October 2006 Archives

Happy Halloween!


This weekend, Mountain View opened their new cemetery, located on the corner of Oak and Mercy. I drove by and noticed that those there are just dying to get out...

No Mercy Cemetery-3

No Mercy Cemetery-2

And for something really scary, watch the new Playstation 3 Ad:

links for 2006-10-31


Monday Motor Video

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In Europe they tend to use these nifty automatic barriers to allow public transportion through, but not regular autos. They are much more effective than gates or those tire slashing things, but it doesn't stop people from trying to circumvent them.

There is music to this video, so those of you at work may want to don headphones or wait until you go get home. The sound just adds to fun.

Google Adsense failure on South Park / WoW Episode


Sometimes the Google Ads hit right on the mark, but sometimes, you get results like the following, which advertises several Christian Groups on a blog entry about South Park and World of Warcraft. I'm guessing that the audience that watches South Park and plays World of Warcraft is one of the audiences that just so desires to be proselytized to:

My guess is that the word "truth" keys into all sorts of religions, and combined with the whole South Park thing... well it looks like a case of Adsense not quite being content sensitive enough.

Signs and Portents of Next-Gen Game Consoles


Kotaku has some great stories about the nationwide PS3/Wii pre-order camp-outs that took place in front of Toys R Us this past weekend. Here's my favorite of the stories from Hartford:

    I got to our local Toys R Us around where about seven people were already camped out since noon yesterday, They asked, "Are you here for PS3? Because they are all gone. They only have 6 systems 1 of them is the 20 gig unit. Of course you can stay if your here for the Wii they're gonna have 15 of those."

    They all proceeded to laugh in unison at the thought, So me and my buddies took out our stuff and sat down then they were like, " Umm. We were serious." I was like, "We're here for the Wii".

    They were all shocked and proceeded to ask what the big deal was with the unit. They were clueless. Turns out they were Ebay-ing their units only one person actually wanted to keep theirs. I and the two other friends felt the odd men out as we were getting Wii instead of PS3.

    But we braved on nonetheless, After a Long COLD night We fell asleep only to be awoken by chatter. I open my eyes and what do I see? Like an Army sent out from the heavens about 40 people lined up behind me.

    So then someone decides to be brave and asks "Who here is getting a PS3?" The guys ahead of me rose their hands. Then the guy asks "Who here is getting a Wii?" The army behind all raise their hands.

    The seven strangers are no longer smug, and decide maybe there is something to this Wii thing so they ask me about it. I explain they decide they actually want to buy units and KEEP them.

Other Tales of PS3/Wii madness can be found in Kotaku's Toys "R" Us Pre-order Camper Hell Wrap Up.

Maybe it's just me, but it's my belief that the majority of the people are pre-ordering PS3s just to attempt to resell them for a markup on eBay. This is likely a reaction to the XBox360 price gouging that occurred last year. I'd say that the PS3 has exactly zero games I'm interested in. For the population at large, I'm convinced that World of Warcraft has distracted them from the happenings of the outside world (and of video game consoles), and that gamers that actually want to play games on their game system instead of ebaying their game system are getting the Wii.

In the way that Elmo TMX is this season's holiday gift, so too is the Wii. I believe, that just as the PSP languished on store shelves, so too will the PS3. They will sell out of the PS3, but look at the numbers they're shipping to Toys R Us -- 6 to 8 per store, and of those, at least one is the stripped down "Core" version. Nintendo is shipping almost double that number of Wii's, and they are guaranteed to sell out (such is the way of Nintendo game systems).

The Wii is this season's gotta have it game system.



Researchers in Japan have discovered that a new protein, nesfatin-1 taken from the hypothalmus of the rat brain seems to have suppressed the appetite of rats:

    "When the team injected nesfatin-1 directly into the brains of rats, the animals subsequently ate less. When the protein was continually administered, via a drip over 10 days, the animals actually lost weight in that time.

    In a second experiment, antibodies blocking the action of nesfatin-1 were injected into the brains of healthy rats. These animals were subsequently found have increased appetite and gained weight over six days.

