Friday, July 25, 2014

Ask Me Anything on Reddit


I started my AMA on Reddit and you can find in here:


                CLICK ME SEYMOUR!

Please note, this "ask me anything" doesn't not mean I will in fact answer everything, always tell the truth, and is in no way open to any ex-girlfriend I may or may not have had.

Thank you for your support.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Another Reddit AMA

I replied to a post on Reddit last night about a guy who walked into a pawnshop and came out with an old nemesis, which turned out to be the Lion King game for the Super Nintendo. The replies to my comments blew up, it was made /r/bestof post, I got Reddit Gold and I started telling old Westwood stories and fun was had by all.

people have requested I do another AMA (Ask Me Anything), this time to /r/Games instead of the subreddit I posted my last one to which may have cause it to not receive as much attention.

So here is your advance warning (like anybody is even following my blog anymore since I haven't posted in forever) that I'll be putting up another AMA on Friday on the contingent that XavierMendel and the rest of the /r/Games mods believe I am who I say I am.

Just spent another 10 minutes trying to find the code to remove that Stop SOPA thing in the corner. It is REALLY starting to bug me.


Thursday, October 31, 2013

NaNoWriMo 2013

It's just about that time again. If you aren't aware November is National Novel Writer's Month aka NaNoWriMo. The idea is to write 50,000 words in 30 days with no expectation of quality. This is my third official year signing up. The first year I signed up, I think that was the extent of my involvement.  I managed to win, as they call it, last year... but only kinda. I got quite a ways into my novel and then the plot got all twisted up and refused to cooperate. I got more than a little lost as to where the whole thing was going. I started churing out less and less words per day until I realized I just couldn't go on with that story without stepping back and reconstructing the basic plotline and fixing what I had already writen. This is an absolute no no for how NaNoWriMo works especially because I just didn't have time for that if I was to reach the goal of 50000 words. So I stopped that story and just continued on with a short story that I had in my head. Technically I did write 50,000 words, it just wasn't one complete story.

This year I am going to write a story called Time of the Tower. It is actually based on a fantasy plot line I came up with for a game I was building with the Aurora toolset that came with the Neverwinter Nights video game back in 2002. I has spent a whole lot of time learning the toolset and building the game, except that doing something of that scale by myself, outside of a professional environment, was a big pain in the ass. I remember I had this NPC the player could talk to and I didn't want the player to be able to ask him about the gate blocking the way out of the forest area if the player hadn't actually seen the gate yet. There was a flag that you could be set if somebody tried to open the gate, only it wasn't getting set. I scoured the documentation and ranted on the official message boards. Finally somebody posted that that flag was only set if an NPC clicked on the gate, not the player. Thank you a week of my life wasted.  Anyway, the importance of all this is that I have the basic plot framework already laid out and I also know how it ends.

The basic story involves a young man on the run who finds himself trapped in a small village in the mountains that is used as a trading stop for caravans coming down off the glacier. A early and quite massive storm chokes the passes with snow and blocks off the town.  It also turns out that various powerful entities are converging on the town and the mysterious tower it was built around. The tower, more of a tall, solid and twisted stone obelisk, has been there since before recorded history and it holds a powerful secret. It has a lot of high fantasy elements coming together such as an ancient dragon, a power sorceress and a devious litch. The litch was supposed to be a vampire, but that was way back before vampires became so passe so I changed him to a litch just now. It also has ghosts, time travel and a cool marionette guy. Actually, I also added the marionette guy just now too, though he may replace the ghost.

I've had this idea for a marionette character and have wanted to stick him in a story since I read Sir Hereward and Mister Fitz Go to War Again by Garth Nix. I was on the 2007 Aurealis Awards panel where it was up for best Fantasy Short Story. I loved it and successfully lobbied for it to win. He wrote two more short stories about the two characters and they were recently collected as Sir Hereward and Mister Fitz: Three Adventures.  I also encountered a cool marionette character in the graphic novels series The Stuff of Legends about a group of toys who venture into the dark to save their owner, a young boy who has been taken by the Bogeyman.  I chatted very briefly with Mike Raicht, the writer, on Twitter awhile ago and assured him that I had an idea for a marionette character, but that I had stolen the idea from Garth Nix
not him. Hmm, apparently I do not have the third volume, A Jester's Tale, that came out last year.

