Saturday, February 28, 2009

Back in Vegas

Nothing really to post at the moment, but I am back home in Las Vegas and I thought I should at least say as much.

I did want to mention that Business Class is definitely the way to go for 18 hour flights. I finally cashed in some of those Qantas frequent flier miles. It's not like I haven't flown First or Business Class before, but 18 hour flights are where the value starts to outweigh the cost. I also paid a little more for a flight with less dead time between flights, Perth to Sydney to L.A. to Las Vegas, but there was a 4 hour unscheduled delay in Sydney which, even though they tried to make up time, caused me to miss my connecting flight out of L.A. The next flight out wasn't until a few hours after I got in and it was also delayed a bit. All in all I wound up in Vegas at about 6 hours after I was supposed to.

I also once again missed the last 10 minutes of a movie I was watching. This one was City of Ember. Last time it was Deception. Both times I would have been able to finish the movie if the Captain would have shut up when he ran out of things to say over the PA.

"Well folks we ahhhh should be ahhhhhhh landing here pretty soon and ahhhhhhh..."

Seriously, try writing out what you are going to say before picking up the mic and learn to stfu when you run out of things to say. It's very obvious that public speaking is very new and exciting for these pilots.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Who Watches the Nachos?

Look what Tim drew for me!

The story behind the nachos is that when Tim was first switching over to being a Content Designer, Ellen had asked if he should be invited to the design meeting.

I said, "Sure, but he has to bring the nachos."

Tim failed to bring any nachos.

The next design meeting, I had this sambrao that I bought for one of Interzone's theme days, this one being "Mexican day" which may have also been Cinco de Mayo but probably not. I filled the rim of the hat with corn chips and brought along some salsa to show Tim that a proper design meeting has to nachos.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Synthtube and the Tech Vixen

I’m putting up two new sidebar links. Celebrate as much as you deem appropriate and can handle under such conditions.

First for Alex Ringis, the sound designer at Interzone, we have SynthTube.
"SynthTube is a site that collates and reviews the best Synthesizer-related videos from YouTube and around the web, and reviews them, with a specific focus on highlighting the gear and performers involved in their creation"
Alex was recently BoingBoinged for his video of the naked baby playing a synthesizer. You can relax while watching it, at no time does the baby pee on the keyboard. I was so tense the whole way through, because I was just waiting for the little tike to let go.

Second up, we Liza of the many blogs/projects/hobbies, who may have something this time if she sticks with it (poke poke). As you may know from comments on other recent blog posts here, Tech Vixen just went up this weekend
Tech Vixen is a network of blogs all about technology, written from a woman's perspective. We are currently running four blogs in total - the main blog with news and links to the sub-blogs as well as "Gaming Vixen", "Comp Vixen", and "Gadget Vixen".

As we are just starting out, we are on the lookout for interested women (17 years or older) who are interested in running one of our sub-blogs (the gaming slot is already filled, but "Gadget Vixen" and "Comp Vixen" are still open). We are also looking to start new blogs regarding web development/blogging and other techy topics. Bloggers are able to monetize their sites by including ads in the content of their posts on the sub-blogs.
Head on over to the site for more information.

Liza also just put up a post about me leaving on her site. Now I'm all sad and mopey.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Goodbye Interzone

CannoliI just got back from my Interzone going away dinner. I was bit overwhelmed by it all and I had this lump in my throat the whole time. I think I was hit more by this than when Westwood closed which is saying quite a lot.

It was great to see everybody. I think the attendance was more a credit to the good Italian food rather than my presence. Not that they served cannoli though, what was up with that? How can you call yourself a real Italian restaurant without good cannoli?

The crew at Interzone are amazing, so many people so bought in on the project. There was some very nice things said about me and what I've done, but to be completely honest, I was standing on the shoulders of some really talented people. I also have to thank everybody for having faith in me and giving me the opportunity. Thanks again.

I do feel like I have let everybody down by leaving. I really didn't want to go. I really wanted to see this out. But too many thing have piled up and I have to take care of things with family back in the U.S.

I do want to express my anger at Liza and Jeremy though. The picture on that card will haunt me forever! You have not heard the last of me! Vengeance shall be mine!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Last Gilmore Girls Post

Wow, season 7 of Gilmore Girls was completely off the mark. It was like all the characters were replaced by pod people who thought they were the real people, but if you looked real close you could see they were different. The plots and storylines were okay, but the execution wasn’t tuned. What was an entertaining show filled with interesting and eccentric characters became an annoying melodramatic parody of itself.

