Sunday, September 28, 2008

How Berkeley Can You Be?

I'm not really asking you that question. So don't worry. You don't have to be very Berkeley at all, if you don't want to. You may put the tie-dye down. That question is, actually, the name of an annual parade that was held today, a parade I and the family and friends have attended (though never marched in) for most of the past several years, including this morning.

I've lived in Berkeley since late 1979, when I moved up here from my hometown of Los Angeles to attend UC Berkeley. Being in Berkeley in '79 was a glorious thing--as the 70s were not quite over yet, either in terms of the literal calendar, obviously, but also in terms of spirit. My first year here, while perhaps not stellar in terms of my academic achievements, was something I look back on with great memories---probably because I had chosen not to study too hard. It's not really easy, especially on a hastily typed blog post, to capture in words just what was special about Berkeley back then, but what I remember most was it still being a place that felt almost innocent in its weirdness and hippie-ness and laissez-faire atmosphere. Even at places like the legendary and infamous Barrington Hall, where I was fortunate to attend (and survive) a few rather insane parties, there was an underlying innocence to it all that seems long gone now. Now, of course, "hippie" is a near derogatory term, and places like Telegraph Ave that once had a nice carnival-like atmosphere are now just kind of rundown and dirty and depressing. Tourists still flock there, for sure, but it's really just to gaze upon an ancient ruin and to laugh at it: The People's Republic of Berzerkeley.

I have a real love/hate relationship with this town. On the one hand, I still have enough of the oddball/iconoclast in me to not really be able to imagine living anywhere else. I like living in a place that the rest of the country thinks is weird. It's liberating to live in a place where a grown man (not me, honest) can ride down the street on a unicycle while wearing a pink leotard and hardly get a second glance. On the other hand, the self-righteousness of this place can just be insufferable and appalling at times, and is made doubly worse by the selfishness and rudeness of those who supposedly are "more concerned" than the rest of us. The bumper sticker I've always wanted to make and sell in Berkeley, as a perfect encapsulation of the local sentiment, is this:
"Save the whales....and fuck you!"

But on the day of the How Berkeley Can You Be? parade--my civic pride always returns in full force. Here the loons come out, and are celebrated. Here even the righteous make fun of themselves. And if this year's parade seemed a bit disappointingly tame (where were The Naked People? Where was the hemp float?), it still was a great gathering, with enough LOL and "only in Berkeley" moments to make me appreciate, once again, how nice it is, really, to live in a place that takes pride in being different.

So here ya go, a few pics for ya. Here's where I live. Here's what some of the people are like. And not all of them only dress this way on parade day.

My favorite guy.

No idea what is going on here.

Protesting something or other.

I support this cause.

This one too.

My big regret, photo-opp wise, was missing "The Union of Concerned Sammy Hagar Imitators."
But just the fact that there was such a photo opp to miss is why, even when it pisses me off, which it does a lot, I still love this town.

Friday, September 26, 2008

I'm going mini-golfing!

Well, thus ends my first week at Electronic Arts. I am happy to report that I am still employed. Since I last checked in with you, I have now been granted a name plate on my cubicle, and a Sims coffee mug with my name engraved on it. I guess that makes me official.

I have now dined extensively at the EA Cafe---the highlight, I think, being yesterday's chicken chipotle quesadilla--and am looking forward to more corporate sponsored sustenance next week. And while one can be happy about the extremely low prices found at the candy/chips machine, the danger, of course, is that the low price = more frequent visits to said machine. Today's purchase was a bit of a nightmare: "Blazin' Buffalo and Ranch" Doritos. Actually, they were kinda yummy, but the problem was that they were too spicy, so that necessitated a trip back to the machines so I could buy yet another 25 cent Diet Coke. This is how they get you.

Other than the culinary delights, my work week went well, I think. I mean, I wasn't told not to come back on Monday, though I suppose I could still get that email over the weekend. I still did manage to get lost a couple more times since my last blog post, and also a bit confused. The most notable example of the latter was when I kept pushing against a glass door that was refusing to open, only to be informed by the security person that that, in fact, was a wall, and not a door, and that I might want to stop pushing it, pretty much immediately.

