Friday, December 30, 2005
Thursday, December 29, 2005
Turns out no medication is working for my severely stuffed up schnozz, but standing and walking around gives me some relief.
Turns out Robitussin with Codeine is the only thing that knocks out my near-aneurysm-causing cough.
Also turns out Robitussin with Codeine is not real conducive to standing and walking around. And falling asleep without doing something for my nose seems to cause a lack of oxygen issue (seriously, I think I'm dumber now).
There's the dilemma.
So, I took the Robitussin with Codeine, salined out my nose as much as I could ("gentle cleansing", my ass!), shot myself full of Afrin (3-day limits are for quitters!), gunked my face up with menthol gel, gunked my chest up with menthol gel that is apparently not safe for faces (WTF, they're both "menthol gel"), took a look in the mirror, and realized with all the horn blowing, my schnozz hairs are reaching out to make nice to my dogs.
In the words of Fred Savage, "I'm a pretty, pretty girl."
Welcome back, Fred. Rip it up.
(And after all of that I got a frickin' 4 hours of sleep.)
Wednesday, December 28, 2005
Tuesday, December 27, 2005
No, I mean seriously sick.
Understand, I'm the guy who -- for the last 8 years -- has worked through all kinds of sickness. Severe allergies. Strep. Influenza. Being sick of work.
This time, the flu brought a new world of hurt to my Christmas. We're talking flat on my back, sweating out of pores I didn't know I had, hallucinating sick.
We're talking conversations with God sick.
I read the average guy's water weight ratio is 60-65% water (FYI, women average 50-60%, and infants are a whopping 70% -- probably for birth cushioning, or maybe butterfingery parents). That works out to be 45 quarts of water.
I think I woke up yesterday swimming in about 35 quarts of water. Pretty sure that's not healthy.
I recount this not just to get your sympathy, but to tie it into this acting blog.
While delirious, I found myself actually working on my acting process; specifically, my sense memory.
I'd lay there, trying to grab onto and remember what I felt, totally weak and vulnerable. Or when I hit that "I'm-so-sick-I'm-emotional" stage, I'd try to grab onto what that felt like.
I'm not sure if my working on my acting process while delirious is indicative of dedication to my craft, or just how sick I was.
Oh, and for those wondering, God is evidently an endless indigo sphere floating in space, and to talk to him, you have to tuck yourself against him, kind of like a fulcrum.
I'm sure there's a metaphor in there somewhere.
Saturday, December 24, 2005
Friday, December 23, 2005
What I do is called "The Biz", a misspelled concatenation of "business".
I've heard it said the Biz is 90% business, and 10% performance -- so I spend an appropriate amount of time on the business side my efforts.
Since it's the holidays, this was a busy week on this front, and I'm exhausted.
I sent out something like a hundred holiday cards to acting-related folks (actors, directors, coaches, and the like), and somewhere south of that to video-game related companies (I'm a huge video game fan, and want to do voice work in game titles).
My acting cards were "home-made", with a frosty window with 4 panes of glass. Within the four panes: Christmas stockings over a fireplace; a dreidel, a Kwanzaa feast, and my smiling visage.
The message? "There's always room for one more tradition."
For my potential gaming clients, I had a different card (still printed with my professional info). The card has a large Godzilla-esque creature with a miniature sleigh hanging out of his mouth, and the caption, "Santa makes a tragic turn near Tokyo". It helps that the dinosaur has an "Hmm, Venison!" thought bubble.
I like this latter card because it works if my client likes Christmas, and it works if they're opposed to the whole thing.
And I sent sweatshirts with me (six of me) on them to casting directors. I made the sweatshirts at home with artwork from a friend of mine. It meets the gift need, and it's far from serious.
Like I said, I'm exhausted. But at least it's all done.
Don't neglect the Bizness, or it'll neglect you ...
Thursday, December 22, 2005
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
I'm a fairly accomplished director at BigHugeCorp. This makes me some amalgamation of people manager, project manager, service manager, program manager ...
I'm responsible for the bottom line, and BigHugeCorp benefits. And while I'm really good at the logistics and administrivia part of my job, I'm constantly reminding myself -- and people around me -- that these are human beings working here. Not just "resources". Not just "bodies". Not just "headcount".
I mess up sometimes. I fall into the Dilbert-esque trap of tech or corporate or business jargon or process. I do my "resource planning" and "resource forecasting". ButI try to ask myself who I helped today (sometimes I'm lucky if it's just me).
So, where did all this come from?
I guy that used to work for me let me know he was informed by way of an Email that he had been welcomed to a new team and project -- which was news to him. He was semi-laughing about it, and said, "Despite your best efforts, despite what you tried to do -- which I appreciate -- it's back to the [BigHugeCorp] way of doing things."
Despite what I tried to do?
It's the holidays, and this time of year comes with a lot of stress for a lot of folks. A lot of folks are on vacation. A lot of folks don't take change well. A lot of folks at BigHugeCorp are all of the above, and if big changes are made this time of year while they're out of the office, they'll likely feel seriously thrown for a loop.
During one of the previous re-organizations or big shared project efforts or something, a peer of mine (maybe more than one) and I were butting heads about how to apply "resources" to a project. I was trying to keep multiple folks from having to do lengthy travel. I was trying to make the travel equitable across employees and management. I was trying to be sensitive to people's planned summer vacations with their kids. I was keeping the budget and deliverables and the deadlines in mind.
I was told I was "overthinking" it.
"Relocate them for 6 weeks, fly them back once or twice, and tell them to put off their vacation."
That's indicative of a lot of the reasoning in staffing a project.
"They're people, dammit," is indicative of the response I give when the pendulum has swung too far, I feel like I'm pushed too far, and/or BigHugeCorp is taking too many liberties with people's lives.
It's time for a correction. It's time for folks to re-read things like the The Cluetrain Manifesto (it's online now, and it's free). It's maybe time for development folks to get familiar with the precepts behind the Agile development methodology (which I'd argue is a philosophy of development, as opposed to a process). It's time to remember the whole is only worthwhile because of the worth of its parts.
Take out the cogs, and clock stops working.
Sunday, December 18, 2005
I was on the USPS.com website, trying to find out if I could use a liquor packing box as a shipping container, if it doesn't contain liquor (you can, but you have to mark out any references to beer, alcohol, or related pictures; and you can't wrap the box to do it).
And I stumbled across their "Frequently Asked Questions."
"Are warm-blooded animals mailable?"
The answer was pretty straightforward:
"Warm-blooded animals such as a cats, gerbils, hamsters, mice, dogs, etc are not mailable through the Post Office. Some exceptions exist, for further information contact your local Post Office."
