Friday, February 29, 2008

Withdrawing From Tyra Banks

Peter was channel surfing last night. He was going along - flip, flip, flip - "Whoa!" He stopped and I paused my Gameboy to look over at the TV. Everyone in the audience of was wearing only a bra. I went back to Tetris and Peter broke out of his daze and went back to surfing. By the time he got back to Tyra, she had led the women out of the studio and onto the streets to for an old-fashioned bra-burning.

I couldn't believe it! Tyra: supporting feminism? No way.

Well, no, of course not. The guest for the episode was a bra expert, and everyone in the audience had been given a free bra-fitting. They weren't fighting for respect; they were burning their old, ill-fitting bras.

Peter couldn't believe it either. "Oprah did exactly the same show!"

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Was Thomas the most luanital butterfly at the parade of bunny rabbits?

I stumbled upon an old file that has somehow been passed down through three or four generations of computers. My good friend Thomas and I were writing a paper together that somehow devolved (or possibly evolved) into this. I think were were about 14 or 15 at the time.

Prison reform is a necessity in a society witnessing a plethora of salutations milksponge supercalifragilisticexpialidocious avacado explosive pizza Confucious chews on children’s earwax your mum eat wheaty brocilli with athlete’s foot I just remembered something funny I saw yesterday babies crawl through th on top of your head Osama + Hussein = Martha Stewart Parkas keep diskettes human Always hold your tray with two hands why should’nt you and always look where yo’re goin’ pull chair out of old women’s hair don’t get eaten by the bear at the fair dragons love legumes what can I rhyme with legumes I bumble through the stinging blizzard to find the perfect oragami I’m better than math at you the piercing slap leavs me full of apathy

The more observant among you may have noticed that my last name does not appear anywhere on this site. I think it's probably best that potential future employers or love-interests not have access to my dementia.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Oh, What Does it Mean for a Daydream Believer?

A cool image entered my mind earlier tonight.

The side of the freeway. A digital camera rests among the cigarette butts, its strap snapped, its lens shattered. Battered batteries rock back and forth as traffic speeds by. The SD memory card is cracked in two and a long ribbon of film flutters out of it, slowly twisting in the wind.

Ya know the story where Hercules has to clean the Augean stables? Why haven't cleaning product advertisers exploited it yet?

Weird and Wired
I was traversing my regular Internet circuit when I found an article on Game|Life that caught my attention.
These dudes were all in my English class last semester

Seeing people you know on the Internet is always strange (though not as strange as meeting people who know you from the Internet). So anyway, these kids won the Independent Games Festival's "Best Student Game" award at last week's Game Developer's Conference for their game, Synaesthete. You can click that link to go to the game's Website, where you can learn more or download the game for free. Here's a link to an article and a link to a video about this game, as well as a few other IGF winners. Joseph doesn't usually sound that hoarse.

Congratulations, kids!

That Crayon Physics game looks way cool, too.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

So, You Whizzed on the Electric Fence, Didn't Ya?

I just finished a paper for my acting/animation course about the "Svën Höek" episode of The Ren & Stimpy Show. I was probably four or five when I first saw this, and I still think it may be the best cartoon I've ever seen. Just check out some of the picture I used in my essay.

All of this came from a two minute scene, and it's not even the best stuff in the short. John Kricfalusi is a genius.

Monday, February 25, 2008

I Miss Spring Break Already

Okay, so is this weird: My roommate and I have class in less than three hours, but he's still hasn't come back to the apartment since going to Baltimore. If he's dead or something, that's fine, but his family should at least have the decency to let us know - rent is due this week.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Tin Woodman IX: Die, Glinda, Die

For some reason (that may or may not have something to do with huffing paint-thinner), the words "fantasy" and "slasher" popped into my mind at the same time. Now I can't stop wondering why Hollywood hasn't exploited this sub-genre yet. I think I could've tolerated the Lord of the Rings movies if someone in a jet-pilot's mask had gutted a hobbit with a switchblade every fifteen minutes. Wouldn't Voldemort have made a more memorable villain if he'd worn a Taco Bell bag on his head and thrown harpoons at the Weasly twins?