I still can't really tell you what I'm working on yet, so I'm sorry about that. But I am definitely having fun, and am finding that if there is a bunch of stuff that I still need to get my head around, and that I can't much contribute to yet, there are other aspects that I'm feeling that I can, in fact, have an impact, and maybe not an entirely negative one. As far as first weeks go, I guess we'll call it a good one. I know it felt that way to me. Despite the late night jitters.

And now? Now I am off to play minigolf. Not that I am particularly into that activity. But this is what my friend Shawn Elliott has chosen to do for his going away party from Ziff Davis. And would I miss this party? No I would not. So as I power down my PC here at Electronic Arts, officially ending my first week in my new life, I am off to see another of my beloved colleagues heading off and out of the gaming press. I'm looking forward to seeing my old 1up pals again. I may be on the other side of the fence now, but the bond of those who once scrounged for spoons together never ends.

Happy Friday everyone!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Three days in, and I'm not fired yet! Ha ha! I have fooled them!

After one day of utter bewilderment (Monday), followed by another day of slightly-less utter bewilderment (Tuesday), today felt like almost kinda/sorta a real day of work. Not that I did anything per se. But on the other hand, I didn't do nothing, either. That is to say, while I couldn't stand in front of a court of law and cite a specific bullet-pointed list of acccomplishments, I did in fact shake off at least part of my newbie haze and dig into some of the things around me. I attended a few meetings, and if my contributions weren't exactly brilliant or earth shattering, I think, at least, they weren't totally nonsensical and embarrassing. For example, when someone asked for an opinion of a certain Flash game we were looking at, I did not reply something like, "I like to wear ladies' girdles!"

As a place to work, EA continues to be pretty amazing. Especially coming from a place that had so little money, they actually sent out an email at one point telling us they were no longer providing plastic forks and spoons for us, so would we please bring our own. Here there are a lot of spoons. I could probably take three or four at once if I wanted to, and no one would blink. In fact, I do kind of still have a Depression-era hoarding instinct going on here, due to the trauma of the previous job. Like, when we used to go out to eat, if we saw a bin with plastic spoons, one of us would whisper urgently "THEY HAVE SPOONS HERE---GRAB SOME", and we'd furtively sneak as many out as we could. Anyone who has parents or grandparents who lived through economic hardship knows that people don't get over such hardship right away.

All of which is to explain why I ended up sitting in the cold, sterile EA Security room late this afternoon, with white plastic spoons bulging out of all my pockets, under each arm, and full to the brim in my backpack. Apparently I had been spotted by some nosey do-gooder, and a phone call was made. When I tried to explain myself, I muttered, between tears, something about liking soup, and what if there's an earthquake, and I'm sorry, and I thought I heard someone speaking German. Or maybe none of that happened at all. It's really hard to say. It's still so surreal that I'm even here, working on games, not writing about games, that my whole sense of reality has been twisted out of shape.

But if that's so, then what is this Hefty bag full of forks doing in my cube?

My first week continues apace.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Wow, am I tired.

So THAT'S what it's like to have a first day on the job as a new guy. I'm exhausted--and I didn't even do anything. Plus, just as I suspected, I couldn't find the bathroom when I needed it. Fortunately, there was no soiling of pants involved. Sure, I hopped around a little, whistled loudly as a way to stem the tide, focused on baseball scores, and did the bending-over-with-my legs-crossed-while-holding-my-breath thing. But I'm sure no one noticed. Anyway, someone did finally take pity on me, and pointed me in the right direction. Unfortunately, I only made it as far as the sink. Let's hope EA doesn't have security cameras in the men's room. Note to EA security: just kidding. No need to review the tape. Anyway that guy just looks like me.

Other than that, I don't have much to report yet. My new co-workers are great--as I suspected they would be. Sodas are 25 cents. There is supposedly a profanity jar, which I didn't see, but, if it really exists, is going to contain a lot of my money that would otherwise be going to sodas. I have two monitors, which means I can play Peggle on one screen while monitoring my progress in Dungeons and Dragons Tiny Adventures on the other. I ate two tacos from a taco bar. I won a copy of The Orange Box PC for successfully answering a trivia question in the orientation. I ordered my iPhone. I opened my new email inbox and found 82 messages waiting for me. I ate two cookies. I received an EA coffee mug. I wrote my name on a card.

Certainly, the days ahead are going to be a bit more momentous and productive, in terms of actual work accomplished. But I don't know if many more days are going to be as exhausting as this one.

