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Serenity Contest
Friday, September 30, 2005 - 2:15 PM
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The movie's in theaters today, and the teeshirts have arrived, along with a very nice hand-written note from Milena, my Grace Hill "contact".  The teeshirts are brown (get it?) with the Serenity logo front and center, and I'm wearing mine now.  That leaves three to give away (sorry Em... you can borrow mine): two XLs and one L.  Milena tossed a Serenity Pin and a keyring dongle into the box as well - my key ring is a little bulkier now, but I'll be sending the button along to the first winner.

So go, watch, listen, then jot down the quote I'm thinking of and send it my way!

Update: The contest is now open to non-Americans.  One of my forum regulars made a sad face and I relented.  It'll just take a lot longer for the shirts to get to you guys, is all.

Update 2: I think I'm gonna give the first two shirts away that way, and then save the third for a wildcard drawing - every correct entry I get by the end of the weekend will go into a hat, and whichever one I draw out gets it.  Sorry for all the changeups - this is my first contest!

Shoutout: Slashtrain
Thursday, September 29, 2005 - 11:15 AM
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After my "Crazy Koreans" post a couple months ago, I felt morally obligated to post this.  It's one of the librarian-webcomics that PA linked to yesterday.  (Their servers are still running?  Preposterous!)  They're generally pretty clever.  I laughed a lot more than I expected to while reading a webcomic about librarians.

Serenity Contest
Wednesday, September 28, 2005 - 4:10 PM
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The contest is below.  Here's the foreplay.

I reported earlier that I refuse to sell out to things I don't like.  It's true, but what I didn't mention that if I do like something, I'll sell out with a vengeance.   Hell, I'll ask them if there's any way I can sell out.  Here's a cool example.

Serenity ruled.  It's got some things that will turn some people off - stylized dialogue, blatant symbolism and not an ounce of subtlety in the whole movie - but if you let yourself fall into the rhythm of the thing, and allow Joss about 1500 milliseconds after each groaner to redeem himself (and he always does, usually with well-planned hilarity), then you'll start seeing some things: phenomenal characters, deep and compelling themes, and - check it out - the best god damn space battles that our generation has seen.  There are a couple of misfires, and plenty to criticize if you don't really get the thing, but for my money it's the best movie I've seen this year.  (I got a deeper review coming later, but I ain't gonna shy away from spoilers in it, so I'm gonna wait to post it.)

The thing this movie doesn't have, is marketability.  The trailers suck.  There's no way to make a good trailer, it's just that kind of movie.  It's got no sellable, or even summarizeable, premise - my boss asked me what it was about, and I spent a good thirty seconds bumbling words until I came up with the right answer, which is, "Just go see it."  Given this, a certain happy coincidence in the movie gave me an idea.

I'm gonna run a little contest for you guys!  The folks at Grace Hill were kind enough to agree to send me a few Serenity T-shirts to give away, and here's what you do to get one.  Go see Serenity opening day (Friday), and e-mail me, verbatim, the exchange I'm thinking of.  The only hint I'm going to give is that it's between the hero and the bad guy.  You guys will know it when you hear it.

The first X-number of people that send me the quote, get a Serenity T-shirt.  That simple.  X is however many they send me, which they didn't specify - I'll let you know when I know.  (The contest is only open to residents of the continental U.S.  Sorry guys.) Here's some contest rules [linkdead] I threw together in mock-legalese.

So there you go - I sold out.  I sold out because this movie rules and because it's got themes that I think need to be heard, and because it's going to be a bitch to market.  Plus, obviously, I'm keeping one of the shirts for myself. ;)

Serenity Soon
Wednesday, September 28, 2005 - 12:45 PM
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Successfully saw it last night.  Will have my review up later today or tomorrow.  Mini-review: go see it.

Agh! and stuff
Wednesday, September 28, 2005 - 10:25 AM
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I don't know why the picture in this news story flips me out so much, but it sure does.  Maybe it's because images of that thing and Moby Dick going at it in the dark undersea haunted my childhood nightmares?  Or maybe just because it looks freaky.  Anyway, the story's cool, if you're into that stuff.

