Tuesday, March 24, 2009

And Life Goes On

I just got done with a very interesting phone interview. I am not sure I came off overly impressive, I've never been very good at selling myself. The position itself has some pro's and con's, but I think I would be a very good fit and excel at it. I have my finger's crossed...wHicH amkes iT hArd twOo tyypE!

Things are moving again at Interzone Futbol. I have been told that the Australian Closed Beta sign-ups are now open.

My half brother Ben is in town, fresh from Iraq and we had a large sibling dinner the other night. It looks like he will be heading to Afghanistan sometime in the near future.

I did a camp out with Eric#1's son's boyscout troupe a few weeks ago. Did 10 miles on a bike before the petal fell off. I'd post a picture, but if I don't leave now I won't get fed.

...and that my exciting life at the moment.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Torrid World of Scrabble Controversy

I noticed an article about Scrabble yesterday when I was logging into my yahoo mail account. It talks about how the addition of three new words to the official Scrabble dictionary is changing the game balance. The three new words are "za" which is slang for pizza, "qi" a body's vital life force and "zzz" a snoring sound.

The argument goes that the point value for letters should be re-evaluated because there was a careful balance of letter point values based on the frequency they turned up in words. Though it would appear that careful balance was achieved somewhat less scientifically that I would have thought. Alfred Butts, the original creator of the game, went through a bunch of news papers counting letters and word usage without a calculator much less a computer. He did this in 1938 as well and I am pretty sure the landscape of words has changed quite a lot since then. Kind of odd that could be used by people on both sides of the argument.

Scrabble TilesI should also point out that in order to spell "zzz" in the game, you would need to be set up with the only "z" tile and both blanks. You may also be surprised to know there is only one "q" title, though "qi" does make it a lot easier to get rid of that "q" instead of having it sit there taking up space and given it's point value they may have a point. The "Q" goes from penalty tile to bonus title. Think about it, once the "Q" tile is on the board and you have an "I" its party time with at least 11 points not counting any word or letter bonuses squares.

It sounds like the change is being done to make the game friendlier to the casual player (wow, where have we heard that before?) And if you really want to be a good Scrabble player you’d take a gander at the list of official two and three letter words before sitting down to a game. It's just the same as poking around some websites for information on a raid before logging into your favorite MMO.

Now Scrabble is not new to controversy. Just looking through some links I found all sorts of stuff:

Webster's Dictionary Explcit ContentA woman wrote the Daily Mail newspaper complaining that the Nintendo DS Scrabble game's dictionary contains some mildly profane words. Chief amongst the offenders are the words "tits" (a garden bird or informal word for female breasts, according to the game’s definition system), "fuckers" (a slang word for chavs) and "toke" (a draw on a cannabis cigarette).

I'm in the process of writing a very stern letter complaining about the use of highly offensive words in the latest edition of Webster's Dictionary. They need to put a Parental Advisory label on that book before if falls into the hands of some impressionable child! Won't somebody PLEASE think of the children!

Scrabble Dildo Word of the DayBut that was back in December. That is old news. How about the 0fficial Scrabble website's official word of the day for February 22nd? "Dildo" (An object used as a penis substitute) was up for about half the day before it was changed. BTW "Dildo" only nets you 7 points.

I simply can't bring myself to say one of the jokes I have to end that. It's just not THAT kinda of blog. But oh man I have some good ones!

Okay but let us talk serious controversy now. Erik Arneson from About.com has a post that claims some people are calling for text messaging slang to be included as official words. These would be things like "ttfn" (ta ta for now), "cuthen" (see you then) and "fwiw" (for what it's worth) as well as letter and number combinations such as "gr8" (great) and "2mrw" (tomorrow)." Though his post is from 2003 and the link to the Telegraph newspaper article doesn't work anymore. I personally think that the quote from a spokesman for Mattel saying, "We are in favour of including some text words in future official Scrabble dictionaries" should be read the same way as when your mother used to say "Maybe later." In other words, "no."

I started to write this as something on game balance as applied to more traditional games and maybe even sports, but my research found the stuff above and that's where I wound up. So there ya go. I should also point out that a lot of the different tournaments have their own official word lists, but I didn't feel like looking into that let alone boring you with it.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I Wordled Myself

Wordle: Joseph's Game HistoryFound this little program that makes art out of your text by giving greater prominence to words that appear more frequently. I fed in my Personal History and got the Wordle you see.

