Archive for November, 2003

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November 28, 2003

Oh, and we saw a group (a flock?) of wild turkeys while driving through Wisconsin. For some reason, that made me uncomfortable. Run, turkeys! Hurry!

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November 28, 2003

Writing from Home

Hi there. I’m sitting off the kitchen in my parents’ house as I write this. I’ve eaten the turkey, the cranberry sauce, the stuffing, the mashed potatoes, the pumpkin pie, and had a glass of eggnog. Yes, that’s right. I ate the turkey.

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November 28, 2003

Sara Doesn’t Know the Words to “On The Road Again”
Written 11-26-03, 8:17pm

Is it only eight o’clock? I got into the office twelve hours ago and got on the road to Chicago at something like 2:39 in the afternoon. Now I’m in the car between Beloit, Wisconsin and Chicago, Illinois. Writing a blog entry in the car on these trips is becoming something of a happy tradition for me.

I’ve just gotten off the phone with my folks and with Judy Gleason, the mother of my good friends Tony and Marty, who is herself a good friend. I’ve never met a Gleason I didn’t like. It’s starting to feel like Home for the Holidays in the best of ways.

There isn’t much of a basis for this entry, though. So if you don’t want your time wasted, maybe you should go elsewhere. Though, really, I doubt that there’s much of this entry left.

The last few days have been good on several fronts, but busy. I’ve got some catching up to do at work, both at the office and at home. I don’t think it’ll actually be much of a problem, but we’ll see, I guess. With some luck, I’ll get some frivolous work done over the holiday. This probably won’t be so hard, actually, since Thanksgiving usually amounts to little more than sitting around, waiting to eat. Of course, this year it should damn well consist of looting my parent’s satellite cable system and beating the hell out of Marty in games like Crimson Skies and MechAssault. That’s just good fun.

The weather down here in Wisconsin and Illinois seems positively mild. I heard Wisconsin got sixteen inches of snow (!) in some places. Nowhere south of Tomah, apparently. I hope everything still manages to appear Christmas-y in Chicago for our trip downtown. I won’t be hear again until New Year’s, and then I won’t be able to see the city for all the champagne, etc.

With a little bit of luck, I’ll be able to get in touch with some odd folks here or there: Old theater chums like Rachel, Jill, Celia, John, Chad, Michelle, etc; new business cohorts like Ken, perhaps.

We’re hitting (Crack)Rockford now and the first major traffic of the trip. Brakes are making me sick. Ugh. And we were making such good time! Alas.

Hopefully the hamster is all right while we’re gone. She’s being checked on but, still, I worry.

All right, I’ve wasted enough of your time. Off with you.

Noise: Voices on the Verge

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November 25, 2003

In Return of the King News…
Billy Boyd has quite a good voice, as it turns out.

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November 23, 2003

Games, I Say
Wanted to drop some mention of things I’m currently working on. I’m in that mode where, about to leave town, I want to get too much done before I go and so work on all sorts of things at once, eeking forward on all. That was another fucking long sentence. Anyway, I’m currently actively working on a new book, a wizardly card game, RPG scenarios, a forthcoming Spycraft campaign in miniature, my Lord of the Rings RPG limited-run campaign (which is the same as a “campaign in miniature,” but doesn’t repeat the phrase outside of parentheses), a pair of fetal card games, and a new RPG. That last one, specifically, is a new, fuller edition of a game that I’ve been tinkering with for years. Some of you will recognize it, but I’m hesitant to mention in on the internet for fear of the Great Self-Inflicted Jinx.

However, I’ll need playtesters for that one. When depends on exactly how interested the playtesters are in getting started. I’m thinking specifically of Chicago-based playtesters. You know who you are. Comment below or email me if you’re interested. This is a wholly new system, not d20 or a derivative, and is focused on scenic and narrative action rather than tactical action. Just so you know.

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November 23, 2003

Public Commentary
Well, I was strangely unable to check this site’s (or Acousticboy’s) traffic statistics the other day, so I can’t comment on exactly how many folks are reading this. My guess: not many. The blog is “public,” but until my new site goes live (tomorrow, maybe?), I don’t plan on drawing too much attention to this page. Of course, if you want to, by all means tell your friends.

Anyway, Nicole Lindroos has had some commentary on her site lately questioning the identity of some visitors and their willingness to comment. I would like to assure anyone visiting that the “comment” button below is for anyone who can see it. Think something? Then click, friend, please.

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
Splendid, a lovely picture. I had a great time. It turned out not to be the deeply complex or moving epic that I was expecting, and instead turned out to be the sort of character-driven, richly detailed period picture that I love. Silly, but not too silly. Serious, but not too serious. Adventurous, but made without the studio action checklist that sometimes plagues summer pictures, which this movie was wisely moved away from. During the advance press on this film I mistook Peter Weir for Wolfgang Peterson and was not excited to see it, despite the time period, Paul Bettany, Billy Boyd, and Russel Crowe. (As it turns out, I’m now skeptical of Troy, despite the time period, Sean Bean, and Brian Cox.) Mr. Weir has given us a wonderfully satisfying, intimate and exciting action picture with a vivid sense of place and tactile sense of history. I love the way orders and reports are spoken in the era. Good stuff and recommended, if you please.

Solaris
Good, glad I saw it. The chances are good that you may not like it. Solaris is ponderous, methodical, handsome, and expertly puzzling, but not always in a good way on all counts. High on characterization but sparse on dialogue, it’s so quiet that I often thought I was bored when I, in fact, wasn’t. A terrific step into new territory for Clooney and Soderbergh, praiseworthy and now hopefully out of their systems. I look forward to Ocean’s 12 (which should be called Ocean’s 11:2), which had better be an improvement on Ocean’s 11.

Side note #1: Solaris seems to have inspired certain elements of the pilot episode of Deep Space Nine,”The Emissary.” Discuss.

Side note #2: James “I Haven’t Made a Movie Since My Crappy TV Show Started” Cameron is present in a “Making of” feature on the Solaris DVD in a manner that just reminds me how much his attitude bothers me. Shut up and shoot your movies, Mr. Cameron. Respectfully yours, Will.

Comedian
I love to watch professionals talk shop. I love this about Alien and Master and Commander, most recently. In the Jerry Seinfeld-produced Comedian it’s nice, but frankly not as satisfying as NBC’s Last Comic Standing. Seinfeld is still quite the enigma as a person, but still very funny. I’m reminded of why I thought Seinfeld‘s early years were great and it’s later years mean and over-aggressive: The show traded in its observant and wry eye for a critical wit and devotion to absurdity.

Comedian features a young, new talent as a counterpoint to Seinfeld, and I recall wondering why the fellow was glossed over by newspaper film critics. The answer seems to be because, by the end of the film, you’ve had quite enough of the fella. Every sentence he utters seems to be 33% “Me,” “I,” or “My;” he’s self-obsessed, bitter beyond reason, and just grating, at least as the movie presents him. His material, while fine, doesn’t seem to be George Shapiro-worthy. (Wait, was that a Seinfeld reference?) I’ll skip his scenes if I watch the movie again.

Otherwise, if you’re interested in the craft of comedy or the performer’s life, I recommend Comedian.

Noise: John Williams, A.I. Artificial Intelligence (One of those CDs I didn’t like after I got it but, with a few tracks turned off, turns out to be quite good.)

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November 19, 2003

The West Wing
For the record, I have not purchased The West Wing‘s complete first season on DVD. Christmas shoppers take note.