March 2005 Archives

Future TV Club

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I am so ready for social TV. If you haven't read about it already, you can mosey on over to Plastic Bag for a good description and some prototype images of what social TV could look like.

For the impatient, here's a quick recap: you have an instant messaging app on your TV screen, letting you know which of your friends are watching television at the same time as you. You can send an instant invite to ask friends to watch TV with you, or you can respond to someone else's invite. Using a webcam mounted on your TV, you can send live images of yourself watching TV to your friends or engage in live tele-discussion.

I already have a preliminary social TV schedule mapped out. First thing, I'll message Neilalien so we can watch Alias together. I can't wait to see his huge bulbous head and insectoid eyes shining back at me from out of the TV screen.

Next, I'll issue an open invite to watch The L Word with me. I can guarantee there'll be a looooong discussion afterword. Then I want to get the list of comic bloggers who drink gin from Rose over at Peiratikos. I have no idea what we'll watch together, but I'm sure it will be a lot of fun.

Great Moments in Gaming

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Via Dr. Menlo, I traced my way back to a post at Grand Text Auto on when video games are going to have their Citizen Kane moment. (By happy circumstance, the Cute Little Red-Headed Girlfriend and I just watched Citizen Kane this past weekend on a two-disc special edition DVD.)

I tend to think games have already had their Citizen Kane moment, to judge by the diversity and quality of game offerings these days. I should also point out that just because an industry produces Citizen Kane doesn't mean that some 60 years later it won't be primarily producing Son of the Mask and Van Helsing.

It seems like there was a fruitful discussion about this, which tended down two tracks: first, that the Citizen Kane moment wasn't all that (I'm sure David Fiore would agree), and second, that artistic development in games is following a more fractured and fitful course than film, but the artistic output is nonetheless significant.

I'm not an expert in video game history, so I can't point to a single moment where a Kane-like threshold was reached. It's simply an impression. I was pushed towards this view by the novel Lucky Wander Boy by D.B. Weiss. The book jacket contains a blurb asserting that the novel does for games what The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay does for comics.

I was mightily skeptical when I first started reading Lucky Wander Boy's stripped down narrative that it could match the artistry of Chabon's work. But I was mislead by the differing prose styles. Whereas Chabon's work is thickly intertwined with the sights and sounds of New York, Lucky Wander Boy take it's stylistic cues primarily from Tokyo. Once I adjusted to its pared-down aesthetic, I found it to be just as remarkable a book as Kavalier & Clay.

Perhaps that is the direction in which the real difficulty lies. There is still a widespread belief that there is something disreputable about popular culture, whatever form it takes. Currently, there are more people who are willing to expect great things from film, as opposed to comics or games. That doesn't mean, however, that the great moments aren't there in comics or games, if one is open to appreciating them.

Casting my ballot

Franklin wants to hear about what people think about casting for the upcoming Wonder Woman movie. The Cute Little Red Haired Girlfriend directed me to a poll over at TV Guide showing that Lucy Lawless clobbers all competition. So now that we have that taken care of, let's start casting her Amazon sisters. Need any extras, Joss?

He is Super Right!


When I reported earlier on the Kaiju Big Battel phenomenon, I mentioned that I was impressed with the introduction of a new hero, named Superwrong! There's now two live videos featuring Superwrong! up at the Kaiju Big Battel site.

The background to these videos is that Superwrong! recently challenged the ultimate villain of the Kaiju universe, Dr. Cube, to a fight. In response to Superwrong!'s challenge, Dr. Cube responded that he would agree to fight only if Superwrong! successfully defeated a stuffed teddy bear, a chair or a kitchen sink in the ring.

In the second video, you can see the sad outcome of Superwrong's! fight with the teddy bear. As you can see in the first video, Superwrong! has some fantastic dance moves but he is really not much of a fighter. I guess some would say he is the Aquaman of the Kaiju world.

