Geoffrey Long
Tip of the Quill: Archives

February 2008 Archives

Undoing the doing.
Typical Movable Type upgrade experience: you spend X hours attempting to upgrade the software, then Y hours attempting to integrate the new version's functionality into your pre-existing templates.  The tag changes between MT3 and MT4 this time around are particularly sinful, but hey -- if this prevents all the comment spam I was getting before, it'll all be worth it!
I just finished installing Movable Type 4!

Welcome to my new blog powered by Movable Type. This is the first post on my blog and was created for me automatically when I finished the installation process. But that is ok, because I will soon be creating posts of my own!


Links list: 02-28-08.

Haven't done one of these in a while either...

Apologies for the lack of depth in commentary; I think I'm fighting off a low-level version of the office plague du jour.

New photos up on Flickr!

For those of you who only follow my RSS feed, I've posted a few new sets of photos to my Flickr account. They're primarily GAMBIT-related, but there's still some great stuff there from this year's IAP, last week's Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, and one from Wondercon that features me and the world's shortest Imperial Guard. Enjoy!


After Kafein.

I realize it's been almost two weeks since my last entry. Trust me, they've been busy weeks. Big update soon, but until then, some art.


Bribing Alan Moore with genius.



It's been a while since I've been truly excited by any Sandman swag, but day-umn.

In other news, today was an extremely long day at the office. Productive, but extremely long. I produced what might be the biggest thing I've ever designed today, a 3-foot by 4-foot poster for our lab's trip to GDC next week, entitled "& Myths of Video Game Design" or something like that. Text by Matthew Weise, art by Mike Rapa, apologies to Scott McCloud. I'll post some artwork when I can.


Two small things.
  1. I find it very weird that, except for the curly hir and earring, Ben Brown and I have somehow become doppelgangers.
  2. I think I may very well be a creative generalist. (Thanks, Kevin.)



Ugh. Well, at least he took Boston:

Hillary Clinton withstood a string of high-profile endorsements for Barack Obama to glide to a surprisingly decisive victory, while Mitt Romney held onto his Republican base to handily beat John McCain yesterday, in the most competitive and meaningful Massachusetts presidential primary in memory.

In one of the largest of voter turnouts in state presidential primaries, Clinton surged to a lead with the earliest returns last night, then never gave it up - in sharp contrast to the public surveys that had shown Obama closing in over the final week. With about 92 percent of the state's precincts reporting, she held a 56 percent to 41 percent lead. Clinton had 47 Massachusetts delegates to Obama's 29, according to preliminary counts.

Obama, who had the support of Governor Deval Patrick and Senators Edward M. Kennedy and John F. Kerry, carried Boston by a small margin of under 10,000 votes, as Mayor Thomas M. Menino's political machine kept her close. Obama also did well in liberal, affluent suburbs.

But Clinton ran up comfortable margins in urban areas such as Quincy, Worcester, Fall River, Springfield, New Bedford, and other more conservative towns in the Merrimack Valley and South Shore.

"This is still Clinton country," Menino said in an interview last night. "Our campaign wasn't about speeches; it was about work. All we had was people making the phone calls, knocking on doors. We weren't involved in superstar campaigns; we were involved in workers campaigns."

I've been talking about the election with a number of my friends (I prefer thinking buddies to drinking buddies), and so far the overwhelming opinion is Obama FTW. I tend to agree, as do Michael Chabon and Lawrence Lessig, but at this point I honestly feel like I'd vote for the Democrats no matter who they ran this time around simply because I feel the Republican party needs to be sent a message – and I'm a registered Republican. I've never voted Republican, mind you, because so far I haven't seen the Republicans float a single candidate that actually represents what it means to be a Republican. I'll be voting Democrat both because the Democrats seem to be closer to what my opinion of good government happens to be, and because I honestly feel that the Republicans need to be punished for the last eight years of wanton profiteering and mismanagement. For me, the next election should be transformative, but I'd settle for punitive.



