All I Want for Christmas…

December 13, 2005

PopMatters.com

Dear Santa,

As you know, I’ve been a relatively good boy this year, certainly as compared to last year. And now that my community service is done and many of the civil suits settled, I feel like I’m finally working with a clean slate!

We’ve not always communicated efficiently in the past, and so I’m keeping this year’s wish list short and “civil-tongued” — I think that’s the term you used in your reply to last year’s letter. You’ll note that this time around, per your request, there are no overt threats against Mrs. Claus or the elves if I don’t get my way. I am willing to make some changes if you are. Read the rest of this entry »

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Hollywood Trivia

December 9, 2005

Hollywood Trivia originally published in Topica Newsletters

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POLANSKI IN TROUBLE AGAIN

Director ROMAN POLANSKI can’t seem to keep his reputation out of the mud. The Polish-born filmmaker, who fled the U.S. in the late 1970s following statutory rape allegations, is now being sued by Artisan Entertainment, according to a report in Variety. The suit alleges that Polanski pocketed more than $1 million from production money used in the making of his latest film, “The Ninth Gate.” Because the film was shot in France and eventually exported, a value-added tax (VAT) refund was applied to the production costs. Rather than turn over the refund as specified in various contracts, Artisan says Polanski “brazenly deposited the money in a private account” and “has refused all requests to return the money.” And this is just the insult to the real injury: The $30 million film grossed less than $19 million domestically.

WHO WILL REPLACE MULDER? Read the rest of this entry »

Back to School: The Benefits of a Wired Education
originally published in Family Circle/Computers Made Easy

In the great To Do List of Life, there are always a number of items that are forever being bumped to the bottom. What with family, kids, work and the simple day-to-day coping of modern living, big projects often tend to get put on the back burner. Sometimes, they boil away for good.

Probably the most common of these perpetually put-off endeavors is the idea of going back to school. Wouldn’t it be great to finish that undergrad degree, or maybe get another? How about an MBA that could equal a bigger salary, or even that long-contemplated master’s degree?

The happy news is that it is now arguably easier than it has ever been to continue your education as an adult — via online courses conducted primarily, and sometimes entirely, over the Internet. In fact, adult education and what is called “distance learning” are experiencing a kind of renaissance by leveraging the uniquely interactive nature of online learning. Read the rest of this entry »

The Precinct: NYPD Ramones

December 9, 2005

15 Second Theater Presents

The Precinct

DRAMATIS PERSONAE:

Detective HAL JENKINS, 25-year veteran, NYPD. JENKINS recently divorced his third wife and suffers from severe stomach ulcers.

Detective JOHNNY FALCONE, hotshot rookie, NYPD. FALCONE is new to the precinct; inexperienced but eager. He speaks only in song titles from the first Ramones album. Read the rest of this entry »

Gamespot.com

As with film, television, and other primarily visual mediums, sound and music are often the forgotten elements in video game design. That may be because sound affects you with more subtly than do splashy visuals or hyperspeedy gameplay. In fact, oftentimes the mark of superior sound design is that you don’t consciously notice it at all. Instead, it goes to work on you subconsciously–heightening tension, manipulating the mood, and drawing you into the gameworld faintly but inexorably.Consider the ominous ambient sounds of Resident Evil, the effects of which compound the tension and horror as you happen upon those relentless zombies chewing up your Alpha Team comrades. Even early games like Space Invaders earned much of their addictive appeal by getting into your head with thumping, repetitive sound schemes. As the aliens got faster and closer, the music got faster and louder. Properly designed, sound and visual cues work together to produce an experience greater than the sum of their parts. Read the rest of this entry »