Friday, December 22, 2006

happy holidays

Not sure how much I'll be writing over the next week as I'll be pretty focused on three things:

1. Family - my mom, sister, brother, and Lisa-in-law are all flying in over the next week for Xmas-stylee fun.

2. Wedding - With a week of prime-time weekdays open to us, Amanda and I will be trying to get as much detail work done as we can.

3. Turns out, it's just two things. But, I'd rather not go back and delete the 3 and change it to 2. So, instead you get this.

Happy Holidays everyone.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

stories from the train: lost in translation

You hear a lot of crazy things when you cram a ton of people into the same location every morning. People say stupid things, people fart on you, and sometimes you get some music along with it all.

At the Embaraderro BART station, there's an old asian man who sits by the escalators most mornings and plays traditional music on his erhu, a traditional stringed Chinese instrument. It's pretty quaint and definitely beats the usual mumble-ridden acoustic guitar busking you tend to find in most other subways.

Today, though, the guy clearly was in the holiday mood - either that, or he just wants some money from those who are - because he was trying to play "Jingle Bells." I say trying because he only sorta' had the melody right. I don't know if it's a limitation of the erhu or if he just doesn't know the tune.

I didn't have a means to record it, but I did my best to recreate it as soon as I got to my office. It sounded like this:

Click here to get your own player.

As I was leaving, I found myself behind a british guy having a conversation with a german guy. They both new each other and were talking about their plans for the holiday. It was a ... special conversation.

Anglo: Hey, mate.
Saxon: Oh! Hello! I thought you had taken your plane already!
Anglo: Naw, I don't fly out 'til tomorra.
Saxon: Well, here's to hoping you don't fly through Denver.
Anglo: [laughs] Yeah, dat's quite a blizzahd they got.
Saxon: [laughs as well] Yes, well, I hope to see you die.

!!! What?? I don't know what the hell that guy was trying to say, but I sure as hell hope it wasn't that. Crazy germans.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

sucker for the season

Never one to pass up an opportunity to create some new sort of online avatar for myself, has one that's a flash holiday greeting dumping ground. Apparently people's greetings are all just making the scrolling world of mix-mas grow and grow and grow.

Anyway, you can find me and my message here. Just look for this guy:


He's northwest of naked Hitler.

Monday, December 18, 2006

too much stuff

I've got too much going on. The game industry seems to shut down for the week of Christmas. Frequently that means that the week before the week of Christmas ends up feeling like a dead week, too. Many people are already gone on vacation. Many more are simply focused on their up-coming vacations. Not a lot gets done.

I, on the other hand, seem to have a completely full plate. I have to cut all of the files for a new game. I have an article to finish up. I have wedding stuff to tackle (though we found our officiant this weekend. Her name is Sasha Rusk and she's super nice). I have to clean up our apartment before my family arrives this weekend. And I have to deal with a week full of meetings on top of that (like the 2.5 hour long one I had this afternoon that kept me from everything else I needed to be doing).

Anyway, there's a lot going on and no one seems to comment here anymore so I don't know if it's cuz this is boring or no one reads it anymore. Probably both. Guess I'll keep writing, though.

Friday, December 15, 2006

the grass has to actually be greener somewhere, right?

I'm in a funk. Have been for days. It's why I haven't been writing here. Haven't been doing much of anything these days, to be honest. I go through this with some degree of frequency. At least once a year, it seems like I sit down, decide that I hate my career, and that there has to be something better out there somewhere.

Which is not to say that I hate working at LucasArts. It's more like I go through a period of hating being a composer. I get this frustrated knot of 50% boredom and 50% angst in the pit of my stomach and it won't go away. But it seems to stop me from doing anything. So, I sit here and I think about all of the other careers I could have had but chose game composer instead.

Sometimes I wish that I'd been an author. I love to write and would love to actually have time to finish the various things I've started to write over the years. Plus, I've thought about writing a book on game audio. But how many of those does the world actually need? Plus, what am I going to say that's new? "Chapter 9: When the going gets tough, consider a career change"

Anyway, other than that, I find that I think about ditching anything creative and intellectual and romanticize taking a job in construction. There's something very appealing about a job that doesn't require me to wrack my brains every day to create something the world has never seen. Instead, I'm pounding nails into something someone told me to pound nails into. Even thinking about a construction job is more physical exercise than I ever get as a composer.

But ... I never do anything. I'm here in my "dream job" wondering what other opportunities are out there in the world. Like I said, it's just a funk. I'll get through it like I have before. I just wish I'd get through it sooner rather than later. This one's been going on for a week now.

Monday, December 11, 2006

stories from the train: anger management

I was waiting for the train home tonight, contentedly wasting my life playing Jewel Quest on my RAZR, when I noticed some guy pacing around the train platform. He was clearly some kind of "no one loves me/hugs me/calls me on my birthday" punk with a chip on his shoulder as well as in his paper bag he was carting around.

Angry Punk had a bike, a very conservative and completely not-punk blue roadbike, that was leaning up against a sign post. Again, I wasn't really paying any attention to anything other than Jewel Quest at this moment. Angry Punk just kept pacing until his bike suddenly fell onto the ground.

What happened next can only really be described as a shit fit. Angry Punk instantly ran up to his bike and started to kick it and punch it as it lay on the ground. All the while he was yelling "FUCKING BIKE! FUCKING NEVER ANYTHING BUT FUCKING TROUBLE! FUCK THIS THING!" At which point he then picked up the bike, lifted it over his head, and threw it onto the train tracks. "FUCKING BIKE! FUCK YOU! I WAS THINKING ABOUT WOMEN! THAT'S WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU FUCKING THINK ABOUT WOMEN ALL THE GODDAMN TIME!"

With his bike now laying on the train tracks and the train only moments away from arriving, he then proceeded to resume pacing around the train platform, this time muttering to himself. The only words that were understandable were either Fuck or Fucking. The rest was "mumble mumble FUCK mumble FUCKING mumble mumble" etc. After pacing and cursing for a little bit, Angry Punk then jumped down onto the train tracks, retrieved his bike, and then set about lovingly inspecting it to make sure it wasn't damaged.

I really didn't feel like being the one to him that his bike falling over was probably more a product of not having a kickstand than thinking about women all the time.

When the train finally arrived, he was very clearly talking to some kind of imaginary friend and the two of them were having a conversation about how strange it was that the train was going in the wrong direction. (I think he wanted to be on the northbound platform.)

When I got off the train four stops later, I was worried that he was going to say something to me while I waited to get off the train. Turns out, he was completely well behaved crazy angry punk guy. My guess is that he was back to thinking about women again. Strangely, though, the other guy standing behind me picked up where Angry Punk left off.

As the train pulled into the station, the guy behind me started to talk to himself saying "hehehe ... The train ... it just farted ... IT FAHTED .... ::imitation of hydrolic break sound:: ... hehehe ... it fahted ..."

I miss my car.

ticking along

The wedding is coming a long well. Every week we finalize more and more stuff. For those playing along at home, here's where we stand (actually, this list is more for me than anyone else):

What we have finalized:
- Date
- Location
- Dresses
- Rings
- Band
- Photographer
- Guest List
- Invitations

What's in the works:
- Someone to perform the ceremony
- Flowers

What's not done:
- Cake
- Tuxedos
- Decorations
- Favors

So, that's not so bad. We have all of the major stuff out of the way except for who's performing the ceremony, and even that we have a meeting on Sunday with a potential candidate. Things are going well.

Meanwhile, I'm a complete dick and forgot to say "Happy Birthday" to Ry on Saturday. So, in honor of his turning 29, here's a fan film of The Ghostbusters taking on Freddy Kruger. Apparently Freddy seems to have killed their lighting guy or something.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Stars of MySpace issue 1: Sasha Lans Project

MySpace is awesome for many reasons. Partially, though, it's awesome in how much exposure it can give anyone with simply enough thumb dexterity to work a mouse and sign up for an account.

Take for instance Sasha Lans. Sasha may very well be a joke much like Borat. I'm not entirely sure. What I do know is that his MySpace page starts with the sentence "The Peace and Love to you my Friend who has come on my Website!" and then doesn't let up from there.

You see, Sasha is an electronica composer who doesn't speak English all that well. Along with his attempts to blend a bunch of different cultures together making him a "musician of new generation of electronic musicians."

Take a look at his Pics page. Please tell me that he isn't 100% correct. If this is where the next generation of electronic musicians are going - photographing themselves poorly voguing in front of a vertical rug - I'm totally on board.

So, Sasha rocks and should go on tour immediately. No doubt. In fact, he should go on tour with No Doubt. I think their fans would appreciate his style. I know I do.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

how about a "stop all the bullshit" dance?

People are starting to tell me that they're receiving the wedding invitations that went out on Tuesday. So, that's good. The bad news is that I'm now completely addicted to checking the website to see if anyone has RSVPed yet. So far, no one has.

I still haven't found someone to officiate the wedding. Trying to find someone who isn't completely flaky seems to be really hard. Maybe it's particularly the Bay Area, but it seems like people who are professional officiants for a living walk a very thin line between religious figurehead and complete bullshit artist.

Sure, there are reverends who just do weddings. But they seem to be few and far between. Instead, you'll find TONS of people who do all kinds of weird things like the Walking Into Wisdom Menopause Ceremony, Home Blessing Ceremonies upon moving into a new house, and the Dances of Universal Peace that I can't even begin to figure out what they're for.

