Monday, July 31, 2006

and I refuse to meet anyone with the last name of Cockburn

I was driving into work today listening to Howard Stern and they were interviewing Meat Loaf. Apparently, Mr. Loaf is out plugging "Bat Outta Hell III, his new album due out around Halloween (sounded pretty lame to me, but I've never really been a fan).

Anyway, music aside, Loaf told an awesome story. Apparently, he was at an award show a few years back and realized that he was sitting at a table near K.D. Lang. Being a big fan of her music, he asked his people to talk to her people and see if he could come by and introduce himself. His publicist slipped away and returned a moment later saying, "Um ... sorry, man. She said she doesn't want to meet you."

Shocked at the blow-off, Meat Loaf asked why be wasn't allowed to offer her a compliment.

Turns out, K.D. Lang is a very staunch vegetarian. Her reasoning? "She said she doesn't want to meet you because your name is 'Meat.'"


Friday, July 28, 2006

the mind is the first thing that goes

Can't remember if I linked to these before or not.

Here's a bunch of Flash-based mini-games to waste some time with.


Wednesday, July 26, 2006

meeting my neighbors

There's a button in the upper right of blogger blogs that says "Next Blog." It seems to randomly select someone else's blog for you to check out.

I got curious as to who my neighbors were in the blogosphere so I clicked the button. After a boring one, a SPAM-centric one, and one in a language I didn't understand, I finally found Keet.

Keet, short for Keethana, is apparently 8 years old and blogging from what I'm assuming is England. I have to tell you, I find the blog of an 8 year-old strangely compelling.

Take for instance her take on cable cars:


I like to go in cablecar. I have not been in a cable car. cable car is so high . It is nice to go in cable car."

I find the fact that she likes to go in cable cars but hasn't been in a cable car yet fascinating. Or then there's this about phones:


Phone use to take. Every month my faher will pay the fee. My father has the record. thats what I know about [PHONE]"

... Bweh? Strangely, I feel like I know less about [PHONE] than I did before reading her entry about them. And that's the beauty of Keet. I know that I kept journals when I was 8 or so. I also know that those things were incoherent at best. But, they never ended up on the world stage of blogs and so the world never got to benefit from my thoughts about new Transformers, or whatever Ry and I had done that afternoon with our cousins, or the latest exploits of our dog, Thor.

Though, truth be told, if it wasn't for the spellcheck, my blog would look like it was written by an 8 year old. I can't spell for crap.

it's a couple of wavy lines ...

Everyone's heard of the Rorschach Test, the ink blot test that psychiatrists use to figure out just how crazy you are. Apparently the thought is that by showing the subject a meaningless image and asking them to give it meaning, what they deduce is an insight into their personality.

Well ... Analyze this.

While I've never been one for seeing Jesus in a banana chip or the Virgin Mary in a tree stump, I do find it odd that I keep seeing this strange little image that holds some meaning to me. For the last year, I've been walking outside to my parking space in our apartment building. Everyday I walk past an old blob of concrete on the driveway. And everyday it just sits there and stares at me with it's immediately recognizable form. What is it, you ask?

It's the freakin' Millennium Falcon.

Now ... seriously. Tell me that doesn't look like The Falcon.

I mean, I'm not crazy right? Well, I mean about this. Forget everything else. Actually, come to think of it, that Banana Chip Jesus kinda' looks like the old LucasArts logo

Tuesday, July 25, 2006


Yahoo! mail has a gimmicky little feature called the Avatar. Basically it gives you the ability to create a little online cartoon version of yourself that will stare at you when you log into your mail.

This is mine.
Yahoo! Avatars

It's not as fun as South Park me, but then again - what is?

Monday, July 24, 2006

hotter than a bantha's taint

Good gravy, it was hot this weekend. Manda and I don't have air conditioning in our apartment so we toughed it out on Saturday. But you know what? Toughing it out sucks. Especially when there are plenty of other places in the world that aren't toughing it out. So, we decided that on Sunday we were going to go to the movie theater.

Not just a movie, mind you. The theater. We decided to hang out there and see two movies because they had air conditioning and our apartment was 97 degrees inside. When we got to the theater, it was a sweltering 109 degrees outside.

109! That sucks. I know it's no 116 like Phoenix, AZ or 115 like Nowheresburg, SD; but still ... Mark Twain said "The coldest winter I ever had was the summer I spent in San Francisco." Not anymore, buckaroo. Now it's 109 and people are running for shelter in malls and movie theaters.

