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.