Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Nightmares...them's bitches!

I landed Saturday morning after a rather long week working CES 2012 in Las Vegas. It was brutally fun, enjoyable, but plenty more work than I had expected. It goes without saying that I'd do it again, but I really wasn't prepared for how destroyed I felt come the final show day on Friday the 13th.

Anyhow, I crashed rather hard that evening and suffered three successive nightmares that scared the living bujeebuz outta me. Seriously, I've had nightmares, but these felt so real, each waking me with distressed breathing and panic.

  1. I'm at my Aunt's house, but it's not the layout I know it to be. They still have a basement, but it's laid out differently as well with two doors leading down two separate stairwells, one acting as some sort of boot closet, dividing the two by yet another door.

    I told my Mom I needed to tell her something and she said we should keep it a secret, that she would go down the stairs to the boot closet and I could tell her through the door (don't ask).

    At any rate, we agree and as I go down the stairs and reach the bottom in front of the door, I am compelled to look into the dark corner leading into a sub-room. The moment I do, I am overcome with a great sense of dread as my vision and hearing is literally attacked by shaking booms. It's almost as if I'm being jostled violently, without actually moving. I try to look away, but each time I do I am yet again compelled to look...increasing the intensity...

    ...at some point I begin to make a figure out among the horrible shaking and rattling...dark-skinned, slender, long stringy hair and long fingers...piercing red eyes.

    I look away, but I'm compelled to look again. The creature is closer. I look away, and return my gaze to realize the creature is closer yet. I look away one final moment, then look up and the creature is there, in front of me...it lets out a ear-piercing shriek and I wake.
  2. Similarly, I'm at my Aunt's house with the same unfamiliar layout. Again I am compelled to descend the stairway to the basement, but before I can take a few steps, something pushes me. I watch myself fall...I hear my bones crack and break, and before I hit the basement floor I stop, levitated, apparently, and I am thrown violently across the room. I wake before I hit the wall.
  3. I am asleep, next to my wife Amanda, at my parents house in my old room. I hear some faint noises...growns and shuffling. I am awoken by Amanda in hysterics. She says to me "Something came out of me!"

    Hesitantly, slowly, I pull the sheets down and begin to notice blood. The blood becomes heavier, thicker, until finally I reveal the source...a child, Amanda has miscarried a child we never knew we had...
The intensity of these nightmares is both troubling and new. I have never had such nightmares of such violent and vivid magnitudes that they would wake me up and haunt me to the point I'd need to write them down.

Friday, January 21, 2011


I can't recall the moment or age I was aware that dreams could be something I might be able to control.  Maybe I never did, but simply thought I could?  Either way my son said something to my wife a couple nights ago that stunned her, and again he repeated it to me when I tucked him in for the evening...

"I want to dream about Super Heroes, or maybe I want to dream about being a Super Hero.  I think that because I'm talking about it, my brain will make me dream about it!"

What the fuck?!?  I swear to god some of the things that come out of his mouth are far more profound than what I said at his age.  Hell, I'm not even sure I had some of the thoughts he has.  I mean, he's FOUR!

I'm thinking we'll change his name to RenĂ© Descartes Joy.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Dance Central...rhythm, you've got it or you don't that's a fallacy!

Santa graced us this year with a bevy of goodies (we've all been very good), but one stood out as the apparent crowd pleaser for family.  The gift that keeps on giving:

This was and remains the best use of the Kinect so far.  When I played it at E3 I quickly realized something, Microsoft Game Studio's is NOT representing the technology with their offerings of Kinect Adventures, Kinect Sports, & Joyride.  Simply put, those titles are all gimmicky and limited in their presentation, while Dance Central excells.  I have to say, it doesn't look too good when your 3rd Party Partners are churning out better product.  Either they aren't concerned, or simply don't have a grip on their own tech.  Either way, Dance Central wins...everything else fails, miserably.

At any rate, we can all jump up, Dance well (some of us anyhow), and have a blast doing it.  Jayton is already Dancing solo and scoring 3-Star Performances (he gets his rhythm from me).

I guess what I'm saying shouldn't come as a surprise, but we love our rhythm games.  We're not awesome at them, we don't push ourselves to blaze through Black Dahlia's "Murder" on Expert Drums...I mean, that's just lunacy!

I suppose we simply enjoy the casual flavor that many of these games offer.  Sure, they can be destroyed through practice and tenacity, but the accessibility of the game to gamers of varied skill levels is truly where the joy comes in.

Anyhow...this was a shitty blog and I'm ready to call it a day.  G'night ladies and gentlemen!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Reality: My kid is cooler than yours!

