Geoffrey Long
Tip of the Quill: Archives

October 2005 Archives


I suppose 9:30 in the morning is too early to post something with such a dreary title, but that's about how I feel at the moment. "Hallowent" is sort of the past tense of "Halloween", to my mind – Halloween, Halloweening, Hallowent. And even though the day just began, it's pretty much a lost cause already.

I love Halloween. Love it. It's my favorite holiday of the year. Still, the last couple of years have been sort of blase for Halloweenery. This is largely because for the last couple of years I've been pretty laid-back about meeting people, and as a result don't get invited to many costume parties. Hence, the lack of need to make a costume. I'd been planning to go as Destruction from the Sandman series, since I am a big fan of the Double Duty Costume, which is a costume you can wear when out in public without too much grief. Since Destruction is usually depicted as big and bearded (or at least fuzzy) with long hair, and most recently in a simple shirt and jeans, and seeing as how I myself am big and bearded with long hair, this would be an easy costume to pull off. The only props I'd need would be a hobo's stick and a sword, and maybe a dog and a copy of Keats. I am also a fan of the Cult Costume, which is a costume that only a few people get. For that same reason, I'd also contemplated going as Mal Reynolds, which would have been fairly simple as long as I could track down a big brown coat.

However, not having any official reason to dress up this year, all of that work was simply set aside in favor of, well, conferences and homework. This is sad and somewhat depressing, and I am consoling myself wth mellowcreme pumpkins and the knowledge that someday, maybe sooner and maybe later, I'm going to be the guy who throws the big crazy Halloween parties that everyone talks about. I used to be that guy back in high school, and when I have my own house and a large community of friends all in one place, we're going to have ourselves a time. Someday. But not today.

Happy Halloween, everybody. I miss you all.

Women and the world.

I woke up this morning to find two fantastic emails from old Kenyon friends in my inbox. The first was a final installment of Beth Roche's cross-America letters, a series of missives dispatched by email from various stops in a drive from Massachusetts to Washington state. I remember the last time I drove across country and I absolutely loved it – it tends to be a voyage of multiple discoveries. You discover more about America, more about yourself, and a whole hell of a lot more about the person you're riding with. If you ever want to really and truly vet a new friend or S.O., take a long road trip with them. 'Round about the 300-mile marker you start to find out what they're really made of.

The second email was from Laura Marx, telling the story of her completing the Grand Rapids Marathon in 5 hours, 21 minutes, and 47 seconds. You go girl! Laura was taking pledges for the Michael J. Fox foundation – if you're interested in supporting her or the cause, pop over to, click on 'donate' in the upper right corner, and follow the instructions. Be sure to write "Laura Marx/Grand Rapids Marathon" in the comments field!

As for myself, I've been buried in catch-up work since getting home from the conference. No joke, I had about a thousand pages of reading to do, which I've managed to whittle down to about 300, but there's still a long, long way to Tipperary. Belated "happy birthday!"s to SarahScott, Jessica and Ebo – I miss you guys, and I hope we can catch up soon!

Right. Once more unto the breach...


Oh, the weather outside is frightful...

I'll post some notes about the Game Writing Conference soon (which was amazing), but I just wanted to point something out to the world. Today, October 29, 2005 at around 1:45 PM, Boston had its first snow. It's falling in bg white flakes the size of quarters, and it's gaining speed. Part of me thinks this is wonderful, and the other part is sorely missing the 80-degree days in Texas!


Lunchtime quickies.

Couple of quick things while I wait for the microwave to ding:

  1. Massachusetts is currently being spanked with cold wind and torrential rain. Not good when you're supposed to be leaving on a jet plane. "What the hell," I growled as I punched up – and then I saw the culprit: Wilma, wending her witchy way up the coast. Grrr.
  2. It's a good thing that I exist right at the nexus of two demographics classically known for being unkempt – the creative type and the MIT geek type – because I am having zero luck finding a place to get a trim here in Cambridge. There are plenty of them, but most of them don't have room for walk-ins, and the one that did wanted forty-five bucks for a haircut. Unh uh. I'm a grad student, thanks. Forty-five smackers buys a lot of Taco Bell.
  3. I spent all morning making business cards at Kinko's, due to a typo I made in my own design for the Convergence Culture Consortium cards. Last week I made business cards for five of us, and I spent so much time and energy on making sure that nobody else's cards had any errors that I completely forgot to proofread my own. D'oh! The shoemaker's son truly does go barefoot. Anyway, the moral of this story is be nice to the poor guys who work at Kinko's – it really does take a long time to make your business cards on the spot, since what seems like an easy series of cuts actually translates into tons and tons of work. Trust me. Voice of experience.
  4. The Tohubohu gang pulled it off again – I can't wait to see the finished product, a short called "Homemade Hero". Way to go, gang!
  5. Mercifully, all my friends in Florida have emerged out the other side of another hurricane relatively unscathed. For a great story (with pictures!) check out David Seitzinger's weblog.
  6. Weather like this is made for soup. And that was the microwave dinging. Lunch is served. :)


And suddenly, a conference broke out!

