XYZZY--Why? Because You Like Me. You Really Like Me!   


The XYZZY Awards were yesterday. Let me tell you something....no one throws an on-line awards ceremony like IF fans and writers. That was drama, passion, jokes, and at least one "costume malfunction." It was great fun.



I don't see how the Oscars can possibly compare.



Interested parties can find transcripts from the event at BrassLantern.org. A word of caution, however: It was a two-hour event...it's long reading.



I am proud, delighted, and giddy to announce that Slouching Towards Bedlam took home four awards yesterday:




Many thanks to those who organized the event, nominated, voted (and mostly) played the games. And congratulations to all the very worthy nominees and winners.


Posted by Sarcasmo on Sunday, February 29, 2004
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I Like Monkeys. And I Like Robots.   


But I just can't seem to like Lucy. She gives me the willies. - [MF]

Posted by Sarcasmo on Friday, February 27, 2004
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Move Over Funk and Wagnalls   



Google is now
available in href="http://www.thespeciousreport.com/2004/04040105google.html"
target="_blank">print form
.


I don't know whether to laugh, cry, or get myself a set.



Posted by Sarcasmo on Friday, February 27, 2004
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There is a Ladder Here, and a Key. There is an Exit to the North. Sarcasmo is here.   


Well, Peccable and I were recently interviewed by 1Up.Com regarding our game Slouching Towards Bedlam. We were interviewed by email, and hadn't heard anything since we submitted our answers.



Pop Culture Boy just told me to open Slashdot, where I learned the interview was part of a nine-part article Magic Words: Interactive Fiction in the 21st Century. The article features interviews with several prominent personalities in the IF community: Emily Short, Stephen Granade, Andrew Plotkin and Adam Cadre. It's humbling to be included with such company.



Being interviewed by a game magazine alongside game writers you respect: Cool.



It's good to see an in-depth look at the current world of Interactive Fiction. It's a phenomenal art form, full of creative possibilities, and that allows an truly intimate exchange between the writer and the player. Too often these games are shadowed by their graphic-rich cousins; many of which can't be bothered with intricate details like plot, pacing, and story. Interactive Fiction is more than just another kind of game. It's another kind of literature.



Seeing IF get some mainstream attention: Cooler.



Our interview appears on page 8 (for those of you too impatient to read all the other interviews and observations). Also on page 8, you can see Peccable and I as cartoon characters, surrounded by cartoon renderings of elements from our game.



Being a imortalized in pen and ink: Coolest.


Posted by Sarcasmo on Thursday, February 26, 2004
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The More Astute Among You Will Notice   


...changes are afoot!

Posted by Sarcasmo on Thursday, February 26, 2004
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Yay, Books!   


Some time ago I posted about Adopt-A-Library, a website that provides everyone with a way to promote literacy through domestic and international book donations.


Not to go all Martha Stewart on y'all, but promoting reading (and libraries!) is a good thing.


Therefore it is with great pleasure that I am sharing with you their newest contest:

1st Annual Ben Franklin Xtreme Library Challenge!


The contest: Come up with the most creative, practical, and eco-friendly uses of all those boxes of old "National Geographics" in our parents' garages.



The purpose: To call attention to the recycling of used books and magazines, putting them into hands that want and need them instead of landfills.



The good people at the National Geographic Society have donated a prize - a copy of their newest and biggest photography book, "Through the Lens: National Geographic Greatest Photographs."


My favorite suggestion from the website?:


...secret [w]HOLES cut into old National Geographics to hide gold dubloons from marauding pirates?

.

In addition, I would suggest the following:


  1. Create the new National Geographic diet. Encourage all rabid fad dieters to eat the back issues of National Geographic.

  2. Shred them to create the most luxurious bedding for all the hamsters in the world (educational color photos included).

  3. Build a giant National Geographic magazine fort. Then live there. Forever.


You're a creative bunch. What can you come up with?



Posted by Sarcasmo on Wednesday, February 25, 2004
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Yes, but Will He Giggle Like a Schoolgirl?   



Blogcritics.org is
reporting that menu mastermind, sexy* science fiend, and
culinary cutie Alton
Brown
will be joining the cast of Iron Chef America, taking the
important role of play-by-play analyst (a position held by "Doc Hattori" in
the Japanese Iron Chef series).


I'm still trying to decide...does the chance to see Alton in action
outweigh the overwhelming irritation I feel when watching href="http://bobbyflay.com/" target="_blank">Bobby Flay?


Only time will tell.


*Lest you doubt his sexy status, I can assure
you that I know
several women who would rip each other's intelligent,
well-mannered throats out to get to him, should he ever become
available.


Too bad for them though, as AB's href="http://www.altonbrown.com/pages/rants.html" target="_blank">rant
of February 15th clearly shows he is meant for me. When asked what food he
would choose if could only have one food for the rest of his life, he said
"cheese."

Mmm...cheese.