Every place that had air conditioning, ice cream, or both was packed. And so we saw two movies: Lady In The Water and The Devil Wears Prada.

I enjoyed both. However, besides the air conditioning, the highlight of the entire experience had to be the old couple that sat next to Manda and I during Devil.

The husband was the star of the couple. This guy had a phenomenal super power.

"Mild-mannered Mort Buckwald was just your average retiree until one day when he was struck by a bolt of Nuclear Lightning! From that day forward, Mort Buckwald, in the guise of Captain Pain-In-The-Ass, could forever narrate the obvious!!"

Yep. Everything that happened that was even remotely obvious, this guy decided to say out-loud in his outside voice.

"That's Meryl Streep."
"I think [Meryl Streep's evil boss character] is testing her [new assistant]."
"[The overworked assistant] should quit."
"[Meryl Streep's evil boss character's] own arrogance is her worst problem."

Wow. Thanks, asshole. I really needed to hear "The Devil Wears Prada for Dummies" on-tape while I watched the movie. It was pretty freakin' hysterical. You could literally witness each thought that passed though this guys head because he always announced it to his wife.

Mort's Brain: ..........
Mort's Brain: ..........
Mort's Brain: ..........
Mort's Brain: That assistant should quit.
Mort's Brain: ..........
Mort: "She should quit."

It was pretty awesome. Most entertaining of all is that he didn't even get the point of the whole movie. I won't ruin it for people who want to see it. But suffice it to say, he missed the point of the whole thing and therefore it was all a waste on him.

Mort rules. 109 degree weather doesn't.

Friday, July 21, 2006

nostalgia friday

Found this on youtube today. Ah, the 80s ... The glorious golden age of video games when everyone realized that the graphics were impressionistic crap at best and so they couldn't use in-game footage to try and sell the games on TV.

Here's what the commercial for centipede looked like:

I love it so much.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

so wrong ... so good ...

There's a show someone here at work just turned me on to that I'd never heard of before. It's on MTV2 and is called "Wonder Showzen." From what I've seen off of youtube, this show is brilliant.

Consider it the unwanted result of a drunken tryst between PBS and Adult Swim. It's a show done much like Sesame Street, complete with puppets and little kids, that just messes with your head for its entire duration. It's weird because, having grown up on Sesame Street, my brain is conditioned to feel like it's trying to learn something when presented with information in this format. And yet ... I think I got dumber after I watched it.

Here are some clips:

A nice little song for us all to enjoy:

What is your greatest wish?

Kid interviews at a beauty pageant:

And lastly, Wonder Showzen teaches us about Geography:

Good stuff.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

all that was missing were the tumbleweeds

Had an interesting morning this morning. David and I went to The Plant in Sausalito for a mastering session of the original tunes we're doing for Thrillville.

For David, it was a return to the recording studio he worked at as a runner early in his career. The Plant is where Metallica set up camp in the 90s. It's also where Fleetwood Mac's "Rumors" and (the one that made me happiest) Huey Lewis and The News' "Sports" were recorded.

And I'll tell you hwhat ... that place was dead, dude. Deader than an all zombie version of Joe Millionaire 3. Apparently they once had the place buzzing with projects, engineers, assistant engineers, front desk staff, runners ... Not anymore. We saw three people there today: their secretary/office manager whose name I didn't get, a guy named Drew Youngs, and the engineer that did our mastering for us - John Cuniberti. John did a great job, but while he was mastering the tunes he was telling us about how the studio now goes for weeks at a time without anyone in there using it.

The cause? Why, Protools of course. Protools and the increased ability of desktop PCs. It's something that - as a musician - I've heard about for years, but I haven't seen it in action much. This place was in survival mode and running on as skeletal a crew as they could. Interesting to see.

I'm not going to say "sad to see" because I've always thought that record companies and recording studios were ridiculously bloated to begin with. I'm a big fan of the home studio revolution and it's definitely cool to see the power to create music go into the creators hands, as opposed to a label-fed studio system.

Um. [/soapbox] Anyway, the moral of the story is: mastering was neato.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

worms, roxanne, i was afraid of worms!

I spent my day assembling lyrics to all of the songs that we're licensing for a new game so that they can be submitted to the ESRB.

Since we're licensing pop tunes by established acts, you'd think that the lyrics to these things would be online. Well, about 50% of them are. The rest aren't.

