Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Well, it might not be a winter wonderland covered in snow and resembling some kind of Thomas Kinkade calendar, but winter has finally come to San Francisco. And I don't just mean this year has moved into a colder phase. I mean that in all of the years I've been living in CA, this is the first year that I really feel like I've experienced anything approaching an East Coast winter. This morning, for instance, I'm blogging while I wait for my windshield to defrost.


I haven't had a need for an ice scraper in years. Next up, snow!

Friday, December 12, 2008

adventures in home

Last night I downloaded and checked out the public beta for the new Playstation Home, Sony's online community hub for the Playstation 3. Basically, it's a system much like Second Life (or LucasArts' old "Habitat" for that matter) where you create an online avatar and then wander around "town" talking to other people's avatars, playing games, or shopping at the Mall.

I've never played any MMOs, or online multiplayer games like Team Fortress, Halo, or Counterstrike. As such, this was my first real experience with any kind of online community socialization since the days of AOL chat rooms. It's weird. Very weird. The addition of human avatars hasn't actually changed much, if any, of the strange anonymous online behavior that exists.

There are still people who will meet, chat, interact civilly, and then move on whenever they feel the need. I spent some time talking to a high school English teacher and we chatted all about how they are finding that teens are typing text speak like "OMG" or "lol" into English papers they turn in. Fairly interesting.

Then there are still the trolls who will run around like hormonal 13 year-olds (probably because they're hormonal 13 year-olds) and pester any of the female avatars, threaten to beat up any of the male avatars, and yell things like "I SMELL PUSSY!!" over voice chat.

It also took about one full minute before I saw one avatar walk up to another and say "Hi there, I'm from Sony Online Technical Assistance and there's a problem with your account. I need you to give me your password so that Sony IT can fix it." When the person they were talking to said "There's no problem with my account," Sony IT then proceeded to say "ROTFL ROTFL ROTFL" and started dancing.

Speaking of dancing, there also seems to be an odd way of acting like a jerk in Home. Lots of people were running up to other people, standing directly right in front of the other person nose-to-nose, and then making their avatar dance. Trying to imagine this in real life is ridiculous. If I were ever at a real park where groups of people ran through yelling "I SMELL PUSSY!" and then started to dance in my personal space, I'd never go back there again.

Thinking of it in those terms, I makes me wonder if I ever really want/need to go back to Home again. Should the promise of online communities be held hostage by douche bags? At least the AOL model presented people with the ability to hang out with other people with similar interests. I wonder if things like avatar book clubs, avatar theater troupes, or avatar bands will eventually evolve in Home as they have in Second Life.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

this was on facebook

So, there's probably a virus hidden in it somewhere. But, apparently, if you've seen more than 85 of these 239 movies, you're supposed to have no life. Since everyone needs to evaluate their life every now and again based off of a random list of crap generated by some 14 year-old web monkey, let's see how I do (I already know what the answer will be):

(x) Rocky Horror Picture Show
(x) Grease
(x) Pirates of the Caribbean
(x) Pirates of the Caribbean 2: Dead Man's Chest
( ) Boondock Saints
(x) Fight Club
(x) Starsky and Hutch
(x) Neverending Story
(x) Blazing Saddles
(x) Airplane
Total: 9

(x) The Princess Bride
(x) Anchorman
(x) Napoleon Dynamite
(x) Labyrinth
( ) Saw
( ) Saw II
( ) White Noise
( ) White Oleander
(x) Anger Management
(x) 50 First Dates
( ) The Princess Diaries
( ) The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement
Total so far: 15

(x) Scream
(x) Scream 2
( ) Scream 3
( ) Scary Movie
( ) Scary Movie 2
( ) Scary Movie 3
( ) Scary Movie 4
(x) American Pie
( ) American Pie 2
( ) American Wedding
( ) American Pie Band Camp
Total so far: 18

(x) Harry Potter 1
(x) Harry Potter 2
(x) Harry Potter 3
(x) Harry Potter 4
(x) Resident Evil 1
(x) Resident Evil 2
(x) The Wedding Singer
( ) Little Black Book
(x) The Village
(x) Lilo & Stitch
So Far: 27

(x) Finding Nemo
(x) Finding Neverland
(x) Signs
(x) The Grinch
( ) Texas Chainsaw Massacre (original 1974 edition)
( ) Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning
( ) White Chicks
( ) Butterfly Effect
(x) 13 Going on 30
( ) I, Robot
( ) Robots
Total so far: 32

(x) Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story
(x) Universal Soldier
(x) Lemony Snicket: A Series Of Unfortunate Events
( ) Along Came Polly
(x) Deep Impact
(x) King Pin
(x) Never Been Kissed
(x) Meet The Parents
( ) Meet the Fockers
(x) Eight Crazy Nights
( ) Joe Dirt
Total so far: 40

( ) A Cinderella Story
(x) The Terminal
( ) The Lizzie McGuire Movie
( ) Passport to Paris
(x) Dumb & Dumber
( ) Dumber & Dumberer
(x) Final Destination
( ) Final Destination 2
( ) Final Destination 3
(x) Halloween (old version)
(x) The Ring
( ) The Ring 2
( ) Surviving X-MAS
(x) Flubber
Total so far: 46

(x) Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle
( ) Practical Magic
( ) Chicago
(x) Ghost Ship
(x) From Hell
(x) Hellboy
( ) Secret Window
( ) I Am Sam
(x) The Whole Nine Yards
( )The Whole Ten Yards
Total so far: 51

( ) The Day After Tomorrow
( ) Child's Play
( ) Seed of Chucky
( ) Bride of Chucky
( ) Ten Things I Hate About You
( ) Just Married
(x) Gothika
(x) Nightmare on Elm Street
(x) Sixteen Candles
( ) Remember the Titans
( ) Coach Carter
(x) The Grudge
( ) The Grudge 2
(x) The Mask
( ) Son Of The Mask
Total so far: 56

( ) Bad Boys
( ) Bad Boys 2
( ) Joy Ride
( ) Lucky Number Sleven
( ) Ocean's Eleven
( ) Ocean's Twelve
(x) Bourne Identity
(x) Bourne Supremecy
(x) Lone Star
( ) Bedazzled (Original)
(x) Predator I
( ) Predator II
(x) The Fog (Original)
(x) Ice Age
( ) Ice Age 2: The Meltdown
( ) Curious George
Total so far:62

(x) Independence Day
( ) Cujo
( ) A Bronx Tale
( ) Darkness Falls
( ) Christine
(x) ET
( ) Children of the Corn
( ) My Bosses Daughter
( ) Maid in Manhattan
( ) War of the Worlds
(x) Rush Hour
( ) Rush Hour 2
Total so far: 65

( ) Best Bet
( ) How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days
(x) She's All That
(x) Calendar Girls
( ) Sideways
(x) Mars Attacks
(x) Event Horizon
( ) Ever After
(x) Wizard of Oz
(x) Forrest Gump
(x) Big Trouble in Little China
(x) The Terminator
(x) The Terminator 2
(x) The Terminator 3
Total so far: 75

(x) X-Men
(x) X2
(x) X-3
(x) Spider-Man
(x) Spider-Man 2
( ) Sky High
( ) Jeepers Creepers
( ) Jeepers Creepers 2
(x) Catch Me If You Can
(x) The Little Mermaid
( ) Freaky Friday
( ) Reign of Fire
( ) The Skulls
( ) Cruel Intentions
( ) Cruel Intentions 2
( ) The Hot Chick
(x) Shrek
(x) Shrek 2
Total so far: 84

( ) Swimfan
( ) Miracle on 34th street
(x) Old School
(x) The Notebook
( ) K-Pax
( ) Krippendorf's Tribe
( ) A Walk to Remember
( ) Ice Castles
( ) Boogeyman
(x) The 40-year-old-virgin
Total so far: 87 (I officially have no life)

(x) Lord of the Rings Fellowship of the Ring
(x) Lord of the Rings The Two Towers
(x) Lord of the Rings Return Of the King
(x) Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark
(x) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
(x) Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
Total so far: 93

