Friday, June 27, 2008

Wizards of the Coast VS. WizKids: What the Hell?

Imagine my surprise when this story rolls through my RSS feeds this morning: WotC, WizKids Settle Lawsuit. The details:

    Wizards has granted WizKids a license for the Pirates PocketModel Game to United States Patent No. 7,201,374, and all related patents that might issue.
Granted WizKids a license? For fuck's sake, I came up with the term constructible strategy game. Me. Jason Mical. I take full credit, because it was one of the things I was quite proud of as a 25-year-old marketing noob.

In fact, it says so in Wikipedia, providing some WotC revisionist doesn't get their hands on the article first. I've taken a screengrab and there's always the page's history should the revisionists arrive.

Lawyers truly are worthless, soulless human beings.

I really should think before I type. I know two very good lawyers, a good friend and my father-in-law, and I did not mean to offend. A more accurate statement would be that corporate greed turns people into soulless human beings.

Sorry guys!!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Avast Me Fiction, Mateys!

It's a good time for me as a writer. How good? Really good.

I'm working on two stories for two separate anthologies, one about ghosts, the other about zombies. And in July, the next Blue Kingdoms anthology comes out featuring a new story by yours truly: "Keva's Six." It's a mixture of fantasy pirate action and classic heist tale starring the lovely Keva the Freemariner, the character who originally debuted in the original Blue Kingdoms anthology, and her crew as they attempt to break into an unbreakable vault and take treasure from a pirate who won't appreciate being the target of such rank amateurs.

Are you going to Wizard World Chicago this weekend? If so, Fearless Editor (and fellow Alliterate) Stephen D. Sullivan will be there at Booth 5910 selling copies of Buxom Buccaneers and other Blue Kingdoms things. The book will also be available on soon (I'll post a link when it is.)

Get yer copy me hardies, or I shove ye off the plank! Arr!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Jurassic Park Award

Do you know an old media dinosaur that needs to be put into a zoo before they go extinct? Celebrate their devotion to the outdated manipulate-and-control nontransparent media model with the Jurassic Park Award! Click for big version, suitable for printing, framing and shaming.

Friday, June 13, 2008

The Dangers of Inauthenticity

Is inauthenticty a word? Maybe in the spirit of Stephen Colbert, it is now. We need something for the opposite of authenticity. That's the word. Here's an example.

I caught on SA a news story from the US about a high school 'scared straight' stunt where students were told their classmates had died, only to discover later that it was a deception intended to 'shock' them about the realities of drunken driving.

Quote from the article:

    On a Monday morning last month, highway patrol officers visited 20 classrooms at El Camino High School to announce some horrible news: Several students had been killed in car wrecks over the weekend.

    Oceanside Unified Schools Superintendent Larry Perondi discusses the DUI program as a student looks on.

    Classmates wept. Some became hysterical.

    A few hours and many tears later, though, the pain turned to fury when the teenagers learned that it was all a hoax, a scared-straight exercise designed by school officials to dramatize the consequences of drinking and driving.

    As seniors prepare for graduation parties Friday, school officials in the largely prosperous San Diego, California, suburb are defending themselves against allegations that they went too far.

    At school assemblies, some students held posters that read, "Death is real. Don't play with our emotions."

    Michelle de Gracia, 16, was in physics class when an officer announced that her missing classmate David, a popular basketball player, had died instantly after being rear-ended by a drunken driver. She said she felt nauseated but was too stunned to cry.

    "They got the shock they wanted," she said.

    Some of her classmates became extremely upset, prompting the teacher to tell them immediately that it was all staged.

    "People started yelling at the teacher," she said. "It was pretty hectic."

    Others, including many who heard the news of the 26 deaths between classes, were left in the dark until the missing students reappeared hours later.

    "You feel betrayed by your teachers and administrators, these people you trust," said 15-year-old Carolyn Magos.
On one hand, I applaud the school for teaching their students to distrust authority figures and question the veracity of what they are told. Not that high school students need much encouragement in that area, but it's always a good lesson to reinforce. So bravo to the administrators for that.

But there's something even more deeply disturbing here that relates to my job. I realize I haven't blogged about work recently, but I'm going to start doing it again, so bear with me.

Manipulation is something that is so ingrained into so many people for so many reasons that it can become justifiable to them in instances like this. The administration's argument, that the ends outweigh the means, is faulty. I could post statistics that show being honest and straightforward with kids (and people) is the best way to influence their behavior. I could post a rant about schools manipulating their students (as soon as you're born, they make you feel small.) But instead consider it from the side of authentic communications, in which my company has become a major thought leader.

The fact of the matter is the old model of manipulate and obfuscate doesn't work. At some point your deception will be discovered, and the ends do not justify the means. Ever. Some marketers view the public as children to be manipulated. Traditionally, this thinking may work. It may get headlines. But like the student response to this deception, is the backlash worth it? If the administrators had instead sat down and shown them something equally shocking but not deceptive, for example, photos of DUI victims that you can easily find online, they would have achieved their goals without the need for lies and without the inevitable negative backlash and loss of trust.

The quote by the girl at the end really sums up the risks and dangers of inauthenticity: "You feel betrayed by your teachers and administrators, these people you trust."

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Highest Compliment

The other day, I was paid the highest compliment I have yet received as an up-and-coming writer.

An editor thanked me for my 'consummate professionalism.'

It made my week. I may not be a best-selling writer (yet) or a best-smelling writer (ever), but I'll take consummate professionalism over either of those things.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Blogging Ain't Easy

That's not true: actually it's really easy. In fact even my mom is blogging now. These are indeed crazy times.

No, what isn't easy is coming up with good content. That's been the Puppet Show's problem since the beginning. With RSS and Google Reader Shared Items, I don't feel like I have to make blog posts about other blog posts unless I have something really significant to add, which I typically don't. I could be blogging about PR and marketing but who really wants to hear about that? Creative blogging is alright but I don't do it nearly enough to make it the focus of this blog.

So I'm sure I'll keep inundating you with randomness and hopefully have fewer filler posts, but I also feel like I only have so much I can devote to blogging and writing and sometimes I have to direct it in other places - a story, the other blogs I work on, and so forth. So please pardon me if I don't update but a couple of times a week. It's not from lack of desire, just lack of time and energy.