So how cool is this? Late last week I found out about the Game Writers Conference that's happening this week in Austin, Texas, and now tomorrow I'm hopping a plane and heading back to the land of ribs and Shiner Bocks. Kind of like a preview for next year's SXSW, which I'm definitely going to try and attend. I miss all my old cohorts, especially after getting to see Leonard and Ryan again a few weeks ago, so I'm going to try and make my way back there again next year.

This is definitely a week of heavy travel, though -- last weekend Mom and Dad came up from Ohio and we took a daytrip up to Portland, Maine on Saturday. Damn, what a beautiful city -- I can't wait to go back!

More news as it develops... I wonder if they'll have free wi-fi at the Convention Center?


Tohubohu rides again and again and again...

I want to send a shout out to my brothers at Tohubohu Productions, who are saddling up for the 2005 National Film Challenge this weekend. I wish I could be there to join in, but I'll be cheering for you from way up North!

Spinners and Bloggers.

I'm sitting in the Spinners and Bloggers forum here at MIT and it's okay – two of my cohorts and I were tied up in a business meeting and arrived late, so it's entirely possible that we missed all the great fire and brimstone, but so far it's only sort of enh. A couple of fun stories here and there, but my excitement is elsewhere.

There's so much going on here, and the brain has been spinning at 250K RPM for a while now. As a result, I kinda have to get out of here for a little while. I'm almost out front of the readings, so there shouldn't be that much going with me in my backpack, but my parents are coming up this weekend and we're going to take a quick trip up North to go leaf-peeping and just sort of catch up. I haven't seen my folks since classes started, which was only something like six weeks ago now, but it feels more like six months. That's the result of there being no down days here.

Quick interesting story from the forum – when Newt Gingrich was trying to build credibility for his image reboot, he went on Amazon and critiqued tons of books on national security. Neat.

Recent media consumption has included Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Dan Gilmor's We The Media, and countless essays and articles. This weekend's primary assignment is Paradise Lost, and I have an audio narrative project due Thursday (which will be posted here if it goes halfway well). Man.


The occasional idiot.

Every now and then I do something fairly dumb. Mercifully, it doesn't happen often, but on days like today, when I thought I was running late to my eleven o'clock class until I got to the door, peered into the little window and saw an entirely different class, then had to pull out my datebook to remember that said class actually happened at one o'clock, well, on days like today I feel like an idiot.

On the other hand, it's rather nice to be an hour and forty-five minutes early instead of fifteen minutes late.


Apple changes everything again.

If you've missed the news, you've been under a rock – Apple just stitched up the online video market. Between the new video iPod and iTunes 6 (which lets you buy and download music videos and ABC TV shows for $1.99) it's a brave, brave, brave new world.

I can't get over how huge this is. We independent content creators should soon be able to distribute our TV shows, movies, whatever straight through the web to our audiences. This is going to be amazing.

More on this very soon. I need to finish watching the Counting Crows videos I've been wanting to own for years.


For the interested.

I need to get a new photo taken, because the one at the foot of this page (and which serves as my bio photo over at is woefully out of date. I have once again grown in my winter beard, my hair is getting longish again, I am well and truly enrolled at MIT now, and I am presently dating a wonderful woman (who is, alas, still in Chicago) named Caitlin who is an award-winning playwright, a librarian, a masseuse, and skilled in the use of Sharp Pointy Things. She kicks much ass. I have not yet mentioned her in these pages because I've been trying to keep her all to myself, but Monday afternoon, when putting her on a plane back to Chicago, I made the somewhat foolish mistake of asking, "Does it bother you that I haven't yet mentioned you in my weblog?" To which she replied, "You have a weblog?" Oops. So, consider her mentioned.

Other things. I made a little progress today on my novel. Not a lot, only a few pages, but I still consider that a breakthrough, since there hasn't been much happening on that front in a while. I think I'm finally entering the endgame on this first draft; at the very least, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel without a telescope now.

I need to head to bed now; it's 12:43 AM and I'm going to be spending pretty much all day tomorrow on campus watching a series of dog-and-pony shows put on by the profs at the Media Lab, explaining what they're up to and what directions their works are taking. I'm very much looking forward to this. It's like Christmas for media geeks.