I just did some Googling of the show and found out that Amy and Daniel could not come to an agreement with the network and they left the show at the end of the sixth season. I’m not saying she was some creative genius, or that there is anything wrong with Dave the new guy in charge, but the change was noticeable and bad for the show. From the ratings of that last season it looks like I wasn’t the only one who noticed the problems.

Thank for nothing Bendis! Though, I did finally finish Secret Invasion so I can finally catch up on the Bendis Tapes at Word Balloon. Hmm, maybe I'll save them for the airplane trip. I also tried to register at Bendis' web site, Jinx World,so I could post on his forum, but they won't accept non-free email addresses such as and I don't want to use the address anymore.

Monkey Buisness

A cartoon in the New York Post criticizing the stimulus bill recently passed by President Obama is being called racist. The cartoon is referencing the shooting of a pet chimpanzee last week, pictures police officers shooting a chimp and saying, "They'll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill."

This is what I was dreading with our new president. I was tired of the whole "black" President stuff before the election was over and I've been dreading the whole racism retort used to blast any type of criticism of his policy after he was elected. Don't get me wrong, due to our country's unfortunate history, finally breaking the "old white men" trend is great and all. But, I certainly hope people voted based on the candidates and their ideas and not their skin color.

Seal of the President of the Unted States of AmericaBarack Obama is THE President of the United States of America, not the "black" President. Any attack on him or his policies should be devoid of reference to the melamine content of his skin and any defense used against those attacks should be build on more solid of a foundation than a house of racism cards.

If some narrow-minded pin-head gets one arm free from his spiffy white jacket that ties in the back long enough to grab a crayon and draw a quick portrait of THE President in black face, clan robes and dancing a barefoot jig with fried chicken in one hand and watermelon in the other; I don't need somebody to point out that it's racist. I can make that mental leap myself, thanks.

Being politically conservative, I am anticipating railing against some future policy decisions of this administration. I just want to warn everybody now, anybody planning on calling me a racist should fill out the aggravated assault paperwork now. It will save the police time later.

I'll also come clean and say I didn't vote in the last election. I waited too long to update my absentee overseas ballot stuff after moving to Perth. Do you know who I would have voted for? I don't. I was never a big McCain fan, but I also don't know if I would have crossed the isle and voted for President Obama. I think the whole reason I hadn't made up my mind about either candidate is that I am weary of anybody who the media is excited about during the election. Remember McCain was the media darling in the 2000 Republican primaries.

P.S. There are still way more cartoon chimps lampooning President Bush, and I'm pretty sure they aren't racist either.

P.P.S. Personally, I am for the Jon Stewart economic plan: (watch the video)

1. Create a stimulus package that will bail the working class out of debt.

2. The money will go to the financial industry via workers paying off their debt.

3. This will increase the liquidity of the banks.

4. People, free from their debt, will have more money to invest in the economy.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Leaving on a Jet Plane

I’m pretty much packed. I’m just waiting on the moving estimates now to see how much more I am going into debt without a job. I bought the tickets already. I fly out next Wednesday morning and land in Vegas 10 minutes before I take off.

They rejected Jeremy’s application to take over the lease on the house here. There would have been no break in rent, no need for showings, no prepping the house, transfer of the bond over, etc. Now I have a week to figure out what to do with the stuff I can’t take. Jeremy now has to figure out where he is going to live.

All this and the final season of “Gilmore Girls” is really bumming me out. If popular entertainment has taught me anything though, I am pretty sure it’s all going to end on a big, happy, finding 3 packs of Smarties* in your overcoat from the previous winter, moment. Granted, that will probably be depressing too but I can handle that. The last few women I have gone out with are still fresh enough in my mind to keep me grounded on the whole romantic front. That and the theme music to the show really gets on my nerves, it’s like a nice cold slap across the face which keeps things in perspective.

I got one more disappoint lining up. I could avoid it if I speak up, but I’m hesitant because I kinda have a morbid fascination to see if doesn’t happen.

Oh and no pity party by the way. I’m big on the whole karma thing. The more things suck the bigger payoff I expect later. Unless I’m paying off all the crap I’ve done in the past… hmm better to stay positive. Though, if I’m expecting a payoff does that go against the karmic philosophy? I haven’t really read up on the subject, I’m more flying by the seat of my pants kind of guy. One more thing, can you tell me if this thing on my back looks more like a parachute or a knapsack?

