May 7th, 2012
|04:29 pm - More Minecraft dark riding|
I've gone and named the dark ride project Jinx, and have added a whole bunch to the 1.5 build:
Fun fact! Maybe! The ivy on the side of the wall was originally in the shape of Tetris pieces but then they grew.
I've also got a small Picasa album up with a current layout map and some construction pics with nifty bits of circuitry.
This little experiment thingo is turning into a spot of fun. There's still a lot to go, but I think I've got a very good idea for the finale.
April 30th, 2012
|01:26 am - Minecraft Dark Riding|
After checking out the Minecraft recreation of the Magic Kingdom and its fun interpretation of the rides (the Haunted Mansion and Splash Mountain are especially good) I decided to start work on my own Minecraft dark rides. This means learning redstone circuitry and cart physics and the odd way pistons work, so I'm having fun as I go along.
My current project is an experimental sandbox. I'm testing out ideas for visual effects, lighting, piston-activated stunts, and other fun things. I'm using the cart's motion in fun and interesting ways which require long hallways. The opening scene in the main hall shows that the cart takes curves very sharply so I'd like to try and minimize that wherever possible, or at least use the sharp turns to the design's advantage. A quick scene transition, f'rinstance. I also want to make sure everything happens enough within your peripheral vision that you don't have to use the mouse to look around a lot. The little cart that goes by in the main hall sequence is an example of that.
At any rate, my goal is to finish a ride circuit, enclose it in a show building, then create the queue and scenery to give it that good ol' fashioned authentic appearance. Oh yeah, and give it a name at some point.
Here's the video of the latest prototype, unfinished and silent. It gets a little mind-blowing in spots. I'm learning a bit from the murkier video. I'll need to place more lights in certain sections, and embellish certain scenes such as the library. (And give it a proper ending, which I neglected to mention earlier.)
The next project after this will be to create a dark ride with a cohesive story to it, and to build it on a fully seeded and generated Minecraft map. For this experimental project I selected the flat map option when starting out, and didn't realize you can't dig far underground on it. Odd, that. So the next ride, the story of which I'm currently fiddling around with, will be situated on an actual coastline and use the terrain to its advantage.
April 9th, 2012
|12:00 am - apologies, schmapologies|
The one-T Becket, he's a priest
The two-T Beckett, existentialiste
But I will state a fact - you check it
There's no such thing as a three-T Beckettt.
April 5th, 2012
|02:52 am - So that's what we sound like on a post-performance high|
A producer from PRX, an online public radio repository, came 'round to the Big Broadcast of 1954 and interviewed me and Neil during one of the nights (I believe our first Friday performance.) The resulting piece, which goes a little into the Byfar Hour's creation and features a frazzled pre-show and manic-exuberant post-show interview, has been put up for all to hear. There's also a bit from the Piscataway Queen sketch recorded from the balcony. (Context provided upon request care of this station.)
Being one of those types who doesn't enjoy the whole observing-oneself thing because of the tiny Wittgenstein on my shoulder constantly second-guessing into my ear, I shall withhold all comments except to say that Neil sounds very clever and good, I think I can live with the adjective "quirky" for this kind of work, and I kindly don't lie this time around about Frank Cyrano being real.
April 3rd, 2012
|02:50 am - I DON'T KNOW, THEY JUST GAVE ME THIS AIRPLANE|
AND THIS VIDEO EDITING SOFTWARE
FLUKE SQUADRONLT. JACK SPATULA WILL RETURN IN: THROW BOMBERS AT THE TRAIN
In speciem fortunae ineptia
PS YES IT IS A SILENT MOVIE AIN'T NO RIAA LAWYER GONNA SHUT DOWN THIS HERE CIRCUS
March 21st, 2012
|02:52 am - Naturally, Berle stole this line for himself|
"Milton Berle was responsible for the sale of more television sets than any man living. I know I sold mine, and my brother sold his."
