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 Gametrailers.com 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.