( ) Baseketball
( ) Hostel
(x) Waiting for Guffman
( ) House of 1000 Corpses
( ) Devils Rejects
(x) Elf
( ) Highlander
( ) Mothman Prophecies
( ) American History X
( ) Three
Total so Far: 95

( ) The Jacket
( ) Kung Fu Hustle
( ) Shaolin Soccer
( ) Night Watch
(x) Monsters Inc.
(x) Titanic
(x) Monty Python and the Holy Grail
(x) Shaun Of the Dead
( ) Willard
Total so far: 99

( ) High Tension
( ) Club Dread
(x) Hulk
(x) Dawn Of the Dead
(x) Hook
(x) Chronicle Of Narnia The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe
(x) 28 days later
( ) Orgazmo
( ) Phantasm
(x) Waterworld
Total so far: 105

( ) Kill Bill vol 1
( ) Kill Bill vol 2
(x) Mortal Kombat
( ) Wolf Creek
( ) Kingdom of Heaven
( ) The Hills Have Eyes
( ) I Spit on Your Grave aka the Day of the Woman
( ) The Last House on the Left
( ) Re-Animator
(x) Army of Darkness
Total so far: 107

(x) Star Wars Ep. I The Phantom Menace
(x) Star Wars Ep. II Attack of the Clones
(x) Star Wars Ep. III Revenge of the Sith
(x) Star Wars Ep. IV A New Hope
(x) Star Wars Ep. V The Empire Strikes Back
(x) Star Wars Ep. VI Return of the Jedi
(x) Ewoks Caravan Of Courage
(x) Ewoks The Battle For Endor
Total so far: 115

(x) The Matrix
(x) The Matrix Reloaded
(x) The Matrix Revolutions
( ) Animatrix
(x) Evil Dead
(x) Evil Dead 2
(x) Team America: World Police
( ) Red Dragon
(x) Silence of the Lambs
(x) Hannibal
Final Total: 123

So. I've seen 123 of them. Honestly, I think you could have shortened the list down to two items:

If you've seen either of these two movies, you have no life:
(x) Ewoks Caravan Of Courage
(x) Ewoks The Battle For Endor

Done. 100% no life. Honestly, I'm equal parts proud and ashamed that "The Notebook" is the one that put me over the 85 movie mark. Damn that movie and its gut-wrenching humanity ...

i'm at it again

There I go again ... not updating my blog for weeks at a time.

I've been busy. Very busy. Unfortunately, it's nothing I can talk about yet. Still, I'm having fun and working at a pretty brisk pace these days.

Other than work, yesterday was Ry's birthday. He's 31 and officially in his 30s now. I wanted to take him out for meatball sandwiches for lunch to this place in SF that he told me has the best meatball sandwiches in the city.

Unfortunately, there was absolutely nowhere to park. At one point I turned onto a street looking for parking and was immediately getting honked at like crazy by the cab behind me. "What the fuck?! Why is this guy such a jerk? I'm going, jerk! Relax!" we yelled at him from within my car. Of course, it was about 30 seconds later that we realized I'd turned the wrong way down a one-way street and the jerk-cab was actually trying to be nice-cab by alerting me to my stupidity.

Didn't work.

Anyway, Ry eventually got out of the car, ran into the pizza place, and picked up the sandwiches while I drove around outside. He's right; the sandwich is very good. Best meatball sandwich I've had in a while. Of course, it wasn't until I'd dropped him off back at home and was halfway to work before it dawned on me that I hadn't treated him to lunch. He'd treated me to lunch since I was driving around outside. So much for my birthday plan.

Oh well. We had an adventure. And really, that's all it really comes down to ... stories to tell your grandchildren.

Old Man Ry: Gather 'round, children. Did I ever tell you about the time your grand-uncle stiffed me a birthday sandwich?

So. Happy Birthday, Ry. :)

Monday, November 17, 2008

little big obsession

Amanda and I have been playing Sony's Little Big Planet for the last few weeks in a fairly heavy rotation. If you don't know it:

I'm totally in love with it. We've beaten all of the single player levels. We've aced (completed without dying) most of the levels. And we're really close to having found 100% of the prizes hidden within all of the levels.

With all of that so far along, I've been turning more to designing my own levels lately. What's interesting is that we're finding that Amanda and I are both really good at different parts of the level design process. She's a fantastic gameplay engineer - able to design the mechanical contraptions behind puzzles, vehicles, etc. I'm more of an environment artist. I have a knack for the visual aesthetic of a level or enemy design.

Together, we've been making some really cool stuff so far. Unfortunately, not much of it is actually finished. So, we really have yet to publish much of it. We had created a really fantastic Jack and the Beanstalk level during the public beta, but didn't publish it in time and it evaporated. One of these days, I hope to redo it.

Anyway. I'm obsessed. Great work, Sony (and specifically Media Molecule). Oh and the music, sound, and voice in the game rule as well. If you have a PS3, you owe it to yourself to check the game out.

Friday, November 07, 2008


That's how much gas was this morning when I went to go get it. It's down about $2/gallon from what it was about 5 months ago. It also happened to cost me about $20 less to fill up my tank. Craziness.

Don't get me wrong. It's a good kind of craziness. But still ... that's some wild price fluctuations. And if it's at $2.63 here, does that mean it's under $2 in the rest of the country?

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

it's morning again in America again

President Obama.

Though beaten, battered, and dragged through the filth of 20 months-worth of attacks, the spirit of America lives on tonight across the entire country. All is possible. All is doable. The American Dark Ages are over. Bring forth The American Renaissance.

Welcome back, intellect. Welcome back, civility, dignity, and The American Dream.

It's been pretty rough without you around.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Friday, October 24, 2008

what's up, b?

This is brilliant.

Anyone know the story behind it?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

i'm inanely rambling on multiple websites these days

And by that I mean that there's a new interview with me up on all about being the Music Supervisor for LucasArts' newest release, Fracture.

I think that's just about enough hypertext links for one sentence, don't you?

Monday, October 20, 2008

arming the stupid is dangerous


This is driving me nuts. You want to be bigoted and ignorant and hate Obama because he's black? As much as I hate to say it, you have a constitutional right to say so. You want to be xenophobic and ignorant and hate Obama because his name sounds Muslim? Fine. It's an idiotic reason, but it's just as superficial a reason as saying that McCain is too old. You want to consume nothing but sound bites and hate Obama because of his tenuous links to William Ayers? I think you're wrong, but political affiliations have long been scrutinized and this is nothing new.

A big fucking "HOWEVER" goes here, though.

The Republican party has been cris-crossing the country hammering on two completely separate points.

Point 1: Obama might secretly be Muslim because his middle name is "Hussein"
Point 2: Obama might secretly be "anti-American" because of his association with domestic terrorist Bill Ayers

Two separate attacks. The Republican party is relentlessly slinging this mud from their podiums to rabid audiences that are lapping it up. But here's the problem. There's this completely irresponsible disregard for how their dangerous messages are consumed. Watch the video from Al Jazeera of the rally in Ohio that made it's way around the blogs last week and it becomes apparent that the stupid of our country can't understand the separation between the two attacks. The Republican party has now misled people into believing that Obama is an Islamic terrorist.

That's not the point McCain/Palin are trying to make, but their irresponsible, scattershot accusations are combining into dangerous lies. And no one seems to have any interest in clearing up the confusion of their message. To McCain/Palin, hatred for Obama equals votes - even if they get them by turning a US Senator into the specter of a second 9/11 in the eyes of stupid, gullible white people.

The whole thing is disgusting. Dangerous, irresponsible, dishonorable, and completely un-American.

Friday, October 17, 2008

my router-led route home

For those who don't know, whenever you access the Internet from an iPhone your iPhone checks to see if there are any available wifi connections nearby that you can access. A little window will pop up showing you the names of any and all available wifi hubs and whether or not they are free or locked and require passwords to access.