The Kaiju home page also has some details on the Kaiju Commissioner's contribution to the DC compilation, Bizarro World. The piece is called "Sentai Lantern," and it's a bizarro Green Lantern story. I haven't seen it myself, although I intend to pick up a copy of the book.



In case you were watching The L Word last night, let me point out that I've previously blogged about Lisa Yuskavage , the painter discussed in the scene between Tina and the Creepy Lawyer as they tried to estimate the value of the couple's household.

Over the weekend, I read what some of the DykeWriters were saying about The L Word and I was dismayed to realize how many people dislike the character Bette. I fear I have been blinded to Bette's faults by my identification with her. Even though my gender stylings are a bit more towards the Shane end of the spectrum, I think I identify more with Bette's artsy-fartsiness and her tendency to verbally bitch-slap those around her when she's angry. I wish I was her best friend.

My sympathy for Bette has only become more intense now that's she's wallowing in depression and has started acting out with liquor and women. If the lesbian phone tree is active, please pass along to Jennifer Beals that her character needs to call me immediately. Hideous break-up? I've been there, Bette, and I'm willing to listen.

I actually missed my chance of proximity to the cast of The L Word last week. There was a fan event here in L.A., and although I didn't go, I hard about it from someone who did it. Supposedly it was like Beatlemania when the cast came out: TINA!!! IVAN!!! SHANE!!! JENNIFER!!! Shane is our Paul.

Pro Gaming Star to Watch Out For

I haven't been following Major League Gaming, the new pro gaming tour, but I can't say I won't be a spectator in the future. Especially after I read in the latest Electronic Gaming Monthly that one of the top stars of the League is a 14-year-old girl who goes by the gaming handle "Xena." I guess that name just goes with manual dexterity.

My ebook round-up

I've mentioned before that I'm a fan of ebooks, but finding good hardware to read them on is not easy. That being the case, I thought I would pass along some of the devices I've chosen for different types of reading situations.

My first dedicated ebook reader was the Rocket eBook Pro, which is sadly no longer available. My Rocket eBook is still working, but its been abducted by the Cute Little Red-Haired Girlfriend, who uses it to read Xena fan fiction she's downloaded from the internet.

Since the Girlfriend uses the Rocket, I decided to get something just for me. For awhile I was using my Palm-powered Handspring Visor, but it eventually broke and I had to get something else. I looked at Palms, Sony Clies, the Tapwave, and Windows CE handhelds, but was turned off by various issues: crappy screens, buggy operating systems, and high prices.

I was inclined towards the Tapwave or the Palm C but wasn't able to make up my mind. They both had great screens with backlights, which I consider to be important features. Then the linux-powered Zaurus SL-6000L, known for its high-quality screen, was discontinued and went on sale at a close-out price. I wound up buying the Zaurus.

The Zaurus will take any file format I throw at it--another key feature in any ebook device--and with it's built in wireless connection I can read off the internet, too. Another good thing about my Zaurus is that it's very portable. That's not the case with the Rocket eBook Pro, which is somewhat heavy and has about the same dimensions as a quality paperback book.

Since I had such a nice portable device, I thought it would be good for the Cute Little Red-Haired Girlfriend to have a more portable, PDA-sized device as well. Because the Girlfriend wouldn't use the PDA functions, I wanted the model to be cheap. And although the Girlfriend digs the digital lifestyle, she is not so much into the forever-charging-mobile-devices lifestyle. So the model had to have a long battery life, too.

My research led me to the Sony Clie PEG-SJ20, with its sharp, backlit black-and-white screen. Long since discontinued, I picked one up on eBay for around $50, including postage. I recommend it if you're looking for a small-format reader. Currently, you can also buy the successor to the Rocket eBook, the discontinued RCA 1100, for a reasonable price from online publisher eBookwise. The follow-up model is lighter than the Rocket eBook Pro that I have, and it's probably the best option available now, unless you read Japanese.

Recent Comments

  • Joe G.: I wonder if one option for e-books is to create read more
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