No particular focus for tonight’s entry, so you’ll just have to keep up.
I guess we can do a Red Dwarf-style JCC reunion now. For months on Facebook, I’ve been looking for my friend Mark, with whom I hung out a great deal around the end of high school and a few years afterward; I remember he singlehandedly helped me move all of the heavy furniture into my Garrison Avenue apartment in late ’94 or so. He was also part of the surreal, please-tell-me-you-guys-were-high-when-you-did-this video experiment called Jump Cut City, a.k.a. JCC (a new and improved mini-site for which is horrendously overdue; until then, this’ll have to make do). About the time that I made the horrendous mistake of letting myself get bumped up to a salaried position at Fox 46 (translation: every moment of your life was now owned by the station), I dropped out of contact with a lot of people. Mark’s one of the ones I regret losing touch with the most, and tonight I was lamenting the fact that I couldn’t find him online anywhere.
My wife asked, “Have you tried the phone book?” And maybe this is a testament to the pathetically enormous amount of time I spent on the internets, but I had to admit that no, I hadn’t thought of that. Turns out she also knew him at around the same time – she was working at a comic book store that he frequented. She was eager to call him right then and there because, she reasoned, surely his head would explode at the very thought that two of the strangest people he’d ever known, two people he’d never really associated with each other, had gotten married and produced offspring who would carry our very strange genes forward.
So out of the blue we called him, and made his Saturday night more surreal. It’s been at least 15 years since I talked to him, and he sounded exactly the same. There’s much lost time to make up for, and I’m sure there are a lot of laugh-until-whatever-you’re-drinking-is-ejected-nasally moments ahead too, because there’s definitely a get-together in the works. But man, do I feel stupid – look in the phone book? Surely we have the technology to move beyond the phone book.
Slipped (mini)disc. For years, I’ve stubbornly stuck by my minidisc player instead of joining Generation iPod. Partly because it appeals to my curmudgeonly retro-tech side (Atari is to iPod as Odyssey2 is to minidisc), and partly because…well…it still works, why replace it? My wife and I have, between us, two Hi-MD players (which hold a gob of stuff on a single disc – for example, about two dozen full-length Doctor Who audios) and one NetMD player (which holds approx. 5 hours of stuff on a single disc). The great thing about these is that you can build up as many discs full of stuff as you like and swap them out on a whim: no “uh-oh, stop the world, I’ve gotta go back to the PC to put stuff on here.” Of course, there’s a lot of “upload stuff to the machine” time up-front, but before a lengthy two-way solo road trip to, say, a neighboring state’s capitol, that whole swapping-discs ability is awfully handy.
The weak link in the minidisc chain, however, is the software required to load stuff from your PC onto your MD: a horrific C++ monstrosity called SonicStage which crashes at the drop of a hat. Worse yet, when it gets into a “crashing spree,” there’s a better than even chance that it’ll corrupt the table of contents file on the disc and force you to start from scratch. I tend to leave some stuff on my music MD for months; as you delete and add things, the oldest items slide to the top of the TOC (hint: the top entries on my music MD’s TOC have involved members of the Finn family for many months). Having to rebuild the whole damned disc gets a wee bit old. I’m not a huge iTunes fan, but so help me, SonicStage may yet be the defining factor that gets me to become a Pod Person. I should be sitting up at one in the morning, thinking “Yay, it’s finally working!” and blogging while transferring months worth of tracks over to a freshly-formatted disc. Ugh.
And speaking of long drives through Oklahoma… …I’d say we now have an official “stay tuned” on the subject of OVGE (the major Tulsa-based video gaming convention) for later this year. I have no idea when or where or how big or how small, but all I have to say is…count me in. I’m already being asked if I want to exhibit at shows like CCAG and Video Game Summit this summer, and I’m going to go out on a limb and say that there’s no way I can make it in person. I’ll try to line up some way for the CGE DVDs and the old and new PDF DVDs to be there if there’s already an exhibitor I know and trust there, but the problem there is that I’m actually running a little tight on inventory – I have to make sure, in sending stuff out for non-local shows, that I’m not hindering my ability to fill online orders, and PDF Level 2 and the Brown Box have suddenly been moving fairly well thanks to mentions on a number of sites I hadn’t even sent the press release to! Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised – and maybe I shouldn’t admit to being surprised – but I had no idea that the project registered on that many people’s radars. I’m still quietly wondering if there’s not another application just waiting to happen with the same basic format as the PDF DVDs; what it could possibly be, I don’t know. I’m open to suggestions. In the meantime, I’m also open to the next OVGE show – no way am I missing it a second year in a row. OEGE energized me to get back into the swing of things for the first time in a year, and now I’m ready for a show where I don’t have nearly 20 years on the average attendee. 😆
Good night, but not goodbye. I’d be remiss if I didn’t include at least a passing mention of the passing of Bea Arthur (see what I did there? I didn’t actually mean to do that there, but…eh, let’s move on). Long before the Golden Girls, she was Maude. I probably first saw her on the Mary Tyler Moore Show as a wee lad, but I don’t remember it; the first thing I saw her in that left a mark – more of a painful welt, really – was in the utterly bizarre cantina “sketch” of the much-maligned, aired-only-once Star Wars Holiday Special. I generally don’t crap all over that legendary show the way most folks do – in fact, I have a soft spot for it just for its sheer surreal-ness – but man, the portion of that special that featured Ms. Arthur was off-the-scale awkward. Imagine, if you will, a musical number set in the Star Wars cantina, lamenting how sad it is that the bar is closing, in a family-viewing-hour special based on a movie that’s incredibly popular with kids. Add to that the “life under the Gestapo” underpinning of the whole scene (the bar is closing because of an Empire-imposed curfew), and poor Bea had the dubious honor of singing and dancing her way through an “oh my God, did they really just do that?” segment of a show that was already strange enough. But she was a trouper about it – and for that, my hat’s off to her. A true talent who, for her trouble, really should’ve been made into an action figure, because whatever she was paid for appearing in that special, it wasn’t enough. Hey, that reminds me…
Torchwoody. Maybe an unfortunate pun there, but for the Doctor Who-and-related toy collectors out there, scificollector.co.uk popped a surprise announcement that they’re making a limited advanced run – 1,000 of each! – of the wave 2 Ianto and Captain John figures available now. They’re in different packaging than the “wide release” wave 2 figures will be, but the figures are actually the same. When released in June or July – painfully close to the San Diego Comic Con Doctor Who exclusives – the second wave of Torchwood figures will include Ianto, Captain John, Toshiko and the goofy business-suited Blowfish character (the one who stopped his sports car long enough to let an old lady cross the street in the first episode of season two; why this character was deemed more worthy of a figure than Owen, I can’t even begin to speculate).
OK, I warned you this blog post would be disjointed; I’m gonna bip it in the nuds now before it gets downright surreal.