That whole last bit was unnecessary, I know. I really only wrote that paragraph to extend the blog post and allow myself to do some more writing. Call it a warming up exercise.

Before I go I just want to encourage others to sign up at http://nanowrimo.org. Each region has it's own section where you can see events and such that are planned by municipal liaisons. The Las Vegas area one can be found HERE and you'll note that our Kick-off Party is Thursday October 31st 2013, 10 PM at Buffalo Wild Wings at 7430 Las Vegas Blvd South. Our first Write-In is on Friday from 6 - 9 PM at the Buffalo Wild Wings at 190 West Craig Road in North Las Vegas.  There are other write-ins planned for various areas of town to give you a chance to meet other writers. Not much writing gets done at these, but the camaraderie is good motivation.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Café of Broken Dreams

I wrote this short story many years ago. At one point I took a creative writing class at College of Southern Nevada, though I think it was still calling it Clark County Community College even though it had already changed names. I turned this story in for one of the assignments and was told by the professor that it was the best student written short story he had ever read. He was one of the editors of the Red Rock Review at the time and even suggested that I submit it pending some changes he thought I should make. He thought there should be more dialog between the four characters in the middle. I've tried several times to add that in, but I never get anything I am happy with. I do love writing dialog, it just doesn't seem to fit without turning it into yet another version of the Canterbury Tales which isn't what I was going for. I never made the changes nor did I submit it for publication anywhere. 
I'm gearing up for National Novel Writer's Month, NaNoWriMo to the cool kids, and decided to dig it out and and throw it up here on the blog. If anybody is still reading the blog, feel free to tell me what you think. 
I looked up my professors name from a few old copies of Red Rock Review and found that he has gotten a few books published. Congrats! Here is his webpage: H. Lee Barns

The rain had lasted only a few moments, but it had been enough to wet the black pavement down like they do when filming movies.  The reflection of a red neon bowling pin danced on the street in front of the all-night diner.  It was sometime after midnight, but it was hot.  The day had been completely unbearable and the intermittent rain only added to the misery instead of cooling it off.
The diner was one of those converted railcars that always looked misplaced among the large skyscrapers of the city.  I had never really noticed it before, but there were a lot of things I hadn’t noticed before.  In the last couple of hours I had lost more than I ever thought possible, and now I was noticing a lot of thing too late.  My very reality had died and the world was decaying away.  Everything was gone and I could see the infinity of darkness and death that was entropy.    The sounds of my footsteps were hollow and muted as if there was nothing for them to echo off. There was more garbage in the street. The lone streetlight wasn’t lit. The cracks in the sidewalks were slithering up the buildings and starting to tear them down.  The very air itself was gray, dark, and final.
I realized I had stopped in the middle of the street and was staring at the diner.  There were lights on inside the car, but it was raised up so the windows were above eye level.  There was something about it that looked too alive, too real on a night like this. 
I had a bouquet of calla lilies under my arm. They were her favorite.  I don’t remember what I had done with the ring.
I held the flowers up in front of me and stared at them.   Their bright color, which had shone with such strength earlier in the evening, was now faded and dull. I opened my hand and let them drop.  I didn’t watch the black street swallow them up, but instead walked on towards the diner.
The blue letters on the lit up sign simply read “All Night Café.”  The shiny aluminum sides looked new in the wet moonlight.  Mist crawled out from the sewer grates and obscured the concrete base it sat on.  I could just imagine that it was still on its rails just waiting for that one last passenger before pulling out of the station. 
A man standing perfectly still just outside the front door heightened the illusion.  I hadn’t even noticed him till I was right on top of him.  He had a dead look in his eyes and was obviously homeless. His red polyester jacket was worn through in spots and his beard was gray and tangled.  His hand came up to ask, without words or eye-contact, for spare change and I pictured him as a porter waiting to take my luggage.  
I realized my other hand still held my black leather Gucci briefcase.  She had given it to me when her father had agreed to hire me into his firm.  I simply handed it to him.
“What ever is in there is yours”, I said over my shoulder as I climbed the steep metal steps into the diner.
I looked back as I opened the door, but he was gone.
The inside of the diner was darker than it appeared from the outside.  The lights were subdued but somehow more colorful.  The plants were so green I first thought they were fake. The soft blue walls were cool and relaxing.
Marilyn Monroe was played by a girl who couldn’t have been older than 13.  She sat at the far end of the counter clutching a small, overstuffed, suitcase to her chest.  Her hair was matted and slept on.  Tear tracks streaked her dirty face and her eyes were darting and afraid.  After living in the city for a number of years it was easy to spot a run-away, but she look like she was straight from a made for TV movie.
James Dean was a young black man.  His stained T-shirt was complete with pack of cigarettes rolled up in one of the sleeves. His hand beat on the counter in time to some song playing in his head.  He had a big expectant smile that lit up his face and pointed me to the stool next to him.
Elvis wore a black concert shirt so old and faded you could no longer tell which band it was for.  His dark hair was pulled back into a long, dirty, ponytail that dangled down his back.  He was behind the counter flipping burgers on the grill with the skill of a professional pyromaniac. 
This left me to be Bogart.  I sat down and picked up the surprisingly clean menu even though I wasn’t in the least bit hungry.  I tried to imagine what Bogart would order, but I never understood what he was doing in the ‘Boulevard of Broken Dreams’ version of the “Nighthawks” diner picture anyway.  Had he died early and tragically?  I never really thought about it before.

