Tag Archives: video games

Laura and Jeff – Game Over: You Win!

A few months ago I was coerced got the opportunity to photograph my friends Laura and Jeff’s wedding. They knew that wedding photography was typically not my thing and in fact something I usually detest but Laura was persistent.

“We don’t want a wedding photographer. We want a photographer we like.”

She played to my ego and thinking and it worked. When I finally agreed, Laura told me they sent this photo to their parents with the caption: “We picked a wedding photographer!” The wedding went well and I’ve published a few of the shots publicly so far: here, here, & here.

Laura is a member of the über-cool NESrock band I Fight Dragons (LP forthcoming on Photo Finish Records) and has an affinity for all things 8-bit and I had a free moment today so I made this in her honor.

Jeff and Laura Win!

4 Hours in Malaysia / 26 Hours in Tokyo – Part 1

After leaving Bangkok I landed in Kuala Lumpur for a 4 hour layover. Just long enough to get bored to tears in an airport but not long enough to leave said airport.

I wandered around they duty free shops for a bit and decided to get a bite to eat at the Malaysian noodle place called Nööödles. I got the “beef balls and herbs soup” and a coke for what equated to around $7, not half bad. After that I stumbled onto the airport Starbucks which had a free open WiFi connection… Sweet! Only problem though? No way to charge my devices.. Kuala Lumpur is the only stop on my trip that doesn’t use the standard US two prong wall socket and I didn’t bring my adaptor kit with me. Luckily enough there was an electronics store right below where I was able to pick up one of those little adaptor switch boxes for around $10.

I did have a momentary nerd out moment in there however. They had TONS of Japanese video games for sale and all sorts of bizarre bootleg devices. This was the kind of stuff that 10 year old me dreamed of. I got really really excited at the idea of buying something to bring home and play… Then I remembered that this isn’t the days of old where you could get a cartridge adaptor for your NES and just play Japanese games, the whole industry has switched to optical media which simply won’t play without modding your systems, which thanks to the DMCA is illegal in the USA and with companies like Microsoft blocks you from getting online. Damn. Stupid regions. Stupid DMCA. Stupid Microsoft.

After I got over my heartbreak on this I went back to Starbucks, plugged in and I was off and running! (Note: the iPad’s battery would have no doubt made it fine through my flight to Tokyo, but I knew I was going to use it heavily in the next day so I wanted to start off with a fresh full charge.

I arrived at the Narita airport and wandered around a bit, taking a moment to use the bathroom, clean myself up and change into jeans. It’s 84 degrees here, a huge break compared to the sweltering heat and humidity of Thailand, I’m excited to be wearing jeans again.

I took a bus to the downtown Tokyo Train station which took about an hour but I figured would be a good starting point. From there I began to wander some more, I immediately was able to figure out which direction I was walking from the placement of the sun and when I noticed that I laughed out loud. The boy scouts would be proud. I’m extremely grateful for my iPhone right now as none of the streets are obviously labeled, that said I think I’d be doing okay as there are a lot of maps placed throughout the city which denote where you are. Navigation is all based on neighborhoods and landmarks, and it’s surprisingly clear for someone who doesn’t read a word of Japanese.

First thing on my agenda: find the Apple store. I accomplished this very quickly. Now I know you probably laughed at that and might have even muttered “nerd” but there is a method to my madness. Apple is very selective in the placement of their stores, they are usually in upscale, popular/trendy areas so they can immediately give you an idea of a good place to check out, on top of that they offer free wifi, accessible power outlets, clean bathrooms and friendly multi-lingual staff.

That choice paid off big time immediately I was able to find a guy who had moved here from Estonia who was able to give me a brief run-through of Tokyo basics. First thing he told me, enjoy the free WiFi because I won’t find much of it elsewhere. Not even Starbucks offers it apparently and McDonald’s does but only to Nintendo DS users… great. I also found out the post office here doesn’t sell stamps… weird. I’ve yet to mail out my postcards so that is priority #2.

Christine’s father was able to get me a great hotel rate for tonight so I’ll be staying at the Sheraton, this goes against my usual traveling rules, but I could use a clean bed and shower. Unfortunately I can’t check in until 2 so it I’ve got some time to kill.

I’ve heard a few suggestions / requests of things to do for tonight which I’m excited to start tackling as soon as I’ve put my bags down. I’m still open for more though so hit me up in the comments or on Twitter. More later!

"F#¢k Thomas Edison. Seriously." OR Death, Humor and Subism

Lightbulb on Flickr

This got me thinking last night, especially when contrasted with this. Tesla’s letterhead is striking, artistic and thought provoking. Edison however goes for a more distinguished look that I think is boring, unoriginal and uncreative even for the time.

Those who know me will tell you, in additon to being a design nerd, that I’ve got a quirky sense of humor. This is often misinterpreted and rubs people the wrong way because I tend to appear like an opinionated jerk. In reality, I like to challenge people’s ways of thinking, I enjoy arguing strange or absurd points and do so with a passion. I don’t always agree with the point I’m making but I enjoy provoking someone sure of their beliefs out of their comfort zone.

I’ve been known to joke about the concept of death and I am fascinated by people’s seriousness around the topic. Whether you’re religious or not, (I’m not) death to me has always seemed like just another phase of life. I’ve lost people I love and in some pretty tragic ways, and I don’t make light of that. However, when I talk of my own death I want people to chuckle, I don’t want to be mourned, I’d much rather there be a big party in my honor than a grieving. I want my sense of humor to be reflected, normal is boring.

