Saturday, January 28, 2006

A Geek Too Far

In the last post, B A Start unwittingly stumbled upon the question which defines our generation. The latest development, though, is so geeky it could only be contained within the annals of Webshite. If you're into it, go check it out. Thanks to Koontz for bringing the debate out of the nineties and into the oughts.

Friday, January 27, 2006


In the comments on my last post, fellow Merrimackian John Koontz brings up a debate that has raged since 'a night with the guys' meant Hires root beer, Cool Ranch Doritos (before they were 'cooler ranch'), persisent NES play, and the ritualistic abuse of younger brothers: just what is the announcer saying in Blades of Steel? 'With the pass?' 'Press the pass?' 'It's a pass'?

A trip over to Gamefaqs didn't answer the question. A quick googling wasn't enough to get the job done either. Wikipedia says it's 'hits the pass', but not definitively enough for me to buy it. Anybody? Anybody want the crown of "King Videogame Hockey Geek"?

Thursday, January 26, 2006


They're saying 2005 was the warmest year in a century. Naturally, this is the winter I decide to quit stalling and let my triumphant return to the slopes take place. Despite the fairly snow-less conditions, I still had a frickin' blast skiing this weekend.

My fellow schussmeisters asked me what it was like skiing in New Hampshire. "Just like this but longer" was my reply. I mean, an inclined plane is an inclined plane. The big difference this time was that a run only took three minutes, and that's with the deep-frequency sine function that is my pattern.

Also, Mike Garvey can fucking ski.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

A drink and smoke

The latest meme.

"Here’s the next meme for everyone, as long as you get it before someone else with your name does. Type in your first name and the word “needs” into Google. Post the first 10 results, plus a few other interesting ones."

Alex needs feedback.
Alex needs a history lesson
Alex needs confirmation
All Alex needs is time and weed to play-test through levels 10 though 15.
Alex needs to do something--and quickly.
Do you know what Alex needs? What Alex needs is a new job.
Alex needs to stop obsessing over this guy, its like he wants to date him.
alex needs to go to sleep on his own
Alex needs to come back, because the show sucks without her.
Sir Alex needs to stop messing about and stick with the 4-4-2.
Clearly, Alex needs romantic relief.
Alex needs a room for some big games.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

In Soviet Buffalo, People Lead YOU!

I spent two out of the last three days at a leadership training thing. You know, get- your- team- across- to- the- other- platform- using- a- plank- and- two- pipe- cleaners stuff. As you can imagine, the Chief/Indian ratio was highly skewed, which made for some memorable conversations.

The entire event was glutted with Communist overtones. The activities, even the competitive ones, were carefully orchestrated to ensure that resolution could only be attained if everyone worked together. Of course, all had to be involved equally in every activity and assigned some task that they had the stated or perceived skill to handle.

The final event, in short, was a tower build-off. Having cracked the system, the two teams joined into one to build a single super-big tower, despite my assertions that the assigned task stated two were necessary. I contributed my ideas on how to organize etc, but having had enough of competition, conflict, and petri-dish platitudes to hold me for quite some time, I slunk into the background, happy to quietly fulfill my role as Tall- Guy- with- Small- Girl- on- Shoulders. As the tower was erected, another guy about my height and I hoisted the appointed women, each holding their half of the joint structure. There was cheering. Pictures were taken.

During the debriefing, as discussion was led towards concepts of how this activity was supposed to be representative of the efforts of the community leaders towards a better city and region, I couldn't help but push aside the hammers and sickles dancing in my head and note that the group was only successful when the big people held the small ones on their shoulders, supporting the entire structure.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

I must agree

Dude. Somebody got to my blog by googling "werewolves suck".

Monday, January 16, 2006

The Wayback Machine

The Noid. The old Dominos Pizza ad campaign. I need some help here.

Wasn't the genesis of the little red-suited dude a pun? "If your pizza is cold, you get a Noid (annoyed)"? Am I alone in remembering this? I checked Retrojunk's commerical archive, and all of the Noid-related entries refer to the Noid in the singular, not as a species of Italian-food gremlins that attack all pizzas but those delivered in the red and blue boxes.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Be Prepared

A few friends of mine have picked up these Scottevest jackets with lots of pockets. As I prefer to keep things simple, I never really saw myself going for one. After my wild evening of hot, wanton geekness, though, they're looking better and better. I share with you now, gentle reader, the contents of this nights pockets:

Wallet - Even though 'anime night' at the Albright Knox was supposed to be free, a gentleman never travels without folding money.

Keys - I left the USB drive at home. You know, because only geeks carry those things.

Handkerchief - Oh, shut up. They come in handy more often than you think.

Cellphone - (Well, Tracfone anyway.) Lil' Davey has been known to get confused, so best to keep communication lines open.

Pager - see above

Cigarettes and lighter - Tromping around the perimeter of the museum looking for an open entrance would have been an excellent time to light up. I opted against it, for once.