I looked up to see Elvis waiting on me while cleaning out a glass with a bright white cloth.
“Catch of the day is Salmon, though I would recommend the filet mignon,” he said with a smile.
“Filet sounds good to me, but I would still like the white wine instead of the red. 1998 Cheval Blanc I think would hit the spot,” I answered mirroring his smile.
“Ah monsieur, I was saving a bottle just for you. He put down the glass in front of me, filled it with ice water from a pitcher, and threw another cheeseburger on the grill.
“Buy her one too,” James said nodding over his shoulder.  “She won’t take anything from me; I think she is a bit scared.”
I could see the dark red stain of dried blood on his left side that had been hidden from me earlier.
“What?” exclaimed Elvis.  “You mean one of you actually has money!”
He laughed with genuine good humor.  Something you don’t hear coming from adults anymore.  Something I hadn’t heard in a long time.  It lifted the heavy mood that I had brought in with me and even Marilyn smiled.
“Burgers and milk shakes all round my good man,” I said tossing my money-clipped wad of bills onto the counter.
The conversation started with small talk. Little jokes and humorous observations that eventually lead to introductions and then finally to the tales we all had to tell.
Their stories were the ones you’d expect to hear and told more by their appearance than their words.  There were regrets and bad decisions, but they were honest and without blame.
I told mine in turn and without hesitation.  I told the truth and revealed even the lies I had told myself, even the lies that I had believed.
Sharing freed us of them.  The pain, guilt and sorry faded away.  We left those worlds behind over the best hamburgers I had ever tasted.  We were moving toward something brighter, something new.  An excitement came over us and we began to share our dreams of this new world.
“I never wanted a pony,” Marilyn said.  “All the other girls I knew in school always said they wanted a pony.  A pony can’t curl up at the foot of your bed at night.  A dog would be better.  I am going to have a Cocker Spaniel.  His name is gonna be diamond.”
“A diamond ring,” Elvis said.  His voice was airy and his eyes wandered away.  Nothing too big or gaudy, but something that would look good on either formal or causal occasions.  Something that she would be proud to wear when I had my arm around her.  She will sneak glances it at it all the time when I’m not around, because it will make her think of me.  I will have bought it a month before I actually get up the courage to propose to her.”
“What’s her name?” I asked.
Elvis thought about it for a second.  “Missy,” he said.
We all thought about it for a second.
“No,” I said slowly.  “That isn’t quite right.”
“Melissa!” James said.
“Yeah!” Marilyn said.   “That’s much better.”
“Melissa,” Elvis said and repeated it a couple of times silently.  He smiled finally in agreement.
“What about you?” James asked me.
“I am a writer,” I said and then quickly added, “a song writer.”
“Are you going to write a song about us?” Marilyn asked.
I knew I wouldn’t, but thought about saying I would.  I realized that telling the truth was more important.
“I don’t think I should,” I said.
“Yeah,” she agreed.  “That way it will stay special.”
“I am going to be one of those people who doesn’t have a job, but still wears a suit everyday,” James said suddenly.
“An out of work politician?” Elvis asked.
“You mean some of them work?” I countered.
Marilyn laughed much easier this time.
James had helped with the dishes after apple pie, and Marilyn showed me how to make a cat’s cradle with a piece of yarn.  None of us noticed the time slipping by.  The sun was straight up and bright light shone through the spotless windows behind us.  Nobody else had come in during the night, but we never expected that anybody would.
We gathered up our things and were all smiles, handshakes and hugs.  Elvis took off his apron and left it on the counter.  He was now wearing a button down white polo shirt.  Marilyn no longer had her suitcase and her golden hair shone in the morning light.  James fixed his tie and handed me my guitar case. 