Holy shit: I'm the new guy.

I better get some rest.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Standing on the verge of getting it on.

Hoo boy. Tomorrow is the day. The transfer of my soul will be complete.

First Ziff Davis had it, for 17 years, then I had a week of being a Man Without A Corporation, and now tomorrow the deed will belong to Electronic Arts, my new masters for however long I make it there. Which hopefully will be longer than one day.

I have no idea how my first day as an Associate Producer is going to be, after spending all these years as a journalist. We shall see. Am I nervous? Why, yes, I am. Am I excited? Yes--more than the nervous part. It's really not often that one gets a chance to start over and plunge into something new...and I'm grateful for the opportunity. So now I have to not screw it up.

With this in mind, and without knowing what to expect, or not, I have made a small list of what not to do tomorrow, in the interest of job security:

1) Show up drunk.
2) Ask if my new machine comes with Peggle, and if not, can I please install it ASAP.
3) Casually observe that I sure am bored!
4) Ask if I can leave early so I can stop by the head shop on Telegraph in Berkeley before it closes.
5) Strip to my boxers and run through the EA hallways yelling, "I'M IN THE GAME!"
6) March into one of the executive's offices and ask what the fuck is up with the DRM in Spore.
7) Try to break my record for loudest belch ever.
8) Tell my new boss to be quiet because I'm trying to play Word Challenge on FaceBook.
9) Fall asleep.
10) Ride my new motorcycle into the EA Cafe and yell, "WHICH ONE OF YOU BITCHES WANTS TO GO FOR A RIDE?"

People often wonder how I lasted at Ziff Davis for 17 years. It is because of lists like this one. You set goals, and then you keep them. This is the secret to my success. Feel free to copy and paste this for use in your own life.

And wish me luck for tomorrow!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Morons at museums.

Every time I am out in a public place, I am reminded once again that I hate humanity. Not everyone, of course. Certainly not you people. And my friends and family. But as a species, I believe that, mostly, we kind of suck, especially when it comes to being in public spaces together. Like movies. Or on the road. Or, like today--at the museum.

Today, in celebration of my last weekday without any work responsibility (I start at EA on Monday), The Missus and I hopped on my new motorcycle and ventured over to the DeYoung
Museum in San Francisco to check out an exhibit by Dale Chihuly, an extraordinary glassblower, but also referred to, by a friend of mine, who experienced this first-hand when a waitress many years back, as "the one-eyed no-tipping freak." But hey, I wasn't there to serve him food, so I didn't care about that part. His artwork was, in fact, incredible. Like, check this shit out:

Actually, I shouldn't call it "shit." That's all glass. It may be hard to see how cool this is in the little photo, but trust me, it's really cool. So, okay, the exhibit was astounding. It reminds us, as do all great art exhibits, how incredibly talented and visionary certain humans are, while the rest of us are sitting on our duffs watching Project Runway. I mean this in the best way possible, so no reason for us to mope. We need our geniuses. Plus, some of them are lousy tippers. So fuck them anyway.

But the real point of this blog is what I said up top: I hate humanity. Because, here's the thing: People--especially grownups--do not know how to behave in public. Did it matter that there was a guard in every single one of the 11 rooms of the exhibit saying over and over and over "NO FLASH PICTURES?" No, apparently it did not. Because even 11 rooms later, the same assholes were still taking flash pictures. One guy even argued the point after getting yelled at. "I don't see why not!" Here's why not: SHUT THE FUCK UP. That's why not. You don't get to make the rules, okay? At your house, people can take flash pictures if you say so. Not here. And you were told that 10 rooms ago. Plus, all the photo taking, even without the flash, was driving me crazy. Some people were almost literally seeing the exhibit through their viewfinder, barely looking up to actually see the artwork that they had paid to see right in front of their noses. And you know what? None of those pictures you're taking are going to be one-tenth as good as the photos you can buy right in the store on your way out. If you must have pictures of them. Which I also don't understand.