-Joe E. Lewis, as quoted by Earl Wilson
March 16th, 2012
I've written some pretty esoteric and impossible SFX cues in my time, usually ending in something like (I'M SORRY, NEIL) or (HAVE FUN, AMY) but I am heartened to know that Douglas Adams bested me long ago. From the original Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy radio script, Fit the Sixth, as our heroes encounter the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal:
TRILLIAN (Screams) Look out!He would've been 60 a few days ago, that one.
F/X HUGE ARM SWEEPS DOWN AND PICKS THEM UP. THE
MONSTER ROLLS HIS EYES WHICH TURN RED, GREEN,
THEN A SORT OF MAUVY PINK. IT RUNS ITS TONGUE
ROUND ITS LIPS, BLINKS A COUPLE OF TIMES AND THEN
MENTALLY REGISTERS THAT IT HAS JUST REMEMBERED
WHAT 10 ACROSS IN THE GALACTIC TIMES CROSSWORD
WAS TODAY, MAKES A MENTAL NOTE TO WRITE IT IN
WHEN IT'S NEXT GOT A COUPLE OF MINUTES
CAST (Shouts, etc...)
March 15th, 2012
|04:14 am - This will never get old|
It can be very hard to land a plane in Rise of Flight, but the game is encouraging and supportive.
Any landing you can walk away from...
March 14th, 2012
February 21st, 2012
|01:45 pm - The things one misses when one goes into post-marathon hibernation|
Yesterday was the fiftieth anniversary of John Glenn's orbital flight, as well as the twentieth (yeek!) anniversary of the airing of the classic Simpsons episode "Homer at the Bat".
DAAAARRRYLLL. DAAAARRRYLLL. DAAAARRRYLLL.
February 16th, 2012
|10:59 pm - Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?|
I've been playing Minecraft since the alpha launch (back when there were chibi anime girls running around instead of zombies -- don't ask) and yet I've never really delved into Creative Mode, where you can play with infinite amounts of material and no threat of death. I prefer to mine my own castles and chop down my own trees to make my own tools, but this means that unless I get really really bored and go mine a lot of iron and redstone, I won't get to play much with some of the more advanced aspects of the game, such as the boxes of TNT what blow up REAL good.
I decided to fix that, and generated a new game world in Creative Mode. Now I could run around placing blocks to my heart's content. I could build a gigantic statue of a man holding pancakes! I could build a house with a waterfall slide! I could make a working subway system!
( Or I could blow it the hell up.Collapse )
There's a lesson to be learned here, and that lesson is never try this on someone else's server. Which I didn't; I played locally, thank you very much, but I just wanted to warn you in advance if you decided it'd be a great thing to share with random Internet people. And don't blame me if your CPU melts. Blame Java. Seriously.
January 23rd, 2012
|04:18 pm - Yub nub!|
So ol' Mr. Egroeg Sacul has gone and announced he's become tired of all these star wars in part due to those rotten Internet miscreants who keep speaking out against his special brand of film revisionism.
“On the Internet, all those same guys that are complaining I made a change are completely changing the movie,” Lucas says, referring to fans who, like the dreaded studios, have done their own forcible re-edits. “I’m saying: ‘Fine. But my movie, with my name on it, that says I did it, needs to be the way I want it.’ ”If the "script notes" he's referring to are the Red Letter Media reviews, well, it's heartening to know he at least saw 'em. They do an excellent job of deconstructing the prequel films, devoting an hour to each and explaining exactly why the storytelling failed, when they're not busy stopping the review cold to continue their storyline. (The crazy reviewer character Mr. Plinkett has a great voice and delivery, but the serial killer angle is a digression I just don't get. I do love it every time he offers you some pizza rolls if you email him on his webzone.)
Lucas seized control of his movies from the studios only to discover that the fanboys could still give him script notes. “Why would I make any more,” Lucas says of the “Star Wars” movies, “when everybody yells at you all the time and says what a terrible person you are?”
