If I Could Just Get It On Virtual Paper

Sunday, October 31, 2004

A couple of business notes:

First off, the box office numbers for Friday didn't actually come out until 7 p.m. last night, at which point I was thoroughly enjoying Finding Neverland. Therefore, there will be no Friday Box Office Analysis this week. The time spent on the column just couldn't be justified, considering that we would have a weekend wrap-up within 18 hours.

On another column note, look for Book vs. Movie to make its return this week. I needed a little time away from movie books, and have also been busy with a slew of video games. After Mario Golf for the GameBoy (which was great fun in the beginning, but got tedious after awhile), I moved on to Katamari Damacy, which I am certain I have mentioned a few times in various places now. Whoever created the game is clearly on drugs, but that's okay. I love it like I love Monty Python. It's just a bit of silliness, as Finding Neverland's young Peter would say.

In addition to that, there was Fable, a fun but flawed game. It's definitely extremely entertaining to take your character in whatever direction, whether it be good or evil; however, since there are no actual consequences to your actions, it becomes somewhat less fun. Next up was Silent Hill 4: The Room, which has a story so great I'd love to see it made into a film (Roger Avary is in fact writing the screenplay for Silent Hill, but is using the first three games as the basis of the plot). The bad news for those playing Silent Hill 4 is that your protagonist is forced to drag an additional character around the adventure with him throughout the entire second half of the game. And it sucks bad. The A.I. is utterly stupid, and may or may not follow you as you desire. The game could have been seriously great had they just made her a character you run into at various points throughout the course of the game.

Speaking of dumb A.I., X-Men: Legends is the current game of choice. It's fun if you like smashing things repeatedly, but it does get repetitive. That said, the voice work is superlative and the story seems pretty decent (I don't really know much about the X-Men universe so it might actually suck).

And finally, I always have one game or another going on my GameBoy, and the current one is...don't laugh...Pokemon Leaf Green. Yup. There's a reason I love RPGs including this one. I really like creating a little group in my own image. That's probably why Final Fantasy Tactics Advance is my favorite of all. If I want an all-moogle team, I can have that. The nou-mous are kind of wussy anyway. Going back to Pokemon, the gameplay is really very solid. There's a reason kids like the game - it's cute as all get-out. For me, of course, it's all about the leveling up. I accept that it's totally uncool to love the game. I still do.

It would seem like I wouldn't have time for anything else but games, but in fact, I've been reading a fair amount. In the next couple of weeks, look for Book vs. Movie columns on Man on Fire, Friday Night Lights and Motorcycle Diaries. Additionally, as we move into November, there are a ton of films based on books, so I'll have to work hard to keep up. There was a nice, comfortable lull in September and October for the most part.

I've also determined that I'd like to try to read all of the National Book Award nominees for 2004. Now, there's not a chance in the world that I will have them all read by the time the winners are announced on November 17th, but I should be able to get through three or four, anyway. In fact, I read the first one in the course of a couple of hours, I liked it so much. Pete Hautman's Godless is one of the finalists in the Young People's Literature category. It's a little bit hard to describe the book, but it centers around a teenage boy who is questioning his own religious faith, and in the process creates his own religion. He and a small group of followers worship the town's water tower. It sounds ludicrous, perhaps, but it's really a pretty dark and funny little story. I wouldn't have minded if it had even gone a little darker, but then it might have been a little too heavy for the target audience. Next up will be Jennifer Gonnerman's Life on the Outside: The Prison Odyssey of Elaine Bartlett, an entrant in the Nonfiction category.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Now that its second season has started, it's time for me to give another shout out to the excellent animated series Megas XLR on Cartoon Network. I'd been hoping that Bruce Campbell might return to reprise his character Magnanimous, and he makes it back in the very first episode of season two. The best news is that the show has been really hitting its stride recently so this one will absolutely not disappoint. It's highly recommended for fans of animation, giant robots, and Bruce in general.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

I thought I would toss this out there for any aspiring writers who just need that extra nudge to get started on their Great American Novel. The cure for your procrastination blues might just be National Novel Writing Month, which begins November 1st. The goal? Write 50,000 words in the month of November. For those who are particularly goal-oriented and need definite deadlines (like me) that means approximately 1,667 words per day. Interested in tapping into that deep well of talent? Visit http://www.nanowrimo.org/ to sign up, as the kind people there will track your progress and also have message boards where you can discuss your successes and stalemates.

