Comic-Con 2009 – We are not alone

July 27th, 2009

I almost didn’t go this year. Some of my friends I usually go with weren’t going so I almost called it all off. I’m glad I didn’t of course. Among some of the highlights for me were first time Comic-con appearances of Hideo Miyazaki and Peter Jackson. Even though the former was only there to promote the English dubbed & US release of a film he’d already made (“Ponyo”) and the latter told us the disappointing news that “The Hobbit” was stalled, I am enough of a fangirl that just seeing them in person was a thrill.
John Lasseter & Hideo Miyazaki
For more movie news I was excited for “Where the Wild Things Are” (they showed us a great sampling of clips from the film) and I was cautiously optimistic about “District 9″ (The film Jackson was there to help promote). I also think Tim Burton’s “9″ is going to be good with the potential of being “great”. “Toy Story 3″ is a sure fire hit and gave me a chance to see if the “new” 3D was going to give me a headache or not (it didn’t). However “Beauty and the Beast” in 3D left me thinking, “Why?”. It’s already a fine film so making a 3D version just seems like a money grab to me. “Sherlock Holmes” I’m not sure about but with Jude Law, Robert Downey Jr and Rachel McAdams in it, I’m willing to give it a shot. “The Book of Eli” looks pretty darn dark and could turn out to be compelling. Gary Oldman and Denzel Washington are in it so we’ll see if it’ll go on their respective “hit” or “slightly miss” lists. The film “Legion” I wasn’t interested in before at all but it’s now at least on my DVD list, same with “The Box”.

Arts-wise I enjoyed seeing Donato do a live painting workshop demo and I also enjoyed Brom’s panel in which he talked about his career as well as showed us some of the work process behind his new book, “The Child Thief”. Looking at his past work I was surprised by how much he’s done (you’ll have to forgive me for not knowing this as I met him as a friend of a friend before I realized I’d also seen his work before). I also made the usual webcomic artist rounds, seeing Rich from Diesel Sweeties, and the Penny Arcade and PvP guys.

For evening events, Friday night I attended a bar party where I saw four members of “The Guild” and talked briefly to Felicia Day (and even more briefly to Sandeep – not because he was rude or anything just because it was darn crowded in that bar!). Saturday I went to Sony Online Entertainment’s Block Party. The weather was pleasant compared to past parties and I had a pretty good time though they weren’t demoing “The Agency” which is what I wanted to see since I’d missed it at FanFaire this year.

In general, I was once again pleasantly pleased with my fellow geeks out there. I did experience some of the huge crowds Comic-Con is famous for but I generally found everyone to be very courteous. Folks would apologize immediately if they even slightly bumped you or got in the way of your picture. Some nice guys saved my seat in Hall H when I had to go up to the press area to take pics and then came back to my seat. I made “line buddies” with a Lara Croft who was wearing a climbing harness as a stand in for a gun holster harness — something I had just noted on my recent climbing trip. So there you go folks, at least two girl, geeky, game playing / rockclimbers out there. I am not alone.
Lara Croft
In fact that’s what Comic-Con is ultimately about for me and many like me. It’s reaffirming that you are not alone. There are others (many others in some cases) out there who like that same comic, hero, villain, piece of artwork that you do and at Comic-Con not only do we get to reaffirm this in a way that online interaction can’t do as well, but we also get the chance to fly our colors proudly and show the whole world that we are not the only ones out there.

Quotes from my trip:
Hideo Miyazaki answering the question, “Why do you have female protagonists?”, “Because women are strong and beautiful.”
Tim Burton, “I’m actually a ‘light’ person.”
Robert Downey Jr on preparing for his role as Sherlock Holmes (after we watched clips which showed Holmes being a playboy), “As you know I’m a method actor…” He paused then added, “No, we went to the source.”
Peter Jackson, “I don’t think movie studios give the audience enough credit.” in regards to making a thought provoking film.
Cameron Diaz answering a shouted marriage proposal from the audience, “Yes!” and then she added, “Can we do it in Vegas? I’ve always wanted to get married in Vegas”.
Gary Oldman answering when we might see the next Batman movie, “Might be 2011… We start shooting next year…But you didn’t hear that from me!” [he has since backtracked on that statement].