What bothers me is most laws, rules, guidelines, and FAQs come into being come about because somebody tried something they shouldn't have.
Somebody tried this?
And look at the specificity of the response. Gerbils? What, was Richard Gere using Postal Mail? (Right, that's not fair.)
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
Granted, it did ice, and it was slippery, and it was best to be off the roads. And maybe a bunch of journalistic pseudo ("pseudo"="false") panic gets people thinking about staying off the road. So maybe some good stuff came out of bad (not "the ends justify the means"; The ends never justify poor means.
(I did have a hilarious voice message from an acting buddy of mine as he dropped his phone and slid off the road; he's fine.)
Anyway, "they" sanded my hill during the ice storm (relax, it's a small hill; I'm still one of you, you classist bastards).
To clarify, they didn't just sand my hill; they established a beachhead.
I have this theory that every state gets the same amount of sand and salt for winter -- independent of the state's climate. So Texas gets as much salt and sand as Idaho. And Texas came together like the republic it is, and rushed emergency sand and salt aid to Central Texans in need during our "KILLER ICE STORM 2005".
And they dumped it all on my hill.
When I go running, I start my loop by running up my hill. This was a problem with my newly installed beach.
I was slipping and sliding all the way up. I couldn't get traction, and I was seriously worried I'd sprain an ankle on the way up. Cars were passing me, grinding course sand to dust, clogging my lungs and making it feel like I was running through a quarry (done that in the past, too).
When I finished my run, I dug out my leaf blower and blew sand off of my driveway and away from the street in front of my house. Who knew I owned a leaf blower? (Truth be known, a leaf blower has a ton of alternative and entertaining uses.)
That's Austin for you -- hide form an ice storm one day; break out the leaf blower the next.
Friday, December 09, 2005
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
OK, not really breaking news, but the yellow journalists that have tailed off of hurricanes Katrina and Rita are now hyping an upcoming ice storm in Central Texas, because it's going to get to (*GASP*) 24-degrees, with wind, and "Rain/Sleet/Snow Possible".
I'm from Idaho, yo? I'm used to at least a couple of weeks of single-digit (or sub-zero with wind chill). This is one of one or two days a year of genuinely cold weather here. Winter is one of the things I enjoy about Austin -- I turned my heat on for the first time this season today (for all of 15 minutes).
Not that if we do have an ice storm I'll be doing any driving -- I grew up with it, but I don't want to be out on the roads with people who didn't.
And I hope folks do stay off the roads tonight and tomorrow if there is a storm; we don't need another 200-plus car pile up on an overpass in Houston, like a few years ago.
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
I've been in the Emergency Room for the past four hours, and wow, this
doctor is a good listener.
This is a big deal, because I learned a long time ago ER docs can be kind
of calloused to protect themselves -- if I'm not dying, I can wait, thank
you very much.
Not this guy, though. The way he was listening when I was talking, and even
when HE was talking -- very cool. It's not like there's a lot of privacy in
the ER, and I noticed he was doing this with everyone -- patients, nurses,
This is the kind of portrayal I want to do on camera, because it's the kind
of person I want to be off camera.
I get to leave now. No big whoop, I just a had some ongoing severe head and
noggin' pain that came to a head (ha) today, and my regular doc needed to
make sure everything was OK. We're good now, thanks.
As you were...
Monday, December 05, 2005
Saturday, December 03, 2005
The auditions were for two Day Player roles -- two different reporters -- and a good, learning kind of experience.
Lucky for me, an acting buddy reminded me "it's not 'just' a Day Player role" -- that is, it's an audition, it's a part, and it's in a feature film.
So, I continued with what's currently my acting process, which is probably midway through it's maturity.
This meant I spent a ton o' time memorizing the handful of lines (which, oddly, I still flubbed), and a lot more time building out my characters' wants, needs, history, and drives (from the sides; I believe all the info you really need comes from the script). I spent even more time reading the full (albeit outdated) script, researching Andy Warhol, Edie Sedgwick, events of the time period, and (specifically), events mentioned as parenthetical (non-dialog) references in the script.
I then went to the audition, stuck my research in my back pocket, and tried to get in the moment for the taped audition.
So, I mentioned above my acting process is probably only midway through it's maturity. This means I'm not always successful in shelving the research and staying "out of my head" during the audition.
My strength is I know this. And I'm being patient with myself as I'm refining my personal process. Plus, the taped audition was for my agent, so a got a few tries to get it right. Besides, the Casting Director(s) for the film pulled my headshot and requested a taped audition from me based on my look. Hopefully the tape of me in action just pushes me over the top in their minds'.
And if I land it, I get to schlepp to Shreveport for a day or two of filming. Yay.
Thursday, December 01, 2005
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
Way back when, I nailed a couple of auditions when I got myself into the mindset they were the same as interviews.
Seems like it's time to come full circle, and go after interviews with the same "make something happen" attitude I have for auditions.
I'm a firm believer in auditioning and interviewing constantly, even if I'm on the greener grass. It keeps me sharp, keeps me hungry, gives me perspective, and when I'm ready for a new challenge and want to make things happen somwhere else, I'm that much more ready to make the change.
I realize even though I made a decision to keep auditioning and acting up at the same pace, I haven't been really diligent, and sometime back fell into an "either-or" habit -- either auditioning, or interviewing.
Gonna be a busy few weeks ...
Saturday, November 26, 2005
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
Monday, November 21, 2005
I took a break from a professional hockey game (I was playing, of course) to wander a huge university campus, where extremely attractive people constantly stopped to talk to me.
I ran into Stan ("The Man") Lee, and invited him to come with me to a make-up session with my acting coach. The session was in an ancient theatre, and dozens of people were in the audience.
When I took the stage, a well-armed terrorist attacked. I fought and won, and rescued the entire audience (which included Stan Lee, two small girls, and an evidently important children's blanket).
And the terrorist turned out to be someone's mother (not mine).
Mr. Lee is an extremely influential person.
Sunday, November 20, 2005
And I'm not a snob.
I just don't like Miller or Budweiser. Nothing classist; the taste just doesn't do anything for me. I'm more of a Fat Tire and Guinness kinda guy.
And now, to please an in-law, I tried a Budweiser Select. And ... I didn't spew.
I must think on this ...
Friday, November 18, 2005
Thursday, November 17, 2005
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
Monday, November 14, 2005
I haven't auditioned for a student film for a while -- so what changed my mind?
I'd get to play Batman.
I'm a borderline comic book fanboy (and I've already auditioned to be the voice of Captain America), so this is a good opportunity to flex my comic book chops in an on-screen short. An action short. Hope the choreography doesn't suck.
