Tuesday, March 24, 2009

California Pipe Dreaming

Would I move to Irvine, CA for the perfect job?

Thing A) Blizzard -- the company that brought you Warcraft etc. -- is holding a fan fiction contest. Well, they're calling it a 'creative writing contest', which it is, but it's a fan fiction contest.

Thing B) Blizzard also posted a writer job for an upcoming game.

It doesn't seem like much of a reach to think that the contest is a recruitment tool, especially considering that the entry form asks for your published writing experience and if you would like to become a professional writer. Oh, and the prize is a trip out to Irvine to meet the Blizzard writers. In the HR biz, that's what we call an "interview".

Now, does this or does it not sound like THE job for your old buddy Alex? Everything I have ever had published has had to do with video games, including two VG writing-related contests.

But would I move to Irvine? Sell the house, say goodbye to casual porch nights and nearby family? Have to take a plane every time I wanted to see someone?

And what the hell would I do with the other grand prize: Frostmourne?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The march abates not.

I really just can't bear it anymore. I see and hear that damned word everywhere. Iconic is not a synonym for "good" or "popular", amigos.

Today's link is possibly the worst use of the hated word to date. "Which music do you find most iconic from LucasArts' games?". Criminy. Music is iconic now?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Alex and the Calling Cards: In Which A Customer Finds Satisfaction

At many points over the last year I have found myself in several situations in which having a calling card would make things easier. And not just because I'm a Victorian at heart. The magazine, the play, overtures from an art board, newfound family etc. etc. -- carrying around a slice of study paper with my contact info on it would have come in handy.

A few weeks ago, moo.com re-caught my attention. Here's a site that makes nice full-bleed cards for a reasonable price. There are a few places out there which say they make cards for free, but they look spurious at best. And Moo is in Britain. I mean, come on.

So I get to the process of making a design for myself. It should come as no surprise that I end up with a space invader. A few minutes in gimp and I've got the pattern set.

But what about color? Fortunately, colourlovers.com provides lots and lots of excellent palettes. And, based on the spelling, again with the Britishness.

And there you have it -- tiny little calling cards, perfect for most occasions. Don't be shy now -- give it a shot.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Bananana split!

Has Twitter replaced blogging?

I'm seeing a lot fewer "I'm so annoyed by that guy who cut me off"-type posts recently. Facebook stati and Twitter updates (which I just refuse to call Tweets) are almost exclusively made up of this kind of content. So, why blog?

I encourage all to keep their blogs, even if you only post once week, a fortnight, a month. From time to time, you're going to have an idea which can't be easily communicated in 180 characters, and when that time comes, you'll be glad to click that rusty blogger.com link.

The good news is that when I get an RSS notification that a new post is up, it's likely going to be something more than a one-liner. Maybe constant communication will actually force us to become better writers.

That being stated, here's a funny video.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sunny NE

New Hampshire really is a beautiful place, but only if you like the deep forest. In my hometown, any livable area has been hacked from the wilderness, and is still bordered by an impassable thicket of trees. Great if the Normans invade or something,

Saturday, March 14, 2009


I do so love the 90. Nashua NH to Buffalo in 6:45. Also, for a decent swath of it you can listen to the only station that matters.

Here's a peep at the Clifton Springs rest area, enjoying the bleak view while I call work.

Monday, March 09, 2009

No Meaning Except That Which The Viewer Places

It had to end.

Went bald as a fundraiser for Roswell. Also got the beard trimmed down to a goatee.

Looked a bit too much like a neo-nazi for my tastes. Way too much for Jess's.

Could see why badasses wore the look -- felt like a mask. A mask of badassedness. Didn't match my physique, of course. Even less my demeanor. Did people treat me differently? Or did I act differently towards people?

Either way, back to myself.
Note: I blame my lack of subjects in the above post on the fact that I read The Watchmen over the weekend. Too much Rorschach, I guess.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

At long last

Long-time B A Starters will remember the Great Debate over whether or not videogames are art. After much discussion and refining of definitions, my statement was "not yet". Maybe they can be, but no one's come up with anything so far that makes me say "yes".

I'm pissed at myself for not knowing anything about Jason Rohrer until Alanna lent me December's Esquire. I read the article and played Passage, and now can quite firmly state that there's at least one person out there making art in this format. (The person who made The Majesty of Colors counts too -- a post for a later date)

Before you go any further, I recommend giving Passage a play. I read the summary in the Esquire article before I played it and wish I hadn't. Still, despite knowing the point before going into it, I still had an emotional reaction to the game.

Passage provides you with choices. Do I hunt for treasure chests, or do I explore the world? Should I marry? If I do, it becomes harder to get the treasure but more rewarding to explore. But no matter what you choose, you will subtly age and die. Unceremoniously, suddenly, irrevocably.

For the first time in a lifetime of videogaming, I found myself reflecting. I have had a lot of reason to consider my choices recently -- career, personal, spiritual -- and this 5-minute game resonated with my meditations. It's an interactive Beethoven's fifth; go ahead and make your silly little choices -- fate will win and they will have done nothing to change that. All you can influence is your own experience, and try to do as much with your 5 as possible.

I'll be keeping an eye on what this gent produces. If you find anyone else out there working to communicate emotion through the interactivity of videogames, do please throw a comment my way.

Monday, March 02, 2009


A heartfelt congratulations to the Benzins on the birth of their first child, Vincent.

But where, pray tell, did the name come from?

Perhaps it was Vincent O'Neill. You know, theater stuff.

Or maybe Vincent Van Gogh? They're creative types. (Apparently its pronounced Van Gokh. Who knew?)

My hope is that the littlest Benzin was named after mysterious bad-ass Vincent Valentine. I have my doubts, though.

Either way, I look forward to meeting the little guy.