Usually, there's only one or two. Maybe 5 or so if I'm in my apartment. The other day, though, I was sitting at a long red light and fired up the Intarwebs on my phone while in downtown San Francisco. I was amazed at the sheer number of available hubs and realize that if I didn't select any of them or hit "cancel" that I'd be able to see the names of the hubs change as I drove my way through the city.

I found myself fascinated with the names that people choose for their wireless routers. By far, most people don't seem to change the default name so there are lots of things labeled "linksys" or "2WIRE." A number of others are by actual locations(like The Holiday Inn) and they take the time to rename theirs, although the on-ramp to 101 South also seems to have its own router named "On Ramp."

But then there are the rest, the ones that are just random home users who take the time to name their wifi connections with something that means something to them. These are the ones I found myself fascinated with. Lots of people seem to be unaware of the fact that anyone can see the name of their routers. Such as "susan" or Georgina Rice who named her router "georginarice." Then there are the people who name their routers after pet names like "Sweetie Pea," "muffin," "this little piggy," or "stinky." There are also the people like "Team Awesome," "boner," "giggidy," and "FratNetPullsHellaTail" who seem to want people to see the names of their routers.

By far, though, my favorite I've seen so far is the one near the Presidio labeled "this has a virus." I can't decide if it is merely an attempt to dissuade people from mooching off of their wifi or if they have multiple routers and gave them different names while trying to do some kind of troubleshooting. Either way, that name rocks.

If someone wanted to, they could use their iPhone to drive around San Francisco and create a map of the city's wifi connections. Just be careful of the one with a virus.

Monday, October 13, 2008

recent things I like

- Little baby Lucy and her tiny weeks-old self
- The movie "City of Ember" and its beautiful art direction
- The beta release of Sony's "Little Big Planet" for the PS3
- The projected electoral count results and their upward trending
- The downfall of fear-mongering and hatred in US politics within the last month

Friday, October 10, 2008

i think we all had a hunch

Great video up on The Jed Report right now. I'm embedding the YouTube link below. Worth a watch.

Obama Knew It Was Coming All Along

how low can we go?

Two weeks ago, I logged in to check my 401k only to find that my Personal Rate of Return for the year so far was at -10%.

This morning it's at -26%. And falling.

See ya', retirement. Good thing I'm young.

Monday, October 06, 2008

it's sweeping the nation!

Or, you know, not. Regardless, here's a little game I thought up called "Star Wars Character or Team Member!" Basically, I'll give you a list of 15 names, you tell me which are the names of characters in the Star Wars universe, or the names of people who worked on The Force Unleashed. And no googling. All names come from either the Force Unleashed credits or the Star Wars wiki known as Wookieepedia. Answers tomorrow.

1. Amel Bakli
2. Rego Sen
3. Brett Rector
4. Cane Adiss
5. Jett Lucas
6. Silas Draver
7. Mirena Rhee
8. Siddarth Achrekar
9. Dru Gifford
10. Dann Yap
11. Tam Azur-Jamin
12. Wil Dimas
13. Lina Mardec
14. Ko Sai
15. Hannah Balmor

Monday, September 29, 2008

i'll bring 'em to ya

There's a site called that takes generic questions similar to those asked my Katie Couric in her interview with Sarah Palin and generates randomized answers in the style of The Governor's answers.

Here's my favorite so far:

Q: What is your foreign policy experience?

I said to him was, if you go back in history and if you really think I can give you examples of things that John McCain has done, that has to exercise all options out there on the side of the earth. It is obvious to me who the bad guys are. The bad guys are the good guys. Through reform, absolutely. Look at the oversight that has much to do things better. But it is the taxpayers looking to bail out. But ultimately what the bailout does is help those who are concerned about the need to reform government. We have got to remember what the desire is in this one and who the good guys.

Friday, September 26, 2008

my ancestors' legacy

Brief history lesson: In 1687, two brothers named George and Michael Harland landed in New Castle, Delaware and began the Harland/Harlan/Harlin family's colonization of America. From those two original Harlands, the Harland/Harlan/Harlin family spread out throughout the country, carrying with it three different last names since illiteracy was rampant and spelling more of a luxurious hobby than a necessity in those days.

Among the various tendrils of our ancestors that fanned out across the West was Silas Harlan, a hunter, trapper, and soldier for the Revolutionary Army, who founded Harlan's Station in what would later be named after him in Harlan County, Kentucky.

Fast forward two hundred and thirty years to this video, filmed on location in Harlan County, Kentucky.

So, I guess you can blame Ry and I if you want. And I know you will.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

earth's population is up by one

Well, probably lots more than one. But only one that matters as far as I'm concerned. Yesterday, friends of Amanda and I had their baby, the adorable little baby Lucy, and today Amanda and I got to stop by the hospital for a visit.

As we were walking up to the maternity ward, I had this small voice in my head that just kept saying:

don't break the baby don't break the baby don't break the baby don't break the baby don't break the baby don't break the baby don't break the baby don't break the baby don't break the baby don't break the baby don't break the baby don't break the baby don't break the baby don't break the baby don't break the baby don't break the baby don't break the baby don't break the baby

So, when we got in there and I didn't know how to hold her, that made me nervous. When I handed her to someone and didn't support her neck well enough, that freaked me out. Then when I held her a second time, she threw up. So ... I know it's not my fault. But the joke then quickly became "Great, Jess. You broke her." To which the voice in my head began freaking out a bit.

I remember when I was 13 and was watching my baby sister while no one else was home. I took her out of her playpen and accidentally bonked her head in the process. I was convinced that I had just ruined her somehow that wouldn't be apparent until she was about 18 months older and people started to realized that she couldn't read/walk/spell/whatever.

I have irrational fears.

Monday, September 22, 2008

someone explain this to me

For two years, Amanda and I have been trying to buy a house. We saved our money. We hung up the phone on the predatory lender who asked Amanda if someone at work could fraudulently sign something claiming that she made twice her actual salary. We did budgets. We worked with a financial advisor. We worked with a mortgage broker and three real estate agents.

We were careful. Slow. Deliberate.

Where did that get us? Nowhere. No house.

Now the financial markets are tanking and taxpayers are going to be made to pick up the tab.

Rather than living in our own cautiously bought home, Amanda and I are going to be made to help foot the bill for all of the a-holes who were stupid, careless, greedy, etc. And we still don't have a house of our own.

What is the impact on taxpayers going to be? How is it going to affect me and my wife? Why do the careful and intelligent have to fix things for the stupid and reckless?

Thursday, September 11, 2008


I find myself obsessively checking left-wing political blogs in the wake of the political conventions. The side effect? Rage. Anger. The physical manifestations of the "if you're not angry, you're not paying attention" bumper sticker.

I've been obsessively checking forums and reviews for the public's response to The Force Unleashed. If a comment is negative, I find myself instantly defensive. Yes, there are plenty of positive comments too, but the negative ones are the ones that stick with me.

I've been obsessively reading online about the shrinking middle class in California due to the crazy cost of living. I keep checking on the health of the mortgage industry, the banks, the rapidly falling price of oil but slowly slumping price of gas, and the soaring stock prices of oil companies that goes along with it all.

I want to relax. I need to relax. Apparently the advent of the Internet has brought with it a million little points of rage into my computer and over the last few weeks I seem unable to look away.

Monday, September 08, 2008

english is dumb

Hey, how come "publicly" ends with just an "ly" while "domestically" ends with "ally"? No one says "do-mes-tic-ah-ly." English is stupid.

Friday, August 29, 2008

disgusting hypocracy

This morning John McCain announced Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate for the '08 election. While I'm happy to see another woman in the running for the upper echelons of elected office in the United States, I can't help but wonder how much of this move is simply the McCain campaign's attempt to capitalize on disenchanted Hillary democrats and independents. It's clear that the pick of Palin undercuts McCain's main argument against Obama - that of a question of experience. Still it will be interesting to see how this all plays out.

