Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I am behind.

On, like, everything. I haven't seen this week's House yet. I'm three episodes behind on Mad Men. I haven't started Dead Space. I can't level up in Warhammer cuz the damn game keeps crashing to desktop. I'm late for the Microsoft XNA party I'd promise I'd attend tonight. And I skipped exercising like the last 4 times in a row I told myself I would. And yet.... I'm not working nearly as hard as everyone else on the team I am on now at EA, who I have not seen go home for dinner with their families even once in the week I have now been here. Last night there was an email sent announcing that "pizza had arrived" 11:40 pm. This is a hard-workin' team. What the hell am I doing on it??

In happier news, I'd like you all to know that Joe The Plumber, aka Samuel Wurzelbacher, has hired a publicist with the plan to....record a country music album. One would assume he'll probably record under the moniker "Joe the Plumber," because "Samuel Wurzelbacher" just doesn't have the greatest country music vibe to it. Country fans will just think he sounds Jewish and get all scared.

Anyhoo, over at Quarter to Three today I made a suggestion for the title of his first single, but wanted to share it here in case anyone else takes credit first. Joe, please feel free to use this:

"Your Pipes May Be Cloggy (But Your Heart Is Mine)"

You're welcome!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A blog about gaming.

Hello and welcome to my Sunday blog! Huzzah! This blog is being brought to you by three cups of coffee, which is my very favorite way to start out a Sunday. This will give me just enough energy to make it until about 1 pm, at which point I will crash and take a nap until about 4. That's my plan, anyway. I'm an ambitious guy!

I'm going to go ahead and self-righteously say I deserve this day of rest, however, as the previous week found me, as mentioned in my last blog post, on a brand new team at EA, after a mere 4 weeks on the job--a stressful situation that left me tired and somewhat overwhelmed by end-of-day Friday, but also happy and excited for the future. (And let me add, I don't deserve this day of rest even a third as much as my new co-workers, who worked later than I did every night, and who were coming in both days this weekend to work again. Yikes.)

I hadn't written a whole lot (or at all) about exactly what I was doing in my first four weeks, largely because it was Top Secret, though I think extra-astute readers might have seen that I did drop a few hints here and there. It was a project that was a bit off the beaten path but had the potential for greatness, or at least very goodness. So the bad news was that the rug got pulled out from under that project, before I could really ever crow about it here and spell out exactly what I was up to. The good news is that I think I *am* at liberty to tell you what I'm up to now--sort of--because the project is one that has already been announced: I am now a designer with the SimAnimals team. Woot! I heart animals! Look! Look how much I love animals! Even ones with crazy alien eyes!

Huh. I can't tell if this picture is sideways or not. Anyhoo: Yeah. That's the deal. I'm on that project, which is a game for the Wii, which is boatloads of fun for me. Note, however, that this game is way far along in its production--I am joining very late in the project, which is why the team is working so dang hard. So my input into this game is only going to be somewhat advisory and peripheral, as the design is essentially done. Still, it's fun to be in my usual critic role and actually see stuff getting affected/changed right there-and-then. Not that I'm lusting to lord any control over them: This is their project, and they're working their asses off, and I'm honored to be listened to or taken seriously at all, given my lack of experience in such matters. My real work begins with the NEXT project, which I shall have a crucial role in, and which I can't wait for. Now we're back at the "I can't tell you anything yet" phase, but there--I at least told you basically what I'm involved in. And I'm happy. I'm doing creative, fun stuff (I sat in on a 45 minute meeting about eyebrows, and it was super cool--no joke) that is challenging me in new artistic ways, just as I hoped for when I decided to make this career change. Stay tuned, though. I foresee lots of ups and downs and bumps and hills and valleys along the way....