Another gripe: Must you talk at full volume all the way through the exhibit? Do I really have to hear your uninformed, baseless pontificating about something you clearly know nothing about? "Clearly Chihuly must have been obsessed with Monet at some point!" O RLY? Based on what? What are you even talking about? Because they both use color? Or is Monet just the one artist you heard of, so you think if you say that out loud we'll all believe you know what you're saying? And even if you do happen to be an art historian of 30 years with a specialization in Chihuly And His Connection To Monet, I don't want to hear it right now, mmmmkay? I'll download your lecture on iTunes if forced to at gunpoint. All I want to do is look at the art and form my own opinions. Is that too much to ask?

Finally, and I say this with as much love and compassion as I can muster: Please shower and lose weight. I don't want to go on about this point. Maybe I just happened to show up on special Fat and Smelly Person Discount Day. "Over 400 pounds? Smell like week-old salmon! Come on in!"

Now having said all this, let me clarify that I actually had a good time. The DeYoung museum is beautiful. The artwork was fantastic. I think it's clear that Chihuly has some kind of affinity for Monet. And the motorcycle ride, both there and back, was fan-freakin-tastic. This new bike is so much bigger and badassier than anything I've ridden before, it's like I've had my motorcycle Bar Mitzvah and am now A Man. And like many a man before me, I think what is in order at this juncture in time, with this blog post now coming to a close, is a nice tall beer.

So, cheers, and happy Friday everyone!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Shawn Elliott

So, by now, readers and listeners of GFW Radio and other assorted remnants of humanity have heard the big news: Shawn Elliott is leaving to go work with Ken Levine over at 2K Boston. To which we here at Greenspeak Central have one important, official comment: Right the fuck on! Ken Levine is a hilarious, genius god of game design...and since Shawn Elliott is a hilarious, genius god of a journalist, well, this is truly a partnership of titans. Those (rightly) bemoaning the loss of Shawn's voice on the podcast and website should buck up knowing that there is NO question--none--that Shawn's influence will be bright and strong over at 2K Boston.

Because here's the thing about Shawn Elliott: He makes everyone around him do better work.

My experience working with Shawn for years was not unlike the experience that readers/listeners get when encountering him: I never knew what I would get on a day-to-day basis. Was it going to be hilarious, goofball, cut-up Shawn, the immature prankster who made me eat gross candy? Or was it going to be thoughtful, analytical, almost stubbornly honest Shawn who *demanded* higher quality and harder work out of everyone he worked with? The truth is--usually it was both, often within minutes or seconds of each other. You heard that dichotomy every week on our podcast. He was both class clown and most serious guy in the room.

Recently, he got annoyed at the notion that I had taken over the role of Sean Molloy as the one to "keep Shawn on track", and I agreed with him that he was right to be annoyed. I mean, yes, he definitely could talk, and sometimes, yes, I would try to do the host thing of saying, "Okay, in other news...."---but more often than not, Shawn was ALSO the guy who had specific agendas for the podcast. HE was the one who would come down saying, "Let's not forget to talk about Far Cry 2 this week." Or: "Could you assholes play some PC games this week please, so I'm not the only one talking about them again?" He cared *deeply* about the quality of GFW Radio every single week, and would get annoyed or frustrated if he felt it wasn't going well. I cared a lot, too, of course! This was my baby, too, and Sean Molloy's and Ryan's too. But, as I've mentioned before, I had more of a laid-back, "let's just see what happens" approach, which served us well MOST of the time, but could backfire on weeks when we weren't really on our game. And Shawn rightly felt like some structure, some specific topics, were in order on some weeks, rather than my hippiesque, lazy desire to just bullshit. Again, the point is: He made us try harder, he made us work harder, his commitment to quality never flagged, not once, ever, in all the time I've known him.

And let's not forget he is a writer, too. My first contact with Shawn was when he did a couple freelance articles for CGW after EGM laid him off a few years ago. When I read these first articles, I couldn't believe it. Here was a guy who could write about games in a way that made you really think, who never approached a lead paragraph the way anyone else would, who clearly thought a LOT about what he was going to say before he ever started typing. Sometimes you'd go into a Shawn article thinking, "What the heck is he getting at here?" at first--only to realize a few sentences or paragraphs in that he knew exactly what he was doing, and that he is making you think about something relatively unimportant in life---a first-person shooter, for example--with the kind of insight normally reserved for "higher" works of art. And, of course, they deserve this kind of analysis. It's just that almost no one in this entire industry ever does it. This is why Shawn Elliott was so important, and so influential, and so loved by so many people, including me, in the gaming industry.

