Wednesday, November 30, 2005

We love the movies

A former roommate of mine was in college was a film minor. One of his film classes was about recent movies and he had this book about the most influential filmmakers of the 1970’s. The book only talked about four filmmakers, Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, and George Lucas. It is really hard to look at that list and argue with it. We would then try and discuss come up with our list for the 80’s and 90’s, it was a lot of fun. This conversation actually carried over to my wife and I from time. One thing we did alter was the number from four to five, four just seems like an odd number.

70’s
Francis Ford Coppola
Martin Scorsese
Steven Spielberg
George Lucas
Richard Donner – My wife would argue Woody Allen and that is a very valid argument. Woody didn’t make me believe a man could fly and Donner did, so he wins.

80’s
Steven Spielberg
John Hughes
Oliver Stone
Tim Burton
Robert Zemeckis
Honorable Mention to James Cameron and Tony Scott
Richard Donner, John McTiernan, or Martin Brest would get in there, they did influence a lot of movies. I just can’t put them in there because they influenced a lot of awful movies.

90’s
Steven Spielberg
James Cameron
Quentin Tarantino
Andy and Larry Wachowski
John Lassiter
Honorable Mention to David Fincher and Jonathan Demme

2000’s – I know we aren’t done yet but we’re halfway there.
Clint Eastwood
Peter Jackson
Sam Raimi
Chris Columbus
Ridley Scott
Might make my list with more work, Brad Bird, Christopher Nolan, or Bryan Singer

Yes my wife and I are dorks and watch too many movies.

Two Days till I leave for Pittsburgh
Four Days till I’m at the game
14 days till I’m in Vegas.
What a month!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

5 Days to Go

Sports losses don’t upset me. I guess some of that has to do with losing five AFC Championship games at home and of course the debacle that is the 1996 World Series. Am I happier when my team wins, of course I am. I just don’t get upset when they lose. This has been a really bad week for Team Trevor though. Florida won, Mets get Wagner and Delgado, and then the drumming by the hands of Peyton and the Colts. Tis life I guess.

The D really impressed me last night, not counting the 80 yard opening play disaster, at least compared to in the past. Since the days of Rod Woodson and Carnell Lake the Steelers haven’t had a very good pass defense. The young DBs are going to be good, right now they’re young so they’re going to make mistakes, more so with the aggressive style of play the Steelers use.

Maybe if they minimize the mistakes like don’t give up the bomb to Harrison, miss the field goal to tie it and give up momentum, throw the pick and penalty to give up a last second field goal in the first half, try the dumb onsides kick thing (love ya Cowher but that was dumb), or any of the dumb penalties they might have had a chance to, um nope Indy still wins. They’re just the best team in football.

None of that matters though, this week is a huge game. Win this weekend and we have the lead over Cincy, lose this week and it will be hard to make the playoffs. Good thing I’m going to be at Heinz Field on Sunday, oh I can’t wait.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving

From my family to yours,

Have a Happy Thanksgiving

A Russian, his dog, Disney, and me


I had a true Pavlovian moment this weekend. I’m riding the Disney tram from the shopping village to the exit near the hotel I’m staying at. I get on the tram and I’m just hit with a huge sense of happiness and anticipation. So I sit there and think why. I’m just going back to the hotel and to a snoring JDub and about four hours of sleep before having to navigate LA traffic and take a cross country flight and possibly be stuck in coach for that flight, ick. Why am I happy and anticipating being even happier. Now one could think that it is because I’m about 20 hours from seeing my family, I just saw a pretty good Harry Potter movie, or even that the hard work of a con was over. I did miss my family and was very happy to get back to see them, Harry Potter was really good, and it was great the con was over.