Sunday, October 10, 2004


Have I mentioned Neil Gaiman's blog here yet? Despite the fact that I keep a blog myself, I don't really read many of them. In fact, unless you also count Penny Arcade as a bloggish sort of thing, Neil's is the only one I read. And I highly recommend it. So much so that even if I have mentioned it before, I think it bears comment again. If you haven't read his books, they are a must. Start with Neverwhere, or if you want something quick and snappy, try Coraline.

I’ll probably never go into quite the detail that David does on his football picks every week, but here they are for the sake of posterity, anyway.

New England

Someday, there will be a team that will come out and beat the New England Patriots. The Miami Dolphins, with their complete lack of any offense whatsoever, are not that team.

New Orleans

Little known fact about me: I absolutely love John Gruden. He’s cerebral and intense and angry as hell. Nonetheless, this team is so bad that I have very few qualms about picking against them the majority of the time.


Every year, I sort of choose a team I wouldn’t normally root for to like. Pittsburgh is that team this year. I’m really going to enjoy watching Big Ben’s progress. I am, however, concerned whether Duce Staley will be able to play, as his run game has been all the difference for them this year. It’s okay either way, though, because Cleveland – contrary to the song – does not rock.


If you haven’t had the opportunity to really watch this team yet, do it. It’s not simply the Michael Vick show as you might expect. They have a mean defense and a stifling run offense. I’m a fan of Mooch and am pleased to see the Lions on the rise this year, but they’re hitting a very tough opponent here. It is important to note, though, that the Falcons play precisely to their opponent’s level, which always makes things interesting.


I like Dallas’ defense, and it just feels like a day they’ll be winning at home.


This Houston team is starting to show something, and Minnesota has zip for running the ball.


Peyton Manning.


Another fun fact: I never, ever pick against Buffalo.

San Diego

That’s right. I’m picking one of the crappiest teams in the league to win against what so far record-wise has been one of the best. Here’s the thing. The Chargers have absolutely nothing to lose, and they go for it hard each week as a result. The Jaguars, on the other hand, do just enough to get by – except last week, when they actually lost the game. I think that playing in San Diego just gives the Chargers the slight boost they need.


Yes, Arizona is awful. I really think San Francisco is worse.


This falls under the category of gut instinct more than anything. I frequently get these kinds of games wrong.


I remain unimpressed with Denver so far this year. It’s time for Carolina to bounce back.


Honestly, I think this one might be a coin flip. I choose Baltimore on the basis of Washington’s inability to do much right so far this year.

Green Bay

Again, just a feeling. Tennessee – a team I always like – is just so, so injured. Yes, I know Green Bay is as well, but you never count Brett Favre out. He always rises to the occasion, even when tragedy (the loss of his brother this past week) is involved.

Monday, October 04, 2004

I must sincerely apologize for the lack of updates the past month. I heretofore make a resolution to try to spend around five minutes each day to at least say something, even if it's just "hi!".

Part of the reason I've been bad about updating my blog (other than the fact that I'm doing a lot of other writing for the site between columns, movie news and the release schedule), is that we welcomed a new member to our pet family in recent weeks. I'm utterly devoted to her, even if she doesn't look very happy with me for snapping this picture:

Tamara joins Calvin the black kitty and Billy the Chihuahua in our happy home.

Okay, so that's enough crazy cat lady stuff from me. Instead, I'll move on to crazy videogame lady stuff instead. Recently, I've been playing Mario Golf for the GameBoy SP, which is actually an RPG where you build up a golfer until he/she is good enough to compete with Mario. It's not bad for awhile, but it does get a bit repetitive. Probably a great one for kids, though. The bigger fun, though, is Katamari Damancy, which you can see illustrated in this hilarious comic from the boys at Penny Arcade. Well, maybe that doesn't explain so much, but my description probably won't help much. You see, the King of All Cosmos destroyed all the stars in the sky. The Monty Python-esque dude liked what he'd done at first, but now he regrets his decision to wreak havoc. So, he assigns you, his pint-sized son, to remedy matters. You're given a katamari, which is in essence a sticky ball, to roll all over earth and try to grow bigger and bigger. It's ridiculously addictive and entertaining. One word of warning, though. Like Mario Sunshine, it's one of those games that gives you motion sickness if you play too long. So be careful out there.



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