Friday, August 12, 2011

on the nature of people

Dear Republicans and conservative members of The Supreme Court,

Corporations are not people. Corporations can't feel. Corporations can't laugh. Yell the most disgusting insults you can find on at a company's articles of incorporation. Tell the stone and steel of a company's corporate headquarters that you can't live without seeing it smile every morning. Sneak up on a corporate logo and jump out at it from the bushes with a frenzied yell and an airhorn.

None of them will flinch. None of them will blush. Corporations can't feel shame, embarrassment, or fear because they're not people.

In 108 years, no one has ever given PepsiCo a hug. It's not because there aren't people that love Pepsi. It's because PepsiCo is nothing tangible around which arms can be wrapped.

General Electric has never felt bored as it sat for an hour after school in detention.

Since 1839, Berkshire Hathaway has never felt the pangs of hunger or yawned inappropriately in a job interview because it had been so nervous the night before that it didn't get enough sleep.

Exxon doesn't know what it's like to lie in bed at night with the fading wet marks of a kiss on its forehead and tears drying on its cheeks, wondering if it somehow is responsible for its parents' divorce.

When AT&T expressed interest in merging with Cingular, it didn't pull Cingular's hair or awkwardly throw at it the special Valentine's Day card it had spent half an hour searching for while its mom was busy in Target's housewares aisle.

Corporations don't know what it's like to burp, to bleed and fear the sting of its own mortality, to watch their father's aunt slowly forget her life piece by piece from the rolling destruction of Alzheimer's.

People do. People who sit on the board of directors do. People who work in the mail room, or Security, or Facilities, or IT do. People who hate their commutes to work every morning or people who have been laid off, fired, or downsized do. People who make millions of dollars each year or vacation in the south of France do. People do these things because these are the things people do.

Boeing may have some of the fastest vehicles on Earth, but Boeing has never gone joy riding and while Carnival Cruise Lines are a staple of tropical vacations, Carnival has never felt a Jamaican breeze in its hair or the buzz from a great appletini.

People are people. People have dreams and loves and secrets and affairs and slack off at work or push themselves to make their grandmothers proud. People are weak and fragile. People are brave and inventive. People smell bad. People breastfeed, break-up, propose, and busk for money in public. People believe in magic, science, religion, UFOs, angels, and rooting for the underdog.

People run companies, work for companies, buy products and services from companies, and dream of starting their own companies.

But once they do, those companies are never people.


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

no, Ben - it has nothing to do with Rosco's dog

I've been writing the monthly audio column in Game Developer Magazine for about 4 years now. As enjoyable as it's been, I miss writing fiction. It's something I used to do quite often in my teens and early twenties. But life and work marched along and I slipped out of the habit of writing short fiction.

By the way, the first short story I wrote was in Mr. Fiorini's typing class. I was supposed to be typing:

A lad, a lass, and alack
A lad, a lass, and alack

but Seth and I decided to write stories instead. I think mine were always about my D&D character...

Anyway, flash forward 20 years and i've been itching to get back into it. I decided to start small. Flash Fiction, for those unfamiliar with it, is very short short stories, in a nutshell. I don't know where the dividing line is in terms of word count between flash fiction and short stories, but I set a goal for myself of trying to write a story with plot, setting, characterization, and development in 500 words. I then submitted it to a new online flash fiction journal called, and it was selected for publication.

Long story short, you can find my first piece of flash fiction here. Actually, I think this blog post is longer than the story itself...

Monday, September 28, 2009

a bush by any other name

LucasArts has a new blog that we've been using to talk about the up-coming release of our new game, "Lucidity."

So far, the blog has been doing well and we've been getting a nice dialogue going with LucasArts fans and developers. However, as with every blog, a little spam slips into the midst. This weekend, we got some spam that was caught by the spam filter, but the text of it just struck me as so goofy that I wanted to share it. Spammers, does this really prove to be a successful way of driving traffic to your spam site?