When the door opened, the warm friendly sounds of the world greeted us with open arms.  We each stepped out in turn and went our separate ways.  I stopped half a block away and started to turn to look back at the dinner.  I thought better of it and went back to humming a little ditty that I was composing.

Saturday, October 05, 2013

Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency and Other Things Douglas Adams

I had heard about the BBC’s “Dirk Gently” TV series a while ago. They aired a pilot which went over pretty good and so BBC Four ordered 3 more 1-hour episodes. A friend of a friend got a hold of an imported DVDs and I've had them lurking in a corner of my office for about a month. I’d like to say I hadn't watched it because I was in the middle of a complete run of Scrubs and had just gotten to the last few seasons that I hadn't ever seen, but the truth is I was worried. “Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency” by Douglas Adams is my all-time favorite book. Douglas Adams is more famous for writing “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” which started as a BBC radio show and converted into just about every other form of media culminating with the less than stellar received movie that was finished after his unfortunate passing.

I was worried about what the conversion to a TV show would mean for the Dirk Gently story and humor. The book is hilariously inspired lunacy. It is billed as a "thumping good detective-ghost-horror-who dunnit-time travel-romantic-musical-comedy-epic." Well, that is what the Wikipedia page says which I believe is based on the UK hardback edition. The first copy I got was the 2-cassette, abridged audiobook version published by Simon & Schuster Audioworks and read by Douglas, which describes it as, “The first ever fully realized -ghost-horror-detective whodunnit-time travel-romantic-musical-comedy-epic.” I always liked the “fully realized” bit. I liked to imagine that there had been many ghost-horror-detective whodunnit-time travel-romantic-musical-comedy-epics before, some of which that were partly realized, but this one was the first ever fully realized one. The later 4-cassette, unabridged version published by Dove Audio and also read by Douglas cuts it down to, "So this is it: a ghost/horror/detective/time-travel/ romantic comedy epic."  That final audio version is available digitally at Audio.com. I point that out because the digital audio versions of the five-book, inaccurately named Hitch-hiker's trilogy on Audio.com are new versions read by Stephen Fry and have been Americanized so English words like Torch have been rewritten as Flashlight. I was so mad I stopped listening to them at that point. Seriously, there exists wonderful recordings of Douglas reading the Hitch-hiker's books, why re-record them?!  Though I'll give a shout out to Stephen Moore, who was the voice of Marvin in the original BBC Hitch-hiker's radio show and BBC TV series, who did a wonderful job of reading the abridged cassette version that came out first and introduced me to the series. 

Dirk Gently is somewhat based on a storyline call “Shada” that Douglas had written as the final 6 episodes of the 1979-80, season 17 of the popular British TV series, "Doctor Who." About half of it was filmed but it was never completed due to a technicians’ strike at the BBC. A re-constructed version was released in 1992 with Tom Baker, the Doctor at that time, recording linking material to cover the gaps. Supposedly Douglas wasn't too impressed with his story and was content to have let it die. He claimed that the contract to allow the 1992 release to go forward was part of a pile of papers he was signing for his agent and that he wasn't fully aware of what he was agreeing to. In 2003 Shada was redone as a six-episode audio play / webcast with a little Flash animation with another Doctor. Gareth Roberts also novelized the Shada storyline. I haven’t seen, heard, or read any of those versions; just the Dirk Gently book which recycled some characters and concepts with all the Doctor Who stuff taken out.