Researcher Masatomo Mori says he plans to work towards human trials, and that a version of the drug that could be injected normally through the body and taken up by the brain, should be developed.

I guess what I find funny about all this is that we spend millions of dollars on research figuring out how to trick the body into eating less, when a regiment of exercise and conscious eating habits can give us the results we desire. But like so many things in life, we're always looking for the quick, easy way to lose weight.

Potent brain molecule curbs appetite (New Scientist)

links for 2006-10-30


The 25 Most Hated/Loved movies on Netflix.


One of the things that Netflix is doing is posting a million dollar reward for someone who can improve their recommendations system by 10 percent. Because of this contest, a lot of data has been disclosed (none of it personal, just aggregate) and patterns begin to emerge. One of the interesting data points about their rental movies is that the top five most frequently rated movies are: (links to movies go to Amazon)

  1. Miss Congeniality
  2. Independence Day
  3. The Patriot
  4. The Day After Tomorrow
  5. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
Having one contestant of the Netflix contest puzzle over Miss Congeniality's first place led to an investigative bit of SQL gynamnatics to arrive at the the following list of movies that people either really liked or really hated:
  1. The Royal Tenenbaums
  2. Lost in Translation
  3. Pearl Harbor
  4. Miss Congeniality
  5. Napoleon Dynamite
  6. Fahrenheit 9/11
  7. The Patriot
  8. The Day After Tomorrow
  9. Sister Act
  10. Armageddon
  11. Kill Bill: Vol. 1
  12. Independence Day
  13. Sweet Home Alabama
  14. Titanic
  15. Gone in 60 Seconds
  16. Twister
  17. Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy
  18. Con Air
  19. The Fast and the Furious
  20. Dirty Dancing
  21. Troy
  22. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
  23. The Passion of the Christ
  24. How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days
  25. Pretty Woman

Aside from a couple of these movies (The Royal Tenenbaums, Lost in Translation and Kill Bill: Vol. 1), I either haven't seen them or I have seen them and find them unwatchable for a second time. These are the movies that can erupt in heated debate of being good or bad. They are movies that are fluff (romantic comedies and action flicks) or movies that are offbeat to relate to (The Royal Tenenbaums, Lost in Translation, Napoleon Dynamite, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) or movies that cater to a specific target audience (Fahrenheit 9/11, Kill Bill: Vol. 1, The Passion of the Christ).

Fun with Magnets


What happens when a boy swallows a magnet? Fun and hilarity ensues, of course.

Being Batman


They say that you need to walk a mile in someone else's shoes to be able to see things from their perspective.

In researching the dark knight, I came upon various wonderful things, such as this map of Gotham.

Notice where Wayne Manor (and the Batcave) is located. Batman is a bridge commuter!

When comic book artists design superhero costumes, practicality is not something that they keep in mind. I'm convinced that if superhero creators realized just how noisy vinyl and latex is they wouldn't dress "stealthy" characters like Catwoman in so much of it. Also, the dexterity involved in being able to do fine work with your hands is limited with gloves on -- I would hope that Bruce Wayne has his UI designer keep that in mind. The cowl, with the ears adding a good 2 to 3 inches of head clearance could be problematic for driving and ducking doorways, and peripheral vision in a cowl is severely limited.

Capes are a liability. We all saw the Incredibles -- they get caught on all sorts of unfortunate things, and if your cape is too long, you just might trip and fall over when chasing a criminal over the rooftops of Gotham. Batman's cape seems to also change length and width depending on what he's using it for.

On the plus side of capes are that capes covers the butt, and can also be used as a blanket (and looks pretty darn menacing).

Boots in principle are a good idea; combat boots would be very effective, if not for the shoelaces (same liability problems as capes), which have the bonus of being hard to tie quickly because of the gloves.