The downside? The script's not really canon -- kind of an "Elseworlds"
UltraLite -- but still fun.
The other downside is I dunno if the guys love the material. They happen to
have a nice Batsuit, and they built the project around that.
I love the material, though. So maybe it evens out.
And I've got the voice. Check out my Character Voice Demo, and tell me if I'm wrong...
Friday, November 11, 2005
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
The Mix is generally a good chance for me to meet new folks, catch up with friends, and enjoy Opal Divine's massive draft selection (Smithwicks for me tonight, which is a good Irish red).
I felt both kind of rushed and low-key tonight, so I kept my networking effort somewhat small tonight.
I caught up with acting buddy and former classmate Richard Ricks (we've been sort of chasing each other for a couple of years), touched base with just getting into the game Deana Ricks, and met recent transplant (and Production hopeful) Marianne, 6-month set dresser Jennifer, Production Assistant and 2nd cam operator Cari, and finally got a chance to say hi to Gary Chason.
Unfortunately, the Mix is usually at the 6th street Opal Divine's, but tonight it was at the Penn Field location. Trying to get their for a 6 p.m. start in Austin rush hour traffic isn't something of which I'm in a hurry to make a habit, so we'll see how often I attend these things if the venue change holds.
I then headed north and hung out with rennaisance man Adam Langley. Dude's a prince of a guy.
Sunday, November 06, 2005
Saturday, November 05, 2005
I've added a new set of pages to my website -- calendars!
I couldn't find a decent calendar for acting events, video game releases, film & DVD releases, and the like. I was looking for something to which I could subscribe (I'm an active consumer of content, but a often a passive consumer of getting it).
Since I couldn't find anything like this, I cobbled something together (with the help of free service RSSCalendar).
So check it out -- you can look at "All Events"; just "Acting"; just "Film/DVD"; or just "Video Games".
As a caveat, I'm trying this out on a month-to-month basis, 'cause it's a lot of work. So, If you know of a publishable shared calendar that does the same thing, let me know.
You can also subscribe to the calendar, which is a pretty cool feature.
As a matter of fact, I've added a "Feeds" page to the website, to consolidate all of my syndication shenanigans:
And no, this isn't the new hotness at which I hinted at last month.
Fishing for whales is still coming up soon ...
Friday, November 04, 2005
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
I went out to try to find some midnight madness for the November 1 release of the Star Wars Episode III DVD, and the Star Wars Battlefront II PC and console video game.
I went by a Circuit City, an EB Games, and even made myself go by a Wal-Mart, before finding a party at a local Hastings. And by "party" I mean like 5 people, and only one in Star Wars-themed get up (the kid in the pict above).
he was dressed as "Anakin Skywalker" (Hayden Christensen) -- scar and all -- and probably would have had the best Star Wars costume. Even if there had actually been some competition.
I'm guessing the Force wasn't strong with this young one, since he was oblivious to my following him around to snap this picture.
I wanted to adopt the kid so he could make it through high school. He was making conversation with 3 of the other costumed attendees, and was asking things like, "So, are you a Dark Knight Returns concept Robin?"
Sad. But dedicated to his geekdom.
And I didn't even get me an Ewok ...
Monday, October 31, 2005
Now, I'm a fanboy of the franchise. But that's not going to stop me from driving by some of the these dress up parties and seeing if I can run over an Ewok ...
Sunday, October 30, 2005
Saturday, October 29, 2005
Sometimes, trying to do the right thing for someone who doesn't know I'm doing it for them leaves them with a half solution, so for them it looks like they're getting shafted, because I haven't told them I stood in the gap so things wouldn't suck more than they do.
Sometimes, even while trying to do the right thing, life keeps happening. The house foundation cracks. Pipes back up sewage into the bathtubs. The dog gets sick. I get sick. I can't get to life stuff because I'm tied up in this rightness.
Sometimes, when I'm trying to do the right thing, I can bust my ass, "do whatever it takes", "run the gauntlet", brutalize myself so people downstream don't get as brutalized as much as they could, work 70-90 hour weeks for months on end, try to get something good done because that's who I am; not because I expect anything out of it.
And in the midst of that, I can be black balled, slandered, disrespected, taken advantage of, and removed from my position. I might even be asked to go hide, even though that's not how I'm built.
Sometimes, when I try to the do the right thing ... all I end up with is having tried to do the right thing.
And that's enough.
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
Earlier this week, my real-world anecdote around race relations and language was more interesting/funny (though, arguably, "not funny 'ha ha'").
Today, it is -- unfortunately -- no less real-world, but it is far more disturbing.
I heard about "Prussian Blue" -- the 13-year-old twins Lamb and Lynx Gaede who are a pop duo with a different message -- White Supremacy.
<rant>These two girls have been nicknamed "The Olsen Twins of the White Nationalist Movement" (leave it to our responsible media to besmirch a squeaky clean (arguably insipid), unrelated duo in the name of a catchy journalistic handle.</rant>
The whole unsettling deal can be found on ABC News.
But what bothers be in addition is how I found out about this "News of the Weird" item.
For various reasons, I'm still on a graduate mailing list for the University of Texas, following some initial post-graduate work I did at UT.
And we've all made mistakes in doing a "Reply to All" to a listserve (at least I have), but I was disturbed by this nugget, broadcast to the world:
"It's so perfect that KKK David Duke has them as his warm-up act before one of his tirades. I think that the mother's statement of wanting to move her family to the Northwest is perfect. Aside from Seattle (and maybe Portland) that's where these fucked-up idiots are congregating for cultural warmth and companionship. They will interbreed themselves out of existence. I can't imagine anything more horrifying and boring and culturally deadening than living in an all-white trash trailer park. I hope the media absolutely ignore these little racist tarts."Though I'm no supporter of David Duke, or the KKK, or their beliefs, I can't begin to talk through how "off" this blast is -- classist, elitist, ageist, (I'd say) racist, and hypocritical (and would be laughably so, if it weren't so disappointing).
And this from one of the supposed bright, post-graduate, open-minded, and tolerant new Eductional Elite.
God help us.
Monday, October 24, 2005
I was at one of the biggest electronic superstore chains Sunday (returning a TV; if I'm going to pay that much for a box, I want it to be "awesome!"; not "pretty good").
Here's the scene:
A white women ("White Employee") is helping me in Customer Service. A black man ("Black Employee #1") is also helping, testing the TV I'm returning. Stay with me, because I wouldn't mention skin color if it wasn't germane to the story.
While I'm waiting (a looong time), another store employee -- also black ("Black Employee #2") -- walks over from the video section and yells, "Hey! Black Guy! I need to talk to you! Yo! Black Guy!".