It is very interesting to see the words that pop out. Looks like I definitely got game. It is annoying to see "actually" in there at all; because, I hate that I use that word so much when I write non-fiction. When I write fiction i am always going through and removing the word "seems." I was taught that it should "seem" like it was a dark and stormy night, just make it a dark and stormy night; however, my fingers like to type "seems" in hopes that I won't notice.

Wordle: Joseph's ResumeHere, lets do another. How about my resume itself... Not to bad.

I wish it would recognize things like plurals and possive words as the same word. So table and tables would be the same and that Bob and Bob's was the same. The little bit of HTML code they have you paste into your blog to get it to display sucks as well because when you copy and paste it, you have to remove all the line breaks and formatting they put in and make it all one piece of code.

I was going to look for something else to Wordle, but I'm too tired and I think the novelty has worn off.

Oh before I go, one more thing. Dear Java, Please stop installing Yahoo Toolbar. PlzKThxsBye.

Another Shot at a Marvel Comics MMO

Gazillion Entertainment
just announced they have signed a deal to do a Marvel super hero MMO. It looks like the plan is to do multiple games with the first product being a casual MMO for younger audiences based on Marvel's "Super Hero Squad Property." They say that they are also underway on a major new Marvel Universe PC and Console MMO that will introduce a number of breakthrough features. Gazillion says that as additional games are release that they will "share various levels of connection."

The last attempt to produce a Marvel Universe MMO was by Cryptic Studios, but it was announced in February of last year that the project was canceled. Cryptic created the other super hero MMO, City of Heroes and is currently working on two other MMO's: Star Trek Online and Champions Online. Champions is a table top, super hero role-playing game. Looking at that plate I can easily see why they would have canned the Marvel MMO. Star Trek is a bigger license and Champions is still a super hero game, its just not restricted by the Marvel license. The odd thing about all this is that Marvel was suing Cryptic over City of Heroes because it was too easy for people to make characters that looked exactly like Marvel characters, but the lawsuit was settled out of court with the result being that Cryptic was then going to make a Marvel MMO.

Looking at the Gazillion site they appear to be the parent corporation of The Amazing Society, Gargantuan, NetDevil, Slipgate Ironworks, and SmartyCard.

Net Devil published the failed MMO "Auto Assult" which at least they published so don't judge too harshly. Do you have any idea how many companies fail to even get their MMO to market much less find it to be successful? Anyway, they are also currently working on the Jumpgate Evolution MMO and Lego Universe MMO.

Slipgate Ironworks is John Romero's company that was founded in 2005 and has been working on some unannounced MMO since then. Further digging just found that John announced via Twitter that he is a co-founder of Gazillion.

SmartyCard appears to be a card you buy for your child aged 3 to 6. The kid then can then earn (unlock the value you paid for?) stuff by completing educational games and activities. The rewards are claimed to be subscriptions to their favorite virtual world or physical rewards such as books, video games, DVDs and toys. Though in the 2 minutes I looked over the site I wasn't able to find an actual listing of these rewards without signing up. Their FAQ answer to that question just has the same vague list.

The Amazing Society and Gargantuan are new companies I have never heard of. Gargantuan's website just has one page that says they are hiring and gives an email address for you to send your resume to. They do appear to be the company listed as doing the Marvel Universe MMO though.

What does all this mean for this new attempt at making a Marvel MMO? Not much since all we have is some new studio announcing a bunch of marking goobly gook. Only time will tell if anything comes of this true believer.

Personally, I can see how this is difficult because if I am going to buy a Marvel Universe MMO, I want to be Spider-man or Wolverine. I don't want to play some new super hero that gets to fight along side Spider-man and Wolverine. That later method is exactly what SOE is doing with DC Universe Online. Don't worry though, if it fails they can just have a Crisis event to rewrite history.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Looking back on the last 24 years

I spent most of today updating my resume, recreating the HTML version and putting it all back up online. I finally split the list of published titles off into its own document, so I now have a more reasonable two-page resume with a separate two-page list of titles. Feels odd to look at those documents and take in that they represent the last 24 years of my life. It's all up now up if you follow the link over on the right-hand sidebar. Please shoot me an email if you notice any goofs or spelling mistakes. Wouldn't look good for Captain Attention to Detail to be caught with a typo. Drat, I just realized I forgot to create PDF versions. Bah I'll do that when I get back from Death Valley.