Story: Chapter XXVIII
Monday, September 26, 2005 - 5:00 PM
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Chapter 28 is up, and with it, Part Four is complete.  Have a read, then come back here.

So.  It's become a tradition that I take a breather between parts, to get things in order for the next one.  I'm going to be taking a little longer break this time, with the help of someone I think a few of you are familiar with.

There are a lot of similarities between this project, my story, and a webcomic - there's periodic content, all relating to the same thing, there's a rant section (here)... I talk about video games sometimes... and also, I have great fans.

One of the things that most webcomics do is have guest strips from time to time, and it's come time for me to dabble in that arena.  So, starting - I'm told - some time next week, I'm going to have a special guest author taking the story in a slightly different direction, explaining what's been going on with one of the story's other characters for a little while.  The guest author wishes to remain anonymous (and has so far neglected to come up with a pen name!), and so I won't be divulging his or her name.  But, rest assured, I know first-hand that he or she is a good writer, and I'm looking forward to what he or she comes up with.

And don't worry, doooon't worry, we'll be coming back to Horse in due time. ;)

Story: Chapter XXVII
Monday, September 26, 2005 - 1:00 PM
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This is a bit complicated.  If you haven't had your coffee yet, just skip the next paragraph.

As seems to happen round about the end of every Part, I've had to rearrange the chapters slightly.  Chapter 25, a.k.a. the "Talking Heads" chapter, has been split in two.  What I had posted of Chapter 26 is now the beginning of Chapter 27.  The final chapter of Part Four is now Chapter 28.  Got it?  Good.

The rest of Chapter 27 is now up!  I'm nearly finished with Chapter 28 as well, and as promised I will be posting that today, within a couple of hours.  Keep your eyes on this page for updates.

Sneak Peek
Sunday, September 25, 2005 - 10:45 PM
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I posted a quick sneak preview up on the forum of what I've been writing all weekend.  Grab a look, and whet yer appetite for mañana!

Serenity Now
Friday, September 23, 2005 - 6:30 PM
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So my friend IMs me the other day and tells me that since we both have a blog, we may be able to get "press passes" to a pre-screening of the upcoming movie Serenity, a movie which I'm fairly excited about.  I said, "Damnit, Tony, I'm not a blog!" out of sheer pride, being as I can't say the word with a straight face, but then I thought hmm, I could be, for a day, for a prescreening of Serenity...

So I signed up, and then my internet failed (like it does), so I didn't find out if I got in or whatever: until a mysterious e-mail arrived today ("Congratulations, Albatros!") from a mysterious Anne Leininger, whom I believe wears dark sunglasses at all times.  The creepy thing is, the e-mail used the same font that my site does.  Do you know me, Anne Leininger?  DO YOU?

They want me to post the company synopsis of the film on my site, and tell you guys about how I'm going to go see it.  So excuse me while I sell out for a moment:

Joss Whedon, the Oscar® - and Emmy - nominated writer/director responsible for the worldwide television phenomena of BUFFY THE VAMPIRE, ANGEL and FIREFLY, now applies his trademark compassion and wit to a small band of galactic outcasts 500 years in the future in his feature film directorial debut, Serenity. The film centers around Captain Malcolm Reynolds, a hardened veteran (on the losing side) of a galactic civil war, who now ekes out a living pulling off small crimes and transport-for-hire aboard his ship, Serenity. He leads a small, eclectic crew who are the closest thing he has left to family –squabbling, insubordinate and undyingly loyal.

Oof.  That kind of hurt inside.  But theoretically it means I get to go see Serenity next Tuesday, four days before it comes out.  They want me to talk about it here after I've seen it, and I aim to: I ain't gonna sell out all the way, and believe me I'll tell you if it sucks.  But the fact that they're letting us grassroot geeks, we unwashed masses, in to see the thing ahead of time, means that they have real confidence in it.  And why not: I mean... Joss Whedon, and all.  Any geek cred I've established would vaporize in an instant if I didn't have faith in that name, at least.

Apparently I'm also supposed to link to the site using the official graphics, which sucks because a) I'm all text, and b) the FTP site is flooded with geeks nationwide trying to do what I'm doing.  So, for now, no official graphics.  Sorry, Anne Leininger.  You guys should all click over to the official site anyway, so they know I posted.