Lemony Snicket: For Crying Out Loud, San Bruno California


The Capuchino High School Auditorium this afternoon was host to Lemony Snicket and the Gothic Archies for a Scholastic Sponsored "The End" book reading and signing. The book reading was done Hodgman style with musical accompaniment and audience participation. It's quite interesting to see an entire auditorium headslumping. Daniel Handler maintains the persona of being NOT Lemony Snicket (which was quite entertaining) for the entire time.

"The most important lesson being, of course, is that if you see Count Olaf, scream and run away".

Flickr: Lemony Snicket


Costuming Survival Guide


Halloween is my favorite of the holidays. You really can't beat the combination of candy and costuming. These are the things I've learned over the years of costuming:

  1. Accuracy doesn't matter as much as you think it does.

    Seriously. As the costumer, you are the only one who knows how inaccurate the costume really is, and you shouldn't let that detract from the fun of wearing the costume. There are the people who will notice such inaccuracies, but for the most part, people are generally pretty lenient, given the amount of effort that it takes to create a costume. For my Incredibles costume, I had forgotten to make the yellow belt (and on the second wearing forgotten to put on the eye mask). Not one person noticed (except me).
  2. Find something that you'd feel comfortable wearing.

    By this, I'm talking about physical comfort, as well as emotional comfort. Nothing kills the fun of costuming faster than an uncomfortable costume.
  3. Expect photographs.

    In this age of technology, everyone seems to have a digital camera, so one should be prepared to be photographed. If you feel uncomfortable being photographed in costume, it probably means that it's not a good idea for you to be walking around in that costume. Be prepared with smiles and poses.
  4. The costume only has to look great for a couple of hours.

    Last year, I did the Anakin Jedi costume from Revenge of the Sith. As my first real sewing project, it was pretty cheaply constructed, with stitching that wasn't quite straight, and cuts that weren't really clean, but I knew it only had to keep together a couple of hours, and as I said in tip 1, people aren't going to notice inaccuracies. People will notice, however, if your costume falls apart after a couple hours because the glue didn't hold.
  5. Practical tasks that one should keep in mind when designing the costume: seeing, sitting, walking, talking, eating, drinking, using the restroom.

    Not being able to one of these is probably okay. Not being able to do two or more of these and you may have problems.
  6. Get into character.

    It adds to the fun of costuming. It's okay to be yourself, but you can't be the Tick without yelling "Spoon!" at least a couple of times, or be a Jedi without saying "I sense a disturbance in the Force" or trying a Jedi Mind Trick or two..."You will give me more candy..."
  7. Props.
    In general, they aren't pleasant to carry around but they are nice to have. For example, I firmly believe that one should not be a Jedi without a lightsaber/lightsaber handle. If you can shooting lightning from your hands, that's acceptable too. Props also do a good job of distracting people away from the costume. Some of the greatest props I've seen (like press passes for Lois Lane and Clark Kent) aren't very hard to make, but they add to the costume.
  8. Anything can be a costume with the right attitude and a little creativity.

    A suit, a cumberbund and a top hat, and suddenly you're Mandrake the Magician. Suit and a fake british accent - James Bond or Giles from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Blue denim overalls, plaid shirt, and a straw hat and you're a farmer. Ripped clothes, blood stains -- you could be a zombie or a serial killer or vampire or victim. I find that once the costume creativity engine begins to run, it doesn't stop.
  9. Have fun.
    It's not everyday that you're in costume (maybe it is if you work in an amusement park).
  10. When in doubt, go for the more capable character.
    You never know when a magic spell will change you into your costumed persona.

links for 2006-10-27


Dalek Pumpkin


They made a Cylon Pumpkin... and then followed it up with the Dalek Pumpkin:

Tomorrow: The Apple Store

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My MagSafe Adapter died today.

The light went dark, and now my MacBookPro has a limited battery life and the clock is running down slowly. I keep expecting it to sing "Daisy".

links for 2006-10-26


Dear Amazon


Dear Amazon,

Please stop showing me the ads for the Canon lens rebates. If you continue, I may end up buying lens that I lust after, like the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM and the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L USM Macro, and while I would be happy, my wallet would be very, very sad.