However, Gov. Palin's acceptance speech wasn't over a mere 3 minutes before NPR had a Republican political consultant on the air talking about how great a move this is by the McCain campaign. As with everything in a post-Rovian political landscape, it's the way he framed the argument that has me seething with disgust at the ridiculous hypocrisy of the Republican party right now. This guy actually had the gall to say that he was happy to see Palin selected because he was "really disappointed" to see how Hillary Clinton was treated during the primaries.

Are you fucking kidding me?!

It wasn't the Democrats who described Hillary's voice as shrill, nagging, and every word out of her mouth as being equal to "Take out the garbage!" It was the Republicans. Repeatedly.

It wasn't the Democrats who said that they didn't want a woman in charge of the nuclear button because once a month PMS would put the world at risk of World War III. It was the Republicans. Repeatedly.

It wasn't the Democrats who turned Hillary Clinton's cleavage into a campaign issue. It was the Republicans. For a solid month.

And this isn't even to begin to investigate all of the hundreds - if not thousands - of attacks levied on Sen. Clinton over the last 16 years by the Republicans simply because she's an intelligent, out-spoken Democrat and ex-First Lady.

In late-August of 2008 they are suddenly very upset about how she was treated? She was treated that way by you, you fuckin' nutcases! How is it even remotely possible to demean and degrade a candidate and then turn around and bemoan how sad the fact is that she was demeaned. Sarah Palin announces Hillary Clinton's name to a room full of Republicans and they cheer now. Why now? They used to boo.

It's fucking disgusting.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

a question for the ages

Oh man ... oh good gravy ....

I had seen this a while ago, but forgotten how utterly hysterical it is. My stomach hurts from laughing at it.

How Is Babby Formed

Sometimes the Internet is phenomenal.

happy birthday, babe!

For those who don't know, today is Amanda's 28th birthday. So, besides all of the "Happy Birthday" singing that I've done, the presents I gave her this morning at midnight, and our day in Santa Cruz on Sunday, I thought I'd celebrate her birthday here in my blog with a list of 28 different characters from Strawberry Shortcake, a cartoon favorite of hers when she was young.

Happy birthday, babe! I love you. : )

1. Apple Dumplin'
2. Peppermint Fizz
3. Huckleberry Hash
4. Seaberry Delight
5. Apple Ducklin'
6. Honey Pie Pony
7. Cheesecake Mouse
8. Tea Blossom
9. Crepes Suzette
10. Eclair Poodle
11. Frosty Puff
12. Banana Bongo Monkey
13. Coco Nutwork
14. Tangerina Torta
15. Sourball Skunk
16. The Berry Fairies
17. Cherry Cuddler
18. Plum Puddin'
19. Watermelon Kiss
20. Annie Oatmeal
21. Chocolate Chipmunk
22. Shoofly Frog
23. Triple Ripple Toucan
24. Kiwi Sea Turtle
25. Sugar Woofer English Sheepdog
26. Mr. Sun
27. Vanilla Icing Lamb

and what might be my favorite:

28. Baby Needs-A-Name

Sunday, August 17, 2008

i'm living in the future!!

This is the first post to oogu that I've ever written on my new iPhone.

I feel like this puts me that much closer to wearing a silver jumpsuit and having jet-pack parking on the Moon.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

flavors of maturity

I've been listening to the new Alanis Morissette album this morning, "Flavors of Entanglements." I have to say, I'm still a fan. Besides having a knack for working with great producers (this time Guy Sigsworth of Frou Frou fame, with help from college friend of Ry and I Sean McGhee), her writing continues to mature in a way that mirrors my own maturation, and as such I constantly find myself at just the right age to really connect with her lyrics and her songs' sentiments.

My favorite track on the album is one called "Incomplete" and it's a great way to end an album. Basically, it's about growing up and realizing that no matter how old you get, there's always more to observe and learn from. It's definitely something I find myself more able to relate to recently. "Incomplete" is the kind of self-reflecting piece of art that makes me feel at peace, makes me feel like someone else is going through the same kinds of internal struggles I am, and makes me feel connected to 30-something humanity. I'm sure all of this sounds ridiculous, but it's how I feel. And after all, art is supposed to make you feel.

"One day I'll find relief
I'll be arrived
And I'll be a friend to my friends who know how to be friends
One day I'll be at peace
I'll be enlightened and I'll be married with children and maybe adopt

One day I will speak freely
I'll be less afraid
And measured outside of my poems and lyrics and art
One day I will be faith-filled
I'll be trusting and spacious authentic and grounded and home

I have been running so sweaty my whole life
Urgent for a finish line
And I have been missing the rapture this whole time of being forever incomplete"

Sunday, August 10, 2008

what was sundered and undone ...

Tomorrow is my birthday, and to celebrate Amanda and I spent the weekend out at the movies. Not recent movies, mind you. No, the Castro Theater here in San Francisco was showing double features all weekend of what it called "Analog Adventures" - as in, imaginative movies from a pre-digital era - as in, the '80s. So, concept aside, what it meant was that we spent Saturday watching The Never-Ending Story and Labyrinth and Sunday watching Legend and The Dark Crystal (the last one with Ry joining us).

I loved it. The Dark Crystal is one of my favorite movies ever, definitely in my top ten. (Come to think of it, what are my top ten?) It was great getting to see it on the big screen again. In fact, it was great getting to see a few of them on the big screen at all as I'd never seen Legend in a theater before.

What struck me as I watched them is how staggeringly imaginative they are and how, as essentially kids movies, none of them would have been made today. They're either too costly, too dark, too cerebral, too violent, or too artsy (in the case of Legend). They all come from this really amazing time in the '80s when the post-Star Wars return to myth, fantasy, and imagination made special effects wizards gods in Hollywood. As for me, it simply meant that I got to grow up with a million different artists teaching me about the power of imagination in a way that Pixar seems to carry the mantle these days.

Anyway, it was a great way to spend my birthday and I really appreciate Amanda letting me drag her along (even if The Dark Crystal was a little rough for her to get through).

Friday, August 08, 2008

happy birthday, ben!

Today is Ben's 32 birthday. So, first off, Happy Birthday Ben.

Second off, this:

Monday, August 04, 2008

9/10 is a great start

A really fantastic review of Mark Griskey's score for Star Wars: The Force Unleashed went up online this weekend on Here are my two favorite quotes:

“Start to finish, THE FORCE UNLEASHED is the most entertaining Star Wars score since RETURN OF THE JEDI.”


"It is a delight to say that THE FORCE UNLEASHED brings me much closer to the original passion I had for the music of Star Wars, when I was a youngster. After all, back then, there were no videos to download or rent or buy. The only way to experience the magic of the film repeatedly was via its soundtrack. That's in part what made John Williams' music so special. The listener could relive the movie without any visual stimulus. The music of the prequel trilogy was far less successful at that, but now MARK GRISKEY's score helps to return some of the passion that leaked out of the Star Wars franchise's hyperdrive."

Love it. Way to go, Mark.

Friday, August 01, 2008

I'm a terrible friend

July 11th was Seth's birthday and I totally forgot until about a week ago. Then after remembering, I never said anything about it until now. I think that makes me an extra-lousy friend. So, to try and make up for it, I present Part 1 of "The Terror of Tiny Town" just for you Seth.

Happy birthday!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

our cafeteria's idea of a cheesesteak


No. No. No. No. No. No. No.


There are things that everyone needs to buy at places like Target or drug stores or whatever that come with a certain level of unavoidable judgements. You see someone buying condoms, you think "they're having sex." You see a woman buying tampons, you think "period." You see someone buying toilet paper, you think "they will be wiping their butt."

And maybe I'm neurotically weird about it, but it always kinda' bugs me that toilet paper comes in such big packages. I always have this feeling that people are looking at me and thinking "wow ... he really needs to wipe his ass a lot." The whole process of buying toilet paper makes me very self-conscious.

Apparently, though, that was not the case tonight. Manda and I went to Target, bought some random things like deodorant, paper towels, etc., and also picked up a pack of toilet paper. For some reason, I had to fight this extremely intense urge to yell as we were walking out "Hot damn, honey! Look at all this toilet paper! We're gonna' poop ourselves stupid tonight!"