My Comic-Con photos: Flickr set

Warcraft Movie – Sam Raimi to Direct

July 22nd, 2009

The game, movie cross over trend shall be complete. A Warcraft live-action movie is in the works.

LOS ANGELES, Calif. – July 22, 2009 — Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. and Legendary Pictures announced today that Sam Raimi has signed on to direct the eagerly-anticipated major motion picture based on Blizzard Entertainment®’s award-winning Warcraft® universe. Raimi has, in the course of his career, clearly demonstrated a genius for developing and adapting existing fictional universes for mainstream audiences while staying true to the spirit of the original content.

Raimi directed the Spider-Man trilogy, which has broken box-office records around the world and garnered five Academy Award® nominations. Known for his imaginative filmmaking style, richly drawn characters and offbeat humor, Raimi wrote and directed the cult classic, The Evil Dead and produced 30 Days Of Night. He most recently wrote and directed the supernatural thriller, Drag Me To Hell.

“At its core, Warcraft is a fantastic, action-packed story,” said Raimi. “I am thrilled to work with such a dynamite production team to bring this project to the big screen.”

My first thought was that they were going to make a film of “World of Warcraft” that might be a good comedy but it was a little hard to think of it as a live action film since so many people play WoW with differing play styles (can you imagine Gold Farmers in the movie? ha). Since it’ll be about Warcraft I’m thinking it has a chance ;)

Full press release here.

SOE FanFaire 2009 – Costume Contest Video in HD

July 1st, 2009

I was once again at FanFaire wearing dual hats as a community website person and a vendor (of fabulous t-shirts & cool stuff from OffLineTshirts!) I was pretty busy the whole FanFaire but I was able to film the entire costume contest for your viewing pleasure. It’s 30 minutes total of video but don’t worry I split it into 4 parts plus 2 short segments for the finalists portion. Brenlo (Alan Crosby, former SOE Community Director and now EverQuest II Senior Producer) was in rare form for the show and cracked jokes while in a banana costume.

E3 2009 What I Liked

June 4th, 2009

Firstly it’s the motion stuff that got my panties in a wad.

I’m most interested in Microsoft’s Project Natal for XBox. However, I’ll be really excited when we can see how close it gets to the well edited and created trailer. Even so, it’s one step closer to the holodeck! Microsoft isn’t telling anyone a release date though.

Secondly I liked Sony’s answer to motion control, particularly because of its precision controls, and since this is an actual demo I was quite excited to see the sword play. One step closer to a real virtual fencing game! OK I may not be in the majority for that wish but hey, I’m allowed to wish! Looks like Sony’s aiming for a launch in Spring 2010.

After the battle of the motion controllers, “The Beatles: Rock Band” got me so excited that I pre-ordered the game. I’m a Rockband fan more than a Beatles fan but I just love the idea of being able to play Beatles songs and I’m even looking forward to going through their career as a band.

For other goodies, I’m sort of interested in “Assassin’s Creed 2″ but after getting excited about the first one at E3s in the past & then seeing how it went from there, I feel a little burned by that title. We’ll see. Mario? I’ll wait on those. As far as the other titles, well I’d like to get a PS3 and an XBox but I don’t have them yet so I’ll have to wait to play friend’s games :P

Confessions of a Star Wars Galaxies CSR

March 6th, 2009

GMS, CSRs, if you’ve ever played an MMO you probably have stories to tell about your interactions with them. But what about stories they tell on the other side? An ex Sony Online Entertainment In-game Customer Service Representative / Game Master named Jason shared 8 “behind the curtain” tales on his blog.

The post begins with a shocking tale about a CSR from EverQuest stabbing himself with keys out of frustration, I don’t know if that story is true or not, and the author of the post admits to not being there to see it but I find it rather sad and shocking in the way that I bet a lot of folks could empathize with someone doing this. Which, by the way is also an element of a good “urban myth”. I plan on asking about the validity of this event but I don’t expect to get any “on the record” answers.