Much appreciated.

links for 2006-10-25


Battlestar Galactica Cylon Jack-O-Lantern

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The Cylon pumpkin even has a working LED light bar too...

links for 2006-10-24


Game Distribution Methods


In the present games industry, the main method of games distribution is retail. This is your EB Games, your Gamestops, and yes, your Wal-Marts.

Wal-Mart is incredibly powerful, and one can attribute to Wal-mart the placement of the abyssmal Deer Hunter and its brethen of games on the monthly/weekly top ten games sold list since 1998.

Some game developers have experimented with their own digital distribution systems, most notably Valve, who attempted to distribute Half-Life 2 through Steam, Valve's own content delivery system), before they were halted by a lawsuit from their retail box publisher (Vivendi Universal).

The way the games industry works in general is this: developers make the game, then send it to a publisher to get it boxed and put into stores, and then the retailer sells the game to the customer. The publisher and the retailer get the bulk of the profits, while the developer gets little return, so it's not surprising that a lot of developers are now trying to do their own digital distribution. As I understand it, Sony now sells the bulk of their Everquest upgrades directly online to the customer.

With this in mind, publishers are now writing in online distribution rights into the contracts they make with developers, so that they too can sell games online for direct download.

Retailers don't want to get cut out either, so now retailers are doing direct downloads as well. Gamestop tried this before as a rental service in 2001, and it quickly went under, but this time they've partnered up with TryMedia to feature Digital Distribution on EBGames/Gamestop's website, where a customer can now just directly download the full game to their computer. Most of the titles up for this are old titles or casual games with prices ranging from 4.95 to 59.99, stuff that might otherwise end up in the discount game bin.

The end result is that now there's a fourth person taking a piece of the pie -- the online game distributor (TryMedia). Let's just say that Gamestop has negotiated a deal where they get 25% of the customer dollar, while TryMedia gets the rest. TryMedia will skim some percentage of the 75% left over (let's say 40%) and pass the rest to the publisher, who gets the remaining 60%. The publisher has an agreement with the developer for 15%, so 15% of 60% is 9% of the original customer dollar -- meaning 9 cents per dollar (which goes back against the advance given by the publisher). For a $60 game, a whole $5.40 might make it back to the developer (which is likely then used to pay back the $40 million dollar development cost of the title). (need to sell 7.4 million copies!)

In the old model, Gamestop took 25%, publishers took the remainder 75%, and gave 15% of the net to the developer -- 15% of 75% amounts to roughly 11.25% of the original dollar, making a $60 game worth about $6.75. (need to sell about 6 million copies)

Notice the difference in the number of copies that need to be sold? Is it any wonder why so many game developers go bankrupt?

With more people coming in to take pieces of the pie, how long will it be before developers make even less than 5%?

Good Night, and Good Luck (Widescreen Edition)


Good Night, and Good Luck (Widescreen Edition)

Good Night and Good Luck takes place in 1950s America and chronicles the conflict between CBS newsman Edward R. Murrow and Senator Joseph McCarthy and HUAAC. The film is completely in black and white, which adds to the feel of the era. While the movie is slow at points, it's an engrossing tale of how powerful and powerless the media can be in changing political policy.

This film was nominated for a total of six Academy Award in 2006 in the following categories:

  • Best Achievement in Art Direction
  • Best Achievement in Cinematography
  • Best Achievement in Directing
  • Best Motion Picture of the Year
  • Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
  • Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen

Advance Wars


This weekend, I've been playing Advance Wars: Dual Strike on the DS Lite, leveling the characters up and unlocking all the special goodies. I completed the Normal Campaign completely unaware that I could equip skills to my characters (which basically meant I was severly handicapping myself against the computer)

Advance Wars: Dual Strike is a turn-based strategy game, and the second sequel to the original Advance Wars which debuted in 2001. While it does make good use of the second screen, the game mechanics are mostly unchanged from the previous games.

links for 2006-10-23


links for 2006-10-22


Toyota's Human Touch Ad


I found this Toyota commercial a tad bit creepy.