Posted by Sarcasmo on Wednesday, February 25, 2004
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Fun with Picture Pages and Traumas   


No, not the infamous Bill Cosby Picture Pages. Although that was a childhood disappoint to me in and of itself. SarcasMom ordered Picture Pages for me twice. Twice! And they never showed up. So I had to sit and watch Bill and Mortimer Icabod and know in my heart I was getting all the answers right even though I couldn't record them for posterity. Stupid Billy Cosby.


In all fairness to Messrs. Cosby and Icabod, however, I'm pretty sure I was convinced my Picture Pages would also come with a sentient marker with whom I could have adventures, so it is likely I would have been disappointed anyway.


The Picture Pages I am talking about are just some image based diversions to get your through your Wednesday. The trauma
some of them invoked is all mine...although it can be yours for the asking. Enjoy!




Posted by Sarcasmo on Tuesday, February 24, 2004
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Domestic Tranquility My Ass   


In response to W.'s most recent href="http://www.reuters.com/locales/newsArticle.jsp?type=worldNews&locale=e
n_IN&storyID=4427384" target="_blank">anti-American act
, I was going to
write asking all my American readers to write, call, e-mail, semiphore,
morse code or otherwise contact their local, state and federal
representatives and stand up for their rights.



However, (as always) href="http://www.thegofish.com/archives/003506.php" target="_blank">Mac
beat me too it and (as always) she said it better than I ever could.



For those of you not who don't click through, I wanted to repeat the href="http://www.congress.org/congressorg/home/"
target="_blank">resource
Mac links to which allows you to enter you
zipcode and learn the names of your state representatives. It also provides
you with a way to contact them.



I understand that not all of you out there feel the way I do about the
issues. That's fine. Being able to say so is what makes this America. Not
saying so to the people who matter may be the least American thing one
could do.



Don't let them take your America away from you.


Posted by Sarcasmo on Tuesday, February 24, 2004
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She's No Johnny Appleseed, But She'll Do   


The Accordian
Guy
(via an idea on href="http://www.happyrobot.net/words/pony.asp?backid=4220&m=2&y=2004"
target="_blank">Pony
) has composed a folk song, in which href="http://accordionguy.blogware.com/blog/_archives/2004/2/24/22595.html"
target="_blank">he is the hero
. He then challenged his readers to do
the same.



Here is my humble entry. (To be sung to the tune of href="http://www.babycenter.com/general/baby/babysleep/6743.html"
target="_blank">Lavender's Blue (Dilly Dilly)
:



Sarcasmo's cool, dilly dilly,

Sarcasmo's keen

When the time comes, dilly dilly,

She shall be Queen


Who told you so, dilly dilly,

Who told you so?

A magic 8 ball, dilly dilly,

Said it will be so



Call up your friends, dilly, dilly

Tell them to beware

Some can be minions, dilly dilly,

Help Her to prepare


Some to spread the word, dilly dilly,

Some to fan the flames

Whilst Sarcasmo in Her wisdom, dilly dilly,

Plays video games


Sarcasmo's cool, dilly dilly,

Sarcasmo's keen

When the time is ripe, dilly, dilly

She shall be Queen



Who told you so, dilly dilly,

Who told you so?

A magic 8 ball, dilly dilly,

Said it will be so



What's your folk song? (Too shy to sing about yourself? No fear.
My ego is big enough for all of us: write one for me!)



Posted by Sarcasmo on Tuesday, February 24, 2004
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2nd Rate? Well, I Never!   


BBC News says I'm not
100% cynical. Clearly I'm not trying hard enough.

You're really only a second-rate cynic. Actually, you aren't as cynical
as much as world weary, and sometimes you have a point. One thing though -
laughing at children isn't nice.


How cynical are you? You can sit and brood about it, or take the
quiz and find out. - [PS]

Posted by Sarcasmo on Tuesday, February 24, 2004
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Observation While Riding Mass Transit   



If an adult individual wearing both suspenders and a belt
still exposes three-quarters of his buttocks upon standing, he is a most
determined exhibitionist.

Posted by Sarcasmo on Tuesday, February 24, 2004
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Monday Morning Has Come Again   


Posted by Sarcasmo on Sunday, February 22, 2004
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Is it Dorky..   


that I want one of these, with "SARCAMO" across the front?

Yeah, I thought so. But I want one anyway.

Posted by Sarcasmo on Sunday, February 22, 2004
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Get Your Biscuits Ready   


This eBay auction is brillant. The item up for bid...a cup of tea made in the home of an American or Candian bidder by a real-life subject of the British Empire! - [BH]

The catch..you need to fly them to your location.

I am desperately trying to come up with something decidedly American I can teach the Brits so I can make an auction of my own....

Posted by Sarcasmo on Friday, February 20, 2004
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Friday Fun-Tastical   





Posted by Sarcasmo on Thursday, February 19, 2004
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But When Is the East Coast Premiere   


If I were in LA, I wouldn't miss this:
Square Enix announced that it will present the first symphony concert featuring music from its Final Fantasy video game series in the United States on May 10 at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles.
.