It wasn’t any of those things, it was almost a surreal moment. I sit there wondering what it was and I put my hands down on the seat and it all becomes clear, almost like the car commercial where the guy puts his hand on the car and is transported through all sorts of different imagery. I put my hand down on the sandpaper-like seats and it hits me. These are the same type trams Disney has used at both Disney World and Disneyland since as long as I’ve ever gone to the parks. I vividly remember some of the many countless times I went to Disney World with my mom, the few times with the whole family, the time with my aunt and my brother, the once or twice with friends, the school trips, all with such happiness and anticipation. This was the tram that brought you to the happiest place on earth and you were almost there. I also remember the family trip to bury my grandfather and stopping as a much needed release. That trip also marked Emily’s first trip to the Magic Kingdom, I still remember the smile on her face when she realized we were actually going to where Mickey Mouse and the Princesses lived.

We’ve since been able to take her to Disney World again and even to Disneyland. Both of those trips were this year and absolutely made her world. Many people don’t like Disney for whatever reason, not me, I love Disney. Either what it means to my daughter, the great times my wife remembers despite her tumultuous childhood, to my many great memories, to the ones the three of us are still going to make, it truly is a Magic Kingdom.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Mmm...pie

Last day of work before Thanksgiving and you know what that means? Yes that is correct, chocolate chip pie. It is an annual tradition of mine to bring one of these marvelous creations to work and share the love. Most people scoff at the notion of chocolate chip pie, then you have a piece and realize its greatness. I can even smell it baking now :)

Santa Claus

I love playing Santa, it is a blast. It is even better when your child thinks it is impossible for her to get something and you can get it. She wanted a few things from Disneyland and knows they can only be purchased from Disneyland. A nice business trip to Anaheim and now Santa has a few Disneyland exclusive presents. Times like this are why being a dad is great.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Back from California

Well JDub and I are back from Los Angeles and GenCon So Cal. It was a pretty good trip and I’m sure I will blog about it this week. Good to be home.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Catchers can't move runners over

So I'm packing and Major League is on. This is one of my absolute favorite baseball movies, I just love it. It's at the end of the movie, Willie Mays Hayes, courtesy of Wesley Snipes not Omar Epps, is on second. Jake Taylor is the next batter up. Now here is my problem, what is Jake Taylor, your out of shape, old, worn down catcher, doing hitting second. That just doesn't make any sense, just no sense at all. Obviously the movie is set up to allow Tom Berenger's Jake Taylor to be the hero (Charlie Sheen's Rick Vaughn also pitching in top half of the ninth inning) but come on, old washed up catchers with bad knees don't hit second.

Game Time

I leave for Los Angeles in about 12 hours or so. I'm really torn about travel for work. In one regard I really do love to travel. I love to see different parts of the country or world. Traveling for work is even better, everything is paid for by the company. I love doing the convention thing also, it is something I've paid my own money to do, I just like the geek thing. The convention thing also provides the chance to show off the the public, it is game time. I work all year planning events like these, now I get to go meet the public and see them enjoy something I've worked really hard to plan and create.

The downside to work travel is that I get to spend less time with my family. I really don't like to leave my family for long periods of time. I've worked away from home on three different jobs now, it just doesn't get any easier. They both understand it and we all are to the point where it is just a part of life. It is really nice that I travel just enough to earn travel rewards equal to a nice trip once a year or so. It isn't enough travel however to make me miss that much time, I only take about ten trips a year or so, not that much time away from home.

This trip is to GenCon So Cal, not really the best show of them all but it is decent show. GenCon runs a solid show, they aren't mismanaged or anything and it is in Anaheim, can't beat that.

This show is also just JDub and I in terms of company employees. We do have the big three (as they're called around the office) volunteers to make life that much easier on us. Traveling with JDub is lots of fun, we work really well together and have a good time at shows. There is a great story about the last time we were the only two traveling.