... kinda reminds me of a zombie movie.

links for 2006-10-17


links for 2006-10-16


Burning Crusade Collector's Edition


Let's have a round of applause to Blizzard's marketing team -- deciding to make a $70 dollar expansion pack for WoW is a pretty ballsy move. In fact, I'm pretty sure this is the most expensive expansion set in the history of the games industry. Heck, even whole boxed game sequels don't sell for that much.

The normal price of the Burning Crusade expansion set is $40. For 30 bucks more, you get a whole mess of extras:

  • World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade on both CD and DVD
  • World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade Behind-the-Scenes DVD
  • The Art of World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade Hardcover Art Book
  • Exclusive In-Game Pet: Netherwhelp
  • Two World of Warcraft Trading Card Game Starter Packs, plus Exclusive Cards
  • Map of Outland Mouse Pad
  • World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade Soundtrack CD

The two big things that make it worth it are the Hardcover Art Book, and the In-Game Pet. You think I kid about the pet, but I've had people offer me ridiculous sums of money when they see me running around with my Collector's Edition pets (Diablo, Zergling or Panda). And those Baby Murlocs that you get from BlizzCon are pretty sweet as well -- I've seen them ebay'd for some nice change in the past like this one, where the Murloc pet sold for 700+ dollars. That's good, solid American currency, folks. Or this unopened Collector's Edition which sold YESTERDAY for $630. Damn, I never shoulda opened mine -- but the art book was just too pretty to not look at.

To be fair, the Collector's Edition of WoW was near impossible to get -- I had heard rumors that Blizzard themselves did not even have enough copies internally to give to their employees, and so resorted to picking up copies at Fry's.

I have no clue how many copies of the Burning Crusade Collector's Edition they're making -- I know it's gotta be more than the 70,000 they made for WoW, but I would not expect it to be worth that much in the future, but I'm buying it anyway.

MOO Mini Cards


Today feels like Christmas. First I get my spot on the Wii pre-order list (which, in some ways, I am told is like enrolling children at a top-rated preschool) and then my MOO Mini Cards arrive.


I like them, I think they're great, and I'm planning on ordering more. They're about half as tall as a standard business card, and a little shorter lengthwise.

We Love the Wii -- Mountain View Gamestop

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Last night, Gamestop/EB Games sent out the email announcing the opening of pre-orders for the Nintendo Wii at Gamestop stores this morning. Their previous pre-order line for the PS3 this week sold out in minutes, and I anticipated no less for the Nintendo Wii.

Complete Field notes from the Wii Wait in the extended entry.

John Hodgman at Cody's Books


The Areas of My Expertise

Tonight, kwc and I made the trek up to the city to see John Hodgman, the author of The Areas of My Expertise, whose complete title is "An Almanac of Complete World Knowledge Compiled with Instructive Annotation and Arranged in Useful Order by me, John Hodgman a Professional Writer, in the Areas of My Expertise Which Include: Matters Historical, Matters Literary, Matters Cryptozoological, Hobo Matters, Food, Drink, and Cheese (a Kind of Food), Squirrels & Lobsters & Eels, Haircuts, Utopia, What Will Happen in the Future, and Most Other Subjects".

John Hodgman knows how to do a book reading, and brought along his own troubadour and theme music to go along with it. The QA session utilized a set of walkie talkies, which is much more efficient than the "raise your hand and the microphone will find it's way to you" method that is common in large gatherings of people. The mid-session brandy break was also an excellent way for Hodgman to plug his audio CD version of his book.

During the QA session, one of the audience members asks him if he ever played Dungeons and Dragons, to which he answers "it sounded fantastic; being able to escape into a fantasy world, but then there were the hex boards, and all this math... so I gave up. What about you? Did you play D and D in high school? Yeah? What character did you play? What class? What alignment? You don't remember? You think you were a thief? I think that's bullshit. Everyone who had a non-cool character says that they were a thief, because they think 'I don't want to reveal my character. My character is lame. Thiefs are cool. Yeah, I was a thief.' Next question."