Saturday, February 23, 2008

In the Spaceship, the Silver Spaceship...

My roommate has been in Baltimore most of the week, which is very fortunate for him. Spring break has given me more opportunities to pick up my guitar than my 21-credit-hour-plus-homework schedule generally permits. I've gotten really bad.

Friday, February 22, 2008

YouTube Makes Daily Blogging Easy

Somebody managed to compress the entire DigiPen experience into a 30-second commercial:

Well, almost. There are girls in this commercial.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Helga Got Her New Laser Mouse Today

Have you children ever played iSketch? It's pretty fun. Have you played Pictionary? Of course you've played Pictonary; everyone's played Pictionary. iSketch is Pictionary, 'cept you play it online. It's one of the only games all of my roomies and I can agree to play together. Would any of you like to play a game or two this weekend? Try it out and leave a comment if you're interested.

If I had to draw tonight on iSketch it would look like this. How did I survive 19 years without living near mountains?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Quiero Bailar la Salsa

This isn't news to you. You already know all about it. Still, I assure you that there's nothing going on in my life today that's nearly as noteworthy as the resignation of Fidel Castro.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

I Should Buy a Fire Extinguisher

No matter how many times I wake up to find that somebody's left the stove or oven on overnight, it still freaks me out.

Monday, February 18, 2008

'Cause We Need a Little Controversy

I heard "Just Lose It" a few days ago and I've been nostalgic ever since for a time when people got bent out of shape over Eminem. "The Real Slim Shady" was released only 8 years ago, and now it seems so tame, though, to be fair, I never really understood the moral panic surrounding the song. When was the last time anyone dropped their monocle over a song. I guess there was the whole "suicidal"/"in denial" thing a year or two ago, but it's not quite the same.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

I'd Give You a Morning Golden and True

Does reading this blog ever give you the impression that all I do with my life is watch videos on the Internet? Oh, well. At least this one isn't about video games.

Jettison Your Loved Ones

It reminds me of Rushmore. I love that movie!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

I Confess, I Admit, I'm Impressed

Have you heard of Johnny Chung Lee? Dude's a straight-up genius, for real.

I was talking to the mom about SMART Boards today. Some quick research shows that a SMART board would probably set you back about 9,000 to 17,000 big ones. Seems like kind of a waste since you can make the same thing with a projector (they start in the $100-$200 price range on eBay) and a Wii remote (about $40).

Certainly cool, but I'm far more excited about the possibility of something like this:

When the Wii was first announced, I wondered how long it would be before a home version of Police 911 would be released.
Police 911 is an unremarkable shooting game aside from one key gimmick - it tracks your position. So, for example, if you duck, your view of the game shifts to match your perspective. Sway to side and you hide behind a wall. There's also a boxing game that uses the same technology. Even generic games can become fun when you're jumping around like an idiot. I can't wait to play some games that use head-tracking, or, better yet, to make them.

By the way, if I might digress for a moment - WiiFit? It's going to be freakin' massive.

We'll talk a little more about this another time

Check out Johnny Lee's other projects.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Wooooo! Spring Break!

Even though it's winter! And I still have probably 10-20 hours of homework to do this weekend! Woooooooooo!

Thursday, February 14, 2008


The Internet's down in my apartment and blogging at school is awkward.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Speaking of Juno


Alternate title: Shut Up, I Still Have Five Minutes

Monday, February 11, 2008

Oh, no! It's the Grumpo!

That's it. I'm done. I've had enough. I hope Hollywood brings in enough scabs to put all the writers out of work, 'cause the union has gone too far.

The thing that really burns my toast* is that I supported them. I spent time explaining the reasons for the strike to my friends. I listened to folksy protest songs. I stopped watching TV.

And, as negotiations were taking place, as settlements were being written, they did this...

The Writer's Guild of America gave the the award for best writing in animation to the "Kill Gil, Volumes I & II" episode of the Simpsons.

Don't get me wrong; I love the Simpsons. I think it's the best television series in history. Still they've done over 400 episodes, so you know they can't all be winners, and, in fact, some of them are simply bad. The show's been in a funk lately, but the 18th season really started to bring the quality back up. I didn't stop laughing during the entire first act of the episode where Homer joined the army, and the episode where anchorman Kent Brockman swears on the air could have easily been a part of the series' golden era.