Futuria Box CoverWhile I was doing all these I got an email from a gentlemen named Gaël, who is a classic Macintosh fan. He has been looking for a copy of two games I worked on back in 1986ish called "Utopia" and "Futuria." The story, as I remember it as it was told to me, was that these were two Scott Adams adventures redone by his former partner, William. Supposedly Scott and William had a falling out and William had the rights to these two games. I don't really know how much of that is true or not. To be honest, I don't really remember too many details about the games either. Unfortunately, I also don't have copies of them. Unicorn wasn't to good on keeping up with giving me copies of all the games I worked on.

Utopia Title ScreenIt is interesting to think back on as these were some of the very first games I worked on. Working on them may have even been the first time I used a mouse to draw. Gaël sent this title screen for Utopia but I don't think it is something I drew. Jack, a programmer, used to paint some of the box covers and I think he may have painted this and then scanned it in. We used something called "Thunderscan" which replaced the printing head on the mac's printer and acted as a scanner. I drew a cartoon on the white board at the time that had a picture of the "sad mac" also knows as the "mad mac" shown when the Macintosh crashed. It was decked out post-holocaust style with the caption, "Mad Macs, Beyond the Thunderscan." Don't judge, it was a much simpler time.

Patrick ConnellyI also in the middle of all this I found out that former Westwood-ian, Patrick Connelly, passed away. I don't have any of the details and I hadn't spoken to Patrick in many years. He was always an entertaining goofball and storyteller. I always though that they should have done a live action sitcom based on South Park, with Patrick playing a slightly older Cartman in college. He would have been perfect for the roll.

Patrick always had a bright and upbeat aptitude with a new tale you just had to hear. The world just won't be quite as bright a place tomorrow as it was yesterday. Goodbye Patrick.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

New York Times Best Selling GRAPHIC Book list

It seems only yesterday that the New York Times added a Children's Fiction Best Seller list because all those damn Harry Potter books were taking up too much space and pushing off other "real" books. Seriously, follow the link. That is pretty much what they were saying.

Graphic NovelsNow they are adding a Graphic Book Best Seller list for such things as Graphic Novels. They have both a hard and softcover list as well as a Manga list. Its a good thing Manga got its own list because other wise all those Manga titles would have taken up too much space and pushed off other "real" graphic novels. See what I did there?

The Courtyard by Allan MooreI was surprised to find The Courtyard by Allan Moore on there; because I have yet to find it in a store and I've been looking in stores across the world. Maybe it is just so popular that it is selling out?

This is a good thing and a big step into legitimizing graphic novels. I was talking to somebody who works for the library district and she was saying that they have a hard time justifying the purchase of graphic novels because the powers that be don't recognize them as real books.

If you feel like just randomly checking out some graphic novels, browse over to The Graphic Novel Explorer by Jim Bumgardner, of krazydad.com. Its a flash image-browsing display that has arranged the covers of 1001 graphic novels vertically by color and horizontally by price. You just mouse over the display and it enlarges the cover and gives the title and price as listed at Amazon. Note that the Watchmen it lists there is for the Absolute hardcover edition, the softcover version is only $19.95. He has a Science Fiction and MAD Magazine version as well.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Think Things Through or Your Head Asplode!

One of the things that I think I am good at in video game design, is seeing where a certain system’s desired behavior is actually going to have a completely different outcome in game. Everybody wants to be able to get the most out of something with the least effort and players are notorious for being what we call “Min Max’ers” meaning "Minimum effort for maximum reward."

You don’t have a fee to put something up for auction in your MMO auction system? You want to be nice to the players so they participate in and stimulate your in game economy? Unfortunately, that means the auction system is going to be filled to breaking with absolute trash items; because why destroy something when there is a chance somebody will buy it for a few coins? This happened in Star Wars Galaxies. The database filled up causing it to be painfully slow, you couldn’t find anything of actual value that you may have been looking for and the auction system was useless.