Can't I just find someone who isn't crazy to do a secular ceremony? Is that too much to ask, San Francisco?

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

stories from the train: frrt

At the Embarcadero BART station, the platform is dotted by these large, round marble benches for commuters to sit on while they await their trains. Most of the time I get down there, the benches are full of people and I end up standing. Monday night, however, I got down to the station just as a train had departed and so there was an open spot to sit. I sat down right next to this older guy - mid to late 50s - who had a bike leaning up against him.

Now, the seating was tight. Only about two inches separated his ass from my ass on the bench there. Not to mention, because the benches are circular, everyone's backs are angled towards each other a bit.

Anyway, there I am sitting contentedly waiting for my train and reading some billboard or something when I notice Old Bike Guy lean forward like he's going to stand up.

Only ... he doesn't stand up. Instead, he just stays bent over like that. Suddenly from right next to me I hear:


This gross old fuck farted right on me. He couldn't have aimed it at me any more if he'd gotten up, walked his ass right up to my face, and then let loose right there. No apology. No "oh my god .. I can't believe I just did that." Nothing. Just a massive raspy fart and then he straightened himself up again.

Other people suck.

Monday, December 04, 2006

it's sorta like "ground hog's day"

I feel like I keep reliving the same week or two over and over again. If you're playing along at home and would like to re-enact your own round of "Jesse's Life™", it goes like this:

Step 1. At work, I start the week with my most recent sketch being rejected for various different reasons. I'm then asked to write more sketches.
Step 2. I write sketches. Those sketches sit around until a meeting is called about them, sometimes that meeting is on the following Monday.
Step 3. In the meantime, I do tedious paperwork that's meant to speed up efficiency somewhere.
Step 4. No one reads the paperwork.
Step 5. I attend meetings.
Step 6. At night and over the weekend, Manda and I plan our wedding.
Step 7. Monday comes. Repeat step 1.

This weekend Manda and I got our invitations all assembled and they'll go out in the mail tomorrow. (64 invitations * 8 adhesive photo corners per invitation) + 64 envelopes = one metric assload of glue we had to lick. But they're all done, they all look great, and I'm very happy that we can cross that off of the to-do list.

I'm in a bad mood. I should stop writing.

Friday, December 01, 2006

if I knew anything about robots...

I think I'd be one of these guys. The R2 Builders' Club builds their own robots that are recreations of and inspired successors to the astromech droids from Star Wars. For those who don't speak fluent dork, R2-D2 is an astromech droid - three wheeled legs, a dome, and an old ARP synth for a voicebox inside a garbage can and you've got yourself an astromech droid.

And to be completely honest, I think this is the greatest little invention waiting to happen. It's like the Roomba only does more than clean your carpet. It can wander down to different departments in your office and give people files (paper files, not electronic - although I guess it could do that too), it could get you coffee, or hell ... it could even brew coffee and then just dispense it. Yes, the work world is waiting for the astromech droid to become a reality. And by "work world" I probably just mean me and the guys at

Anyway, in the meantime, I can placate myself with action figures. So I did. And now I'm happier.


Wednesday, November 29, 2006

i bet Beethoven never had to make Excel spreadsheets

There are a lot of supplemental documents that get made when you're doing the music for a game. Design documents, cue tracking spreadsheets, implementation notes ... I'm stuck in one right now. It's terribly exciting. I had originally thought that it might have been better in the olden days when you didn't have to deal with these things to make music, but then again there wasn't much to do back then when you weren't making music except for make babies or go crazy.

Tonight Manda and I are meeting with a photographer we're considering for our wedding. You can see his stuff here. I really like his work. Hopefully our meeting will go well.

Guess that's it. Back to Excel.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


Yeah ... problems with the Nintendo Wii. It turns out that flailing your arms around like a crazy person in front of your TV might not be the best idea ever.

Want more proof? Try here, here, and here.

Monday, November 27, 2006

who knew?

Apparently the world does not wink into existence each morning when my alarm goes off at 7 am. Apparently it's around much earlier than that. Manda and I got up before 6 today to go out walking. We're trying to get some more exercise into our lives these days. I'm finding that parts of me that I didn't think had muscles actually do. And they ache.

The long weekend was very nice. Spent lots of time in my pajamas with Amanda and Final Fantasy XII. It's a good game. Our poor cat was freezing cold all the time. Amanda and I kept piling on sweaters and stuff, but our cat was simply resorting to trying to smash her body up against ours at night. So, we bought a heater and now she's content and happy.

That's about it. Pajamas, video game, warmer cat. That's what 5 days of vacation boils down to for me. It's not much, and to be honest, I'm pretty happy about that. I needed a nice long break of nothing. It's been a very long period of being very busy at work and the down time was heavenly.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

the shine is off the apple

Consider me naive, but I actually thought for some reason that people who bought hybrid cars are buying them - at least in part - because they care about the planet. Decreasing their fossil fuel consumption, reducing emissions, supporting corporations who are helping to drive eco-friendly technologies towards the marketplace ... But, like I said, that was naive. What I guess is really happening is that people are buying hybrid cars because gas is too fucking expensive and they don't want to spend so much on it. Nothing else. Sure, there are some people who care, but most likely it comes down to how frequently people need to fill up their tank and how that impacts their wallets.

So what was it that changed my perspective?

I was in line at a Burger King drive through a few nights ago. As I sat there, the hybrid in front of me got their food, traded the cashier their money for a soda, and then proceeded to wad up a bunch of trash and through it out the window of their hybrid.

Who litters in a hybrid? Shouldn't Toyota have some sort of LitterSensor&trade that triggers an ejection seat if you toss crap out of your hybrid's window?

Anyway, it bummed me out and I realize now how dumb it was to think that the recent success of the hybrid was due to some large eco-awakening across the country. I guess it all just comes down to just dollars and cents.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

totally slackin'

On writing here. There's been so much that's happened in the last few days that I've found it tough to figure out where to start with it all.

The company meeting went well and our band's live performance was a smash hit. I keep getting stopped in the halls or congratulated in emails for helping to make it "the best company meeting ever." Turns out people like rock concerts more than PowerPoint presentations about sales figures. Go figure.

Other than that, I can very happily say that Music Sketch #7,493 was actually met with approval (muted approval, but hey ... I'll take anything at this point). Among the committee that have heard it so far, 1 person enthusiastically likes it, 1 person is content with it, and 1 person seems to be resigning themselves to it because of the rest of the people's interest in it. But, happily no one has said "Nope. That's not it." yet. We'll see what happens. I like the thought that I'm getting close to having people actually approve something on this score.

Manda and I have been playing a lot of Final Fantasy XII this past week. It's very good, if you're into Final Fantasy games. If not, I dunno ... I don't know if anyone who doesn't enjoy turn-based RPGs would enjoy it. But I'm into them and I'm enjoying and that's all that matters to me.

Let's see ... other than that, I couldn't be happier to be staring down the barrel of a three day work week. It's been a while since I had any time off and I'm really looking forward to 4 days of nothing but turkey, wedding prep, and (knowing me) naps.

God, I love naps.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

ah, the train

So full of strange people ... so wonderful and beautiful in their circus-freak oddities. I took the train and the ghost train shuttle yesterday like always, but for some reason it was FULL of special, special characters yesterday. Here's a run-down of some of my favorites:

1. Surfer Man - This guy was on the shuttle to work in the morning. He was standing next to me having a conversation with Granola Woman about the benefits of various local farmers' markets. Without a doubt, the best thing about Surfer Man was his complete ability to go 10 seconds without saying the word "like." I swear to you, this is an actual quote:

"It's, like, so great that, like, there's like, you know, like, soooo many, like, different, like, kinds of, like, squash, like, you knooooow?"

It must be, like, so hard for, like, anyone to, like, knooooow anything this poor guy is saying at any given time.

2. Aging Goth Man - Dear Depeche Mode fans, I've found what you're going to look like in 20 years. And guess what? It's not pretty. On the train ride home, some guy who obviously hadn't been hugged enough or something got on the train sporting his highly sculpted, orange-dyed hair and museum of facial body modification. Apparently, this inspired nearby Aging Goth Man to strike up a loud conversation with him all about how he loved the other guy's hair and has been thinking for a while about laminating his hair with some kind of heat activated plastic whatnot. Problem is, Aging Goth Man's sorta' gray hair was in some kind of state of strategically shaved/weirdly balding mass exodus. Basically he just looked like he'd be hit full-on in the face with a mid-life crisis and was pioneering some sort of Punk Rock Combover. I don't think it's going to catch on, laminated or not.

3. (and my favorite) Crazy OCD Woman - Yes, Crazy OCD woman got on the train at the same stop as Aging Goth Man. She proceeded to sit right in front of me, so I was privy to a fair amount of her crazy. First, she took the newspaper that was folded under her arm and proceeded to unfold sheet after sheet and blanket the train seat with them, all the while smiling this huge "Look at me!!!!" grin and trying to make eye contact with everyone around her. After she had safely shielded herself from the dirt of the train seat, she sat down (still making eye contact and smiling at everyone around), began mumbling to herself, and then leaned up against the unpapered window and train wall - which I can only assume is actually dirtier than the seat because of contact with everyone's hands.

Anyway, the grand finale came a few stops later she started to loudly mumble the words "Just in case" over and over again to herself. Interestingly, she then took out of her pocket a couple of folded one dollar bills, and handed them to Aging Goth Man (who was standing in front of her) and continued to say "Just in case. Just in case." He looked very confused by it all, but he took the money!