Think about this. In today's hypersensitive social world, I found it interesting that this guy was acting this way -- face it, we live in a stupid pseudo-tolerant world, so the whole thing was surprising.
Anyway, Black Employee #1 says something like, "Hold on, I'm busy" (which makes me think he knows this guy).
Then White Employee, semi-joking (I'm thinking because she wants to play in the banter, but is a little uncomfortable with a customer involved) says, "I want you both to know that I'm offended by that."
To which Black Employee #2 says, "Why? You're not black."
And then -- I kid you not (and this is the "life is funny" part) -- the long trailer for Crash starts playing on the bank of TVs behind them.
You can't script an interstitial better than that. It's had me thinking all evening.
Saturday, October 22, 2005
Sunday, October 16, 2005
Thursday, October 13, 2005
(aka Video game VO gigs Adam's not getting.)
The current continuing trend in video game voice over is big-name Hollywood talent for video games.
While this has seen some good effect (Patrick Stewart in X-Men Legends and its sequel), it's also seen some bad, or at least critically under-rated (Michael Madsen in Driv3r; David Duchovny in XIII and Area 51, etc.).
And the expense! Retail prices for video games are supposed to go up ($60, up from $50), because development prices for games are supposed to go up in the next generation ($20M plus, up from $5-12M). But from at least one next-gen development insider, development budgets are "only" jumping to $12-15M.
As a gamer, I'm looking for immersion. I don't want to be yanked out of my willing suspension of disbelief by sucky VO work (it happens a lot in games). But I'm not buying a game for big-name talent.
Which makes me wonder: Are we as gamers paying for big-name talent that may not be solid voice talent?
As an Example, Activision just announced Thomas Jane will be doing the lead for their upcoming Gun free-roaming actioner for current- and next-gen platforms.
In this month's Game Informer Magazine, Jane talks about how hard the voice acting was, because he didn't have physical actors to react off of, and for the most part, didn't even have rendered sequences for context (ADR-esque style). He said for one sequence, he scheduled Lance Henrikson (who's also doing Gun), so they could do their scenes together.
I'm a professional voice actor. What I do is create a believable performance, in a booth, with nothing. I nail an audition or gig by being believable in a vacuum; I lose gigs if I'm not. Good for Jane being able to schedule co-stars for sessions, but he's big enough to be able to do that. I'm not. So I need to keep honing my traditional craft.
I'm passionate about gaming, and video games (and cartoons) are why I got in to acting. I consider myself lucky to particpate in games and cartoons (and to get compensated fairly, of course). And I save video game companies a ton of money, because I'm not Hollywood.
Anyway, given this, some video game voice over updates of note below -- I've been interacting with a number of these companies, so I'm a bit bummed that there announcements are my semi-formal "we thank you for considering us ..." ;-)
Of course, I'm persistent.
Gun -- Activision and Neversoft Entertainment's wild west got some top talent, with The Punisher's Thomas Jane (Colton White), Kris Kristofferson (Colton’s father Ned); Tom Skerritt (Clay Allison), Brad Dourif (Josiah Reed), Ron Perlman Mayor Hoodoo Brown), Lance Henrikson (Thomas MacGruder). I sent NeverSoft a voice demo and press packet for this title when it was announced, and didn't get any feedback. Might be OK, because though I'm still excited about the game, the recently released Xbox 360 trailer looks a little too current-gen to me. But if the gameplay rocks, I don't care.
The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion -- Bethesda Game Studios has landed an all-star cast, adding more voice to the already impressive presence of Patrick Stewart (the Emperor). Sean Bean (Boromir in The Lord of the Rings, Flightplan, National Treasure) will be the Emperor’s lost son; Terence Stamp will be the game's voice of evil, and Lynda Carter (Wonder Woman) will be lending her talents as well. I never sent Bethesday a press packet or voice demo.
X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse -- Besides Patrick Stewart, this game (and its precursor) has some decent voice acting (and a lot of it). After playing the first X-Men Legends, I tracked down the director of audio over at Raven Software and sent a voice demo and cover letter explaining my voice acting, passion for comic books, video games, and their games. I'm guessing the game shipping last month means they didn't need me this round.
Brothers in Arms: Earned in Blood -- Ubisoft's/Gearbox Software's recently shipped sequel to their incredible refresh of the WWII shooter genre raises the bar again, this time with somewhere between a 6-9 month development window. These folks are outside of Dallas, and I hit them up for the original title, this one, and will be doing the same for their upcoming Unreal Engine 3 games.
Gears of War -- This is one of games I'm most excited about on the next generation of hardware. No announcements have been made, but, yeah, I sent a a href="http://www.adamcreighton.com/demos.html">voice demo and press packet letting them know I seriously want to be a part of it. I thought the main character, Marcus, was voiced by Kevin Conroy (Batman: The Animated Series). But after watching some footage from Microsoft's recent X05 event, I'm thinking it may be Steven Jay Blum (or a sound alike), one of the hardest working animation and video game voice over talents out there. Getting him mixed up with Conroy is understandable, since his Roger Smith voice Japanese anime The Big O was "Batman-plus-Spike-from-Cowboy-Bebop". I'm going to have to ping Cliff "CliffyB" Bleszinski and see if he would tell me that...
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
While I was out running in the rain yesterday (of course), I was waxing reminiscent about my weekend toy hunt.
Running and rain seem to stimulate creativity, and/or sentimentality, and (at the very least) dampness, and I was thinking about the fact that though everything retro seems to be chic, it's hard to find the retro I want.
I've talked before about my predilection for unique toys (again, not the embarrassing-to-find-during-an-airport search kind; let that go). I like unique, inspiring, and sentimental toys.
So this weekend, I went on a quest to find stuff, and ended up for the first time in a long time at chain Toys "R" Us, and was ... disappointed.
Over time, I've watched the changes in the Transformers, G.I.Joe, and other franchises. But to see them all in one place was a bit of a setback.
For example, I cut my cartoon teeth on G.I.Joe, Transformers, Battle of the Planets, and so on. These things have seen recent (positive) insurgence in the comic book industry. But the toy/collectibles handling of the licenses has been kind of spotty.
I really like what Devil's Due Publishing has done with G.I.Joe -- updating it, making it more adult, and spinning it six ways to Sunday as a true franchise. I'm less thrilled with what Hasbro has done for Joe on the toy front; evidently, kids aren't creative enough to play with these toys, so electronic sound effects and phrases are built in. I know I'm sounding semi-crotchety, but play with these things -- they feel ... hollow. And I've got mixed feelings as to this fall's all-ages, anime-esque TV series slated for this fall ...