And let's not forget prankster Shawn--not that any of us ever could. I don't need to do a Chris Farley Show thing here of recounting his best moments and saying how awesome they were. You can Google or YouTube some of them. But I will say that I can't tell you the number of times those of us in the room with him (most recently on last week's 1up FM) had to literally take off our headsets and stifle ourselves because we were laughing so hard at what he was saying. Some folks didn't appreciate or objected to his "Ralphie" griefing stories/videos, but what I personally loved about them--and what I knew was his point of those all along--was the way in which he exposed the *real* griefers online--the bullies, bigots, and jerks who would come out of the woodwork to dogpile on him because they (wrongly) perceived him to be someone they could pick on. It was, quite often, a subversive work of genius. Sometimes, yeah, it was immature and ridiculous, too. But again, that's Shawn. And I'll take an erratic genius, sometimes teetering on the brink between genius and stupidity, over yet another bland, ineffective, unthinking, unchallenging, untalented "web journalist" any fuggin' day of the week.

Like me, and Sean Molloy, and Ryan, Shawn was devasted by the loss of our magazine. The four of us had achieved a perfect bond of creativity and diverse talent, working with each other to bring out the best in each other, to let each of us play to our strengths to make a product we felt extremely proud of. The fact that Ziff Davis kept us all on, rather than laying us off, when the magazine close really spoke volumes. Companies don't normally do this--keep an editorial staff around when the mag itself has been totally shut down. So, ya know, it beat being out of work. But it wasn't the same for us, even with the weekly podcast to bring us back in the same room together. And the impact of this loss kept persisting. Sean is at Blizzard now, I'm at EA, and Shawn is at 2K Boston....and hopefully all of us will find ourselves once again in creative dream teams like the one we shared together at And Ryan Scott? Watch for this guy to take over everything one day. Both at Ziff and maybe the world. That is my dream for him, and my challenge to him.

But this post is about Shawn. A brilliant guy, a fearless guy, a guy who never let me off the hook for anything and for which I was grateful every single day. A ringleader of clowns (there's no Max Chill or Chuff without Shawn to bring them into the fold). A beacon of intelligence in an industry rampant with idiocy. Shawn has always been destined for greater things, and this is proof of this. So we can all mourn the loss of his voice in the public arena for now, because it is a one-of-a-kind, hilarious and insightful voice. But, more important, let's be happy for the man himself, who is getting a rare opportunity in life to work directly with a smart, important designer also at the top of his game right now. Because this kind of partnership means--even if we don't get to see the results right away--that we all win.

Good luck, Shawn. You've earned this. And should there be an opportunity for Brodeo 2, or any other opportunity to mix it up with you ever again, let me know. Because I am all in.


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

And the winner....

of the "Oh Please Let Me Be Jeff Green's New Motorcycle" contest, is:

This brand-spankin' new 2009 Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Classic! Yay! Beers for everyone! Just before riding! Just kidding mom! I'd never do that!

This was a late-entry dark horse that suddenly, swiftly moved to the head of the pack. Followers of my tedious exploits were aware that I was waffling between a smaller 650 style cruiser, and a (for me) humongoid 1100. (I've ridden a Yamaha Seca II 600 for years now...).

So this one, right in between the two, just felt right. Like, literally felt right. I sat on a buncha bikes this afternoon, and this one was just the one for me. Enough leg room for my long, bony chicken legs, whereas the VStars felt a wee bit too cramped for me. I had no real intention (har har) of riding out of the store with a new bike today, but it is amazing what those salespeople can do to your brain, huh? They sealed the deal for me by taking my Seca II off my hands at a not-bad trade-in cost, plus not requiring to put even one penny down today. That's right! I got this bike FOR FREE! And good luck to them trying to get a payment out of me! SO LONG SUCKERS!!!!!

I kid. I got a great deal. It helps to be in a old white man in this country, with a good salary and a good credit rating. Also telling them I worked at EA now didn't hurt either. Sure, guys! Free Rock Band 2s for everyone! Seriously, the cool folks at Golden Gate Cycles in SF get big kudos from me for helping me out, being very patient with my numerous questions, not bamboozling me into something I didn't want. I ultimately was happy to let them con me out of my money.

