January 2009

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Since I keep track of what I read on this blog I want to post that I finished the book Superpowers by David J. Schwartz.  But I’m not going to post a review (or a starred rating) because considering the book I’m writing I guess I feel almost like it’s a conflict of interest.

The second post I ever made on this blog was a review of Soon I Will Be Invincible, which I took down for the same reason.  Feel free to call me out on this, but I really feel icky about talking about these books considering my own work in progress.



lately 2


Yeah, I am definitely feeling on the precipice of a great and powerful I don’t know what…is it on the precipice of greatness, or ultimate failure, or destiny, or just the precipice of unemployment…I guess only time will tell…let’s all pull for “greatness” shall we?

laid off 1

laid off 2

laid off 3


That’s right folks, I’ve joined the masses on the bread line. 

Well, not quite yet.  I’ve got a few more weeks to close out my projects and train the part timer that will be ‘stopping the gap’ and also as I attempt to educate everyone on everything I have been doing for the last four years…basically downloading four years of awesome knowledge into a binder and few weeks of conversations and training. 

I am getting a fair (ish) severence package, which is why I’m not quite clawing at the ceiling and ranting about the ridiculousness of a company that lets good people go.  I just fundamentally disagree with them in theory I guess, without judgement, I feel you just don’t let dedicated good people go, even if someone shuffling paper somewhere thinks you make too much money (here’s a hint – figure out a person’s pay based on actual hours worked and you’ll often find they’re quite a deal compared to the average clock puncher…or here’s another one – in my case – divide my salary by three – since that is how many people’s jobs I’ve been doing for the last nine months) – well I guess I did have to rant a little bit.  Sorry.  

It is comforting to know that the people who actually work with me and that I work for are devastated (okay, maybe just sad, details shmetails) to see me go, and don’t think it’s the best move for the long term, even if it helps alleviate current financial burden.  That helps.  But I’ve never been laid off from a job.  I’ve never left a job when it wasn’t 100% my decision and this is hard.  It’s especially hard in these economic times, when I know many many talented and amazing people that are out of work and not by choice.  It also makes it hard to have faith in the whole ‘universe closes a door, but opens a window’ philosophy that I’m so fond of – basically I see no windows opening. 

I’ve got some time though. And I’ve decided to take some of that time and rather than just seeking out another executive assistant or office management position that will make me want to slit my wrists, to actually give what I’m good at a try.  So I’ve got a small window of time to push as hard as I can on that stuff, and we’ll see what happens…maybe the world is ready to give me a break, since I’m ready to actually try.  We’ll see.  The good news for you devoted readers is that the blog is likely to get pretty active again…lots of stuff coming soon.

And if any of you hear about any positions in which people want to pay obscene amounts of money for someone with a little bit of talent…feel free to let me know.

Update:  We can update my cartoon to show one less tic mark in the “laid off” category as my brother has just gotten hired at a great firm.  Maybe it’s the beginning of the end of this mess already?  We can only hope.  Congratulations Scott…I hope we’re all right behind you.

I f’ing hate it when men sabotage and disrespect women, particularly when they do it because of the way women look (too fat, too thin, too short, too tall, not pretty, blah blah blah) and it’s even more annoying when the men themselves actually look like ass (which happens A LOT), but reading this interview with Carol Lay reminds me why I hate it even more when we women do it to each other. 

I don’t know where Carol Lay gets off.  I really don’t.  We don’t need more hate and bad body dynamics…there is plenty in the world already.  The reviews on Amazon for her book so far are through the roof (5 stars across the board), but I just keep reminding myself that these are the people who obviously read diet books pretty frequently…and so I don’t really trust them to start with.  I’m happy for Carol Lay that she’s thin now and that it’s solved all her problems, but I really don’t need her preaching to me (or the rest of world) which is what this interview sounds like to me.

Carol Lay, if you’re listening (reading), go to this site and read as much as you can:  Kate Harding’s Shapely Prose.  Get back to me when you’ve learned something.  Ridiculous.


E-@Theletes.  Directed by Jonathan Boal.  Produced by Artem Agafonov

I had the opportunity through this blog to review a screener copy of E-@Theletes, a direct to DVD documentary about professional gaming. 

The subject matter is quite frankly, fascinating.  Regardless of whether you’re the kind of inner circle gaming geek (said with love!) that this documentary is geared towards or not, this film’s subject matter is just captivating…if only because whether you think professional gaming applies to you or not, in some way in the future it probably will.  There are people out there that never thought mobile phones or home computers would affect their way of life, and I think it’s safe to say that even if you hate mobile phones or home computers and choose not to have them, they are simply a way of life at this point and absolutely affect everyone.  I suspect professional gaming will be in a similar category one day. 