I’m very fortunate to have made some amazing friends who, thankfully, appreciate my antagonistic behavior and sense of humor. In the event of my death I’ve made two of them, Dan and Christine, responsible for certain things.  Dan, I’ve asked to eulogize me but only if he leads off with the following:

“John was not a great man, he wasn’t even a good man, but he did have a really sweet setup for his Sega Dreamcast

Thing is, I’m not kidding, he thinks I am but I’m not. I’ve made him promise to say that under penalty of haunting. IE: If he doesn’t say it, and there is a way for me to do it, I will haunt him from the afterlife. And believe me, I will, he knows it too, and assuming he outlives me, Dan has reluctantly agreed.

The other ritual in the event if my death is my headstone inscription, for which Christine is responsible. To explain that, you need to understand something else.

I hate Thomas Edison.

Yeah, I know, pretty random. That statement has a tendency to piss off or confuse people. Especially coming from someone who works in technology, claims to be a Buddhist (it’s called “practicing” for a reason) and really tries not to use the word “hate” anymore.

But seriously, fuck Thomas Edison.

I’m not discounting his impact on the world at large, I just think the man was an asshole. We grow up being taught a lot of things in elementary school that we accept as truths that later in life we often learn the horrible reality about. Need an example? Christopher Columbus was a brutal murder who discovered nothing, Gandhi beat his wife and Sylvester Stallone is not that tall in person.

People tend not to know the truth about Edison. The more I learn about him, the more respect I have for him as a businessman and the less respect I have for him as an actual human being. It doesn’t take much research to learn that Edison is a thief who ripped off the bulk of the work he is credited for and employed thugs to do his dirty work.

However, when I tell this to people (especially those from New Jersey) they often don’t believe me, “How could you seriously speak ill of ‘The father of invention?!'”

Then I show them this:

They usually get it then.

Yes, Thomas Edison electrocuted an elephant in an effort to show the superiority of his direct current vs. Nikola Tesla’s alternating current. Edison’s rivalry with Tesla is extremely well documented and the man went to outlandish lengths to prove himself right, to discredit Tesla and to destroy his life.

In the end, Edison was wrong but he managed to nearly erase Tesla from the popular vernacular. To this day most in our society while most have no clue who Tesla was and think of Edison when they think of electricity.

Learning of this made me rethink much of what I thought I knew. I love occurances like that, stuff that subvert and disrupt the status quo and evoke thought. That, to me, is what subism is about.

It’s because of my beliefs as a subist and these enlightening truths that I want my death to not be taken seriously, I’d rather make someone laugh at society or think than cry for me. This is why I’ve also made Christine responsible inscription on my headstone, which will read exactly as follows:

“Fuck Thomas Edison. Seriously.”

If that offends you, good. If it makes you smile, even better.

‘Surface’ reactions

Eric Meyer NAILED my first thought about Microsoft’s new ‘Surface’ computing device. I watched all the product demos on the site just waiting for this to pop up.

On a serious note… that thing looks REALLY cool, I think for once Microsoft is right on the money, it’s going to change the industry with this technology. I’m not sure this is the right implementation, but it’s years ahead of the curve. Too bad it costs $10,000.

Then again, I thought Sega’s ‘Time Traveler’ was the future of gaming back in 1991. I was 10. Cut me some slack.

So.. how long before someone mods one to do what Eric’s suggesting?

Media Central Apartment

Finally got my HDTV working! I’ve got a MacMini and an AppleTV hooked up to it… it’s amazing and i’m ripping my first DVD. ‘The Blind Swordsman: Zatoichi’ Some Japanese samurai movie my friend Chris made me borrow it a while ago and I keep forgetting to watch it, so I’m ripping it and giving it back to him.

I’m going to have the most awesome home theater setup in the freakin’ world when I get to Chi-town.

Living Room:
40″ Samsung HDTV capable of 1080p
Apple Airport Extreme Basestation with 802.11n
Nintendo Wii via composite wired to basestation
Microsoft XBox 360 via component wired to basestation
Sega Dreamcast via VGA with 2 keyboards for typing of the dead.
Sony PS2 via composite
AppleTV via component wireless 802.11n
Apple MacMini via HDMI with eyeTV Hybrid for recording. MacMini is modded to have 802.11n instead of g! MacMini has a Nyko AirFlo hooked up to it via USB and will be loaded with Emulators.

Last but not least:
Namco TV games Ms. Pac-Man / Galaga. via composite.

In the other room:
PowerMac G5 with a 500gb harddrive, wired directly to airport base station. Drive will be filled with movies, music and TV shows eventually to stream to the AppleTV!

and my favorite part:

At my parent’s house:
SlingboxAV hooked up to digital cable and eithernet to stream TV from NY… to Chicago.
Definition: Free NY cable in Chicago! More importantly – Free Yankee Games in Chicago!

All i need now is the Slingbox and the Wii network adaptor.

Note about the wireless: The MacMini is modded to 802.11n from 802.11g because it’s my goal to have only n wireless devices in my apartment, meaning: really fast data transfer rates between devices. Doing so voided the warranty but that’s besides the point.

My Laptop, the Mini, and the AppleTV all have n. g will be disabled. Hence why the Wii will be hard wired instead of wireless. Any g device on the network brings the whole speed down to g instead of n. Only downside: no online PSP… but I never use it anyway.

I am such a huge fucking nerd. But I know you’re jealous.

My apartment is going to rock! It’s like a mecca for consumer electronics whores like myself. Now I need surround sound… haha