JDub, Triple G, and I were going out to dinner in Chicago, there was a highly recommended deep dish place and we were all excited about checking it out. JDub and I were on one end of the hallway with Triple G's room on the other. I walk down to get Triple G but JDub either forgot something in our room or was just running late. So I'm about 30 feet ahead of JDub and have already knocked on Triple G's door when JDub decides to do his brilliant maneuver. JDub decides to run down the hallway, for whatever reason all three of us are still wondering including JDub himself. He is taking huge steps, making all sorts of noise running down the hall. Triple G can even hear him in his room and hurries to see what the noise was. Well in mid-stride poor JDub loses his shoe. That of course causes JDub to lose his balance, fall, and start to roll. The cheap carpet in the hallway of the Double Tree mixed with the fact he was running actually causes JDub some injuries. Despite feeling bad for JDub's misfortune, Triple G and I can't stop laughing, it was just damn funny. Picture JDub rolling on the ground, stumbling to get up, and his shoe 10 feet behind him, I'm even laughing writing about it.

Gotta love conventions. If you can make it to GenCon SoCal I hope to see you there, maybe we can get a game in.

Monday, November 14, 2005

34-21


The score pretty much sums it up. Beating the Browns by one point is usually enough in my book but completely owning them is much better. The game wasn’t even as close as the score indicates. The Browns and the Ravens lost and the Steelers won all on the same day, doesn’t get much better than that.

Congratulations Hines Ward for becoming the All-Time Steelers receiver. Of course that just shows how little the Steelers have passed in their history. Way to go Hines.

This also means it is less than three weeks until my trip to Heinz Field, I can't wait!

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Sundays in fall, not much better

Observations from a laid back Sunday afternoon.

NFL Sunday Ticket is expensive but oh so worth it
Gus Frerotte is should not be a starter in the NFL
If Dominic Davis ran like a Denver running back, one cut and forward, he would probably have an 30 extra yards
Chris Chambers dropped a lot of catch-able footballs
This just in, Peyton is good
I should never change my picks on Sunday morning, those are usually my incorrect ones
Chris Chambers complains a lot about potential penalties, even more than he drops passes
CBS really likes Gary Hogeboom, if he wins the fix is on
Michael Irvin should not be anywhere near ESPN much less have them pay him to be on it
Minnesota will end up with too many wins to allow them to get Reggie Bush, sorry Karzender
Pace makes some good salsa
To be good in the NFL you need to win the games you’re supposed to win, sorry Eli
Why is Tedi Bruschi playing football again, much less this year
Killian’s tasted better when I was younger, it must have
Always a good day when the Ravens lose

Saturday, November 12, 2005

At least the food was good

It takes over five minutes to take my order, tis life, that happens.
It takes over ten minutes to bring my drinks the order is taken, again things sometimes happen.
Two of the three drink orders are wrong, not sure how that works when you’ve wrote them down and it was a coke, a tea, and a kids sprite, still mistakes happen.
The people sat behind us that were seated about ten minutes after us and outnumber us five to three get their order first, by about five minutes, maybe their pulled pork cooked quicker than ours.

Mix all that together, don’t expect much of a tip. At least the food was good.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Bring on the Puppy Dogs!


What an odd week. Whenever I’ve thought about football and I do work at a company with an NFL license so football conversations come up a lot. So whenever I’ve thought about football this week and the Steelers specifically I’ve just thought the injuries and the impact of the injuries. With Cheese Head’s team as an example, injuries can make losses pile up for even the best of teams. Currently the Steelers have plenty of injuries the most important of which being 18-1 (19-2) and the NFL’s top rated passer Ben Roethlisberger. Random other injuries to key players will either limit their play or keep them out all together on Sunday all together. None of that matters, this week shouldn’t have been worrying or focusing on the injuries, it should have been about the Cleveland Browns. The most dreaded team of them all is coming to Pittsburgh on Sunday night.

Since the Puppy Dogs reentered the league in 1999 with a 43-0 demolishing at the hands of the Steelers are 9-3 against them. The Steelers have swept them three times and split the season series three times. Even with Charlie Batch I’m sure the Steelers have enough to overcome the Browns.