I love the music in Final Fantasy. It's one of the best parts of playing the games.

Posted by Sarcasmo on Thursday, February 19, 2004
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Echoes   


Debbie noticed that there is now a new designation next to the comments field for each post, which I am currently calling, "Echoes." I am experimenting with the new Trackback feature now availble from Haloscan, who provides the technology that keeps your comments rolling in.



What exactly is a Trackback?, you ask. Good question.



Truth be told, I am not entirely sure.



The way I understand it, if another blogger should choose to link to a Sarcasmo's Corner post, they can let me (and you, dear readers) know by pinging the trackback URL for the particular entry. This can be a useful and interesting way to generate varied and thougthful discussion on a wide variety of topics.



How they do that, exactly, is generally where I get lost.



Apparently Moveable Type has this feature built-in for their users. Haloscan users can use the new Haloscan Trackback ping form. Everyone else might want to take a look at Trackback.org.



Can somewhere out there explain this better than me? Better yet...can they explain it to me?



Thanks.

Posted by Sarcasmo on Thursday, February 19, 2004
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*WHINE*   


My neck is sore from sleeping in an awkward position (so deep, in fact, Pop Culture Boy felt the need to poke at me until I said "Mruh" just to be sure I was still alive) all night.

I'm still tired.

I forgot my glasses.

This makes me grumpy.

Woe betide my co-workers.

Posted by Sarcasmo on Thursday, February 19, 2004
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Concert Re-Cap   


Pop Culture Boy and I had a great time at last night's Canuck cuties concert. To be fair, it was less than a concert and more of a variety show. There were video segments staring Red Vs. Blue, a blue grass version of One Week (think Soggy Bottom Boys), a game of "Beat the Crew" (in which one audience member was given the chance to challenge a crew member in BareNaked Ladies trivia. When faced with the question the young girl, so excited her friend had to hug her to stop her from shaking, turned to the microphone and said "Shit," very matter-of-factly to a stadium of screaming BNL fans), and a song-and-dance extravaganza during Shopping that could easily have put Esther Williams and the boy bands to shame.



The band them selves were full of fun and moxie; Steve (whose voice is much more impressive than I would have ever imagined) jumped around so much I was sure he had flubber in his shoes; Tyler was a wise-cracking drum machine; Jim played a bass solo (stand-up, thankyouverymuch) that rocked the house, and his bowing threatened to set the bass on fire; Kevin (from Philly, woo-hoo! UPDATE: Cheryl, wise cousin and BNL fan extraordinare has informed me that Kevin is not from Philly, and that when he does his guitar solo at the shows Ed always says "[Name of City]'s Own Kevin Hearn!" However, she also pointed me to this picture of the BNL guys wearing Flyers jerseys, so they are still a bit Philly to me.) proved himself a most accomplished musician playing keyboards, guitar, accordion, mandolin, and vo-coder (sadly, not simultaneously); and Ed sang his heart out, with his built-up arms and rocking hips I found myself thinking he'd be really good at...well, never mind all that.



I think my favorite aspect of the show was the fact that the band really seemed to enjoy one another. They laughed a lot, showed a sincere appreciation of their audience, and rocked out hardcore (they are better live musicians than you might imagine).


It's amazing to step away from a show that is so full of pop-culture references, lively banter and general frivolity only to find the lyrics and songs that stick with you are those that are more insightful and and melancholy (something at which BNL excels). Despite the audience sing-a-long of If I Had a Million Dollars that ended their first encore, I found myself walking home singing Call and Answer, and PCB and I discussed War on Drugs and Celebrity.



I liked BareNaked Ladies before this show. Now they can consider me a bona fide fan.

Posted by Sarcasmo on Thursday, February 19, 2004
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ROCK! (Well, more like Canadian Pop if you want to get technical about it)   


A co-workers beaming babe (too young to sell candy) is ill, which means Pop Culture Boy and I inherit their Superbox seats to tonight's BareNaked Ladies concert.

Remember folks. It's very, very wrong to celebrate the pain and suffering of a child.

But (nearly) free tickets to see BareNaked Ladies? Woo-hoo!

Posted by Sarcasmo on Wednesday, February 18, 2004
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From the "Things I Really Didn't Need to See" Department    


Note: Unless you are one of the two people I know who actually might need to look at such things for their job, THESE LINKS ARE NOT WORK SAFE!. Click with caution.


It's late night here at the corner, and I'm feeling a wee bit saucy. (Also, I've stumbled across a few concerning adult links lately, and I am a firm believer in sharing the pain).

For your ribald pleasure:



If you'd rather avoid this sort of thing and dabble in erotica, I recommend Scarlet Letters. It can be hit or miss...but oh, when it hits!

Enjoy. (But if you do, don't feel obliged to tell me about it.)

Note: THESE LINKS ARE NOT WORK SAFE!