The ride home across the Bay Bridge was unbelievable. I was grinning like a moron the whole way. I got a bunch of thumbs ups from People With Good Taste. It felt like a good reward for me for 17 years of service to Ziff Davis.

Now, when I show up for my first day of work at EA on Monday, I'll be doing it in STYLE, baby!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A few words before House.

House, the TV show, that is. Which is on in 30 minutes. Which I am gonna watch with my wife and kid. Because we love that show. Because we love Hugh Laurie. Because he is awesome.

I had what turned out to be a very busy 2nd day of retirement today. I didn't even get to log onto AIM and check in on my kids at, which I did yesterday just to remind them I wasn't dead yet, even though, apparently, they have already stripped my office bare. And, boy, did I leave some goodies behind for them! Among the items I did not take home with me:

*A cheapass electric guitar w/practice amp
*A few Gunsmoke action figures
*Civilization: The Boardgame
*A G4 collapsible picnic chair w/carrying case
*A beanbag chair with a hole in it
* Three signed art prints from Baldur's Gate II
* A Mr. Spock action figure
*Two WoW action figures (Tauren shaman and Thrall)
*A pile of shitty PC games
*blank notepads that say "Jeff Green, Editor-in-Chief, Computer Gaming World" up top

...and much more! I originally was going to haul most of this crap home, but, after filling three boxes already with *other* crap, I decided that that was enough crap for one man. So congrats to my ex-coworkers who absconded with the good stuff.

Meanwhile, my day was full of fun stuff. To wit:

1) Motorcycle shopping. I've been leaning towards a Yamaha VStar--either a 650 or 750--to help me deal with my 70 mile a day commute to Electronic Arts. However, upon arriving at the dealership, they immediately began pushing me on (of course) a bigger bike: The Vstar Classic 1100. While I know they just wanna get more money out of me, the salesman did make a lot of sense: Bigger bike = less work for me w/the throttle, plus lower center-of-gravity = safer and more comfortable. So I dunno. I kind of fear a big bike because I am pretty much a slight, wimpy kind of guy. If this thing goes down, and I'm under it: Yeah. Not pretty. And if it goes down and I'm not under it, I don't even know how I'd pick it up. So who knows. Gonna test ride it tomorrow to at least check it out. Here's what we're talking about:

2. Saw Burn After Reading with teh wife. Like many a geek, I am a Coen Brothers groupie, so this was a must-see for me. And, ya know---kind of a disappointment, I'm gonna say. Of course, their movies always get better with repeated viewings (I actually didn't even like Fargo at the theater, which blows my mind now), so I will revisit this later. The acting in general was pretty great, with Malkovitch and Brad Pitt rocking it in particular, and J.K. Simmons stealing the movie in the final scene. But overall this one felt shakier to me than other comedies of there--not as consistently brilliant as (my fave) The Big Lebowski or Raising Arizona. There were long stretches that just felt more odd than actually funny to me. (Though I felt that way about Fargo at the time, too.) Still, hey, it was a Coen Brothers movie, and it was the middle of the afternoon. SURE BEATS WORKING!

3. Attended my daughter's second-ever cross-country race. We are not an athletic family. We run/jog, but that's about it. Neither the wife or I were ever on a team sport. (Okay, I was in Little League briefly, but the trauma of that should be recounted in another blog post some day, so for now we'll pretend it never happened.) So for my kid to go out for this, be on the team, race with the team, finish the race, and actually do well is some kinda transcendent, awesome victory, for her, for our family, and, heck, for humanity in general. Go humanity!!

Okay, my time is up. It is time for House. Meanwhile, if more pictures of me and my now-ex-coworkers being drunk and stupid is what you crave, go check out Sam Kennedy's blog post at, where he wrote some extremely nice words and posted some extremely ridiculous photos.

Here's a sample for ya (I think I was on the bar stool, "healing" my co-workers):

Oy vey.

Monday, September 15, 2008

The first Monday of the rest of my life....

...was...kinda boring! But, hey, do you see me complaining? No sir. You do not. This is a complaint-free blog post. It was just kinda bizarre to not be at work, not be at a new job, not be on a proper vacation---but just be at home with nothing much to do. I guess this is what retired and/or rich people do. And cats.