In conclusion.  On Tuesday evening, I will have either an advanced review of Serenity for you, or an embarrassing-but-amusing story about how I was had.

Rita
Friday, September 23, 2005 - 2:15 PM
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Deja vu: New Orleans is flooding again.  I don't even live there and it feels like a punch in the gut.  The residents of the Ninth Ward, who have evacuated to safety and are watching their neighborhood get destroyed again on TV, say it's like watching a murder - the first time is horrible, but after that you kind of numb up to it.  I can only imagine. 

Finale news
Thursday, September 22, 2005 - 4:30 PM
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The last half of Chapter Twenty-six, Part Four's finale, will be posted some time during the day on Monday.  Get psyched, guys.  Spread the word.  Tell your grandma.  It's gonna blizzle your mizzle.

(That was a little dramatic, but it was fun.  and true. >.>)

I'll also have a pretty cool announcement about the next bit of story coming up on Monday.  It's been in the works for more than a month, and I'm mad excited about it, yo.

Fun with Translations
Wednesday, September 21, 2005 - 3:20 PM
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The Russian guy who started translating my story is finished with Part One.  The online-translators are still giving me some priceless responses to it:  For instance, this guy, who says,

хехе, я думал я один фанат мурлоков оказывается можно целую 'секту' фантиков открывать.

is apparently trying to tell us,

 hеhе, I thought I one fan murlocs. it appears it is possible to open whole 'sect' of candy wrappers.

So... seriously.  Does anyone speak Russian?  I'd love to say hi to these guys.

Edit: Oooh, my name in Russian is "альбатроса".

Nintendo = x
Wednesday, September 21, 2005 - 2:00 PM
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where x is an unknown quantity.  Another good way to put it: Nintendo = what the flippin flippy I DON'T KNOW WHAT THAT IS BUT I WANT ONE! flip flippity... which works out to the same thing.

If you haven't read Penny Arcade yet today, don't, yet: go watch this video first.  It's the preview for the controller to Nintendo's next game system, and the first indication we've actually gotten of what the Game Cube's successor is going to feel like.  My reaction?  You'll find it one paragraph up.

Okay, now go hit up P.A.  It'll make a lot more sense than before, a.k.a. more than none.  (Unnecessary Warning: the p.a. boys make heavy use of immature language, so don't click that if you think the mere presence of the F-bomb renders a joke unfunny.  Mom, I'm looking at you.)

If you're into academic pursuits, then here's an article which addresses some of this post's central questions.  Again, care of Penny Arcade.

Story: Chapter XXVI
Sunday, September 18, 2005 - 9:15 PM
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The first part of the climactic final chapter of Part Four is up!  And with it, I've crossed the 150 page mark.  Preposterous!

Sorry
Thursday, September 15, 2005 - 3:50 PM
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My posts are boring today.  Long and boring.  Read at your own risk.  (There are puppies at the bottom of the second one though)

Dreamhost Plug
Thursday, September 15, 2005 - 12:50 PM
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So a bunch of you guys noticed that my site (and my webhost's site) went down on Monday, during peak time, and it brought my traffic for the day down to like weekend levels.  Before Monday, I'd been really impressed with Dreamhost, so I was a little surprised.

The Dreamhost folks sent out an e-mail today with a full explanation, which it turns out involved the brief blackouts that hit southern California.  The explanation is suitably technical, for those of you that are interested in such things, and I found it quite acceptable: I like them again.  (Plus if you need a host and you go with them, tell them www.albatrosbits.com recommended you and I get some kind of fee reduction reward or something...)

Meanwhile...
Thursday, September 15, 2005 - 10:30 AM
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So while all you folks were running around patch 1.7 last night, havin a good old time, I was in class having a grueling discussion about policy goals and the responsibilities of a good analyst.  It hurt.  It got me in a fightin' mood though (Me and mortarman have a pretty good discourse going at that link; I'm not convinced I'm right, so if you got an opinion you should jump on the pigpile), and that put me in a civic awareness mood: so here's a story about the Bush administration's new U.N. policy. =]

I got some free time this evening, so I should be able to map out Chapter 26 and get something written for weekend posting.  As always, though, no promises.

