Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Aporia Agathon follow up

The other day I was talking about ARGs and my interest in possibly getting involved. I also shared my confusion about the entire thing. Through the power of the internet and a dash of good fortune, I received a very kind and informative email from one of the developers of Aporia Agathon.

I haven't asked Jason's permission to post the contents of his email. However, I surely hope that he intended this to reach as wide an audience as possible. Jason writes:

What you found was a trailer/teaser for an upcoming game from Aporia Cross-Media Entertainment. The game begins this summer, but the videos launched prior to the game will help the audience connect to some of the characters. It's set to have a pretty lengthy run-time due to the structure of pieces of the game.

I am one of the developers, found your blog during some down-time. Our efforts are to try to make it as accessible and enjoyable for people not as familiar with args as the current player base is. We feel this medium for story-telling and audience interaction is a step above most entertainment venues available today, because everyone matters to what is happening in the story and to the characters. I'm glad it has drawn your interest and I wish we could launch it today, but by summertime we'll have finished much of the various elements that will immerse you and anyone else playing into the storyline.

I wanted to help ease you into the genre as much as I can.

Jason Chrest
Aporia Cross-Media Entertainment

1/30/08 My Umbrella

Are you familiar with Technorati? It a site that constantly ranks blogs and news stories in the popularity. As of this morning, this blog was ranked right around the 3,100,000th most popular. Not exactly encouraging. Three hours later, I check again, and we've fallen to about 4,400,000. It's like being Mike Gravel. Only a little less crazy sounding. Here's where you come in. You can sign up and add this blog to your favorites. All you have to do is click here and add it. Who knows - maybe together we can crack the top 2 million blogs :) If you'll notice, so far, I'm my only fan.


I had planned on going nuts on another song. You know, like I occasionally do with Nickelback or "Closing Time". This time I had planned on talking about the "Umbrella Song". I normally don't listen to radio stations that would play that kind of music, yet I continually seem to hear that song everywhere. It's one of those songs with retardedly stupid lyrics, yet, at the same time, gets stuck in your head. It's been in my head for 24 hours now.

It's basically "Now that it's raining more than ever / Know that we still have each other / You can stand under my Umbrella." Then it goes on forever about the "Umbrella Ella ella eh eh eh".

Since my original dislike for the song, I've been forced to pull a complete 180. I've been informed that it's Cousin Ella's favorite song. As you can imagine, the repeated "ella ella ella" is pleasing to a 16 month old. In fact, she thinks the song is about her. So, for Cousin Ella, I present, "The Umbrella Song".


I did some math today. As many of you know, my current job is really far from my home. This fact has made me more gas conscious than usual. On average, I will drive 750 miles per week for work, requiring a fill up every 2 days. The math I should have done was - "Am I actually making enough money to justify the gas and tolls?" But I didn't. This math is far less critical.

Ever since I can remember, gas prices have been 10 cents apart per gallon based on the grade of unleaded. (You know, the (R+M)/2 method of octane). Way back when, you'd pay $.99 for regular unleaded, $1.09 for plus and $1.19 for premium. As gas prices have steadily increased over the past decade, that ten cent addition has remained pretty constant. Although, I am seeing it increase to 12 cents - Like $3.55, $3.67 and $3.79. So, the math is this - Back in the 99 cent per gallon days, you'd pay a 20% premium for the best grade gasoline. Today, given the 12 cent difference and the numbers above, you're paying less than a 7% premium for the best gasoline. Is that somehow a better deal? In my warped mind it almost seems like it is. Why isn't the increase proportional?


In news that only I might find interesting - Spirit Air is offering airfares based on Fibonnaci Numbers.


Obviously I'm in a mood to just babble. So, here's more. If you've ever driven from San Diego north towards LA on I-5, about 40 miles north of San Diego (and 60 miles from the Mexican border) you'll see the boobie shaped power plant from "The Naked Gun" off to your left. "Everywhere I go, something reminds me of her" - you know what I'm talking about. Maybe a mile or so before that power plant, there's an overpass for the northbound lanes only. You can see it here. Almost on a daily basis, "U.S. Officers" stop every car for some sort of quick check. They never say what for. Why in the world would they shut down a busy interstate on a daily basis like that?


Under my umbrella ella ella eh eh eh.

(I have a thing for women that can sing and play guitar)

Monday, January 28, 2008

1/28/08 Eli

I guess I should talk a bit about the Superbowl before it happens. First, let me say that just about every playoff team I've rooted for has subsequently lost. This goes back to the baseball playoffs in October. Due to my streak of misfortune, Poker Jason (a lifelong Giants fan) has jokingly offered to get me a Patriots jersey of my choice. The truth of the matter though, is that I don't want to see the Patriots win. I've rooted against them all season. The main reason? That I want history to view the 1985 Bears as the best team ever. A 19-0 season by the Patriots would make them arguably better. I'm a homer. I won't apologize for it.

At the same time, Poker Jason is very, very excited and has sent a music video in honor of Eli Manning. He also sent a great clip about (you'll probably never hear me say this again) Hitler picking the Cowboys in the game. But YouTube had to delete it due to some copyright violation. So, if you find it again, let me know. Good luck to his Giants. My prediction? Patriots 39 Giants 16.