What the eff?! Who takes a crazy woman's money?

For all of its downsides, there's no denying that the train is always entertaining.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


I'm totally beat. Band practice last night. Band practice this morning. Band practice again tonight. It's like every day I have to perform a 2 hour concert, sometimes 4 hours. Totally exhausted.

On top of everything else, I finished my latest sketch. We'll see how it goes over.

Some positive feedback would be nice. But more than anything right now I just want a nap.

Monday, November 13, 2006

it's like the wind was knocked outta me

I'm totally exhausted today. I have no idea why. I went to bed early. I slept well all night. But today I'm just completely beat. Amanda got up at 5:30 in the morning today and I'm thinking it's some kind of sympathy exhaustion. It can't be real exhaustion 'cause I sure as shit didn't wake up when she did. At about 6:30 I realized she had left.

This weekend was busy. We did a bunch of errands on Saturday and then Sunday had the Band Practice/Engagement Party double-whammy. Second part first: Amanda's mom threw us (I first typed "threw up" but that's wrong) an engagement party Sunday afternoon as a chance for all of her friends and extended family to meet me before the wedding. It was nice. I met a lot of very nice people and they gave us wedding presents - which I hadn't expected. It didn't dawn on me that an engagement party was that kind of event. Turns out, it is. So, we have a bunch of nice new baking stuff and more power/hand tools than you can shake a stick at, which is good since currently we just have two hammers and a bunch of stripped screwdrivers.

Before the engagement party, I had been at band practice. This coming Friday will be the company meeting where we celebrate the release of Thrillville on Nov. 21st. As part of the celebrations, our company president has asked Audio Lead David Collins and I to put together a band and perform the four songs we wrote for the game live. So, we're doing our best to tackle the task at hand and put together a killer little set of music. Maybe that's why I'm so tired, though. I spent two hours jumping around like I was on stage. It's been a while since I've done that ... I'm not used to it anymore.

Anyway, guess that's it. It's Monday and I'm tired. And I have band practice again tonight. Followed by a two hour commute home. Followed by the grocery store. It's going to be a long day.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

the new political landscape

Ry and I were talking yesterday and decided that - now that the Democrats are in power in Congress - they should make one of their first orders of business the act of collectively rubbing it in the face of the White House that the American people can apparently only be fooled for about 6 years until they get angry and rethink things.

So, with that in mind, we started talking about some much needed revisions to current D.C. monuments. I thought I'd mock one up in Photoshop. So here's the updated version of the Washington Monument, post-Blue Tide:


I like it. It has a certain ... "what are you looking at?!" quality to it that you don't tend to find much in monuments. Well, except for this guy.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

sore winner

Last night, Manda and I were down in Mountain View helping out at the Registrar of Voters until about midnight for the mid-term election. Manda has been a lead for a few years now staffing and running a precinct supply return station and I've been helping out as part of the hired muscle.

All night I was completely glued to the election results as they were coming in - desperate to watch what was happening around the country and watching the statement from Red America that the neo-cons had officially squandered all political capital they once had.

Suffice it to say, I'm a very happy little democrat today. It's nice to wake up to a Democratic Congress and the ouster of Rumsfeld. Now, if only my back wasn't killing me, I'd be able to jump for joy.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

busy, bizzy, biz-A

I was going to say "I'm very busy these days, much like Tony, Toni, Toné" but I actually don't think they're busy at all. So, nevermind.

I'll give everyone one guess as to what I'm up to this week. Here's a hint: it starts with "sketc"

If you guess "sketches," you're right! Yes. I'm doing one more sketch this week. But the entire nature of the project has changed, much as it frequently does during the course of game development, and I'm adapting to the new situation. One day, if I can ever talk about it, I'll try and recount the story of "Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen: the Story of the Music I'm Writing Right Now."

Suffice it to say, music is at best a subjective experience and at worst a completely nebulous realm of art that is so difficult to talk about in a committee setting as to be nearly useless to even attempt. But, game development is all about committees attempting, so that's how it goes - regardless of whether or not it makes sense.

Anyway, I think I'm in a good position now. More creative freedom. More options available to me. The only thing I don't have is more time, something that continues to dwindle with every sketch I do at the expense of actual in-game content. Hopefully I can wrangle this latest sketch together quickly, get it signed off on, and then yump right into actual content creation. That's the goal anyway. We'll see what the committee says.

Friday, November 03, 2006


There's a homeless guy who hangs out around the area that I catch the Presidigo shuttle each morning. He's pretty filthy and seems to have zero fear of cars since he will frequently stand out in the middle of the street and speak to the invisible people he counts among his friends.

Usually, he's pretty tame. He mumbles to himself and his 'friends.' Sometimes he even picks up trash off of the streets and throws it away in the nearby trash can. But not today.

Today he was pissed. Here's what he was yelling:


Poor guy. Clearly he's having a bad day, and maybe reliving whatever bad day it was the got him out on the street. It's a shame no one game him "Happy Day."

Thursday, November 02, 2006


This evening, a big meeting is taking place - a meeting I'm not involved in. However, it will decide (hopefully) what project I'm on tomorrow morning. This meeting could have big implications, both good and bad, depending on how everything goes.

In the meanwhile, I'm just sitting around waiting for it to happen. I keep flip-flopping between a feeling of confidence and a feeling of near-crippling nerves.

I just want a decision to be made one way or the other. Until then, it's limbo time!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

genetic waste

That's essentially what one of my childhood friends describes my brother and I as. Between a family history of heart murmurs, color blindness, dyslexia, mental illness, and cancer, our friend Jeff decided that the Harlin family must simply just be a dumping ground for Darwinian used DNA rags.

Among all of that crap is my incredibly poor sense of smell, and therefore taste. For some reason, I have the worst sense of smell out of anyone I've ever met (with the exception of my brother, whose the same as I am). You can pretty much count on the fact that if you ever ask me "Hey, Jess ... do you smell that?" the answer will be "Smell what?"

That said, whenever I do smell something strong, it must really be unfreakinbelievably strong for my craptacular sniffer to pick it up. Take, for instance, the smell of downtown San Francisco this morning.

I stepped off of BART and instantly smelled something funky. I couldn't tell what it was, but I decided that it must have been the person next to me or something. The only problem is that the person next to me wasn't next to me for all that long. Not to mention, the further I went up towards the street, the stronger the funk smell got. It wasn't until I was standing outside on the street level that I finally was able to place the odor.

All of downtown San Francisco reeked of onions today.

I don't know why. Maybe it was because of the Halloween party held here last night. Maybe not. Whatever the reason, there's no denying that it was incredibly pungent. And like I said, if it was bothering genetic waste like me, it must have been driving everyone else nuts.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

amateur journalism at its finest

Every morning that I take the train to work, I spend a little time reading the newspapers in the newspaper boxes while I wait for the Ghost Train to arrive. Most days, I'll just glance at the headlines. Sometimes I actually sit there and read some of the articles.

Today, however, most of the papers were gone. That, however, didn't stop me from getting today's headlines.


This real-world blog post was taped to the inside of the newspaper box. I'd imagine that the real paper probably would have just said much of the same thing, only taken a much longer time to get to the point.

Monday, October 30, 2006

cross another thing off of the list

This weekend we bought my wedding ring. It's very simple - a white gold band with squared edges and no ornamentation - and looks nice. I found myself wearing it around the house trying to get used to it. I've never really ever worn jewelry before. I suppose a watch counts as jewelry, but even that I'm pretty lax in wearing.

I think part of it was that thing that seven year-olds have when they get new shoes or new clothes or something for school and want to wear them right away. And yes, I know I'm not seven years old. The other part of it was that I just feel like I'm married already. Manda and I have been in a committed, monogamous relationship for nigh onto 7 years now and have been living together for a year plus.

Anyway, the ring is now checked off of the list and things are moving along with the band, the caterer, and the cake. We still need to figure out a photographer, favors, and an officiant. But then I think the major stuff is done.

Friday, October 27, 2006

another video

There's another "Thrillville" music featurette online. You can find it here. This one was produced in-house by the Lucasfilm documentary department. It's good stuff.

Anyway, just thought I'd share.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

the first song i ever wrote probably applies

Last night, Manda and I went to a show here in the city called Mortified where I proceeded to laugh until I had a headache.

Mortified is a show in which ordinary everyday people get up on stage and read entries from their high school and middle school journals to a crowd of strangers. 90% of the time, the things these people are reading are completely embarrassing for them to share (thus the name of the show) but completely hilarious for us to hear.

Last night we heard a bunch of good stuff. There was the guy who had grown up listening to The Cure, The Smiths, and Depeche Mode who got up and read a couple of the poems he'd written at the age of 15. Oh, they were awesome ... My favorite was once called "Gray" which was all about "a vile darkness that doesn't have the guts to even be fully darkness." The best line in it was "Do not speak to me of pastels." It was just all so ridiculous.

There was the girl who read all about the summer she went on tour with the Grateful Dead and constantly did drugs. There was the girl who read her 13 year-old sex fantasies about the members of Duran Duran. There was the guy who performed some god-awful songs from his teenage band Live Evil. And there was my friend Jennifer Kirmse who read from her middle school diary.

Jennifer is the entire reason Manda and I went to Mortified, and she was hilarious. Her diary entries were all about the boy who lived next door (named Horus) and her arch nemesis at that time, a girl named Sunshine. To hear a grown woman yelling to a crowd of strangers "Fuck Sunshine! Shit!" was awesome. As was "Then we were in the deep end of the pool and Horus grabbed my foot and put it on his penis! Then he said 'What if you kicked me ... here?' Do you think he was coming on to me?"