Success! (Kinda.)

Ah, yes. That's what grad school is all about – staying up until 4AM to finish a project that's a downsized version of the uber-ambitious project you'd had in mind at the beginning. In this case, I'd hoped to animate the logo, the 'stinger' (or whatever you call it) of hook-'em plot that goes right before the opening credits, the opening credits and the first scene of an animated version of Bones of the Angel, but instead I only got through the logo, stinger and credits. The first scene will have to wait – which is fine, since I want to have Talon do the voiceover work for Jack Walker anyway.

But! It's done, I got at least some sleep, I now know how to do some more basic work in Final Cut Pro and how to burn DVDs using iDVD, and the end result is pretty kick-ass. I wanted to see if a guy like me could create an animated project using just a G5, a Wacom tablet, Adobe Illustrator, FInal Cut Pro, some off-the-shelf shareware for screen grabs and audio off the Internet. I think the answer is yes, with the output being something akin to a "Reading Rainbow" for adults. What do you think? Check it out:

(5.2MB QuickTime .mov file, QuickTime required, needs sound to be turned up)


I am teh suck at blogging.

It's true. I am really, truly teh suck at blogging these days. (And yes, Mom and Dad, "I am teh suck" is a strange, grammatically-correct-to-the-people-who-use-it phrase to which you have not yet been exposed. Well, until now. Right.) There is just so much going on right now that it's crazy. Cra-a-a-a-zy.

A couple of quick bring-you-up-to-speed things before I hoof it to my 2:30 class...

The monitors are still broken. My third display is still conked out. This is distressing because the monitor is fine, the connectors are fine, but the motherboard isn't delivering enough power (we think) to drive three displays, which feels like a very expensive and time-consuming repair. Ewww.

Last week, Cartoon Network; this week, Square Enix. So MIT is bringing in a high muckymuck from Square Enix this week, which is awesome. Square Enix is the company behind Final Fantasy, my favorite RPG franchise ever, and making a connection with someone there is going to be quite cool. I can't wait to meet this guy.

Also: the Director of the Academy of Machinima Arts and Sciences really enjoyed Corpse Bride. Another amazing MIT moment – last Thursday night Ivan, Sam, Sam's wife and I got to see Tim Burton's Corpse Bride with the director of The Academy of Machinima Arts and Sciences, which is essentially the Academy of People Who Make Movies Using Videogames. Think Red vs. Blue and you got it. He was a very cool guy – he'd come to give a presentation about machinima and afterwards, at the reception, we went up to him and said, "Hey, we're going to go see Corpse Bride – wanna go?" and he said "Sure!" So we dropped his bag of computers off at the Marriott in Kendall Square (which is where all visiting MIT people seem to stay) and headed down to the Lowes Cineplex on Boston Common, which is now one of my favorite theaters ever. We had a great conversation on the train about obscure animators and graphic design. I love it here.

Serenity rules. Go see it now! If you haven't seen it yet, Joss Whedon's new film is amazing. Even the guys in our party who had never seen an ep of Firefly agreed that it was better than Star Wars. Someone in a review recently likened it to what it would have been like if Han Solo hadn't met up with Luke Skywalker and had instead had a movie about the adventures of the Millennium Falcon, and that's kind of right. Only better. And funnier. And sadder. It. Was. Great. Go see it, now!

Man, what else?

Jeez, I'm not sure. I have a piece by Barthes which I really need to read for my next class, which is all about the death of the author, and I feel it necessary to stand up for all authors everywhere and cry, "I'm not dead yet!" Ah, Barthes and Foucault. Bastards.

MIT is also doing weird things to my mood. Yesterday before Serenity was very, very bad because I was feeling excruciatingly overwhelmed by the workload, but today it's quite a bit better. I'm also eating more/worse here, which is bad, because I'd honestly expected to be losing weight while here, but instead I have resorted to a steady diet of energy-boosting junk food to keep the engines burning at weird hours and doing weird things. I'd also forgotten how much I liked to munch on snacks while reading, so having this mountain of theory cascading down on my poor widdle head right in at the onset of Halloween candy season is the apocalypse. Damn you, mallowcreme pumpkins! Damn you to hell!

But, anyway, I'm still happy and excited. Exhausted, and getting somewhat more so every day, but still happy and excited. Life is good, it's just crazy.

Oh, and Murakami, the author of Kafka on the Shore and The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, is coming this week, as is Stephen Berlin Johnson, the author of Everything Bad is Good for You and other such things. Oh, and I have a major media project due on Thursday. If it works half as well as I'm hoping it will, there will be Neat Stuff appearing at later this week. I'll post again here when/if it goes up. Wish me luck!