can at least kind of figure out who they are (I only know one person in the Ottawa area, for example). Oklahoma City. Tulsa. Richmond, Virgina. Florida. And lots of folks from Seattle. There's a couple of mysteries - there's someone in the UK who checks every day, from a couple of different locations. Someone in France checks every other day or so (by the way, Mystery French Person, I have never met a French person I did not like, even though I have only met three of you.)

The one-offs - who knows? Someone in Edelman's Los Angeles office has been reading my blog this last week, so I can only hope that means good things. Whichever co-worker you are, I also hope what I write here doesn't change your professional opinion of me.

Alright, Liz is telling me it's time to do this weekend's yardwork, and she's right.

Monday, May 15, 2006

iPod Poetry

Somewhat inspired by a meme on Bhagwanx, I offer the first lines of thirty random songs from my iPod, loosely cobbled together as a poem. The first line is the title. I'll post all the citations below. I skipped instrumental songs, dialogue, and speech tracks.

    "This Speech is My Recital"

    It was twenty years ago today
    Breaking my back just to know your name
    Stay away from me 'cuz I'm in my sin.

    Well all you ladies gather 'round
    I live cement, I hate this street
    Hey pig, yeah you.

    There's a hundred-thousand Frenchmen in New Orleans
    Whenever I want you around
    Some folks are born, made to wave the flag.

    Some days are diamonds
    I am gone, I am sold
    So this ain't the end.

    Baby take off your coat
    Standing on the dock at Southampton
    I like it, I like it.

    Babe, you're getting closer
    I'm rolling stones
    Beside a singing mountain stream.

    Disarm you with a smile
    I want to travel south this year
    In his mind he was a man.

    Clean shirt, new shoes
    All around the city
    Her eyes so sweetly gaze.

    We've been together for so very long
    Look in my eyes, what do you see?
    You know I told you once tonight

    One man

    I don't care.

"It's Tricky" - cover by Bloodhound Gang
"Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band - The Beatles
"Somebody Told Me" - cover by Richard Cheese
"Gin House Blues" - Nina Simone
"Candy Man" - Mississippi John Hurt
"Caribou" - Pixies
"Piggy" - Nine Inch Nails
"Kingfish" - Randy Newman
"All I've Got to Do" - The Beatles
"Fortunate Son" - CCR
"Walls" - Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
"Prettiest Thing" - The Creatures
"Barracuda" - Heart
"You Can Leave Your Hat On" - Joe Cocker
"The Ballad of John & Yoko" - cover by Hootie & The Blowfish
"Crazy About the La La La" - Smokey Robinson and the Miracles
"Way Down" - Elvis
"Lost Highway" - The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
"Flesh and Blood" - Johnny Cash
"Disarm" - Smashing Pumpkins
"I Stay Away" - Alice in Chains
"Outlaws of Love" - Bon Jovi
"Sharp Dressed Man" - ZZ Top
"Flip City" - Glenn Frey
"Time to Pray" - Reverend Horton Heat
"You Don't Love Me Anymore" - Weird Al
"Cult of Personality" - Living Color
"What Do All the People Know?" - The Monroes
"One Vision" - Queen
"Breed" - Nirvana

Guitar Hero News

There's been a lot of Guitar Hero II info coming out of E3, but I thought I'd blog this tidbit real quick since it came up in a conversation with Seth last night: the Guitar Hero Trainer, which will let you practice on your computer - and will unlock the song information for the two "hidden" songs, Tripolette and Graveyard Shift.

Post E3

Although I didn't attend E3, I was responsible for our coverage team on the ground in Seattle, which meant last week was a 5 am - 6 pm shift of reading the Internet for any new kernal of information about what we, or our competitors, might be up to. It also meant getting up at 4 and getting home around 7, watching TV for an hour, before falling into bed at 8:30.

So this weekend, I caught up on sleep. Did some yardwork. Hit some garage sales with Brook and Wendi, and played a little Oblivion (although not as much as I might have liked). Seth came over last night for some video games and general frivolity, which was a nice capstone.

This week should thankfully be light, and I will - in theory - have the chance to post some things I've been meaning to post for a while.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

A Right-Left Alliance

Hell has frozen over. I find myself agreeing with a lifetime member of the John Birch Society. Thomas Eddlem, a conservative radio talk-show host (!), posted one of the best articles about the current political climate that I've ever seen on His thesis - that we should form a "Rebel Alliance" of the left and the right, because our current administration serves neither.

I find his argument that we agree on many points, and the points upon which we don't are irrelevant at this stage in our country's political development, has more than a ring of truth to it. It's more like the bullhorn of "wake up."

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

O. M. G.

One of the two titles I was most interested to hear news about during E3 (since I'm not there) is Bioshock, the "spiritual successor" to one of my favorite games of all time, System Shock 2.

While most other sites have covered Wii, Wii, and more Wii, GameSpy pulled through for the first BioShock coverage I've seen online.

And I have to say:

O. M. G.

One-Way Ticket

So, how would you like to be one of the first Mars colonists?

Sign me up!

Monday, May 08, 2006

A Professional First

I've been mired in the hell that is E3 prep (last week Thursday: 8 a.m. - 1:30 a.m.; Friday, 8 a.m. - 3:30 a.m.) But a little ray of sunshine broke into my life last Thursday. A bit of RPG writing I did a while ago (a long while ago, in retrospect) was published: Eden Studios' Worlds of the Dead, featuring a bunch of "deadworlds" for people running the All Flesh Must Be Eaten zombie-themed RPG. Mine is the Arabian Nights-themed deadworld, and I'm impressed both by the content of the rest of the book and the quality of the production.

I got my comp copy in the mail Thursday night, bundled with a nice little check. This marks the first time I have received payment for writing fiction.

I will cash the check, but I'm going to have the teller give me the crispest, cleanest $1 bill she can first. I want to save the first dollar I made following my dream.

Mother of God

The lineup for Guitar Hero II includes the Reverend Horton Heat.

If they added a Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers song, I think I could officially die happy.

After I played it half a hundred times, of course.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Quote of the Day

Any sufficiently advanced irony is indistinguishable from stupidity.

- From one of the websites I read today. Sorry, it's all a blur. Go E3!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Well I'll Be

You heard it here first, folks (or maybe you didn't): the original, unaltered, Han-shoots-first Star Wars Trilogy will be on DVD this September. Via.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

You Will Believe A Man Can Fly

It's hard to be cynical in the face of something so righteous (requires QT).