Posted by Sarcasmo on Tuesday, February 17, 2004
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A Little Pick-You-Up (off the floor)   


Overslept? Dragging your feet all the way to the office? No time for coffee? How will you make it through the day?



Fear not, Citizen. A good morning dose of paranoia will wake you just like a cup of bad office java (and taste twice as bitter)!


Today Sarcasmo's Corner is happy to offer the following paranoia inducing items to get you through your otherwise conspiracy-free day:



Too much conspiracy theory for you? That's ok. It's too much for me too. I suppose we can get ourselves fitted with our cyborg names now, and sit blissfully by while They wiggle Their way into our brains like that earwig in Wrath of Khan. We can amuse ourselves with pop-culture hilarity while they keep fighting for world domination. [PCB] We can sit around our homes, feeling secretly superior because we know We are smarter than They are. After all, Knowledge is Power.


Isn't it about time we used it?


Read. Watch. Learn. Act. Vote.


And hope that that's enough.


This Post Brought to You by Insufficient Sleep, Fear of Our Overlords, and Reading Fahrenheit 451 Before Bed.

Posted by Sarcasmo on Tuesday, February 17, 2004
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I Am Dumb (But I Have Fun)   


Both CRIMSON ROOM and Grow are making the rounds, and though I find them both entrancing, I can't seem to get anywhere with them.

Well, that's not entirely true. Whereas I am still a prisoner of the Crimson Room (it seems I am one object short of escape), I keep "Leveling Up" in Grow, but I have no idea why.

Posted by Sarcasmo on Monday, February 16, 2004
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What Good is a Holiday if I Don't Get Off From Work   


If you, like me, are working this President's Day, here's a few work day distractions for you:

Posted by Sarcasmo on Sunday, February 15, 2004
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Ah, L'Amour   


Whether romantic, platonic, familial or otherwise, may your Valentine's Day be filled with love.

And chocolate.

(I'm a girl who has her priorities straight.)

Posted by Sarcasmo on Saturday, February 14, 2004
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Can you Feel the Love?   


I know...one shouldn't have to toot their own horn on Valentine's Day, but what the hey. Since Debbie was kind enough to post the news in the Guest Blog, I thought I might as well make an official announcement:

Slouching Towards Bedlam, my and Peccable's entry in the 2003 Interactive Fiction Competition, has been nominated in 8 of 10 categories for the XYZZY Awards. We were nominated for the following:

  1. Best game

  2. Best writing

  3. Best story

  4. Best setting

  5. Best NPCs (non-player characters

  6. Best individual NPC

  7. Best individual PC (player character)

  8. Best medium



So, if you've played the nominated games this year, please vote.

And many, many thanks to Peccable, who did a lion's share of the hard work.

Posted by Sarcasmo on Saturday, February 14, 2004
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Friday Fun List of Doom!   


With the Friday Fun list looming, and two holidays offering themselves for themes, Sarcasmo just couldn't decide. I scratched my little head for a while, then figured, "Heck, it's MY website. Why not have them all?" Therefore, dear readers, this Friday Fun list of distractions offers you the following themes: Classic (for non-celebrators), Cursed (for Friday the 13th enthusiasts), Valentine's Day (both against and for), and, of course Monkey, because I like monkeys.

Enjoy!

Traditional Friday Fun (Goofy!)



Cursed Friday Fun (13-y!)


Let's Cancel Valentines Friday Fun (Anti !)

  • Wallpaper: A sarcastic desktop decoration.


  • Quirkyalone Day: Celebrate Feb 14th, Quirkylone Day! Take the quiz to see if you're Quirkyalone. Here are my results:
    Your score was 87. Very quirkyalone:
    Relatives may give you quizzical looks, and so may friends, but you know in your heart of hearts that you are following your inner voice. Though you may not be romancing a single person, you are romancing the world.
    - [AQL] Not sure my romantic life is the reason relatives give me funny looks (although with my relationship..it's possible!), but there are days I do romance the world. (When oh when will it notice me?)


  • You'll Do: And other lovely Anti-Valentine Sentiments at Be My Anit-Valentine. Not bitter enough for you? Try the disturbed (yet inspired) cards from youyesyou.net. - [BdJ]


  • That Will NEVER Work: Revolutionary dating advice, courtesy of Craigslist.


  • Sad But Often True: The Geek Dating Flowchart.


  • Dates from Hell: Stories from the trenches.



  • Valentines Friday Fun (Squishy)


    Monkeys Friday Fun (Monkey!)

    Have a great weekend, no matter what you celebrate.




    Posted by Sarcasmo on Thursday, February 12, 2004
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    A Fine Romance   


    So, I've just gotten the sad news from YRPoppyBean: beautiful couple Barbie and Ken are
    splitsville after 43 years of high-profile romance.