On the good news front, I think I’ve dropped enough hints to the parents that for a belated birthday present I wanted a repeat of the Mother’s sauce and Dad’s assembly and cooking of the Fratillies.

Fratillies (probably spelled wrong) is an amazing Italian thing, like pizza taken to the next level. We discovered them when my dad was stationed at San Vito Air-Force base when I was a kid. So you know a panzerati (probably also spelled wrong) is right? If not it’s like a pizza, folded in half, and baked. Fratillie is the same thing only umm broiled? Deep fried? Umm cooked in a vat of oil, which ever that is.

* I did actually find 3 packs of Smarties in my giant leather overcoat (and my watchmen button, woot!) Actually it was 3 packs of Fizzers, which is what they call Smarties here. Smarties in Australia are more like M&Ms. To totally blow the lid off the cover-up, M&Ms are a total rip off of Nestlé Smarties. I lost that bet last year, though I just found out that American Smarties were called Smarties before Nestlé Smarties which were originally called Chocolate Beans. Here are some relevant selected sections from the various Wikipedia entries. Knowledge is power.

Nestlé SmartiesNestlé Smarties are a colourful sugar-coated chocolate confectionery popular in Europe and the Commonwealth of Nations. They have been manufactured since at least 1882, originally by H.I. Rowntree & Co..

Rowntree's of York, England have been making "Chocolate Beans" since at least 1882. The product was renamed "Smarties Chocolate Beans" in 1937. Rowntree's were forced to drop the words "chocolate beans" in 1977 due to trading standards requirements (the use of the word "beans" was felt to be misleading) and so adopted the tagline "Milk Chocolate in a Crisp Sugar Shell".

The brand became known as "Nestlé Smarties" in 1993, five years after Rowntree's was acquired by Nestlé. Smarties are no longer manufactured in York; production has now moved to Germany, where a third of them were already made. Outside Europe, Nestlé's largest production facility for Smarties is in Canada, where Nestle has been manufacturing products since 1918.
In the United States, Smarties are a type of artificially fruit-flavored candy produced by Ce De Candy, Inc., from 1949 through the present. They are marketed in Canada under the brand name Rockets, to avoid confusion with Nestlé Smarties. The original product is the English Fizzers from Swizzels Matlow. In 1949, the brother of the chairman of Swizzels Matlow traveled to the US and established Ce De Candy.

M&M's Chocolate Candies are candy-coated pieces of milk chocolate with the letter "m" printed on them, produced by Mars, Incorporated. Popular in the United States, several variations of the candies exist, including plain milk chocolate, peanut, peanut butter, dark chocolate (with and without peanuts), and almond. First produced in 1941.

Forrest Mars, Sr., founder of the Mars Company, got the idea for the confection in the 1930s during the Spanish Civil War when he saw soldiers eating Smarties, a chocolate morsel covered with a hard sugar shell so that the chocolate would not melt.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Friday the 13th

I went by work today and Brad pounced on me as soon as I was in the door and drug me in front of the students he is teaching at TAFT. He was giving them a tour of the office and a sneak peak at Interzone Futebol.

I gave them a quick history of my career in the game industry and then told them a few stories that Brad cleverly fed me openings to. He is such a great straight man, I think it's his hair.

Then I went to buy some more packing tape and bumped bumpers with somebody pulling out behind. I had been blinded by a giant van parked next to me and I was so worried that another car was going to hit me as I was pulling out, that I didn't see the guy behind me. Both cars were fine. I had a smudge and he had a smudge and the plastic of his bumper popped out. It popped back in fine, nothing broken.

Then I went to the bank to cash in my jar of coins. I asked if they had a counting machine, knew of another branch that had a counting machine, or if all else fails if I could have the little baggies to separate the coins into, in that order.

They said no, the nearest branch was a 20 minute drive away (and it was already after 4:00), and yes BUT... the other bank next door had a counting machine and they didn't think you had to be a member to use it.

I went back to the car to get my jar which I had been driving all over town with, and despite the fact that I used the seat belt to hold in place, was spilling all over ever few minutes. That's when I found I had locked the keys in the car with the engine running... again.