Moving away from pizza rolls, my position on George Lucas' fiddling with the Star Wars series has always kinda been that while I find it kind of sad that a man who once spoke out against film revisionism himself then decided to start making changes to what some folks thought were perfectly good movies to begin with, it's honestly his prerogative. Creative types will always want to tinker with their babies. He has a right to be angry with fan edits, though that's half copyright and half pride there. The films ultimately have his name on it, even if he didn't direct Empire or Jedi (and sadly neither Irving Kirschner nor Richard Marquand are around any more to speak up, if they felt the need.)
It's a matter of adopting new attitudes as time goes on. Lucas' kids came up with the bantha poodoo jokes in the prequels, among other things. And why not? He was making the film for him and his family. Spielberg fiddled with E.T., gave the FBI dudes walkie-talkies instead of guns because he disliked promoting violence in a family movie, but has since reconsidered. He's now restoring the guns for the next release.
So if Lucas decided he didn't like the idea of Han Solo shooting the bounty hunter Greedo in cold blood after all, once he had the technology in the late 90s he could do something about it. Among other things. I thought some of the enhancements were neat but I didn't like other changes such as Greedo and the removal of the Yub Nub song at the end of Jedi (I liked it; haters gonna hate) but I didn't feel insulted. I felt as long as there was still the ability to see the original films as I remembered them in the theaters, I'd be fine.
I still felt that way, though through slightly clenched teeth, when I saw Hayden Christiansen saying goodbye to Luke as a ghost instead of Old Anakin Guy saying goodbye to Luke as a ghost. Okay there was something to do about all that lava scarring and stuff, but you'd think Luke would recognize the older guy (whom he just saw with his mask off, all corrupted and stuff) much more easily than the younger dude hanging out as a blue glowie along with Yoda and Obi-Wan.
Then I defiantly felt that way when I learned the next Blu-Ray release of Jedi is going to have Vader scream "NOOOOOOOOO!" when grabbing the Emperor in the climactic fight scene. Of course. Add the single-most mocked part of the prequel films, beating out Jar-Jar even.
But as long as I still had a way to see the original films as I remembered them in the theaters, I'd be fine. (I was too young to see Star Wars on its original release, but I sure as heck caught both Empire and Jedi first-run. Jedi on opening weekend, even, and it was one of those amazing movie experiences where the entire theater just banded together to cheer everything. Anyway.) Then I realized I didn't know how I could see the original versions (or "as close to", blah blah) again, since I don't have a laserdisc player nor the moxie to try and track down discs. That's the part of revisionism what sucks. Each new Star Wars release is now film canon. Brilliant. Why release several versions and have 'em floating around at the same time? O ALL IS LOST said I, and went to go be all nerd-complainy about other science-fiction franchises such as Doctor Who LET ME TELL YOU WHAT I REALLY THINK ABOUT RUSSELL T DAVIES.
But lo! Salvation. As it turns out there was a 2006 DVD release of the trilogy that did just that and it completely flew under this here radar. Had no idea that had come out! At least, I'd have thought that if I knew, I'd have gotten 'em.
Don't matter now, cause on Saturday I got 'em. Turned out to be a decent present, eh. The first opens with just "STAR WARS"--no Episode IV, no A New Hope--and Han shoots first (heck, Han shoots only.) And later on in the trilogy Luke still air-kicks the dude off the sand barge. All throughout the bad mattes are still there, the missing lightsaber effects on some frames are still there, it's not shiny CGI, and that's how I like it. These releases are as scruffy as the universe they show us. So now that I can go back and see my copies whenever I want, Lucas can do whatever he wants with his copies. Force you, got mine!
Sebastian Shaw approves.
PS. What's the story behind Threepio's silver right leg? I completely forgot.
January 19th, 2012
|07:58 pm - we are a band of brothers who rally 'round the flag once again|
January Nineteenth, Two Thousand and Twelve.
