Roller Skating in LaGrange

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My family and I just spent a weekend in LaGrange, Georgia visiting with relatives. Among the highlights of the trip, aside from the obligatory breakfasts at Waffle House, was an evening spent roller skating at Red’s Roller Rink. When we walked in the place they were blasting “Ice Ice Baby” so I knew this was going to be a fun time. I hadn’t been roller skating since the late eighties and it took quite some time to get my roller disco legs back in action, but once I got going, it was hard to stop… literally. Anyhow, I also enjoyed the Jesus mural at the far end of the hall. Here’s a full view:

Get Lamp (8/10)

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Get Lamp is a documentary about text adventure games from Jason Scott, the director of BBS: The Documentary. Both of these films cover some rather geeky areas of computing, but, having read Twisty Little Passages, I was much better acquainted with the world of interactive fiction.The film is based almost entirely on interviews with various I.F. luminaries. These interviews focus more on the individuals’ personal connections with interactive fiction rather than a more direct history of the genre. Of all the types of video games, text adventures are about as close as a game can get to being an art form, and the film explores this notion in quite some depth. Personally, I think preferred the bonus footage (which fills an entire second DVD) to the main feature because these went a little more off into more niche areas of the topic with which I was less familiar.  For the main film, I guess I would have liked to see more historical material and less talking heads. Throughout the interviews Scott has a habit of dropping to a black screen while the audio continues. Why not throw up some old photos, game art , or anything to make the film more visually interesting. Well, I suppose talking is the cinematic equivalent of text output. So, I guess this isn’t a huge complaint.

Get Lamp DVD

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Get Lamp Box

What you see pictured here is some of the DVD packaging for the independently produced documentary film about text adventure games, Get Lamp. In the digital age, packaging matters and the creators of Get Lamp went above and beyond in creating a DVD package that satisfies collectable object fetishists like myself. The inner gatefold sleeve is covered with a nostalgic fantasy illustration that looks like it came straight off of an Atari 2600 cartridge. The DVD also came with a fancy numbered and editioned coin (mine’s number 1540), which would seem kind of cheesy (alá the tin coin that came Ultima V) but is actually very well crafted and, dare-I-say cool. All this comes together in a well made cardboard DVD case that alone almost justifies the $40+ dollar price tag. Thankfully, the film is very good and, as one might expect, the discs contain the usual DVD extras, featurettes and bonus footage. As an added reward, you also get a nice selection of actual, playable games on the DVD -ROM partition of the disc. If you have any interest in text adventures, video games and computing history, you should check this out! More on the film itself later.

Professional Motion Graphics Artist

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ComEd Video

Add to my slowly growing list of technical capabilities (in addition to Puzzle Quest Maester and lawn mowist) Motion Graphics Artist.The last couple of days of work have been spent making a video presentation for a major northeastern Illinois power company. I’ll let you guess to which company I am referring. Video is pretty fun to work with but it is somehow physically exhausting. Perhaps it is just the strain of having to listen to stock audio over and over again. In any event, I now want to get a newer version of After Effects. Good times.

Despicable Me (8/10)

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I went in to this film ready to hate it but it wasn’t that bad. It follows the same themes as Up with a cranky old man warming up to the joy of children. But, unlike Up, there is a dash of dark humor in the lead character which leads to the audience rooting on the side of crankiness and evil. I kind of wish there was more of an Addams’ Family vibe through to the end of the film but, of course, they had to make it all heartwarming just like every other animated film that Hollywood cranks out.