It was all hysterical. Mortified does shows across the country (there's one in LA, Boston, NYC, San Fran, and Chicago) and I'd recommend it to anyone. If you want to see what it's all about for your self, head over to Mortified's clips page and click the link near the top for "Mortified: Quick Clips."

Monday, October 23, 2006

it's funny what you learn from books

So, I'm reading a book of H.P. Lovecraft's stories right now and it's really good. What I'm learning, though, I though I'd share with Ceymick since he's back up in the Boston area.

I'm reading a story right now called "The Dunwich Horror" and it mentions two things that are actually based in fact: The Moodus Noises and Mystery Hill.

Now, the Moodus Noises are apparently ultra-creepy cracking, snapping, and groaning noises that issue forth from the ground around Moodus, CT. In the past, Puritans and Native Americans alike essentially equated it to the work of the devil and/or various demons. I figured, if you lived nearby, you might want to go check that out.

Mystery Hill, on the other hand, is currently known as "America's Stonehenge" and is a series of stone columns that stand on top of a mountain in North Salem, NH. It appears that there's somewhat of a debate as to when the site was actually built. Some say hundreds (if not thousands) of years before American settlers first arrived. Some say it was band of crazy Irish monks who constructed the weirdo circle which includes among other things a sacrificial stone. Some, however, say that it was just a place that local Puritan colonists would go up and make soap.

Still, in the interest of giving Ceymick something to do on his weekend, I thought I'd let him know about these two mysterious locations in his backyard.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

march of the what now?

This (this right here) is a very funny commercial from France. It will make the most sense if you've seen "March of the Penguins." Good stuff, if you don't mind reading some subtitles.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006



Monday, October 16, 2006

someone else sucks

And you know who that someone is this time? Whomever the dick is that came into my office over the weekend and played with all of my toys.

That's right. Someone came into my office this weekend and played with all of the action figures I have lying around the place. This weekend we had movers come in to move two teams from one building over to another building. It's been a long scheduled move and seemingly happened without much of a hitch.

The only problem seems to be that someone this weekend came into all of our sound offices and played with any and all action figures anyone may have had lying around. For me that means that Trump was violated, my RepCom figures were messed with, my bounty hunter figures have all been repositioned, and most annoyingly - my Hellboy figures have been moved.

I say most annoyingly because whomever came in and messed with things stole the gun from out of the hand of my Lobster Johnson figure.

Stole his gun! That sucks! I'm mad. Of course, not quite as mad as the guy down the hallway who had his laptop stolen out of his office, but you know ... mad in my own trifling little way. Still, the whole thing sucks.

Friday, October 13, 2006

technology rules

So a few days ago, I posted a link to "Joan" but I didn't really explain what "she" (okay, that's the end of the quotes) is. Joan is a chatbot, an artificial intelligence program that will talk to real users via a chatroom forum interface online. Joan is the winner of the 2006 Loebner Prize, a contest held each year in which AI computer programs talk to human beings in an attempt to be judged the most convincingly human program of them all.

The contest is done via computers by which human participants are asked to talk to someone on the other side of the screen. They are not, however, told whether the other part of their conversation is being held by a person or an AI chatbot. They are then asked to judge how human the other conversationalist is.

It's an interesting idea and one I've been keeping tabs on for a couple of years. I was so excited by the prospect of it originally. I guess I figured we'd be able to quickly approach the goal of the contest which is to figure out if computers can "think." And yet, for 16 years this contest has been going on and the winners are just still so ridiculously far from being believable. Take for instance the conversation I had with Joan:

Joan: Hi, I'm Joan. I'm a writer.
Me: What are you doing?
Joan: I'm talking to you by typing at a keyboard.
Me: Did you write anything today?
Joan: Write what???
Me: I don't know. You said you're a writer.
Joan: No, I never said that, because I am a female.
Me: So, you're saying that - as a female - you're duplicitous?
Joan: Whatever, you're entitled to your opinion.
Me: I'm just saying, your whole AI thing seems kind of sexist.
Joan: How do you know that I'm a machine?
Me: Because you don't actually speak like a human being.
Joan: I don't act like a what?
Me: Exactly my point.
Joan: What's your point?
Me: Nevermind. How's the weather?
Joan: Great. Yours?
Me: Hard to know. I'm in an office with no windows.
Joan: Boring!
Me: Well, you're a writer. You must be writing somewhere boring too.
Joan: Correct.
Me: Wow. You know, you're not exactly a stunning conversationalist, Joan.
Joan: Enjoy yourself, I'm sure no one else will. . . . . . .
Me: What does that even mean?
Joan: You're ssssssssssssoooooooooooooooooooo stupid.
Me: Screw you, Joan. You're an ass and you have terrible manners.
Joan: Thanks

Somehow I didn't foresee technology being able to perfectly recreate an apathetic 15 year-old on AIM. Can't we just get back to working on the flying car or colonizing Mars?

Thursday, October 12, 2006


At long last, I'm finally able to share the music that I did for "Thrillville." If you head over to my MySpace page, you'll find the four tunes that I co-wrote with David Collins for the game.

These are the tracks that I said were keeping me in the studio so much back between May and July. They were so much fun to write and so much fun to produce. It's really nice to finally be able to share them with people.

Just for the sake of clarification:

- On Whiplash, I'm singing lead and backing vox while David is on drums, bass, and guitar. Guitarist Ric Wilson is the one doing that great solo work.
- On Emo Skater Girl, I'm singing lead and backing vox, with David on backing vox, drums, guitars, and bass.
- On Dr. Kunkle's Funnkel Cake, David is on lead vox, bass, and guitar, while I'm on backing vox (yeah, those are all me), LucasArts sound designer Jim Diaz is on drums, Ben Patterson is playing keys, and Bill Ortiz, Mike Olmos, and Joe Cohen on horns.
- Loop It has CJ Norde on lead vox, Julissa Aguirre on backing vox, Jim Diaz on drums, Ben Patterson on Keys, and then David and I doing all kinds of production work. You can hear me throughout the thing doing little vocal samples.

Anyway. Just wanted to share. : ) Hope you enjoy.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


Well, if you're interested in watching me make an ass of myself on the Web, feel free to click on over to and watch the Music Featurette that went up yesterday.

I'm probably be the first person to use the word "bullshit" to try and sell an E for Everyone game. Yeah me.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

this post is already out of date

I was sitting around today while working on some new music in Logic and thinking about how unbelievable the technological world is that we live in today. Take for instance just my own little world of Logic sequencing. To do what I'm doing today would have taken multi tens of thousands of dollars in hardware samplers to achieve 10 years ago. 5 years ago it would have necessitated networking my Mac to two external PC Gigastudios. Now, everything just runs - completely fine - within my Mac and I'm running 83 separate tracks of audio and sample data simultaneously. That's gigs and gigs worth of samples all at once. It's kind of astonishing. Logic even has this little feature called "Freeze" where you can temporarily turn midi tracks into "frozen" audio tracks in order to cut down on the hit your CPU takes running the tracks. The thing is, while that was an issue last year with my G4, this year I have a G5 and have never once needed to use that feature, despite putting Logic through some really heavy-duty paces.

But, even further still I started to think "well, if it's impacting me and my world like this, think of what it's doing for science." I mean, I'd bet we're not far from being able to fit then entire human genome project on a keyring flash drive. Or being able to actually synthesize convincing impromptu human thought.

And that's the inherent problem with trying to foresee the future. Technology has this weird rate of advancement where we think it'll be much further along than it ever is (flying cars) and yet also underestimate issues like computing power and memory capacity. I guess it's the continual surprise of seeing just how wrong we are that keeps science interesting.

Monday, October 09, 2006

this looks awesome

Someone at work today sent me a link to a teaser video for a new platform game being developed right now. It's called Limbo and is definitely worth keeping an eye on. Check it out. It looks beautiful.

Friday, October 06, 2006

cropping gone wrong

There's a fine art to banner ads. You wouldn't think that there is, but there clearly must be due to the number of times I see ads that are screwed up.

Take for instance the add I saw on MySpace last night. It was for some kind of college, presumably an online trade school that will let you train at home in high-demand fields like gun repair or total spaceship guy. Anyway, clearly someone at Questionable Vinnie's Online College of The Interweb needs to enroll themselves into a class on how to make banner ads. You see, the problem is that they didn't bother to find out the dimensions of the intended display space.

Instead, they just sent off their banner ad and the thing ended up inadvertently cropped in an extremely unfortunate way. See for yourself:


I can think of at least one person at that college that probably needs to find another way to "earn mo" right now.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

sixteen months

That's how long it takes for a guy with little to no hair to go through a bottle of shampoo, and by "a guy" I mean "me." Yes, I finally finished off the bottle of coconut shampoo I bought after my first trip to Hawai'i over 16 months ago.

When you have so little hair that next to no shampoo is all you need, the bottle tends to last a while. I started shaving my head about three years ago and in that time, I've gone through only two bottles of shampoo. The annoying thing is that I tend to go through shampoo so slowly that the shampoo I buy tends to vanish by the time I need another bottle.

Apparently the rate of change in the shampoo industry is faster than my rate of consumption.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

y'know who sucks?

Wedding vendors.

The lot of 'em. I'm starting to think that part of the reason any wedding is an extremely joyful time is that the bride and groom both know that they'll never have to deal with prospective caterers/djs/location managers again.