They also allowed players to name their auctions. It defaulted to the name of the item you were selling but you could change it. I suppose because they felt that people could enter things like “buy my crap item cheap!” but instead players named their auctions item names of other more valuable items and scammed people. This was not helped by having crap items and very valuable items share the same inventory icon such as the Holocron which gave you a clue to unlocking your Jedi character. Oh and it didn't filter the auction name through a profanity filter the outcome of which I don't think I have to elaborate on.

Sorry didn’t mean to pick on ol’Star Wars Galaxies, but I sure wasn’t about to list examples from game’s I’ve worked on. Those are mine or my friend’s mistakes! Seriously, what were you thinking?

Anyway, the point of this post was that we are currently seeing an example of this in Utah State Senate bill HB 353. On the surface it says that retailers who advertise that they don’t sell age restricted games to minors, and are caught doing so, will be fined and opened to lawsuits. Critics point out that what will really happen is all the work the industry has being doing to promote its voluntary rating system, educating retailers, etc. will get for nothing because it will be easier (minimum effort) for retails simply to stop advertising the rating system and stop promising they won’t sell restricted games to minors. The result would be (maximum reward), no danger of falling foul of this legislation because Bob, the minimum wage clerk at the register, who really doesn’t give a damn if little Timmy buys a copy of “Headshots II: Your Head Asplode!” for his PS3 despite your advertising, company policy, and that little meeting you had.

The ESRB (Entertainment Software Ratings Board) has written an open letter saying pretty much that which you can read over at Game Politics who has been tracking the passage of this, "feel good, oh won't somebody please remember the children, waste of tax dollars, look at what a good politician I am taking care of you, crappy legislation." It has links to the bill itself as well.

Friday, March 06, 2009

I Watched the Watchmen

I liked it. As a fan-boy I don't think it could ever match the original, but as a stand alone movie I enjoyed it. Overall it captures the graphic novel very well and I look forward to the extras and deleted scenes of the DVD.

There was a big line to get in and another big line for the next show when we got out at 10:00. Hopefully it will pull in some big opening night numbers. Of course I happened to pick the same theater and showing that all the Petroglyph guys went to which was kinda cool.

I didn't see anybody else wearing their original watchmen pin from 1986.

Some off the top of my head, non-spoiler, some-what critical comments:
I think the discussion between Jon and Laurie on Mars could have been done better. Her big realization was done much better in the book with the layered flashbacks.

Also Jon's thing with the thermodynamic miracles wasn't set up and explained that well. In the book he talks about the thermodynamic miracles when he is first showing her around and that's when he says he wanted to see one, which him realizing that we have been witnessing them everyday have more impact.

Missed the odd time things with Jon. Him telling Laurie that she is about to revel something to him and then being surprised when she does in her reply. Also his distorted state when the tachyons are messing with him, "excuse me Rorschach, I'm explaining this to Laurie 2 minutes ago."

I think they should have had more narration, like in the book. It would have helped people who hadn't read the graphic novel as well as given them more to work with.

Not enough smiley face references. Or maybe I missed them?

No, embracing Hiroshima lovers silhouette graffiti either even though the one shot from the dinner where you see it getting painted through the window, across the street was spot on in the movie.

Blue penis was 4 times the size it was in the comic. Seriously, it has always been referenced as the little blue dinkle, not the swinging blue pipe!!! Dave Gibbons had said they were worried that DC wouldn't let them show full frontal nudity in the comic so he was very careful to casually conceal it most of the time in the framing and draw it understated like in Roman statues so it was something you would only notice in passing.
Several added things were really good like the beginning credit sequence that lays some foundation and drives home that this is not our 1985. The fight scenes had a lot of impact as well, getting hit hurts.

I've already planned to go see it again at the matinee showing tomorrow.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

So tell me about these here comic books...

I have been involved in a lot of conversations about the comic book industry in the days leading up to the Watchmen Movie and at one point I always shoot off about how the industry is due for another very large change.

Before I start let me say two things:
1. I no longer have the source for this, I think I may have gotten a lot of what I am basing this on from a pod-cast interview and not something I read which is why I can't find it.