Then there's "Kill Gil." It's probably one of the 10 worst. Episodes. Ever. IUT's so bad. It's...

Oh, wait, it looks like "Juno" got the award for best original screenplay. That movie rocked.

Okay, WGA, you're forgiven. For now.

* I was not aware, when writing this, that "burns my toast" was a real phrase, but it is. I tried to find something more original, but "grills my cheese" and "bakes my potato" are real cliches, as well.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

For Your Consideration

I think yesterday's topic should serve as a nice segue into this:

This interview caused quite a stir in the video game world a few weeks ago, but I'm curious about the conclusions an unbiased party would draw from it. Please watch the clip and leave your thoughts in the comments section (and don't forget to sign your name!). I'll return to this topic some time next week.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

The Union Forever

It looks like the end of the Writer's Strike is imminent! Woohoo!

Population: Growing!

Video game-to-movie conversions have a pretty terrible reputation. For example:

Resident Evil

The Game
  • Special Agents investigating a series of grisly murders
  • Spooky old mansion
  • Zombies
  • Guns
The Movie
  • Zombies
  • Guns
  • No haunted house
  • Nudity

Tomb Raider
The Game

  • Stars beloved heroine Lara Croft
  • Oh, does it really? I hadn't even noticed. I just play it for the thrill of, um, raiding tombs. Or something.
  • Let's move on
The Movie
  • Contains a shower scene featuring Angelina Jolie naked
  • Let's move on

Mortal Kombat
The Game
  • People beat each other up
  • That's about it
  • Oh, some of the "kombatants" have magic powers
  • Plus, you can like, rip people's spines out and stuff
The Movie
  • People beat each other up
  • That's honestly about the only thing that happens in this movie
  • There's one female character, and she crushes a man's head in her thighs
  • I'm not kidding about the plot. Every time someone speaks, it's to say lines like, "Your soul is mine!"

Super Mario Bros.
The Game
  • It's Super Mario Bros.
  • You already know all about Super Mario Bros.
  • If you haven't played this game, go buy it right now.
  • Go. Now.
The Movie
  • Features characters named Mario and Luigi
  • Has nothing to do with the games, otherwise

Allow me to speed through a few more:

House of the Dead
- Guns
- Zombies

Alone in the Dark
- Guns
- Zombies

- A half-naked vampire-woman kills a bunch of Nazis

Street Fighter
- A bunch of burly guys (and one woman) beat each other up

Dead or Alive
- A bunch of mostly-naked women beat each other up

Double Dragon
- Muscle-bound dudes beat guys up to save a girl
- Features a scene in which the girl force-feeds shrimp to a deformed man

...and that's why this movie stands out so much:

It's Animal Crossing: The Movie!

Of all the games that could be converted to movies, Animal Crossing never would have even entered my mind. Let's break the game down:

  • Pay off debt for a house
  • Plant trees
  • Design clothes
  • Yeah, you wear clothes
  • Catch bugs
  • Fish
  • Stomp on roaches if you don't keep your house clean
  • Catching fish and stomping roaches are the only forms of killing in the whole game
  • Play video games
  • Dig for fossils
  • Pick up trash
  • Pull weeds
  • Decorate your house with objects like oil drums and snowmen-shaped refrigerators
  • Talk to anthropomorphic animals
  • Send mail to the anthropomorphic animals
  • Send oil drums in the mail to anthropomorphic animals
  • Retrieve oil drums that your animal friends have lent to their animal friends
  • Listen to a dog sing and play acoustic guitar on Saturday nights
  • This series is even weirder than I'm making it sound
  • It's also way fun
  • Among the best ever made
What's really strange about this movie is that it's one of the most faithful adaptations I've ever seen. What's stranger, still, is that it's entirely watchable. I think I'd even argue that it's good. That's right - I like a movie about a four-year-old girl who works for a talking raccoon.