Robots that are other things are just cool, and Transformers saw a resurgence in the comic book world from recently defunct Dreamwave Entertainment/Publishing. Despite Dreamwave's checkered history, Pat Lee and company did a phenomenal job with the Generation 1 series, scratching an itch that Transformers: Energon's kiddy-fare can't quite reach; which is fine, because that series makes the big guys more accessible to a new generation (pun intended). With Dreamwave's recent resurrection Christian Dery, the studio may have its time in the sun, but Hasbro saw the demise of the previous version of the publisher as an opportunity to reclaim the license (as it did, thankfully, from Atari, who butchered it in their recent PlayStation 2 game).
An interesting footnote: Gobots used to be the poor man's Transformers (though I think they came out first in Japan), but Hasbro bought that license, and now the line is the toy company's kids line of transforming robots. Nothing like healthy competition.
And if Transformers are back, why the hell can't I get a decent Dinobot?
As far as Battle of the Planets, Image Comics did a bang-up job on the series, not least of which because they tagged artistic master Alex Ross to do covers, posters, and promos for the series.
And Power Rangers have nothing on Voltron.
But back to the weekend toy hunt.
Luckily, the overpriced (but well stocked) folks over at DSC Toys & Collectibles had a Marvel Modern Age Captain Britain (with Lockheed) to cleanse my aesthetic pallet.
Actually, I was looking for two figures from ToyBiz's Marvel Legends series 10: Angel and X-Factor Cyclops. What makes these things cool is each one in the series comes with a piece of a Sentinel. Get all of them in the series, and you can build a 16.5" robot. I was kind of mheh on the gimmick, until I got one of the pieces; some serious craftsmanship. This is a bummer, since besides Cyclops and Angel, I think only Black Panther is cool, so I'm going to end up with a leg and a couple of arms. Mr. Sinister isn't bad, so maybe I'll end up with 2 legs.
I'd picked up Archangel before, and am actually looking for the variant version of X-Factor Cyclops to put next to it, because though I may be a child of the 80s, I hit my stride in the 90s.
I did find a non-variant Angel from the series, which I wanted to juxtapose with Archangel. The attached pict isn't top quality, but I've position the figure on a stand, so that it looks like it's either swooping down to beat the tar out of his turned self, or his "pure self" is ascending out of Archangle.
I may need an intervention ...
Unsolicited, this guy felt compelled to let my agent know he was impressed with me as a talent and as a person, and that he fully intends to use me on future projects.
I don't mention this to showcase myself (I'm humbled by his comments), but to flag what a cool, stand-up thing it was for him to do. Knowing some details of how wicked busy he is on his current project, I'm impressed he had the time to do something that could be considered a secondary priority.
I don't think we recognize folks (unsolicited) often enough, and especially in this stereotypically superficial biz, I was really encouraged yesterday by his comments -- and I really needed encouragement yesterday ...
Monday, October 10, 2005
Sunday, October 09, 2005
You may have noticed some subtle updates to my website recently.
1) Y'know that "I'm seeing/"I'm hearing"/"I'm playing"/"I'm reading" section below my headshot on my "About" page? I've created blogs for each of them, so those are now clickable links to get to (sometimes) deeper thoughts about what media I'm consuming and why.
2) I've created syndication feeds for my Acting and Gaming published blogs, so you can subscribe to them, if that's preferable to you over getting Email updates. There are too many flavors of XML-ish syndication "standards" out there (a couple atom feeds, 3 versions of RSS, etc.), and I don't think you folks should have to suffer for it. To get around this, I use the fine services over at FeedBurner.com to create a "super feed", so you can pick the subscription that works for you.FeedBurner-generated feeds for my blogs (including the 4 new "I'm [whatever]ing" blogs) into HTML (via FeedBurner's nifty BuzzBoost service), so they show up on my main blogs page. Think of it as one-stop shopping for your "Adam blog" needs.
4) I've redirected the auto forward of www.adamcreighton.com to my main blogs page, rather than my Actor's Ramblings blog. This makes it easier for folks to get to my acting blog, gaming blog, and media blogs, all in one place.
Caveat: Now, I'm using the stellar free services for blogging over at blogger.com, and the syndication services of FeedBurner.com, because they're both free, pretty easy, and customizable to fit into the rest of my Website without making it look ugly. If either of those services were to make all of this harder, I'd drop them like a Chuck Austen Avengers run. I'd do everything I'm doing via Movable Type, server-side includes, or equivalents.
The Future: Oh, and this is only the beginning. I've got something cool related to fishing for whales coming up soon ...
Sunday, October 02, 2005
A great, talented, genuine leader left work before his time. I don't know the whole story, so I don't know what the "reasons" are from a corporate perspective, but I do know other things.
There are different kinds of leaders.
There are people like this guy, who are technically competent, business savvy, and care about relationships with people. These are the leaders people choose to follow.
There are other leaders. Leaders who bold-face lie, intimidate, belittle, disrespect, and damage the people and business around them. Theses are leaders whose leadership people choose to suffer.
That kind of person -- the bad leader -- is still there. And the good leader is not.
Which is what makes me think an injustice has been done to a good man.
To be honest, the recipient of the short change isn't really all that upset or concerned (that's one of his gifts: "It is what it is"). So maybe this is a "minor injustice", as opposed to a "grave injustice".
But really, if we're talking about injustice, how far have we slipped as a society if we started assigning grades to justice?
Injustice is injustice.
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
Monday, September 26, 2005
Tonight (7 p.m., Sept. 26), he'll be at Book People in Austin, for a reading and signing for his recent novel Anansi Boys.
Gaiman is one of my favorite writers -- from creating Sandman, to putting the poetry into the English script for Princess Mononoke, to the amazing novel American Gods, to a host of other works garnering a bunch of international recognition.
I won't be there -- I've got a family commitment tonight that (for me) takes precedence over seeing even one of my favorite authors.
Oh, and Gaiman's most recent film, MirrorMask (in collaboration with Jim Henson Company), opens in Austin this week ...
Friday, September 23, 2005
Tim Burton is an artist, and the stuff that he creates with Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, and Danny Elfman is a ton of fun. And I think co-director Mike Johnson may be a guy to watch.
The film's a weird (but working) mix of sentimentality and "ew". Also, I'm not going to tell you (because it will give away too much of the plot), but a gold star to you if you can figure out after you watch the film what classic (not Disney)children's story Corpse Bride retells.
And there's a nice, subtle, and infinitely deserved nod to Ray Harryhausen that's kind of fun, too.
Now, it's off to find the musical score ...