Happy Veteran's Day

If you know a veteran say thanks, if you are a veteran thanks.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Mama don't let your kids grow up to be...game company employees?

Part one of my many part rant about not doing your hobby as a job. I won't touch on it often and it really is superficial. It is surprising how often things do come up that I really used to enjoy that I know view as a chore or even something I despise. I do love my job but sometimes doing something just pisses me off, something like...

Sorting Cards.

I used to like sorting cards, not hours on end mind you, but I liked sorting cards. It was fun to go through my collection and put them in whatever order they needed to be in. Now I sort cards, my cards, my jobs cards, cards for prizes, whatever, and it isn't fun, just not fun. I don't mind it per se, I just don't like it. I guess after sorting the entire run of promos for many, many different sets for more hours than I care to remember will do that to you.

Wednesday, November 9, 2005

Happy Release Day

Our first expansion, second product, was released today. It has been a great time working here. It has been a lot more work and challenges that I thought it would be. This company is actually a pretty large company and they’ve printed trading cards for over 10 years. I just assumed they were more prepared for getting into this industry and having a trading card game infrastructure than they did when I started in February. It just goes to show what happens when you assume. One thing that is always in front of me is that 95% of what I’m do is setting a standard or creating the programs for this company. How many times have you followed behind someone and wondered “why on earth did so and so do things this way”. It is constantly in the back of my mind, the only person I’m going to have to blame if this doesn’t work is me. Hopefully I’m doing it correctly, I believe that I am, that we are as an infant division in a large company. I’ve worked with some of the best people in this industry and I like to think I’ve learned from them, both the good and the bad. So hears to our second release!

Tuesday, November 8, 2005

I guess they deserve Hummers

If the vice detectives in Miami needed Ferraris then of course the CSI’s need Hummers.

Monday, November 7, 2005

Go Panthers!


I thought about not commenting on it but I realized I have to comment, I’m just required. I mean come on, how cool is Charlotte, what a great place to live and root for football. I’ve never heard of this happening in Atlanta and I was younger when I lived in Atlanta so I was definitely on the look out for something like this. I’m sure something like this happened in Athens, it was a college town after all and there is always a little experimenting going on. The Dawgs just started their return to ranks of good football teams when I lived there, so they didn’t get the national exposure needed for it to be a story. Norfolk is a military town so there is don’t ask, don’t tell not to mention they actually didn’t have a football team.

How lucky is it for us football fans here in Charlotte, not only are we one of the 31 lucky cities to have an NFL team, we actually have a winning team. The Carolina Panthers’ record now stands at 6-2, first in the NFC, two seasons ago this same team went to the Super Bowl and lost to that Tom Brady guy (f that guy). So here we are with this solid football team to root for, what else could you ask for? That’s right, cheerleaders getting arrested while having sex with each other in a bar. Two Carolina Panthers girl cheerleaders (this story isn’t fun if it is coed squad) were arrested in Tampa Bay after having sex in the bathroom. It is like a Budweiser or Miller Light commercial only it really happened. How great is that, it is every football fan’s dream.

The moral of the story, well one male football fans are pigs and two next time two cheerleaders want to have sex do it in the men’s room, not the women’s room. In the men’s room you wouldn’t get into a fight with someone wanting to use the stall.

Sunday, November 6, 2005

6-2 is better


I would have lived with 5-3 but 6-2 is definitely better. It was very ugly and Green Bay probably should have won but a win is a win. Phil Sims said the Pittsburgh D “bends but doesn’t break” and that was the truth in today’s game. It is tough for me to root for a USC grad but Troy Polamalu is something else.

Welcome back Duce and hurry back Ben.

Oh yeah, that Brett Favre guy is good, he shouldn’t have to go out like this.

Happy 27th

Happy 27th Birthday Pretty Bird.