Thankfully, the vast majority of the singers enunciate to the point that I can transcribe the lyrics without any problems.

But then there's The Redwalls.

The Redwalls is a band from Illinois that sound like they're from England 30 years ago. When it comes to the lyrics, however, it's straight-up Illinoise. I don't know how this guy does it, but you can barely understand a single syllable of what he's singing.

Remember that Weird Al cover of "Smells Like Teen Spirit" with the lyrics:

It's hard to bargle nawdle zouss
With all these marbles in my mouth

Well, the Redwalls are pioneering new realms of bargle-zouss.

The first verse of one of their tunes sounds like he's saying:

Well, Tobliss takes the 55 dollar PA
He let that chick go down, he get away
And he stay alive, it don't miss a thang
Because the place that he eats is better than a wedding field

In reality, that lyric is:

Well, Dublin take the 55 diamond PA
He let that ship go down he get away
And he's saying now he don't miss a thing
Because the place where he is is better than where he been

So, thankfully I don't have to wonder about what a "wedding field" is. Still, it's nearly impossible to understand this stuff and it's not online. So what do we do for the ESRB? What if the lyrics are just a string of curses strung together by places this guy eats at?

Well, I contacted Capitol Records through our legal department and requested a lyric sheet. Now, you'd think that the record label would be able to furnish us with a complete list of lyrics.


The list they sent was incomplete and, quite frankly, pretty half-assed; or as the Redwalls would say, "hay stacked" or someshit. So, I had to sit there today replaying sections over and over and over again until I figured out what the hell this jerk was saying.

Not since I phonetically transcribed the lyrics to Queen's "Mustapha" at the age of 13 have I had more trouble understanding the lyrics to a song.

So, thanks, Redwalls. Or as Freddie Mercury kinda' maybe said: moh hoh maht deh yeh loh eh-shehlee. Whatever that means.

Monday, July 17, 2006

say it with muffins

My schedule (or, as the British say "schedule") recently has been really busy and one of the side-effects of that is a shunning of the grocery store. Manda and I end up not meal planning because we don't know when I'll be home. When we don't meal plan, we find ourselves eating out a lot more. And eating out more brings us into contact with some special people.

Recently, we've been having some interesting experiences with servers and hostesses at local San Mateo restaurants. A couple of weeks ago, we went to our local BJ's Brewhouse for the first time. When we walked in, I met the world's most sarcastic, apathetic, and grumpy hostess ever. This lady was awesome, just plain awesome. She was this 20-something Asian chick who looked like she thought she was chronically hipper-than-thou. Luckily, she went out of her way to prove that I was right about that first impression.

When I walked up to her and asked for a table for two, she smirked at me and handed me one of those restaurant pagers that vibrates to let you know the table's ready. While we waited to be seated, I watched some guy walk up to her hostess podium. She waited until he was right in front of her and making eye contact before she turned around and walked away. When my pager-thing went off a few minutes later, I walked up to her, handed her the pager, and she just looked at it. Then she looked at me and said "Whoopeeee ..." with the most sarcastic tone the word "whoopeeee" has ever received. As she seated Amanda and I, she said "Not that you asked, but I'm at work right now when I shouldn't be. You get to eat dinner and I don't." then handed us menus and walked away. Our jaws dropped and we laughed our asses off to each other. I then watched her seat table after table and tell every customer that she was jealous that they got to eat while she had to work. She was awesome and undoubtedly the worst/best hostess I've ever seen.

Last night, Manda and I went to Mimi's Cafe in Foster City. Our waitress seemed like a recent graduate of the Mimi's University for English As A Second Language, although I doubt she was valedictorian. She did her best with some broken English to take our orders and then wandered off. No problems. Food arrived. No problems. She took my soda glass to refill it. Pretty much the rest of the meal went by with out my soda returning. I didn't care much, but Amanda noticed and flagged the woman down who instantly ran off to refill the soda.

What was odd is that she then returned with two sodas "to make apologies." It might not sound odd, but it's kinda' weird to have someone give you two drinks and then feel like you're obligated to drink them both. I just sat there scratching my head and laughing about it with Amanda for a bit. Strangely, she then returned a minute or two later with a styrofoam food container in her hands. She was talking quietly as she opened it and said "For my apologies," showed us a spice muffin, and then placed it on the table, bowed, and left.