2. If you think comic books are about nothing but people in spandex shooting 'beams' at each other (pew pew), I'll bet you money I can find you a comic that isn't about super heroes that you will read and then say to me, "Wow, that was good! What else can you recommend?"
The first big change in this chain was when comic book publishers decided to keep the price of comic books low. They were for kids and 25-35 cents was what kids could afford. Because of this the newsstands started to stock fewer titles. They have only so much shelf space and a regular magazine that sells for more, means more profit for them.

This caused the appearance of comic book specialty stores. In some ways this was good for the industry because it allowed the independents to come in, but it also meant that the sales numbers for comics dropped to a fraction of what they had been doing. In order to maintain profits they had to raise prices to the few bucks each issue costs today.

But now a lot of people think they are too expensive and look for ways to save money. Enter mail-order places where you can order your comic books online, pay much less, and have them mailed to you. Adding to this is the number of people who have stopped buying individual issues and have ‘gone to the trade’ as they call it. Meaning, they are buying the trade paperbacks (aka graphic novels) which reprint a run of the issues usually encapsulating one story arc from 6-8 issues. They can be bought in the comic store but also in major bookstores and even from those mail-order places for much cheaper.

This is where we are at now. The problem I foresee is that comic book stores operate on a very tight budget and they are always at risk of going out of business. Let me also throw in here that the collectable market is dead. If you are saving those old comics thinking they will make you rich one day you are sadly mistaken. If, like me, you are just bagging, boarding and collecting them because you can’t stop then you are just sad. Actually, I am going to start ‘going to the trade’ myself. Seriously, I’m tired of lugging those big white boxes across the world.

The point of the collectable market being dead is to point out that the comic book stores aren’t making a lot of money buying and selling back issues.

What I see happening in the future is comic book stores going away, more trade paperbacks and such in bookstores. Currently the Manga books from Japan are doing incredible in bookstores and the U.S. comic publishers are going to find the formula to match that. I think this will herald a giant change in how books are produced, written, serialized, advertised, etc. I think that independent publishers are going to be hit very hard by this and won’t come back into serious play for awhile. I do however, think that after all the turmoil, say 10 years from now, that things will be better than they are now.

Comic book publishers are also trying things with publishing online, but I don't think that is going over to well. People like to hold something in their hands and read it. Snuggle up in bed with a book. But, if we can get some advances in electronic paper anytime soon, that may change. We will also need some better way of handling electronic purchases - I bought the damn thing, it's mine, I should be able to control how I store it and be able to get at it later. I'M LOOKING AT YOU ITUNES!

The wild card in this mix is the movies. Lots of movies based on comics, doing well, is keeping the publisher's (more specifically the major corporations who own the publishers) profits up.

But that’s just my opinion and I reserve the right to change it as new evidence is presented and time goes by.

Slot Machine Tickets

Another thing that was happening about the same time I was leaving Vegas 5 years ago was the take over by of the slot and video poker machines by the ticket-in / ticket-out system. Tickets, as in no more cash money paid out by the machine, instead they print a bar-coded ticket that you take up to the cashier or a machine to get your money. The machines still accept bills and even those same printed out tickets, but the machines now don't accept or pay out coins which makes them a lot easier for the owners to operate.

I worked very briefly as a slot floor person at the Bellagio right after Westwood, while I started sending out my resume. That was right at the same time they were converting their machines to the ticket system. During that time I saw insides of a lot of slot and video porker machines. I know what a pain the coins were. The buckets would fill up, coins spilled out inside the machine, they would get jammed, etc. Not to mention the pain in the neck it was to deal with all the coins at the cashier's stations around the casino. So I can see where they are coming from wanting to cut down on the whole coin problem. Though, from my experience I would say the tickets jam more often than the coins ever did, but the rest of the argument still stands.

What I am really wondering about though, is the slot and video poker machines in the gas stations, convenience stores, grocery stores, and the like. I have never been a big gambler, but I also hate change in my pocket. As I would walk out of a convenience store I would dump my change into one of the poker machines, play a hand or two, lose, and then continue on my merry way minus the annoying jingling change. On a very rare occasion I might even win a few bucks.