Saturday, November 5, 2005

7+3 = 73


Being the great husband I am and knowing my lovely wife like I do I got her the recently released Complete Calvin and Hobbes for her birthday. This huge compilation of the greatest newspaper comic isn’t the story though. The story is getting to spend time reading it to my six year old. I loved Calvin and Hobbes during its run, I can’t believe it has been ten years since it left us. I read her a week’s worth of strips at a time, usually before bed, and she giggles, laughs, and really enjoys the stories of the adventurous Calvin and his trusty stuffed tiger Hobbes. Of course she doesn’t understand most of Watterson’s jokes, she just likes the images of a world through the eyes of a boy and his tiger. I love it because I get to spend time with her and relive the greatest funny of all time, week by week.

Yes Hobbes, 7+3 is 73, at least week by week for 15 minutes at a time before bedtime for my angel and I.

Friday, November 4, 2005

Only two types of people.

There are only two types of people in this world.

Those that like Candy Corn and those that don't.

What type of person are you?

Thursday, November 3, 2005

I guess 5-3 isn't that bad


Bah.

What a junky day. I hurt my back on Tuesday night, it tightens up last night and it forces me to miss a day of work. Due to good painkillers I sleep most of the day which makes me feel even worse, I am a lazy guy from time to time but I never want to be this unproductive. So I sleep all day and I wake up and find out the Big Ben and the Bus will miss Saturday’s game at the Packers. At least I don’t have to suffer through another Turnover Tommy game. Of course I’m sure Cheese Head doesn’t want me complaining about injuries since everyone not named Favre is hurt for the Packers. Here’s to Charlie only having to throw 10 or so passes and Fast Willie and Duce racking up 200+ yards.

Wednesday, November 2, 2005

Ads

I mainly turned on the ad portion to see how long Star Wars will be the featured ad. Probably longer if I keep writing Star Wars in my posts :)

The Circle Is Now Complete

Most people my age want to focus on the negative the last six years and three movies have provided us. Me, I want to focus on the happiness that Star Wars has provided me throughout my life, not just today but period. Sure Lucas himself is guilty of believing his own press, the last three movies weren’t very good, at least compared to the original three, and the entire phenomenon that is Star Wars has been over hyped, over merchandised, over analyzed…basically shoved down our throats since the LFL and 20th Century Fox marketing machine started the push with the re-release in 1997. None of that matters to me, if I was a Lost Boy in Neverland Star Wars would be my happy thought (other than my lovely wife and beautiful daughter). I’m certain that armed with Star Wars as my happy thought I could soar the skies with the best of them.

A friend of mine is an artist, a pretty good one at that, and he was at Celebration
III this year as a guest. I caught up with him at a show here in Charlotte in May, I hadn’t seen him for about six months or so, we were catching up on things, how is career was going, how my family was, etc. One of the things we talked about was his trip to Celebration and we were interrupted by a fan boy of his who then proceeded to bad mouth the Star Wars machine. Before said fan boy got very far he was very cut off by my friends manager/girlfriend who said she didn’t want to hear anything like that. She loves Star Wars and owes a lot of her life including what she does for a living to Star Wars. If he doesn’t like that, then too bad.

It was not up until that point that I thought about how much in my life I owed to Star Wars. It isn’t that certain things wouldn’t have worked out the same if there wasn’t a Star Wars, I would like to think they would have, but to reflect upon what in my life is Star Wars related revealed a lot. The most obvious one is my job. Most people in the gaming, comic, or any other geeky profession have Star Wars to blame in some degree to for their entry into that genre. I work in a very geeky, fan boy, related industry; I work at a toy company marketing trading card games. Most of you know that before that at worked for a company that actually made a Star Wars game. Without my interest (obsession) in SWCCG then I wouldn’t have been in position to say yes to Bojo those few years ago. What a fun ride that yes has turned out to be.

