Saturday, January 6

My Weirdest Crush

Maybe "crush" is the wrong word. I use crush to mean people (or sometimes things) that intrigue me. People to whom I feel drawn, perhaps even in awe. There are occasionally people actually in my life who, for whatever reason, suddenly make me just want to be near them. Often the reason are not something about their actual personality or any inner being, but something they have achieved or a particular way they see the world or a particularly genius idea or concept of theirs. But sometimes it is just a series of things they are interested in that aren't "normal" but cross perfectly with things in my own brain.

Just as often (or maybe more often) is more in the celebrity realm. I have discussed my improv crush on Ellie Kemper. I saw her show Dumb Girls* this week and it was very funny. Immediately afterwards, I discussed the fact that every improv/sketch comedy boy in my particular world has an improv crush on her. Do we know her? Of course not. As far as I know she is an insufferable human being. But she can be so funny and is obviously extremely cute and has that smile of hers... well, it makes many of us melt.

But I don't get crushes on the Nicole Kidman's of the world. Even Rachel Weisz, who I find incredibly attractive and just love watching on screen, does not create a crush in me. Because I really have no idea of her as a person. Perhaps if a was her in flesh, listened in on a conversation at a cocktail party, heard what her actually laugh was like, she would slip into the "crush" realm.

There is the case of Sarah Vowell. Now, Vowell is not what one would call hot, but is certainly cute. An awkward cute, but still adorable. Vowell is definitely in the cute category even though I have never been in the same room with her. But I have listened to her on the radio and read her words, so I feel I know her voice. I feel like I have the slightest glimmer of what she is about. So the crush has developed.

But now there is the weirdest one, the one I don't understand at all. I have never seen her. I have even heard her voice, but I certainly now very very little about her personality. And the strangest part is that I don't have so much of a crush on her when she talks but how someone says her name once a week. This would be Brooke Gladstone, host and managing editor of the NPR show "On the Media." Yes, I love her interviews and reporting. But what gets me each week, what causes that twinge of a crush, is how at the end of each show, while reading the credits, her co-host Bob Garfield always says, "And edited by.... Brooke." That pause followed by just her first name. "Edited by.... Brooke." And I feel it. I am suddenly intrigued by Brooke. I want to know more about her. I wonder how she takes her coffee.

Man, that is just weird.

*I would also recommend James Santangeli's My Big Fat that is running with Kemper's show. And, hey, make a night of it and head over to the PIT theater for 9:30 show of This Just In.

Friday, January 5

10 Billion Trillion Trillion Carat Diamond.

So the BBC reports that 50 light years away, in the constellation Centaurus, is the compressed heart of an old star. Officially called BPM 37093, but given the nickname "Lucy." And it's core is crystalized carbon. A great big diamond.

That just makes me happy for some reason.

Thursday, January 4

The dems first 100 hour calendar

I don't know how serious they are or not, but I can't bellieve that THEY believe this. If so great... but I doubt the whole "Rublicans retreat" will only take two days. I mean, they have a lot of stuff to pack.
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(via Wonkette)

Money Laundering Made Easy

Kenneth Rijock over at World-check brings up an interesting thought about virtual online games and how they are handling the exchange of currency. Basically the easy at which it is to get an account if with little ID verification, to translate real world cash into online currency, transfer it to another account and withdraw that back as real world cash. Basically the perfect money laundering scenario with little t no oversight. Here is a scenario he presents:
  • I open 15 to 25 accounts at the virtual universe website, all with counterfeit identification. I fund the accounts with narcotics proceeds cash, all patiently deposited at the available ATMs by my smurfs.
  • I then purchase some virtual real estate from a co-conspirator, as a partnership of my bogus identities, and funnel all the virtual purchase money into his account.
  • The "seller" can then access these funds, either through ATMs, or through a bank. Perhaps I open a small bank account, using bogus ID,and obtain cashiers' cheques with my now-converted "virtual" profits. Is this a great way to move criminal profits ? You bet it is.
And finishes off with this thought:
Have they created a " financial institution" as the term is defined in the USA PATRIOT Act of 2001 ? It would seem that the answer is yes. Let us see just how long regulators and law enforcement allow this scheme to exist before taking action.