Now that even these machines have be converted to the ticket system, I am dying to know if they make less money? I doubt that I was the only one who would dump their spare change into the damn things. And I can't really see this being an issue the owners of the machines would have overlooked or missed when deciding to convert them to the ticket system. Maybe the spare change from people during the day is/was nothing compared to the people who sit down and feed a few twenties into them.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Do Not Call

When I left the U.S. five years ago, there was all this talk about this great and wonderful "National Do Not Call Registry" that was being implemented to stop unwanted telemarketing calls. But over the past few days, I swear that not 10 minutes passes without some telemarketer calling.

I have gotten several that were in reference to "our previous conversation." Really, you called me in AUSTRALIA to talk about getting me a new credit card even though I show no U.S. income for the past 5 years. Seriously, why would I want to bank with a company whose first sentence to me is a lie?

But my favorite one just came through while I was typing the previous post. The phone rings, I answer with a friendly, "hello?" I then hear, "I'm sorry, none of our sales staff is available at the moment to handle this call. Please while for the next available sales person."

They called me and and then they PUT ME ON HOLD TO WAIT FOR THEIR SALES PITCH!!!

I just went to the official government website for the registry which has a feature where you can confirm that your phone number is on the list as well as a form to fill out to file complaints against telemarketers.

The first problem I'm having is that I think it expects the email address I enter to be the the same one originally used to enter the number. I think my mother used an old yahoo.com address that she use doesn't use anymore. I put in my own email address, but I'm still waiting for the response email to say if her number is on the list or not.

The second problem is with the complaints, no caller-id on these phones and I'm sure even if there was, the numbers would be blocked. I guess I'd have to stay on the line long enough to get the name of the company so I could register a complaint.

Granted there are dozens of websites with "how to annoy a telemarketer" including one I heard a recording of where the guy pretends to be a police officer at a crime scene and starts interrogating the telemarketer. Unfortunately, I don't have the link anymore. It was in Per-chat if any of you Interzone peoples are reading this.

This is what I'm reduced to

Alright a real quick post. Yeah, they are just coming fast and furious while I sit here jobless. I'm burning so much creative energy I have to wear different colored socks just to get myself grounded.*

I just caught up to current with The Big Bang Theory tv show. Yes Cameron, I already caught up with Dollhouse. I just love Amy Acker as Dr. Claire Saunders. She was cute on Angel, but there is something about her on Dollhouse with the scars on her face that just fascinates me. I'm hoping this steams from a natural male-protector role and not something creepy. I already have enough interesting problems for other people to deal with.

I am so glad that we have Joss Whedon back doing TV. Now if we could just get another Aaron Sorkin show going I could rest easy.

No Cameron, I haven't watched anymore of the second season of Terminator. The Sarah Connor Chronicles. I told you before, I'm going to get the whole season from iTunes.

Anyway, about Cameron. He interrupts like that all the time. What I wanted to post about was the lyrics to the theme song for The Bing Bang Theory written and performed by The Bare Naked Ladies. It goes like this:

The Bing Bang Theory Theme Song - Bare Naked Ladies
Our whole universe was in a hot dense state,
Then nearly fourteen billion years ago expansion started. Wait...
The Earth began to cool,
The autotrophs began to drool,
Neanderthals developed tools,
We built a wall (we built the pyramids),
Math, science, history, unraveling the mysteries,
That all started with the big bang!
I have one small problem with it. The line in the background "we built the pyramids" right after "We built a wall" just doesn't work. First of all it is redundant. Secondly, it throws the rhythm off right in the middle of a very fast rhythmic part of the song. Next time you are watching the show, sing along and try replacing that line with "Not to mention pyramids." I think you'll find it works much better.

*I was joking about the socks. I only own two types of socks: black dress socks and short, white, athletic socks. Wearing one of each would do the opposite of grounding me. If you witness me wearing such, you should alert the medical authorities immediately as I have most likely gone off my medication. Okay! Okay! MedicationS - plural.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

The Graveyard Book - Movie

The Graveyard BookI know what you are saying, "Wow, I third blog post in one day!" Thing is, when I was looking up the names of the actors in "The Crying Game" on IMDB for the previous post I learned something that warranted its own post.

They are going to make Neil Gaiman's Newbery Award winning novel, "The Graveyard Book" into a movie. The link between the two is that it is being directed and scripted by Neil Jordan who also did "The Crying Game."

You can read the article iCelebZ.com.

My Point, and I Really Do Have One...