Well, I did it. Finally finished the last episode of Ken Burns' Civil War miniseries and I cannot say as I have ever passed twelve hours with such rapt attention, even watching as I did in bursts of two or three episodes per night. However, such symptoms have manifested themselves in me as makes me wonder how I ever was able to watch television before. For when I now set fingers to keyboard, I do so in either the voice of a gallant young Confederate or an earnest and committed Union soldier. Sometimes they switch off in mid-sentence, as they just did now. It is altogether unsettling at first, though one gets used to it as one must.
I am further unsettled by the now-constant underscoring brought about by repeated exposure to the same musical motifs throughout the series. These tunes, glorious standards all, are fine and pleasing to the ear when heard for about an hour and a half every week. After lengthy viewing and listening, however, one begins to wonder if the fiddler and the fifer on the battlefield were supposed to know anything other than "The Battle Cry of Freedom" or "The Bonnie Blue Flag". For reasons known only to the heavenly creator, I am blessedly immune from both "Dixie" and "The Battle Hymn of the Republic", but the other two have so insidiously ingrained themselves in my subconscious that every thought I think and daily task that I undertake is now done with a mournful piano piece underneath. Small daily victories become Phyrric; momentary setbacks become lamentable failures. And every finality is set to the chorus with the high harmonies on top, itself a culmination of a slow and sad--but expertly played--build.
Moreover, I have come away from the viewing most impressed with the ability of the people in the middle of the 19th century to write letters of such a constant length as can be spoken to the tune of Ashokan Farewell, a song written one hundred and twenty years later, and reach their natural conclusions just as the song reaches its own. It is as if invisible hands were at work here, bringing the rambles to their most poignant and concise point just as the violin hangs on the note near the end, letting one final thought linger as the song finishes and the screen fades to black. This letter does not work that way. I have tried it.
December 8th, 2011
|07:23 am - and please stop that wind, too, while you're at it|
A Misanthropic Writer's Prayer
with thy Wisdom vast
and in thy Mercy infinite
Please watch over me and my creations
And lead me not into the temptation
Of searching for Rule 34 of my characters
And may nothing I ever say
Ever turn up on TVTropes
With fifteen references to anime
All of which I have never seen
Would certainly suck out loud1
Yours very truly,
1. In one variant allowed in some states, this line is replaced with "Might be construed as proof positive of the Protestant work ethic". We're working on ratifying it in other states, but they keep telling us our bootstraps aren't pulled up high enough yet.
|01:43 am - Talking to buddy|
I dislike "cat blogging" in excess and I've probably discussed some of this before, but today Abbie and I had a conversation that I wanted to share. He's fourteen and a half years old, and I've had him since he was six weeks old. In that time we've gone through a lot together, and we've learned how to talk to each other effectively well. I can recognize certain meows of his: the echolocation meow, the "somebody come and play" meow, the "I'm in the room now, at ease" meow, and the "But I want it NOW" meow.
And I've learned how to respond to him in ways that he understands. He's learned his name, and has matched his pitch roughly to the one I use when I talk to him. He also mimics the upward inflection we use when asking questions, though I'm not sure if he's connected that with demands or uses it cause he hears it a lot. He also understands "Okay" and "Go ahead", but probably because they're said in a friendly tone, not like "No" or "Get down", which he'll recognize of course but ignore.
Diane Duane, in her brilliant "Book of Night with Moon" series, holds forth that cat language is a lot more sophisticated than just meows. It also involves body language, posture, location relative to one another, and even eye contact or the lack thereof. And most cat owners will tell you that's certainly the case. (Everyone probably also has a story similar to this one here, so let's hear 'em, gang!)
Abbie's version of please, for example, is a gentle extending of the paw at whatever it is you're currently eating. It's almost a pathetic Oliver Twist gesture, but it also says "I could swipe that stuff outta your hand at any time, and don't you forget it." He also knows the best way to wake me up and get me to do something is swat at a plastic bag, because I will move heaven and earth to get him to Stop Doing That Dammit.