Actually, I did get up and haul myself to a yoga class. Now don't be scoffing at yoga, you rabble. I can hear you scoffing from here. But really, it's like aerobics for flexible hippies. Not that I'm one of those. I'm not. But everyone else in the class kinda was. Your humble blogger, meanwhile, was somewhere between an actual sweat and a flop sweat, as I continually failed to do a bunch of balance poses, like Tree, which require one to actually have a sense of balance, which I clearly don't, because I spent most of the class tumbling over like a drunk trying to walk a straight line. They say that yoga is good for the ego, but since I spent most of the class thinking to myself, "Wow, I really suck!", I'm gonna say this wasn't exactly the case for me, and to those who told me to do this so I'd feel better about myself, I have this to say: Fuck you! Just kidding. I love
yoga. Really. I think it was a combination of not being quite awake yet, possibly having alcohol lingering in my body still, and, well, sucking at yoga. I still love it though. After all, it enables me to get into positions just like this:

This, by the way, is another photo from my last day at, which shows you just why it was so difficult to leave this job. I mean, seriously. Look at that. That's a work day. All I have to say is, if EA doesn't allow me the opportunity to sit in toy chopters now and then, I will have made a VERY BIG MISTAKE.

The rest of my day today was spent on various leisure activities: I plowed through Terry Pratchett's Mort (hilarious), went on a nice walk to an outdoor cafe with the wife and dog, and then went motorcycle shopping for my new bike (yay!) as a present to myself for the new job and a way to cope with the 70-mile-a-day commute--except that the motorcycle shop was closed today. So that part blew.

But now I am drinking coffee out of my Brodeo coffee mug, listening to Roxy Music's Avalon, and looking at ridiculous photos (like the one above) of my last day again, and I have to say: I have had much worse Mondays, after all.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Oh dear.

It is a measure of just how epic and awesome my going-away-party from Ziff Davis Media and was last night that I feel utterly miserable today. I may not have had this much alcohol since college, which was like 70 years ago now.

The entire evening is kind of in a blur, with many hours unaccounted for, but I do know that a large crowd of fellow 1upers, ex-1upers, and friends was gathered at Steffs, the grungy sports bar conveniently located about 200 feet from our office. Much imbibing was then embarked upon. Despite my own awareness that I am kind of a lightweight, that nevertheless did not stop me, whatsoever, from joining a group who were determined that I would do one shot of liquor for every one of my 17 years at Ziff Davis. I am here to report that we did not succeed--thank goodness. We did, however, made it about 7 or 8 shots in, of whiskey, bourbon, and run, not necessarily in that order. This was accompanied by many beers in between.

And here is a photo, thanks to Tina Sanchez, of me with those shots I was just talking about:

This was all great fun, and in between drinking I was subjected to repeated chants of my name, as if I had been hanging out with a bunch of soccer hooligans and my name was Manchester United, and I also had the chance to engage in the kind of mushy heart-to-hearts, chest-pounding declarations of love, and backslaps and sloppy hugs that we humans can only engage in when alcohol is involved, and which, on sober reflection the next day, seem kind of embarrassing but actually not regrettable.

From here, though, my memory gets shaky. All I know is that somehow I ended up, with no memory of actually getting in there, inside a limo with fellow gaming journalists and friends Simon Cox, Garnett Lee, Matt Chandronait, Patrick Klepek, and Kat Hunter. We drove I don't know where and then found ourselves inside a loud and packed club, where for the next I-don't-know-how-long we danced, drunkenly and ridiculously and with great joy, with everyone in the place. I do also recall at one point being up on some kind of stage-like platform, above the crowd, with Garnett, Kat, and Matt. I also recall at one point I found myself seated at a table with total strangers. I don't know how I got there or what I said. Hopefully it was something smart and witty, but let's not bank on that. Thankfully, at least, I am quite sure I did not vomit on their table. So we'll call that a victory.

From there, we piled out onto the sidewalk, probably at around 1:30 a.m., and then made our way to some kind of restaurant that is apparently extremely popular with folks in SF who are actually out that late. Patrick Klepek had now mysteriously vanished, but Garnett, Kat, Simon, Matt and I pigged out but didn't really sober up much, as I recollect talking the head off the poor waitress, though I think in a friendly drunk way. I think.

After that, I was piled into a cab, where the kind and friendly driver patiently listened to me babble while driving me across the Bay Bridge to my home in Berkeley. Arrival time: Sometime after 2:30 a.m.