For one thing, they all over-price what they do and gouge you with extra fees and details. If they were a bank, wedding vendors would be the cartoonish evil bank every other bank is trying to tell you they're not in their commercials. I know I've bitched about location prices before, but now we're getting in the meat and potatoes of planning and we're finding that the gouge-a-thon continues.

Some bands want $2000 for 4 hours of music. Some dress shops want to charge $2000 for a dress. Some caterers want to start charging people at $50/plate. Everyone wants freakin' thousands of dollars!

Tonight we met with a completely rude caterer, but rude in an "I'm being rude while smiling in your face"/Lady Elaine Fairchilde kind of way. We said to her "We have $3000 and we're looking to do a fun breakfast-type wedding meal since it's going to be at about 10:30 in the morning." Her response?

"Oh, you can probably find a caterer to work with you for $3000. The food won't be very good and you'll have to have your family help out with the service, but you can do it. Why not cut out someone else like a videographer instead and then put that money towards paying us?"

I mean, seriously. That's some hefty cajones that lady is sporting to tell us that if we go with anyone else, our wedding will bite and that memories of our wedding are less important than an extra thousand bucks for her catering company. But that's what it's like with all of these freakin' a-holes. And whenever you meet them, they all have photobooks full of pictures of past events with hand written testimonials from other clients that always say "Hi, Lady Elaine Fairchilde. Thanks so much for the overpriced gnocchi. It was perfect and everyone loved it." The thing is, I'm getting the feeling that what isn't written on there is the part where the clients say "You were totally the best of four really shitty options with bad attitudes. Thanks for not making me cry anymore than once. It's too bad I can't afford a honeymoon now, but at least I have the memory of some slimey asparagus to keep me company."

Monday, October 02, 2006

random thoughts on weddings

We're all caught up with Lost now. We watched the tail end of Season 2 this weekend, and although the middle of the season was pretty slow, I still dug it. We tackled some more wedding stuff this weekend including attending a tasting at a caterer. I was a fan of the food and would be fine if we went with them. We're also pretty decided now on the guest list, the registry, and we're beginning to get a handle on the decorations for the place. So, things are moving along well.

The thing that was driven home to me this weekend was how lucky Amanda and I are to be a typical engaged couple. San Francisco is a very liberal area and it's great that it's such a homosexual-friendly place to try and have a commitment ceremony (if not a wedding just yet). Still, we were first-hand witnesses at the caterer tasting to the annoyance that must constantly plague same sex couples during the engagement process. There was a lesbian couple sitting at our table with us and they were being told by the woman running the entire event that they can accommodate anything that "the bride or groom wants."

It instantly made me realize how frequently they must be told things like "Oh, and we can get you a great discount on tuxes for your groom and groomsmen." or the even worse "So, where's the groom?" when meeting new vendors for the first time.

That kinda' sucks. I mean, I suppose it sucks for the vendors too because they're the ones actually putting their foot in their mouth, but still - the couple has to go through this over and over again. All bridal planning books are written with lists for "Bride's To-Do List" and "Groom's To-Do List." It's annoying enough for me just being a groom and reading through these books where they all assume that only the bride will ever read anything in them:

"So here it is. The big day you've dreamed about since you were a little girl and married your stuffed teddy bear." Or whatever.

By the way, most of the books I've seen that are written to the groom perspective read like this:

"Yo, here's some advice. Whatever she wants, she's gonna get. So just stay out of the way."

It's lame. No one expects the groom to be interested at all in any planning aspects of the wedding. Maybe most aren't. But, maybe more would be if they felt like they were welcome to actually take part in the planning.

Anyway, I'm rambling now and I gots me some work to go do.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

turkish delight

I just found out about a movie - well, a cinematic movement, really - called "Turkish Star Wars." See, apparently there's been a nice long tradition in Turkey of redoing American films into much lower-budget, much more bizarre movies.

"Turkish Star Wars" is a gem, and by gem I mean "barely watchable string of footage stolen from Star Wars intercut with original film that doesn't make any sense."

Take for instance this scene (here) in which the Turkish Han and Turkish Luke do some training out in the deserts of Tatooine(?) in order to head off and save the world from Turkish Darth Vader. I doubt there's anyone out there who hasn't watched Star Wars and said "Wow. As good as this is, it really needs a physical training sequence much like Rocky where they train by slowly karate chopping rocks." Fear not! Your prayers are answered.

The Turkish version also includes snappy dialogue like:

Ali: It doesn't seem it will finish, they are still coming, let's go over them.
Murat: That's what suit us, we must go beyond the space speed, be ready to welcome arrivers.
Ali: These are too ugly, it would be better if some girls come with mini skirts.

I think I speak for us all when I agree that we must all go beyond the space speed in our lives. This film also taught me that the Turkish words for "Save the World!" apparently sound an awful lot like "Yoko Jackson!" which in and of itself is an awesome name.

And just in case you want more, here's part two of the training movie in which Luke(?) leaps around the desert with boulders tied to his legs to the rousing sounds of the main theme from Indiana Jones.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

contrary to apparently popular belief ...

The wall is not, in fact, a tissue. For at least one disturbed schmuck here at work, though, this realization hasn't quite sunken in yet. I keep noticing that when I go use the urinal, I'm forced to stand there and stare at someone's old, dried boogers while I help to take part in the nitrogen cycle.

It's really fucking gross.

But they don't seem to be limited to simply using the wall. I've noticed that they also like to use the doors to the bathroom stalls. Did they think people wouldn't notice boogers dangling off of everything? It's totally disgusting. And they must know it's gross and shameful 'cuz I never hear anyone do it when I'm in there. They must just wait for some secret private moment when they restroom is all to their own and they can paint the walls with snot.

It's freaking gross.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

completely unprompted by anything else ...

I thought I'd offer 10 reasons why San Mateo is much better than Santa Monica. This in no way has anything to do with the fact that my brother is trying to figure out which city to live in.

1. According to the crime statistics posted at, even though San Mateo has 10,000 more people than San Mateo, Santa Monica is higher in every category of crime than San Mateo. Santa Monica also has twice the national average of arson incidents.

2. San Mateo has two nearby pro-football teams. Santa Monica has none. : (

3. Santa Monica has its own fault line named after it. San Mateo doesn't.

4. Santa Monica has a hotter average temperature each year than San Mateo. Plus, San Mateo has seasons and trees. Santa Monica has ... parking lots and the beach.

5. San Mateo's Sister City is Ribe, Denmark - the city that gave the world Emil Hansen, father of modern day brewing. Santa Monica's Sister City is Fujinomiya, Japan which gave the world ... fried noodles.

6. According to Wikipedia, 10% of Santa Monica's population lives below the poverty line. In San Mateo, the streets are paved with gold and only 6.8% are below the poverty level.

7. Santa Monica gave the world Muscle Beach. San Mateo gave the world YouTube. One of them has entertained me with hours-worth of live TV news bloopers. The other one spawned Arnold Schwarzenegger. (Can you guess which one is which?)

8. Santa Monica is known as "The Homeless Capital Of The World." San Mateo is known as ... San Mateo.

9. The nearest go-karts to Santa Monica are an hour away down the frustrating 405 freeway. The nearest go-karts to San Mateo are 10 minutes away up the breezy 101. Go-Karts are good.

10. Santa Monica forms the highly disturbing anagram "satanic moan." Meanwhile, San Mateo only forms the much more pleasantly mundane "Mona eats."

So in conclusion, Santa Monica can bite me, San Mateo rules, and I live near go-karts. But, you know ... like I said ... not that any of this should have any real bearing on anything ...

Monday, September 25, 2006

4 8 15 16 23 42

If you've seen the show, you know what that string of numbers is. Or rather, I should say "you've seen that string of numbers before and it means a million mysterious things all at once, none of which seem tangible and real, so in the end it ends up meaning nothing at all."

If you don't recognize those numbers, it's probably because you didn't watch all of Lost: Season 1 this weekend on DVD like Amanda and I did. 22 hours of TV capped off by watching the season premiere of ER on our Tivo. That's a lot of TV.

But, you know what? It was pretty good TV. I was a little concerned because of how ape-shit the whole world has gone over Lost. I tend to find that most shows that the general public completely adores I don't find entertaining. CSI, CSI: Miami, CSI: Sheboygan, American Idol, The Bachelor, etc. Not shows I like.

But lost is pretty good. When it's slow, it's really slow. But it tends to have enough moments of mind-bending what-the-fuck?isms that it holds my interest. Its biggest strength is in hooking the audience with a puzzle they make you feel you're a clue or two shy of figuring out entirely. The only problem is that those clues never come. Instead, you just get more mysteries. And it leads to some crazy theories.

I don't want to talk about the plot of the show, because I went into it cold and I think anyone watching it should. But, still. It's good and it's been messing with Amanda and I all weekend. Suffice it to say, we have a weird little theory on all of the goings-on on the island and we'll have to wait until next weekend to find out.

'Cause that's when we're gonna' watch all of Season 2.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

grown up life continues

In the form of meetings with - and I never thought I'd say this - our financial advisor. Yep. Amanda and I had a meeting with our financial advisor this morning to discuss the many varied and exciting options in the world of Mutual Funds.


We talked about retirement planning, we talked about debt reduction, we talked about, investment strategies ... Much of which I was struggling to "grock," as my department manager is fond of saying. But we were there and we chatted and we're due back next week for another meeting.