    I suspect it has something to do with Barbie getting sick of Ken mooching off her all the time. While Barbie has spent the past 43 years working hard. She started as a teen model, but undaunted by tradition (or the number of hours in a day), she trained to become a McDonald's employee, a teacher, a stewardess, an OB/GYN and even an astronaut.



    Now, let's consider Ken's incarnations:


    For further consideration, all the real estate and assets the couple had was Barbie's: The Dream House, The Town House, the Corvette. Ken brought nothing to the picture but a (debateably) pretty face. I suspect Barbie was exhausted by being Ken's sole provider for some 40 odd-years and told him to get off his duff or get out.



    Or, conversely, perhaps Ken was flat broke again and ended the romance himself so he wouldn't have to buy a Valentine's Gift. Callus? Maybe. But I think he's the kind of plastic man to do it.



    After all, any girl who ever had a Barbie knows Ken doesn't have any balls.

    Posted by Sarcasmo on Thursday, February 12, 2004
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    My Kind of Scum (or Excuse Me While I Geek This Out)   


    If you are at all geeky, nerdy, or otherwise socially impaired, you have no doubt heard the exciting news: Lucas has finally bowed down to his fans and agreed to release the original Star Wars trilogy on DVD.


    Well, sort of. It's the original three movies. Not the original versions.


    And I won't buy them.


    In 1996, Pop Culture Boy and I (yes, we have been together that long) attended the geekfest that is Dragon*Con with some friends. It was a weekend resplendent with LAN gaming, celebrity stalking, and big piles of money spent in the dealers' room.


    I don't know why we don't do it more often.


    1996 was a particularly Star Wars heavy year guest-wise. We got autographs from David Prowse ("David Prowse IS Darth Vader") and Jeremy Bulloch, and attended Mark Hamill's talk about..well...being Mark Hamill..


    The event for Star Wars fans that year, however, was the appearance of Steve Sansweet, infamous Star Wars memorabilia collector, and, that year, the man who was going to show us a sneak preview of the Star Wars: Special Edition. The small conference room of the hotel was so packed with sweaty, eager twenty-somethings that one couldn't fall over if they tried.


    After some silly small talk, Sansweet bent to the crowds rabid will and started the screening. We watched with interest as the first X-wing scene filled the pull-down film screen, framed above by a feed Lucas (from Skywalker Ranch) and beneath with a feed of the programmers, as they argued over the timing of the X-wings opening. "I want them to go boom, boom, boom." said Lucas.


    "When George Lucas asks for boom, boom, boom, George Lucas gets boom, boom, boom," Sansweet told the audience, who was already wondering, "Is this it? Is this what the new technology will do for the film? Boom, boom, boom?"


    Next we were treated to the re-inserted Jabba the Hut scene as it was filmed (with an Declan Mulholland as Jabba the Hutt, dressed inexplicably as an extra from Henry the V), and then with the new CGI Jabba.


    Then..the unthinkable. Wretched Hive of Scum and Villainy. Cantina. Hoots and catcalls from the audience for Han Solo. Greedo shoots first.


    Greedo shoots first?!?


    Sansweet turned and smiled at the audience. His smile slowly slipped as he realized no one was smiling back. After the initial buzz of indignation a terrible silence had fallen over the room.


    We were waiting for the punchline. Sansweet (if memory serves correctly) actually took a step or two backward. There was real fear in his eye. And rightfully so. He thought he came to us a hero...but instead he incensed a room of rabid fans.


    And let us not forget, Fan is short for fantatic. We are not reasonable people. If we were, Fan would be short for Fantastic.


    Amazingly, the event ended without violence (thanks, I believe, to a hasty exit on Sansweet's part). I don't blame him of course. I'm not the type to shoot the messenger.


    Or, in this case, the bounty hunter.


    Instead, I will be shooting the artist himself. I know this topic has been hashed to pieces, so I won't rehash everyone else's arguments.


    I will, however, present my own.


    When Han shoots Greedo first, we understand that this character is not a good man. He is a rogue, a scoundrel, a pirate; a man of opportunity who values his own skin above all else.


    When Greedo shoots first, Han is defending himself. What else would anyone do? He is busted down from scoundrel to down-on-his-luck shipping pilot who occasionally smuggles illegal items. (The kind of character I favor when playing Space Trader). This is not a bad man, or a ruthless man. This is a man who is willing, sometimes, to bend the law.


    When the Scoundrel Solo comes back to help fight the Empire, he is a Man Redeemed. He has learned, through the camaraderie and love of the heroes of the story that there is a hero inside him as well, and that sometimes it is best to use our talents for the good of everyone rather than the good of our own skins.


    When Down On His Luck Solo returns to fight the Empire, who is really surprised? Where else wil he go? There is no fundamental change to his character. No redemption.


    My long-held belief was that Lucas wanted all his heroes to be heroic - leaving no gray area in the myth's morality. Speaking with PCB about this last night I wondered aloud if maybe Lucas had become more cynical about life in general. Maybe he has ceased to believe that people have the capacity for change. That heroes and villains are born and not made. That our Destiny is ordained, not decided by our actions (think about it...the addition of midichlorians to the myth in the newer films...making control of the Force a matter of birthright rather than training and faith, supports this theory).