Warning to my future kids: I might not bite my tongue 10 years from now when I have stupid urges to say things like that.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

what are they trying to sell?

Most spam email seems to come to me in one of two flavors. Either the subject line is honest about what it's trying to sell and says something like "Meds from Canada!" or "Replica Rolexs - CHEAP!" or they say something in complete nonsense like "argeoh" or "vindicer." Of course, I would lump porn spam like "Angelina Jolie naked!" into the "selling something" category and between porn mail, watch replica mail, medicine mail, and nonsense, that seems to cover 99% of the crap that I get here at work.

Recently, though, a new assault by image spam has been slipping its way past the Lucasfilm spam filters and one of the spammers seems to be ... different. This spammer must be new. Some kind of spam virtuoso. His subject lines are vaguely intriguing in the way that video titles on are intriguing. On Break, I have no qualms about clicking on something labeled "Bleachers Collapse at Columbian Bull Fight." And so, when I see spam labeled something like "Baby born with seven toes" or "Tornado!", it speaks to that same part of my brain that searches Break for faceplant videos.

Today I had three messages. The first two were trying to sell something with subjects that read "That's great!" and "Macho Man." The third one, however, must have come from this virtuosic spammer. It's definitely part of that remaining 1% of spam that I just can't figure out at all. The subject read:

Bodyguards positioned outside Jolies vagina

The message itself just says "watch the video." Honestly ... what the hell? Why bodyguards? Are they trying to keep people out or in? I have to say, I'm almost train wreck/pogo stick accident/bat attack intrigued, but not quite.

it's about time

I promised some pictures from Hawaii back in June when we returned home. Now that it's mid-July, I think I'm sufficiently late enough that I should really follow through with the things that I promise. As such, here are a couple. More to come (eventually, but don't hold your breath).

Nothing on this photo has been manipulated in Photoshop. That really is how insanely blue the water was off of the coast of Maui. We shot this while on a small ferry that was taking us out off the coast of Maui so that we could dive down to the ocean floor in a submarine.

Once the sub dove down to the bottom, we got to see a whole bunch of mud, fish poop, and wavy little plants. Peppered in amongst the plants and the coral were some cool fish, a couple of eels, and this intentionally sunken ship that was functioning as an artificial reef.

This little bit of creepiness comes from a Whaling Museum on Maui. It was a display detailing whaling ship medicine. The amputation saw was creepy enough, but the fact that they had an actual hook hand from the 19th century was pretty damn cool.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

when nerds attack

I have a pretty strong nerd streak in me. I love comic books, video games, action figures, sci-fi novels/movies/tv, etc. I've been known to play D&D. I have video game patches on my jacket that people comment on all of the time. Hell, one of my favorite records when I was a little kid was an album of space battle sound effects that I used to listen to for hours like it was classical music (much to the annoyance of my family). As such, I tend to find myself coming in contact with other geeky people quite frequently when I head out into the world. I go to comic book shops from time to time. I go to arcades on occasion. I've been to a convention or two for all things nerdy. And sometimes I go into stores and ask where I can find nerdy things.

Occasionally, asking a store clerk where I can find something nerdy will result in people commenting on my displayed nerditude. They'll talk to me about whatever it is I asked for. They'll tell me how great some new comic is. Sometimes they start making Star Wars references in an attempt to display their own nerdiness. In those situations, I always have a choice: do I mention that I work for Lucasfilm or not? Sometimes mentioning it makes people say "Oh! Cool, then you understand!" and then that's the end of it. Sometimes it backfires.

Last night, it completely blew up in my face.

I was at Borders trying to feed my new "Dark Knight" driven Batman cravings. After looking for both the graphic novel section and the Dark Knight soundtrack without any luck, I decided to ask the Info Desk. When I walked up to the clerk (a dumpy gray-haired guy with a full-grown computer programmer beard), I should have been tipped off by his saying "You may proceed with your questioning." But I wasn't and I asked where my nerdy stuff could be found. As he set off trying to find things for me, he started sneaking out little quotes from Star Wars and and then telling me how the Force is strong with him when he managed to find the Soundtrack section of the store. In an attempt to basically say "Yeah, I get it. The Force. Uh-uh," I made the mistake of telling him that I work for Lucasfilm.

What followed next included:
- a long description of how, as an organic lifeform on an M-Class planet, it's physically impossible for me to not be connected to the Force and therefore the Force is strong with me
- a run-down of multiple different games developed by Gary Gygax
- a complete (and insanely lengthy) personal guided tour of everything new that can be found within Dungeons and Dragons 4th edition rules

I learned that some of the changes that were made for the 3rd Edition rules made things a "total pain in the neckazoid." I also learned that the new way the 4th Edition rules handle things like crafting magical items, multiclassing, and combat with very large creatures would "blow my socks off" and as such I'd "better make sure that my socks are well and truly glued on to my feet."

He talked to me for so long and about so much concentrated geekery that I don't know if I can go back to Borders any time soon without him starting up the conversation with me again. This didn't strike me as a guy who forgets things easily. He speaks Klingon (which he did while I was there) and lamented the lack of fully realized languages for both Romulan and Vulcan. Luckily I bit my tongue and didn't talk to him about Mandalorian.

I've been interested in going to Comic-Con in San Diego for a little while, but as of last night, I kinda' feel like I was already there. I'm not really feeling the need to go anymore.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

feel like I was socked in the head

Ugh. Horrible night's sleep last night. A few months ago, I had one of the most vivid and terrifying dreams I've ever had. I dreamt about nuclear war, the end of human civilization, and the aftermath for the few survivors. It was terrifying. I spent days trying to get the images out of my head and trying to forget the sheer terror I felt in the dream.

Lucky me, I had the same dream again last night, only this time I knew everything that was going to happen because I'd dreamt it before. I got to wander through the dream frantically looking for cover, hiding in concrete basements, crying because I didn't know where Amanda was and yet knew everything that was going to happen while being powerless to stop anything.

And lucky me, reliving one fucked-up dream wasn't enough, so my brain started to string together a long chain of previous nightmares I've had just to make my night all the more special.

I woke up at one point with my heart racing and panting from fear. Lucky for me, everything picked back up again as soon as I fell back asleep.

I'm so wiped out this morning. I feel like I need 8 more hours of sleep.

Monday, July 07, 2008

what's Simlish for "POÄNG"?

Video games pride themselves on escapism. Tired of sitting around in your crappy little apartment with your crappy IKEA furniture and no friends? Play games! Try out the violent amorality of GTA4's Liberty City. Want something more cinematic? Check out the rich dialogue trees of something like Mass Effect. Prefer God-type sim games? How about The Sims?

Yes, jump into the world of The Sims and you can furnish your own house with all kinds of wacky things! Want a pool? You got it! Want leopard print walls? No problem! Want a house full of IKEA furniture? Done!


Something went wrong here with the escapism.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

it felt like a celluloid hug

Amanda and I just got back from watching Wall-E. I can't recommend it highly enough. Besides being simply a beautifully touching movie, it's so great to see Pixar continue to show the entire rest of the world how to make an animated film.

There's a reason they're the best. They focus on heart without taking the easy way out and descending into fart jokes. They focus on timeless stories without getting tied down to predictable plot lines. They continue to push themselves in every sense - whether artistically, technologically, or the gray area between where they seem so at home - each time they make a movie, never for once seeming to take their audience for granted. They seem to understand that making a movie is an art form, not a marketing-driven cash cow, and that art is meaningless unless you can connect with the audience and make them feel something.

And that's where their strength lies. I have the same feeling watching a Pixar film as I did when I was little watching the worlds of George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, and Jim Henson. It's this deep, warm feeling of benevolent, kind, intelligence - this safe sense that someone who has been to the boundaries of the unknown is telling me that the world is vast, life is worth living, and that the human imagination is the greatest treasure ever in the history of history.