One of my fears is justified in having listened to a dramatized audio version of the book that I got on Audible.com that is horrible and may lead some people to believe that the word dramatized means to have taken all the humor out of something. The rest of my fears of a television version of the book steams from the fact that most of Douglas’ humor in all this books are in the third person description. For example, in describing the giant, alien, Vogon Constructor Fleet spaceships that arrive to blow up the Earth in the beginning of "The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy" (to make room for a hyperspace bypass) Douglas says, “They hung in the air the same way bricks don’t.” Not only is that pretty funny, but it does a really good job of describing the feeling you would get looking up and seeing a gigantic alien spaceship just floating in the sky.

Another example from “Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency” is where Susan is getting mad because Richard forgot to pick her up… again.
    Time passed.
    Susan waited.
    The more Susan waited, the more the doorbell didn't ring. Or the phone. She looked at her watch. She felt that now was about the time that she could legitimately begin to feel cross. She was cross already, of course, but that had been in her own time, so to speak. They were well and truly into his time now, and even allowing for traffic, mishaps, and general vagueness and diIatoriness, it was now well over half an hour past the time that he had insisted was the latest time they could possibly afford to leave, so she'd better be ready.
    She tried to worry that something terrible had happened to him, but didn't believe it for a moment. Nothing terrible ever happened to him, though she was beginning to think that it was time it damn well did. If nothing terrible happened to him soon maybe she'd do it herself. Now there was an idea.
    She threw herself crossly into the armchair and watched the news on television. The news made her cross. She flipped the remote control and watched something on another channel for a bit. She didn't know what it was, but it also made her cross. Perhaps she should phone. She was damned if she was going to phone. Perhaps if she phoned he would phone her at the same moment and not be able to get through.
    She refused to admit that she had even thought that.
    Damn him, where was he? Who cared where he was anyway? She didn't, that was for sure.
    Three times in a row he'd done this. Three times in a row was enough. She angrily flipped channels one more time. There was a programme about computers and some interesting new developments in the field of things you could do with computers and music.
    That was it. That was really it. She knew that she had told herself that that was it only seconds earlier, but this was now the final real ultimate it.
    She jumped to her feet and went to the phone, gripping an angry Filofax. She flipped briskly through it and dialled a number.
    "Hello, Michael? Yes, it's Susan. Susan Way. You said I should call you if I was free this evening and I said I'd rather be dead in a ditch, remember? Well, I suddenly discover that I am free, absolutely, completely and utterly free, and there isn't a decent ditch for miles around. Make your move while you've got your chance is my advice to you. I'll be at the Tangiers Club in half an hour."
    She pulled on her shoes and coat, paused when she remembered that it was Thursday and that she should put a fresh, extra-long tape on the answering machine, and two minutes later was out of the front door. When at last the phone did ring the answering machine said sweetly that Susan Way could not come to the phone just at the moment, but that if the caller would like to leave a message, she would get back to them as soon as possible. Maybe.
All of the humor would be lost just filming that scene.  How exactly do you portray a Filofax (Rolodex type address book) as being angry?  I always thought that the only way to pull it all off would be for a narrator to read the book out loud while the actors acted and spoke their actual spoken parts. I think somebody tried this with a book and it was a complete failure. Wish I could remember if that actually happened and if so what was the book/show so I could judge for myself and make a much better point here. Maybe if it was done as an animated show?  Oh well, moving on.

At this point I should state my goals in writing this, there are two. One being to get you to read the book because it is that good and two to state if the TV show version is any good. So if you haven’t already decided to go out and buy the book or unabridged audio-version read by Douglas, then I have already failed that part.

Now more specifically the TV show. It isn't the book. It is a re-imagining of Dirk Gently as a TV show again recycling some of the elements and characters of the books to create a new story. I know you are probably wondering if the show is labeled as being 'green' because of all the recycling, but Douglas himself liked to point out that all the different versions of "The Hitch-hiker's Guide to the Galaxy" were different things and they all worked in their particular medium. The TV show works, it isn't the book, but Stephen Mangan is Dirk Gently. There are some nit-picky bits that I have with tiny details nobody but somebody who has read (listened) to the books many times would pick up on. One not tiny, only small, bit that jumped out at me was that in the book Dirk is very much obsessed with the fact that he has no psychic powers and gets quite angry when anybody suggests otherwise. In the TV series he hints that he is or may be psychic. Part of the comedy is the constant and argent denial of these powers when things happen that might suggest that he has them. The bit in the book that tells how he was arrested and thrown out of University for cheating being a really good, and funny, example. He was just trying to scam people into buying him dinner. Overall, I very much liked the TV for what it was, another version of Dirk Gently and was instantly sad to have learned that the show was not given a second series. Douglas would have approved. I've added the DVDs to my Amazon wishlist and will be proud to display him in my DVD case.