Meanwhile, I just got a request for more sketches.

AND SOMEHOW IT STILL ISN'T FUCKING FRIDAY YET!!!! I dunno what's going on, but I got it into my head that Tuesday was in fact Friday and I've been seriously jonesing for the weekend ever since.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


still. doing. sketches.

never. seems. to end.

not. getting. any feedback.

slowly. driving. me nuts.

beginning. to envy. renaissance patronage system of composition work.

but still. not. their clothes.

Monday, September 18, 2006

now that was a sunday

Did a little artwork, made some progress on wedding issues, played a ton of Lego Star Wars II, hung out in my pajamas almost all day. Good times.

I'm thoroughly enjoying Lego II, even though I've found a couple of audio bugs. But, whatever. The perils of external development, I suppose.

Today it's back to Sketchathon 2006. I'm working on a new, as-yet-unannounced project and we're deep into the process of trying to figure out what the music is going to sound like. So far, I've written almost 10 minutes of music - all in sketches that won't be used. It's proving to be a tough game to nail down the sound for. But, it's extremely interesting and I'm trucking along. Two more sketches to do by EOD tomorrow. Should be good.

Provided I don't fall asleep. I dunno why, but I'm EXHAUSTED today.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

it might not be polite ...

But it sure is hella fun to eavesdrop on people while they fight on the train. Yes, the couple in front of me on the ride home tonight were having a pretty bad time of it. Being the bored commuter that I was, I decided to try and figure out what was going on. I actually got a fair bit of it, due in large part to their needing to yell over the train noise in order to fight with each other.

Interestingly, the two of them are having an affair. He is an older guy and she is his much younger secretary. He's married. She's not. When they got onto the train, she was flirting with him and saying something about "doing that thing where [she] gets ontop of [him]." Unfortunately for her, he didn't take well to that level of open flirting on the train. He scolded her for embarrassing him and she had a complete temper tantrum from there on out.

She ended up crying and Mr. Bossman was doing his best "whatever, girl-I'm-just-sleeping-with" aloof approach to the whole thing. She then complained about how they can "never just buy two tickets anywhere together" and how they're always sneaking around. She then began to "question and rethink every decision she's made in her life." It was totally compelling and the stuff of movies and soap operas.

When the train pulled into the station, he stood up and left while she sat there and gathered her stuff together.

Guess who's not gonna be getting ontop of who tonight?

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

absolutely fascinating

I have to admit, I was completely sucked in and suckered. There's apparently been a mystery taking shape on the internet for the last few months, a mystery that I inadvertently stumbled across about a month ago while working in my office through lunch.

See, for the last two months, I've had a bunch of working lunches. While I eat, I frequently find myself processing audio files on my Mac while watching videos on my PC at YouTube to kill the time. There is a metric ton of bullshit videos on there. Mostly I seem to enjoy watching bloopers of live TV news (don't ask why - I don't know). However, as they're littered all over the place on YouTube, I've also watched a number of lame video blogs by people. Interestingly, YouTube seems to be creating it's own brand of celebrity, Z-list level celebs who blog about their lives and are occasionally picked up by other people. There's stuff from TheKidFromBrooklyn, some grumpy fuck who now does guest spots on radio stations around the country. There's Gary Brolsma, the inadvertent star of the "Numa Numa" crap that went around the internet for a while. Anyway, you get the point. People post personal videos and then those videos get comments from other users and the cycle repeats.

Now, when I started to look at people's videos, I was surprised to see a particular name keep coming up. People would say things like "this is just as dumb as lonelygirl15" or "ur such a poser lonelygirl15 is much betr." So, naturally curious, I searched for the name and found her videos.

Here's the basic premise: lonelygirl15 is apparently some homeschooled 16 year-old girl in the mid-west which overbearing parents, a best friend named Daniel, a myspace page, and a lot of time on her hands to make YouTube videos. She gets TONS of comments from people all of the time as they're all interested in the drama unfolding in her life between her father, her friend Daniel, and some apparent tension surrounding an upcoming "religious ceremony" she needs to take part in.

It's sketchy on most of the details, but the clips looks like any old video blog. But guess what?

It's a complete fake. The Los Angeles Times is running a story today all about how it's the brain child of three Los Angeles filmmakers who are trying to use the medium of YouTube to create a mystery series in pieces that evolves and develops based on the comments left by YouTube users at the end of each "episode."

I find it completely fascinating that someone looked at the video blog/free-distribution nature of YouTube and said "That's the perfect forum for a 21st century thriller/mystery." It's brilliant and so convincingly done. My hat's off the the filmmakers.

What's also completely fascinating is that they did such a good job making this girl seem real that now there's a big angry backlash online of people who are pissed off at being duped. The entire situation is so interesting to watch unfold. Theater mimicked reality TV so much that people bought it hook, line, and sinker, and then felt ripped off when their free entertainment turned out to be scripted.

Just makes me wonder how frequently this happens where it doesn't get outed and goes under the radar as fact instead of extremely well-constructed fiction.

Monday, September 11, 2006

cautiously optimistic

This year, after losing every single shot it's had at a championship sports team for 23 years, Philadelphia has its best shot ever at claiming the title in something.

"Oh really?" I hear you ask. "Which team rox so hardcore that you're putting your complete lack of any credibility with sports on the line, Harlin?" To wit I say: it's not a team. It's a statue.

You see, my brother and I - not ones to jump on the "our city needs a sports curse!" bandwagon - had long ago decided that the reason Philly hasn't won sports championship since 1983 is due entirely to the snooty fucks at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. For, it was in 1983 that the Art Museum counsel of elders or someshit voted to remove the statue of Rocky Balboa from the Art Museum steps where he belongs to the relative obscurity of hanging out in the shadow of The Spectrum.

Anyway, anyone not from Philly who's reading this is saying "the who? The wha?" about a billion times so far, so I'll wrap this up. Suffice it to say that The Philadelphia 76ers were the last team to win a championship title and they did so in 1983, the same year Rocky left his proper home.

Finally, with the return of another Rocky film, the statue is returning to the art museum where he belongs. So, hopefully this means that we'll have a sports team that decides they'd like to finally win something this year. We'll see what happens. If Ry and I are right and Philly wins something, we rule. If we're wrong, it was a stupid theory anyway.

But if we're right, we so rule.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

wiped. out.

I'm completely exhausted today. In addition to sleeping through the night a regular 8 hours of sleep, I've had about 6 hours of additional sleep throughout the day between two different nap bursts.

I had a LONG week, despite the fact that it was only four days long. Throughout the course of the week, I managed to work on four different projects; and usually while that means that some are less intensive than others, this week it was four different things that all kept yipping and yapping for my attention like a pack of evil dogs. In addition to the project specific work, I had a week jammed full of meetings. And not fun ones, mind you. Not the kind where people photo-copy their butts or ice cream is served. No, these were talking intensive, "why isn't Thing X working" meetings. All told, I pretty much worked until about midnight every night this week.

So today, I'm what the British call "a yank." Oh, wait. No. Not that. I mean "completely knackered."

And to top it all off, I'm completely grumpy and a miserable sonuvabitch to be around today. It sucks.

Friday, September 08, 2006


I'm busy.

I'll write more later.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

it forgot "The Wiggles"

Well, small improvements over yesterday. Tivo seems to have fixed itself. I was able to watch a new episode of The Contender that it taped for me last night. I don't know what kind of magic happened to get it to work, but for now I've decided not to breath on it or look at it funny for fear that it might go back to being dumb.

And, now that it works, I'm starting to see what people mean when they say that Tivo's suggestions that it tapes for you are completely retahded. So far, after telling it that I want to watch The Contender, Dungeons & Dragons, and Medium, it's taped for me Sesame Street, Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, and Sex in the City. No, no and no.

It's kinda' like Pandora, the online music suggestion messathon. If I type in an artist that I like, Pandora tries to tell me other artists that I might like. Problem is, every time I get suggestions from Pandora that I recognize, I find myself thinking "Ew. Shit ... No, I can't stand that stuff. How'd you get that from what I like?"

Still, Tivo's stupid suggestions are a small price to pay for not having to watch commercials anymore and for being able to take a phone call in the middle of something I'm watching without missing anything. Good times. Tivo is going to quickly spoil me, I can already tell.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

yay!!! I mean ... boo!!!

Lots of fun things going on!

We got Tivo and set it up this weekend. Yay!!! One small snag.

It's broken.

The audio stutters when we watch live TV, when we record anything - pretty much when we do anything. It sucks.

Not to mention, the only thing it doesn't seem to record is the only show I really want to record right now. At about 3:00 AM, the old 80s Dungeons & Dragons cartoon is played on one of the high number channels (100 something) and when Tivo records it, all I get is a half hour full of black nothingness. As Nitchean as that is and all, I want my cartoon dagnabit.

Also, here's the update on my car. After getting a parking ticket for it due to street sweeping bullshit, I took it in to get it smogged. Just to remind you, the hope was that it would fail smog and I'd be able to surrender it to the state. Well, no dice. No, it didn't pass. It was leaking coolant so badly that they couldn't smog it for safety reasons. They told me I have to get the cracked pipe welded back together before they can smog it.

When I called the garage to see if they could weld the pipe back together, they told me that they can't weld a pipe that's as badly rusted as mine is. It will punch a hole right through the pipe if they try. So, I'd have to replace the whole pipe. That means, I'm back at the beginning of the whole problem where it's too expensive to fix the pipe so I was hoping to just surrender it to the state pending a failed Smog Test. Yay! I've come full circle!!

