Geoffrey Long
Tip of the Quill: Archives

September 2005 Archives

Mirrormask is amazing.

I was predisposed to love it, admittedly, but actually seeing Mirrormask at long last was a truly fantastic experience. So. Very. Cool. If you get a chance, don't miss it! It's incredible what $4M can make these days, and I'm seriously tempted to write my thesis on what I expect is going to be the future of digital storytelling: low-budget, high-concept art animation...


The new James Bond.

So according to this story over at Sci Fi Wire:

Variety reported that the field of actors under consideration to replace Pierce Brosnan as James Bond has narrowed to Daniel Craig (Layer Cake), Henry Cavill (a contender for Superman), Sam Worthington and Goran Visnjic (E.R.). Screen tests are being completed this week, the trade paper reported.

I for one am pulling for Goran Visnjic. I think it'd be cool to have a James Bond with a heavy Croatian (?) accent.

In which I get one monitor back while hoping for two.

So my troubles with my desktop continue apace. Last night I decided to try the time-honored method of solving a problem by throwing money at it, marched down to the local Apple Store here in Cambridge and sensibly bought a new video card. I brought it home, plugged it in, and the damn thing worked for about half an hour. Now the main screen being driven off the AGP card works but not the secondary one, which has me all befuddled. If the PCI card ceased to work, that would make sense, and if the AGP card ceased to work, that would make sense, but this bizarre concept of the second display output on the AGP card failing has me quite beyond the pale. What. The. Hell. Granted, this is progress, but having this one display still sitting here taunting me is aggravating in the extreme. I may take the card back and trade up for the next higher model, methinks – I'd putchased the cheapest one they had in hopes that a simple swap would solve the problem, but alas, this seems not to be the case.

There is so much happening and I am a horrible, terrible blogger for not trying to chronicle more of it. Recent misadventures have included meeting recruiting people from Yahoo!, Microsoft and Google; giving a pitch meeting to some execs from the Cartoon Network, bunkering down and figuring out (roughly) how vodcasts could be used to deliver chapters of a narrative, and now I'm trying to determine whether or not I have the resources to actually try that. I have an assignment coming up a week from tomorrow (eek!) which is all about a visual narrative, and another coming up the week after that which is about sound, and I have several ideas I want to try and pull off while I'm here at MIT and these seem like an excellent opportunity, but I'm also slammed with all sorts of homework... Well, okay. To be honest, the real bugaboo for me here is a deep-rooted fear that I've lost my storytelling skills. Which is silliness, of course, and the best way to overcome that silliness is to throw myself headlong back into the pool, but the fear is still there. So my job this week is to overcome that fear and to get back on the proverbial horse. The solution is to try and write as copiously as possible, give myself freedom to suck (this is, after all, an experiment) and roll with it.

I wish it were as easy as that sounds. More details as they emerge... If I do succeed in this experiment, I'll have some news concerning it coming up fairly quick-like. :)


Thinking about Y!TV

Doing some heavy, heavy thinking this week about the work that Yahoo! is doing in the arena of online video streaming, VOD and the long tail. To get caught up to speed, check out this Wired piece called The Super Network. An excerpt:

Such network-generated filters will enable psychographic siblings to find one another and, ultimately, evolve into social programming networks. There will still be content that's almost universally appealing, of course, but instead of being imposed on us in multimillion-dollar marketing blitzes (see Fantastic Four and Britney Spears), the new blockbusters will be discovered, illuminated, remixed, amplified, and perhaps enhanced by sponsorship money, during a quick passage from obscurity. "If you can create the right social exchange," Horowitz says, "you don't have to do the heavy lifting."

The mind races with possibilities. Seriously. Races.


I've been up all night, I might sleep all day...

One glorious thing about the MIT experience is that I don't have classes on Friday. This is a godsend, since that day is therefore used for catching up on the avalanche of assigned readings. Another glorious thing is the existence of 'student holidays', which are referred to in-house as "suicide prevention days". Since I don't have classes today (Friday) nor on Monday (suicide prevention day), I'm taking the four-day weekend to fly back to Chicago to see my old friend Andy get married.

I'm very much looking forward to this, but the only cheap flight I could get by the time my schedule firmed up was the red-eye 5:45 flight. Which, of course, means I have to be at the airport at 4:45, so I have a taxi picking me up at 4:15AM. Given my usual bizarro sleeping habits, I decided that it was actually better to stay up all night and just sleep on the plane and then some more when I get into Chitown. So far, so good -- it's 2:45 AM and I've only got the occasional case of the yawns. By the time I finish packing, shower up and do a little tidying up around here I expect the cab will be here.

Ye gods, I hate going to bed when it's light out, but sometimes you have to take one for the team. Can't wait to see Caitlin and Talon and Sara and Andy and the whole crew! Alas, it doesn't look like I'll have much of a chance to see the rest of the Chicago crew on this trip – Kori, Ken, Jim, Kourtney, Andrew, etc. – but there will be other trips, I promise!


Say you want a Revolution.

So they've unveiled the controllers for the upcoming Nintendo Revolution, and they're, um, odd. They look more like DVD remotes than traditional controllers (although they can be rotated to resemble the 'classic' approach), and operate more like one-handed gyroscopic mice. An additional option is the left-hand analog stick attachment, which could make next-gen shooters like Metroid Prime 3 quite interesting. Can't wait to get my hands on one of these.