Heh, I can only imagine some of my fellow-parents reading that header and thinking "Pft...the hell he says!"  But it truly is more than just a stance of close proximity, it's de facto reality.

I'm not quite sure where & when this "cool" surfaced, but suffice to say Jayton wakes up this morning and tells me...

"I had a good dream today Daddy!"

Naturally I inquire into the nature of said dream and he politely obliges my request by telling me a wonderful story...

"Uhhhm...there was a zombie, but he was good, then uh, there was another zombie who was bonking on the door at Nonnie's.  We took pictures of zombies, but then they disappeared...and I didn't take a picture of a zombie.  Hmmm...and I don't remember what else, and that's it!"

So as a parent, you can imagine my delight to hear that my son, at the age of 4, is so actively involved in zombie preparedness through deep cerebral simulation.  That or I should be worried he'll be a liability with the rest of the peace loving Scientist hippies who believe the "plague" has a cure.  Nice zombies?  Pft, what an imagination.  As if nice zombies exist!

Furthermore, before the old lady steps out for her last day at work, preceding a most anticipated 2-days off...in a row (we miss Mommy), he asks her to put in a CD he can listen to.  The CD?!?

See, he's not afraid of social convention.  I'm sure his age has plenty to do with it, but the kid has some mean taste in music.  Adding NKotB to his library of Metallica, Brandon Flowers, Michael Jackson, Johnny Cash, and Daft Punk (amongst others), well, that's an evolved pallet of music to be sure.

Couple the with the fact that he's a far better brother to his little sister, Pepper, than I could have ever hoped for.  Suddenly I wonder what the hell I was so worried about.  He has two wonderful & nurturing parents (if I may toot my own horn for just a moment), that keep him well grounded but offer him the attention that every kid needs & deserves.  If I can give all prospective parents one bit of advice going into this life-changing decision it's the following:


Too often I hear about these ridiculous stories of parental neglect.  It could be attached to a number of vices used as an excuse, Video Games, drugs or alcohol, but the bottom line is mental stability and sacrifice.  Your child doesn't ask for much, and even 5-15minutes from the moment you walk in the door after a long and grueling day means the world to them.  Those first 7 years may seem like a lifetime, but you'll be shattered when you realize how quickly it goes by.  Blink once and you miss it!  A wise man once said the following:

If You Cant Feed Your Baby
Then Don't Have A Baby
And Don't Think Maybe
If You Can't Feed Your Baby
You'll Be Always Tryin'
To Stop That Child From Cryin'
Hustlin', Stealin', Lyin'
Now Baby's Slowly Dyin'

Not everyone is meant to have a child.  Not everyone SHOULD have a child.  Those that are blessed with such a gift, well, make the time to grow up with them.  You'll find a new lease on life while your child becomes everything (and more) that you hope for them.  I'm always surprised by the actions of my son (even at age 4), and I can't wait to see my daughter grow up.  I'm certain his qualities manifested as a direct result of involving him in nearly everything we do each and every day.  Moderation of content, of course, but they don't care what they're doing as long as they get to do it with Mom & Dad!  Does it come with challenges?  Certainly...it's a challenge each and every day, but it's also the one thing I know I'm doing right with my life and in this world, my greatest rewards.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

MoTown...shit is real!

Sitting in my car in Modesto outside the house of one of the old lady's Aunts...thrilled that I'm about to be overwhelmed by a sea of Chinese & Hispanic delights.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Minecraft!

Holy shit-nuts!  I've been avoiding this beast for all the right reasons.  Today, however, on this the birth of Jesus Christ...I am given a reason to dive head first into the world of Minecraft!

Painstakingly recreated for our pleasure, Double0Bond creates the Light World from the SNES outting of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past:

This is a full recreation of Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past using Minecraft. This replication is to scale and is an accurate portrayal of the original SNES game. The map is 512 x 512 x 104. This project took over 100 hours to complete. As Minecraft releases more blocks and various features, the map will be adjusted to better represent the game.

Further development is planned to support the Dark World as well as each & every dungeon in the game.  Let's all hope he wraps it up before Nintendo steps in with a C&D Order from their lawyers.

Unfortunately that's the only gifts we're given as there is no download available, yet.  I'm guessing Double0 wants to keep this pretty close to home considering it is a near-perfect recreation of Hyrule.  I know I'll be waiting to click that download button the minute its available.

Is anyone else playing Minecraft?  I can't help but love the community inspiration here but I just don't feel I have the time to make it shine.  What are everyone's thoughts on the game, the editor tools, etc?

Friday, December 24, 2010

Of Tron: Evolution, Betrayal, Legacy, the Soundtrack and my son!