This particular event happened in the Everquest area, before my time. Dealing with irate customers is no picnic, and can send a lot of people over the edge. Long story short, a GM who will go unnamed was at his wits end, and one day he snapped. Going bat shit insane, he grabbed his car keys and started jabbing himself with them in a complete nerd rage. This guy was let go but his story will live on forever. Up until this day, you will see keys taped to a select few monitors in the building. Bad joke, but funny in a dark way.

However, most of the eight confessions are about amusing stories from the Star Wars Galaxies universe, for example, this story about a new CSR using the teleport command:

Eventually SWG launched it’s space expansion. It was a bitch to assist customers in space because, well – they would fly away. I always just told them “Hey send me a msg when you’re done in space and I’ll try to help you then.” In one case another rep from India decided he would speed up the process by teleporting the player back to a planet. I guess he wasn’t thinking that if he did this, there would be an unpiloted ship flying around, but something much much worse happened. When he targetted the player, he actually targeted the entire Yavin 4 space station (mass wise one of the biggest items in the database). He then executed the teleport command and *poof* the entire space station was planted in the middle of Naboo. Players shat themselves. Knowing that there wasn’t much we could do, we ended up taking some screen shots, then photoshopped McDonalds and Starbucks signs on the front.

There are also a few stories about PvP play, including the spawning of an AT AT which I would’ve loved to see. Maybe they could’ve sic’d Yoda on it? ;)

SWG PVP t-shirt

You can read the full confessions post here.

Twitter Shorty Awards – OffLine Makes an Appearance!

February 12th, 2009

Ok, it wasn’t really “OffLine” it was @MarthaVan who wore an OffLineTShirts “iTweettank top!

@MarthaVan Wearing an iTweet tank at the Shorty Awards
Martha is the creator/owner of Action Wipes and won a Shorty in the Brand category.

And what is a “Shorty?” It’s an award for the “best producers of short content”. Though started independently, The Shorty’s eventually got a nod from Twitter’s creators. Votes were cast via Twitter and last night’s ceremony was the culmination of events. I watched part of the awards via their Live Stream and noted that acceptance speeches were limited to 140 characters. Seemed right for the occasion.

So Twitter has its own Awards show now, what next? It just keeps rolling on it seems.

More Shorty Awards info via CNN.com/Technology. More about the Shorty Awards in general.

PS Yep, OffLine has a Twitter account (like this blog, it was semi-hidden for a long time) you can follow the official OffLineTshirts Twitter account here: http://twitter.com/OffLineTshirts

Shipping Schedule – And I’ve got New Hoodies (Black, Zip, Black and Zip…)

December 10th, 2008

You can still order TODAY to get Economy shipping for December 24th arrival for US destinations.

Holiday Orders
For delivery on or before December 24, please order by 11:59 p.m. EST, unless noted otherwise, on:
(Shipping Method,Order By)
Economy TODAY by 11:59 p.m. EST Wednesday, December 10
Standard Monday, December 15
Premium Saturday, December 20
1 Day Noon EST, Monday, December 22

And now check out my black sweatshirts, black hoodies, zip hoodies, women’s zip hoodies and black hoodies! Browse the sections at OffLine (and if I’m missing one send me a note so I can add it in).

Flip MinoHD Review… And Yes, We Haz Them

November 24th, 2008

Flip MinoHD - Designer print
So a few weeks ago I started offering the Flip Mino in a small, tucked away section of OffLine.

I wrote a review of my test model Flip Mino which I intended to post here as part of a big “reveal” that OffLineTshirts had something very un-t-shirt-like.

And then the Flip MinoHD came out and I ordered one. I then proceeded to play with it instead of writing a review. Perhaps I wanted to keep it all to myself, to be the ONLY one with a truly pocket sized HD camcorder, especially with my rocking Asian Print inspired design on it…

But then I remembered I’m supposed to be a shopkeeper and also sell these things to complete strangers :P

So here we go.

A Flip MinoHD, what is it? It’s a compact camcorder. Like the Flip Mino (non HD) it weighs a mere 3.3 ounces, is small and thin, is dead simple to use, takes great sound, and has a tripod mount. It can also take up to 60 minutes of video and has a rechargeable battery which you charge via the built in USB arm which “flips” out of the camcorder so you can plug it into a Mac or PC. So take all that and add HD to the package and you get a big “Wow!” from me and anyone else looking for an affordable and truly portable device. I’m telling you, when I did my original write up of the Flip Mino I thought to myself, “I’m writing too many good things!” And then I thought, “I know what’s lacking, I wish they had an HD version.”