Even before that my two ‘career choices’ were indirectly related to Star Wars. I worked for seven years at the world’s largest toy store. I decided to do that job because the new Star Wars toys were out and my roommate and I thought it would be cool to be able to get those. That and it was near Christmas time and I could get overtime. I also worked at a movie theatre on and off over my earlier years. I’ve loved movies as long as I can remember and thought it would be great to be able to see them for free. I can’t point towards any definitive ‘this is because of Star Wars’ reasoning for liking movies but you don’t have to be a genius to connect the dots.

My love of movies brings me to the most important part of my life. I met my lovely wife at our mutual job, the above mentioned movie theatre. The last ten years of my life have been the happiest anyone could ask for and I owe it all to meeting my wife. I can’t imagine for a second not spending the rest of my life with her. To say I owe my life with her to Star Wars would probably be a little na├»ve on my part. I think we would have been together with or without my love for a galaxy far, far away. I just think that it helped me get to her a little quicker.

Who needs reflection, we live in the here and now. These movies aren’t very good, if you just remember the stuff before the prequels of course Star Wars is full of memories. One of my strongest childhood memories is being 8 or 9 and playing with two friends and our Star Wars action figures. We were sitting out my front porch, my parents used the air conditioner and his parents didn’t so some god awful reason and in south
Florida that is a big deal. We played with our Star Wars toys a lot, they were much cooler than GI Joy, as cool as Snake Eyes is he doesn’t have a lightsaber, many an afternoon was spent saving the galaxy from the Empire. Some reason it had been leaked by LFL about the Anakin vs. Obi Wan fight and somehow that made its way to three 8 year olds. So we’re playing with our toys and my friend sits up and goes “It is going to be cool when Obi Wan kicks Anakin’s butt and shoves him into the volcano” or something almost identical. Well on May 19th I finally got to see “Obi Wan kick Anakin’s butt”. The prequels were worth it right there.

There are other great prequel moments, from the
midnight madness sale at the world’s largest toy store to standing in line for eight hours to get tickets (and finding out I’m going to have a little girl). From the door opening with Duel of the Fates blaring and the menacing Darth Maul standing there to Yoda just blocking Dooku’s lightning with his bare hands. Of course there is two of my favorites, breaking our agreement with LFL and opening up the trailer, putting it on a projector that was empty for a few hours, and inviting the employees to see the first Episode One trailer and then making sure that at least one of the one sheet for Episode One ended up in my hands instead of my hording boss.

My newest Star Wars memory is yesterday. My wife had to work and it was just the child and I. It was Star Wars day so I knew I was going to watch EP3 sometime yesterday, it was just a matter of when. So my daughter, all of six, comes up to me “daddy let’s watch the new Star Wars movie”. So we put it on and she sits in my lap and tries to remain interested. Fun comments such as “are you sad that this is the last one”, “I like yoda”, “he isn’t bad yet daddy, he doesn’t have a red lightsaber”, and “I didn’t like that the Queen died daddy”. Of course my favorite, “don’t be sad this is the last one, we have them all and can watch them whenever we want”. Logic from a 6 year, makes everyone smile.

I wanted to post this yesterday and I didn’t think it would be this long. Either way here it is, my thoughts on the behemoth that is Star Wars.

Happy Star Wars Day

Tuesday, November 1, 2005

Why do today...what can be put off until tomorrow?

Well I guess it is time I joined the fun and started blogging, I guess peer pressure really does work. My wife has spent the last two years trying to convince me it was something I must do. Friends and ex-coworkers have all told me it is a 'great way to keep in touch'. All of that is great encouragement it is nice to know that friends and family can push you towards wasting time on the internet. I guess it will offer me a way to have my friends and family keep in touch with my family, to know what is going on, strong meaningful stuff like that.

That isn’t the reason I’m going to blog though, I’m going to blog just because I can see it as fun way to talk about life and the interesting stuff life throws at you everyday. Don’t expect something in terms of a regular update, like the title says “Why do today what you can put off until tomorrow”.