?? I don't know where this lady grew up, but apparently food duplicates is how you say "sorry." Anyway, I'd recommend dining in Foster City. It's apparently always an adventure.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

i believe it

from Overheard In New York:

I Didn't Know Cheney Had Kids That Age

Amherst alum: So we're looking over the applications, and there are all these amazing kids. Won the Westinghouse, worked for the UN. And the questions: "Who do you most look up to?" "My parents, because they're immigrants, and they taught me to work hard." And with each of them it's like, "in". And then we get to this one, it's like, "What's a recent intellectually stimulating experience?" The answer is, "I love my dog, walking my dog." Stuff like that. On and on, really ridiculous. And then, "Who do you most look up to?" The answer: "my parents, especially my dad. He's the President of the United States." And we look at each other, and Steve is like, "in."


Overheard by: Julia Mandell

via Overheard in New York, Jul 16, 2006

Friday, July 14, 2006

the brick testament

If you haven't seen this, it's worth a gander.

Some industrious (read: bored, unemployed, or both) person is constructing the Bible with LEGOs.

It's pretty clever. Be sure to stop by the Laws page to brush up on all the things you do that you shouldn't be doing.

Such as:

'If you hear that in one of the towns, there are men who are telling people to go and worship other gods, it is your duty to look into the matter and examine it.

If it is proved and confirmed, you must put the inhabitants of that town to the sword.'

You must lay the town under the curse of destruction, the town and everything in it.'

Look out New York! Watch out, LA! I apparently have some sort of duty to deliver unto you an ass-whoopin'!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

family reunion

After arriving late last night, my sister and my brother are now both in town for a handful of day and staying with Amanda and I. It's really nice. I haven't seen either of them in a while - my sister since Christmas and my brother apparently for about a year or so. We're a very scattered family.

Apparently I'm so excited to see them that I've lost all sense of common decency and I'm now cutting off people mid-sentence whenever they're talking to ask one of them some new random question. Mostly it's Amanda who's been on the receiving end of my lame interruptions. Gotta' stop doing that. It sucks.

I think we might be driving some go-karts tonight. As far as I can tell, that's the plan. In the meantime, I'm writing my first piece of orchestral music in two years today.

Can you say "rusty?" Great! I knew you could.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

um ... how about "shut the hell up"?

Time for July's Ridiculous Lawsuit of the Month.

Starring: The Sea Scouts

For those who don't know, the Sea Scouts are apparently some kind of water-based off-shoot of the Boy Scouts and are where young boys can learn how to make campfires on boats and help old ladies cross lakes or some shit. Provided, that is, that you aren't gay or an atheist. In keeping with official Boy Scouts of America nutitude, heathen Sea Scout wannabes aren't allowed to learn about civic pride or knot tying.

The Sea Scouts of Berkeley, CA were apparently using the Berkeley Marina due in part to the fact that the Berkeley Marina doesn't charge birthing fees to non-profit organizations.

Oops. One exception.

In accordance to local Berkeley laws, The Berkeley Marina's "no birthing fees" policy only applies to organizations who don't discriminate and summarily, the Sea Scouts were made to pay up.

Apparently, being discriminated against makes you feel pretty crappy (go figure) and this new-found karmic pang of human feeling pissed off the Sea Scouts when they discovered that they don't like being discriminated against for discriminating against others. And so they're suing Berkeley.


What the fuck? Congrats, Sea Scouts, on industriously figuring out how to go for both your "Frivolous Lawsuit" and "Hypocritical Asshole" badges all in one go.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

happy birthday, ceymick

Yes, today is the big 30 birthday for everyone's favorite infrequent commenter, Ceymick - better known to Hoil fans across the globe as the one and only Mr. Bitch himself, Jamie Soundz.

So, in honor of Mr. Bitch's birthday, here's a list of 30 things that he is now older than:

1. Pretty much every home video game except for PONG
2. Punk as a recognized genre of Rock
3. The Space Shuttle program
4. The band The Talking Heads
5. The Concorde supersonic jet
6. The Sundance Film Festival
7. EMI Records
8. The Seattle Mariners
9. Jim Henson's Creature Shop
10. Both C-SPAN and ESPN
11. The collective careers of The Beatles, Sam Kinison, and Jaleel White added together
12. The country of Burkina Faso
13. 24 Hour Fitness
14. J. Crew
15. The Disney Channel
16. Legionnaire's Disease (only by a month!)
17. The 30th anniversaries of the deaths of both Mao Zedong and Elvis
18. Microsoft
19. The sitcom Three's Company
20. The 30th anniversary of the last use of the guillotine in France
21. Stealth aircraft
22. The comic strip Garfield
23. The discovery of Pluto's moon, Charon
24. In Vitro Fertilization
25. The Susan B. Anthony dollar
26. The Guardian Angels vigilante justice group
27. The Mir Space Station
28. Alicia Keys, Nick Carter, and Ashton Kutcher
29. Everything Star Wars
30. And lastly, me

Happy birthday, old man.