Flickr Photoset: John Hodgman at Cody's Books, SF


Blue Comet Games


For the past couple of days, I've been trying to write an introduction for my latest entrepeneurial endeavor, Blue Comet Games, but everything I wrote seemed too self-promotional and too much of a shameless plug.

Blue Comet Games sells Star Wars Miniatures. Right now, only from Champions of the Force and Bounty Hunters, since that is what it seems most people are looking for. Eventually this will expand to include more than just Star Wars Minis (like Japanese/Anime Toys, and whatever Blizzard Memorabilia I have left), but for now, it's just Star Wars Minis.

It's online, and it's open. 24-hours a day, 7 days a week for all your Star Wars Mini needs.

When I was going to post this yesterday, I had just started an auction for Boba Fett, Bounty Hunter. Mr. Fett was started at $9.99, but has risen quickly to $28, with six days remaining in the auction. Boba Fett has a nice sculpt, some killer abilities, and people really seem to like Boba Fett.

links for 2006-10-12


links for 2006-10-11


Gears of War costs 10 Million - Yeah, Right!

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Every so often, someone in the games industry makes a ridiculous claim on what their game costs. In this case, it's the highly anticipated Gears of War for the Xbox 360.

    Speaking at the London Games Summit, Rein said that it's taken a team of 20 - 30 people around two years to complete work on GOW - arguing that despite claims by some industry figures, it's still possible to create next-gen titles using medium sized teams and without gigantic budgets.

    GOW, he continued, "wasn't cheap but didn't cost the crazy figures you hear other companies quoting of $20, $30 million". Rein made similar comments in an interview with GI.biz last year, where he accused "big companies like EA" of "going around trying to scare people".

    When asked by an audience member how much GOW had cost to produce, Rein replied, "So far, around $10 million, maybe a little less.

    "The publisher didn't pay much more than that for it... And smart developers don't go over [deadline], let's say that," he added.

Source: gamesindustry.biz

I don't buy it. 10 million barely buys your development team + engine, and possibly office space. Corporate taxes? Insurance? Software Tools? Office Equipment? Computers? Software?

It's true, a lot of software can be done cheaply, but some tools, you HAVE to pay for -- like Maya ($5,000 a copy) or 3D Studio Max ($3,500 each), or Photoshop ($750) -- there's a couple hundred thousand. I don't think they're using gimp or some open source equivalent. There's a lot that goes into the cost of a project -- and then there's the infrastructure to support all that. Let's not forget their office T1 (or T3 -- whatever). 10 million might be what their developers are being paid, but I guarantee you it's not what the project costs.

links for 2006-10-10


links for 2006-10-09


links for 2006-10-08


links for 2006-10-07


EA Closes DICE Canada


Monday: Greet your new overlords: EA confirms buyout of DICE (Digital Illusions CE), the game studio responsible for Battlefield 1942.

Friday: Welcome to unemployment! EA confirms closure of DICE Canada, the Canadian branch of DICE.

Same old EA. The current situation that DICE is in will likely bear a large resemblance to that which eventually became of Westwood, Maxis, Bullfrog and Origin Systems, and there is no doubt in my mind that they bought DICE for BF1942, and that DICE, under the control of EA will just be making BF1942 (and sequels of BF1942) until the day they close shop.

Sketches of Frank Gehry by Sydney Pollack


Sketches of Frank Gehry by Sydney Pollack

This week I watched Sketches of Frank Gehry, in which Sydney Pollack goes around interviewing and filming Frank Gehry as he goes about creating and designing buildings. It's interesting to see Gehry work, and to see his scribbles and crumpled paper become buildings, and what runs through his head. At one point, Frank Gehry says regarding a design "That's so stupid looking, it's great", which is generally my reaction to walking into a Gehry building, because it's so different, and the shapes and impact of the space just completely draws me in.

Trailer for Sketches of Frank Gehry

WTB: Sword of a Thousand Truths


Google Video: South Park: 10x88 Make Love, Not War

Brilliant use of Machinima. Uber-pwnage. They totally get it. It's one of the best World of Warcraft parody / comedy sketches done.

