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Saturday, January 19, 2008

Gawker Against Scientology

This is kind of interesting, talking about Gawker's Nick Denton insisting on posting some of Scientology's indoctrination videos even when the lawyers say no way.

What I find really interesting about it is that I just read a piece on Scientology's Celebrity Center in the New Yorker of all publications which is infinitely weaker on examining the cult than Gawker. There's not a single observation in the New Yorker article that the author doesn't allow someone from the cult to offer a PR spin to defend. Was the Castle built on mostly slave labor based on a program of punishment? No, no ... that's just therapy. And the New Yorker sucks it all in just for a chance to mention Jenna Elfman, reducing the magazine to little more than People without the people.

Take that one in for a moment, that a uppity blog can severely outclass the magazine that still tries to put the toity in hoity toity.

I Am Everywhere Man (Part 1)

I am everywhere man.

OK ... That's hyperbole. Wildly so. I'm not exactly on a rock tour here. It's actually just one part of a week, partially on business. I haven't actually flown on for business much in the last decade or so. The last time I flew into San Francisco I was meeting with Netscape as part of a contingent of State Farm developers hoping Communicator was going to be the salvation for our browser problems.

Short version from that tract of the browser war frontline: it wasn't.

After that most of my business related travel would be with Organic. That was also pre dot bomb and it mostly consisted of early morning flights to achieve last minute damage control. I spent as much time in meeting rooms as I did sleeping in a hotel room, and save for some ridiculous bar charges in between, I couldn't tell my Minneapolis from my Boston.

So there I am, hopped into a seat that I've grabbed courtesy Southwest's open seating concept ... a concept that didn't seem to exist when I was in this position last ... staring at the grinning face of a five year old. I know this face. I saw it on a child when I flew to London years ago. If you want hell - experience it at the fingertips of a phantom child who plays with your hair in your sleep and then disappears when you awake.

I know this face. I move to another seat. I don't care what people think .... open seating is innovation incarnate. Evil child zero. Me one.

My plan for entertainment was simple. The Internet is my tool and my aid. I downloaded three movies with BitTorrent that I figured would last awhile. One was the latest Resident Evil movie, next a cheap B movie zombie flick (some might think that was the latest Resident Evil flick) and something marked 'horror festival'. All in all I should have just under six hours of movie.

Sadly the latest Resident Evil turned out to be the first one, the B movie zombie flick was a bad AVI with no sound and the 'horror festival' was just another zombie schlockfest called Days of Darkness. My Thinkpad has less sound output than my Nintendo DS and so basically I had an hour and a half of barely audible, barely watchable camp. Internet one. Me zero.

I rode into the Bay Area in a limo. Limos are actually not quite so exotic and when limo drivers get bored, they try to organize caravans of riders into a bulk package. Two people can get downtown for cheaper than a cab ... But since they both pay the limo makes a nice profit. The real benefit is that I can ride comfortably in a seat which does not smell like cloves.

From the limo I get to the Baldwin Hotel. This would something of a shift in luxury. The lobby is about the size of our living room. The hotel room itself is a queen bed with walls about three feet away on three sides and zero against the headboard. Still, there is no doubting that The Baldwin is a Real Find. It is about ten minutes of walking to the conference, has a rather nice bathroom and a decent view of the city. It's also about half the price of anything in a twenty mile radius.

Granted, it has the slowest elevator in the world and the fire escape is marked by a simple sheet of copier paper taped to a window with 'FIRE ESCAPE' on it ... Which makes the interface builder in me just cringe ... But the place has spunk. You won't fall in love with The Baldwin's character, but you'll root for it anyway.

[more to arrive later...]

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Game Night: Werewolf

We got eight at our last game night and so decided to try Werewolf (although technically we're using the Mayfair deck Lupus in Tabula). For the uninitiated, Werewolf is a game of bluffing where a certain number of players are secretly werewolves, the rest are villagers (with various extra roles depending on group size being added) and the two groups are essentially trying to annihilate the other.

The werewolves vote in secret with everyone closing their eyes. Above you can Sterno, with his eyes open because he's dead, our friend Ben - eyes closed as he's a villager, and the fair finger of The Girl voting to devour someone.

It's really great fun and a testament to that is that you're actually supposed to have nine, not eight, players - as one player has to be the moderator. Despite this, we kept mucking up the rules enough to have a good time for several hours. It's a little wacky, but actually even less geeky than say, Munchkin, in the long run. Check out the Wikipedia article for more.