Monday, July 10, 2006

they do that hindu that they do so well

Yeah, this weekend we went to a Hindu/Jewish wedding, in that order. Friends of ours of different cultural backgrounds got married and wanted to have both a traditional Hindu ceremony and a traditional Jewish ceremony. So they did - one right after another (with a brief cocktail interlude between them) - and it's extremely interesting how many similarities there were between the two seemingly different cultures.

Hindu wedding:
- Starts with a special prayer to all of the gods in the pantheon
- The couple must circle each other 7 times
- There is a lot of blessing with food and fruit
- The couple performs actions together while holding each others hands
- The entire ceremony takes place under a traditional four-posted canopy of fabric

Jewish wedding:
- Starts with a special prayer to God
- The couple must circle each other 7 times
- There is a lot of blessing with wine and discussion of fruit
- The couple performs actions together while holding each others hands
- The entire ceremony takes place under a traditional four-posted canopy of fabric

I thought that was an extremely interesting number of coincidences. I mean, Christian weddings don't have that many similarities with those two sets of practices. And a drive-thru wedding for damn sure doesn't have any similarities with anything else.

Well, accept maybe another place that has a drive-thru wedding package.

Friday, July 07, 2006


... in that today is the third day of my week. Nevermind.

I'm totally freakin' busy. You know who seems to have a little too much time on his hands, though? David Collins' friend Sam who has taken the time to create deleted audio scenes from the Star Wars films.

These things are pretty funny. Most are too long and need to be edited down about 30%. But when they're on, they're on.

My favorite revelation from these clips? The apparent difference between Jedi and Sith is that the Sith think balls are funny while the Jedi don't.

Who knew?

I'd recommend the last two listed on the page. Sam is performing all of the impressions, doing all of the sound design, and tackling all of the music edits himself. Well done, Sam. These things have had me saying "Fuck that guy!" for the last two days straight.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

TGI(W)* that since today is the middle of my three day week, it's functioning like Wednesday - even though it's Thursday. Whatever. I'm going for consistency here, people.

Today was (is) long. Longer than a Marfan wang. My spreadsheet is coming along nicely (yawn), but it's been a constant battle to fend off distractions today. I had to look at new builds of games, I had meetings in the morning, I had a brief mix session for Thrillville. All the while my spreadsheet sat unfinished, and it needs to be done today. Then this evening, I was in the role of tour guide and Audio Department representative for a potential contractor. "Here's our studio. Here's our live room and built-in Foley pit. Here's my spreadsheet that has me so busy that we're looking to hire contractors." I think he was impressed with the spreadsheet.

Good times.

Now it's 9 PM (9 PM already!!) and I'm still not done the spreadsheet, so I'm staying late to finish it. Blah. All the while my brother and sister are living it up in LA piercing things and blowing things up with Mentos. If I were a Napoleon Dynamite soundboard, this is the point where I would say "Luckyyy."

Either that or "I caught you a delicious bass."

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

TGI ... W?

What a nice long weekend ...

Manda and I tackled a whole bunch of stuff - things around the house we'd been putting off, looking at more wedding locations, seeing An Inconvenient Truth, etc. It was good.

Now that I'm back, I'm back to music.


Er ... or back to spreadsheets? This is the side of game music that people don't know about. For every piece of music that goes into a game, there's a huge ePaper trail that follows it to track its production status, its implementation status, its bug status, etc. So, today I'm deep into working out implementation notes. It's a tedious process - but good to do after a four day weekend.

And today is Todd Davies last day here at LEC. Todd has been helming the sound design on Star Wars Galaxies for the past 4 years. As of today, he's moving on to other opportunities and I just wanted to take this moment to wish him well.

Not that he really reads this ... but, you know. He's a good guy, a great sound designer, and we'll miss him around here.