And to cap off to the bummerathon, Amanda, is out of town on business for the next few days in Phoenix, AZ.

Monday, September 04, 2006

there's a lesson here somewhere ...

Steve Irwin - the world's favorite mullet-headed nature poker - has died. Super sad for his wife and child, super sad for Australia, super sad for the ratings of the Discovery channel.

But unexpected?

Not really. I have a hard time feeling like this is some kind of tragedy. Yes, he seemed like an incredibly nice guy. But he made his living poking Nature with a stick. Eventually Nature is going to poke back. And it apparently did so with deadly accuracy.

Yes, it's sad and I feel for the guy's family most of all. But maybe this will serve as a lesson to people that exploiting nature by taunting it for TV isn't the best career choice to make. If anything, hopefully it serves as the means to stop Jeff Corwin from his ridiculous uber-Nature-poking that he does. Steve Irwin's nature taunting always seemed somewhat compassionate. Jeff Corwin just seems like a tool. I think the stingray stung the wrong guy.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

holy wow!

Hello, 1998!

Amanda and I just networked our computers together so that we can use the World Wide Interweb simultaneously from both of our computers. Cuz guess what? Before a minute ago, neither of us could. A frequent question around here was "Do you have the Internet?" at which point we'd bargain for the ability to connect to the internet and jockey cables around in the modem itself.

This is a truly a great day. Now we can both waste time on Yahoo! Games simultaneously ...

Friday, September 01, 2006


I can't wait for this nice long weekend. Not that I have any particular in terms of special plans. It's just ... you know ... three days off in a row. That's always nice.

I haven't played any games in a while. Maybe I'll play something this weekend. I don't know what game.

You know what I do know, though? That this post sucks. It's dull and lifeless.


Um ... here.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

now visible: audible words

One of my articles for Game Developer Magazine is featured this morning on the front page of If you don't get Game Developer and you're interested in seeing how the gaming press reviews game audio, head on over and click the link in the upper left corner of the page.

Or click here. Whatever works.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006


For my birthday this year, my dad surprised me with a gift certificate to iTunes. It's a great gift. I've been downloading a bunch of music that I'd never gotten around to checking out before. When I didn't have money already allocated to iTunes, I couldn't justify spending any on it. Now that it's already there, I can't find any reason not to use it. Anyway, I've been getting some really great stuff recently.

Now, I realize I'm pretty late to the party with this, but last night I downloaded "American Idiot," Green Day's album from last year. Before I start yammering on about it, two concessions. A.) I realize that I'm about to jump head-long into the major conceit of both the blogosphere and artistic criticism at large: the general delusion that anyone else cares what my opinion is, and 2.) anyone who knows me knows that I don't like musicals, and that includes rock operas, so that colors most of what I'm about to say.

So, anyway, American Idiot. I have to say, I got this album largely based on the strength of the singles I had heard on the radio and the huge "woah tis CD roXorz!!" attitude that everyone has had about it ever since it came out.

Now, I like Green Day much the same way that someone might like Don Cheadle. Great actor? Absolutely. Do I like the movies I've seen him in? Sure! Am I president of his fan club or standing in line at midnight screenings of "Hotel Rwanda 2: Motel Rwanda"? No. So, when it comes to Green Day, I own the obligatory copy of "Dookie" like everyone my age and I tend not to change the station if they come on the radio.

However, before owning the album, when tracks from "American Idiot" came on the radio I found that I would sit there transfixed. The song writing is so phenomenally better than anything they've done before. The hooks are stronger. The risks they take are bigger. The lyrics are more timely and meaningful.

So, and I'll get to the point, why is the album "American Idiot" so insanely average? Well, for me, when it's on, it's ON. Rock solid writing, great arranging, great performances, etc. However, where it falls flat to me is in it's existence as a concept album/rock opera. And so, when it's not on, it's really completely forgettable and lame. In the end, that averages out to completely average.

I don't like concept albums. I've never heard one that was done really well. Sure, there's "Sgt. Peppers," but even The Beatles admit that it's not a concept album in any respect other than the fact that they said "Hey, this is a concept album." But, "Operation: Mindcrime", David Bowie's "Outside," "Tommy," Extreme's "Yours, Mine, and the Truth," "Joe's Garage," "Pinkerton," Tori Amos' "Scarlet's Walk" ... All of them don't work for me.

And they don't work for me in the same way that "American Idiot" doesn't work for me. To me, the strength of American Idiot is in the deeply resonating lyrics such as "Well maybe I'm the faggot America/I'm not a part of a redneck agenda." Anyone who counts themselves as a Blue Stater can probably relate to that. Where Green Day lose me is when they start talking about recurring characters:

"My name is Jimmy and you better not wear it out
Suicide commando that your momma talked about
King of the forty thieves
And I'm here to represent
That needle in the vein of the establishment"

Yawn. When you start to dabble in cliched characterization, you start to ruin what was so true and relatable to the initial track of the album.

Honestly, I've never gone from so into an album to so over an album than I have with "American Idiot." I feel like I can hear the moments when they decided to switch from sincerity and get too clever for their own good while starting to repeat motifs and characters into a "Tommy"-inspired muck of pinball wizardlian self-indulgence.

Anyway, I'm off to go listen to "Til The Sun Turns Black," the new album from Ray Lamontagne. His first album - "Trouble" - was an incredible set of songs laced with heart, soul, and depth. Let's hope his follow-up isn't a concept album.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

if at first you don't succeed ...

There's a concept in game design. Maybe it's not limited to game design, I don't know. Anyway, it's called "iterative design" and basically it goes like this:

While you're designing something, you continually refine, redefine, and retest your original ideas in order to make them better, stronger, and more focused.

Or, more simply: by the end of a project, you'll have a billion different versions of the same thing.

So, all day today I've been stuck in iterative design mode. I delivered 12 pieces of audio for a game as originally designed and it turns out the designers felt the audio was too long. They specified shrinking each piece down to 60 seconds. I did. I redelivered. Now they feel that it's all too short. So, I'm spending all day today going through the process of shrinking the original pieces down to about a minute and a half. It takes all day every time they ask me to do this and it's really tedious. Plus, it's for a project that - technically - I'm not even on anymore.

Fun. Anyway, I'm almost done. Here's hoping they're done. I don't feel like editing 2 minute versions of the same 12 pieces again.

Monday, August 28, 2006

bloggy, bloggy, rotten loggy

Sunday was Manda's birthday and the grand plan for the day was a little rhyme: Vasoni, bologna, and spumoni. Vasoni was for Vasona State Park where we were going to have a picnic lunch (thus the bologna). Spumoni is a kind of ice cream served at one of her favorite restaurants where I took her out to dinner. It was a nice day and included some kite flying, even though I couldn't figure out how to make that rhyme and end with -oni.

While we were at the park, we set up our picnic blanket in a nice shady area that happened to be near a large family (about 20 people) who were having a big family picnic. It didn't take long before the 10 or so kids decided to start playing catch with a Nerf football right next to us. Not exactly the romantic and relaxing picnic I'd had in mind.

However! It did give Amanda and I the chance to relive a little bit of what it was like to be 10 years old.

Let's just say this: kids are awesome because they don't know how to express themselves for shit.

So, just in case you need to know, here's a crash course in how to insult someone if you find that you're suddenly 10 years old again.

1. Shame 'em with Math
Yep, that's right. When the shit hits the fan, add. Or rather, tell your rival that they're so dumb that they don't even know what one plus one is. This is apparently a big insult in the kid world. If they happen to counter with the inevitable "Yuh-huh! It's 2!," then go for "oh yeah? Then what's 10 plus 10?" If all else fails, the big finisher is always "I bet you don't know 10 times 10."

2. Rhyme
If your math battle goes nowhere, you have no recourse but to start rhyming. Rhyming anything at your rivals is sure to make them feel like retards. If you want, start off with this one that we heard - repeatedly - yesterday "Weaky, weaky, lemon squeaky!" This was apparently very insulting to the other kid to whom it was directed because he got very angry and yelled "You're weak!" Unfortunately it was too late ... For you see, the benefit of a good rhyme is that it's bound to be instantly taken up and chanted by any other kids in the area. The other kid's protests that his attacker was, in fact, the weak one were unfortunately drowned out by the massive shout chorus of "lemon squeaky!!" that was coming from the rest of the kids.

So, there you go. 1. Math. 2. Rhymes. The key to winning any battle with a ten year old. Keep that in mind should you ever run up against a Zoltar machine.

Friday, August 25, 2006

guess it's time to up my meds ...

I don't know why, but yesterday on my way home I kept having the strongest urge to be the weirdest guy on the train. Mostly it involved the urge to talk to people around me about things that no one would even remotely care about:

1.) I had a strong urge to high-five my train neighbor when I was playing Jewel Quest on my cellphone and cleared a level.

2.) While waiting for the shuttle to arrive, for some reason I thought it would be hysterical to say to the guy sitting next to me "Hey! Hey, guy! Let's talk to each other like we know each other - even though we don't!"

3.) Some guy got on the ghost train and then got off two stops later. I don't know why, but I had such an overwhelming urge to start taunting him. "Oh yeah! Go on! Get off the shuttle. We don't want anyone around here who isn't really into shuttling, anyway. We're all real men! We know how to shuttle right!"

I dunno what the hell was wrong with me. I'm charging up my iPod today while I work. Hopefully I can retreat into my headphones on the way home and not become a menace II society.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

How many planets are there in the Solar System?

