Thursday, June 30, 2011

Ghosts

I'm sitting in my cubicle and the only noise I can hear is the whir of the copier and the fluorescent lights above.  No one is here!  Is there a parade going past our building that I didn't know about?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Wednesday

While I was out of the office someone left a keychain on my desk that says Aruba.  Question #1: Who went to Aruba?  Question #2: Why did they buy me a souvenir? Question #3: Can I spend a large part of my day investigating this incident?

It's Take Away Wednesday in House Carlock.  Me: Singapore Rice Noodles. Her: Chicken & Broccoli. Us: Crab Rangoon.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Balls

There I was standing on the street corner behind my condo building waiting for the bus when a man began chatting with me about the Washington Nationals.  I had a Nats cap on so he knew I'd be a willing partner.  He wasn't sure of the new coach, or Jayson Werth's current performance, or if Bernadina should be playing center field, etc.  Negative statements mostly, but I stood there nodding my head in quasi-agreement/understanding and realized how good it felt to be a fan.  Leaving Illinois was hard only insomuch that I was moving away from my favorite sports teams. But now I have a team I can call my own again.  It's a team my dad brushes off merely because they're not a hundred and eighty years old, but a major league baseball team nonetheless. 

When people can stand on a street corner and second guess the decisions made by the local ball team, well, what more could the Nationals organization want? 

Also, Wednesday nights are $1 hot dog nights at Nats Park.  That doesn't hurt either.


Also, the Nats aren't in last place anymore (for now).

Monday, June 27, 2011

Video Games Are Ruled Protected Speech, Now What?

Ending a years-long battle with California legislators, the U.S. Supreme Court this week ruled that video games are protected free speech and that their sale to minors can't be criminalized. More important than that historic ruling is the reminder by a U.S. Supreme Court Justice that video games, like books, plays and movies, communicate ideas.
"The basic principles of freedom of speech . . . do not vary' with a new and different communication medium," Justice Antonin Scalia wrote in the Court's opinion, citing an earlier speech case.
In writing the opinion for the 7-2 ruling, Scalia likened video games to the mediums that came before it. He cited a variety of classic literature from Dante's Inferno, to Homer's Odysseus to Grimm's Fairy Tales.
"Reading Dante is unquestionably more cultured and intellectually edifying than playing Mortal Kombat," Scalia wrote. "But these cultural and intellectual differences are not constitutional."
It raises the question, what video games live up to that legacy of great literary works? And why aren't there more of them?
While there have been great, thoughtful video games that have explored a complexity of ideas, the face of gaming, the video games that are most known in the mainstream, are the ones more akin to a summer action flick or light-hearted comedy.
When the people who don't play, think of video games it's more likely they'll think of the never-ending gunfights of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, endless Madden games and colorful worlds of Super Mario than BioShock's exploration of Objectivism.
That isn't a problem as much as it is a challenge, a gauntlet perhaps accidentally tossed down by Scalia in the opinion he wrote this week.
That video games are protected speech seems blindingly obvious. Now that this distraction is out of the way, lets see the creation of more games like Bioshock, like Shadow of the Colossus, like Flower, games that make you think, that explore new ideas, that shake up preconceived notions.
Video game makers have an opportunity in this decision to prove the value and worth of their medium in the face of acceptance at a level that perhaps few game makers ever thought would occur.
That notion, and the knowledge that video games can be powerful forms of expression, isn't lost on game makers.
Ken Levine, the man behind Bioshock, points out that all of our freedoms derive from the right to express ourselves.
"Today, the Court brought the medium we love fully into that circle of freedom," he said. "And we move forward empowered, but also with a sense of responsibility that words have meaning. So we as creators will choose our words with respect, understanding their power. But no law will have the authority to choose them for us."

Near Miss

An asteroid flew past Earth today.  What were you doing at 1:00 PM EST?  Because that's when you almost died. 

And what if the end would have been 1:00 this afternoon? My last meal would have been a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  The last show I watched on TV would have been something about Bigfoot last night.  And I think the last thing I said to my wife and child as I walked out the door this morning was "Smell ya later!"

Sunday, June 26, 2011

12 Years

Where I would be today if Lynette decided not to marry me:


  1. A Mexican Prison
  2. Sleeping in my parents basement
  3. Dead.
No, but seriously, I'd wish I were dead.  I am so grateful she said yes and then I do.  And then 12 years later, James.  Amazing James.  

I'm still trying to figure out how or why I deserve this...