Meanwhile, there are other games to discuss. World of Goo, for example, a fan-freakin-tastic WiiWare game that I believe was made by 2 guys, which is a nice humbling lesson for anyone. Funny, challenging, unique, loaded w/personality, it's one of my favorite games of the past few months. It's also kicking my ass on certain levels, because I am a physics loser. (Note to self: Enlist aid of your smarter 14-year-old daughter, who actually knows something about physics because she is paying attention in school, unlike you, who used to draw Don Martin cartoons all over your class notes instead of listening to the teachers.)

I've also begun Warhammer Online, which I was loving in the beta and am trying to love now--except for the unending streak of crash-to-desktops that take me out of the game over and over. Now, the fact that I have a Special PC With Problems has already been established, but a Google search tells me that these crashes are not unique to me, which is both a relief and a bummer. But I like this game enough (and not just cuz it's published by EA, promise) to keep at it while hoping for a fix. Moronico, Dwarf Engineer, is ready to take on you chuffin' greenskins! Oy!

And my third gaming obsession, at present, for no reason at all that I can explain, is a newfound addiction to Ticket to Ride on XBLA. This is one of my favorite boardgames ever, and I also dug it a lot on the PC, but now I'm hooked all over again on the 360. Mostly I'm hooked, however, because I am convinced that the AI is cheating, and so I am determined to beat it. You know how when you play(ed) Tetris a lot, and you'd be waiting for that ONE piece (usually the "L") to come down to fulfill your grand scheme, only the game would never give you one? And you convinced yourself in your brain that the game KNEW this, and was denying you on purpose? And then after your plan was foiled, then five L's in a row would come cascading down, as if to mock you? Yeah. I think that's what Ticket to Ride does too, in its own way, always taking the cards I need, and always blocking my paths ahead of time, as if it knows what cards I have drawn. Maybe not. Who knows. I just know that I am not admitting defeat to any fuggin' Digital Overlord, mmmmkay? HUMANS FTW.

That's really all I got right now. We must sit down and discuss television again, soon, though. We must discuss why House is so great, still, and why I am glad that Kenley got her comeuppance on Project Runway, and why Mad Men is so brilliant on so many levels (is there a more loveably despicable character--other than Kenley--on TV right now than Pete Campbell?), and why, for the over 40th time in my life, I will be watching "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!" on TV this week, despite the fact that I could do the whole episode for you right now by heart.

But I feel my book calling to me, and my couch, and those are voices that I really try to listen to when I can. Especially on a Sunday.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Oy vey.

Okay, so here's the thing. I'm not going to have this be a blog in which I constantly blog about not blogging. That will simply not do.

I actually made it an Official Rule to myself back when I was writing the Greenspeak column in Computer Gaming World magazine that I would never, ever write a column about how I didn't have a topic that month. Whenever I see writers doing that, I always want to slap them. If you don't have a topic, then, hi, you don't deserve a column. You can't have NOTHING to say. If you don't, give the page to someone else, because plenty of us have plenty to say. Ya know? It's the weakest way out of actually applying yourself.

Having said this, which, now that I think of it, isn't really relevant to anything, but what the heck, it's midnight, I do want to apologize, again, for the infrequent posting. The thing is: We're in computer hell at my house. H-E-L-L. Or I suppose I could spell that V-I-S-T-A. You know what? Fuck Microsoft. I say that with all due respect to my friends who work there. I actually don't mean fuck my friends. They are cool. But good god what a P.O.S. Vista has been--at least for me. I have had nothing but headaches and blue screens and constant crashes (especially with Firefox) since switching over. And yes it was a clean install. Twice. So don't lecture me. And so now that I don't run their "official" goddang magazine that they never gave a crap about anyway--or even remember existed--until it was killed (at which point they then worried how to spin the closing so it wouldn't make THEM or "Games for Windows" look bad--yeah, thanks. Guess what? "Games for Windows" looked bad from the fucking start, morans!), I have no problem telling them to get bent for shoving such an unfinished, mediocre, unstable, buggy product onto the market. After all these years, I think I'm finally just about ready to go back to Apple. Good job, Microsoft!