So it may not be age play that brings down Second Life and the like.

(via Second Life Herald)

CrimeCraft, WarTheftAuto

Vogster Entertainment is making a cross platform MMO game revolving around the idea of crime. CrimeCraft. As they say, "Players will take part in the political, economical and social life of a big city. They will run businesses, engage in commerce, and suffer the consequences of confrontations with criminal groups and shadowy law enforcement figures."

Okay, could be fun. Is there anything more?
The key game features include:
- ownership of real-estate and cars
- possibility to run shops, warehouses, banks, productions
- fight over territories and clan wars
- combat system unique for MMO
- developed social system. Possibility to solve conflicts without a single shot
- or possibility to choose law-obeying, criminal or financial professions and changing of those throughout the game.

Nothing here sounds too cutting edge, but I'm all for MMO's that don't involve elves or spaceships. Nothing wrong with elves or spaceships, but it's god to see something new.

Of course, this doesn't sound all that new. It sounds a lot like their was a deveopers meeting where someone asked what games were hot and someone else said, "World of Warcraft" and "Grand Theft Auto." Heck, they just took the Craft part and slapped the word "Crime" at the start. Way to break new ground there.

My question is will this create "PimpFarming." And if that will be considered a crime in a game about crime.

Oh yeah...

Class was great.

Why L.A. public radio is so L.A.

I'm listening the KCRW over the internet right now. And in the little quick traffic a local news cut-ins, they read this story (some paraphrasing):
"The O.C. will be going to rerun heaven starting in February. The once red hot Fox teen melodrama put Orange County in the consciousness of America when if first aired four years ago, but many views tuned out after Marisa died."

Okay. Why is this on any public radio channel? And especially during morning news? "Red hot"? "Rerun heaven"? When did Orange County or any location in the Los Angeles area need to be put into "the consciousness of America"? And are we all supposed to know who Marissa is?

Wow. Clearly some of New York has rubbed off on me.

Episodic gaming will NOT draw in more game players on the PC

Rick Sanchez over at Gamasutra has an interesting article up on why episodic games on the PC are a good thing. I agree with a lot he says, but he does try to make the argument at the end that it will open up the audience for PC gaming. And that the Wii is just a fad.

I'm not sure how making episodic makes it more open to broader market. The reason YouTube is filled with videos of dads and moms and grandmothers playing the Wii is because the learning curve is small. PC games, episodic or not, are just harder to figure out. Not for those us here or those reading Gamasutra, but for my mom? Yes, it is. Even loading, installing, saving, blah blah, is all just that bit more difficult. If you can't get them to even turn it on, how can you get them to play?

And making it episodic certainly doesn't change that. That is all about game play. Saying "Oh, but all of these people now have access to it because they own PC's and they are now accustomed to buying music from iTunes means they'll down load games"... I don't see the connection. Well, that is not true. I can imagine there will be more break out games on PCs, but along the lines of Bookworm Adventures. Small games that appeal to an audience that just want walk into the game section at Best Buy. Heck, is unlikely to even walk into a Best Buy.

The appeal of the Wii is easy of entry (stop snickering) and family. That is where they are going to draw all of these untapped players.

And as too longevity or the fact the fact that it is of 0.5 of next gen... "moms" don't care. The rest of the world doesn't care. They never have. Maybe the Wii will tun into a gateway console for some folks. Maybe they'll be introduced to gaming via the Wii and then their eyes will wander over to other systems and some will say "Wow! That Halo 3 of FF13 or Crysis sure looks neat..." But it won't be a lot. Because these are people who aren't going to rent Predator or some anime film.

Longevity: There are two systems that the Wii should be compared with as to this. The first is the Gameboy. It lasted because of Tetris and games of that sort. And it lasted forever. Sure it was upgraded along the way, but not hugely until the DS. And many other more advanced portables failed in that time. Because most people (by most people I again mean out of the WORLD, not out of "gamers") don't give a rats ass about tons of features or the best graphics. They want something they understand and can pick up and just play.

The other system: a deck of cards. Or Monopoly. Or any boardgame. Those haven't gone away. People still plat them and with the resolution on then are great, their frame rates are very very slow.