The Sword of a Thousand Truths is fictional. (At least as far as I know -- it doesn't exist in the game). Their portrayals of the kids working with Teamspeak and before all sitting in the same room talking to each other fighting is one of the most realistically portrayed scenes of World of Warcraft.

Gaiman Count: 14, maybe 15


Last night at Kepler's while standing in line to get items signed, kwc started to count the number of Gaiman items he owned. parakkum and littlestar combined ownership wasn't enough to topple kwc's list of stuff. Mine isn't either. Of course, I don't have the other 9 volumes of Sandman to pad my count, which is just as well, as it makes space for the Absolute editions of the Sandman (which I may purchase after seeing what changes they made to the coloring)

  1. Neverwhere
  2. Stardust (illustrated book)
  3. Stardust (mass market paperback)
  4. American Gods
  5. Smoke and Mirrors
  6. Preludes and Nocturnes (The Sandman Vol. 1) -- Purchased with delusions of grandeur of being my typical completionist self. The new edition has me wondering whether I will actually complete it.
  7. Books of Magic
  8. Marvel 1602
  9. Sandman: The Dream Hunters
  10. Endless Nights
  11. Harlequin Valentine
  12. Death: the High Cost of Living
  13. Death: Time of your life
  14. Warning: Contains Language (audio CD)
  15. The Sandman: Book of Dreams -- this one was edited by Gaiman, with the brief introductions by Gaiman, does it count?

Neil Gaiman: Fragile Things


Neil Gaiman read today at Kepler's Books in Menlo Park, promoting his new book Fragile Things. This is my second time seeing him at Kepler's (the last time at Keplers was during his American Gods book tour), and he was just as entertaining as the first time I saw way back in 2001.

Gaiman first received an award from a local sf club, and then started with a short fiction reading, followed by a reading of one of his poems, and then answered questions before signing until his hands fall off.

Kepler's has a reputation of asking the most interesting questions, but I feel a bit letdown that our questions tonight are unlikely to become Gaiman fandom folklore (How did you meet Terry Pratchett? How did you meet Dave McKean? How did you meet Tori Amos? How did you meet Jon Singer?) or of caliber of previous Kepler questions ("What are the lyrics to I am an English Coastline?") (some Gaiman fans at the American Gods event did come up with lyrics for him and sang it to him when they got their books signed). Q&A in extended.

Gaiman starts off with an introduction about Kepler's, and how last year during his Anansi Boys tour, his appearance at Kepler's was canceled due to Kepler's closing, and that his publisher had booked him solid for three weeks straight, and that Keplers was his day off in three weeks during the book tour, and that he was grateful to Kepler's for that day off.

Meet Rhg, Uhg, Unh, and Guh


They are the Corporate Zombies and they glow in the dark!

21 cases and 10 hours later...


21 cases of star wars minis and 10 hours later...

Yes. That's our living room, buried under Champions of the Force boxes. (and according to parakkum smells of packaging)

links for 2006-10-03


Review: Fafner: Are You There?

One of the recent anime series I've been viewing is Fafner: Dead Aggressor. This series came out about 2 years ago, but just finished release in the United States on DVD. I was looking forward to it for a few reasons:
  • Fafner was animated by Production I.G.(known for quality animation like Innocence: Ghost in the Shell, and the animation sequence in Kill Bill)
  • The Character Designer for Fafner was Hisashi Hirai (who also did Gundam SEED).
  • Norse Mythos.
While the series is very pretty, the story and characters are stereotypical, as a whole it's not very good and the answer to Fafner's question of "Are you there?" should be "No." (Further explaination in the extended entry)

Microwave Furby


I think this Furby was found guilty of witchcraft and punished by microwave:

WoW in Stargate Atlantis and South Park


Who would have guessed that Elizabeth Weir's secret passion was World of Warcraft?

WoW will be making an appearance on South Park this week in a partially machinima episode:

links for 2006-10-02