Digital camera - Just in case something picture-worthy happened. Like Jess and Lil' Davey singing a duet of the theme from Record of Lodoss War at Cosplay Karaoke in Clifton Hall. Alas, it went unused.

Chapstick - Yapping about Japanese import websites will dry those lips, I tell you.

Nintendo DS - Why waste a beautiful night inside playing videogames when you can be sitting on the patio at SPoT Coffee playing videogames? (By the way, Lil' Davey is very, very good at Mario Kart. I retract all smack-talk.)

Now, if I had one of those Scottevests, I would have been able to carry the copy of The Last Unicorn which changed hands this evening in one of the larger pockets. Another would have held the Wes Craven almost-straight-to-DVD movie we rented. And I don't even have an MP3 player.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Control freak

Having 3 systems hooked up to the TV at any given time (and two others at the ready) makes for one big ugly pile of controllers* in the converted entertainment center that holds the lot. When arranged neatly, the appearance is somewhere between sleeping scarabs and a tightly-packed hangar of alien spaceships -- either metaphor lending the image of small, highly active things caught in a moment of rest. I'd like to free that space for yet another system, but what to do with the birds nest?

The best I can come up with as of yet is some kind of trundle-board which would stay under the couch. Pull out the drawer and choose your weapon. Ideally it would have the gray egg-foam stuff spies and assassins line their briefcases with.

*4 N64, 2 Atari, 4 PS2, 3 Xbox. Pristine Atari paddles and horribly scarred NES controllers in the basement, waiting to be recalled into active duty. I gave my lightgun away, idiot that I am.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Zoom zoom

Received a welcome surprise yesterday upon watching the recent sci-fi release The Island. Not only is the movie good (the car chase was exciting enough to make me, sitting at home with the lights on viewing the film on my 21" TV, gasp several times) but it features the Cadillac Cien, a concept car I just happen to have in my garage.

Picking the cars for sci-fi movies must be a blast. Sure, the hero is going to have to drive a slicked-down version of the latest sports car from whatever automaker pays the most, but what about all the other ones? Do you use current models with small changes? Do you design all new vehicles based on a few design concepts? Can they fly? Hover?

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Flavor Country

I don't want to worry anybody, but apparently Phillips Morris and I are on close enough terms that I merit a birthday present.

Sunday, January 01, 2006


I read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe as a kid, completely oblivious to the Christian overtones. Years later, someone made casual mention of it and the whole series reset itself in my mind as "Lord of the Rings for kids and with Jesus". It was not until seeing the movie that I really took in the more complex themes relating to war and dictatorship.

It's pretty clear that the cinematic version wanted to highlight the warfare aspect as much as possible. The first two scenes, depicting zee Churmens bombing suburban London and kids being shipped out to the country with labels on their chests to identify them to the strangers who will act as their new stewards, extrapolate the time-and-place setting which was identified in the book in a single sentence, seeming in the text more of an inconvenience than actual danger. Was this the kind of anti-war statement that seems to be popping up more often in recent movies (Episode III, War of the Worlds), or was it just added for effect? Couldn't tell ya.

Anyway, the final battle between the big WETA-garbed forces of Narnia was kicked off by griffins dropping rocks on the bad-guy army, the imagery directly parallelling the shots of the German bombers at the beginning of the movie. The Nazis and the forces of Aslan compared? Not as black-and-white as you would expect from a kid's movie.

The Thomas character is disturbing for more than one reason. Firstly, here's this bare-chested demi-god whose kind is known for promiscuity and deviance making friends with a six-year-old. Creeptastic. More interesting, though, is his decision to free Lucy and the repercussions of that choice. His sense of rightness and his fear of the Secret Police battle within him, and when he picks the former, he pays the price.

Thomas's story reads like something out of Nepal or Iraq, and it isn't the only instance in the movie which reminded me of modern stories of life under a fascist dictator or oppressive occupying force. The fox (who died despite Edmund's efforts to placate the Witch), the beavers (who escape the Secret Police via a tunnel dug from their home, only to find their safehouse captured), and the White Witch's treatment of Edmund (promising him power and delight until his usefulness wore out) might as well have been plucked directly from the pages of a 1930-to-today history text. The moral here is that when a powerful and cruel government is in place, your actions, right or wrong, have absolutely no influence on your life or the lives of those you care for. Apparently all you can do is wait for Jesus to come back.

While I enjoyed the movie, I found these themes depressing and unresolved. I'd be curious to go back and read the book to see just how much of this was inlaid over the text and how much is from the source. If I do, I'll keep you posted. After all, I know you're just dying to read another freshman English essay here on B A Start.

Kills for the Cure?

I got the go-ahead for the employee videogame tourney. I need some help coming up with a name for the event. Best I've come up with so far is "Extra Life". Anybody?