(Sidenote: Sanchez is the vice president of content at GameTap so this may explain his blind spot.)

Wednesday, January 3

Improv again

15 minutes away from my first 401 class.

I'm not nervous. I was yesterday. But today I was busy busy so I didn't think about it. Now I'm just pumped. I was tired and then I had some coffee and a Red Bull. Good idea? Bad idea? You knows. I'll definitely be initiating tonight. I'm taking a little kernel of my New Year's Eve "on a tear" feeling, switching it up with "I love everyone," and seeing where that gets me. I am sure everyone in my class will rock in their own way. And if not, well I'll just work with that.

Wish me luck and openness.

Things I Must Do Today

I have been a big fan of FOUND Magazine and of the website. It is definitely the reason I pick up any notebook paper I find in the street. I have never found anything of any import, usually just address or directions or shopping lists. I have found I fair amount of things in french, but I never thing to save them to have translated later.

Today I found something and it just about crushed me.

First the front.

This was slightly ambiguous. I was unclear who wrote it and what "Stay clean for just today 2007 Jan 1" meant. But "hope to see you clean Call Me" started me in a certain direction. And then I read the other side.

I'll pray for Joe too, in my agnostic way.

Fox News Alert: Bush Admits He's a Coke Fiend... No, wait! He never said that! Crap...

The best part is this is in a discussion about Senator Obama's past.

Thank you, Fox New. You made me smile.

Tuesday, January 2

Something ELSE I shouldn't talk about here...

While working my tuckus off getting done all the things I still need to get done this week, I began to think of other things that I want to do. Something that I am a tad embarrassed to mention. Something that I've wanted to do for years but repress because it is hard to find someone willing... preferably a few people who are willing. And a time commitment. But while taking a bath tonight, washing off some paint, I was thinking back to the last time a did it and the desire came back in a rush.

I want to game.

And when I say game, I mean pen and paper, plastic polyhedral dice gaming. Roleplaying. RPG. In terms the rest of you might understand (but not understand why I hate using this particular term), D&D. Dungeons and Dragons.

I don't want to play D&D. But something else. vSomething of my own making. See, I always have stories flying around my head. Thousands of stories. Some of these stories are suited to big books, novels (like the one yesterday about the first robot to run for the U.S. Senate). Some are suited to short stories (like the Valentine's Day horror story of the suspicious man who discovers his girlfriend is the first succubus but only loves him). Some suited to radio play (like the invasion of earth by everyone's parallel twin). Or a sketch (man goes on a series of dates with Google, Wikipedia and YouTube). Or a play (The Last Sad Days of Squirrel-Boy). But some stories, certain stories in my head, are suited to roleplaying.

The best experiences roleplaying I had were playing in an alternate dark New York. A New York of shadows and demons and magic. Still the New York we know, but behind the nameless doors are things that are best not spoken of. Lovecraftian Noir with a thick slice of punk and faerie tale. Nothing new there, I know. But that is the thing with roleplaying: it is always new when playing with smart people.

I miss that. I miss the creation from nothing. Improv is a bit like it, and it is certainly better suited to be watched. But to experience a truly evolving story, to be part of it, to have a moment when everyone at the table is near tears at just the story... that is special.

Sigh. I'm such a geek.

(I also took some time out today to see Children of Men. Wow. More on that later, but... wow.)

Monday, January 1

Cha Cha Guides and trolling for a living

Apparently I totally missed the existance of the search engine Cha Cha. It is your standard search engine but it also let's you get assistance from a Guide, a real human being. That's right. I real human being.

Now, this being the internet, you that Guides must get harassed and trolled often. So it was also fun to find a blog of one Guide's experience and how he trolls right back.

Sunday, December 31

I'm a monster

Happy Frakin' New Year, Interwebbynetubes!

Okay, friends and family and random readers. Have a good one tonight. Be safe, but not too safe. Take some chances. Tell that special someone what you've always wanted to tell them... whether that is "Oh, my, I've always wanted to kiss you" or "You damn bastard! Give me back that god damn CD you borrowed back in '97!" Well, that is up to you. Kick 2006 out on its ass with a nice wave and thank you and embrace 2007 like a the lover you never knew you always desired.