(You may notice the offical movie website is having problems; while it's down, check out the trailer at Apple.)
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
Today is "Donut Day" at the toy job. Every Wednesday, boxes of donuts for the sugar-deprived are available in the break rooms. They're meant as a perk for full-time employees; kind of a soft marketing, "Hey, look how much we love you!" (unless you're diabetic, then the message might be, "Hey, we want you to die!").
Anyway, it's interesting to watch how people treat the "perk".
There are people who "can't possibly eat a whole donut", so they cut or break one in half (please don't do that; if you're going to touch food offered in a public way, take the whole thing).
Today, I noticed there were donuts that had a third of their circumference removed, which seems odd. Are people sampling large bites and leaving the rest (ew)? Are they building some sort of hybrid, calico donut for their morning snack? Do they suffer from multiple personality disorder?
And then there are some contingent staff (contractors, consultants, etc.), for whom the donuts aren't actually meant (they're an "employee perk"), who take a stack of 3 or 4 donuts back to their cubicle. Is this indicative of extreme selfishness? Social ineptness? Cultural differences? Borderline poverty and the need to eat whatever is available? An addiction to Dunkin Donuts (which, I'm sorry, is just a phenomenal disappointment in Austin)?
Me? I generally don't eat the donuts -- they mess with my resume weight.
Except for today. Today I was weak.
But I only took one (completely whole) donut.
Monday, September 19, 2005
If you do too, check out Brent Schneeman's work.
I like his work because it's good, and because he captures a lot of stuff from my current and past stomping grounds. There are some great photos of city- and landscapes, floral, landmark, and "interesting perspectives". A bunch of his photos adorn the walls of my toy job's office complex.
One of my personal favorites is the pict of McDonald Pass, where US-12 passes through Montana at the Continental Divide, about 15 miles southwest of Helena. Ah, I miss snow and mountains ...
By the way, no, Brent is not a headshot photographer.
Check out Rhea Willis if you're looking for a great headshot artist.
Saturday, September 17, 2005
Friday, September 16, 2005
I did kind of a sucky job. Might have had something to do with all my tubs and toilets backing up as I'm leaving the house ($118 later, we're fine, thanks for asking). Maybe I was just off. Maybe a little of both.
I did get to audition for casting agency Toni Cobb-Brock and Company -- my first time with these folks.
Even better, I met a guy, Joe Perez, that was a personable prince of a guy. Outgoing, genuinely supportive, realistic, and having fun. I like meeting people like him. Makes up for prima donnas I sometimes run into at these kinds of things (including today -- c'mon, it's a Whataburger commercial!). Joe seems like a good guy, though.
Brent Smiga helmed the camera. I've met Brent at a couple of social events, so it made the audition at least comfortable.
And ran into Drew Whelpley again. I like that guy. Dude is funny...
Wednesday, September 14, 2005
Why? Because besides doing big-gun project and program management for software and services projects, I managed the physical remodel of our current office digs, so when dignitaries come into town, I'm usually tapped to give the tour.
Interesting experience. Our CEO is new to the company, and where the last guy was a "kick ass and take names" kind of guy (who probably never would have visited the Austin office, but did phenomenal things for getting BigHugeCorp into its current market domination), this guy is a bridge builder. He was stopping to talk to everyone we met -- in the halls, the breakroom, their offices ...
He was asking about their families, what their spouse did, how old their kids were, and so on.
And he remembered all that stuff hours later when he ran into them again. That's a gift. Stereotypically, CEOs are arrogant SOBs, and it's tough to get in their space at all. This guy doesn't seem to be that at all.
So it was cool to spend that much time with a guy in the kind of position to which I wouldn't normally have access, but I figured something out -- the tour guide gets ignored.
I'm supposed to be there, so I'm kind of movable scenery. Kind of a corporate extra, if you will (see, life imitates art).
So I had all this time to spend with CEO, and no real interaction.
Yeah, I know. Whoas me.
I did get to do something cool for someone else. But I'll let him tell you about it ...
Oh, and this guy is different than the president I mentioned going to dinner with recently. That guy (who I really respect and admire) is the president of the wholly owned subsidiary that I call home for ~70 hours a week. The guy from today is the big dog of the mega company that owns my subsidiary (which I'm unfortunately currently letting own me).
Monday, September 12, 2005
Sunday, September 11, 2005
At least for me.
I've mentioned it before, but rain and running do wonders for my creative juices.
Last run and this run, I've been inspired to work on NAwM (which is going to get changed to another camel-cased codename, but that won't be published; the new acronym figures too prominently in the story).
NAwM is one of my multi-Intellectual Property ("multi-IP") projects. I'm gearing the thing for comic book, video game, and movie and/or cartoon venues (it's hard to pull of the last two together; not that the others are going to be a cakewalk). Each of the mediums have particular challenges (besides the unique way you need to do the pitches for each), and I figured out how I want to work in the often-problemmatic video game training sequence in a way that's true to the story, will hopefully feel organic, and leaves some surprises for later.
I also figured out a few story elements that are pretty important to the "trueness" of the characters. I'm pretty stoked about those.
Oh, and I was kind of attacked by a dog again tonight. Unlike last time, this time was a little entertaining.
I was chased by a geriatric chihuahua for about a block and a half. He ran out of a party goer's back yard, all two pounds of his gray-flecked redness. I felt bad for him, so I slowed down so he could catch up, but by the time he reached me, he'd evidently forgotten why he'd been running, passed me, and stood confused in the street. I coaxed him over to lawn where he could sit and gag from the exertion of the chase.
His owners ran up and got him and took him back to the party.
Cute and sad at the same time.
Getting old seems to suck no matter the species ...
Thursday, September 08, 2005
Possible films include the following:
- Captain America (My personal favorite, the rumored first flick, and the best hero that has been disserviced as a victim of two horrible flicks, a non-differentiated 1930s serial, and multiple cartoon guest appearances, some bad (the "Operation Rebirth-ish" appearance in the 1990s Spider-Man), some good (X-Men: Evolution; Spider-Man & His Amazing Friends).)
- The Avengers (Which is not X-Men, and is not Justice League, and has a huge stable of front-running characters from which to choose.)
- Dr. Strange (Think Constantine, but more epic and less creepy ... depending on the story arc; they'd do better with Spider-Man & his Amazing Friends Dr. Strange than 1990s Spider-Man Dr. Strange.)
- Hawkeye -- He's a flamboyant character that's the quintessential boy scout; think an amalgamated clone made from equal parts Colin Farrell and John Tesh, after you've worked out the lumps ... think about it ... Now, breathe ...)
- Nick Fury (No, the David Hasselhoff made-for-TV movie does not count, and let's never speak of it again.)