"I stand here today humbled by the task before Dofus kamas, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our cheap Dofus kamas. I thank President Dofus for his service to buy Dofus kamas, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition."


Turns out the "kamas" are the currency in a free, Flash-based MMO named Dofus. I have to say, I'm very grateful to them for their generosity throughout this transition, as well. Who knows what would have happened to us if President Dofus would have turned his back on us.

Monday, September 21, 2009

a little night music

The first two pieces of music from our new game, Lucidity, have hit the interTubes. You can check them out here and here.

Needless to say, I'm happy to see them getting out there like this.

Monday, July 27, 2009

goodnight, buddy

pipper's hug

She's gone.

Amanda has a very detailed post about how things were for us with Pipper as we watched her get sicker and sicker. Friday was horrific. Our vet appointment was at 3 and we found ourselves tortured by watching the clock throughout the morning. All I wanted to do was smother her with hugs, but she was miserable and wanted to be left alone. I was heartbroken - I didn't want to bother her, but I knew that with every minute that passed our last goodbyes came closer and closer. Every half hour or so, I'd go search out wherever she was resting, cuddle up to her with a big hug, and then leave her dejectedly as she shrugged me off and tried to find another place to rest where she wouldn't be messed with.

This went on for a few hours. A little bit before 2, just about the time I was starting to really freak out that I wouldn't get to hug her and say my goodbyes, she finally let me curl up with her. For the next hour, I lay there trying to soak up every last second we had together - trying to memorize the smell of her fur, the sound of her purring. I hugged her. I talked to her and told her how much I loved her. I thanked her for all of the things she taught me, thanked her for being one of the greatest friends I've ever known. I cried like crazy and then apologized for crying all over her.

The hour was gone quickly. Amanda and I began to help each other by trying to focus on "one minute at a time" and only one task at a time. Time to get dressed. Time to get the crate. Time to put her in the crate. Time to take the crate down to the car. Time to drive to the vet. I don't think either of us would have been able to really function if we'd been viewing the situation with any kind of macroscopic vision.

I don't think I can really talk about the vet visit. Suffice it to say, it was one of the hardest things I've ever done in my life.

Life without Pip is hard. We've been sleeping poorly - both of us wake up in the middle of the night worried about kicking her or trying to figure out where she's at only to painfully remember that she's gone. We've been hearing phantom sounds around the apartment that sound like her purring, her nails on the hardwood floors as she walks around, etc. Each of us have broken down into tears a number of times and there have been many sighs and frowns without the need for any explanations as to why.

Logically, I know that she's no longer in pain. I know that she's no longer struggling to breathe, struggling to be comfortable within her own skin, and struggling to hide her illness from us as she did for so long (something I've now learned that cats do). But those thoughts are small comfort when I walk into our bedroom at night and feel the habitual words "Hi, buddy" choke themselves in my throat with the sudden remembrance of her passing away.

I miss her immensely. I love you, Pip. I love you and I miss you.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

my friend is dying

It's been a difficult last two weeks. We found out two weeks ago that our cat, Pipper, is dying of both lung and brain cancer. She's started to have raspy breathing, a general lack of energy, and a diminished appetite. I don't think we have much time with her.

And I'm having a really hard time with that.

Pip is essentially my first pet. When we were little, my dad had a habit of getting dogs in the winter, holding onto them for about a month while my brother and I got attached, and then returned them to the SPCA because he didn't like walking them in the cold. So, I never really got to experience what it was like to come home every day to a buddy who was always kind, always happy to see you, and always 100% love in a pure form.

I've learned so much from her and I'm having a very hard time saying good-bye. I don't even really know what to say ... I'm just losing a dear friend and it has me pretty crushed.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

phase one: complete

I did it and it felt great. I purged about 150 people off of my friend list from Facebook. Gone are all of the people I don't know. Gone are all of the people that I once approved out of a feeling of obligation. Gone are all of the people that I don't feel like seeing updates from anymore.

Feels good.