I wasn't expecting much out of it. It didn't sound like it would make much of a movie, and anime isn't usually my style, and I certainly didn't think I would be able to sit through a full-length feature on YouTube. I thought I'd watch a minute or two just for the novelty of it, but I got hooked. Give it a chance if you have the time.

Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8

Friday, February 8, 2008

I Didn't Title the Last Post, Either

Blogger completely thrashed the formatting of that last post, but I love how it looks now, so rather than correct it, I'll just re-type the part that was messed up.

"High Concept: A top-down, text-based puzzle-adventure game about fixing your mistakes throughout a theme park to save your job."

"You play a loosely-defined amusement park employee at risk of losing his job if he's unable to restore the park's haunted house in a night."
I'm finishing up the game script that I mentioned a few days ago. It's an interesting project because, even though I'm officially the game's "designer," it's totally a matter of game-design by committee. Everyone in my group has a different idea of what we should be doing, and, in trying to appease everyone, the "group" somehow decided that the game should be absolutely generic.

No, seriously.

Not exactly the sort of thing that interests me, but it's actually kind of fun to work under this
type of constraint. I'm not allowed to make the main character a character at all, which creates a different style of storytelling and dialogue than I'm used to. I'm trying to maintain a light, non-specific tone, like the sort of text you'd find in a Pokemon game. The Legend of Zelda series has also been a huge influence. My ComedySportz training is definitely coming in handy here, too. Shades of Cwazy Quest and countless pun games.

Here are a few quotes from our Game Design Document:

"High Concept: A top-down, text-based, puzzle-adventure game about fixing your mistakes throughout a theme park to save your job. "

"You play a loosely-defined amusement park employee at risk of losing his job if he is unable to restore the park's haunted house in a night. "

Would you like to know the name of the game? Would you really?

Are you sure?

You definitely want to know the name of our generic, theme park-based puzzle game?

Fine. Here it is:

Puzzle Park

We came up with all the puzzles and gameplay before deciding any specifics regarding the story. This was my idea, which you might find surprising. I really had to fight to make the game this way, rather than story first. I'm going to talk about storytelling in games once I have enough time to really give the subject the attention it deserves. It's one of my biggest interests.

I have about an hour and a half to finish the script, so I'll leave you with a few examples of what I'm writing:

----Kiddie Park---------------------------------------------------------------|
|Ohhhhh! You did it! Come to me, Mr. Bun-Bun! Snuggle, snuggle, snuggle!
| Press SPACE to continue...

----Haunted House-------------------------------------------------------------|
No! Not the ANIMATRONIC! What did they do to you, old buddy?

Press SPACE to continue...

----Kiddie Park---------------------------------------------------------------|

Right on, chicky baby! You got the TRACK!
Press SPACE to continue...

----Cartoon Land--------------------------------------------------------------|
Woo. That was some mighty fine electrician-ing. Thanks, a bunch. I owe ya,
pal. If there's anything I can do ya for, just say it.
Press SPACE to continue...

----Pirate World--------------------------------------------------------------|
Captaining a boat's no easy task when you're missing an eye. And a leg. And a
hand. The life of an amusement parrrrrrrk shop owner ain't an easy one, but
it's the life fer me! Press SPACE to continue...

Award winning material!

Thursday, February 7, 2008


DigiPen moment:
I sat down in one of the computer labs last night. The guy next to me (someone I barely know) turned sharply toward me, raised his arms, and shouted, "Epic fail! Epic fail!"

Then he walked away.

A term I just learned:

Sturgeon's Law: "90% of everything is crud."

I was quite proud of myself when I came to this same conclusion years ago, but according to Wikipedia, Sturgeon made the proclamation 16 years prior to my birth. Good for him.

A conversation I had today:

[loud noise]

Was that a yawning train?

Nels: Sounded like it.

Jake: It did sound like it!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Try to Work It into a Conversation

Soggy Waffles
[1. n.] The effect of freezer burn on Eggos. ("Leggo my soggy waffles!")
[2. adj.] Mediocre. ("That's just soggy waffles.")
From the fact that, even soggy, waffles are okay.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Evaporation, Condensation, Claymation on My Mind

Has anyone ever heard of this short? I don't know that much about it, but the style is freaky in the best sort of way.