You know, maybe as children we're simply easy to please.  As we age our cynicism grows and the suspension of disbelief becomes something of an aggressive disposition we simply can't seem to grasp, well, most of us anyhow.

I'd like to believe that I'm still a child at heart and I have my kids to thank for continuing this trend.  At the very least I have them to thank for making it "OK" for a grown man to act like a kid and not be looked at as a socially inept member of this society.

That said, my son Jayton has been eyeballing the new Tron: Legacy movie each and every time the trailer hits.  I only felt it appropriate that he see the original before jumping into the sequel, and so we did just that one Saturday afternoon.

What transpired was a painful reminder that our youth doesn't age so well.  The things we found fascinating, well, they don't always stand the test of time.  I remember marveling at this in my youth and thinking it was the greatest thing since Wheat Bread (yeah, not a Wonder kid), but suddenly it was an empty experience...for a moment anyhow.

How critical I had become about a movie that, by all rights, was a pioneer of technology at the time.  Sure, Star Wars was great, but Tron's implementation of animation and live action was something...magical.  The story however, the stuff of nerd dreams.  Guy gets his game stolen and hatches a scheme to get the proof he needs to take it back, gets beamed into the digital world of The Grid...magic happens, happy ending!  It was nothing overly complex, certainly no deep lessons to be learned other than CYA and lock in those copyrights early if you want to protect your goods.  But it was magical...and it was for my son, and suddenly it was once again for me.

This inspired me to motivate myself for the new movie through the comics (Tron: Betrayal) and the video game (Tron: Evolution), both of which served to fill in many of the gaps between the original film, and those in Tron: Legacy.  Well, Jayton was in love with this game.  He loved watching me play and upon completion, wanted me to continue doing so.  I saw, within him, a fire burning for a new love of his.  Isn't it remarkable how kids gravitate towards our interests and really pave their own destinies, but at the same time...love anything and everything we do (with proper parenting of course).

The console release of Evolution details the events of "The Purge" briefly hit on in the film (Legacy) following Quorra and the main protagonist, Anon, a new Tron-like protocol that monitors the system.  The PSP game follows another similar program named BETA, but the story in that game, so far, doesn't really serve to motivate a reason as well as Anon's role in Evolution.  At any rate, the game did its job getting Jayton prepared and equally excited for Tron: Legacy.  You know what?  Just take a look at the timeline HERE.

I then acquired the soundtrack.  First and foremost I have been a Daft Punk for as long as I can remember knowing them.  I always found their music to be uplifting and incredibly versatile (I can seriously listen to it all day).  At any moment the duo of Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Baglater, can send me into a veritable frenzy of electronic delights, and dip me into soothing ballads that seem familiar and alien at the same time.

Taking that talent and putting it into film form, a soundtrack, was something I wasn't entirely prepared for.  Certainly tracks like "End of Line" & "Derezzed" have that Daft Punk signature sound, but the rest of the collection's 2-discs are a treat that I bathed myself in.  Certainly beautiful composition but I wasn't prepared for how much of a character the music becomes in the film...it truly stands out as instrumental to the continuity and delivery of the film and its setting.

Holy shit!  I wasn't prepared for this.  I've seen enough of the trailer to realize I'd have fun with it, but ultimately I felt it would fall to the same hollow foundation of the original and boy was I wrong.  First of all, they've taken the entire lore behind the original and really created an evolution that is not only believable, but engaging.  I don't really want to get into the story as I think it's something that everyone should experience for themselves, but it was engaging and had far more poignant lessons to be learned.  Haste resulting in mistakes, the bond of Father & Son and an ever present lesson on race discrimination on multiple levels are all present and can serve to foster some rather enlightening conversations with my son.

Couple this with the fact that the film never rests on the cast that made the original something of a cult phenomenon and suddenly, it's a rather cohesive film that delivers everything I could ever want.  Relative newcomer Garrett Hedlund (Sam Flynn) delivers a believable performance, never over-acted even in the presence of Jeff Bridges (Kevin Flynn).

Olivia Wilde is absolutely lovely, playfully naive, and certainly a wonderful contrast the rather serious and sterile environment of the Grid, and for good reason.

All in all, I am completely floored with how well Disney has handled this.  They've taken a rather aged product and absolutely injected it with enough lore and style to last a lifetime of sequels, offshoots & spinoffs, merchandise and the like.  I just hope we don't have to wait another year 28 years for the next in the line.  Similarly I can't wait to see what the team is doing with the Black Hole remake.  This is a good time to be a fan of relatively under-appreciated Disney films of days gone.

I'd also like to say that leaving the theater, my son holding my hand, he looks up at me and says the following:

"We're on the same team right Daddy?"

To which I replied...

"We're always on the same team!"

Nerd-tears were shed this day!