Kind of a lot to get out of a 2 hour G-rated movie. But that's their genius. Check it out when you can.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

update fail

I've been bad at updating again. Mostly due to a whole mess of vacation time. Amanda and I have spent about a month traveling around to various states - some by choice, some not by choice (thank you very much, American Airlines - more on that later).

Anyway, Ry and I were recently sitting down together and showing each other random crap on YouTube and that had made us laugh. Ry mentioned his new-found love for FAIL videos, videos that are full of pictures or video clips of people doing something badly.

So, anyway, this post is mostly for Ry. Ry, I found today. Again, just a repository of FAIL pictures. My favorite so far is this one:


Although, this one is pretty damn good too:

fail owned pwned pictures

Anyway, Ry. Enjoy.

Friday, June 06, 2008

still standing

Kotaku is full of reports today about LucasArts layoffs. Obviously, I can't talk about what's going on; but for anyone curious, I'm still employed.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

we're back!

Well, we're back from Hawaii and I'd say fairly well relaxed.

Photos and details to come, but for now a quick summary:

- Plane
- Car
- Feet
- Car
- Car
- Boat
- Plane
- Car
- Submarine
- ATVs
- Car
- Car
- Helicopter
- Car
- Plane
- Plane

Manda has a much better summary.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

i can smell the mahalo

Vacation is right around the corner and while I couldn't even think about it when we first booked the tickets because I had 4 games to finish before I could go, now it's all I can think about.

I just sit here all day long with a loop of swanky steel guitar playing in my head. Thankfully, this monstrosity isn't playing in a loop in my head:

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

oh, youtube ...

Is there any limit to the magic you contain?

I followed a random chain of stuff on YouTube this morning and ended up here. I don't know where to begin with this thing. It's just one of those things that had to pass through so many hands that I can't imagine how everyone involved rubber-stamped it with a big OK. It's also one of those things that you can't unsee after you've seen it.

Thursday, May 01, 2008


Once again, we put an offer on a house.

Once again, we lost.

Once again, it's symptomatic of the crappy state of the housing market.

We've been trying to buy a house now for exactly one year. San Mateo is quickly becoming a monument to our housing failures. Amanda and I are really bummed out right now. This sucks.

home again, home again ...

Last night, Amanda and I wrote up an offer on yet another house. This one is, by far, our favorite place that we've seen in the year that we've been trying to buy a house. The offer is submitted today at 2 PM and we should have an answer by 7 PM tonight.

As usual, I'm a ball of nerves right now.

Monday, April 28, 2008

un poco loco

For a long time, we've been having a Taco Truck show up here every Thursday night to help ease the pain of a long crunch period being endured by one of our teams at work. One of the guys in the Audio Department is in love with the Taco Truck. I don't mean that he's happy that it exists. I mean he has deep-seated romantic feelings for that truck. If a man could kiss a Taco Truck and not be scorned in society for doing so, he'd be making out with that truck every Thursday. I think it's some odd Freudian thing where it shows up, feeds him, takes care of him, and doesn't ask anything in return.

Unfortunately for this guy, though, last Thursday was the last Thursday for the Taco Truck as the crunch period has hopefully come to an end. About 10 hours without the Taco Truck went by before he started emailing me haikus:

oh the taco truck
such tasty quesedillas
you're already missed

Poor guy. Luckily for him, I heard on NPR this morning that some dude is mapping taco trucks across the country at I don't know the name of the wondrous truck that visits us; but if I can find it out, I'll make sure it's on the YumTacos map. Hopefully that will stop the haikus.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

the tables have turned

There's a period of time early in their careers for all burgeoning songwriters and bands where they decide that they have something marketable/unique/professional enough that they want to make the jump from hobbyists or garage bands and try for true fame and fortune. It's usually after they've managed to have written at least a handful of songs and most likely have recorded at least one of them in some sort of version.

Nowadays, the first few steps towards notoriety tend to involve posting this recorded material on either MySpace or YouTube. But in the era before the Internet, there were seemingly very few roads into the industry.

- You could gig forever until you had an undeniable fan base (i.e. - Hootie and the Blowfish)
- You could magically find a well-connected producer who loves your work
- You could spam the world with demos (which ended up in the trash, if unsolicited by labels)
- or you could pay Taxi

Taxi is an "independent A&R company" that claims to be a magical bridge between unsigned bands/songwriters and the elusive power brokers that make and shape careers. Taxi's whole gig is that you give them your material and they send it to labels, music supervisors, and producers for you until you become a success - and all it takes a $300 a year membership plus $5 per song you want to submit each time you submit for a listed opportunity.

For bands that are just starting out, that's a huge money suck. Taxi claims that you get as many as "1,200 opportunities a year in just about every conceivable genre of music" to submit your stuff. Let's say that you're sitting on the world's greatest song and you end up submitting it for every listing up there. You're now spending $6,300 a year trying to get your song heard through Taxi.

Like I was saying, Taxi exists and presents itself as a magical in-road to the industry, and therefore every band seems to agonize over joining it at one point or another. Unfortunately, horror stories swirl about Taxi, too. Mostly about flushing endless amounts of money into a system that doesn't actually get you any results. Are the horror stories true? I don't know. I do know that I've never heard of a single person on the Success Stories page. And, to be honest, for a company that's been around as long as Taxi has to have "Four major labels came to see my show because of TAXI and then one of the A&R guys invited me to hang out at his house the very next day" as one of their top success stories is not a good sign.

Anyway, I'm at a meeting yesterday about something and when I return to my office, I have a message blinking on my phone. Turns out, I got a call from Taxi. Taxi called me to introduce themselves, tell me what they do, and try to pitch to me that they're an invaluable service to Music Supervisors and that they'd love to talk to me about all the great music LucasArts games can get by associating ourselves with Taxi. I'd forgotten all about Taxi, to be honest, and at that very moment I realized that I'd made it as a professional musician. Without sucumbing to the lure of Taxi, I'd managed to network myself into a great gig, climb the ranks to a Music Supervisor role, and now I have Taxi chasing after me. And come to think of it, I have no idea how they got my phone number. It isn't listed anywhere ...

I guess Taxi is magical.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

thanks, mr. president

I had to pay for $4.02/gallon gas tonight on my way home. And I didn't stop at some kind of executive caviar gas station, neither. Just regular freakin' low grade unleaded pump it yourself and then get the hell out of there gas. $4.02/gallon.


Saturday, April 19, 2008

if the eyes are the window to the soul ...

Then today I saw a woman with the fugliest curtains ever. We were at the grocery store today picking up some stuff for a nice and leisurely breakfast picnic. When we went to check out, one of the cashiers had such freakishly fake eyebrows that I had to call Amanda over just to gawk at her with me.

I'm not really one who understands the whole concept of shaving or plucking your eyebrows completely off and then drawing them back on; but I would imagine that if you do this kind of thing, the reason you're doing it is because your brows are really bushy or something and you want them to be thin and cute or whatever.

But, unholy hell ... this lady ... she didn't have a minor eyebrow redo, she had clown makeup on. It was like she's been doing it for so long that she's completely forgotten what normal eyebrows look like. I've tried my best to recreate it with some photoshoppery:


Honestly ... what the eff are those things? They look like supervillian eyebrows or some kind of quasi-Nike swoosh. There are very few times that I see personal stylists or shoppers as a respectable career. But, somewhere out there there's a personal stylist who can win some kind of humanitarian award for turning this lady's grooming habits around. Either that or she needs to just be electricuted one rainy night, embued with super lightning powers, and start running around in lyrca causing mayhem already.

Friday, April 18, 2008

how do you back out?

And I don't mean backing out like this. I mean backing out of a gig. Have you ever been a freelancer who took on one too many projects? Have you been a professional musician who got himself into a gig that he then wasn't available for? How do you back out of it? Can you? Is it possible to back out of a gig without having it ding your professional reputation?

I have a friend going through this right now and he's not sure what to do. Thought I'd see if anyone I know had any advice.

Monday, April 14, 2008

new interview has a new interview with Star Wars: The Force Unleashed's composer, Mark Griskey, and myself slapped up on their front page. Basically, we just yammer on a bit about the recording session and a little of the writing process for creating the new game score for TFU.