The Good:  As mentioned, the subject matter is fascinating and this documentary comes at the very beginning of what I expect will eventually be a huge industry as we slowly replace much of real life with online life, which is already happening in the form of games like Second Life.   The documentary covered a lot of different aspects of the gaming industry, including opinions from authors and experts, interviews with gamers and their families and girlfriends, as well as with some industry people and borderline visionaries.  It’s hard to imagine, but in their own way these people are not unlike the guys who first tried to get a sport like basketball going…and I have little doubt they’ll be successful and that someday competitive gaming will be mentioned in the same sentence as more mainstream sports like basketball, football, and baseball.   It’s not going to be in the next five years, but eventually it will happen, it’s the direction we’re all headed.  That said, I’m still waiting for my freaking hoverboard…

The Bad:  The music is not so good and the needle drops are sometimes oddly placed, often overpowering the actual interviews, which, in a documentary, is not a good thing.  Several times I lost whole sentences from the interview because the bad music was too loud or started at a strange moment.  I’m sure the budget could not handle the cost for buying the rights to a couple awesome songs, but it’s unfortunately for such a small thing really could have brought this piece together.  There were a couple moments in The King of Kong a similar documentary film about gaming, most specifically when Joe Esposito’s extremely cheesy Karate Kid jam “You’re The Best Around” is played and literally the entire theater lit up in smiles…for so many reasons.  This documentary could have benefited hugely from a few moments like that. 

Early on the documentary did feel a bit unfocused.  It felt at times like Boal shot every single thing he could in an effort to figure out what the story was here – and that’s probably how it happened – as often does in documentaries as you wait for the story to emerge – but as a viewer I don’t want to feel that in the final product.  For the uninitiated to the professional gaming community (me) I felt kind of thrown into the deep end of the pool in the first scenes.  There is no real explanation of how the system works, or what they’re trying to accomplish, and the competitive gaming community IS pretty complicated.  I’m a fairly savvy viewer, and I’m familiar with less mainstream stuff like comicons and such, but as I’m not well versed specifically in competitive gaming I found myself  lost and a bit confused for the first twenty minutes.  Perhaps Boal didn’t want to risk alienating the insiders he knew would be interested in his film, but I have to believe there’s a happy medium somehow where you can appease the fantatics and the uninitiated at the same time and with minimal frustration for either group. 

Once the story solified as a focus on two US competitive gaming teams (3D and Complexity) and their intensifying rivalry, it really started to get a focus and became far more interesting.  The human element, as always I think, really helped drive the story forward.  Once Boal focused on 3D and Complexity and less on the larger scope of gaming it was easy to see that though many people probably consider professional gaming a silly waste of time, the people we met in E-@Theletes have invested serious amounts of time, money, and love into the venture, and it really helped me care both in regards to who was advancing and winning big prize money and also about the future of professional gaming in general.  

The Ugly:  The packaging is not pretty.  I think the distributor made a real mistake here, though I’m sure it was all budget and cost related, much like the music limitations.  All the images on the front and back of the DVD are very dark and far too small, and the pictures sit on a black background as well, making everything extremely muddy and dark.  The summary on the back is also not so compelling compared to the actual content of the film, which is strong. 

Additionally, as a woman, I found the summary on the back to be a little misogynistic, and it turned me off immediately even though the film itself proved far less offensive than I expected based on the summary.   It’s unfortunate that women do take such a back seat in this film, they are literally only featured as mothers and girlfriends, but considering the very thorough interviewing done by the filmmakers I can’t blame them…I think women just aren’t into competitive gaming enough yet to be anything other than side characters.  I look forward to the follow up documentary in a couple years where women have definitely stepped up in the gaming community and made their presence known. 

In the end it is a shame for all the work that went into this documentary that the packaging is not doing it justice.  When you go straight to DVD it’s more important than ever I think to have some powerful packaging and an excellent (accurate) summary.  Don’t be fooled in this case – the actual film is far more interesting than the packaging would lead you to believe. 

Overall, I give it 3 stars (out of 5) for the fascinating subject matter.  I’m sure the director, Jonathan Boal is a little burnt out on the professional gaming community, but I for one would love an update in a few years showing us how that industry has advanced. 

The DVD releases this Tuesday, January 27th and will be available to rent from Netflix and to buy from Barnes & Noble, Borders, Amazon, and Best Buy.  The DVD is a two-disc set and includes Director/Producer commentary, deleted scenes and a making of documentary.

This is a great interview with anti-abortion protestors, who despite being involved in the anti-abortion movement for years, cannot seem to answer the simple question of what should happen to women who have abortions anyway, even if it was deemed illegal.  It is shocking, the lack of insight people with such strong convictions have put into this…and also shocking is the circle logic that they lamely employ in an attempt to justify their poorly constructed arguments.

Things like this make me oh so sad and frustrated for this country.

