Geoffrey Long
Tip of the Quill: Archives

August 2007 Archives

Good news, bad news.

I've only been on campus for a little over an hour and a half this morning and it's already been a "good news, bad news" kind of day.

The good news: I conducted my first interview this morning using Skype Call Recorder, and it worked like a charm. The software records both sides of the conversation and dumps the resulting .mov file onto your hard drive in a location you specify. I haven't played with it much outside of that yet, but I'm suddenly really and truly excited about conducting interviews with people, whereas I'd previously been put off by the cost of recording hardware+software and/or my own lousy memory and transcription skills. This is, in my best ninth Doctor voice, fantastic.

The bad news: this morning the news broke that NBC/Universal won't be renewing its iTunes contract come December, which means that Heroes and Stargate are both going bye-bye. This stinks, because I'd just bought an Apple TV with plans to download my TV instead of TiVoing it. Guess I'm going to have to get cable (and a TiVo) after all. Rats.


Links list: 08-30-2007.


All full up here.

Dear world,

Please stop selling us stuff. If nothing else, this move has proven to me that Laura and I have way, way, way too much of it. I am officially considering a moratorium on purchasing all new non-essential media and other stuff until I have successfully consumed and/or experienced everything currently in the house, which includes piles of unread books, unwatched DVDs (primarily TV series on DVD that I'd found great deals on – $20 a season is my 'sweet spot', or more accurately, my 'sucker spot'), and unplayed games. Seriously, I probably have enough media stockpiled in here to last me until 2008.

And I'm still not done unloading the old apartment. Good grief. Instead of selling us more stuff, please send assistance. Mayday, mayday – drowning in boxes, please send pie.

Geoff and Laura


Links list: 08-24-2007.
We made Boing Boing!

When I was in high school in the middle of nowhere, Ohio, my main connections to the wild, woolly world of cyberart-and-culture were Wired magazine (back in its six-color, $7 an issue heyday) and Cory Doctorow's Boing Boing (or bOING bOING, depending on how old-school you're feeling at the time). Yesterday I got to check another life goal off the list: Doctorow linked to our CMS theses on Boing Boing.

So my current media-related life goals' list currently stands:

  • TV appearance check (from an interview about poetry in high school)!
  • Wired check!
  • {fray} check! (four times over, if you count the Fray Cafe CD, Fray Cafe Austin and Fray Day 7 DC!)
  • Boing Boing check!

Sweet. NPR, I'm gunning for you next...


The least restful weekend evar.

I would like to extend an official blessing of gratitude towards my friends Sam, Amanda, Matt and Clara, all of whom helped Laura and I move our big heavy stuff into our new place yesterday. It was, as moving often is, a string of questionable adventures – but, all told, the big problematic stuff is hopefully done, and now Laura and I are settling down to the long, arduous task of actually settling in. Which will involve, we expect, somewhere in the neighborhood of 18 more trips back and forth with the Jeep and her Ford. Tonks and Albus, for their parts, are spending the day while Laura and I are at work sunning themselves on our new sun porch, which is, incidentally, the same sun porch that enabled us to get our great whopping leather couch into the apartment. Said couch is now even more banged up than before. Said friends assure me that said marks add more character. I remain somewhat dubious.

Still, the new place is shaping up nicely and is gaining in warmth even as it drains out of these last days of summer. The air is crisp and cool now, and, as I mentioned to Sam and Matt yesterday, in a way this feels like the real, true graduation – the shift in life from studenthood back into adulthood. The streets around our new place feel like Shreve or Wooster, the house is becoming a home, the job is finding its groove, and, for now at least, I am very tired but very happy.


Links list: 08-16-07.
Getting ready for the big move.