    How depressing.


    Sorry Mr. Lucas. I like Pirate Solo the way he is. I know you depend on nostalgia-laden Gen X-ers to purchase every Star Wars emblazoned item you put forth. I and my wallet have been there for you many times.


    But not this time.


    If you want me to buy the DVDs, release the original versions*. Only then will I snap them up. All three.


    Boom, boom, boom


    *With the possible exception of leaving the new music at the end of Empire Strikes Back. I can live without the "yub nub."

    Posted by Sarcasmo on Thursday, February 12, 2004
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    "Look at this tangle of thorns."   


    I am currently re-reading Lolita, which is quite possibly my favorite book of all time.



    And it disturbs me.



    In strangely wonderful ways.



    I've been devouring it in bed at night, and on my daily bus commute. This is dangerous because it is so compelling a read that I find myself putting off sleep until even my glasses can't keep my eyes focused, and during the day I come dangerously close to missing my stop and ending up in another city entirely. Yesterday I even tried to navigate crowded city streets and dangerous intersections on foot with my nose still buried in the book. (Incidentally, this is not recommended for amateurs. Some pedestrians resent it when you step on their feet or jostle them.)



    I love Lolita because the writing is almost unbearably beautiful and lyrical; it is transcendent. If I were the type to write in and/or highlight passages of books (I'm not. It breaks my heart to mar them that way.), my paperback pages would be resplendent with margin notes and thick swatches of fluorescent yellow. It seems in each paragraph, each glorious passage, there is a phrase I want to remember. When Nabakov told us to "caress the divine details," it was clearly advice from his heart. Sometimes I find I am holding my breath while reading; I am that overwhelmed.



    And yet, while the beauty of the writing makes me want to weep openly, the story itself works a different insidious magic on me. My skin, immune to the music of words my brain is prone to instead takes the story to heart and starts to shiver. Faced with Humberts devices for touching Lolita's still-boyish frame, it tries to crawl from my flesh and bones and hide in the bus wheel wells; as his plans to ingratiate himself as her guardian become clear, it cowers for comfort beneath the bed.



    I detest so much of what he stands for, and yet....his humor, his charm, his wit, his words! Making time with Humbert is like spending time with a Harlequinn scoundrel; you know he's the worst kind of trouble, but you simply can not stay away.




    Ah, the delicious torture of reading.

    Posted by Sarcasmo on Tuesday, February 10, 2004
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    It's Just the Way That You Love Me   


    With two* red-letter days on the calendar this week, one's mind can't help but turn to expressions of Love and Appreciation. Or, as we say in American-ese...presents.



    For those of you trying to woo the Sarcasmo in your life, take heart. I am here to offer you some advice. Sure, I would love to come home and find my bathroom remodeled in swish piratey style - [BB]; I'd delight in a Pin Clock, especially if you could push your face in it - [TM]; and what girl wouldn't love her very own Space Station to while away the hours in?



    But these are but objects; mere tokens and trinkets that might sway the affections of a lesser woman, but not mine. If you want to win my heart, you'll have to rock my world. Literally. Here's a few things you can try:



    * I'm counting Friday too. Let's all celebrate our triskaidekaphobia together.
    ** The suffering of others will, of course, be viable entertainment when I am ruler of the universe, so long as I'm the one pulling the strings. After all, one should be allowed to have some fun when destroying their enemies.
    *** Except the reality shows on PBS. I love those. And I can pretend to watch them for their educational value.

    Posted by Sarcasmo on Tuesday, February 10, 2004
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    I'm Beginning to Think He Gets a Kickback Every Time He Says "War" and "Terror" or "Terrorists" in the Same Sentence   


    Here's a fun little game from McSweeney's:


    Quotes from Either President of the United States George W. Bush or Senator/Chancellor/Emperor Palpatine from the Star Wars Movies
    .


    This would be amusing if it weren't so depressing.


    For more deep insight and thoughtful discourse from the C-I-C, be sure to peruse the transcript from his recent appearance on Meet the Press. If you're too tired to make it through the whole thing, let me give you a rundown:

    • We are at war against terror.

    • Terror. Terror. Terror.

    • That's justification enough for everything.

    • Because I'm the President and I say so. That's why.



    This is why voting is SO IMPORTANT.



    Posted by Sarcasmo on Monday, February 09, 2004
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    The Darker Side of Monday   


    Not sure why the links I've harvested for today's distractions are all tinged with shadows. I think it must have something to do with having to go back to work.


    Posted by Sarcasmo on Monday, February 09, 2004
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    Wherever my constituents shall fall, there shall I have been born.   


    What with the missing WMDs and the Hutton Report Controversy capturing the public imagination, it's good to know that the British Parliment can settle down and work on something really important.