Marx, Finch, De Niro, Stallone and Brando.

So far this weekend I've knocked off another two films on my AFI Top 100 project: Network (1976) and A Night at the Opera (1935), and so far it's been a fantastic weekend.

I know I should write more about these films, but really, you've gotta see these to believe 'em. When someone told me that Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip was just Aaron Sorkin drawing Network out into twenty-odd episodes, I scoffed – and now I totally believe it. It makes me even more depressed that there will never be a second season of Studio 60, but I believe it. In a way, Studio 60 is an odd mash-up of homage and meta-level remake: a story decrying the sins of television on television and eventually killed by television. TV scholars everywhere should have been curling up their toes with glee at the synchronicity between the common theme of network interference between Studio 60 and Network and the network meddling that wound up resulting in the show's feeling so wildly uneven, which, of course, led to its untimely demise. (30 Rock didn't help much either, of course, but now I wonder if the green light for 30 Rock was given so that the executives could present the American populace with an option as to which philosophy of television they'd rather believe. That the so-called "TV Generation" would pick the more upbeat candidate should come as a shocker to no one.) Network is now, as I suspected it would be, one of my favorite films ever. Absolutely fantastic writing, acting and message, with a great blend of workhorse framing not getting in the way of the dialogue and narrative and real knock-down awesome cinematography where needed (most notably in Ned Beatty's boardroom scene). Seriously. Well worth the money.

A Night at the Opera, of course, is one of the Marx Brothers' most timeless classics. The Marx Brothers, like Laurel and Hardy or Chaplin, are, I think, a sort of Rorschach test of humor – I myself found Groucho and Chico's one-liners priceless but Harpo's screwball visual gags less interesting – still, in toto I loved the film completely and can't wait to experience more of their work. Laura, on the other hand, didn't warm as much to the film, which makes me suspect the 'Rorschach Test' theory. It's also the case that my own sense of humor is, well, odd, and somewhat anachronistic – many contemporary comedies hold very little appeal to me, but I find the old stuff wonderful. I like Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau more than Jon Heder and Efren Ramirez, for example; given my choices, I'd rather see old Marx brothers movies than Harold and Kumar. I liked the movie, but I liked A Night at the Opera much more.

I suppose the common element to both movies that I appreciate the most, which should surprise absolutely nobody, is the writing. Verbal wit beats slapstick in my book, and compelling, intelligently-written and brilliant dialogue coupled with a great, heartfelt message presented well will get me to make a beeline for the theater. I enjoyed Raging Bull, but I liked Network much more perhaps due to my own preference for intelligent plots; of course, at the same time, I think I liked Raging Bull a great deal more than Rocky (which I also watched last week) because De Niro is clearly a better actor than Stallone and the character was simply more complex. On the Waterfront proves that a character can be far from the sharpest crayon in the box and still complex and endearing; of this "Pugilism Trilogy" I think I may have liked On the Waterfront best, followed by Raging Bull and then Rocky. What do you guys think? Bill?


I vote for "Microo!" and "Goople".

Obviously the hottest story on the wire this morning is Microsoft's $44.6B bid for Yahoo! (That wasn't meant to be exclamatory, but writing "Yahoo!." just looked odd.) Given that the struggling Internet giant just announced on Tuesday that it would be cutting a thousand jobs, reported internal concerns that Jerry Yang can't rally the troops and the departure of Terry S. Semel all point towards a great big "ACQUIRE ME" sign Scotch-taped to the company's forehead, and the fact that Microsoft's bid places a 62% premium over yesterday's closing stock price ($31 a share bid versus $19.18 a share on the market) suggests that this might well go through.

If it does happen, the resulting megacorp may suddenly give Google new cause for alarm, which might (but probably won't) lead to a merger between Google and Apple, followed rapidly by an entire raft of antitrust suits, and possibly both companies' lobbying the Fed for recategorization of Internet and computing services as utilities.

Mr. Bastin, would you like to use your legal superpowers to explain why this won't happen? :-)