Archive for January, 2008

New GTA IV Preview

Alternative Uses for a Time Machine

Beyond the obvious, investing, the sports betting and a bit of comic collecting, one thing I'd like to do with a time machine is go back to right before Einstein's Eureka! moment about the Theory of Relativity, hang behind his shoulder, wait for it and shout, "A-Duh!" Just for laffs.

On Sordidness

In the interests of keeping fun levels low, the first thing that happened after I created my Rock Band band was a warning that while I could name the band "Trucker Sex" if I wanted to, it would appear as "ROCKBAND1" or some generic placeholder text. This is to prevent offending the legions of small children who've spent $170 on a game for their $300-500 console. It also suggests a deep disconnect between theory and implementation; who's protecting me from being called any number of inaccurate ethnic and sexist slurs by those kids on X-Box Live? No one, that's who, which is why my headset is still in the packaging a year later.

Is "Trucker Sex" truly offensive? I don't think so. I think it's sordid. It was two words that came together one night (and left each other early the next morning) in a perfect coupling. I like sordid. The Hold Steady1, 2, Raymond Chandler3, James Ellroy, I've got 0 interest in starting each day with tallboys and booger sugar, but I sure as hell like hearing about it. It's every "bad" kid when you were growing up, that feeling of being scared and feeling sad for them at the same time. Didn't even want to be invited to Krylon huffing parties, but it's fun to imagine it. So cram it, failed nanny from Washington state (and cram that tone of "Do you really want to go through with this"; you ought to be praising me for spelling two consecutive words correctly given typical video game message board dross). We're sticking with the name. Heck, the first couple covers (inspired by chico's inspired design exercise) are already in progress.

1. "White wine and some tallboy cans. They powered up and they proceeded to jam, man."

2. "Mary's got a bloody nose from sniffing Margarita mix."

3. "I had been shot so full of dope to keep me quiet that I was having the French fits coming out of it. That accounted for the smoke and the little heads on the ceiling light. The doped whisky was probably part of somebody else's cure."


On a Friday's Death

Damn you, chico, there goes Friday afternoon. Ladies and gennlemen, presenting Starlet Sea Anemone!


On Starting a Project

Starting a project is one of those moments of sheer pleasure for developers, the clean sheet. While you're laying foundations on web apps, you often need some way of interacting with the plumbing. Old friends may remember "Peterson Style", named for an ex-coworker who would roll 16 pixel Times New Roman black on white up 'til the last second he could get away with it. After a few years of working with world-class visual designers and usability folks, it pained me to do that. The first thing I usually do is create a tiny stylesheet that adds some padding to the page and changes the font to something less grating. Along the way I'll play with potential interactive bits for the interface, which is one of the ways I got involved in the usability and interactivity discussions at work in the first place. Now that I'm off on my own, this gets a little more challenging. When I'd spent years with a team, people had no problem telling me to remove some overly rococo bit of JavaScript widgetry, but when you don't each other, it's a trickier conversation. Plus people assume you have some emotional investment in what you put on the page; only the most autistic are going to roll right over something someone spent time on (and the most autistic are all other developers, not ui people). But if the choices are fait accompli or accept the average, my inner Catholic schoolboy will go with the fancy Latin everytime.

Toward a Collective Consciousness

Ignoring all its faults, this is what I think of when I think of Wikipedia. And now I have it on the web for reference when I'm trying to explain what I mean.


Easy as Fishing, You Could be a Mortician

Michelle is just putting the finishing touches on Joyce Carol Oates' The GraveDigger's Daughter, and I, for one, am ecstatic. The back-cover, the side that faces me when reading in bed unfortunately, features a large photo of the author's corpse, inexplicably standing upright while wearing a plum hat and OMIGOD SHE'S STILL ALIVE! Call the paramedics, stat! There's a pulse. Faint, but a pulse.

An Athlete's Lament

Guess no one would have paid attention if Peter Tosh wrote about "Reggae Bursitis".


Mitt? Primaries Are That-Away

Filed under: Better Late Than Never

Dave Atell's iPod

"I was on iTunes the other night—and you know, alcohol and iTunes don't mix. I have every one of Hitler's speeches now."