Well, "big move" is a bit of a misnomer, since this is probably the smallest move I've had to do since Kenyon, but it is imminent. Laura and I took possession of our new place yesterday, although much to our disappointment we discovered that it wasn't actually ready to move into yet. My heart sank when I saw how filthy the place was, that the doorbells didn't work, that the windowblinds were still in tatters and the garage door was in pieces – all things that I'd assumed would have been fixed since we came in and saw the place before (when the previous tenants were just beginning to move out). My head swam with visions of another slumlord landlord, and that little voice in the back of my head began to scream, "OMIGOD WHAT DID YOU DO!?!?" I called the realtor to ask if there was still work being done, and she directed me to the owner of the house (the actual landlord, despite the fact that he's apparently outsourced rent collection to the realtor). Mercifully our new landlord sounds like a great guy, and he assured me that he's going to get in a cleaning crew and get all the stuff fixed – we just have to make a list and send it to him and he'll make all the necessary arrangements. This is a big improvement from our last landlord, who, when informed that a closet door had broken, told us to "go to Home Depot and get these materials". Whew!

So now I'm making diagrams of the rooms in Illustrator and tinkering with furniture layouts. I think I'm getting close to The Answer™, which is genuinely exciting. The new place is, I think, a little smaller than our current place, but it's all ours – mine, Laura's, and the two new additions to the family: the two kittens we picked up in Ohio a couple of weeks ago. I have a bunch of photos I need to take and post here of the new office, the new cats, the new house... Soon, once all the dust settles! So, uh, September?

Regardless, life is good. Mad wild and chaotic as always, but good. The Summer Singaporeans have all gone home and now I'm working on updating the GAMBIT site with their games, I've got a dozen projects in full swing at work, and I'm trying to get everything stitched up as much as I can before the beginning of the school year, but we'll see what happens. Somehow I doubt there will be enough hours in the day (there never are) but we do the best we can with what we've got – which is, thankfully, quite a bit. More details soon, I promise.


Futures of Entertainment 2.

Another work-related blog note: my artwork and design has just gone live for the upcoming MIT CMS/C3 Futures of Entertainment 2 conference. We've got some cool people showing up from Heroes, The Rocketeer and Yahoo!, so if you're going to be in Boston Nov. 16 and 17, c'mon down. Registration will open soon, and if it's anything like last year, it oughta be one heck of a show!

Ian Bogost on the Colbert Report.

Oh what the hey, if we're gonna blog, let's blog – especially since this is, at least sorta, work-related: game academic Ian Bogost was last night's guest on The Colbert Report. Not only that, but Bogost did a damn fine job of it too, presenting an intelligent, well-phrased description of the Serious Games movement while not making them sound too boring, which, as Colbert himself picked up on, is all too often the case. Nicely done, sir.

A who in the what now?

I shouldn't be blogging from work, but I have the New York Times as my homepage and when I saw this front-pager I couldn't resist: a small tornado was sighted this morning in Brooklyn.

A tornado. In New York.

I was first struck by a tiny touch of homesickness, followed rapidly by the quirky idea that this might make a truly bizarre children's book, a la George Selden's The Cricket in Times Square. "Timmy the Twister is lost and searching for a way home, leaving wrecked taxicabs and bodegas in his wake..."


Heading for a crash.

Blearrrrrrgh. Most of my day so far has been awesome, a blur of productivity and high-speed brainstorming and codeslinging and modeling, et cetera. After my 2PM meeting (which was supposed to only be an hour but ran to over twice that), I ran around the corner to Quantumbooks (the resident technical bookstore on campus), tracked down two good books on AJAX and hurried back to my office to launch into a test of a new course-tracking system...

...And promptly plummeted into an energy vacuum. Several of the cars that I've driven lately have faulty fuel gauges, so that when the needle hits the quarter-tank mark it abruptly drops to zero and the engine dies. Yeah. It's like that.


A simple observation.

That old cliché about the simplest things being the hardest? Absolutely true. Earlier this week I spent hours working on a "version 1.5" redesign of the GAMBIT site, only to discover on the seventh draft that the best solution was a streamlining of my previous design. Subtle and elegant takes the cookie again – but getting to subtle and elegant is, as always, the hard part.


Charles Simic the next poet laureate!

I'm such a nerd. I saw the New York Times headline "Charles Simic, Surrealist With Dark View, Is Named Poet Laureate" and almost shouted "COOL!" in the office. Heh.

Seriously, though. COOL!