From the mouths of bears

I am not easily scared by a movie these days. I went through my teens on a steady diet of horror movies and Fangoria magazines, and over the years I’ve absorbed tons of scary movies/books/shows, so few things really get to me anymore. But a scene in one particular movie really hit me a few years ago, and I couldn’t remember the last time I’d had such a visceral reaction. Not only was it terrifying in a visual sense, but on an existential level as well.

Continue reading →

Music formats: a journey of inconvenience

Warning: rambling ahead.

Memory time!  In the 70’s, my dad was a DJ at the Los Angeles mega-station KFI (his call name was Roger Collins — he passed a few years ago but his legacy lives on via his Facebook page).  My brother and I still lived in Arizona, but my dad would mail promo LPs to us when they went out of rotation — so as kids we had a steady stream of cool records coming to us, which was how we enjoyed a lot of music that was otherwise hard to come by in our little country-music town.  We had a lot of records by a lot of popular bands, but I remember The Bee Gees and Donna Summer most.

This is exactly what I had. ‘Cause I was classy.

I mostly grew out of LPs when tapes came along. I loved buying them, but I loved recording them more. I kept them in those ugly-ass plastic cases with the fake wood look. Several of those were needed, mostly because of all my horrible mixtapes… It’s kinda funny to think about this now, knowing I’d later be listening to so much music in so many new ways, and also having to find a way to store (and re-store) it all.

Side note: even after getting to tapes as a teen, I did still listen to a lot of records when I discovered 12″ remixes.  This was long before the 90’s came along and ruined remixes for me almost forever — they’d take a song you loved and completely annihilate it, leaving barely a lyric or two to remind you of the original.  But I digress…

Continue reading →

Game savin’

Videogames, especially on home consoles, have had a massive impact on our culture for decades. If you’re old enough, you remember when they suddenly came onto the scene and forever changed how we use our T.V.s. If you’re young enough, you’ve never known a time when videogames didn’t exist. Knowing all this, why wouldn’t we want to preserve older games for future generations to enjoy, as well as appreciate for their historical value? Predictably, two of the main obstacles to this are rights-holders and money. But gaming geeks have been finding workarounds for quite a while, and they’re finally getting some support from one of today’s biggest gaming companies. It’s about damn time!

Continue reading →

A facepalm 30 years late

In my late teens I wrote some dumb freeware games for the Atari ST computer. They were just silly fluff, but fun to make and somewhat educational programming-wise. One in particular was a bit on the tacky side and is best left forgotten (though it had a decent number of downloads). Aside from that, I played a ton of games on that thing and had a blast.

Cut to today. I’m able to emulate the old Atari ST on my modern PC and run all those games I used to play. So I downloaded a ridiculously large collection of games and started digging thru and playing my old favorites.

And then I spotted it: that tacky game I made in 1990, the Gulf War one that would be borderline offensive it wasn’t so completely dumb. Right in there with far more respectable titles. They even included screenshots and the original doc file I wrote for it…both of which include my full name and address in AZ where I used to live with my parents. OMG. 🤦

Naturally I did some searching to see if the game surfaced anywhere else, and behold: some French guy actually “reviewed” it on YouTube a few years ago. He thought it was as dumb and pointless as it was meant to be. It’s also pretty difficult, and I have to admit feeling a little smug watching him try to play it. (No, I’m not linking to the video!)

Why couldn’t it have been one of my other games, like “Zit Blaster”? Or its inevitable sequel “Zit Blaster II: Revenge of the Whiteheads”?

Digital ghosts

This is a re-worked and updated 2016 post from my other blog.

In November 2014 I got on Facebook and there were all these messages posted to a friend’s profile saying things like: “Steve, why??” “What happened?”  “i miss you my best friend.”  I thought “WTF?”, with a sinking feeling.  Many more messages followed, referring to him in the past tense, and finally it hit me that he had taken his own life.  For weeks afterward, people posted messages on there as more and more people found out about it.

Coming to terms with his death and that horrible sense of loss was one thing — but this business of someone’s Facebook profile staying active after their death, and people posting messages to it (and each other), was something new for me.

Continue reading →

Tabula Sorta Rasa

A few months ago I was wanting to stop focusing so much about all the shitty things in the world, so the plan was to post more thoughtful/personal stuff. Well…apparently that’s harder for me to do than I thought! Plus, having that stuff mixed in with my more knee-jerk opinions about politics and religion just wouldn’t work.

But lately I’ve had some ideas about some things I could write about, so I decided to just start a new blog (with the original name!) and tie them both together. I’m still tweaking the design and content, but I’m going to try to get some real posts in here soon.