Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Another Christmas Gone...

Part of me is really pretty tired of Christmas. Just part of me. It's weary of the same routine every year.

Another part of me enjoys not taking the kid to school, getting to see family and whatnot.

Another part of me is irritated that I never get to watch all the Xmas movies I want to get to. I fully intended to watch Die Hard, The Ref, and Christmas Vacation--three of my favorites. I didn't watch a single one of those.

The other night I got on a Xmas horror kick, so I watched:

  • Silent Night, Deadly Night - Always fun. 
  • Home For the Holidays(1972) - featuring a very young Sally Fields and the mom from Arrested Development. It's not a great movie.
  • The Children(2008) - I think I had seen this before a long time ago, but then again perhaps this was just familiar as a remake. Not bad.
  • Red Xmas - This is not very good. It's on Netflix. 
  • Silent Night, Bloody Night - also called Death House. Features a young Mary Woronov. Pretty mediocre.
  • Bad Santa 2 - not horror, but I've been saving it on my Netflix cue for months so I could see it at Xmas. I liked the first one, and this is more of that, so it was fun.
Today, went over to my parents' house first to see my sisters who were in town from Wisconsin. Hung out for a while, then headed to the inlaws for dinner(cuz my Mom didn't make turkey for the first time in years.).

Fairly uneventful gifts, since the wife and I gave each other a trip to Cancun this year, and had agreed not to get each other anything. (we still did, but nothing big)

From the parents and inlaws and whatnot, got a lot of Amazon gift certificates(they're the BEST), a couple of Burger King certificates(also great), and a 7-11 certificate. Do these people know me, or what?


Continuing my work on the video for the banquet. Slow going, and it looks more and more like we're gonna come up short...which will lead me to try to wing it and come up with other ideas.

I've worked every day on it since Wednesday. Christmas Eve alone I worked from 2pm-5pm, went to the inlaws, then came back and worked on it from 9pm-3am).

Today(Christmas) was the shortest. I started work at about 11pm and will work on it until about 6am. It's not a full 7 hours, cuz I played an hour of video games, then the 15 minutes it takes to write this blog and check my emails.

Hard to believe another year's gone by and that list of screenplays I've started but not finished didn't shrink by a single one. I've put off writing for a while, with all the editing I've done, so when January rolls around I really want to get back into it.

Of course, Ttory 2 looms, so I'll be doing the finishing touches on that, and keeping an eye on the weather cuz the 2nd I get a decent weekend, we're going out to shoot the final segment.

More and more though, I'm thinking about releasing it in October. It's probably safest, though it delays me getting any of my money back until January of 2019. (That's when I get paid for October 2018 earnings)

Anyway. Back to work. Here's another pic.


Forgot, in one of my fantasy football leagues, I made it to the superbowl. (it's the 3rd time in 5 years)

I just checked, cuz I was expected to lose according to estimates, but lookit that! (I'm Nevin)

If you wanna know what a superbowl team looks like, here ya go:
(Note, Blake Bortles was a late pickup because Alex Smith was sucking for a while)

Also of note, I lost the first 3 weeks in a row, so I figured my team was gonna suck for the rest of the year. This is the 2nd time in those five years that I won the superbowl. Too bad it's a free league.

Bragging rights though!

Friday, December 22, 2017

The Bad Blogging Continues

December looks to be my worst month of blogging in a long time, and it's not gonna change.

Part of the blame falls on the new car I bought, that I then had to take back to have fixed FOUR times in three weeks since I bought it. Knock on wood, they may have found the issue. I've had the car now for a whole week without the light coming on.

The rest of the blame is now the freelance work I get smashed with at the last minute every year.

I went in and shot the videos they put online for the auction, then came home and edited for about 20 of 26 hours to get them up ASAP since the auction is January 6th. I won't complain--the paycheck in January is always nice.

Then I started the After Effects-intensive banquet video that needs to be done by the time I leave on January 4th for L.A. It's going to be pretty challenging to meet that deadline without giving up my holidays completely.

But again...money. I do have a car payment now...

My lawyer got me a check today for the accident that caused this whole car debacle in the first place. Not a bad little sum for the hassle and injury.

There's some weird family shit going on that I could probably talk about in vagaries(is that how that word is spelled?) but not sure if I should. Maybe soon.

Haven't been watching a ton of Christmas stuff yet. Saw a fun bad movie called Elves the other night at Zig's. We'd seen the new Wars movie, and I am not a fan. The weirdest part is how rabid the people who like it are about how MISTAKEN you are to not love it.

Maybe in a couple of weeks I'll detail the reasons I didn't like it. Besides it having a bad script, giving all of SW the middle finger, and treating Luke like a petulant little baby, as if the writer had only seen the first movie and neglected to see how Luke was becoming a badass in Jedi.

Anyway...am prolly gonna try to watch Die Hard and Vacation. Been a couple of years for the Ref, which is one of my favorites. Just not sure how much time I've got to watch stuff.