Meanwhile, that isn't even the real hell. The real hell is that both my wife's and my daughter's PCs (yes, Windows PCs!) are out of commission. My daughter's is dead dead, as in kaput, with a fried motherboard, while my wife's Dell laptop is in endless Blue Screen of Death hell and so is now at a shop where we will get reamed out of a few hundred dollars just for the displeasure of having to use it again. The net result of all this? We now have two adults and one teenager and one PC in the house. Yeah. I don't know about your family, but my family isn't fully at home and happy unless we're all behind our respective screens, YouTubing and Facebooking and gaming and steadfastly not paying attention to each other. This is what creates harmony in our house. Now? Now there's a line to use the one PC, and let me tell you, stress is high! So this is the situation, and this is why the blogging has fallen off. BLAME MICROSOFT.

In other news, my work life has been equally crazy. One month in to my new career...and I am seeing some of the volatility of the game biz. I can't really talk details, but let's say that everything I did until now has been essentially rendered null and void, and I am now going to another project. The good news is that I'm excited about that project, too, as I was with the last one. So things are good. And maybe one day I'll be able to share all the details of what it's like at EA. Details like the fact that my mail has now twice been misdelivered to a fellow at EA named Jeff Brown. Like, hi, they color coded us for a reason!

In any event, I'm tired. Tomorrow I move to another floor, another team, and start all over again as New Guy. Let's hope I go through this rite of passage again without doing something horrible, like projectile vomiting on my new boss. If I can just have that not happen, we'll call it a victory.

Good night. And remember: Fuck Microsoft!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Not a political post.

I'm just sayin, I can't understand what the heck is going on in this photo from the debate the other night. In fact, if I were the entrepreneurial sort, I would suggest we have a photo caption contest, and then I'd reward you with a valuable prize, like, say, one of my new EA business cards, which I don't actually have yet. So never mind. In any case, I really have no idea what was going on here when this was taken:

Okay, with that out of the way, let me just apologize for the infrequent posting this birthday, wife's birthday, work, not enough sleep...all sorts of excuses for you to choose from. The point is that I'm sorry and ask your forgiveness.

Now, a few quick items before I hop on my motorized bike and head to work:

1) I am in love with my iPhone. I will dedicate an entire post to it this weekend. But the short version is that this is a Magic Device full of Sorcery. I can wish for something and then 2 minutes later I have it in my hands, thanks to the App store. I'm even used to the keyboard now! Truly one of the most amazing devices I've ever owned. More to come on this one.

2) TV watch: Heroes continues to suck. Every character just does whatever now, based on the whims of the writers and the desire for gimmicky plot points: "Hey, what if HRG and Sylar are forced to work together! LOL! What if.....Hiro KILLS Ando!" Yeah. I remember when the show was more about depicting what happens when ordinary people are thrust into extraordinary circumstances. Now it's just a (bad, very bad) Saturday morning cartoon. Yes, I'm still watching--the same way I like to look at flashing lights and pretty colors. But I am completely emotionally uninvested now. I'm gazing at it, rather than being engaged. Bah. Meanwhile: House is better than ever. Really a great season so far. The Wilson storyline resolved a bit too quick, I thought---but the interaction, the friendship between those two characters is really a fine thing, especially for network TV. Finally--I'm still many episodes behind on Mad Men, but right now this is the best show on television, now that The Wire is over. You should be watching this.

3) Flash games. I'm playing tons of them for my job now. I am going to start pointing you here towards the great ones. There are many of them. For now, at least, it has discombobulated my gaming habits, as I am now absorbed in replays of 2-minute games, rather than getting lost in 20 or 30 (or, in the case of WoW, 1000+) hour games. It's not necessarily a permanent state (I'm looking forward to Dead Space this weekend), but it's been very interesting to explore this world. There are some super creative people making great games in this space.