But he has an even more polite version of please: He just sits down next to me and gently headbutts my leg. That can mean either show me attention or take a look at the food dish when you can, you know, no big rush, I can wait for now. For now I said.
He stays gentle for the most part, because beyond the vacuum cleaner fear he's a very relaxed cat. Of course he is. He's an indoor cat who holds court in a purple papasan throne with a catnip plant growing directly above him. It dangles so tantalizingly close he could just reach up and nip a piece off if he wanted, the hedonistic little Caesar.
Today I was trying to shoo Abbie out of a room so I could head out for lunch. He was sacked out on a pillow and showed no interest in leaving. I started by petting him and doing the rump-patting thing, which usually gets a cat right up on their feet so you can gently send them on their way. Abbie, however, was having none of it.
He had a hind paw sticking out as he lay down, so I reached over to grab it and push it over, motivate him that way. Instead, as soon as I took his hind paw he quickly moved his head around and took my hand, very gently, in his mouth. It was not an aggressive move. He's not a regular biter. He did not clamp down, he didn't break the skin, he just grabbed my hand swiftly enough to say "No, man, that's not cool. Back off." I relented and backed off. He let go. Eventually I got him up and he went off to sulk for a bit due to the overall ignominy of it, but I gave him some treats before I left and we were friends again.
I've been watching him walk and he's not favoring the leg, so it wasn't an injury reaction. It was one of those defensive instincts that cats have (the belly is their most vulnerable spot and they'll protect it with their hind legs) but Abbie, at least, showed an admirable display of restraint, a rare feature in a cat who will beg for everything from avocado to bottled water. I guess we know each other well enough after fourteen years that he trusts me to respect a warning, and I trust he won't harm me intentionally.
He's a good fella.
November 29th, 2011
|01:34 am - Just so's you know!|
I've started up a little journally thing where I'll be posting stuff I find while poking around in Skyrim. Much like my World of Warcraft stuff, it's named Postcards from Skyrim and it's on its own separate site an' everything. Please feel free to add it to whatever reader you use when you want to look at in-game screenshots.
(We just finished playing the Star Wars: The Old Republic beta, so the most current post is all about the adventures of Bob Hoskins in space, but we'll be back to the land of the ice and snow now.)
And yes I know I need to see the new Muppet movie and I will be doing so real soon now all right
November 27th, 2011
|12:46 pm - EMAIL, WE GET YOUR EMAIL, WE GET YOUR EMAIL EVERY DAY|
Good morning,Hello Shawn Michaels from London,.
It is my pleasure to locate your profile and your email on [site I've never been to] as a professional recording studio operator. I am Shawn Michaels from London,I am coming to
your studio there in United State to make a recording of my speech in which I
would be use in a gathering together with my Alumni Member by 23th of
January 2012 here in Bromley,London.I would be inviting a professional
interpreter from China to meet me in your studio in United State for the interpreting
of the speech to Chinese,French,Dutch and Spanish language.
let me know how much you do charge for making a speech recording for two hours
into a CD , as soon as I have the price to have 2hours session with you,I would
go ahead for securing the date with you
I'm sorry, but we don't take fraudulent cashier's checks, such as the kind you would no doubt insist on paying with in advance, even if you were so nice as to add more to the total on the check for me to "hold for you" while you travelled to my studio there in United State. I would be interested to know where exactly my studio is, since I don't have one. And while I've been to Paradise, I've never been to United State.
Give my best to your Alumni Member.
November 24th, 2011
|10:33 pm - OCCUPY STOCKBRIDGE|
iTunes just crashed and we're waiting for it to come back up is what we're doing
( Coming back around on the gi-tarCollapse )
|04:54 pm - Helpful hints to win the game|
SKYRIM DRAGON DENTISTRY
Step 1. Approach patient and climb on head.
Step 2. Prepare extraction instrument and instruct patient to open wide.
Some clipping may occur during this step; this is a normal part of the procedure.