And now they do. And I do. And so can you. Do.

And because I think I did a good job of writing my review for the Flip Mino, I’m going to paste it here now (and keep in mind that the HD version has even better video quality):

When my Flip arrived I was immediately impressed. First it was because of the nice packaging, then it was because of how nice the print of my design came out (this was my test Mino) then about how light and slim this camcorder is!

When I got around to turning the thing on (I did look at the Quick Start guide but stopped reading after seeing Step 1 was push the power button and step 2 was push the big red Record/Stop Recording button) I was impressed with the video and sound quality. I also liked the screen well enough even though when I first saw pictures of it I worried it would be too small. The fact that the touch sensitive button icons lit up was also a nice surprise.

This thing passes my Treo in video quality, the camera does a good job of adjusting for different light situations. The sound is also excellent, far better than on my phone or even on my point and shoot camera!

The ease of shooting (love that big red button) was a nice change even though I didn’t find it too hard to shoot video with my camera phone, it was one more added step to push to get to video shooting.

I’m going to be talking a lot more about comparing this to a camera phone because I see those as the main competitor for the Flip.

Flip Mino vs Camera Phones

Both are small and portable. The Flip differs though in that it is a mere 3.3 ounces in weight. Much lighter than my Treo 755p at 5.6 ounces and also still lighter than an iPhone at 4.7 ounces. You may not think the difference in the numbers is that great but while the other phones brag that you can put them in your shirt pocket, if you really did so it would drag your pocket down.

In contrast I put this in my knit shirt pocket and forgot it was there (which for a girl is not a good thing as it makes for an, ahem, unusual shape).

I already mentioned video quality, but I’ll say it again here, it wins over my Treo. I don’t own an iPhone but I’d say strictly regarding resolution it is even with that BUT it wins over both in terms of handling low light and changing light situations.

It also beats them in sound quality. I think a big reason for that is that it has a multidirectional microphone that does not have to serve double duty as a phone sound receiver and thus can be positioned more optimally which lets it pick up sound better. The inner workings (which I am not privy to) I’m guessing are also of high quality as audio did not sound tinny or scratchy at all, even when I recorded music played from a car stereo while the car was being driven (I was a passenger).

Another advantage the Flip has over cameraphones is that is has a standard tripod mount, it’s a sturdy metal one as well (though since the Flip is so lightweight, Pure Digital could have easily went the cheaper route and gone with a plastic mount). When I used my cameraphone for video I always had to hold it up, which made for shaky video (and I still suffer from that sometimes) HOWEVER I now have the option of using any number of small lightweight tripod options so I can set up the Flip and leave it to get in the video myself, or just set it up to give my arm (and viewers) a rest from shaky video.

I just gotta say that this little camcorder was a nice surprise.

Sample of HD Video:

Flip Mino HD from Jefferson Graham on Vimeo.

See my Flip MinoHDs here.

WoW’s 4th Anniversary Gift – Baby Blizzard Bear!

November 24th, 2008

World of Warcraft celebrates its 4th anniversary today by giving out Baby Blizzard Bears (aka little polar bears) to anyone logging in. You get a letter which includes the summon pet ability as an attachment and then you can access your pet from your Character pane.

I got mine for some of my avatars, here’s a shot of him sitting down. Cute isn’t he?

Baby Blizzard Bear Sitting Down

I haven’t yet activated him for any of my Horde characters yet, perhaps if I could make him look a little more menacing somehow?

Yeah, you’re right, he’s just a cute ball of fur! Hmm fur…

Happy 4th Anniversary Blizzard, seems like yesterday we were running around in Friends and Family Alpha!

EDIT: PS the Achievement is called “Can I Keep Him?”.

52 Lego Bricks Per Person

November 14th, 2008

Lego has lost its patent but let’s celebrate the Bricks anyway.

Picture set of Lego accomplishments.