4) Board gaming! The bug is back, thanks to my co-worker Ed and the board game group at EA, which I joined a week or so ago. I've only gone to one lunchtime session, but it was loads of fun and reminded me how much I miss doing that. We played Rio Grande's Race for the Galaxy, and of course I had no real idea what I was doing, and got my ass handed to me, but still: here's hoping I get plenty more opportunity to play, and to share my thoughts on current board games here with all you all.

5) Well, look: Now I'm gonna be late. Okay--another post coming this weekend. Meanwhile, in the spirit of the previous post, here's another Darwinian species failure for us to laugh at. Except this one's a bit more painful than funny. Unless you watch it multiple times in a row. Then it starts getting funny. Why is that?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Dogs are dumb.

Hey look, here's a non-controversial post that we can all agree on! Dogs are stoopid! (Cue the Dogs Are Smart special interest group to show up and complain.)

Actually, maybe all dogs aren't dumb. But *mine* is. Cute, yes. Lovable, absolutely. Would I trade her in for a million dollars? Not on your life. But good grief, Mila: How many times must you dig in to my wife's purse, and eat something not-meant-for-eating---like a whole container of chapstick--then spend the night throwing up, before it sinks into your pea brain that maybe that wasn't a great idea? So, yeah. That's what happened last night. Now I'm here at EA, exhausted, because Lady Von NotSoBright ate something bad and kept me up while she attempted to purge her system all night. When I left for my ride to work, of course, she was finally zonked out asleep. Yeah, have a great rest, moronica!

"Hmmm, now what dumb thing can I do next?"

Of course, before we get all high and mighty about being smarter than dogs, we may want to consider this guy:


I think, regardless of our political affiliations, we can all agree that this young man should probably not have the right to vote in the upcoming election.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Random nonsense.

Okay, so yes, I am still at work. I'M SORRY. But I haven't really left my desk all day, except to go fetch a fine lunch of cheese steak and curly fries from the EA Cafe, plus I've been doing a bunch of kinda tedious data entry, so I'm going to take a break here to mention three things that made me LOL today.

1. Tina Fey. God I love her. Since I stopped watching Saturday Night Live something like 20 years ago, I missed out on her when she was a regular there. And I missed out on 30 Rock, at first, until my friend Dana kept badgering me about it and I finally watched some online and realized she was right. Today she had a great statement about Sarah Palin, which I will quote in full: "We're gonna take it week by week. If she wins, I'm done. I can't do that for four years. And by 'I'm done,' I mean I'm leaving Earth."

2. The second LOL came from presidential candidate John McCain, who said this: "The national media has written us off. Sen. Obama is measuring the drapes...My friends, we've got them just where we want them." Okay, so let's see if I understand this, and keep in mind I'm not that good at politics. According to most national polls, you are being beaten by about 10 percentage points, and many experts are agreeing that Obama clearly has the necessary number of electoral votes to win. And....this is just where you want them? Good strategy!! After you lose the election and have some free time, please play me in Age of Empires!

3. BAH. EDITED. Number three turned out not to work, because Blogger doesn't seem to like animated GIFs. Instead, I present you with this---which is exactly what it's like to work at EA!!!!!!!

Okay, everybody---back to work!

Friday, October 10, 2008

A chillaxing kind of weekend.

Here at Greenspeak Central, the work never stops. You may think this is just done by me, but, frankly, given everything that happens on this page, you really should know better. I'm not that good! In fact, since leaving Ziff Davis and starting at EA, I have slowly assembled a crack team of trained monkeys and recently graduated college English majors--along with some offshore phone operators in India--who work tirelessly around the clock in an unlit, windowless basement to bring you all of these phenomenal posts. So, before I go any further, I just want to acknowledge the team and say "thanks." I've left an extra pile of bananas by the door as a token of my appreciation.