Here, watch this.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Car Probs Continue

Ever buy a car so you don't have to worry about car problems, but then the car has to go in for service 4 times in the 18 days since you bought it?

Yeah, me too!

At the instant I'm writing this, my car is BACK in the shop and I'm carless for the fourth time in 18 days since I bought it. I actually picked it up last night, and only got 5 miles away from the dealer before the check engine light came back on.

I am SUPER out of patience about this. I have a lot of stuff to do, and ain't got time for this...

So that's one of the reason I haven't posted much in blogland. I haven't done much on the movie either.

I did go out and shoot some drone footage in the snow, and during a sunset when I was down Ttory's way. Mostly just for fun.

Wanna see?

This is on my road from different angles:

It's neat that all that snow barely gets on the drone as a result of the propellers going so fast. Biggest issue was all the snow that gets on my Kindle Fire(which is what I use to see what the drone sees).

Would like to make it back to that asylum I visited a month or so back, but it looks like we're leaving for L.A. on January 4th, so I have even less time than I thought to do the video for the banquet...

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Missing Imaginary Places

I've been a gamer for almost my entire life. I'm sure many kids nowadays can say that, but I'm a 47 year old guy.

I remember when my parents brought home a little box that they plugged into the wooden-console television set, and suddenly we could play a game of pong on the TV screen.

After that was the amazing Atari 2600, with its Pitfall and Space Invaders and Breakout and more.

My school got the new Apple IIE, and I got my first taste of text adventure games. Oregon Trail. Adventure.

I followed that up with my favorite machine of all time--the Atari 800XL. Sure it had the regular games like Miner 2049er, Shamus, Donkey Kong, Lode Runner...but it was the Infocom adventure games that I loved the most. Zork I, II and III. Planetfall. Stationfall. Deadline. Cutthroats. I loved these games so much that I learned to program so that I could make them.

There was a time in college when I didn't game THAT much. I was still playing games on the Atari 800XL, but many of the text-based adventure gave way to games like Alternate Reality and The Bard's Tale(that we played on my buddy's Commodore 64). I played a fascinating game called M.U.L.E. for more hours than I'd like to admit, and got my roommates hooked on it too.

I got a Dreamcast some time after that. Soul Caliber. Crazy Taxi. Shenmue. And my first taste of a Resident Evil game in Codename Veronica. (the first game that ever actually scared me)

Years later came the Xbox, and my first taste of true addiction in the Elder Scrolls 3: Morrowind game. Also my first taste of online play as I met a group of people who I am still friends with online to this day, twenty years later. One of them even passed away a few years back, which left a very
strange feeling. Losing someone you feel is a friend, a person you've talked to for many nights and yet never met...there's really nothing quite like it.

That game that brought us all together was Return To Castle Wolfenstein: Tides of War. I still own it, and will never sell it. The memories of playing that game will stay with me forever, and whether you think that's cool or sad depends on whether you're a gamer or not. In particular I'll never forget one lonely New Year's Eve when a bunch of us got together online to play the game until the sun came up the next day.

After a while though came Battlefield 2: Modern Combat, one of the greatest shooters to ever grace a console. I was still playing it on the original Xbox when the Xbox 360 came out, and they released a new version that you had to buy for full price to play on the 360, even if you'd bought it on the Xbox. I gladly did, and continued playing the game, and it was even better on the 360.

More Battlefield games followed, and more Elder Scrolls(Oblivion sucked many, many hours from me, and then Skyrim was even more), and then Fallout 3.

Of course I got the Xbox One when it came out. Battlefield 4 was a disaster at launch, but after a few months was fixed and was the best Battlefield game since Bad Company 1. Fallout 4 was amazing. Dying Light and State of Decay were simply glorious, and set new standards for how great zombie games could be. The remastered Skyrim took more hours from me than the original play of it did.

The above isn't what I set out to talk about, but sometimes when the fingers get going, I digress.

The phenomenon I meant to talk about doesn't apply to the single-player, non-online games. The phenomenon is what happens when a game you've been playing online for literally years suddenly goes dark. The servers all go down. You cannot play the game anymore. You cannot visit the places you've been spending hours and hours in.

I'm not kidding. I can vividly remember the maps from Wolfenstein. The Barn. The Chateau. The Village.

The Battlefield 2 maps. Deadly Pass. Backstab. A Bridge Too Far.

It's strange that you can miss a place that doesn't actually exist, but you can. I've never heard any other gamers talk about it, but when I've mentioned it to some, they nod and get a far-away look in their eyes. They remember those games, whatever those games are for them.

I think if you've ever read a great book then maybe you can identify a little. It's similar to the feeling you get knowing you can never read that book again for the first time. Never have that feeling you got, discovering its secrets.

It's a bit of that, and just the nostalgia of a place you knew every nook and cranny of, whether it was real or not.