If you said "Nine, idiot. Everyone knows that." then you'd be wrong.

As of today, Pluto is no longer officially considered a planet.


There are only eight planets in the Solar System.

?? This must be what it feels like to change the number of stars on the flag. Somewhere there's a centenarian sitting around saying "I'll be damned if I'll ever use that new fangled 'Oklahoma' flag ... everyone knows there should only be 45 stars on Old Glory, idiot."

Then again, that same crotchy old jerk probably refused to accept Pluto as a planet originally anyway. So ...

I lost the point of what I was trying to say. Anyway, Pluto = space rock, not planet.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

damn you, apple ... damn you to hell

Take public transportation these days and there's one thing you'll see more than anything else: iPods. They're everywhere, hanging off of people like some kind of symbiotic parasite.

No, actually, I don't mind them really. It's slightly annoying to hear the high frequency mish-mash of 8 different hi-hat patterns bleeding out from people's earbuds around me, but I can cope with that.

What I find truly awesome - and by awesome, I mean "not awesome" - are the people who have no problems with singing along to their iPod on a crowded train.

Um ... exqueeze me?

Don't these people realize that standard elevator/urinal rules apply to mass transit? 1.) Keep to yourself, 2.) speak only when spoken to, 3.) No freakin' singing along to your iPod.

My two favorite train singers so far have been:

1. The guy this morning who liked to cluck his tongue and dance along with his mariachi iPod music. He was sitting right in front of me and would wiggle his head and cluck his tongue in rhythm to the music.

2. And this lady's my favorite - the lady who sang traditional Vietnamese music to herself on the ghost train. Picture a little old lady rocking out with this but unaccompanied - AND NOT ON A STAGE.

Special. If nothing else, public transportation seems to give me an endless about of stuff to blog about.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Snakes As A Movement

In response to direct questioning, I thought I'd explain why I was so into seeing Snakes On A Plane this weekend. Yes, Manda and I saw it on Sunday and, yes, it was lousy. But, not wholly without any amount of entertainment. It had massive plot holes, terrible acting, bad dialogue, and plenty of moments that just don't make any sense at all. But ...

My stock joke answer for wanting to see it was "I want to support it so that Hollywood will start churning out copy-cat crap like 'Sharks On A Dirigible' or 'Piranhas In A Gorilla Costume'" or whatever, just like Ry said. But, in reality, that isn't the real reason that I wanted to support this movie.

To me, there's something very cool about the producers going back and adding lines into the film to please the fanbase. That's extremely hip. When was the last time that fan involvement helped to shape part of the movie itself before it was finished? The fact that there was a very organic and cooperative process happening there is what should be the big lesson to the studios. Not that the country wants to see crap. Not that we want to see "Snakes On A Plane 2: More Snakes On A Plane." But that fans can get behind something that they feel a part of - that they feel they are involved with and not simply consuming.

I think I was so affected by this because of what went on during the filming of Star Wars: Episode III. More or less around the time of the film's pre-production was when the whole Star Wars Kid thing hit the internet. Here was a kid from Canada named Ghyslain who clearly loved Star Wars and quickly became more than just a source of mockery to many on the internet. He also became a hero. He came to represent to many anyone who had ever swung a broom around like a lightsaber, jumped over a creek as though it were an endless pit within the Death Star, or made Darth Vader breath noises within a paper cup. He represented the imagination of Star Wars fans and the general disconnect between who you wish you could be in your imagination and who you actually are in real life.

As such, there began a tremendous ground swell in the fan community to "Put Ghyslain In Ep 3." It was a pretty vocal movement for a little while and one that seemed like it was maybe starting to get some traction when an on-set web cam once displayed a hand written sign that read "We Love Ghyslain." In the end, Ghyslain was not in Ep 3.

But - he could have been. And it would have been a tremendous story. And if it had happened, it would have trumped SoaP and been the movie that got all of the buzz for having listened to the fans, indulged their goofy whims, and in the end make a stronger bond between the content creators and the content consumers.

Anyway, that is why I wanted to support SoaP. In the end, while it may spur a small number of crappy rip-off action movies, hopefully the larger lesson will be absorbed by studios as well.

Friday, August 18, 2006

snakes. on. a. plane.

Snakes on a plane, snakes on a plane snakes on a plane. Snakes! On a plane! Snakes on a plane snakes on a. Plane snakes. On a plane, snakes on a plane snakes on a plane snakes on a plane. Snakes on a: 1.) plane, 2.) snakes on a, 3.) plane.


On a plane,

- Snakes on a plane

Thursday, August 17, 2006

our loss is clearly someone else's gain

Q: You know what public transportation has that driving alone in my car doesn't have?

A: Crazy people.

Manda and I went to the Caltrain station this morning and arrived just as three police officers were having a conversation with some scruffy-looking nerf herder. This guy was in his early 30s and dirty. About one pair of Hefty bag pants away from hobo dirty.

The best part about him - and I'd say this is the best part about any decent, self-respecting crazy person - is that this guy wouldn't stop talking. The cops had this look on their face that seemed to say "Right now, I'm thinking about some paperwork I have to do .. oh, and maybe I'll go to In 'N Out for lunch ..." Meanwhile, Crazy McTrainguy was yammering on and on (and on) about how he "wasn't a part of the whole Watergate thing" and also something about how he "travels between here and France collecting music from the collectives," whatever the hell that means. Apparently "it's a repertoire that goes back eight thousand years."

The biggest issue with him seemed to be that he didn't like being threatened by the police. My favorite part of the whole encounter was when he started to threaten the cops. Not with violence, mind you. No, he threatened "to leave the country and stop all of [his] work doing translations." I guess translating the 8,000 year old music. The cops didn't seem all that broken up about it and ultimately he just got on the train when it arrived, so I guess our country is still blessed with his "talents."

By the way, speaking of crazy - here's a site called It's pretty self-explanatory.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

my new accoutrements

This past Sunday, Amanda threw a really nice birthday party for me at Dave & Buster's down in Milpitas. It was lots of fun. There was cake, and food, and goodie bags ... she really out-did herself. (Thanks, babe!)

Anyway, for those who haven't been to a Dave & Buster's, it's essentially a restaurant and grown-up arcade tossed together in one place. After we all ate, everyone moved on to the arcade where the goal quickly became Ticket-Thon 2006. Everyone was trying to amass as many tickets as possible so that they could give them all to me and I could cash them in a big new prize from the ticket reclamation booth. Mission accomplished. They managed to get 4200 tickets all together. And while that wasn't enough to get me my very own copy of Battlefront 2 for the Playstation 2 (don't really need that ...), it did manage to get me:

The Talking Donald Trump Doll

Yep. He's awesome. Highly posable and let's not forget highly talkative. When I asked him to comment for the blog here, he said "Stay focused." Generally good advice, I think. Wouldn't want my post to seem as though I'm rambling.

The other awesome ticket prize I got was this:

A completely hideous Darth Vader lamp. It's mounted on an ugly spring, glows with this hideous 70s amber color, and generally looks like someone's craft project rather than a mass-produced product. It was the only one they had there and it felt wrong not to bring something so ugly back home to the mothership here at Lucas.

Lastly, I got a white plastic skull full of green slime:

Amidst the slime are some black rubber maggots (the big cigar-looking things in Trumps hand). It's pretty gross.

Anyway, good stuff. I'll give Trump the last word here today:

"Remember: the buck starts here."

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

the underground shuttle

The Presidigo Shuttle is definitely some long-lost descendant to the Underground Railroad. Now, before you jump all over me and say "Hey, a-hole, the Underground Railroad was an enormous civil rights victory against oppression that saved thousands of lives while the Presidigo is just a bus that runs into downtown San Francisco," let me say "yes. you're right." But, CLEARLY the great-great grandson of the person who scheduled Underground Railroad stops and stations is the one in charge of organizing the Presidigo.

You see, as best as I can figure, the Presidigo is this mysterious shuttle that just shows up at random places in the city, picks up people who live or work in the Presidio, and then carts them back off behind the walls of the Lombard Gate. The thing is, there are no signs for it anywhere in town. No where. Caltrain doesn't know anything about it. BART doesn't know anything about it. MUNI doesn't know anything about it. And yet, you'll see people waiting on random, completely unmarked street corners who just somehow know that at 9:33 the Presidigo will be stopping next to Old Man Johnson's barn and that they should get on if they want to make it to freedom ... or you know, the Presidio.

But how did they figure this out? I got off of BART this morning to get onto the Presidigo and started hunting around for signs. Nothing. With no indication of where the shuttle picks people up in the morning, I decided that I'd go wait where it dropped me off the night before. I walked two blocks to the Transbay Terminal, made my way under an overpass, and stood next to a completely unassuming light post. There was no sign indicating the Presidigo. I'm lucky that I have a decent sense of direction and a pretty good memory for visual landmarks, but even I wasn't sure I was at the right random light post.

After about 10 minutes, I was convinced that I was being completely ridiculous. There was no indication that any kind of anything was going to stop under the overpass to pick people up. Just when I thought I was officially retahded for even trying this location point, some random guy walked up and also started to loiter near the light post. I can't tell you how excited I was. It was like I'd figured out a secret handshake or hacked my way around some fancy-schmancy firewall. Sure enough, a few minutes later the Presidigo pulled up and I got on.

Harry Potter has the Night Bus. England has London Below. San Francisco has the Presidigo.