So...I'm gone for a couple days. (Not the team though--don't worry! They're still on the job!) It is my birthday on Sunday (92nd, I believe), and my wife is absconding me and taking me up the northern California coast for a weekend of rest and relaxation. Yay! I think I have earned it! Also, before proceeding further, let me clarify that the use of the word "chillax" in the header above is done only with pure irony. In fact, I don't know if there is a more annoying or useless word in the English language today (except maybe for "work"). You are either chilling and/or relaxing. They are synonyms. They do not need to be combined into one word, because they both mean the same thing. I can chill out, and/or I can relax. I do not need to "chillax", no matter how many frat boys say I do. Mmmmkay? I will not accept this word. Nor should you.

I've got a lot to celebrate this year on my birthday. I weathered a tempestous 12 months, including the loss of my cat, a serious illness, the closing of my magazine, and--in more positive news--my daughter's so-far successful transition to high school and my so-far successful career change. That's a lot. Not a lot as many, many people on the planet, because, yeah--compared to most people, I have an easy life. I recognize this. But we all only play the cards dealt to us, and even those of us with pretty good cards have our trials and tribulations, our headaches and disappointments, our tough times and challenges. So I am grateful, on the eve of my (okay) 47th birthday, that all in all, I'm hitting this milestone in a better place than I was 12 months ago. Well, all except for the loss of my cat PJ, who I still miss every goddamn day.

And for those of you wondering, I am loving my new job. I really am. I will admit that I am not remotely up to speed yet (I'm somewhere between 1st and 2nd gear now, I think), and hopefully my new co-workers have not hit the "when is this retard gonna start doing something?" phase. Though I could let them know that my wife has been in that phase for 22 years now, and she's still with me. Switching to this side of the gaming biz has been a serious eye-opener for me--not that I didn't know it would be. Of course it is. But knowing it intellectually and then experiencing it on a day-to-day basis are two different things entirely. I will post more about it all in the coming weeks and months, I promise. If my posting has been slightly frivolous and erratic since starting, that is entirely because my head is invested full-time in getting myself in gear and worthy of being part of the big brains that make up The Sims team.

So, though I wouldn't normally be taking a break after a mere three weeks of work, the birthday is a convenient excuse to take one anyway. And getting out of town and into nature is going to be a nice head-clearer for me, before diving head first into the job again on Monday. The good thing is, however, I'm looking forward to Monday already. Now how lucky is that?

Happy weekend, y'all.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

In these challenging times...

...there is only one man who can save us. No, I don't mean That One, though he's a close second. Who I mean of course is a man who shined briefly on the Internet awhile back, inspiring and enlightening all those who witnessed him in his 15-minutes of Internet meme glory. But we have not heard from him since. And now we need him more than ever.

O Technoviking, we beseech thee: Come back to us, lead us, your flock, out of the path of darkness... and into the light!

And as we pay our respects once again to our glorious leader, alway remember, my brethren: Technoviking does not dance to the music. The music dances to Technoviking!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Double Nickels on the Dime

This is a post about the long-defunct otherworldly genius of a band known as The Minutemen. Old-school (or simply old) punk rock music fans will know who they are, or at least they should, because they were so far ahead of the game of everyone else at the time that they don't sound even remotely dated, over 20 years after their demise due to the sad, untimely death of lead singer and guitarist D. Boon. I could post about them all day every day, and what they did for my life, my feeling of self, but the particular reason I mention them today is that Amazon, in its ongoing awesome cheap MP3 deals, is offering their 43(!)-song masterpiece, Double Nickels on the Dime, for a mere $5. Folks, if you have any interest whatsoever in punk/indie/alternative rock and don't own this yet, just click the link there and spend the 5 measly dollars. Don't argue. Just do it. Because that is gonna be the best 5 dollars you've spent in a long time. (The full price is $18.98.)

A young Mike Watt, sitting behind the wheel of his VW, on the cover of one of the greatest albums of all time.