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Game of Thrones Redux

After watching the spectacular HBO adaptation of Game of Thrones I decided to re-download the book onto my Kindle and restart reading it.  I gave up because I couldn't keep up with all the characters and incestual sex, etc. but now that I kind of know what's what I need to know what happens next.  Because the show won't be back until "Spring 2012."  That's too far away.  Nerd on!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

No Reservations

This is my fourth week not at work. Aside from pretending I know what I'm doing as James' father, I've been watching a lot of No Reservations on the Travel Channel.  I love this show.  Anthony Bourdain has just the right amount of arrogance and nonchalance that make him the perfect television host.  I appreciate an honest take on the not frequently visited locations of this planet versus saccharin, brochure cover presentations of man-made, artificial tourist traps.  Given all the exotic locales I have watched him visit my favorite so far is Cleveland.  Bourdain treats the cold, gray climes of wintery Ohio with the same eye and tongue of rural Vietnam.

Most importantly, what the show teaches me is that no matter where I go there are hidden gems waiting to be discovered.  Including treasures right down the street from me.  Too often we overlook tasty morsels right under our noses.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Untapped

Gas induced or not, James' smiles should be bottled and used to buy private islands and enormous castles full of trampolines and harems and Italian beef sandwiches.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Points

James cries while getting dressed.  James cries while getting undressed.  But James does not cry while taking a bath.  In fact, he likes it.  Joy.  This stuff is more exciting than sports.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Love Wins

In Vancouver:

Thankful Cookies

God is close.  So close.  I forget easily given in to material distractions both trivial and necessary.  But when I look upon my newborn son's face I can almost see what God has in mind for this world.  James may have my lips and Lynette's nose, but his soul came from God.  And I feel terribly humbled that something I made can act as a vessel for such a precious thing.

When I look at James' face I can't help but ponder mortality, spirituality, goodness, love, and the universe, all spinning and twisting together like a chaotic recipe for the most delicious cookies in the darkest, messiest kitchen.  Follow your nose, James. Follow your nose.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Zelda

Everybody knows Robin Williams named his daughter after one of his favorite video games, right?  Well, he and Zelda did a commercial for the latest version of the same game.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

James and the Giant Crib

It's difficult to pinpoint my very first memory.  I have shades and shadows of moments in my subconscious that might be from my earliest years. Like the wall color beyond my crib, and the view outside my window of a long winding driveway and a black car going or coming, I'm not sure.  And then there's the Bozo-themed forks I used when I ate waffles covered in syrup and peanut butter.  I have no memory of music.

My son is a mere eleven days old and I'm constantly wondering what sights and sounds might stick in his tiny brain and resurface twenty years from now.  Will Blackbird by the Beatles or the smell of Old Spice mixed with coffee breath trigger an unexplained smile?  Will he have to explain to a future girlfriend that he just likes ukulele songs and he doesn't know why?

James slept in his crib for the first time last night and we wondered what he thought of his new barred environment. In the meantime, we're doing much to make sure music is a large part of his world.  I wish my parents had been more into music.  But then again I might've ended up a huge Karen Carpenter or Oak Ridge Boys fan.

Also, I'd pay top dollar for a set of those Bozo forks.



James and the Giant Crib

It's difficult to pinpoint my very first memory.  I have shades and shadows of moments in my subconscious that might be from my earliest years. Like the wall color beyond my crib, and the view outside my window of a long winding driveway and a black car going or coming, I'm not sure.  And then there's the Bozo-themed forks I used when I ate waffles covered in syrup and peanut butter.  I have no memory of music.

My son is a mere eleven days old and I'm constantly wondering what sights and sounds might stick in his tiny brain and resurface twenty years from now.  Will Blackbird by the Beatles or the smell of Old Spice mixed with coffee breath trigger an unexplained smile?  Will he have to explain to a future girlfriend that he just likes ukulele songs and he doesn't know why?

James slept in his crib for the first time last night and we wondered what he thought of his new barred environment. In the meantime, we're doing much to make sure music is a large part of his world.  I wish my parents had been more into music.  But then again I might've ended up a huge Karen Carpenter or Oak Ridge Boys fan.

Also, I'd pay top dollar for a set of those Bozo forks.



Friday, June 10, 2011

"Crazy Straw"

Poor Ribs

Ate some gross ribs the other night.  I'm afraid that'll be the last time I order ribs for a while.  And I always thought one doesn't make/offer ribs unless they're good.  I mean, in the food world aren't ribs one of the most scrutinized foods one can order?  There's no excuse for poor ribs.