    - Via MIRABILIS.CA


    *Ironically, Everything I Do, I Do It For You was playing on the radio while I was writing this post.

    Posted by Sarcasmo on Friday, February 06, 2004
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    How Big of a Dork Am I?   


    My big Friday night plans? Staying in with friends to play Dark Tower.

    And I couldn't be more excited.

    Posted by Sarcasmo on Friday, February 06, 2004
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    Friday Fun   


    Posted by Sarcasmo on Friday, February 06, 2004
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    For Philly Dwellers   


    Philly Future.org is a great way to find what other Philadelphians are blogging about.

    Posted by Sarcasmo on Thursday, February 05, 2004
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    "I'll just die if I don't get this recipe. "   


    I realize this the argument here is about whether or not it's appropriate (or desirable) to give robots the appearance of humans; it's a sociological issue that is likely to be debated by anthropoligists, sociologists, designers and AI specialists for sometime.



    But that's not what caught my attention about this story. My concern is this:



    (1) ``Sculptor roboticist'' David Hanson was a robotics developer for Walt Disney Imagineering.



    (2) He has designed robots that look like his girlfriend.



    Anyone else getting Stepford shivers?



    UPDATE: See photos of him with his Stepford bride robot creation.

    Via BoingBoing

    Posted by Sarcasmo on Thursday, February 05, 2004
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    Go Lorax, Go!   


    Someone in Kent is surreptitiously planting trees in peoples gardens.

    Delightful!

    Posted by Sarcasmo on Wednesday, February 04, 2004
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    A Daunting Game   


    Ray Bradbury, one of my favorite authors, offers readers (all readers, not just his) a daunting challenge:
    List your 10 favorite novels, and, in great detail, outline their plots, then renew your acquaintance with these to find out how you have scarred, beautified, or mutilated those incredible books. What a pastime for all of us in the near future.


    I'll admit, I'm intrigued by this. But the books I love are more than just their stories, they are the language used to tell them. The rhythmic insights of Shakespeare; Nabokov's heart-wrenching turn of an English phrase that makes my own, native grasp of the language seem inferior; Bradbury's innocent wonder and dark imaginings; how could my just retelling these tales ever HOPE to come close to what makes them magical? Memorable?



    Isn't a great book more than its story?

    Posted by Sarcasmo on Wednesday, February 04, 2004
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    A Good Sign the Relationship is Over   


    When your partner makes Valentine's Day reservations for a candlelight dinner at White Castle.

    Via PR Bop

    Posted by Sarcasmo on Wednesday, February 04, 2004
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    Computers Can Do That?   


    The AI 20 Questions is back up and running.

    And still eerily accurate.

    Rediscovered via Tom McMahon

    Posted by Sarcasmo on Wednesday, February 04, 2004
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    Enough Already   


    Michael's trial. Janet's boob. Tito's...well, Titoness.



    There are a lot of celebrities out there America. If we're going to ignore real news (poison in Frist's office, Democratic primaries, Billy Jack running against Bush for the Republican nomination), can we at least have some variety? If I have to hear the pastie vs. piercing argument one more time (it's a PIERCING, dammit) I may cry.



    I am tired of hearing about the Jacksons. And talking about the Jacksons. And wondering about the Jacksons. And watching the VH1 behind the scenes retrospective on the Jacksons. Can't we pick on some other over-exploited music family for a while?



    I mean, what's Hanson up to these days? Where are THEIR breasts?



    As a public service, I offer the following alternative celebrity families to gossip about around the water cooler, in blogspace, and to be the focus of general media brouhaha:*:



    For those of you still not satisfied: Neverland Ranch, lewd acts with children, King of Pop, Janet's boobie, "costume malfunction", nipple shield, Tito, Tito, Tito.



    Can we move on now?



    Thank you.



    * List assistance by Pop Culture Boy. Who else would remember Nelson?

    Posted by Sarcasmo on Tuesday, February 03, 2004
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    Stupid People Trick   


    Don't you just hate it when your body has a mind of its own?

    Posted by Sarcasmo on Tuesday, February 03, 2004
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    Naughty Toys Need Love Too   


    Earlier this week, I stumbled upon Once Upon A Blog's* offering of Fornicating Plastic Animals. This made me laugh for two reasons.



    1. Fornicating plastic animals are inherently funny. Duh.

    2. It reminded me of Pop Culture Boy's and my wedding.



    Now, before you get your minds too entrenched in the gutter, let me assure you that I'm not referring to any bestiality that may or may not have occurred on our wedding night. (Sorry. You'll just have to continue to wonder.) I'm referring instead to what happens when you give a room full of giddy grown-ups alcohol and action figures.



    I made the centerpieces for our reception, which were fake wedding cakes with famous pop culture couples (real and imagined) as the toppers. Included were**:



    On the table of more stoic guests:

    And then we got these photos back from the more...shall we say festive?...tables:




    I'd like to add here that on tables at which children were seated, the toys were not touched at all.