Now, my friend Nick just wrote me an email. Granted it was in response to one I had written him earlier in the day. But he ended it with a comment in regard to the previous blog post.
"Oh, and I meant to comment on your blog about this, but since I’m writing an email I may as well mention it now. Although mentioning the squid monster isn’t a spoiler for the movie, it *is* a spoiler for the graphic novel!"
Now, in answer to that postulation about the supposed spoiler in regards to the graphic novel, I must refer him to point 1a which would apply to the unfortunate soul who has yet to read the graphic novel.
1a. You don't know what the hell I am talking about with "giant, physic, squid" anyway
Saying something about the "giant, physic squid" no more ruins the graphic novel than if I were to talk about the remake of Star Wars, Episode IV, A New Hope by saying, "They added a ring to the explosion." It doesn't really tell you anything and to be truthful throwing out "giant, physic, squid" makes absolutely no sense until you actually get to the end of the graphic novel. It's not like anybody who hadn't read the graphic novel would read "giant, physic, squid" and even have a clue where I was going with that under any circumstance.

Now granted, there are clues leading up to the ending, but honestly, they don't really make sense until your second read.

However, I had told my friend Paul that I was going to see "The Crying Game" years ago and he mentioned there is a twist at the end and I should be careful not to let anybody spoil it for me. I said I had heard there was a twist ending because one of the actors was on The Tonight Show the night before. He suddenly got concerned asking which actor. I didn't know which actor because I can't ever remember names if my life depended on it. I started to describe either Forest Whitaker or Stephen Rea, I forget which as it was a long time ago. Paul was relieved upon hearing it was a guy. From that, I guessed the secret of the crying game as soon as she was introduced on-screen. So maybe he is right and I should leave open the possibility that it is a spoiler.

All of that is besides the point though. The point is that he didn't comment. He instead mentioned what he was going to say in email. Do you know how often that happens? Do you know how many people email me with responses to my blog posts instead of using the provided comment section? Don't bother guessing, I'll just spoil it for you and say, "A lot!"

The problem with this is that it would appear to all other readers that there is, in fact, nobody reading my blog except Bug Hunter and Cap'n John, two individuals who I have never meet but; however, on top of appearing to be quite nice and friendly, at least post comments. For this I thank them, post comments occasionally on their blogs, and now that I am back in the U.S. hope to one day meet them over, say, pancakes.

We shouldn't be too hard on Nick though. I was just using him because he is the latest example of this problem that I am having. Nick did write me a wonderful letter of recommendation for my time at Interzone which you can read if you go dig for it under the resume link on the right-hand menu.

Watchmen Ending

Just another quick note, the book, "Watchmen the Film Companion" with a half and half Rorschach, half drawn, half real-life from the movie, on the cover kinda reveals the new ending. We already knew there wasn't going to be any giant physic squid, and that isn't a spoiler because:
1. If you haven't read the book
- a. Shame on you and you are really missing out
- b. You don't know what the hell I am talking about with "giant physic squid" anyway
2. I'm telling you it ISN'T something, how can it be a spoiler if I am saying it isn't this or that!?
3. I'm not saying anything about what the new ending plot point is actually.
The book by Peter Aperlo is a film companion and doesn't really have much, besides some new pictures, that isn't already available on the internet. It only mentions the new ending plot point twice, and in passing as if you have already seen the movie.

The USA weekend pull-out in the Las Vegas Review-Journal had a piece on the Watchmen movie complete with centerfold poster of the movie versions of the characters as drawn by original Watchmen artist Dave Gibbons. Though to be honest, the only things that are different are the slight changes to the Night Owl's costume and Veidt. Everybody else looks like they stepped right out of the graphic novel, or individual issues if, like me, you happened to have been there way back then. Yeah I'm bragging.

The lovely Kristina (I'm contractually obligated to call her that) has already bought tickets for our little group for Friday on the Imax screen of the Red Rock Casino.

Oh, I wore the original Watchmen pin that they gave out as a promotion back in 1986, Smiley face with the drop of blood, (yeah, I'm bragging again) when Eric#1 and I went out on Friday night. We only went to two places, but despite a lot of people showing interest in it, only the bouncer at one club actually knew what was and expressed his hope about the movie being any good.