Thought I'd share.

Friday, April 04, 2008

music, family, and ... um ...

Okay, so there's only two things. I've been meaning to post for a while, but have been too busy to actually get around to it. Couple of interesting things going on though.

The official website for the new Star Wars: The Force Unleashed game, the title I've been working on for the last 3 years in one form or another. Anyway, the new website is up and you can hear the main theme that I wrote for the game playing as the site's background music (by the way, the theme was orchestrated by Mark Griskey, the game's composer). So far, the music seems to be getting a really positive response, so that rox.

In other news that rox, everyone's favorite Techno Squirrels have moved to San Francisco. So, now Ry and Lisa are about 40 minutes away instead of being 6 hours away - which totally rulez. Not that we've really done anything or seen each other yet, other than the night they moved up, but still ... the potential to see them is there. And that's what really counts.

Kinda. Hey, Ry - maybe we should do something?

Thursday, March 27, 2008


I'm feeling toasty, as in burnt out. I haven't been sleeping well over the last week. It's driving me crazy. Totally easy-peasy piece of cake to fall asleep, but I can't seem to stay asleep. I wake up repeatedly throughout the night. In addition to all of that, I'm having a batch of really awful nightmares again. Snipers at the mall, petting zoos full of decaying animals, a forced return to high school at the age of 31 to complete AP Chemistry ... etc. I'm completely exhausted.

More later I guess. : P

Thursday, March 20, 2008

the hoil virus spreads

That's right. More random love for Vaz Hoil, the legendary hair metal band that I've been doing nothing with for over a decade.

For those who don't know, Vaz Hoil is a joke band that my brother and I started with two friends back in 1995. We wrote an albums worth of songs, got them pressed onto cassette tape, and then everyone went off to college.

While off at college desperately trying to pursue a career in music by working hard with bands, networking, and tossing demos around that no one would listen to, the Vaz Hoil tape started to spread around the country at first via the band's drummer, Jeff Alulis (aka Tommy Rockum, aka Jeff Penalty). Quickly it apparently grew beyong Jeff's efforts and began to spread via copies of the tape and word of mouth. Now bands like The Bouncing Souls and The Donnas count themselves as Hoiled Bratz.

Anyway, still spreading in its unexplainable spread into new hands, new mediums, and new opportunities to thrill and offend, Hoil has popped up as part of the soundtrack of the new "Time Trotters" featurette on Apparently ex-GameSpot producer Rich Gallup and creators Ryan Davis and Jeff Gerstmann all have wild thighz.

Monday, March 17, 2008

the rose might actually smell less sweet ...

This past Friday night, Manda and I went to the ballet. It was my Valentine's Day present to her, a pair of tickets to go see the San Francisco Ballet's Tribute to Jerome Robbins (20th century choreographer). The show was great - a double-shot of Leonard Bernstein and some Chopin thrown in to mix it up a bit. Great dancers, great orchestra, great set design. I really love Bernstein's "West Side Story Suite," but I only know it in an orchestral sense. It was great to see it performed live with dancers and singers.

Funny thing about the dancers, though. Bit of backstory: Amanda and I are one of the few couples that I know who actually sit through all of the credits when we go to the movies. I can't remember if we've always done it, or if it comes from the respectful practice of doing so when attending film screenings presented by Lucasfilm. Anyway, as respectful as we are, we tend to sit there and look for people with weird names so that we can then call the other person that name.

"You're Geefwee Boedoe." Etc. Very mature game, we know.

Anyway, irrepressibly cultured as we are, Amanda and I were looking through the program for the ballet and trying to find ridiculous names to call each other. That's when we discovered that one of the guys in the ballet is named Tiit Helimets.

That's right. Tit Helmets.

At best, his name sounds like "tight helmets." At worst, he's named after these puppies.

Poor guy. It's always fascinating when someone from a foreign culture has a name that is just so staggeringly unfortunate in a different culture. A friend once told me about a foreign exchange student from Vietnam who went to his high school. Her name was Bich Ho. That's like going to England with the name John Thomas. Or going to Ireland with the name Douchey O'Dickcheese.

Okay, maybe it's not like that last one.

Monday, March 10, 2008

beats the hell out of a textbook has a lot of - not surprisingly - funny stuff on it. If you don't know the site, it was set up by Will Ferrell and some other people and gave the world "The Landlord," a heart-warming story of a man and his ... well ... landlord.

Anyway, amongst the gems I've found on FunnyOrDie is a lovely little series of educational history movies called Drunk History. The basic premise of Drunk History is to 1.) find someone who is an authority on a particular area of history, 2.) get them very drunk, 3.) get them to discuss their specific area of expertise, and then 3.) recreate their drunken ramblings with the likes of Jack Black and Michael Cera (the awkward dude from "Superbad" and "Arrested Development").

Worth a watch.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

bomb's away

For those who don't know about video game review websites, there was a big controversy at the end of last year. Jeff Gerstmann, one of the most well-respected game reviewers in the industry and the video game equivalent of Roger Ebert, was fired from his long-time job as Senior Editor at for giving a luke warm review to the game "Kayne & Lynch." The way it all seems to have shaken out is that Gerstmann gave a lousy review to a game whose publisher had just pumped tons of money into GameSpot in terms of advertising dollars. When the review hit the Tubes, K&L's publisher Eidos threatened to pull all of the money it had just handed over to GameSpot. For whatever reason, GameSpot decided it would be better to please Eidos rather than remain unbiased and pulled the bad review while also canning Gerstmann. Gerstmann left, took all of the site's integrity with him, and soon editors were quitting GameSpot left and right. What was once the internet's main source for reliable game reviews is now a wounded shell of itself trying to convince users that it will regain its respectability.

For Gerstmann, the gaming world seems to have been holding its breath in anticipation of what he would do next. Would he start his own site to rival GameSpot? Would he join the staff of existing GameSpot competitors like IGN, 1up, or Joystiq as some of the other editors who jumped ship did?

Well, the answer's arrived., Gerstmann's new game review blog, is now up. I would venture a guess that GiantBomb will look significantly different 3 years from now. It wouldn't surprise me at all if it became the next GameSpot in the years to come. The gaming public at large, an internet savvy and very vocal global comminity, were SERIOUSLY pissed about his firing and SERIOUSLY pissed about the hubris of GameSpot that led to the closest thing the games industry has ever had to a payola scandal. There are a lot of grumpy gamers looking for a review site that they feel they can trust.

I wish Jeff well.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

5 years

Yesterday was my five year anniversary at LucasArts. In those five years, I've worked on 23 different games (in one capacity or another), invented a language for bounty hunters, achieved my teenage dream of rock stardom, achieved my 20-something dream of being a paid author, and have business cards that I didn't have to make for myself that proclaim me as a composer.

In those five years, I've seen 2 different company presidents, 3 different temporary acting presidents, had two different direct managers, became a manager myself, and still have never met or spoken to either George Lucas or John Williams (nor did I - or do I - ever expect to).

In those five years, I've made friends with people in Sweden, Germany, Ohio, Kentucky, Florida, Illinois, Nevada, Washington, Colorado, San Diego, Los Angeles, and Austin, Texas. I've visited Canada and two different Hawaiian islands on vacation and I've been threatened with business flights to Australia and England, though I never went to either.

In those five years, I've never sat down and watched any of the Star Wars films in its entirety.

In those five years, I've been nominated for 4 industry awards, won 1 of them, written 22 articles, released 1 soundtrack online as mp3s, almost released a second soundtrack, and wrote a half hour of music for a failed gig that almost made me give up composing all together.

In those five years, I've made and said goodbye to more friends than I can count, discovered that - contrary to life long pre-conceived notions - I'm actually a cat person, and married my best friend.

It's been a very busy 5 years that I wouldn't trade for anything.

Here's to the next 5.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


I'm a judgemental guy. I think most people are. Judgemental, I mean. I don't mean that most people are guys. That's ridiculous. I've gotten very side-tracked. I'm gonna start over.

