The Princess and the Pirate

Adventure / Comedy (more)

25 February 2004

A handy addition

Today I witnessed a wiry dog walking its human down the sidewalk. The temperature was perhaps below comfortable for the pooch, or so the owner must have imagined, since the dog sported a sort of canvas coat. I bet you've seen such a thing. So, though it wouldn't work so well for dog sweaters, my idea for a handy addition to the sturdy dog coat is: duffle-bag handles.

6 most cinematic moments in film

There are films which are transportive throughout, such as Fellowship of the Rings and Raiders of the Lost Ark. There are films which have endings that knock you from your chair, like The Usual Suspects and American Beauty. There are films with scenes that compel you toward an overwhelming emotional response, such as the punishment scene of Glory or the reading of Thoreau's line in Dead Poets Society. But there also moments on film that, regardless of whether the movie is good or not, bring me to a place I can only describe as cinematic. My mouth hangs open not out of fear, or awe, or even anticipation, but for the pure magic of cinema. These are my favorite such scenes, in alphabetical order. I have been deliberately vague to avoid spoilers, since each of these is worth seeing yourself.

Aliens - Ripley and Newt stumble into the core of the nest.
Immortal Beloved - Young Beethoven lies back in a lake of stars.
Legend - Una runs among giant columns.
The Professional - Matilda begs Leon to open the door.
Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi - Dusk falls.
The Untouchables - Confrontation plays out on the subway staircase.

23 February 2004

The Scotsman

I purchased a new 20GB iPod for me wife at Christmas, and I inherited her 10GB. For the last couple of weeks, I've been weeding out the cra... uh... songs for which I don't particularly care. It is a laborious process to sequentially examine title after title, as I often run across unfamiliar music. So yesterday, I just let it play in random order and whacked stuff out when it offended my ear. Thus it was that I discovered what is now one of my favorite songs.

20 February 2004

A magical discovery

For any small-press game designers who might be reading...

Take 3 standard business cards (2" x 3-1/2") and place them in a stack, then hold the center and rotate them such that the corners of one just touch the corners of the one below. You will get a perfect hexagon.

Mekka Lekka Hi Mekka Hiney Ho. Your wish has been granted. Long live Jambi.

19 February 2004

My new license plate

Explanation for those who don't live in Michigan.

Proximate death

Yesterday, nearing the end of my drive home from work, I discovered that the police had blocked off both ends of the country mile on which our driveway empties. It turned out that someone had been killed in an automobile accident roughly an hour prior, and just a few hundred feet from our home. A man and his 11-year-old son apparently tootled along, minding their own business, when some young fellow crossed the double solid yellow and passed on a hill, slamming into the man and his son head-on. Though hardly surprising, since everyone (except, no kidding, myself) travels well over the speed limit on our road and sometimes passes at inappropriate moments, the whole matter felt vaguely disturbing. But the real tragedy? The wrong guy died.

17 February 2004

Upcoming piecepack article in GAMES Magazine

Sunday evening I gave a phone interview with W. Eric Martin, a freelance writer who is preparing an article concerning the piecepack for GAMES Magazine. The article is currently scheduled for the June/July issue. He appeared a pleasant, low-key sort of fellow and we had a decent chat.

Since our conversation, I have given some thought to a particular aspect of the piecepack that shaped its design, but without mental concreteness. I have always listed the piecepack's formative goals as:
1) Flexibility (including genericy, adaptability, and variety)
2) Availability (including affordability and portability)
3) Completeness (including autonomy)

But I ought to add to that:
4) Approachability (including simplicity and familiarity)

Approachability was, in fact, an overarching design requirement, but which was mostly solved automatically by patterning the piecepack on playing cards. Still, always nice to put your finger on something that's been nebulously floating about in the thought melange for years.

14 February 2004

Thunderbird Coffee House

It's Valentine's Day which, of course, means comic books. In college, I gave the Princess one of those sizable red foil boxes full of chocolates. She's not real big on chocolates (or maybe she's not real big off chocolates) so she wasn't even going to open it. But I cut off its head with my vorpal blade and candy sprayed out of its neck... surprise, it's a pinata! No, actually, it was full of Wolverine back issues on her want list. These days, I've stopped bothering to impress the Princess with special gifts on special days since, you know, there's no sense in it. I happily buy her anything her heart desires on any day of the year. And if I were to trade gifts for the expectation of a yank on the bunny's singing string, I would consider it an insult to the Princess.

But today is Valentine's Day and we drove down to Nostalgia Ink in Jackson, which is our comic shop of choice. Right next door we found the new Thunderbird Coffee House. We had heard the establishment's name during the Impact's local music feature on the Jacktown Hustlers, who mentioned they would be playing at the Thunderbird. So we popped in after purchasing our monthly stack of the Princess' manga and a graphic novel or two for myself. I rather enjoyed the place; it has a casual (rather than stuffy), local (rather than chain), earthy (rather than pretentious) vibe. Some of the artwork for sale on the wall creeped me out a bit, but hey. There's a really nice mural of some historical revolutionaries which makes a good quiz. And the sign on their door says they have wireless. Step on in if you're down Jackson way.

13 February 2004

6 best films that draw blank stares when I mention them

In alphabetical order. Keep in mind that these are not my favorite films of all time, just my favorites among those with which you are unfamiliar.

Abenteuer des Prinzen Achmed, Die (1926) - I tried not to cheat by listing foreign films, but this is silent and so eerily cool that it insisted upon inclusion.

Dead Awake (2001) - Insomnia, murder, dog shootings, and lesbians.

Dead Man (1995) - This deliberately paced b&w western stars Johnny Depp and has bit parts by Crispin Glover, Billy Bob Thornton, Gabriel Byrne, Lance Henrikson, and Iggy Pop among others.

Donnie Darko (2001) - Do not let the cover fool you into thinking it's a horror, and do not let the TiVo description trick you into thinking it's a kids' movie. It is neither.

Mystery Train (1989) - Jarmusch again. Joe aptly observed that this film got it right long before Four Rooms made the attempt and fell short.

Way of the Gun (2000) - Bang.

12 February 2004

The Princess and the Pirate

1944, with Bob Hope and Virginia Mayo.


Nope, I hadn't heard of it either, but of course the Princess had. Anyhow, the only similarity to the film is the weblog's title. I'm not Bob. I hope. And I don't like mayo. I'd rather have the Princess under my BLT.

I believe it's clear this weblog could degenerate into an extended exercise in slinging sexual double-entender at my wife. Sic.