Friday, January 23, 2009

Monty Python. Free. Legal. Working out quite nicely, thank you.

File this one under "I" for "I'm Always The Last One to Find Out About These Things".

Monty Python has its own YouTube Channel, where they've uploaded high-quality clips of their best stuff (the one above is hereby dedicated to Calvin).

Their reasons are pretty straightforward: They want you to buy their stuff, and if it's going to pop up on YouTube anyway it might as well be them putting it there.

That said, it seems to be working:

And you know what? Despite the entertainment industry’s constant cries about how bad they’re doing, it works. As we wrote yesterday, Monty Python’s DVDs climbed to No. 2 on Amazon’s Movies & TV bestsellers list, with increased sales of 23,000 percent.

Hat tip to Cynical-C for the story.


Somebody stop Jose Canseco before he kills himself. [UPDATED]

Seriously, nothing good can come of his continued insistence on stepping into the ring.

After falling in the first round to local Philly sportscaster (and former Philadelphia Eagle) Vai Sikahema, Canseco should have read the writing on the wall and pursued other options besides boxing.

But no. Whether due to an irresistable payday, a lack of alternatives, or the prodding of personal demons, Canseco is lacing up the gloves again. This time his opponent is former child star/physical fitness fanatic/human powder keg Danny Bonaduce.

OK, aside from the fact that this "celebrity boxing" crap is a bad idea for the image of the sport in general, it's a doubly bad idea for Canseco to get in the ring with Bonaduce. Because in the world of celebrity boxing, Bonaduce is, if not its Mike Tyson, then at least its Larry Holmes. Bonaduce sports a 12-0 record in the ring. Canseco went down like a poleaxed tree in the first round of his only fight.

But it is true that even with losses come experience. What was Canseco's takeaway from the Sikahema fight, the lesson he learned that carries him to the next bout?

(from today's Philly Metro:)
Q: You were knocked out by Vai Sikahema your last time in the ring... anything to prove?

A: No, I took that lightly. I didn't work out, I didn't spar. I didn't even train for that one. But he caught me with a good one.

Yes, that will happen when you... don't... train. For a boxing match.

OK, thinking about this is making my head hurt. I'll leave Canseco to his ritual suicide.

UPDATE: I guess I have to say a few mea culpas, because Canseco managed to fight Bonaduce to a draw. Still, from the coverage it sounded like a pretty disappointing match (three one-minute rounds? Seriously?).

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Layoffs at Microsoft.

I have to wonder how many people saw this coming after installing Vista.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

His first day: A proper welcome

Pete Seeger and Bruce Springsteen, "This Land is Your Land"

Today's low point: Rick Warren doing his best to look like Jerry Falwell with a shitty goatee droning out platitudes, sounding very much like the outgoing administration in his attempts to inspire. About as effective, too.

Today's high point: Obama's - excuse me - President Barack Hussein Obama's inaugural address. It was the anti-invocation, like Johnny in "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" saying: "Well, you're pretty good, old son!/ But set yourself down in that there chair and let me show you how it's done!"

Fire on the mountain, indeed.

But now I just wanna sing along:

This land is your land, this land is my land
From California, to the New York Island
From the redwood forest, to the gulf stream waters
This land was made for you and me...

Monday, January 19, 2009

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Basic shaders


glowy eyes_001.png

...and enabled!

glowy eyes_002.png


Friday, January 16, 2009

The Boss vs. The Bot: The Rematch (and other Averlast stuff)

Karine graciously granted my request for a rematch at Averlast's monthly tournament last week (though she loves to box so much that I suspect she'd happily duke it out with a boxing kangaroo if we could just get one to register an SL account). I was also working the microphone that night as announcer, but Cal and I have worked out a system if I'm fighting on a given night. He announces the winner of the match prior to mine (that I had been calling up until that point) in order to give me time to duck backstage and change into my fight gear.

Funny note about the gear for that evening: The arena ring has opposing corners, one red and one blue, where the fighters stand between rounds. Karine's outfit for the night was all blue, and mine was all red, right down to the red robot skin I was wearing.

Cal made the introductions, and had me fighting out of the blue corner, and Karine out of the red. We razzed him about it.

Then the bell rang, putting all thoughts of color coordination to rest as we lit into each other.

The fight itself is a bit hard for me to sum up from a storytelling perspective. I fell into this kind of hyperfocused now that didn't take into account things like my scoring, the round number, or any of a number of things that normally flit unbidden through my mind during a fight ("how will I describe this in the blog?" is another one). I don't recall ever throwing myself so utterly into a fight before.

And when it all came down to the decision at the end, I won. It was my first win as a heavyweight.

I told Karine afterward that I was proud that she was my opponent for that win, and I meant it. I cherish her as a friend, respect her as my boss at Averlast, and know full well that she's a tough, tenacious competitor in the ring. A win over her is no small thing.

But I know better than to let it get to my head. My win only puts us even and she's already champing at the bit for another shot at me.

Um... help? Somebody? Anybody?

And speaking of interesting people who like to throw punches, at Averlast we've been having a big tournament for the Lightweight Championship. This week was the first round of matches, and so far we've seen some solid performances from the Lightweight Division.

If I had to pick the fight of the week, I'd have to say it was Wednesday's first matchup, which pitted Gregory "The Silverman" Siamendes against Robyn Caerndow. It was a real rock 'em, sock 'em affair that reflected well on both fighters. At the decision the audience was sitting on the edge of its proverbial collective chair. I have to confess I deliberately let them dangle a bit before finally announcing that Robyn had edged out Greg by a single point.