The Minutemen emerged in the punk rock scene in Los Angeles in the early 80s along with bands like X, Black Flag, Fear, and so on, but they were so different from all those bands that they were practically outcasts amongst outcasts ("we were fucking corndogs," they sang in their autobiographical song "History Lesson Part II"). I say practically because, in truth, they were such amazing musicians, and such genuinely nice guys, that there was simply no denying them. They were about as un rock star looking as you could possibly imagine: one flannel-shirt wearing dweeby dude (Watt), one very heavy set dude (D Boon), and one surfer dude (George Hurley, and okay, he kinda had the rock star good lookin' thing going for him), who drove up from San Pedro to check out the then-burgeoning LA punk scene and became an unlikely and profoundly unique sucess story within that scene.

Whatever you think "punk rock" is--The Minutemen didn't really play it. What they did play was some kind of unholy blast of funky, jazzy, spasmatic post-rock, informed by Mike Watt's thunderous bass playing (only Les Claypool of Primus combines the same level of technical prowess and creative genius) and Hurley's perfect percussive accompaniement, which meshed so beautifully with Watt's bass that it was hard to separate the two. And on top of that was D. Boon's thin, reedy, guitar, attacking the spaces in between with an aggressive funkiness.

So they didn't look like punk rockers, and they sure as heck didn't sound like punk rockers. But they fit in with that scene because what that scene was REALLY about was rejecting the then-status quo in rock music, which by that point had become bloated and sissified and corporatized and desperately in need of new blood. And to young, alienated LA kids in LA, who couldn't really find much meaning, in, say, Toto's "Hold the Line," the punk rock scene provided relief. And to young, alienated, DORKY kids, in LA, The Minutemen provided validation, and identity. There was no way that I was going to be a safety-pin wearing punk dood. I didn't want to wear any uniform at all. And I would have felt stupid doing it. But when The Minutemen came on stage, three totally unimpressive looking "corndogs" who looked like the cleanup crew, or maybe the sound guys, and blew everyone else out of the water, with D Boon bouncing his gigantic body around the stage in pure, confident, unselfconscious glee---well, that's when Young Jeff Green knew he had found his band. (Or one of them anyway---but the one that mattered to me most in the early 80s, along with another band of dweebs, Talking Heads.)

One of the only music videos The Minutemen ever made--featuring Ronald Reagan!--for the song "This Aint No Picnic" off Double Nickels on the Dime.

My friends and I saw The Minutemen countless times---virtually every chance we could. We saw them at all the old LA places now, I would presume, long gone: The Whisky, The Starwood, The Music Machine, The Roxy (I think that one's still there), Madame Wongs. For me, every time, it would take me to that near- cathartic/religious place that happens (for many of us) with all the best music, music that reaches for the heart and head and strives to make something of that moment in time for everyone in the room.

I personally spoke to D. Boon once before he died. It was his birthday, which we found out during the show in Santa Monica. After the show, my friend Bob and I walked into a a crappy food joint across the street from the club, where we saw the band sitting. We walked up to them and just said, "Happy birthday, D Boon"---with that kind of mortified shyness you get around celebrities. And what I remember, in that moment after putting ourselves out there in that dorky way, was his big, goofy smile. He was actually happy we had come up and said that. "Hey, thanks man!" he said to us, and we walked away, not really having anything else to say. But that's what I remember: That their "we're just like you" attitude ("our band could be your life" is another line from "History Lesson Part II") was exactly the same offstage as on. They were amazed that they were doing what they loved and that people were digging it. They loved that we loved them. And they let their fans be part of it--never putting up that wall.

I heard about D Boon's car crash and death while listening to KROQ in my own car on December 22, 1985. I remember yelling "NO!" and banging my hands on the steering wheel and then pulling over to the side of the road and putting my head in my hands. He was so fucking young. The band was just hitting its stride. Mike Watt, his best friend in the world, has spent the subsequent 20+ years going through a very public grieving process that has only made fans like me feel closer to him, even if we don't really know him. I've bought every record he's made since--every record is dedicated to D Boon. As is this blog post.

This one's for you, D.

Now go blow that 5 dollars.
Edit: For more photos and history and all around good stuff, check out Mike Watt's Hoot Page, and the outstanding recent documentary on the band, now on DVD, We Jam Econo. Here's the trailer, and a small glimpse of what this band was about:

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Win ME in Little Big Planet!!