The 1985 Chicago Bears. The Greatest football team ever assembled.

Yes. I'm a homer. Only I can talk about a team decades after their prime in the wake of a Superbowl featuring 2 unrelated teams.


P.S. - The most unfortunate headline of 2008. So far.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

1/24/08 Eight Percent of Kids Do It

Are you familiar with Alternate Reality Games? I'm not really either. But, they seem like, if I had the time, they'd be right up my alley. Without reading the Wikipedia entry, it's hard to explain in brief. But I'll try - They're like modern day scavenger hunts. It's like the movie Midnight Madness. You find clues that lead you new "places". Then you unravel new clues. But, in this world of computers, you can get emails, phone calls, faxes and other players can interact with you. Put it this way - It's like a modern day Da Vinci Code.

The latest Nine Inch Nails album, Year Zero, was its own ARG. I've been told that, after you play the CD, some cryptic numbers (letters?) appear on the CD. After the CD cooled, they disappeared. These, along with notes in the book would lead you to websites. And, from what I remember, one of the clues led to a crazy remote location at a specific time and date where NIN played a free show. Talk about a great way to add value to selling a CD, huh? The entire timeline of the campaign is here.

What's this ARG talk leading to? First, I'm intrigued. I'm so confused by these that I don't even know where to begin. Second, I found one. And, I thought that maybe, someone could help me/us understand how an ARG works from the beginning. I learned that Aporia Agathon Project is an ARG. (I have no idea what the means - it's just something I found while searching around). They've released the following YouTube video as a starting point (I believe). Ok... uh... what now? Has it begun yet? Or is this really just a promo for the game to come?


Now, you can own your own copy of Seth's notebook.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

1/22/08 Primer

One of my favorite movie rentals last year was the movie "Primer". (This information may be a repeat for some of you.) The movie was made in 2004 for $7000. So, in today's dollars, that's like $7020. The reason I liked the movie so much? As one reviewer best stated, "Anybody who claims they fully understand what's going on in Primer after seeing it just once is either a savant or a liar."

If you don't feel like renting it, you can watch all 77 minutes of it on Google Video. Also, this is sort of a spoiler, (but not really since, after 3 watchings, I don't completely understand what's going on), a visual timeline of events from the movie. I do, however, recommend using that timeline after you watch it.


This is bordering talking politics. But it's really not. It's just for fun.... It's ABC's Match-O-Matic. You answer a dozen or so hot topic questions and it gives you the top 3 candidates that match your responses. (Two of my top three are out of the race... Once again proving that I'm not in line with the pulse of anything mainstream).


Once again Eddie Murphy has been nominated for a whole bunch of Razzies. But, as my dad points out, he also has psychic abilities...


The Martin Luther King holiday started a discussion about holidays - specifically about days off of work and school. For those that went to school in the Chicago area, you'll remember Casimir Pulaski day. We got that day off every year. Without looking, I think he was a Polish guy who helped the American side in the Revolutionary War. Why, you might ask? As I understand, Chicago has the largest Polish population outside of Poland at about 185,000 native speakers. That being said, this video of Sufjan Stevens' "Casimir Pulaski Day" is dedicated to the cool kids in Farmville, Virginia that sparked talk of JMP Kazimierz Michał Wacław Wiktor Pułaski herbu Ślepowron.


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

1/17/08 Hang Tough

Last weekend I finally had a chance to watch some of "American Gladiators". Like most reviews I read, I agree that there's far too much talk and not enough action. When the show was first on the air, I was a kid and couldn't quite appreciate the physical trials the contestants were going through. As a kid, you just figure that adults are stronger and can't exactly grasp how hard everything really is. As an adult, I thought to myself... How would I do as a competitor today? The answer was easy. I'd earn zero points. Then I thought to myself - Now, what if I got to compete against the female gladiators? I stretched my imagination and guessed that, if I gave it my all, I'd earn 3 points during the entire day. I'd get one shot off during "The Assault", yielding one point. And I'd get past one gladiator in "The Gauntlet", earning 2 points. Then, I'd never finish "The Eliminator". Ever. You could give me the entire day. It's not happening. That moving walkway / Incline at the end looks impossible.

Now, if they brought "Human Cannonball" back, I'd take down Malibu in a second. More precisely, I'd take him down in Pi times the square root of the length of the rope divided by the downward acceleration of gravity. If I remember correctly, Malibu never once stayed up against any contestant in that event.


From CollegeHumor's 105%:

Loser: "I'm into Nickelback."

Mega-loser: "I was into Nickelback before they were cool."


Charlotte Dan sends an article on the source of anti-matter. It's created by black holes rip apart stars. Also, I hear that Charlotte is getting something like 2 inches of snow and the entire city is acting like it's the apocalypse. Good luck, Dan. I hope you all make it out safely.


I was thinking - Why did Yankee Doodle put a feather in his cap and call it macaroni? Do you associate that song with the Revolutionary War? I sure do. Nothing about the lyrics seem all that revolutionary.