And now for something completely different: a blast from the fairly recent past and a blatant attempt to cater to my female audience: Puppies!

Story: Chapter XXV
Sunday, September 11, 2005 - 3:10 PM
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The rest of Chapter Twenty-five is now up.

Chapter 25
Sunday, September 11, 2005 - 2:50 PM
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is the LONGEST CHAPTER EVER.  And it's also finished, I'm posting the rest of it as you read this, so stick around!  (edit: that statement is no longer valid.)

Kids these days
Friday, September 9, 2005 - 7:00 PM
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Anyone from my generation and older than, say twenty-one, should appreciate today's Ctrl-Alt-Del: boy does that bring me back.

Speaking of stuff, someone not much younger than me told me yesterday that the Red Hot Chili Peppers were before her time.  Screw you, someone not much younger than me!  I was born in 1982 and I never told anyone that Freddie Mercury was before my time....

Seriously though, they're my favorite band, and if they're before your time, then damnit I'm glad I'm old.  A full rant will follow eventually.  (someone not much younger than me, if you read this, I'm joking... mostly)

Story: Chapter XXV
Friday, September 9, 2005 - 12:30 AM
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So.  Classes started this week.  I've got a full-time job, and I'm taking two graduate classes per semester, and basically I go crazy every semester.    I did start The Murloc is Lonely towards the end of last semester, but I had a lot less responsibility at work then. (go me)  And, I mean, I've got a whole book to read for next Wednesday!

The moral of the story is that the story is gonna be coming out slower now.  I was getting a good chapter a week for a while there - now it's gonna slow down.  Sorry, guys, but that's life.

Now don't think that I'm walking away, and as proof to the contrary I got another couple pages of Chapter 25 up and ready.  This still isn't the end of the chapter, but I hope (*HOPE*) to get the rest written and polished over the weekend.  Then comes the exciting stuff... >=)

The coolest thing ever
Wednesday, September 7, 2005 - 11:30 PM
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Some Russian dude decided he liked my story enough to translate the thing, he's got the first five chapters up already!  My god... WHAT ARE THEY SAYING ABOUT ME?!  The web translators say that "надо выдать премию" means "It is necessary to give out the premium", but that doesn't make any sense...  I wanted to register and say hi, but they required you to sign up, and all the instructions were in ... Russian.

Story: Chapter XXV
Sunday, September 4, 2005 - 7:00 PM
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Hung out in the sun at the park with my friend Courtney today, she let me use her laptop to get the next couple pages of Chapter 25 polished and ready for posting.

Warning: Inside-joke alert


Sunday, September 4, 2005 - 2:00 AM
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I was wandering through Microsoft Word's Synonyms feature this evening while working on the next bit of the story, looking for a better word to describe a miscreant than "miscreant", and  I ran across "reprobate".  Go on, look it up.

To put it mildly: O_o

Story: Chapter XXV
Saturday, September 3, 2005 - 4:30 AM
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Oof!  I did it, it's done, it's up: the first half of Chapter 25.  And now, SLEEP.

Friday Night In
Friday, September 2, 2005 - 9:30 PM
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Per my promise to you guys, I'm stone cold sober on a Friday night and strapped to my chair.  I was trolling the WoW forums (a very different activity than being a Forum Troll) and ran across "Two Journals", an excellent short story by Daclat, another lvl 60 tauren druid (ftw!).  Have a look-see.

Katrina
Friday, September 2, 2005 - 5:00 PM
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I noticed that all of the webcomics have charity links up, and then I was like wait a minute, people read my site sometimes too!

If you live in the U.S. and you've got a functioning set of either eyes or ears, you know that Hurricane Katrina did a number on the south coast.  There are plenty of places that need your money (I gave to the Red Cross, despite some questionable practices by that good-but-not-perfect organization), and a short list is here.  Feel free to throw up others up in the forum.

Unicef
Salvation Army

Red Cross

AmeriCares
Direct Relief
The United Way

Let's make this number go up, folks!

(quick note on the story: I've got pretty much the whole chapter rough-drafted out.  Polish is going to take some time, though.  As promised, I'm dedicating pretty much the whole weekend to it.)

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