I'm not sure whether to be flattered or disturbed or both, but, well, there is this. Apparently, you may now "win" a photo of me upon beating a certain user-made level in the upcoming PS3 game Little Big Planet. Good guy and outstanding game journalist Stephen Totilo, of the MTV Multiplayer blog, alerted me to this random piece of oddness over email the other day, but I didn't fully believe him, or want to, until he made the official post linked above.

Here, by the way, is the photo. I think:

Now, really, whose life wouldn't be better by having one of these on your computer?

Seriously, one can only LOL at such a "prize," but one must also continue to be impressed, in general, by Little Big Planet, which is starting to look like it may very well be the kind of phenomenon that the early hype was claiming it might be. I still haven't seen it running yet myself, in person, so don't ask me no questions, yo. I've only seen the same videos that you have. All I know is that until now I have had no interest in getting a PS3, at all. But after spending some time watching videos of some of the levels that users are creating in the beta, you may now consider me officially intrigued. And that's not just cuz my face is in one of them.

Also: Just because I'm not posting about Kenley dodging yet another bullet doesn't mean I'm not annoyed about it. Also, a personal note to Jerrell: Try designing a shirt for yourself that actually covers your chest for once. Kthx.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Yes yes, I know.

The posting frequency has gone down alarmingly--from every day to every other day to two days skipped in a row just now. DO NOT PANIC. Do not rush for the borders. All will be fine.

Week Two at EA has found me suddenly with, ya know, Work To Do, which I guess had to happen eventually, plus my evenings have been filled with other important functions (like new episodes of "Heroes" and "House") that have distracted me from my important blogging duties. Now, seeing as though I have a mere 1/2 hour to get my arse, and the rest of me, into the shower, dressed, and on the motorcycle back down to EA, a few quick notes:

1) My new motorcycle is amazing. Huzzah! The switch from a 600cc to a 900 has proven to be better than I had hoped for, especially for the long 35 mile drive. The ability to go faster + a much more comfortable seat/stance = Happy Jeffrey. Gas mileage on this beast has proven to be pretty good! Roughly 45-50 MPG. Also: the maneuverability is *much* easier than I expected, making lanesplitting a snap, plus this thing has fantastic torque---meaning I can accelerate past distracted morons very easily. Also: it's louder. Louder = more awareness that I exist. So, yeah. I'm in love.

2) Speaking of non-sentient machines that I am in love with: I got my iPhone yesterday--another EA perk. Short review: OMG. One con so far that hopefully I'll get over: The keyboard is really not that easy to type on. My thumbs keep hitting the wrong "keys", requiring lots of correcting. The Treo was much easier this way. On the other hand, the Treo was a business device, while this is a total toy. And, ya know, toys > business devices ALWAYS.

3) Heroes: I may be back on board. I thought I was done after the season premiere, only because I couldn't remember at all what had happened in Season 2 as I was watching, and, worse, I didn't care. Everyone is just doing whatever now, and Kuresh is still alive. But I watched Monday's episode this week, and while continuing to not be great, I realized that it's just not dumb enough to sorta have me involved again. Just don't ask me to make sense of it all, and don't try to convince me that it does, cuz I won't believe you.

4) House: *Great* new season so far. The private detective, while kind of just a mini-House, is still a good foil for Our Hero, and his interactions with Cuddy this week were right on. How come I never noticed, even with House saying it every week, how attractive Cuddy is? Now I know.

5) Oh shit, I'm gonna be late for work. GREAT. See what you made me do? Okay, one last thing: Erickson's Deadhouse Gates is turning into a great read. Those who warned me that Gardens of the Moon, the first in the series, wasn't as well written as the subsequent books, I see what you mean now. I'm on board. On the other hand, any writer who can't come up with a better name for one of his villains than "Anomander Rake" still gets one shifty eye from me.

Over and out.....for now!