Thankfully, the last time I did that I joined the RACQ. But since I had transferred my cell phone over to Richard to get out of my hellish contract with Satan (aka Telstra) I didn't have a phone. After a few minutes I found a phone booth (wow, how quaint) and called RACQ.

The time I spent listening to the automatic hold messages: A very very long 15 minutes in which time I shouted back at each of their little, "Aren't we great?" messages that wanted me to pay more money to sign up for more insurance features.

The time I spent waiting for the guy come after the call: A very quick 15 minutes in which I assured numerous passers by that I didn't think the car would overheat despite the noises the fan was making trying to keep it cool.

In the end, the jar of coins was just shy of $140 AUD, a little less than last two times which topped $150. I didn't shake it as much this time trying to cram more coins in so as to avoid having to go cash them in.

I am supposed to have some people come to look at the house today but they are about 30 minutes overdue. Jeremy put in an application to take on the lease but we still haven't heard back from the owners. Cross your fingers, because if he doesn't get the lease I am going to have to scramble to sell my furniture and white goods at the last minute.

Friday, February 06, 2009


Tired of hearing me go on about the Gilmore Girls yet? Well, don’t worry they are just the MacGuffin in this story. I say “story” but you can go ahead and read that as “rant.”

I mentioned before that I talked to the girl working at Blockbuster about when season 1 disc 2 was due back in. It was actually case #2 containing discs 3 & 4. I felt it was important to update you on that mistake, as I know you are taking notes for the test later. She pointed out that the people who just watched discs 3 & 4 were probably going to want discs 5 & 6 next. She recommended that I check them out now, so I could jump ahead of them.

Discs 3 & 4 were finally returned late yesterday and now I've watched up to disc 6. Just after putting up my last post, I realized that I would be finished with it in a few hours and have nothing to watch in the morning. I jumped in the car and tore off to rent all of season 2. It was with a cold, creeping, horror that I realized that case #1 of season 2, containing the first two discs, was already checked out!

It was them! My Gilmore Girls nemeses! They did the same thing! They checked out the first two discs to leap ahead of me! They aren’t due back till next Thursday. They are probably just going to sit on them until I return the last 2 discs of season 1!

Again, we only have Brian Michael Bendis to blame. I bet he is in league with those slow watchers! He probably goes over their house ever night and they all snuggle up on the couch with popcorn and share a blanket that they spread over their legs. They probably only watch one episode a night so they don't spoil it by rushing too fast. Oh but sometimes they can't help it, they just get too excited and they watch (gasp) two in a row!

I bet they think they've won. Well, they haven't! I have the rest of season 2 and they better just pray that I'm going to return them! I could just take them with me when I leave the country! What would they do then! Yeah, that would learn ’em not to mess with me!

I saw all of the seasons at the mall for $24 AUD each, but A) I really don’t have money to spend at the moment especially since I just quit my job and bought new shoes and B) I don’t want to have region 4 discs!

What Kind of Day It Has Been

I guess the major update is that I resigned as Creative Director of Interzone yesterday. It was a result of a lot of things accumulating at once. You many already know that I’m not big on the sharing of personal details, so I'll just say it was a very amicable break and the door is still open for me possibly returning in the future. I want to say that the team at Interzone was one of the best I have ever worked with. I honestly have never seen such a high percentage of the team be so bought into the product and willing to do what ever it takes to make it work. Nick, my boss, also had some very nice things to say in my ‘I leaving’ email thread about how I transformed the game from where it was to something both development and corporate could buy off on. It was very mushy and I’m expecting an excellent letter of recommendation.

Pralines and CreamAt the moment I’m sitting here trying to enjoy my last day of relative normality before I have to actually put some sort of plan in motion to move back to the United States. There is all sorts of stuff that I'll have work out such as selling the car, furniture, white goods (what they call major appliances here in Australia), etc. I even splurged and had an ice-cream (pralines and cream in a waffle cone of course) to help cushion the chaos that will start in the next few days.

Currently though, I am going a little nuts trying to find some reference in this episode of the Gilmore Girls (Christopher Returns) of when Lorelai made plans to meet Luke. In going through the episode several times I have found all sorts of mistakes. Reflections of the crew in the window, shadow of the mic, and one scene where Christopher says that tomorrow is Saturday making it Friday night, which is when they should be having the weekly dinner at her parent’s house. This is also the second time that Dean mentions that he has a motorcycle though he told Lorelai that he didn’t have one when she first grilled him about dating Rory. And this whole thing about what was said the previous night at the dinner table, they never made it to dinner. I also think it’s raining in the baseball game scene in the beginning and that they are filming under tents or something. You can hear the rain and occasionally see some heavy raindrops. Anyway, I have finally figured out that the plan with Luke was set up from the previous episode and that is the night she is supposed to help him paint the diner. I probably would have figured out that faster, if I had let the episode finish instead of stopping it and going back to the beginning. Oh I am so going to write a nasty email to Bendis for doing this to me!