I watched this video the other day and I keep thinking about it. It's like seeing where you've been, where you're at and what's in store for you. It's 100 people, from ages 1 to 100. All beating a drum for some reason.

1/16/08 Where Are They Now?

Let's make today interactive. What's your favorite commercial of all time? (Bonus if you find a link for it). Here are a few of mine...

This one's courtesy of The Nacho Expert.


Ok, this one isn't exactly my favorite. But I distinctly remember watching it in 1993 and thinking - Wow, life will be so cool then. You know what? It's not nearly as cool as I thought it would be.

Monday, January 14, 2008

1/14/08 Dispersion

Last time I posted, I said something about staying focused and keeping these things very, uh, focused. Well, since I've been not writing for almost a week, I take that back. Instead, this will be a weekly brain dump edition, hopefully making up for all the stuff I didn't write last week.


For those in my family that were part of the "how do double rainbows work" discussion, here's your answer. "Secondary rainbows are caused by a double reflection of sunlight inside the raindrops, and appear at an angle of 50°–53°. As a result of the second reflection, the colours of a secondary rainbow are inverted compared to the primary bow, with blue on the outside and red on the inside." And, by the way, because of this rainbow talk and subsequent research, I think I got one more physics question correct this past weekend.

Speaking of rainbows, here's a new Radiohead video off of "In Rainbows" - It's my initial favorite song off of the album.... "Jigsaw Falling Into Place". (Notice the funky camera effects. The pivot points on the guys are really creeping me out.)


Because I'm getting old, I knew nothing of Soulja Boy's "Crank That" until 2 weeks ago. For your sake, you should go by the rule of thumb that, if I mention a new artist or new music, it's no longer cool. To solidify my Larry King-ing of Soulja Boy, the lyrics make absolutely no sense. Still, everybody loves it. Just one more sign that I'm never on the pulse of anything worthwhile.


Finally, something I can relate to - Half of 26-Year-Old's Memories Nintendo-Related. I got to try the Wii for the first time last night. I bowled. An 86. Which means, I think I found the first video game EVER where I'm worse at the game than I am in real life. I mean, seriously, I couldn't play football in the NFL or fight in a martial arts tournament or be some sort of Navy SEAL in a Tom Clancy story. Isn't that the point of video games? To put you in some sort of fantasy world? What kind of masochistic fantasy is the Wii geared towards anyways? Actually, I'm just envious that I don't own my own Wii.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

1/8/08 The Wagon

I made a New Year's resolution for 2008. It may be my first resolution ever. I can't remember making another one. Given the 3 years of indigestion the 2004 election caused, I vowed not to talk about current politics in regards to the election until November. The resolution lasted 8 whole days. A former work colleague of mine took me out for coffee this afternoon - He insisted on talking about the primaries. Since he bought the coffee, I couldn't change the subject. That being said, after a brief discussion, I'm back on the wagon. The plan is to remain politically sober for the next 11 months. Also, consider this fair warning if you feel like bringing up the topic of politics. It ain't gonna happen.

Let me quickly explain why I'm doing this. To me, it's quite simple... I'm not going to change your mind. And you're not going to change mine. The only outcomes of talking politics during election season are: 1) We get heated, both wanting to talk and not listen for an outrageous period of time. 2) We basically agree in principle, but start focusing in on our differences. 3) You come to the conclusion that I'm an idiot. I'll think the same thing about you. Then we won't talk for 2 years.

Long story short, nothing good will come of it. So I'm out. I don't enjoy the talks, heated or otherwise. Don't misunderstand here - I'll vote. Even though I'm still convinced that voting in this country won't matter. Ever. Can't we just agree though that we're not changing each others' minds? Isn't that enough to stop the madness?

This will be a tough 11 months of sobriety. But, with the help of my higher power combined with my severe shortage of friends, I have faith that I'll see my way through this.


You may be thinking - Where's that funny-ish guy who used to post lots of links and YouTube videos? Where did he go? Is he stuck in 2007? Don't worry. He's still here. I'm just in experimental mode, trying to keep everything more focused and topic related each day.

With that, I'll leave you with the result of years of digging... I finally found it... The 1992 Presidential Debate with Admiral Stockdale. (The resolution was current politics. This debate is just too funny to not pass along).

Monday, January 07, 2008

1/7/08 Zeitgeist

The movie Zeitgeist came highly recommended to me recently. It's great. I wish there was some way that I could convince you to watch it in its entirety. It's 2 hours long. Which, knowing most of you, you won't watch it. You should though. How can I persuade you to take the time? Maybe you made some sort of New Year's resolution to watch a documentary? Or perhaps you've vowed to open yourself up to new experiences? What will it take for you to watch it? Will you watch it if I agree to watch a full length movie of your choice? I'd do that. I'll burn you a DVD if you prefer it on TV. How about that? What will it take? Do I have to go to a Nickelback concert?

Sunday, January 06, 2008

1/6/08 American Gladiators

The new American Gladiators premieres tonight. This is your pre-game warning to set your DVR to "Record Series".

Thursday, January 03, 2008

1/3/08 Happy New Year

Just wanted to send some New Years wishes from the middle of the ocean. 2008 is gonna rule!