I wonder how they'd feel about a rematch after the tournament is over?

The final set of qualifiers is tonight at 5:30 PM SLT in the Averlast Arena. We've had packed houses all week for this, so if you want to catch the action you might want to get there a little early.

You can't go home again. Or won't, in this case.

A Great Moment in Bad Timing made itself manifest in my life last night. On an evening that was certain to drop into the single digits (7 degrees Fahrenheit), with the next day only guaranteed to crawl up to about 17, I got a thick stack of brochures in my mailbox from my childhood home state of Minnesota.

They want me to move back.

To a place where it is currently five below with a windchill factor of -21, and where the conditions that I am experiencing now are considered an early sign of Spring.

How to put this...?

Oh, hell no.

Thursday, January 15, 2009


Patience will be rewarded tonight as Smallville finally throws out some new episodes. The day may be coming soon where I'll be unable to make that statement.

And perhaps it should.

After all, as Clark Kent and company continue to move forward, the DC Universe is rapidly expanding around them. More and more faces familiar to comic fans are popping up as guest stars and even semi-regulars. It's getting to the point where it looks like Superman is in grave danger of being well behind the curve if he doesn't make his debut soon, rather than being the inspiration for a generation of capes as current continuity depicts him.

Plus, at this point, the whole thing with Clark not knowing how to fly just makes him look like a slacker. I mean, he's figured out everything else but that. He can't seem to conceive that now that he's living in the Big City, getting topside of those skyscrapers in a hurry might be a good thing to work on.

Tonight another piece falls into place with the arrival of the Legion of Super Heroes (quick aside: Given how the cast is already in danger of becoming overloaded, do the producers really want to open that particular can of worms?), along with one of their enemies, The Persuader (dare I hope that the rest of The Fatal Five are waiting in the wings?), all from the 31st Century.

Hopefully they'll be able to give a little perspective from future days that'll get Clark off of his super-duff.

Of course, once that finally happens, I'm fairly confident that that's it for Smallville. The show's premise, after all, is that it's the days before Clark Kent becomes Superman. Once Big Blue is in full view, you're not doing Smallville anymore. You're doing The Adventures of Superman.

But either way, it's high time for this transformation to begin once and for all. If not, we're going to just have a show where Clark enters his 40's in deep denial amidst a DC Universe without its central, defining figure.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Number Six is free.

Patrick McGoohan died today at the age of 80.

This sad piece of news hits just when my mind has turned to all things The Prisoner, having just discovered the Port Merion Sim, which is based on the resort town in northern Wales where the series was filmed.*

The show, about a secret agent held captive in a scenic but oppressive community known only as The Village, was McGoohan's creation. To this day it remains a cogent meditation on the conflict of the individual versus society, and the duties and limits of both. The Prisoner sported an enigmatic "deep" mythology, the likes of which would spring up again on later shows like Twin Peaks, The X-Files, and Lost. But unlike those later efforts, McGoohan and company were content to let the initial concept play out. Rather than throwing in after-the-fact additions that would have extended the show's life and likely rendered the mythology convoluted and stale, The Prisoner gave its run a definite ending and lasted a mere 17 episodes.

McGoohan was a man of prodigous talent, though often reduced to playing the heavy, especially in film. Moviegoers will recognize him as the warden in Escape from Alcatraz or King Edward Longshanks in Braveheart. Even the heroic (and never-named) Number Six is somewhat less than cuddly, as heroes go.

That said, it's a poorer world for him not being in it.

* - hat tip to Paula Wilcox for the geography lesson

UPDATE: AMC has the entire series available for viewing if you haven't had the pleasure.

UPDATE 2: Freaky coincidence: When I logged in to add the previous update "Folsom Prison Blues" came up on my playlist. After editing the post and viewing the blog to see how it turned out, the playlist picked "I'm In Jail" by Was Not Was.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Oh, I remember this...

... the feeling I get when my avatar is standing behind the curtain waiting for the introduction. Testing the gloves for the umpteenth time before deactivating them again for the long walk between the curtain and the ring. The rush of nervous excitement as my name is called and I greet the crowd in the stands.

It really had been too long since I'd last done this.

I'm serious when I say that. I'd made a deliberate choice to put aside my career in the virtual ring that I might better serve the company in my various capacities. I'm thinking now that that was a mistake. Sure, I got a lot done (though not as much as I'd have liked to), but I think I lost touch with the rhythm and flow of life in the gym.

This isn't to say that those other duties should be neglected. In fact, a lot of the sparring sessions I was in during the week leading up to the tournament had to be cut short due to some pressing matter or other. While this may have contributed to my running out of steam in the fifth round (we'll never be certain), it does lead me to think that a balance can be achieved.

Yeah, I thought I had Karine after round four, but she came back in round five and put me away on points.

I'll get you next time, Koba! And don't doubt that there'll be one!

(shakes fist)

Friday, January 2, 2009

Fighting tonight.

Tonight all of us remaining Averlast heavyweights get together for one big tournament to decide who gets to be the next heavyweight champion. Given my long layover from the ring, I'm oddly serene about it.

This may have something to do with the fact that I already had my performance-anxiety-related meltdown last week. It helps to get those things out of the way early, I guess.

Readers who've been with me for a while (all two of you, that I know of) know that I've written about what gets under my skin when I do poorly in a fight: Not the thought of losing, but of giving less than what I think I am capable of doing. At least, that's what I tell myself, but there is precedent for my thinking it.

So here's my prediction for who goes home with the belt tonight: Not me. But I aim to give it my best shot.