One thing I value ahead of all else is style. I say that with italics to emphasize the need for it. I collect things with style in my personal life. I have a collection of Kenneth Cole watches, not because they are good watches (which they are), but because they all have a distinct retro, 50’s vibe that I really dig. I have old baseball art work (Ted Williams drinking a Moxie), old movie posters (original Casablanca poster) and retro style clothes. I don’t really know why. I just really like the look and the feel. There’s something tactile about it all. Something real. Anyway, I’m rambling. What I really wanted to mention was that I found a whole plethora of art work right up my alley. Check this stuff out…

The Valve Store.

Man, those guys at Valve have an awesome art department.

I don’t get it

There’s a lot of things I don’t fully understand in this world. String theory, quantum mechanics, what the fuck the appeal of Fanta is, and so on. What I can’t understand the most is why good ideas become horribly crappy over time. This mostly involves the “movie trilogy paradox” and the “franchise game problem”. Why do the second movies in trilogies suck? Why is Madden (insert current year) never as good as Madden (subtract 5 years). Why do marketing departments constantly tell us that the latest iteration of something is the “best ever”? Obviously the latest Ford Mustang is not as awesome as a classic Mustang. Any car collector on the planet will tell you that. This theory follows in nearly every category of popular culture, at least, until the next one is made. Of course, it’s all relative if you look at the larger time lines. The 2007 Ford Mustang may very well be making up for the horrific 1980’s Mustang. Maybe National Treasure 2 won’t suck. Maybe EA Games “Battlefield Bad Company” isn’t the most ripped off idea of the century.

About that…

I doubt any of you guy care, but it irked me to see the new trailer for BF:BC. It’s a complete and total rip off of the classic war movie Kelly’s Heros. If you don’t believe me, take a look.

What on earth could possibly influence a company to single handedly kill off a major gaming franchise AND rip off an old movie plot at the same time? Not only did they bastardize Battlefield 1942 into it’s ugly step sisters BF:Vietnam and BF2, but now they’re killing the one things Battlefield had going for it… the fucking battlefield. They’re taking a new engine that shows a lot of promise and creating, given their track record, a crappy single player game set in war torn Europe. Wow. Way to be really 2001.

Maybe they’ve realized that they’ve been beaten on all fronts and they’re not sure what to do next. Call of Duty has completely trumped them in both the “modern combat” and multiplayer categories. Their former, and now disgruntled, employees are creating what will be the next level of “squad” combat games. People are no longer interested in WW2 combat games, so they can’t really go backwards in time, and their horrible cluster-fuck of a futuristic game, BF2142 received horrible reviews from players and the media alike. They are in deep deep crap and they’re trying to keep their heads above water. By the time the new game ships next year, there will be a dozen games, on a dozen engines that look as good if not better than theirs, so they can’t even fall back on technology.

It’s really sad when you see a franchise dismantle itself as it tries to stay a float. It’s a definitely George Lucas style problem. You had something so awesome that everyone hailed for its innovation and entertainment. Then you try to out do yourself. You fail. You switch gears and try something else. You fail again. You kinda sorta listen to your fans and try something completely different. You fail a third time. Now what do you do? People love your original work but can’t stand your newest stuff. In the case of old George, really the only way to save himself is to make Episodes 7-9, and to bring it back to the way it was, good vs evil, some sword fights and that’s it. None of this deep emotional conflict bullshit. Sword fights and space ships George, that’s what we want. EA, same goes for you. We want a WIDE OPEN game with a shit ton of vehicles, features, stuff to do and we don’t give one single damn about unlocks, achievements and tactical satellite bullshit. Bring it back home fellas, it’s the only way to save yourselves.

It’s that, or people will move on. In some cases it’s already too late. In some cases we had forgiven you of your “sequel sins” when you rocked us with a third installment. So, ask yourselves, is Indy 4 really necessary. Was Die Hard 4 somehow an improvement? Does Bad Company bring anything we haven’t seen already?

Bringin’ the pixels

This is really sad, but I apparently have come down with a huge case of “artists block”. I can’t find any inspiration for the two ideas I have in my head. Maybe if I talk them out (and get some feedback), it’ll cure my blockage of artistic brain matter. So, here goes.

1. Generic category icons
What I really need, for both here (on this site) and at, are some generic category icons for posts. Take a look at SN and you can see where the new design there is headed and you’ll get a better idea for what I’m talking about. Basically I need 256×256 pixel, PNGs, that graphically represent things like “movies, games, music”. I’ve dug through tons of examples of generic icons and I’ve yet to find anything to inspire me. It’s really such a simple prospect that it’s driving me batshit to not come up with anything.

2. Fruit Bowling League and Team logos.
Yeah, you read that correctly. I might have mentioned in the past that I’ve helped create a new sport. No, I’m not kidding. Really. A small group of guys, including myself, were quite bored at a church Thanksgiving party last year. The owner of the house we were having the party at was trying to think of the best way to dispose of an extra pumpkin. Someone suggested why not roll it down the street. That concept seemed to funny not to try, and thus Fruit Bowling was born. I’ll post a seperate article detailing the rules of the sport, but for the moment let’s just say that it’s caught on. We have teams, we’ve established rules and requirements, we’ve tested which produce rolls the furthest and fastest. We’re actually quite good at it. Needless to say, the PFBL (Professional Fruit Bowlers League) needs a logo. I had thought something like a giant melon or gourd flanked by goal posts/orange street cones, but I can’t quite get that to gel in Photoshop. We haven’t picked team names yet, but presumably we’d need logos for those as well. Something like “Produce Chuckers” or “Fruit Tossers” or “Melon Lobbers”, I dunno. How do you make a mean looking cantaloupe?

There you have it. Any suggestions guys?

Freaked my ass out

Nagle just dropped me an email saying that he was getting a 403 error when trying to leave a comment. I checked around and I was getting a 403 error when I tried to get to the admin panel to find out what was going on. It freaked me out. I thought something/someone had blacklisted me from my own blog.

Apparently, the anti-spam plugin “Bad Behavior” likes to randomly ban IP addresses. It took the combined power of the tech-support guy at my host, myself and a heavy bit of googling to figure that out. I’ve got to hand it to the guys at my hosting company though, he went above and beyond trying to figure it out for me.

So, the solution was to FTP in, delete that plugins folder, which removes it from WP, and fire up the WP admin panel to make sure everything was ok. I tested it by installing the plugin again. Sure enough, soon as I did the entire world was banned for “malicious activity”. Maybe it’s a problem with the latest WP install, who knows. I’m just glad we got it figure out.