Please welcome Richard Isaac Hagan.

So I'm a little behind in my weblog reading, which meant that I missed that my friend Erika from Kenyon (now Erika Plank Hagan) just had her first child. Way to go, Erika! He looks like a wonderful little rascal. :)


Nailing the future TV distribution model.

In his latest column for Flow, I WANT MY GEEK TV!, the head of my department nails the future distribution model for TV shows. Full disclosure: I helped turn him on to what's been happening with the Global Frequency scenario. :)


Whoo boy.

So due to a miracle of school planning, every weekend this semester is a three-day weekend. They won't be long enough. This weekend I finished registering for classes, did my laundry, finished unpacking (mostly), ran errands, explored the wonder that is Davis Square, ate pizza and Indian and some pathetic cooking of my own, read Shakespeare's Henry V and Brenda Laurel's Utopian Entrepreneur, dealt with 50+ emails, struggled with a dead G5 for days before determining that the AGP video card was toast (d'oh!), laid the groundwork for obtaining my Harvard library card (whoo hoo!), and a host of other things, but a raft of yet other things remain to be done. Luckily classes tomorrow are light, so I may be able to catch up yet. If you haven't heard from me yet, sit tight -- I'll get to you ASAP. :)

Videogames are my generation's rock and roll?

From The New York Times' article "Contesting the Not-So-Virtual World of Politics":

"This is a classic case of one generation attacking the media of a younger generation," [Doug Lowenstein, president of the Entertainment Software Association] said. "There are all of these people who may be mortified by the Godfather video game because it's too violent but then they'll go out and buy the Godfather trilogy of movies and let their kids watch it because they consider that great art. Many of the people now attacking video games screamed and yelled at their own parents for saying that rock 'n' roll was the devil and was leading to the destruction of American values. A lot of those people ended up going to Congress, and now they are saying the same thing about video games."

I hadn't thought about it that way before, but now that he mentions it, yeah. The only trouble with that analogy is that Elvis was a thousand times sexier than Will Wright...


Drinking from a firehose.

So there's an old saying that getting an education from MIT is like trying to drink from a firehose. I've been in classes for less than a week and yeah, it's exactly like that. My cohorts are great, amazing people that I'm honored to join in this endeavor, my professors are incredible folks that apparently know everybody on all continents, and this experience is already both blowing my hair back and perfectly, utterly right.

I have so much more to post and say, but I probably won't have a chance to do so until tomorrow, if then. I've already signed up to be my department's liaison between CMS and the arts@mit initiative, which could be hot, and we're meant to attend an open rehearsal for a performance of Tom Stoppard's "The Real Thing" tonight. We have labs from 7-10 Monday and Wednesday, a colloquium with a reception every Thursday night, and classes in weird blocks for the rest of the week. Fridays currently remain open, but I still have to meet with my employer here on campus to determine if that's the day where I'll be squeezing in all my work time.

In short, this is amazing and daunting as hell, but I haven't been this (professionally) happy in years. :D


Weather and judges.

Hello, everybody. First off, apologies for the long absence between posts – since my last in-depth entry, I've moved to Boston and have been mired in house-settling/redesigning, unpacking, class registration, etc. Things are still chaotic, but the dust is finally settling. I'll post more in depth about that in my next entry, but first, current events.

Hurricanes and friends unhoused

One reason I've been silent lately is the whole Hurricane Katrina scenario. I felt bad recounting tales of moving and new-school excitement while so much other tragedy is happening elsewhere. My stories of a life in boxes are nothing compared to my poor friend SarahScott, who had just started school down in Tulane and whose house is now off-limits. I haven't yet heard a final tally of how much of her stuff has been lost, but at least she got out OK and is physically unharmed, saints be praised. At the moment she's geeking out at DragonCon to help get her minds off of floods and imminent transfer to another school possibly in Houston. Go, young geek, and be happy – my thoughts are with you, Kasi.

For all of you out there inclined to help with the disaster relief, please do make a donation at

Saying goodbye to the Supremes

I woke up this morning to the news that Chief Justce Rehnquist finally succumbed to his battle with thyroid cancer. It must be difficult to have so much of your life thrown to the masses when in government; while I'm sure hundreds are personally saddened by the loss of the man, millions are chattering about this new secondary opening on the bench. There's already rumors abounding that Bush is going to try and transfer his nomination of Judge Roberts over to a nomination for chief justice. Personally, this feels a little weird to me. Shouldn't the new kid on the team be required to really prove his mettle before he's allowed to lead?

What I'm hoping is that the current administration's complete fumbling of the New Orleans disaster will lead to enough outrage in the American populace to finally give the Democrats some tiniest semblance of a backbone. Our current administration is so cloesly tied to the oil cartels that they're allowing the oil companies to get away with $3-a-gallon gouging before Katrina, and their current profiteering on this disaster to justify $4-a-gallon costs. Maybe now that people are really feeling the pinch on their wallets, they'll finally wake up and take a good, hard look at the damage this administration is really doing.

Coming up next: life in Beantown

Tons of news and photos to recount. Living in Boston is going to be amazing, and I'm utterly thrilled with the prospects for this year's classes and things. More on all of that soon, I promise!