There is a second Dirk Gently novel  called, “The Long, Dark, Tea-Time of the Soul”  (Amazon and Audible links) and parts of a third that Douglas was writing when he passed. The incomplete version was released along with some of his other writings in a book called, “The Salmon of Doubt.” (Amazon and Audible links) Though Douglas had said that a lot of the stuff he was writing in that unfinished Dirk Gently book wasn't working. He said he thought he might salvage some of it to use for another Hitch-hiker's book. If you read the unfinished bit you'll instantly recognize the parts he was probably talking about. I also know of two series of BBC radio dramas that were made based on the Dirk Gently books, but I have not heard them  unless they are the dramatized versions I mentioned above in which case I'll pretend that I have not heard them.

And just to be Douglas complete in case anybody was about to ask, I have not read (or listened to) the sixth Hitch-hiker's book, "And Another Thing..." that was written by Eoin Colfer with permission from Douglas' widow, Jane. I will someday though.

And speaking of 'and another thing' I do own the rare and hard to find "Last Chance to See" on cassette. The link will take you to the book on Amazon, but it was something Douglas recorded, not written originally, for the BBC where Douglas and zoologist Mark Carwardine, went to see a variety of animals on the brink of extinction, such as the Komodo Dragon, the White Rhinos of Zaire, New Zealand kakapos, and Yangtze river dolphins.

"Hey, you sass that hoopy Douglas Adams? There's a frood who really knows where his towel is." (Sass: know, be aware of, meet, have sex with; hoopy: really together guy; frood: really amazingly together guy.)

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Yay Amazon!

A few years ago I was doing a pub quiz with friends at a local Irish pub. One of the questions was related to the song “On the Dark Side” from Eddie and the Cruisers soundtrack. I remember having that soundtrack on cassette back in high school. I didn’t get my first CD player till my birthday during my senior year of high school. None of that is any admission of my age, for all you know I was just really late in getting a CD player. 

I went looking for the soundtrack on iTunes and remembered the Streets of Fire soundtrack that I had gotten at the same time and loved to death. Let’s face it “On the Dark Side” is the only really good song on that album while Streets of Fire is chock full of rocking tunes.  Unfortunately, neither album was digitally available for purchase, so I found and bought physical copies of them on Amazon.  At some other time before or after that I also bought Jonathan Coulton’s “Best. Concert. Ever” album and the album of Neil Gaiman inspired songs, “Where’s Neil When You Need Him” off Amazon, because I’m a big fat geek.  I kept saying that I was going to rip them into iTunes, but I never got around to it. I kept the CDs in the car’s CD changer and listened to them while driving. Well, while driving when  I didn’t feel like listening to an Audiobooks, because as I’ve already established, I’m a big fat geek. Oh, and you know what else? Something happened with the Jonathan Coulton CD recently and it won’t play anymore.

A few days ago I got an email from Amazon.com saying the 4 Albums I purchased from them were added to my Cloud Player library and that those songs were available to play or download from their Cloud Player for FREE. It did note that some of songs from my albums were not eligible for this feature. Those songs were all off “Where’s Neil When You Need Him,” but I already have a full digital copy of that album. 

Last night I download the other three albums from Amazon, it auto imported them into iTunes for me, I copied them to my iPhone and I’m good to go.

Edit: Fixed a typo

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Warning! My email was compromised!

Looks like this old Yahoo email address is spamming an email with what I am sure is a bad link. I cleared this email a long time ago and it looks like it is mailing a lot of non-valid email address which are bouncing back. I can't do anything about it ATM because my PC is in the middle of getting its hard drive replaced.

Very sorry about this. No idea how this can happen as I don't even log into this account except via my iPhone.  If you got the email and clicked the link, fire up those virus checkers. 

-Joseph-
www.working-as-designed.blogspot.com