- Black Panther (Wesley Snipes has supposedly been on again off again for this role, though after seeing Crash, I'd honestly like to see Terrence Howard get a shot.)
- Ant-Man (Here's a chance for some cool CGI and live-action ant wrangling.)
- Cloak & Dagger (Depending on their take, this could be successful as teenie bopper or dark goth; Clueless or Underworld.)
- Shang-Chi (Martial arts action, and Marvel'd do well to think about having this driven by Far East expertise.)
- Power Pack (I haven't read the resurrected franchise, but was a fan of the original; this is a great marketing choice by Marvel to broaden the demographic.)
And all of this adds to the recent Fantastic Four and next year's X-Men 3, Ghost Rider and 2007's Spider-Man 3 and a possible Hulk sequel.
Even better? By relaunching their indie slate in a more proven market climate, Marvel is in a much better place to leverage cross-character or cross-franchise appearances than is DC (who has Batman with Warner Bros. and Superman with Universal, which will likely prevent a "World's Finest" kind of scenario.
Imagine -- In the comic book world, Captain America leads the Avengers, and Hawkeye and Ant-Man (in all his incarnations) are long-term members of the team. Plus, if Marvel goes with an Ultimates version of the Avengers, Nick Fury heads up the team (and, in the comic, he's drawn identically to Samuel L. Jackson, which has long led to speculation that the franchise was relaunched with film in mind).
Even in Power Pack, little Franklin Reed Richards is the kiddo of the Fantastic Four's Reed Richards (Mr. Fantastic) and Sue Storm Richards (The Invisible Girl/Woman).
Like you couldn't tell, I'm a long-time fan of comic books, and their overlap with movies and video games. if you are, too, you should check out Superhero Hype and my own "Comic Book Video Games" blog entry.
So, after 7:30 p.m. rolled around, I decided a can't really be more behind, met an acting buddy of mine, we went to dinner (wings again; it's all we do), and then finally got to see Crash.
One of the hardest, more important films I've seen in a while. How amazing is Don Cheadle? Who knew his strength was drama (other than him)?
And Terrence Howard -- he was a pleasant surprise for me. Probably need to see Hustle & Flow.
Powerful, powerful film. I really recommend it.
Now it's back to work.
Crap. Turns out I can really be more behind ...
Wednesday, September 07, 2005
I'm in the penalty box at work.
Or so a co-worker told me. It's a hockey metaphor, where guys who are temporarily rule-challenged get the adult version of a "time out" for 2 minutes, 4 minutes, or the rest of the game, depending on the infraction.
It's a metaphor, so like all metaphors, it breaks down at some point.
Hockey players generally get stuck in the penalty box for "unsporting behavior or intentional, dangerous disregard of the rules". I'm "in the box" not for breaking the rules, but for blowing the whistle when it looked like the rules weren't being followed.
Also, in the sport, while a player is in the penalty box, the player is out of the game, and the team can't sub a replacement. In my situation, it's basically been one long day for the last week and a half, so I don't even get the rest period generally afforded the penalty box.
Plus, I suspect my penalty box has a trap door that leads to an incinerator.
Pretty crappy metaphor.
And you can't tell from the picture, but I actually have monstrously large feet.
Monday, September 05, 2005
There's a homily that goes something along the lines of "90% of acting is business; the rest is craft."
My Website is a key part of my business and marketing utility belt. I check traffic stats on a weekly basis to find out where people are going, how often my resume is viewed, how many clips are being downloaded, and so on.
I can see from where visitors are coming (from which domain), and I've used that to create opportunities for me. For example, after sending a press packet to a major game studio, I saw from my Web logs that someone from the company had gone through my Website, and listened to all of my audio clips. So I followed up and said, "Hey, I sent you a press packet, and from looking at my Web traffic logs, I know someone from your company was on my site!"
"Ahh, you found me! Caught me sneaking around your site did you? Damn that hi-falootin technology!"
Followed by a desire to bring me in on the studio's upcoming project. Granted, this may or may not happen, but I was able to create an opportunity that wasn't there before.
I can also see where people are spending their time, and what's keeping them glued to my content ("gauging the stickiness"), and change my site based on that.
A few notable examples:
- Notice that www.AdamCreighton.com now routes to this acting blog, rather than the "Welcome" page? That's because people who get to my blogs stay on blogs, browsing through current and past postings.
- I recently repackaged my blogs from the serviceable blogger.com templates, into the rest of my website, which hugely upped traffic to the rest of my site.
- I recently broke out "Demos" and "Clips" into "Voice" and "Video", which has driven viewing of the video clips way up.
I also use the stats to figure out what's not working for me. As example, there are a couple of online services I've paid into for this year that have sent zero people to my website (and I haven't gotten any offline bookings). So, why should pay into these next year?
A lot of work, yes, but since the relaunch of my site in January (after signing with a new agent), I've seen a 10-fold increase in unique visitors each month to my site, and a trendline increase of around 5-fold in total hits.
I've got an acting buddy who responded thusly when I mentioned my recent Web traffic:
"4000 indeed...4000 people read your mom."
(Yeah, he's a little weak on the smack talk area; evidently, the extent of his competitive sporting experience growing up was "I played karate".)
Anyway, for his education (and your interest), here are the Year-to-Date numbers for AdamCreighton.com Unique Visitors and Total Hits:
Ninety-percent business; Ten-precent craft.
One hundred percent relationships, so don't let stuff like this get in the way of that.
Sunday, September 04, 2005
Saturday, September 03, 2005
Seriously. Just turned it on, and got billowing black smoke and that acrid smell that comes from an electrical fire.
And it wouldn't shut off -- I had to yank the cord and run outside with the smoking, 8-pound brick. Everyone (other than the Xbox) is OK. Man, my 'box dies 2 months before the Xbox 360 comes out . . . What's a gamer to do?
Catch the play-by-play over on my video game blog.
Wednesday, August 31, 2005
Wall-to-wall people there (in the ballpark of 125, by my count) to meet members of "The Alliance", get questions answered, network, etc.
Or maybe they were just trying to be seen by the powers that be in our little film town.
I got to chat with some folks I hadn't seen for a while, which was really nice -- It's all about the relationships, folks.
And, hey, it was at Momo's Club on a Tuesday night -- kind of like AustinActors.net meetings used to be. And there was an (I think unadvertised) set by Patrice Pike. She's still so freakin' amazing.
The only real downside was a ridiculously insular, insensitive, inaccurate, and -- unfortunately -- public trivialization of the current hurricane devastation of of Louisiana.
Also ran into a jerk actor I hadn't seen for a long time. Still a jerk ...