I'm a judgemental guy. Certainly more so in my teen years than I am now. It's probably part of human nature. The smaller your world, the smaller your tolerance. So, when I was a kid in high school, I had very confined ideas about what kind of music was Good and what kind of music was Crap. Most of the music in the world fell into the Crap category while Progressive Rock was in the Good category (ridiculous, I know).

After high school, I've traveled a lot and I've met all kinds of people and I've listened to their music and the thing I've learned is that almost everything is actually in the Good category. For me to have dismissed entire genres in the past - frequently based upon nothing more than not liking someone who I knew was a fan of the band in question - is a conceit that I'm embarrassed to admit I once had.

And so it is that a week ago, my brother burns for me a compilation CD (he called it a mix tape. I ask if that meant we were now dating) of stuff by the band NOFX.

And god damn, it's good.

Tight harmonies, great chord changes, moving and inspiring lyrics. One of my main concerns with punk has been a general disappointment with the vocals. And I fully realize that being disappointed with the level of musicianship in a punk band means that I don't really get punk on a fundamental level. But, nevertheless, I've found the vocals of many punk bands I've heard to be the thing stopping me from being able to really enjoy the material. The Bouncing Souls, for example. I really dig the melodies. I just wish that Greg could sing them. And the Violent Femmes. ::shudder::

NOFX is not in that same category, though. Their vocals are great. Their drumming is great. Guitar and bass work is great. They're just really good musicians, despite whatever self-effacing quips to the contrary that they might make during their live shows.

Favorite lyrics so far are from the song "Idiots Are Taking Over":

darwin's rollin over in his coffin
the fittest are surviving much less often
now everything seems to be reversing, and it's worsening

someone flopped a steamer in the gene pool
now angry mob mentality's no longer the exception, it's the rule
and im startin to feel a lot like charlton heston

I guess this is just a really long-winded way of saying "Hey, Ry. Thanks for the CD." and that NOFX is totally worth checking out if you've never heard them before. It's good stuff. Find some of their stuff on iTunes. Or, you know, feel free to stop by my car if you want to hear my mix tape.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

bridging the Ry gap

I saw video this week of a new game called Fez that is still in development. You can see the video here.

Watch only the first 40 seconds or so, and you'd be forgiven for thinking that there was absolutely nothing new or interesting about Fez. You'd be sorely wrong, though, but you'd be forgiven.

You see, Fez is a 2D vertical paltformer game much like the class NES games Kid Icarus or Metroid, but with bright colors and simple character design that makes it look like a cheap Mario clone from 1988. However, the truth is that the game isn't 2D at all. It's a 3D game wherein changing the camera's perspective shifts the gameworld into new combinations of 2D elements.

Make any sense? Doubtful. But if you watch the video, you'll see what I mean. It's pretty freakin' sweet. As soon as I saw it, I thought that it might be the kind of game that could get my brother to dust off his thumbs and pick up a game again for the first time since the SNES. Once games went 3D, he lost interest. Maybe experiments like this can get him back into the fold.

oh, idiocy...

You create a very special brand of entertainment.

Today I'm driving into work when I spot another thing that I wish I could simply take a picture of with my eyes and upload to Flickr. At a stoplight, I realize that I'm sitting next to a graffitied bus stop ad.

The ad for New York Life Insurance, in its unaltered form, read:




Not exactly the catchiest ad I've ever seen, but whatever. What made it so special was the bigotted, xenophobic graffiti someone had scribbled between the real copy with a black felt marker that read:

in eglish
speak english

And no, that's not a typo. The bigot who wanted everyone to speak English had written "eglish." I wonder if anyone has statistics on graffiti literacy? I wonder where the US would place in the world rankings?

Thursday, February 21, 2008

maybe in the future

Of all of the things I wish for from the future - be it flying cars, chocolate cake vitamens, or shiny jumpsuits that blind us to our dystopian surroundings - perhaps the one that I think about the most is the ability to take snapshots merely with our own eyesight (or memories) and then download them to external media. I would do this all the freakin' time if I could.

Just yesterday I was driving into work while it was raining. Something about the angle of the sun, the position of the car in from of me, and my position to the two of them made it so that as it drove on the rain-slicked exit ramp in front of me, it was kicking up a chain of rainbows off of the mist from it's rear tires.

It was beautiful. And nothing I'd ever seen before. And nothing I ever expect to see again.

That is until Sony manages to install USB 4.0 into my brain and I can just download my brain directly to Flickr.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

who knew gardening was so badass?

A million years ago, when I was still regularly updating my blog, Amanda and I happened to stop by a hardware store. We were there to pick up some kind of fertilizer for roses, a gift for her mom who is really into horticulture. The questionable nature of giving someone a bag of crap as a gift aside, I found myself standing in the fertilizer aisle and completely amazed by how badass fertilizer actually is.

I tend to think of flowers in two ways. Either like this:

or like this:

Snooze. Not my thing. Apparently, though, I was dead wrong about how wild and crazy flowers can be. There I was in the fertilizer aisle when I realized I was staring down a shelf full of this stuff:


Bone meal? As in, plants are eating bones? I figured it had to be some kind of horticulture thing I didn't understand where "bone" actually means "cow poop." That was, until I saw the next shelf.


That's some badass cow-poop-in-a-bag, right there. I was feeling like I'd found the pinnacle of fertilizer here with these bags of vampiric demonweed food. Lucky for me, there was another shelf.


Dolomite lime? That shit will eff up your weeds. I don't know what "prilled" means, but it's probably a synonym for no-business, born-insecure muthafucka.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

reason number two billion why Amanda rules

Story time: I got a friend request on Facebook about three weeks ago that really freaked me out. It was from someone I went to high school with - but not just any old person from high school, mind you. Someone who had ruthlessly bullied me for about a year solid. I didn't know this guy before hand and then, just one day out of nowhere, he started to bully me. We had study hall together and he used to sit there and spend the entire study hall making fun of me - mostly calling me gay and running through every derrogetory slur under the sun that falls into that vein. This is someone that I have always regretted not telling off and sticking up for myself against. Someone that really got under my skin and has stuck with me for 15 years.

So, when I got a friend request from him, I found myself instantly furious about it all again. What kind of an idiot sends a friend request to someone they bullied? Is he looking to bully me again? Is he a complete fucktard and just doesn't remember that we weren't "friends" in high school? What the hell is this guy's problem?

I quickly came to see this as an opportunity to tell him off about all of the stupid shit he said back in the day, a second chance to stand up for myself, and bring closure to a painful memory from the past. I thought of exactly how I'd chew this guy out. Thought of all the most painful things I could say. And yet, that same "Ignore them and they'll go away" advice that my mom raised me with came back and stopped me from writing anything rash.

A day or two of internal debate went by before I told Amanda about it, told her how tormented I was by the guy back in high school and how tormented I was now that I desperately wanted to rip him a new one for sending me a friend request. She hugged me and then said "Don't write anything. You're an adult now. Don't create adult problems over a childhood issue."

This wasn't the answer I wanted. I was hoping more for "Eff yes! Tell that asshat where he can stick it!" And while I didn't particularly like the advice she gave me, I still took it and ended up not writing anything back to the guy.

That brings me to today when I was cleaning up the living room in anticipation of my brother's pending visit. I picked up some books, took them over to the book shelf, and saw my yearbook sitting there. I decided to open it up and look up this jerk's senior portrait just to refresh my memory of how much I can't stand his stupid face.

One problem. The guy who sent me the friend request isn't actually the guy who bullied me in high school. Somewhere over the intervening 15 years, I've swapped his name with the name of this other guy who I never really knew at all, and who sent me a friend request three weeks ago.

Oops. If not for Amanda, I would have written a scathing email to a guy who wouldn't have had any idea what the hell I was insanely ranting and raving about. So, I approved the friend request this morning and chalked this up as just another reason why I'm lame Amanda rules.

Monday, February 11, 2008

oh yeah ...

this thing.

Maybe I should dust this off.