I have also decided to take a break from my current audio book, “Of Fire and Night” the fifth of seven books in the Saga of Seven Suns series by Kevin J. Anderson, to listen to “The Graveyard Book” by Neil Gaiman. It is written in classic Gaiman style and I give it a thumbs up. You'll probably find it in the “Young Adult” section of the book store but don't let that fool put you off.

The Graveyard BookOne thing that I have been wondering about is why they aren’t pimping Gaiman more on his movies? There was no mention of his name in the advertising of any of his movies so far including the upcoming “Coraline”. He is a best selling author with a rabid fan base. Why wouldn’t they at least toss out a “Based on the novel by Neil Gaiman” in the ad? Granted, the fan base being as rabid as we are, most of us knew about each movie long before it was presented to the unwashed masses.

Edit: I accidentally clicked the wrong thing and added Gaimen instead of Gaiman to my dictionary and didn't notice Neil's name was misspelled all over the place. Fixed.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Global Game Jam

Last week I missed the Global Game Jam. I had a personal event happen that Friday night and then took a drive down the coast of Australia on Saturday to sort my head out.

Anyway, here is a LINK to all the Perth entries. If I had been there I would have seen myself working on Under One Roof.

I haven't played all the Perth one's yet but I've poked through the overall list. I have to say that as a whole, the Perth entries would appear to be heads above most of the rest.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Bendis must be made to pay!

Brian Michael BendisI blame Brian Michael Bendis. Not only that, but it’s his fault as well. Now, I know you have not yet committed yourself enough to this narrative to Google who the hell Brian Michael Bendis is, let alone put forth a ruckus demand for an explanation, but I’ll just carry through anyway.

So not much to do over Christmas Holidays last month. It’s the middle of the summer here and it’s hot. It’s hot like Vegas, but with that added touch of humidity to make sure the sweat sticks to you instead of just being wasted by dripping off and soaking the carpet. I’m holed up in my room, scrolling through the list of cable channels on the TV guide. I was fully intending to just stare endlessly at the myriad of shows sliding down the TV screen until I passed out and got some much needed sleep. But instead of a walk in stardust, I noticed… Okay it’s hard to admit this; because once I say it, it’s out there and I can’t take it back… I noticed that the Gilmore Girls was on.

Okay, let’s jump back a bit. Brian Michael Bendis has mentioned this show in the past. He’s a writer I like, you could even say a favorite writer. You still haven't Googled him so I’ll just toss out that he is a comic book writer. I am just going to give you a compliment by assuming the revelation of his medium did not drop your expectations of him; though, we are still on for this all being his fault. One of my secret little hobbies is to check out the things my favorite writers like. So, I watched an episode of the Gilmore Girls. Two, I watched two episodes of the Gilmore Girls. There were two episodes on, one after the other. Really it was just easier to keep it on that channel than exerting all that energy searching for the remote and changing the channel.

Now it’s a month later and it wasn’t when I found myself programming the cable box to record episodes that I realized I had a problem. It wasn’t even when I found myself obsessing about the fact that of the three episodes I was watching every week, they were from two different seasons and it was totally spoiling the flow of the overarching storyline.

It was today that I realized I had a problem. I stopped at Blockbuster on the way home from work knowing full well that I had a huge late fee. I went up to the counter, without even a female companion with whom I could pretend to be dating and only renting the DVDs at her insistence. It was right after convincing the girl behind said counter to look up when season one disc two was due back because they only had disc one and three. If you knew more about me, you wouldn’t be at all surprised by that. She wisely pointed out that people who rent disk two will probably be looking to rent disk three, and that I should rent disk three now and preempt them. That is when I realized that I had a problem.

So yeah, I’m sitting here and I just finished watching the whole season one disc one of Gilmore Girls. I'm already jonesing out that disc two isn't due back at Blockbusters till the end of the week. Brian Michael Bendis must be made to pay for this, because it is all his fault.