    Figures.***


    *Man, I really dig that logo.


    **I apologize in advance for the poor picture quality. Most of these were taken with disposable cameras years ago. And I am a crappy photographer.


    *** For anyone who was wondering, Pop Culture Boy and I had Han and Leia on our cake (which was real, (and tasty!) not Styrofoam), and chose not to defile them during the wedding.

    Posted by Sarcasmo on Monday, February 02, 2004
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    Rock Legends Get Smaller Every Day   


    I recently read an essay in Chuck Klosterman's engaging collection, Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto about Paradise City, a Guns N' Roses tribute band.



    Being a dedicated fan of pre-Use Your Illusion G N' R, I was all at once moved and troubled by the story. It felt good to know that classic Guns N' Roses rock is still being played (especially since Axl Rose's infamous performance at the MTV VMAs proved to me that he's no longer up to the task), and that there was still an audience for it. Paradise City's lead singer's dedication to the band's mission (if not his fellow memebers) was nigh inspirational. And the band's willingness to completely adopt the G N' R party boy lifestyle--well--it's good to see a tribute band willing to go all the way. Good, and a little bit sad.



    I have mixed feelings about tribute bands. I can enjoy it as a kind of theater, but I would never think of seeing a tribute band as a andedote for not being able to see the real deal.



    I also wonder what its like for the musician, earning applause for pretending to be someone other than themselves. Of course, these shows are paying gigs, and being married to a muscian I totally respect that as a motivating factor. And one hopes that the band they are playing tribute too, and the music they play means something to them personally. At least I do. It's not much of a tribute of it's just a job.



    Which is why I don't know what to make of Li'l G n'R, the "first ever Guns N' Roses Kids Tribute Band" that played the legendary CBGBs in January. Too young to need the money, too young to remember the band, and much too young to dance with Mr. Brownstone.


    I can only imagine how their parents must beam from the audience when their children belt out "I used to love her, but I had to kill her."



    My biggest fear, though, is that they're doing a Kid Bop style Guns N' Roses, with sanitized lyrics appropriate to the performers age. I shudder to imagine the altered songs:



    • You Could be Mine: You could be mine / But you're way out of line / With your post cookie nappin' / and your Pokemon / You get nothing done/ I said you could be mine"


    • Used to Love Her: I loved my hamster / But my kitty killed her /I loved my hamster, Mm, yeah / But my kitty killed her / I had to put her, Oo, six feet under/ Maybe Mom will let me get a snake"


    • Welcome to the Jungle:Welcome to the jungle-gym / we come here to play / sometimes we pretend to be animals / On the jungle-gym where we play / If you got a hunger for milk and cookies / Teacher will bring them eventually / You can have any kind you want / But you better not take it from me."



    Why, for the love of Monkeys, why?



    UPDATE: The audition movie is pretty funny.


    Lil G'N' R found on Love and the Happy Cynic

    Posted by Sarcasmo on Monday, February 02, 2004
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    Monday Distractions   


    as promised...


    • What fun it will be to avenge you.": Dick and Jane, the adorable, milquetoast duo of children's literacy takes on Hamlet and Pride and Predjudice. - Go, Boynton, Go

    • Visions of a Wireless Future?: Remember those old Looney Tune cartoons that showed the House of Tomorrow, resplendent with nifty time-saving gadgets that seemed designed to terrorize stray dogs? Well, meet the modern version: Vodafone offers a sexy little flash featurette showcasing the future wonders of wireless. Most of it is quite cool...but the only thing I really want is the robotic cleaner. - Found on The Shifted Librarian.

    • Lord of the Rings, The Dating Manual: Who knew that nestled between the action, adventure, and tales of friendship, Tolkein was really giving hopeless book nerds everyone insightful dating advice. Some examples:
      • if you're the only girl among 100 guys you'll still fall for the only one who has a girlfriend;
      • Don't blame your friends just because they can see right through your creepy little partner;
      • When overused, terms of endearment such as "precious" lose their meaning;
      Had I realized these important themes when I read the books, my dating life may well have been better.- Via Mirabilis.Ca

    • Gorgeously Insincere: Oil paintings of sock puppets. Man, these things creep me out. - Found by the fine folks at Boingboing.

    • Misery Loves Company: The Rejection Collection: a place for writers and artists to share their rejection slips woes. Perhaps this will get me to submit my work more, since it will at least give me something constructive to do with the rejection slips. - From Making Light

    Posted by Sarcasmo on Monday, February 02, 2004
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    Monday   


    The Monday Morning Quiz is up for your quiz-taking pleasure. More linkey-goodness to come.

    What a disappointing run of Superbowl Commercials.

    Posted by Sarcasmo on Monday, February 02, 2004
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    MyDoom   


    I know it's petty, but I wish MyDoom would go ahead an do its thing already. I'm sick and tired of the flood of spam.

    Posted by Sarcasmo on Sunday, February 01, 2004
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