Thanks to Unreasonable Faith.com for the great article.

studio 60

the west wing

Let me be clear about two things first:

1.  I thought Studio 60 was brilliant – one of the best shows I’ve seen in years and I was devastated when it was cancelled.

2.  I’m aware this post is about a year (or more?) too late and likely completely unnecessary at this point in time, but I’ve been watching The West Wing reruns on cable in an effort to stave off buying the complete West Wing collection (which I cannot remotely afford right now) and I’ve been moved to write an epic (okay,  not quite epic) post…so here it is.

Studio 60 never had a chance, in a nutshell because though it was beautifully written, exceptionally performed, and extraordinarily executed – as few television programs are these days – it just couldn’t compare in content to The West Wing.

What was it about The West Wing that so moved me (us)?  Well, I cannot speak for the whole of society, but for me, it was that my life is pointless.  I essentially shuffle (or did – more to come on that later) paper.  I am (was) incredibly valuable to my company and employers and fellow co-workers for what I do every day, but in the larger scope of the world it means absolutely nothing.  The world is not a better place for my working existence and I find myself (then and now) yearning for a purpose.  To know that I am doing something with my day that matters.  And that is what they did everyday on The West Wing.  Regardless of how the story worked out, their main objective, whether obtained or not, was to do good…to try to do good…to try to change the world.  My day to day life has nothing to do with these things, and so it remains ultimately completely uninspiring.

And this is why Studio 60 couldn’t work when it came AFTER The West Wing…no matter how brilliantly executed, who can care about some silly hollywood SNL type show and the intricacies involved in producing said show and the relationships revolving in and around it…when the show that came before it was about the people who shape the very world?  Studio 60 never had a chance…unless Sorkin did it first…as a beautiful prelude to The West Wing.  But that was not to be, and so we lost out on Studio 60 – a ‘could have been’ brilliant long running show…because he showed us his perfection first in The West WingThe West Wing was the most perfect show I have ever had the opportunity to watch, a program that managed to both entertain and inspire, a show that I nearly had to turn off (and sometimes did) when George Bush became president, because it was too difficult to watch a brilliant and imaginary Jed Bartlett be the president I yearned for while my country was run by a moron.  Never have I so wished to transport myself into a television world than when I had to watch Jed Bartlett be good and honest and intelligent, and surround himself with the same, while in my world an idiot boy with a crooked smile was run by corrupt puppeteers and crooks.

But there is hope.  Because I’m able to watch The West Wing with renewed faith these days, hoping that Obama will be able to slowly restore my faith in this nation and in my own governement.

And I guess with that, I managed to make this post relevant after all…

SIDENOTE:  I should mention Sports Night. Also brilliant, and worthy of mention and a mark in history on its own.  It’s a crime it too did not last much longer than Studio 60…only 45 episodes…but since it came first I like to think of it as both proving my point, and as Sorkin getting his feet wet.  Of Sorkin learning what he needed to do to make The West Wing so powerful…and he really just nailed it.

SIDENOTE 2:  If any benevolent benefactors out there would like to send me The West Wing collected series on dvd, please don’t hesitate to be in touch and I’ll get you an accurate shipping address :)


Calling all Bat fans, Project: Rooftop has announced its latest contest, and it’s a good one…design the new Batman…Batman 2.0 if you will, for his most likely successor, Dick Grayson (aka Robin, aka Nightwing) after Bruce Wayne’s untimely (and lets hope non-permanent) recent demise.


I am terrible at, and do not enjoy drawing men (even awesome Batmen) so I may have to not participate this time yet again, but I’ll definitely do some sketches and give it a try.  If anything remotely interesting comes out of it I’ll post…promise.


OOH!  I just found maybe the greatest site of all time.  Criticwatch’s Ben Lyons Quote of the Week

Best. Site. Ever.

And this is going on the short list for best article ever.   Complete with the greatest article photo accompaniment.  It may not actually change the world this little article, but boy I sure wish it could.

Vulture has many more goodies and links for you if you hate Ben Lyons like I do.  So mosey on over and click away…


I got the most amazing holiday cards this past year, and just wanted to share the beauty since everyone I sent to should have received them by now. I found the cards rather randomly at a little online shop called ShopRedBean. I got three or four different designs – mostly the two awesome reindeer designs on the site and was exceptionally happy. They weren’t cheap, but somehow I never manage to get cheap cards…despite efforts to the contrary.  I got more compliments on my cards this year than I ever have before…which is pretty cool.

Because the cards and envelopes are square, they require extra postage for the “irregular shape”, which gave me an excuse to use custom stamps.  I had a custome 62 cent stamp made from a piece of the 1979 Semi-Finalist header/logo above. I have to say, that turned out to be my favorite part of the process. And I’ve got some left over, so that will make mailing a little bit more fun…at least for awhile.

I hope everyone had a great holiday – and apologies if you didn’t get a card…I probably didn’t/don’t have your address. :)

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