My head, it hurts.
My heart, it is both happy and heavy.

It was an amazing sendoff--the whole day, in fact, not just the drunken part--from my friends and colleagues at In this first day after, as I nurse this hangover and deal with the fact that I am no longer employed at the place I spent the last 17 years, I am focusing most on this one true thing: No guy has ever been this lucky to work with such cool people for so long. For that I thank you all.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


After you have purchased your coffee and poured your half-and-half/cream/milk/soy/urine/whatever into your cup, YOU DO NOT NEED TO KEEP STANDING AT THE LIQUID DISPENSARY BLOCKING EVERYONE ELSE FROM ALSO ACCESSING SAID LIQUIDS.

This morning, once again, some dillweed in a suit poured his milk in his cup, and then stood there, while two of us were behind him waiting to add to our own coffee drinks, daintily taste-testing his drink while yammering on his cell phone, as if he was standing in his own kitchen, oblivious to the seething hatred behind him.

Here's how it works: You pour your shit in your drink, and you move on. If you screwed up on the mixture, either suck it up, or QUICKLY pour more in and move the fuck on.


Also: Good morning!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

News Blurb: Greenspeak launch a grand success!

(BERKELEY,CA) The ratings are in, and it's official. With an overwhelmingly strong launch day yesterday, the Greenspeak blog is "the talk of the Internet" this morning, and "destined for greatness," according to at least one pundit, Greenspeak blog spokesperson Jeff Green, interviewed this morning in his half-empty office at soon-to-be former employer Ziff Davis Media, where he is still packing his belongings in between rounds of Peggle Nights.

"We've far exceeded early page view projections," Green said, "with well over 100 uniques in our first day alone." Clearly ebullient with his success, Green promises, nevertheless, that this is "only the beginning," and that, "as Bachman-Turner Overdrive once succinctly put it, you aint seen nothin' yet." Green promises to greatly expand the site's coverage in the coming weeks, with all kinds of exclusive coverage and information not currently available on other personal blogs. Currently, for example, one unique item on the page highlights what Green had had for dinner the previous evening. In the coming weeks, barring any unforeseen technical difficulties, Green plans to expand that coverage to include such things as what he had for lunch. Green did acknowledge, however, that for the website to really flourish, he was going to need to hire someone more aggressive to chase exclusives, but that this was still pending approval

Nevertheless, the launch was a clear success, and all signs point towards a healthy future.

"I'm really excited about what's in store," said Green. "I think with this blog, we can all agree that Web 3.0 has now officially begun."

We couldn't agree more.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Hello and welcome!

To my new online bloggy-type home! Yay! Pardon the mess, as I'm just setting up and moving in right now. Sorry about the smell, too. That's from a burrito I found in my pocket that I bought sometime last week.

That actually really did happen during my time at Ziff Davis, by the way, which I know because I recently found a notebook an old friend of mine kept back in the MacWEEK days called "Classic Jeff Manuevers," and that was one of the listed items. Other highlights include:

August 23, 1993
Accidentally sends instant message meant for me to one of our vice-presidents. The message was: "FUCK YOU."

September 23, 1993
Drops photo slide (that was already a week late) that we needed for a page layout into his coffee cup. Calls vendor and blames US Postal Service.

September 29, 1993
Drops empty bread basket into the soup cauldron at Specialities. Then asks, "Do I get something free for doing that?"

January 5, 1994
When asked to put ketchup on plate for french fries, he places the bottle of ketchup on the plate. He was not trying to be funny.

and so on and so on. I guess it's sort of flattering to have someone keeping a written record of all your screwups. Though maybe I should keep that list away from my new employers at Electronic Arts, or they may start wondering what kind of horrible mistake they made. LOL!

Anyway, so the purging of my office here at Ziff Davis continues apace. The stuff I'm finding in here would, like, literally boggle your mind. Strat-o-Matic baseball games. A Gunsmoke tie. A Black Isle Studios notepad. A 2400 baud modem.

Note to self: Next time you stay at the same job for 17 years, don't wait 17 years to clean it up once in awhile.

Also: Hi! I'll try to post a lot here, and you try to visit, mmmkay? Otherwise it's gonna be kinda lonely around here. K back to packing. Byeeeeeeeeeeee!