Step 3. Proceed with extractions.
Step 4. Schedule follow-up appointment as soon as possible.
November 14th, 2011
|04:57 pm - and if there's a record scratch sound effect in the trailer so help me|
Variety is reporting that David Yates, director of the last few Harry Potter films (honestly, was I the only one who really thought Alfonso Cuaron did a great job?) is "teaming up" with the BBC to make Doctor Who a movie.
Yippee! Zowie! The Doctor who is not Peter Cushing and his companions on the big screen! Let's read the article together, you and I, and thrill to the exciting developments to come!
Yates, who directed the last four Potter films, told Daily Variety that he is about to start work on developing a "Doctor Who" movie with Jane Tranter, head of L.A.-based BBC Worldwide Prods.Okay, Jane Tranter worked with Russell T. Davies on the New Who. I took a liking to her after reading Davies' production diaries, if only because she had the common sense to turn down some of Russell's more embarrassingly bad ideas. Onward and let's get to the good parts like MAYBE IF K-9 WILL BE IN IT! I LIKE K-9!
"We're looking at writers now. We're going to spend two to three years to get it right," he said. "It needs quite a radical transformation to take it into the bigger arena."Well that's a bit of a comedown. I never like hearing that an established series needs a "radical" kind of anything. And Doctor Who doesn't. Want to make an exciting and fun Doctor Who movie? Get Moffat to write, get Matt Smith and anybody who's around after the Christmas special. (I have yet to watch the second half of this season, by the way, and I've studiously avoided spoilers so I don't know anything that's happened since Spring) Have them run around for two hours thwarting alien menaces in a solidly-crafted story, and you'll have some damn good sci-fi. People are going to want to see the characters they know and love.
Maybe I'm overreacting just a little bit. Maybe I'm taking "radical transformation" out of proportion. Maybe all Yates really wants to do is change the theme tune, you know, put some heavy bass under it or something. Or maybe he'll make the Cybermen glow orange. Let's see.
Yates made clear that his movie adaptation would not follow on from the current TV series, but would take a completely fresh approach to the material.wait
"Russell T. Davies and then Steven Moffat have done their own transformations, which were fantastic, but we have to put that aside and start from scratch," he said.
DOES THIS MEAN WE WON'T GET K-9?!
Now that's a pretty spectacular disappointment and specific to boot! Time was all someone had to do to irk the masses was say "Hey I'm making a movie of a favorite sci-fi/fantasy property" and we'd descend like howler monkeys (we are legion; we are hyperbolic) to cry "It won't be the same! It will suck!" More often than not we were vindicated. Hello, I, Robot. Other times really everyone was pleasantly surprised with how well it came out. Hello, Lord of the Rings. But David Yates here doesn't even set a "might not suck" bar. He simply kicks it to the ground with a Reboot implication. Yeah, don't think like he won't. Phrases like "completely fresh" and "start from scratch" are pretty damning.
Doctor Who is a British institution and beloved television show for decades, and there's one good reason why: It's constant even in the face of changes that would faze other television programs. Actors and actresses (including leads) come and go, show runners switch off, the TARDIS keeps looking different inside. It's a show all about change, but it's been constant in that change. It has built a robust universe with strong characters, recurring villains, and species who have been allowed to develop on their own as characters.
Doctor Who has become one grand epic story, and while some chapters have been better than others and okay, there might have been some slight fiddling with the canon, it's still an amazing work all around. A lot of really clever and talented people have worked hard on this story over the years and starting from scratch, doing away with their universe entirely, is an insult to their endeavors.
It seems to me that while Yates can cloak his intentions with "It's an artistic necessity! Honest!" what he really wants here is Michael Bay blockbuster grosses. Take a franchise that people have heard of, turn it into blow-up-real-good entertainment for the PG-13 demographic, then go swim in your Scrooge McDuck money bin. And there's nothing wrong with blow-up-real-good entertainment, but you don't have to ruin Doctor Who to do it.