Sunday, August 28, 2005
I've mentioned this film before, and even went so far to say even if I wasn't in the film, you should still see it.
Anyway, the new site is up, and it'll be showing at the Los Angeles Int'l Short Film Festival in September (as the closing finale for the "Having A Bad Day" category). Having the film show at this festival is a big deal, and more power to Rocky Jo, Damon Chang, and Arnie Reyes, and other folks that put what I suspect are amazing efforts behind this flick.
It'll also be showing at the following festivals (with some times TBA):
- Big Bear Lake Int'l Film Festival (Sept. 16, 2005)
- Los Angeles Korean Int'l Film Festival (Sept. 17, 2005)
- San Diego Asian Film Festival (Sept. 29, 2005/Oct. 2, 2005)
- DC Asian Pacific American Film Festival (Oct. 11, 2005)
Thursday, August 25, 2005
Interesting how I get blessed with opportunities people way more senior than me may never see.
More importantly, he was as fired up as me about doing the "right thing", and seems genuinely passionate about it.
And, unlike me, he can do something about it.
This looks like it will be a nice and sweet little piece, and it's a nice bonus that it's for something I can gladly support.
The set-up is a mom, dad, and nurse watching a little girl ride up to them on a tricycle. The 5-year-old little girl I auditioned with, Caiti, did a fantastic job, and this was my first time to work with fellow Collier Talent Katherine Willis. I really enjoy working with professionals who know their stuff. Plus, she's got one of the best actor's websites I've seen in a while.
Oh, and the commercial is being directed by Jimmy Lindsey, camera operator for Robert Rodriguez forever, and DP on the "Untitled Supernatural Thriller (aka Revolver)".
Good for Jimmy branching out into directing, and I really appreciated the chance to audition for him. Nice, professional guy, and amazingly good with the kids.
Wish me luck!
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
Ah, Joss Whedon, to live in a world of the X-Men Legends video game, you writing Astonishing X-Men comic book, the Firefly TV show back on the air, and the Serenity film out next month ...
Thanks for giving fanboys the deep stuff.
Monday, August 15, 2005
Saturday, August 13, 2005
Rocky's working with the CCCi national media team, so we wanted to connect, see what each other was up to, and explore possible opportunities for working together.
Watching the clips, I'd say Rocky's been a part of some nice short films, and some big-gun industry folks have been participating. The stuff is pretty amazing, and the Conlys themselves (part of a bigger team), were really fun to hang around and chat with.
Check out their blog. Look through the media team's portfolio and download their recent International short film. I'm impressed that these are religious films that not only don't suck, but our, really, really good.
And, like me, Rocky is a not-so-closet video gamer.
Both Rocky and Sunee are using their considerable gifts for religious ministry, which means they're totally dependent on financial commitments from other people (there's a concrete example of "faith"). If you feel like you can help them out, be sure to contact them through their blog.
Thursday, August 11, 2005
Last night started out well. Me and 1.5 acting friends got together and fired up the projector and watched new high-rez and high-def game trailers for WarDevil (from Digi-Guys Studio), Project Offset (Offset; Somebody fund this game!), Huxley (Webzen; freakin' awesome looking MMOFPS with style and meat), Painkiller (People Can Fly, DreamCatcher Interactive), Ninety-Nine Nights (2015), Final Fantasy XI (Square Enix), Dead Rising (Capcom), Indigo Prophecy/Fahrenheit (Quantic Dream, Atari), Gears of War (Epic Games, Microsoft Game Studios), and King Kong (Ubisoft Entertainment).
Then the three of us played co-op through a level of X-Men Legends.
We watched an episode of Thundercats, freakin' finally released on DVD (and, though I hassle my friend for running out to buy it instantly, I did get goosebumps while watching the opening episode).
Then came what should have been the crowning event for the evening. Mutliplayer Halo 2 on Xbox Live.
Since I had guests, the only options for play are "Rumble Pit" and "Team Training" -- unranked play for people without dedicated Xbox Live accounts -- so we started with some team work, with me hosting the game.
When we started out, and after my perfunctory, "Whassup, fellas?", Dude #1 asks, "Hey, Hitachi" (which is my Live Gamer Tag handle) "What size TV are you guys playing on?"
(Stupid question, because someone asking that probably wants to brag.)
Me: (Answering honestly) 107 inches.
Dude #1: **Expletive** liar!
Me: No, seriously. It's a projector,
and the screen's 107" diagonal.
We get to playing, and then someone else chimes in with a question for Dude #1:
Dude #2: Why do you ask? What size are you playing on?
Dude #1 (Sheepishly) 52-inch plasma.
Me: (Sincerely) Man, that's awesome! Those things are so nice -- great picture, and that's a really huge plasma!
Then they ejected me from the game (which booted all of us). Just like that. For screen-size envy.
And things just went downhill from there.
We'd play games, and people would drop off because they were losing (it's Rumble Pit and Team Training your twits! That means the games don't affect your ranking!).
We'd play games, and as part of the random set up, one of my friends would be paired with me, and the other ended up on the other team. He wasn't doing well, so they'd boot him (which booted all of us).
We'd play Rumble Pit, where it's a free-for-all, and even though my two friends and I would treat that honestly and beat on each other and other players, other yahoos with one or two guests were teaming up on people to get better scores (yes, that's called cheating).
But, the worst part is the brainless chatter. The profanity. The inanity.
There are these moments at the start of each game where the players are hanging out as the game sets up, and those of us with headset can chat. I use the time to try to meet people, find out where they're playing from, etc.
But more often than not, my intros of "Whassup, fellas?" and "How's everyone doing tonight?" were answered with no response, mockery, "That's a stupid handle", and even "F*** you." Seriously.
One such interaction:
Dude #3: Huh?
Dude #3: What?
I****edYourMom: I****edYourMom. Then I pooped in her mouth.
So I ended the game before it started. I probably did that for 4 or 5 games, because of crass, foul-mouthed louses.
And that's on top of the fact that after downloading the required Xbox Live patch and free maps, I get constant "you failed to load the map" errors.
Let's be perfectly clear: I didn't freakin' fail to do anything -- the Xbox did. Halo 2 did. Xbox Live did. I didn't. And no amount of deleting everything else on my Xbox to reinstall (which makes me oh-so-happy) fixes the problem.
So after my friends left (after finally a couple of fun competitive matches in a row), I watched a couple of the high-def, Xbox 360 trailers again to cleanse my palette.
Trailers for the offline games.
I'm hoping Xbox 360 and the relaunch of Xbox Live, creating the "Casual Gamers Zone", fixes a lot of this gargage. It's not fun right now.