What? This isn't stop-motion at all! I couldn't find the video I had in mind, but I have to post something in the next twenty minutes or lose the challenge. Actually, I started writing a non-YouTube post, but I don't think I have time to finish it
(expect it later this week), so you get filler. Yeeeeeea, filler!

Monday, February 4, 2008

I Love the Web

Fire and Ice
Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.
Robert Frost

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Click here to write your comments about this poem (Fire and Ice by Robert Frost)
Sita Madu-Wynn (1/21/2008 8:55:00 AM)
Triple rhymed, Great imagination....Well penned!


Dolly Parton Ain't Got Nothin' on Me

Remember that project I complained about a few days ago? I worked on it until about 2:00 this morning, went to bed, and went to school to work some more. I think I was at school from about 8:30 - 6:00, breaking only to go to class. I think this is pretty much the sort of school schedule I'll have from now on.

Ten-and-a-half hour days are really nothing new - I was doing way more than that even in high school - but I had hoped to get finish my work early today. Check out what I could have been doing:

Seattle has a pretty amazing live music scene, so I'm sure it won't be long until something else comes along, but that would've been an awesome show.

On the subject of that assignment, though, I think I might like this computery stuff, after all. I mean, to be perfectly honest, I spent the entire weekend strangling my monitor and threatening the Microsoft Visual Studio compiler, but actually finishing and submitting my work gave me genuine a sense of accomplishment and relief. It felt nice. I tried to share my joy by demanding that the other people working in the lab "kneel before me and praise me as your lord, you filthy swine, for I have completed works of such magnificence that your god could but look upon them and hang his head in shame," but I guess DigiPen students have some difficulty with empathy.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

The Pipettes

I just discovered a pretty good band. Perhaps you will also enjoy their music. Imagine something halfway between the Spice Girls and the Supremes. You kids like the Spice Girls and the Supremes, right?

They're retro, but unmistakably modern.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Whining About School? On a Blog?

I was planning to write a something pretty lengthy today, but, once again, school put a swift end to that notion. Actually, my own stupidity is to blame. Last weekend I spent around 10-12 hours writing a basic game engine (a game engine is exactly what it sounds like - it makes a game run). My assignment this weekend was to expand it. I tried to open the project, only to discover that I somehow managed to delete the whole thing. In fact, it turns out that I sent my teacher the wrong files. I didn't turn the assignment in at all! After searching for two or three hours, I managed to find old, buggy copies of my files, so now I'm struggling to fix them.

Other homework for the weekend:
- Begin an essay for my Mythology class
- Write the story, dialogue, hint system, and more for a game I'm making (More on this later)
- Work on a Battleship-style game I started last week

Busy, busy, busy!

Update: Woo hoo! About five hours after sitting down to work, I've finished fixing my old files! I'm exactly where I was a week ago!

Friday, February 1, 2008

It Begins

In the immortal words of my programming teacher, "Alright, well, let's get it on, get it over with." It's time for some obligatory blog-posting. In case you missed it, I've signed up to be a part of the “Everyone Wins a Hamburger at the End” Blog Challenge. Do I feel like a cheater for blogging the same thing two days in a row? Yes. Does this bother me? Not a chance.

I will promise this much - never again will I use this space to announce that I am a part of the "Everyone Wins a Hamburger at the End" Blog Challenge, or to remind you that I've already stated as much.

So far, JakeyPen has been a place for long, photo-riddled ramble-fests and quick music or video link - very little in-between. I'm hoping the need for daily updates will shake the formula a bit and give me a chance to write about some of the subjects I've meant to cover since starting this thing. I'll welcome the encouragement to vent, to share my thoughts and experiences regularly. I created this blog as a means of keeping in touch with the friends and family I left behind, to take the sting off of the sacrifice I made for the sake of my education career. I love and miss you all, and I hope this blogging challenge helps to bring us closer.

Mostly, though, I want that hamburger.

(Fun Fact: A quick survey of the other challengers' blogs shows that most wriggled through the first day with a cheap "I joined a blogging challenge" post, but I'm the only one who made a lame hamburger "joke.")